It was a typical early fall week, with cool days mixing with warm ones. We didn’t see any big news in the telecommunications and IT industries, but definitely found small announcements and insightful commentary that is worth our attention. Some highlights:
More than Half the World to Have Broadband by 2017
The latest version of the State of the Broadband report says that more than half of the people in the world will have broadband within three years. Not surprisingly, the current drivers are smartphones and tablets, according to Advanced Television.
The number of devices, according to the report, will increase very quickly: from 2.3 billion at the end of 2013, to 2.9 billion by the end of this year and, finally, to 7.6 billion within five years. South Korea, at more than 98 percent, has the highest percentage of broadband penetration. It increased 1 percent from last year, which is not an easy trick when penetration is so high.
Broadband to Western Massachusetts
Much of upscale Massachusetts has broadband access, but 44 communities in the western part of the state haven’t yet joined the party.
The state wants to do something about it, but it doesn’t want to do it alone. Mass Live reports that authorities are asking these communities to contribute $50 million to $70 million. That money will be combined with $50 million in state funding to build broadband access to homes and businesses.
The first phase of the overall plan was to bring broadband to public institutions. It was completed using $40 million in state money and $45 million in stimulus funding. Now the focus turns to homes and businesses:
The next phase is the so-called "final mile," which would connect all of a town's homes and businesses to high speed internet through a fiber optic network. The total cost for the project is estimated to be $100 million to $120 million.
Wiring the communities that agree to provide a share of the funding will take three years.
Should 2020 Be the 5G Deadline?
The next big thing will be 5G. It’s an ambitious reimagining of cellular networks, and the industry sector has set 2020 as the date that it will happen. At the 5G Huddle in London, according to Lightreading, the wisdom of that 5G timeframe was brought into question.
One participant, ETSI CTO Adrian Scrase, suggested that a timeline could better be determined after the standards-setting task at hand was set and better understood.
Reporter Joanne Taaffe suggested that the deadline is there for a reason, however. South Korea and Japan have Olympic deadlines in 2018 and 2020, respectively, and as competitive pressures mount, the industry wants to guard against the emergence of a variety of incompatible standards. This has hurt the industry in the past.
Ferreting Out Texting Drivers
And, finally, comes a story about something that almost everyone will think is a good idea: a way to cut texting while driving. InformationWeek reports that ComSonics has come up with a device, similar to the familiar radar gun, that can detect when people are texting and driving.
The device has the ability to distinguish between background noise and the signals a smartphone emits when sending a text. The device still must be tested with law enforcement agencies, however.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.