The White House last week announced plans to connect 99% of the nation’s students to the Internet via broadband connections within 5 years. The ConnectED program will modernize and leverage the E-Rate program, which currently provides subsidies for broadband service to schools and libraries.
“We are living in a digital age, and to help our students get ahead, we must make sure they have access to cutting-edge technology,” said President Obama. “So today, I’m issuing a new challenge for America—one that families, businesses, school districts and the federal government can rally around together—to connect virtually every student in America’s classrooms to high-speed broadband Internet within five years, and equip them with the tools to make the most of it.”
According to the White House, fewer than 20% of educators say that their school’s Internet connection meets their teaching needs. In addition to providing the broadband connectivity educators need, the White House proposes using ConnectED to better train teachers and provide new digital learning tools.
Currently, the Schools and Libraries program receives $2.2 annually out of the $8.7 billion in the overall Universal Service Fund. To provide the additional funds needed for the ConnectED program, the Obama administration is proposing that customers pay an additional $5 annually, or approximately 42 cents monthly, on their telephone bills.
A recent market research report by the NPD Group found that video game consoles are, and will remain, the most popular method by which consumers connect their televisions to the Internet. The report also noted that by 2015, nearly 120 million Americans will have a broadband Internet connection to their television sets.
The report found that while other devices (Roku, Apple TV, etc.) are experiencing more rapid growth in the Internet-to-TV market, video game consoles are expected to remain the leader in the market. The report found that the number of these Internet-enabled video game consoles is expected to grow by 22% over the next two years. Read more
Cedar Falls (Iowa) Utilities announced last week that it was rolling out broadband service capable of achieving speeds of 1 gigabit per second downstream to its customers.
This makes Cedar Falls the 11th “gigabit city” in the United States and the first in Iowa. Last winter, then-FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski issued a challenge that there be at least one gigabit city in each of the 50 states.
Subscribing to the service will cost Cedar Falls businesses $950 per month, and residential subscribers $275. Residential customers who bundle the 1 GBps service with the company’s cable television service will receive a discount of $7.50 per month. Read more
The state of Maine has awarded FairPoint Communications a $32 million contract to build its Emergency Services IP network (ESInet) 911 service. The network will serve more than 1.3 million citizens in the state.
This will make Maine one of the first states in the nation to deploy a next-generation 911 (NG-911) system aligned with the National Emergency Number Association standards. An NG911 platform can deliver voice, text, video and enhanced data to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). Read more
According to a newly-released NTIA report, in 2012 98% of all Americans had access to basic broadband availability, defined as service of at least 3 Mbps downstream/768 kbps upstream.
The NTIA report, entitled “U.S. Broadband Availability: June 2010-June 2012,” is the first in a series of Broadband Briefs that uses publicly available data collected by the Department of Commerce to examine broadband availability in greater detail.
The report also finds that just over 93% of Americans have access to wireline broadband at advertised speeds of at least 3 Mbps/768 kbps, and nearly 93% have access to at least 6 Mbps. Ninety-one percent have access to 10 Mbps, and 78% to 25 Mbps. Read more
Seventy-eight percent of U.S. broadband households have a home network, according to a study recently conducted by Parks Associates and Support.com, Inc. Parks expects that number to grow to 95% by 2016. The company concludes that these numbers will ultimately result in increased demand for home tech support services.
The Parks white paper, entitled “Expanding to the Home Network: The Evolution of Premium Tech Support,” looks at the market for premium tech support, market conditions driving future adoption of subscription-based support services, and strategies to bundle premium support services with product and service sales to achieve brand differentiation and revenue growth. Read more
A recently released study conducted by the American Library Association (ALA) found that more than 20 percent of the nation’s libraries have benefited from broadband stimulus programs. The Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (“BTOP”) arose out of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (also know as the Stimulus Act).
The BTOP grants referenced in the study fell into three categories: the Public Computer Center Grants, the Sustainable Broadband Adoption Program, and the Comprehensive Community Infrastructure Program. The majority came in the first category. Read more