The FCC’s Third Broadband Report to Congress

January marked a true Internet access milestone: Americans, between work and home, spent more time online with broadband connections than with narrowband, with 51 percent of total hours of use racked up in the fast lane. Reaching this cross point required a 63.6 percent jump in broadband minutes during 2001, while narrowband usage actually declined, by 3.5 percent. Read More ›

Internet Nation

On February 5 the Department of Commerce released its latest report, A Nation Online: How Americans Are Expanding Their Use of the Internet. Prepared by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the report presents a wealth of data on Americans online. And to be complete as well as democratic, the report discusses why many Americans are offline. But its democratic genuflection to those still offline is tempered by its signature statement: “With more than half of all Americans using computers and the Internet, we are, truly a nation online.” Read More ›

The Broadband Bandwagon

From the Bandwith online newsletter of Discovery Institute: Defenders of current broadband regulatory policy note that broadband deployment to date tops the pace of key consumer technologies of recent decades. Read the rest of the online newsletter here.

Techno-Terror II

The previous issue of Bandwidth presented a snapshot of how information and communication technologies can help enormously in fighting the war against terrorism. That the war will be long-term and wider than at present was made clear by President Bush in his State of the Union address: No longer counter-terrorism alone, but also a war waged against states who seek weapons of mass destruction, including preemption if necessary — even in the sole judgement of the United States Read More ›

Techno-Terror and the Information Society’s Homeland Defense

September 11, 2001 will, in American history, “live in infamy” as surely as did December 7, 1941. And our response to the challenge posed by the atrocities of September 11 must match — in effectiveness, not scale (post-industrial war involves highly specialized human and material resources) — that of the “Greatest Generation” in response to the slaughter of December 7. Read More ›

DSL Delusions

According to the investment banking firm Lehman Brothers, Bell company negative cash flow for Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) deployment was $2.5 billion in 1999, $3.7 billion in 2000, and is estimated to be $3.8 billion for 2001. So, say defenders of existing FCC broadband policy, clearly the Commission’s rules have not deterred investment. To the contrary, the existing rules surely must be hospitable to network upgrades, and so no reform is needed. The argument is wrong but in fairness it is hardly frivolous. Read More ›

Fiber Fables II

Press reports this year have been replete with tales of the great “fiber glut” that leaves long distance carriers with vast unused bandwidth — Merrill Lynch estimates that only 2.5 percent of fiber capacity is currently used. By this reasoning the telecom revolution is drowning in a surfeit of supply and a dearth of demand. But the true story is nearly the polar opposite — yet another example of a telecom fable — a failure to distinguish between unused bandwidth and unusable bandwidth. To grasp this we must venture out into the often arcane world of telecommunications parlance, and translate nerd-speak into plain-speak. Read More ›

Preventing Cyber-Terror

The atrocities of September 11 brought home to Americans the vulnerability of a high-technology information society. Collapsing with the twin towers that topped the Manhattan sky-line was a veritable Mother-lode of network communications equipment. For want of communications alone the New York Stock Exchange could not have opened that terrible week. Read More ›

Socializing Broadband

On Monday, July 9 French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin announced a $1.5 billion plan to bring all French households high-speed Internet access within five years. Further, France plans to spend $180 million to bring wireless access to the eight percent of the French population that currently lacks such access. Likening the project to past infrastructure build-outs for rail and electricity, Jospin set as his policy goal “to bring the information age to everyone.” Read More ›

Fiber-Optic Fables

We live in an age of famously embarrassing historical ignorance. Judging by responses given by “Pearl Harbor” moviegoers to knowledge poll queries, quite a few viewers would accept the late John Belushi’s “Animal House” claim that the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor. One of the grand fictions of telecom history is that the established carriers left fiber innovation to others. One version, given currency by, among others, former Justice Department antitrust chief Anne Bingaman, is that but for federal pro-competition policy by the FCC and AT&T divestiture Judge Harold Greene the fiber-optic revolution would have been delayed. A second version, promoted recently by the American enterprise Institute’s James Glassman, has MCI and Sprint as the pioneers, with MCI led by corporate visionary William McGowan into the fiber future. Read More ›