Earlier this week, I attended the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Broadband Summit & Expo, an annual gathering of internal public safety communicators and industry personnel in Washington, D.C.
With the presence of FirstNet — the congressionally mandated independent operating authority housed within NTIA responsible for developing our country’s first interoperable, nationwide, public safety broadband network — the event has grown, reaching a sold-out capacity of more than 275 attendees.
About half of the sessions at the summit focused on the nuts and bolts of the network, including LTE technology, cybersecurity, and the launch requirements for the nationwide public safety broadband network. Read more
Digital tools are widely used in middle school and high school learning, according to a new study released last Thursday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. According to the study, however, low-income students disproportionally lack access to broadband service both at school and at home, and this trend is leading to disparities in education.
The report, entitled How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms, surveyed 2,462 American schoolteachers about digital media use in their classrooms.
According to Pew, 92% of these teachers say the internet has a “major impact” on their ability to access content, resources, and materials for their teaching, and nearly 70% of teachers report that it has had a “major impact” on their ability to share ideas with teachers and interact with parents.
Mobile technology including cell phones, e-readers and tablet computers has become central to the learning process. Seventy percent of teachers report that their school provides the resources to bring digital tools into the classroom. Unfortunately, only 50% of teachers in low-income areas reported similar levels of access. Read more
Earlier this week, Parks Associates announced new research showing consumer interest in connected home controls and security devices is strong, with 56% of U.S. broadband households willing to buy door/window sensors, 53% for door locks, 49% for outdoor cameras and 44% for lighting controls.
Capitalizing on this trend, many rural telcos already install and maintain home security systems that can be upgraded into full-fledged home automation products.
However, despite substantial consumer demand, economic factors continue to impact the health of the market. Parks Associates notes that the sluggish economy has contributed to declining adoption of home-system services, with only 15% of U.S. households willing to adopt a subscription package with a monthly fee.
“There is a generational difference in adoption of home services, with Parks Associates research showing younger adults are more likely to have home controls, while older adults are more likely to have home security,” said Stuart Sikes, President, Parks Associates. “The appeal of home control features, especially among young consumers, stems from connectivity in the equipment and highlights the potential of using IP-enabled features to re-cast and sell energy systems to the next generation.”
Think Broadband draws our attention to as survey recently conducted by Halifax, which finds that 30% of UK residents report access to a “good” broadband signal is likely to affect their decision on whether to buy a home in a particular area. The survey defines “good” broadband at a minimal speed of 2 Mbps.
Thirty-two percent of people in urban areas say it is likely to affect their decision, compared to 25% of people in rural areas. Younger people are more likely to say it is likely to affect their decision, with 40% of 18-24 year olds compared to 24% of those aged 65 and over. And there is also a clear split along gender lines, with men (34%) more likely to say it is likely to affect their decision than women (26%).
Also of note, one fifth (20%) report that they would be prepared to pay more for the same home if it had good broadband. Read more
Microsoft’s Skype unit has begun a program in Russia to support direct carrier billing for Skype mobile VoIP credits, and the company said it plans to bring the service to the United States as well.
With this new payment option, Skype users can now purchase Skype Credit from their mobile devices through a browser-based transaction that is secure, seamless and convenient. Users can pay for this transaction either as part of their monthly cell phone bill or via their mobile carrier’s pre-paid account balance. The credit will cost the same as if it was purchased through more traditional means. Read more