Friday, June 29, 2007

Apple's iPhone is more than just another pretty phone

Mark Hewitt - June 29th, 2007

Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs is widely recognized for his Product Prowess – the ability to build to the consumer’s dreams – and the creation of the iPhone is another great example of that ability.

The iPhone however has done one thing that will change the way you see and view wireless devices – it may actually be the primary catalyst in reforming the Wireless industry.

Upcoming infrastructure called WiMax technology is growing in much the same way as did Cellular across the US market, where today we have several duplicate networks each incompatible with the other – in other words my Sprint phone won’t work on the Verizon network, or my ATT phone won’t work on the NexTel system, TMobile won’t work on Alltel – and so on.

The original idea was that competition would bring the best technology to the top of the food chain – the reality is that the overall US Cellular networks have been obsolete and still today US subscribers pay more for less service than any other place in the world.

We are today all aware of how the propriety nature of each of these carriers has led to failed innovation and competitive features – for example my Verizon phone will not play MP3 music files because the carrier though by restricting the phone’s actual music player to play only Verizon downloaded music would make them more $$.

The iPhone has now broken this choke hold on the consumer – ATT in order to gain the exclusive rights to this new device has broken their own service agreement. Today iPhone users will be able to watch video, play music, and interact with the Internet without carrier restrictions.

Others will follow – now let’s see if Congress and the FCC will move to standardize the Utility of wireless or continue to push our economy and infrastructure back into the dark ages. (which I highly doubt will occur)

I predict that the initial release of new WiMax services will also follow the Cellular model and carriers will build exclusive networks. This however will be set back in a couple of years when the increases of cancer and health issues from these new high powered devices become recognized. (it is interesting to note that new WiMax spectrum is very close to that of Microwave Ovens) The next iteration will center on the “Unlicensed” spectrum where standards begin to take over. This is called WiFi technology and even though it is Unlicensed this will become the dominant “Last Mile” of wireless – and while I don’t believe the current 802.11N will be the standard that does this, it will tend to be a protocol that incorporates error correction similar to EVDO or perhaps just basing the primary radios on QAM – regardless within three years the rest of the market will begin to see a clear path to a Standard Wireless world.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Incumbent "Child Like" response to consumer rights

by: Mark Hewitt - June 23rd, 2007

Verizon the only primary RBOC left to support fiber via the Fios project has today reached one million subscribers in a statement by the companies CEO this week. The incumbent which still controls regulated utility status and thus the ability to use “eminent domain” to secure property for easements to deliver communication services – has again shown a child like respect of consumer rights –

In a move much like “we want our cake and eat it too” approach to the FCC 1996 Telecom law designed to protect consumers rights to multichannel video programming called CableCARD – Verizon is hoping for an FCC reprieve from the ruling.

In similar actions the old MaBell used invalid patents to cripple an upcoming competitor to the telephone side of Verizon’s service income – in an attack on the VoIP provider Vonage – costing millions of dollars that could have been used to improve customer service and release new products.

Verizon Wireless was also hit by a recent Patent dispute over Broadcom technology which is most commonly used in the Cell Phones sold to consumers of the Verizon Wireless network – a recent halt to the import of these devices by a DC judge – and again rather than respect the Intellectual Property of another party the carrier appeals to President Bush for a reprieve.

Draw your own conclusions – however I feel that it is time to take control over key utility infrastructure as is today the case of several State and Local government actions – such as the recent eState initiative in Vermont and proposed legislation in New Jersey and New Hampshire.

The need to separate the Infrastructure from what should be “Open Market” services has put the United States 15th in broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants.

“We are failing to bring the benefits of broadband to all our citizens, and the consequences will resonate for generations. There is no justification for America’s declining status as a global Internet leader. Instead of more excuses, it’s time for true national broadband policy that will put America’s digital future back on track.” said Ben Scott, policy of director of Free Press. [via broadband reports]

Friday, June 22, 2007

Unanimous Support for Broadband

Mark Hewitt - Friday June 22, 2007

First is was Rhode Island and the now historical Business Innovation network – a wireless project backed by the Governors Economic Development authority, and built by Stratum Broadband (an EcoSystems Partner)

Followed soon by the eState initiative just signed into law by Vermont’s Governor Jim Douglas becoming the first true e-state with the authority to bond and develop a Communications infrastructure to be shared by carriers and generating significant economic benefit to the residents of Vermont.

Now we see many others follow – today a New Jersey bill specifically authorizing municipal wireless pass the Senate “unanimously.

And let’s not forget some of the early leads that bore so much of the wrath of incumbent carriers – Truckee – now again the PUD debate the possibility of high speed fiber optic for residence.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Technology Review: Mapping the Internet 

Technology Review: Mapping the Internet 

AT&T chief live at conference: we’re gearing up for best iPhone experience on Day One | IP Telephony, VoIP, Broadband |

AT&T chief live at conference: we’re gearing up for best iPhone experience on Day One by ZDNet's Russell Shaw -- I’m blogging live from NXTComm, the telecom industry trade show being held in Chicago this week. The morning keynotes have just fired up. First is newly installed (June 3) AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. It’s under Stephenson’s watch that AT&T Wireless is teaming up with Apple to launch the iPhone a week from this Friday. “You may have heard about this,” [...]

Will The FCC Finally Serve the Public Rather Than Private Interests?

The U.S. is very much behind Asia and Europe in offering high-speed broadband Internet access to the public. Now, the cable and telcos wanna hog all the new bandwidth for themselves so they can either use it for other purposes or make sure it does not fall into the hands of cheaper services that could compete with them on the high speed Internet market. Senator Kerry has the right idea. Give the access to the people, not the corporations.
Sen. Kerry: Open the Airwaves for a Better Internet
Sen. John Kerry joined the broad public movement for a better wireless Internet today when he urged the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that our airwaves be used to make the Internet “more competitive, affordable and widespread.”
Last week, the FCC was flooded with more than a quarter-million letters from people who urged the agency to use soon-to-be-available public airwaves to connect more Americans to an open, neutral and accessible Internet.

Senator Kerry cited recent reports showing the United States has fallen behind much of the world in broadband penetration.

“Nearly 60% of the country does not subscribe to broadband service — in large measure because it is either unavailable or unaffordable,” Kerry wrote. “The 700 MHz auction could put this country one step closer to achieving ubiquitous Internet access throughout America.”

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North America´s Largest solar Farm

The Canadians push Clean Energy foward with a 40 megawat project in Ontario - the California company finds a more frendly government outside of the US to get started.
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TORONTO, Ontario (Reuters) -- The Ontario government has given a California company the green light to build North America's biggest solar-power station, a spokesman for the energy minister of the Canadian province said Thursday.

Once complete in 2010, the 40-megawatt project, near Sarnia in southwestern Ontario, will be able to supply enough emission-free electricity to power between 10,000 and 15,000 homes on sunny days.

It will be built by OptiSolar Farms Canada Inc., a subsidiary of Hayward, California-based OptiSolar Inc.

The Toronto Star newspaper, which broke the story of the OptiSolar "farm," said the largest solar energy project in the United States is a 15-megawatt solar PV system to be built at an air force base in Nevada. It said a 40-megawatt solar project is under construction in Europe.

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Clean Energy in Spain

The Spanish do it again - with this solar power station
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Spanish pioneer solar power station

Nope. It's Europe's first commercially operating power station fuelled entirely by the sun's rays. Environmentalists hope the tower will become a model for clean energy, powering Southern Europe's more arid regions without pumping harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

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