Monthly Archives: June 2009

Japan Still Far Ahead of US in Internet Connection Speeds

While the U.S. still hopes to get up to 10Mbps Internet connection speeds by 2012, Japan already has such speeds for cable Internet service almost everywhere. And yes, I mean Internet connections, not just broadband.


But in Japan cable Internet service is of declining popularity, because 30 or 40 Mbps for $50 or $60 per month is not really fast there.

DSL in Japan goes up to 50 Mbps for also around $50-$60/month.


But for actual fast, cheap, Internet connections, people in Japan buy Fiber to the Home (FTTH), which actually costs less and delivers from 100Mbps to 1Gbps.


Meanwhile, back in the U.S.A., EDUCAUSE has proposed 100Mbps national broadband using a funding method that already failed in Texas.

Japan didn’t get to 100Mbps by a single government-funded network. It did it by actually enforcing competition among broadband providers. Why did it do this? Because a private entrepreneur, Masayoshi Son, and his company Softbank, pestered the Japanese government until it did so.

Thus it’s refreshing that these graphs laying out how far ahead of the U.S. Japan is come from the New America Foundation. Chair? Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google.

Internet, Not Broadband, for National Policy

ipprinciples.png A national broadband policy is what you get when you put bellheads in charge. Fortunately, Scott Bradner has been on the Internet since the beginning, and explains the difference.
Broadband is not the Internet. Broadband is shorthand for a diverse class of wired and wireless digital transmission technologies. The Internet, in contrast, is a set of public protocols for inter-networking systems that specifies how data packets are structured and processed. Broadband technologies, at their essence, are high-capacity and always-on. The essence of the Internet is (a) that it carries all packets that follow its protocols regardless of what kinds of data the packets carry, (b) that it can interconnect all networks that follow those protocols, and (c) its protocols are defined via well-established public processes.

There’s risk in confusing broadband and Internet. If the National Broadband Plan starts from the premise that the U.S. needs the innovation, increased productivity, new ideas and freedoms of expression that the Internet affords, then the Plan will be shaped around the Internet. If, instead, the Plan is premised on a need for broadband, it fails to address the ARRA’s mandated objectives directly. More importantly, the premise that broadband is the primary goal entertains the remaking of the Internet in ways that could put its benefits at risk. The primary goal of the Plan should be broadband connections to the Internet.

It’s a petition. Please sign it.



Therefore, we urge that the FCC’s National Broadband Plan emphasize that broadband connection to the Internet is the primary goal. In addition, we strongly suggest that the Plan incorporate the FCC Internet Policy Statement of 2005 and extend it to (a) include consumer information that meaningfully specifies connection performance and identifies any throttling, filtering, packet inspection, data collection, et cetera, that the provider imposes upon the connection, (b) prohibit discriminatory or preferential treatment of packets based on sender, recipient or packet contents. Finally, we suggest that the Internet is such a critical infrastructure that enforcement of mandated behavior should be accompanied by penalties severe enough to deter those behaviors.
While you’re at it, urge the FCC to stop talking about “consumers” and start talking about participants.

Iran and U.S. Media Irrevelance

whereismyvote.jpg Blogger Interrupted spells out the pretty much complete failure of the U.S. news media, especially cable news, to cover what’s going on in Iran, which is at least of a scale with the Tienanmen Square protests that made CNN’s name 20 years ago.
No obstacle was enough to stop the coverage. Even when China cut off CNN from Beijing, CNN reported repeatedly that they were cut off. BECAUSE IT IS NEWS WHEN A NEWS ORGANIZATION IS SHUT DOWN. When tanks hit the streets in Moscow in 1991, cameras were there, regardless of safety concerns, in one of the most closed societies on earth at the time, as the outcome was in grave doubt. Reporters risked their lives.
At least one news organization has been shut down, El Arabiya. Plus cell phone service is out and facebook, youtube, Voice of America, and BBC World Service are being blocked or jammed in Iran.

There are news organizations covering all this, most notably the BBC. But if you really want to know what’s going on you have to turn to twitter or bloggers like Andrew Sullivan.

The biggest problem with the decline of the traditional news media is the accompanying decline in real reporting. Yet how hard could it be to report that the official election statistics are preposterous, the Iranian state’s own election monitors say the election had problems, and the opposition (which apparently actually won) is very organized and is planning demonstrations today and a general strike Tuesday?

If the traditional media can’t cover something as obvious as this, what good is it?


Where the Money Leaving Music Sales is Really Going

Charles Arthur did a little research:
But the reality is that nowadays, one can choose between a game costing £40 that will last weeks, or a £10 CD with two great tracks and eight dud ones. I think a lot of people are choosing the game – and downloading the two tracks. That’s real discretion in spending. It’s hurting the music industry, sure. But let’s not cloud the argument with false claims about downloads.
Or keep making such claims and keep electing Pirate Party members the the EU Parliament. Either way such claims have a limited life span.