BroadbandVision Show Announces Impact Award Winners

The BroadbandVision show, produced by NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association ITTA, and Telecompetitor, announced the winners of the BroadbandVision Impact Awards during the event, held in Las Vegas, Nevada October 1–3. The Impact Awards honored companies that are developing new services, technologies or applications that will change the way telcos, cable providers, wireless Internet companies, utilities and municipalities are able to deliver broadband services.

The winner of the BroadbandVision Impact Service Provider of the Year Award was GVTC, located just north of San Antonio, Texas. GVTC is set to become the first rural telecommunications provider in Texas to power more than 2,200 miles of fiber optic cable with gigabit Internet service. The communications company is forming a unique partnership with the cities of Boerne, Bulverde and Gonzales, trademarked as the GVTC GigaRegion, to drive economic development throughout GVTC’s service area.

ANPI’s VIP hosted communications product was named the BroadbandVision Cloud Services Impact Product of the Year. The service features a Customer Administration Portal that businesses can use to monitor and control every aspect of their telephone system. One user can be designated to manage the main phone system, while all other users can manage their individual features to meet their needs.

The Broadband Vision Impact Product of the Year Award was presented to xG Technology’s CN3200 Dual Band Routing Modem. The wireless device operates in both the 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz spectrum bands, delivering 20 Mbps of throughput up to five miles away when based on a 100 foot tower. The dual frequencies allows the modem to switch seamlessly between radio links based on optimum throughput if either becomes inoperative, according to xG Technology.

Interviews with award winners and additional coverage from BroadbandVision can be seen on the event’s YouTube channel.

A Perfectly Cromulent October: FCC Fines Hotel $600,000

IMG_20141006_165720By the time this goes to print (if we can still use that phrase in today’s age of all-digital-publishing), I will know whether I can look forward to tomorrow with October hope in my heart (planted by a Nationals win), or whether I will be resigned to waiting for the outcome of the National League Championship Series to know for whom I will root in the World Series. Despite the fact that I live barely 45 minutes beneath Baltimore . . . well, I suppose that if the Orioles win American League pennant, I might be split in my National League/locally-owned and operated loyalties. It is October, and anything can happen. Read more

Pardon Me…..Is This WiFi Decaf?

We Americans love our coffee, and we love our connectivity. And more than ever, we love both, combined.

Mobile network management company wefi examined the WiFi service provided in U.S. coffee shops. The winner in terms of fastest download speed was Dunkin’ Donuts, at 6.09 Mbps. They were followed by Starbucks (4.11 Mbps), Tully’s Coffee (3.14 Mbps) and Panera Bread (2.23 Mbps.)

Starbucks boasted the highest average effective throughput (.18 Mbps), followed by Tully’s (.15 Mbps) and Dunkin’ Donuts (.13 Mbps.) The highest total data consumption per device occurred at Tully’s, at 27.75 MB. Starbucks customers averaged 24.26 MB, and Dunkin’ Donuts 12.35 MB. (Mmmmm….donuts.)

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter drive the most coffee shop data consumption, but customers spend more time on GoogleChrome (just over 18 minutes per coffee shop visit) than Facebook (16.8 minutes) or YouTube (14.8 minutes.)

The National Coffee Association has recently estimated that 61% of Americans drink coffee on a daily basis. According to a recent Broadcom study, however, thirty-nine percent would rather go without their coffee than give up WiFi.

“Coffee, and by extension, coffee shops are increasingly seen as an indispensable part of Americans’ morning ritual,” said wefi chairman and CEO Zur Feldman. “With many franchisees looking to provide additional services and grow their businesses, the availability of a fast, reliable WiFi offering has become an important consideration.”

An Update on Driverless Cars and Drones, and Autonomous “Swarmboats” For the U.S. Navy

In my continuing obsession with “driverless” cars, I’ve been following the technology as it progresses. Google gets most of the attention when it comes to driverless cars, but as this article notes, automobile manufacturers are starting to get in on the action. Indeed, a number of cars already have “pre-collision” warning systems that warn drivers of imminent collisions and apply the brakes if the driver fails to do so quickly enough. In addition to those basic features, General Motors recently announced plans to introduce an autonomous highway driving feature for Cadillacs in the next two years. Other manufacturers have made similar announcements.

In terms of the “connected car” – one connected to the Internet for all sorts of purposes such as finding parking, streaming music, and for running and updating anti-collision sensors – this technology promises to be a serious revenue stream for carmakers. A recent McKinsey & Company study predicted that this technology will produce about $230 billion in revenue per year within the next decade. So, I can imagine we will see all sorts of new connected car features over the next few years. Read more

Study Shows That Google Glass Users Are As Distracted As Everyone Else

In a continuing commentary on distracted drivers (and distracted pedestrians who won’t put their phones away), I’d like to point New Edge readers to a study conducted on Google Glass. It had some interesting findings worth noting.

A study conducted by the University of Central Florida looked at drivers texting on their smartphones and drivers texting while using Google Glass. The study put 40 participants, all in their twenties, into a driving simulator. They texted using their smartphone and then using Google Glass.

To be clear, when using Google Glass to text, it’s entirely hands-free. Your spoken words are translated into text and then sent off as a text message.

Back to the study, participants’ reaction times texting via a smartphone and then separately using Google Glass were compared to their reaction times when driving without any multitasking. The findings were somewhat mixed, but instructive. Read more

If You Build It, They Will Come…Though, Perhaps, Not as Quickly as You Might Like

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released preliminary results of its 2013 American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS provides a multitude of statistics that measure the social economic and housing conditions of U.S. communities. Among the data collected is information on educational attainments, housing, employment, commuting, language spoken at home, nativity, ancestry and selected monthly homeowner costs.

The 2013 ACS included new questions to produce statistics on computer and Internet access. This data collection effort was mandated by the 2008 Broadband Data Improvement Act.

The 2013 ACS found that 83.3% of the nation’s households have a computer—either a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. Further, 74.4% have some form of Internet access at home and 73% subscribe to some form of broadband service at home.

The 73% nationwide adoption rate means that more than 81 million Americans do not have access to broadband service in their homes. These individuals are missing out on the economic benefits that broadband can offer them, their communities and the nation as a whole.

The ACS preliminary results also showed that New Hampshire has the highest adoption rate at 81% and Mississippi the lowest. The urban/rural divide persists: 75% of urban households subscribe to broadband, compared to 67% of rural households.

More detailed data from the ACS will be released sometime in October.

I Found My Smart in San Francisco


Roger Nishi of Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom, Waitsfield, Vermont (SRC Showcase 2014), hoists a Smart Rural Community road sign.

For as long as I can remember, my Dad has had a love affair with San Francisco. It manifested itself in numerous photographs and trinkets that littered the walls and bookcases of his state office in Ohio.  I have never asked why, and I probably should. Maybe it was the romance of the streetcars, or the bay, or the getting back west for a Seattle resident who moved east for school and then the army.

But I noticed the impact of all the years visiting my Dad at his office and seeing the pictures and mementos from Chinatown when I attended the NTCA Fall Conference last week – scenes that I had never seen seemed somewhat familiar, and while taking in the architecture and landscape and sense of the city, I found myself thinking, “This must be one of those things Dad likes.”

I have probably commented here numerous, if not too numerous, times, the notion of understanding something fully only when you see and experience it. In those contexts, I have mentioned my own surprise and learning curves – things like “windshield time” and visits to farms and cities in the further corners of the so-called flyover states. Read more

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