Broadband/Cable

Why Internet connections are fastest in South Korea

John D Sutter, CNN

People in the United States basically invented the Internet. So U.S. connections must be the fastest and cheapest in the world, right?

Not so much.

Broadband Internet speeds in the United States are only about one-fourth as fast as those in South Korea, the world leader, according to the Internet monitoring firm Akamai.

And, as if to add insult to injury, U.S. Internet connections are more expensive than those in South Korea, too.

The slower connection here in the U.S. costs about $45.50 per month on average, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In South Korea, the much-faster hookup costs $17 per month less. An average broadband bill there runs about $28.50.

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Google broadband plan stirs quest for speed

Thomas Claburn, Information Week

Google on Friday advised people not to undertake dangerous stunts in their bids to be included in the company's ultrafast Internet broadband experiment, even as the arrival of the March 26 deadline for submissions would seem to render future folly pointless.

The company's announcement last month that it plans to build a series of experimental high-speed fiber optic networks to deliver broadband connectivity at speeds 100 times faster than average in the U.S. has unleashed an unexpected flood of requests from individuals and communities around the country who want to be part of the project.

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Who will defend the rights of people of color to an open Internet? We speak for ourselves.

Malkia Cyril, Huffington Post

In every competition, there's a winner and a loser.

The open Internet protections being debated by the Federal Communications Commission right now will determine who wins and who loses in the fight over whether big companies or regular people will control the Internet. I want everyday people to win.

In the fight over who will control the Internet, big companies like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast are hoping they will win a pass on FCC oversight and public interest protection leaving them free to make as much profit as they can even if the service they provide is gated and discriminatory. Some civil rights groups are legitimately concerned that protecting the public from discrimination online -especially the poor and people of color- from the proven abuses of Big Media companies will result in those companies refusing to build out high speed broadband to rural communities and poor urban communities. Media companies have said as much, claiming that public interest and consumer protections that ensure that the Internet remains an open and true source of innovation, otherwise known as "net neutrality", will cost too much and deprive them of revenue for deployment of broadband to the communities that need it most. Threatening to withhold buildout of this critical national utility in poor communities if there are consumer protections attached is called digital redlining, and it's wrong.

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FCC to hold open Internet hearing in Seattle, April 28

Reclaim the Media

The Federal Communications Commission has announced a public hearing in Seattle to discuss open internet issues. The workshop, entitled "Approaches to Preserving the Open Internet," is currently scheduled to take place at 9:30am April 28 at the Jackson Federal Building in downtown Seattle. According to the FCC, the hearing is intended to examine "how the Internet’s openness can best be preserved, including by examining historical and ongoing efforts to protect Internet openness in the United States and other countries, and by discussing the key technological, economic, and legal considerations relevant to the need for and substance of the Commission’s proposed open Internet policies."

Mark your calendars for April 28. Stay tuned to Reclaim the Media for further information, and get involved with local organizing to protect net neutrality, preserve civil rights online, and promote universal access to affordable broadband!

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Protecting Internet freedom will close the digital divide. Period. End of story.

Garlin Gilchrist II, Save the Internet

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski took questions via YouTube about the recently-released National Broadband Plan (NBP). One question posed to the chairman was about whether the plan would close the digital divide and be beneficial to low-income communities and people of color anxious to get online.

Chairman Genachowski’s response (video) was absolutely right that this plan, along with the FCC's other efforts to promote universal broadband Internet access and protect Internet freedom, will benefit everyone, especially those excluded from today's market.

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Community groups applaud broadband plan, but stress that there's a ways to go for closing the digital divide

Media Action Grassroots Network

Across the country, more than 100 organizations of the Media Action Grassroots Network (MAG-Net) applaud the Federal Communications Commission for the release of a national Broadband Plan they say takes first steps in closing a digital divide that has widened the economic and education gap between those who have and those who don’t. "The goal of extending universal access to broadband is an excellent future forward goal," said Rinku Sen of the Applied Research Center. "But any policy intended to drive broadband adoption in communities of color and migrant communities must produce a clear roadmap to ensure that the speed and access goals recommended are a floor, not a ceiling--and that people don’t become digital haves and have nots based on their zip code or their race."

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Inslee: Broadband plan moves US towards fast lane of the information superhighway

Reclaim the Media

This afternoon, Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA), member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, released the following statement on today's release of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) 2020 Broadband Vision document:

The FCC's broadband proposal outlines a comprehensive approach to advancing the technology and innovation that are integral to our economic future. No place is this more evident than in my home state of Washington, where 40% of the jobs are in technology based industries that rely on broadband, and that number continues to grow.

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What will the world look like with gigablt broadband?

Chris O'Brien, San Jose Mercury News

Tucked in the Federal Communications Commission's national broadband plan is an ambitious goal: Connect 100 million households to affordable 100-megabits-per-second service over the next decade.

That's blazing fast compared with what most people have today. While Comcast plans to roll out 100MB service in the Bay Area later this year, its top speed to residential customers today is 50MB. And across the country, the average Internet connection speed — at least for those with broadband connections — is around 5MB.

So what exactly would we do with Internet connections so fast? According to broadband experts I consulted Monday, the answer is not clear, but the potential is revolutionary, as transformative as the changes spawned by the move from dial-up to current broadband speeds.

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Google fiber and the FCC National Broadband Plan

Mike Loukides, O'Reilly Radar

I've puzzled over Google's Fiber project ever since they announced it. It seemed too big, too hubristic (even for a company that's already big and has earned the right to hubris)--and also not a business Google would want to be in. Providing the "last mile" of Internet service is a high cost/low payoff business that I'm glad I escaped (a friend and I seriously considered starting an ISP back in '92, until we said "How would we deal with customers?").

But the FCC's announcement of their plans to widen broadband Internet access in the US (the "National Broadband Strategy") puts Google Fiber in a new context. The FCC's plans are cast in terms of upgrading and expanding the network infrastructure. That's a familiar debate, and Google is a familiar participant. This is really just an extension of the "network neutrality" debate that has been going on with fits and starts over the past few years.

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Effort to widen US Internet access sets up battle

Brian Stelter and Jenna Wortham, New York Times

The Federal Communications Commission is proposing an ambitious 10-year plan that will reimagine the nation’s media and technology priorities by establishing high-speed Internet as the country’s dominant communication network.

The plan, which will be submitted to Congress on Tuesday, is likely to generate debate in Washington and a lobbying battle among the telecommunication giants, which over time may face new competition for customers. Already, the broadcast television industry is resisting a proposal to give back spectrum the government wants to use for future mobile service.

The blueprint reflects the government’s view that broadband Internet is becoming the common medium of the United States, gradually displacing the telephone and broadcast television industries. It also signals a shift at the F.C.C., which under the administration of President George W. Bush gained more attention for policing indecency on the television airwaves than for promoting Internet access.

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey