Cities Shop for Free Wi-Fi:
"A busted deal between Sacramento and wireless provider MobilePro shows
how the rise of a new business model — based on ads instead of
subscriptions — is shaking up the municipal Wi-Fi market."
While it costs about $200 to acquire a new subscriber, a free
service attracts more subscribers more quickly. Today, there are about
10,000 consumers using MetroFi’s service in Sunnyvale, and in the
neighboring cities of Santa Clara and Cupertino. Nearly 80% of the
users came on board after the switch to the free model supported by
advertising, the company says.
Net neutrality amendment dies / Telecommunications bill goes to Senate without provision sought by Web firms
This is sad, but could be worse. And it could get worse. Its too hard to cut through the mumbo-jumbo as expressed in this WSJ article:
While the underlying themes of "equality of access" and
"stifling regulation" are relatively simple, everyone on both sides is
struggling to explain the issue.
"I’m trying to figure out a way to shorten ‘proscriptive government
controls over products and services delivered over the Internet’ into
one or two words. It ain’t easy!" a Hill aide groused recently.
Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska told a group of cable executives
last week, "The more I seek to find what the problem is, the harder job
I have of trying to define it."
When a problem is overwhelming I look at it first in simplistic
terms. Without net neutrality the owners and controllers of the
networks will have increasing control over the content that flows over
those networks. Think radio over the last 15 years. Network TV. The
music business. Consolidation can stifle art, culture, competition and
Nobody really understands the net long-term effect of rejecting net
neutrality. So the pols should leave the Internet alone until it is
And watch this: Before the Music Dies
Net neutrality amendment dies / Telecommunications bill goes to Senate without provision sought by Web firms:
"In a dramatic tie vote Wednesday, a U.S. Senate committee rejected an
amendment that would have preserved the status quo of equal pricing for
all Internet traffic, an issue known as network neutrality. Although
the net neutrality amendment did not…"
(Via Newsweek Health for Life.)
While changing our perspective, age also remodels our
brains, leaving us better equipped to fulfill our own dreams. The most
important difference between older brains and younger brains is also
the easiest to overlook: older brains have learned more than young
ones. Throughout life, our brains encode thoughts and memories by
forming new connections among neurons. The neurons themselves may lose
some processing speed with age, but they become ever more richly
intertwined. Magnified tremendously, the brain of a mentally active
50-year-old looks like a dense forest of interlocking branches, and
this density reflects both deeper knowledge and better judgment. That’s
why age is such an advantage in fields like editing, law, medicine,
coaching and management. There is no substitute for acquired learning.
Knowledge and wisdom aren’t the only fruits of age. New
research suggests that as our brains become more densely wired, they
also become less rigidly bifurcated. As I mentioned earlier, our brains
actually consist of two separate structures—a right brain and a left
brain—linked by a row of fibers called the corpus callosum. In most
people, the left hemisphere specializes in speech, language and logical
reasoning, while the right hemisphere handles more intuitive tasks,
such as face recognition and the reading of emotional cues. But as
scientists have recently discovered through studies with PET scans and
magnetic resonance imaging, this pattern changes as we age. Unlike
young adults, who handle most tasks on one side of the brain or the
other, older ones tend to use both hemispheres. Duke University
neuroscientist Robert Cabeza has dubbed this phenomenon Hemispheric
Asymmetry Reduction in Older Adults—HAROLD for short—and his research
suggests it is no accident.
In advance of tomorrow’s Senate hearings, the Washington Post has this editorial
in today’s paper that basically comes out against net neutrality. The
editorial makes a good bottom-line point regarding the negative acts
that might occur absent net neutrality regulations: these woes-to-come
are fundamentally speculative. Nothing bad has happened yet.
The weakest aspect of the neutrality case is that the
dangers it alleges are speculative. It seems unlikely that broadband
providers will degrade Web services that people want and far more
likely that they will use non-neutrality to charge for upgrading
services that depend on fast and reliable delivery, such as streaming
high-definition video or relaying data from heart monitors. If this
proves wrong, the government should step in. But it should not burden
the Internet with preemptive regulation.
But, the editorial writers made a truly laughable gaffe by writing
The advocates of neutrality suggest, absurdly, that a
non-neutral Internet would resemble cable TV: a medium through which
only corporate content is delivered. This analogy misses the fact that
the market for Internet connections, unlike that for cable television,
is competitive: More than 60 percent of Zip codes in the United States
are served by four or more broadband providers that compete to give
consumers what they want — fast access to the full range of Web sites,
including those of their kids’ soccer league, their cousins’ photos,
MoveOn.org and the Christian Coalition.
The Post, which owns one of the top ten cable companies in
the country, CableOne, can’t really believe the market for broadband
services is competitive, can it? I think not. This line is straight
out of the cable industry’s talking point papers that it circulates to
The other gaffe: relying on FCC data to say that more than 60% of
zip codes are served by more than four broadband providers. Ha ha ha.
Number one, the FCC counts any broadband provider as serving an
entire zip code if it only serves one home in that zip code, a fact
that drives the Commission itself to warn that the data are not helpful
for determining competition in the broadband sector.
Number two, as Tim Karr points
out, the GAO has pooped on the FCC’s data and has determined that most
consumers can choose from, at most, two broadband providers. That’s a
duopoly, not competition.
Number three, even if broad zip code-level network provider data
were appropriate, the data reported by the Commission is wrong more
than it’s right, something that work-a-day communications attorneys say
they deal with all the time.
Number four, who do you know, outside of, maybe, Manhattan, that
actually can choose from among four broadband providers? Nobody, I
(Via IP Democracy.)