All Articles Tagged "internet access"
(AJC) — Comcast Corporation is partnering with several metro Atlanta school districts to educate families about a new program to offer discounted Internet access to low-income students. Today at a morning press conference, Comcast executives along with Mayor Kasim Reed, Gov. Nathan Deal and other area leaders will announce the program, which will be offered to families of students who qualify for free school lunch.
(Businessweek) — Imagine if smartphones always worked as fast as home Wi-Fi networks, and no one had to pray that a cellular signal was strong enough to send an e-mail or retrieve a map. A company called Towerstream (TWER) hopes to make that dream come true for New Yorkers in late June, when it turns on a network of about 1,000 wireless routers—souped-up, weatherproof versions of the Wi-Fi devices in millions of homes. The goal, says Towerstream Chief Executive Officer Jeff Thompson, is to provide a superfast mobile network that covers seven square miles of Manhattan, and sell access to the system to wireless carriers that can use it to fill in areas prone to spotty service. (Lots of those in New York.)
In theory—the company hasn’t announced any deals with carriers—consumers may never know they’re using Towerstream’s network. Behind the scenes, Carrier X would seamlessly switch a customer’s smartphone or tablet to Wi-Fi mode when that person comes within range of one of Towerstream’s hotspots, and the connection speed would go up dramatically. During a demonstration recently on the corner of West Broadway and Broome Street in New York’s SoHo district, an iPhone’s data speed leapt from .35 megabits per second to 26 Mbps. That’s fast enough to stream high-def video, and much faster than most home connections in the U.S.
(Wall Street Journal) — President Barack Obama is set to unveil Thursday a plan to boost broadband wireless coverage across the U.S. and create a nationwide, interoperable wireless network for public safety, White House officials said Wednesday. Mr. Obama will lay out the initiative at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich. It’s expected to reduce the country’s deficit by $10 billion through the sale of wireless spectrum to businesses, said Jason Furman, deputy director of the National Economic Council. The plan is aimed at building on efforts in the private sector to expand wireless coverage. Mr. Obama said in his State of the Union address that he wanted to make available high-speed wireless services to at least 98% of Americans. Mr. Furman said the initiative would also help spur job growth because workers will be needed to build the wireless networks. Sales of commercial spectrum are expected to generate about $28 billion, the White House said, and the Obama administration will re-invest that money to help pay for the wireless initiative.
(Slate) — Most discussions of “government and the Internet” focus oncontent regulation: Should there be a law against cyberbullying? Sanctions against companies who help Wikileaks? What about Egypt shutting down the Internet? These days, such questions are raised in the United States only by extreme behavior, the electronic equivalents of shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater. For the most part, there is broad political, legal, and social consensus that government shouldn’t fiddle with how information flows in a free society. But the ideal of neutral government is a mirage. Government hasalways played a significant role in how we communicate.
(CNET) — Almost a third (31 percent) of all mobile phone users in the United States own smartphones, but their adoption is higher among specific minority groups, says a report out today from Nielsen. Based on a survey conducted in December, Nielsen found that 27 percent of white mobile phone users in the U.S. currently own smartphones. But that rate was lower than the 45 percent of Hispanics, 45 percent of Asians/Pacific Islanders, and 33 percent of African-American mobile users polled who said they have a smartphone.
(Fast Company) — The Internet is all around us–on our cell phones, our computers, even in the dashboards of our cars. It seems impossible that such a mammoth presence can just be shut off. But that’s exactly what the Egyptian government did this week as a reaction to political uprising in the country. How did this happen? Turns out, it’s pretty easy, at least in Egypt. “At the end of the day, the Internet is a bunch of cables in dimly lit, pretty chilly rooms. A country like Egypt probably has a dozen of these,” explains Craig Labovitz, chief scientist for Arbor Networks, an Internet security company. “It’s as simple as literally unplugging these devices. From a practical standpoint, it’s more likely a phone call and then making a few changes on the computer to change the configuration.”
(Chicago Tribune) — Although we are amid a digital revolution, digital connectedness is on the wish list of many residents inChicago’s low-income neighborhoods this holiday season. Studies have shown that cost is a major barrier to Internet access, especially in the home. In Chicago, nearly 40 percent of residents do not have the broadband connections required to compete in the Digital Age. ”This is typical of what we see in low-income communities,” said Karen Mossberger, professor of public administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who co-wrote the study “Digital Excellence in Chicago: A Citywide View of Technology Use.”
(The Root) — Earlier this week, the Federal Communications Commission voted to adopt rules that will affect the way average people receive data and other content over the Internet. The results of the vote — meant as a compromise between the interests of big business and the needs of “the little guy” — are likely to have a disproportionate impact on minorities. Dubbed “net neutrality” rules, they are meant to fulfill a promise that President Barack Obama made to protect a “level playing field” for all comers to the online space and prevent Internet service providers from blocking or slowing down Web traffic out of competition or greed.
The Federal Communications Commission yesterday passed controversial new rules to regulate the internet, which will change the way we all engage with online content and services. Although the new rules would disallow service providers to block competitors websites (a good thing), the regulation will enable service providers the ability to charge consumers more to gain access for faster internet.
What can that mean for users? The internet will no longer mean universal access and information delivery can potentially be based on how much you’re willing to pay. This has large and major implications. According to ABC News, ” the rules do allow Internet providers to engage in ‘reasonable network management,’ meaning they can take steps to regulate traffic and congestion over their connections. Critics warn those steps could include implementation of usage-based pricing for accessing the Internet at home and preferential treatment for companies that pay extra for “fast-lanes.” They say service providers could also begin to pick and choose which websites can run faster than others over their networks.”
The internet has always symbolized a window of information to the world. Now, that window will be severely obstructed.
“By creating a “fast lane” that people with deeper pockets can pay for, [the FCC] has effectively created an uneven playing field where more money equates to better service and less money equates to less service, said Marc Aarons, creator and editor of Mobile Broadband Reviews . “On the surface this doesn’t seem all that bad, but consider Congress’ recent decision to allow corporations to donate as much money as they want to political campaigns. The result, as it will be with the internet, is large corporate entities having the most say and voice in public policy.”
Although we can’t lament the idea of paying for a service, many people who can’t or won’t pay those extra dollars will be deprived of information that they may not even notice they’re missing. That may seem trivial but it will play out to the detriment of society in the long run for the benefit of corporate interests. It will be a less informed and less engaged society for sure when restrictions are placed on content consumption in what used to be the world wide web.
(Wall Street Journal) — Consumers for the first time got federally approved rules guaranteeing their right to view what they want on the Internet. The new framework could also result in tiered charges for web access and alter how companies profit from the network. The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday voted 3-2 to back Chairman Julius Genachowski’s plan for what is commonly known as “net neutrality,” or rules prohibiting Internet providers from interfering with legal web traffic. President Barack Obama said the FCC’s action will “help preserve the free and open nature of the Internet.”