Tuesday, February 23, 2010
An afternoon community meeting in Menlo Park with California High-Speed Rail Authority officials became heated after residents decided they weren't getting clear answers about the bullet train's proposed route through their city. About 100 residents gathered in council chambers to discuss the feasibility of different alignments for the Peninsula portion of the planned $45 billion San Francisco-to-Los Angeles line. But after rail authority representatives displayed barely visible slides of possible elevated, at-grade and below-ground options for routes through Menlo Park and Atherton, many residents became incensed and angrily peppered the officials with questions.
Several audience members urged listeners to consider stopping the bullet trains in San Jose, an issue that became a hot topic at a similar meeting in Palo Alto last week. Opting to stop the trains in San Jose would probably end the entire project because the voter-approved $9.9 billion bond measure passed in November 2008 spoke of a station in downtown San Francisco.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
While one can see where the carriers are coming from, it is still their responsibility to provide a network that can sustain the bandwidth demands. Carriers make investments based on subscription fees. It’s not like they’re losing money by offering a public service. By telling customers that their need to think about 'conserving bandwidth,' it also antagonizes them and suggests the company is out of touch with the mobile reality.
CEO of Vodafone Vittorio Colao said at MWC that Google should not be allowed to control the flow of money through dominating the search and advertising market. To get their fair share, Colao said, carriers could charge customers more for greater bandwidth, or guaranteed high speeds. They could also charge content providers, and guarantee them bandwidth speeds as well.
Google is already up for the challenge. The company has announced that it is working to build a 1 GB/sec test network for 50k-500k people in select regions of the U.S. Their motivation besides wanting to provide customers with network speeds 100 times faster than the average American household is to demonstrate that a carrier could easily manage complex applications that use a lot of bandwidth without sacrificing performance.
Not long after Google’s announcement, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski declared the agency will propose in an upcoming report a minimum Internet speed for American households.
Dubbed the "100 Squared Initiative," Genachowski said that he hopes to bring speeds of 100 megabits per second to 100 million households, a speed that is significantly higher than what many households receive. The chairman did not provide details on the timelime of the initiative or how the FCC would encourage private sector providers to reach the minimum speeds.
Via AppleInsider, TechCrunch, Boy Genius Report, Reuters
Labels: apple, att, bandwidth, blackberry, carriers, google, iphone, lte, mike lazaridis, mobile world congress, mobile world congress 2010, mwc, mwc 2010, Ralph de la Vega, RIM, vittorio colao, vodafone
85% continue to prefer that content remain free
52% of respondents favor micropayments
43% say an easy payment method would make them more likely to pay for online content
47% of respondents are willing to accept more advertising to subsidize free content
64% believe that if they must pay for content, there should be no ads
79% would no longer use a Web site that charges them
78% of respondents said they should get free online access if they already subscribe to a newspaper, magazine, radio or TV service
71% say online content must be considerably better, but only 34% believe the quality of content would suffer if companies couldn't charge for it
62% said if they pay for content, they should be free to copy and share it with whomever they want
Via Hollywood Reporter
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
It's no secret that video consumption is driving the projected increase in both mobile and wired broadband. Unfortunately, this proliferation of video is creating a major problem for mobile operators. As strange as is sounds, consumers will soon find trouble accessing video with ease. Mobile operators have long faced traffic congestion thanks to forces such as the growth of P2P traffic and the widespread availability of video (and recently high-quality video) in a variety formats that the average consumer can watch. This natural phenomenon is causing mobile operators to rethink their pricing plans. In short, YouTube and Apple may be the death of unlimited mobile broadband.
Carriers will keep racing to keep margins high for mobile broadband as usage increases. But according to a forecast from Cisco, the average amount of data consumed on mobile devices will rise to 7 GB per month by 2014 from just 1.3 GB per month today — a 438 percent increase.
Another contributor to this trend of increasing bandwidth consumption is thanks to Apple and the iPhone. Never before have users been able to access such a large amount of rich content on a mobile device, anywhere, at anytime. AT&T was not prepared for such a high demand for bandwidth. Combine this with the fact that AT&T has the largest number of iPhone subscribers worldwide (thanks to their initial exclusivity of the the device), and the result is an incredibly constrained network with poor service for all AT&T customers.
Apple's most recently launched product, the iPad, came with the stunning announcement that customers would be able to purchase bandwidth bundles by the month rather than be forced to lock themselves into a 2-year contract. Although it is nice to not have to worry about early termination fees (Google initially charged a ridiculous $350 for those who voided their T-Mobile contracts, but has since dropped it down to a tolerable $150), the pricing change will have subtle effects on the way mobile and wired broadband customers will pay for bandwidth in the future. Who knows how constrained AT&T's network (and other networks woldwide) will become with the introduction of more and more connected devices for accessing rich media. It wouldn't surprise me to see 'brown-outs' in the near future....days in which the internet is not accessible thanks to clogged bandwidth pipes.
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