Broadband Prepares to Meet Its Future

Carl Weinschenk

We didn’t see huge news in the telecommunications or IT sectors this week. What was apparent, however, was that the tactical and strategic positioning surrounding how, precisely, broadband will be administered is growing more intense as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) prepares to propose and vote on rules next month.

From other interesting pieces of news and insightful commentary this week, here are some highlights:

Congressional Republicans Want to Work Around Title II

The rhetoric over the future of broadband rules and regulations is heating up. Next month, the FCC will propose rules that include administrating broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act of 1934.


Computerworld reports that Congressional Republicans plan to introduce legislation that they say will ensure net neutrality protections without utilizing Title II, which critics suggest will discourage investments. The promise is to get the benefits of Title II without the possible marketplace baggage. The question, of course, is whether that is possible.

Samsung Taking a Look at Windows Phone

InformationWeek’s Eric Zeman reports that Samsung may shift its focus from Tizen to Microsoft’s Windows Phone as its second operating system. The company is and will remain a big Android user. The question is which operating system will be used as a backup.

The story traces the tense relationship between Samsung and Microsoft. Windows Phone, which started with a very small market share that recently has shrunk even further, stands to gain greatly if the two companies work together. The race to be the third mobile OS is a hot one, and Samsung is a great prize.

Google Glass Moving On

Google Glass created quite a stir when it was introduced almost two years ago. It didn’t usher in the age of wearable computing, but certainly brought the topic to the attention of consumers. The end of the beginning is here: Google said this week that it is ending its Google Glass Explorer Program that enabled folks to get a pair of the specs for test purposes.

That doesn’t mean that Google is getting out of the category, however. A Google+ blog post on the move said that while Monday will be the last day to get a Glass Explorer device, both the Glass at Work program and research based on data collected during the Explorer program will continue.

Project ARA to Trial in Puerto Rico

PCMag reported this week that Google will run a pilot of Project Ara in Puerto Rico this year. The project is based on creation of an “endoskeleton” – what the site describes as a phone’s structural frame – onto which users can plug in modules that add their desired functionality.

At Google’s Project Ara Developers Conference, the company announced both the Puerto Rico test and Spiral 2, the latest prototype phone. A third prototype is expected later this year. The post at PCMag offers a Google video on the project.

Libraries and Hotspots

And, finally, comes a story about another way in which the old is melding with the new. Books, of course, are old school. They moved to the digital age with the emergence of Kindle and other eReaders. Another old school book-related activity is moving to the new world: libraries.

WirelessWeek reports that The New York Public Library is providing 10,000 hot spots to poor residents of the city:

The program — which offers the devices for up to a year, about a $1,000 value — seeks to bridge a digital divide in the nation's largest city, where studies have found nearly 3 million of the 8 million people lack broadband access.

Rhode Island-based Mobile Beacon and Sprint are working with the library system to distribute the hotspots, which will be available in all five boroughs.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.



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