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Mignon Clyburn Expects FCC Universal Service Fund Proposals by Year-End

in Broadband Data/FCC/Universal Service/Wireless by

ARLINGTON, Va., October 2, 2010 – Federal Communications Commissioner Mignon Clyburn emphasized the need for quality research in policy making, particularly with regard to reforming the universal service fund for telephone and internet connectivity.

Speaking at the Friday evening dinner session at the Telecommunications Policy Research Conference, a top telecom research conference here, Clyburn also said that she expected the FCC to propose changes to the USF system, and to propose funding for universal broadband, by the end of 2010.

Earlier on Friday at TPRC, the conference began with a panel examining broadband plans around the globe. The panel included officials from developed and developing nations, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Singapore and the European Union; and the developing nations of India and Brazil.

The common problem between both groups was determining the value of broadband to the overall economy, panelists said.

They said it was simple to determine the direct value based upon construction of broadband networks; but the longer-term value to the economy was difficult to monetize.

Developing nations face this analytical problem when contemplating whether to invest in broadband or other more traditional resources such as hospitals or schools. Panelists said that the developed nations, by contrast, are more concerned with maximizing the value of government investment.

The challenges of broadband deployment differ by population density, geography and the government’s proclivity to intervene in the marketplace. Even different types of capitalism change the willingness of private industry to invest, said Rob Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, who compared Japan’s longer-term focus to U.S. firms’ greater focus on the short term.

The largest problem faced by developing nations was determining which type of broadband service to deploy (i.e. wired or wireless), and of finding the necessary funding. While most of the world accesses the internet via a computer, the penetration of mobile phones in India is so high that many regulators are beginning to pay greater attention to questions of mobile broadband.

The TPRC conference, currently in its 38th year, continues on Saturday and Sunday.

Report Advocates Tax Relief in Telecommunications Sector

in Asia/Broadband Updates/International/North America/South America by

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2010 – According to a report released by the Global System for Mobile communications Association (GSMA), the key to spurring broadband adoption on in previously under-covered areas is targeted tax relief. According to the group’s summary of the study, “The study indicates how a reduction in special taxes applied to the telecommunications sectors in countries with different taxation approaches like Brazil, Mexico, Bangladesh and South Africa will translate into higher Mobile Broadband service adoption and more wealth creation reflected in additional GDP growth.”

The study’s methodology analyzed the relationship between mobile broadband adoption and tax rates in the four countries outlined above. Despite disparities in other areas, the study notes that every dollar reduced in taxes across Brazil, Mexico, Bangladesh and South Africa will generate additional GDP ranging between US$1.4 to US$12.6 through enhanced broadband uptake.

According to the group’s spokesperson, Tom Phillips, “The findings from today’s report clearly show how distortive taxation approaches in some countries can increase the Total Cost of Mobile Ownership (TCMO), negatively impacting development of Mobile Broadband. This report highlights the inconsistencies between regulations aimed at developing ICT sectors and policies that single out the services they deliver as ‘cash cows’ upon which taxes are levied.”

Telemedicine Report Shows Strong Growth in BRIC Countries

in International by

WASHINGTON, July 7, 2010 -Telemedicine is one of the most concrete benefits of faster and more ubiquitous broadband access. The research firm Markets and Markets has just released a report detailing the expansion of telemedicine in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China). The report found a fairly large growth of the market.

“The BRIC telemedicine market was at $200.5 million in 2009; and is expected to grow exponentially at a CAGR of 15.8% from 2009 to 2014. The telemedicine technology market segment forms the largest submarket of the overall BRIC telemedicine market and is expected to be $307.4 million by 2014 at a CAGR of 16.6% from 2009 to 2014. The services segment in the overall BRIC telemedicine market will reach $111 million in 2014 with a CAGR of 13.8%.”

Brazil to Fund Creation of National Fiber Optic Network

in Fiber/International by

WASHINGTON, June 21, 2010 – Brazil has started to enact changes to fulfill its long term broadband goals. The nation announced the plan early last month with a goal of bringing down the cost of broadband from $50USD to $25-35USD.

Brazil’s Planning Minister Paulo Bernardo said, “Prices for broadband services could be lowered with the participation of private enterprises”.

The plan is not as complex as the one proposed by the FCC; it simply calls for creating a large scale backbone network to be built by Telebras. The firm will build the 23,000 kilometers of fiber optic cable as a backbone network.  The last mile networks will be run by smaller firms across the nations.

The government will invest 3.22 billion reais ($1.81billion) into Telebras over the next four years.

Europe and Asia are 'Cleaning Our Clock' on Broadband, Says Report Author

in Broadband Data by

By William G. Korver, Reporter, BroadbandCensus.com

WASHINGTON, July 10 – The lack of a cohesive national broadband policy in the United States is hampering the nation’s ability to deploy high-speed broadband, attorney James Baller said Thursday at the Alliance for Community Media conference here.

Nations in Europe and Asia our “cleaning our clock” on broadband deployment, competition, speeds and prices, said Baller, of the Baller Herbst law firm.

Baller, who represents municipalities seeking to deploy broadband systems, recently authored a 100-page report, “Broadband Revolution: Developing a National Broadband Strategy to Keep the U.S. Prosperous in the 21st Century,” which was released by the e-NC Authority of North Carolina.

Among the report’s key findings, which Baller highlighted again at the ACM conference:

  • Hong Kong (with Singapore soon to join them) boasts a 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) broadband system. Japan averages 93.7 Megabits per second (Mbps), the U.S. languishes at 14th place with an average of 8.9 Mbps.
  • In broadband prices, the U.S. stands at 11th place with a monthly average of $12.60, more than four-times the $3.09 average cost in Japan.
  • On a composite scale, incorporating speed, price and availability of broadband, the, the U.S. ranks 15th globally.
  • The U.S. can no longer even boast as having the most broadband lines, as China has now surpassed America in this category.
  • After being first in amount of broadband lines as percentage of population in the 1990s, the U.S. is now somewhere between 15th and 24th.

If these trends are not reversed, the report argues, the U.S. will lose more and more low-cost manufacturing to Brazil, Russia, India and China, the so-called “BRIC” countries, and to other developing nations.

Baller also noted the many politicians and organizations supporting a national broadband strategy. The list includes presidential candidates Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., Federal Communication Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, as well as non-profit organizations including the Benton Foundation, Free Press, the New America Foundation and Public Knowledge.

Among the states that have launched broadband initiatives, according to Baller’s tally:

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Washington

The fact that such a large amount of states are creating their own broadband initiatives probably indicates a failure of leadership on the federal level, said Baller.

The report also reminds readers of the values of broadband to the nation. The elderly, the disabled, youth, minorities and businesses would benefit from improved education, health care, homeland security, urban revitalization, public safety, and a healthier environment – provided that Americans refuse to be content with low-end broadband of less than 3 Mbps, it says.

Stories and Documents Referenced in this Article:

Editor’s Note:

The Benton Foundation is a supporter of BroadbandCensus.com. See all our supporters, or learn more about BroadbandCensus.com, or get involved in the effort to map out broadband.

-Drew Clark, Editor, BroadbandCensus.com

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