To the consumer, having a municipal broadband network in your city probably sounds like a great thing. It could get you better speeds and lower cost. To the major ISPs, that municipal broadband is more competition that means fewer customers for them. To help stave the rollout of municipal broadband networks major ISPs have taken to lobbying.
Getting content delivered to your PC, TV or mobile device via the Internet is no simple matter, but the business ecosystem working behind that can be even more convoluted. While not exactly pointing to the fact, new data gathered about Internet performance might be pointing the finger at the almost unspoken but widely practiced business of peering.
The nation is all ears today as President Obama delivered his State of the Union address. As such, it will be highly unlikely anyone will miss the President's special mention of Apple, Microsoft, and a few other key players in the tech industry for their efforts in improving the country's education system by connecting students to high-speed broadband.
The internet as we know it is in peril. Verizon's victory in the court of appeal this week, seeing the FCC's attempts to regulate broadband providers in the name of Net Neutrality defeated, has the potential to change how we access the internet and web services like Netflix, Hulu, and others more fundamentally than 2013's SOPA threatened to. In question isn't whether internet access should be a free-for-all, but what it is fundamentally, legally classified as, and who therefore has control over what gets shuttled through: Verizon and the broadband providers, in control of the "pipes", or the FCC as protector of infrastructure that uses public rights of way. For all both sides are claiming some degree of victory this week, we're still no closer to settling that fundamental question.
Dish Network has announced that it will be collaborating with a major wireless carrier to trial a fixed wireless broadband service. Dish will be working with Sprint on the broadband service trial, which will be conducted in Corpus Christi, Texas. Dish expects that the fixed wireless broadband service will be available by mid-2014.
The Internet is an integral part of modern education, and not only provides many different elements of supplemental education -- video tutorials, instructional websites, etc. -- it also is necessary for specific fields of study, like programming. The problem is that many public schools in the United States (approximately 80%) do not have adequate broadband speeds, something that a non-profit recently backed by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg wants to change.
There is some work being done in the US to improve broadband speeds. Google for instance is working on installing fiber internet service in some areas that is fast and inexpensive. However, the vast majority of the US is left with some of the slowest broadband internet speeds in the world. The US ranks 31 on the list of speediest broadband countries according to Speedtest.net.
A convincing report arguing that mobile broadband, free business-subsidized WiFi, and tablets are sucking the life out of American cable and broadcast TV networks has appeared on Business Insider. While this in itself may not be news to our readers, the nitty gritty details and the statistics to back it all up should confirm what you might already suspect. TV watchers, movie buffs and sports fans are no longer anchored to a physical home.
Google has built a fiber-optic network in Kampala, Uganda, the company announced today, and it is a huge step forward for the city's Internet infrastructure. Until recently, Kampala was mostly on pre-broadband speeds. Today, the modern city of 1.2 million residents can now access the Internet at modern speeds.