There is the problem of clouds, which tend to interfere with transmissions. But NASA is confident that the new system will on balance be better than today's technology. It's allocated $270 million to the project, which will launch in 2009.
Verizon Communications said today that it has hired Terry Denson, the former director of programming at cable operator Insight Communications, to oversee its TV services. The company is planning cablelike video programming over the fiber to the home networks it is laying in Texas, California and ultimately other regions of the country.
It's clear that Verizon is serious about this bid. It's sticking to its estimate that its fiber-based services will pass 1 million homes by the end of the year, despite skepticism from analysts at The Yankee Group and elsewhere.
For a long time, the local phone … Read more
State regulators are promising a "light touch" on nascent broadband over power line services, according to this article in InfoWorld.
The regulators do raise interesting issues that have rarely come up in federal scrutiny of the technology, however. Most electric utilities have been built with ratepayer money, for instance. The state regulators say they want to see a strong division between the power and data side of the business, to ensure that ratepayers aren't subsidizing money-losing broadband services.
Then there's always the issue of open access. Should any ISP be given access to the lines, or … Read more
It's good to know that someone's reading this blog. Unfortunately it resulted in a mea culpa.
I got an e-mail from none other than Hadi Partovi, the general manager of MSN Music, who had a thing or two to say about a previous blog item written two weeks ago. In the item, I reported that MSN Music team marked a reunion among former veterans of Microsoft's Web browser wars. Partovi, current MSN head Yusuf Mehdi and MSN Music marketing exec Rob Bennett fought a relentless campaign against Netscape Communications that eventually alerted the attention of U.S. … Read more
Everywhere you look, people are talking about China as the world's next economic superpower. The world's most populous nation is poor, but a growing middle class hungry for technology makes it the largest potential consumer market in the world. And the country's large concentration of universities also makes it a hotbed of technology innovation.
Last week at an investment conference in New York City, Cisco Systems' CEO John Chambers and other top executives from big companies like Nortel Networks said that their biggest competition in the future will come from Chinese manufacturers like Huawei Technologies and ZTE. … Read more
Yahoo said today it would buy Musicmatch, one of the oldest digital music companies around, for $160 million. We reported last February that they were in talks, but at that point Yahoo also was looking to build its own software. It seems they've settled down on a strategy at last.
Other folks in the digital music business say $160 million is a lot of money (although Musicmatch had previously been asking much more). RealNetworks bought Listen.com's streaming media subscription service for just $36 million a year and a half ago, after all. Musicmatch also has downloads and … Read more
The WSJ has a piece comparing the Bush and Kerry broadband plans (subscription required). It's a little like our broadband policy package (here), noting that both candidates are promising universal broadband access, without offering a lot of tangible details.
The WSJ article focuses on the question of how to pay for this, wondering aloud if maybe one or both of the candidates isn't really thinking about subsidies. What I think it misses is the fact that both candidates' plans do nothing to address the demand side, which is the real soft spot in getting to universality.
Bush is … Read more
The BBC is carrying a story about concerns that using power lines to carry broadband signals could interfere with an emerging digital radio standard called Digital Radio Mondiale.
Power line data transmission emits signals in the shortwave and AM radio bands, and ham radio operators in the U.S. are already up in arms over the potential loss of their technology. Digital radio services are also moving forward in the U.S., but haven't settled on the Mondiale standard. New evidence of interference ?? particularly if it prompts AM radio spectrum owners to lobby the Federal Communications Commission ?? could slow … Read more
Or not even then, since Hell, Mich. does get pretty cold in the winter. The Detroit News has a piece on the troubles that rural areas like Hell are having in getting broadband of any kind. ??We essentially don??t have Internet access,?? the paper quotes one frustrated resident, who calls long distance for a dial-up account, as saying. ??It??s for emergency use only.??
Policymakers have to make a choice. Do we leave places like Hell out? Or find a way to get them on the Net?
Wired News has a piece on municipalities getting into the broadband fiber optics business, focusing most heavily on the project in Truckee, Calif. It talks about some of the hurdles these projects are running into, as a result of opposition from local telecommunications companies and a recent Supreme Court ruling.
Early this year, the Court ruled that states can block local utility districts from getting into the telecom business. A few states already do this, and the big Bell and cable companies are lobbying others to go down this path. Wired notes that the legislature in Pennsylvania is considering a … Read more