Posts Taged wireless

One thing I Wished The President Talked About More In The SOTU Address: Why We Need 4G Networks To Help Close The Divide

President Obama’s SOTU address was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. He came out clearly reminded people what he had accomplished and what he felt needed to be done next. He also touched on the importance of bringing jobs back to the US and training people to be able to take open tech jobs. The one area I wished he would have covered more is the importance of creating 4G networks and how they can help close the digital divide . My podcast below talks about my thoughts on subject.

By the Time Apple’s IBook Textbooks Reach Minorities And Inner City Schools, The Divide May Be Too Wide To Close.

With the launch of Apple’s IBook textbook application a new era in learning has begun. Listen to my podcast where I explain that while the technology is game changing, not getting it to minorities and the inner cities could create a new digital divide. I believe a post from Time magazine paints an accurate picture of the worst case scenario:

Thus in the most frightening scenario, one could imagine a world where Apple’s textbooks serve only to increase the digital divide, and thus the achievement gap. In this scenario, there will be some students who are able to use the new textbooks, likely those at wealthy suburban schools where either the school or their parents can afford to buy them an iPad, while other students, most likely those in impoverished urban schools, are stuck using paper textbooks that have been handed down for years.

To Bridge the Urban Digital Divide We Need A Better Infrastructure and New Thinking

Urndigdivide

When you hear talk about the FCC creating plans to create equal levels of internet access for all, most of those plans don’t really take in to account how to bridge the divide in urban and rural areas for minorities. The government does not have the money to do it on their own. They also seem to take a general swipe approach to how to solve the broadband problem without taking into account that problem need to be solved in multiple ways for different groups. The two areas that I believe they are looking at all wrong.

Infrastructure

There are areas of the country where the current infrastructure can not give it’s inhabitants access to current internet technology. Those areas are primarily rural areas and lower income urban areas. In both these causes the current wired internet products are not readily available and there is no short term plans to change that. Because of that limitation Both of those audiences have taken advantage of wireless to get their access Although the rural areas in some cases still struggle because currently most wires networks don’t reach all rural areas. The ATT /T-Mobile deal would have solved this problem for many of those areas but that is currently not moving forward. No one else has stepped up to offer a solution for this problem which leads me to have concerns that the people in these areas would be left behind.

Digital Literacy  and Empowerment

People believe cost is the biggest barrier to increasing adoption.  I don’t agree.  I believe that the real issue is the lack of digital literacy among minorities which limits the ability to see the value they can get from broadband. The mobile device is a great example. Mobile usage among African Americans and Hispanics is growing at a rapid pace.  We have come to understand the value that broadband wireless access adds to our lives in various areas ( education, Employment, healthcare, etc..) SO even in lower income areas you have seen growth in smartphone purchases because in the investment empowers those users various areas. I’ve seen in many times when I’ve spoken to large groups  that once that light bulb moment occurs when the people in the room see how it creates value in their lives, the perception immediately changes.

If we really want to see Urban Digital Divide close then these are two areas we need to focus on and the private sector has to play a part for to happen quickly and we have to play a part for the value to be clear and obvious.

To Create an ‘Ecosystem’ for Minority Entrepreneurs We need to make sure There is Access to Even Before We Focus on Capital

My response to the following article on Entrepreneur.com “Creating an Ecosystem for Minority Entrepreneurs

Whether You Wanted Realize It Or Not Rural Broadband Acces Is Important

When people think of farmers and agriculture they very rarely think of smartphones and laptops in the same thought. But the reality is that broadband acess is becoming more and more a key part of the daily life of rural America. A recent article showed that 4 years ago 38% of farmers in Wisconsin used internet access for business  and today that number is up to 42%. That shows some potential but the other fact to note is that while 38% of people in urban and suburban areas use a smartphone only 21 %  do in rural areas. The lack of wireless use and access in rural  areas is a big inhibitor to their ability to to grow their business. We need to make this a priority so they can compete.

In the Broadband Battle Who Fights for Rural America?

Everyday i read more tweets, articles and posts from people speaking out against the AT&T /T-mobile claiming higher prices and other constraints to competition but at the same time i see Sprint get the Iphone4s and be in a position to compete with any other carrier. But as these small wins are won on either side i feel like there is one area that is being neglected, Rural America. They don’t represent Big gains for anymore but the lack of access puts them at a huge disadvantage. Who is fighting for their needs? who is making sure they have the access they need to create jobs, expand educational opportunities, and improve public safety and health care. Broadband will give small businesses in rural areas a pathway to participation in the global economy and provides the framework for long-term economic growth and stability for years to come.

We need to make sure the focus is shifted to advocate for rural America. If they are left behind we all will suffer.

Governement Officials Tout benefits of AT&T Merger

House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith made pitch urging federal regulators to see the benefits of the AT&T/T-mobile merger. He joins a growing list of supporters touting the benefits of the merger to groups that are directly involved in making the decision.   He also make statements question how the opponents looked at the deal  and did not see the benefits. Smith cited specific reasons as to why the opponents should see this merger as beneficial:

Smith, whose committee reviewed the transaction, wrote to federal regulators on Monday, asking them to keep in mind benefits of the deal including improved cell service, more efficient use of spectrum, and expansion of advance wireless broadband services to 97 percent of Americans.”

It will interesting to see if his opponents take a second look at the facts that he raised. You can read the full story here

FCC Prepares for the Future By Opening Technology Experience Center

fcctech

Today the FCC Chairman unveiled the technology experience center today in DC. On their website they speak to why this is important.

“This Wednesday, July 13th, Chairman Julius Genachowski will host the grand opening of the FCC’s Technology Experience Center at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. This unique center is an innovative resource for all FCC employees and visitors to engage directly with the latest technologies, which the agency accepts as donations.  Each month, we will focus a portion of the technologies around a specific theme.”

It’s encouraging to see the “eat their own dogfood” in tech terms by experiencing first hand how mobile broadband has and will continue to transform everyday life. The center will also be open to visitors which will also allow them to see how people interact with the technology. My hope is this will confirm for  them even more  that wireless broadband is needed for everyone.

It’s Easy for People Who Take Innovation For Granted To Go Against Giving It To Others

It’s human nature to take things for granted. No matter how new or extraordinary something is it will only be a matter a time until we complain about it. In the case of technology that is more the case than ever. As we consume it a a rapid pace our appetite for give me more for less is greater than ever. I see this a great deal in the case of the ATT/T0mobile merger. People complain about the potential for higher prices, less options other hypothetical scenarios all the while taking for granted the innovation that has gotten us to the place where  we can take what we have for granted. But what about the people who have not had that chance yet. Who have not experienced the benefits of wireless innovation woven into the fabric of their everyday lives. Shouldn’t they have the chance that we had. So i ask all the people who are in a position to take what we have for granted, shouldn’t we at least give the underserved the chance to get to that place too?

Wireless Services Get Better, Faster, Cheaper

With the recent release of its Wireless Competition Report, the Federal Communications Commission has proven what many technologists, entrepreneurs and tech insiders already know: with each passing year wireless technologies get better, faster and more affordable.

There are a couple standouts in the FCC’s 15 Annual Wireless Competition Report, notably:

  • In 2010, nearly 90% of the population could chose from 5 or more mobile providers; that’s up from just 72% in 2009;
  • Voice, text and data services have all decreased over the years, even as people use those services at greater frequencies; and
  • People are using their mobile devices more and more to access the Internet

What’s really interesting about the explosive growth of wireless is that at the same time people have come to rely on the services as a more integral part of their lives, the improvement both in cost and efficiency of the services has occurred in the midst of a number of mergers between various wireless service prices.  This pattern should be welcome news for the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice as they review the terms of the currently pending AT&T/T-Mobile merger.

As wireless competition continues to be a reality in our current landscape, and wireless services and devices an ever more essential part of our economic development and recovery strategies, consolidation of the AT&T/T-Mobile brands looks like a win-win type of deal.  It could help foster a more efficient use of spectrum – i.e. higher service quality – rapidly deployed to more people – creating ubiquitous wireless access.  But also in this current landscape, as evidenced by the Wireless Competition Report, we can expect wireless services to become available at more competitive and affordable rates, leading to an incentive for increased wireless adoption among would-be consumers.