When folks look back on this time years from now, one of the most important issues they will study is how administration of broadband evolved. It is a long-term transition, but a significant change is under way. Nothing definitive will be known until mid-May, but this week it became apparent that the government’s position on net neutrality indeed has shifted dramatically.
Here are some highlights of the other interesting news and analysis from this week.
U.S. Download Speeds Headed Up
Akamai, which is now describing itself as a cloud services company, released its State of the Internet Report for the fourth quarter. The report covers a wide variety of topics, but the headline news is that the United States, with a 2 percent increase in download speeds, has now hit double figures at 10 Megabits per second (Mbps).
Overall, the progress is good, albeit mixed:
The global average connection speed continued to improve, with a quarterly increase of 5.5%, reaching 3.8 Mbps. Despite this improvement, half of the countries/regions listed among the top 10 in global average connection speeds – including the top four countries/regions – actually saw nominal declines quarter–over–quarter, ranging from a loss of 0.7% in the Netherlands to a drop of 6.7% in Latvia. Despite a 1.1% decline in average connection speed, South Korea held the top spot from quarter to quarter, reporting the highest average connection speed of 21.9 Mbps.
The report also provides information on the growth of distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks, IPv6 adoption and mobile connectivity and data traffic.
Where Is Carrier Aggregation?
The next version of LTE is called LTE-Advanced. GigaOm’s Kevin Fitchard points out that a hyped feature of the technology is carrier aggregation, which promises to double download speeds by integrating capacity from different areas of the spectrum. The question he poses, and has answered by Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg, is why it hasn’t been rolled out and why “the normally self-promoting mobile industry” has largely kept quiet.
To be clear, there has been some uptake. Fitchard points to use of the technique by AT&T. The challenge, according to Vestberg, is that the technical, political and economic elements that must be aligned to make the approach feasible in the real world still are at odds.
A report from a group called Find Me 911, which is a combined effort of the U.S. First Responders Association and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine, illustrates the inadequacies of the location-awareness functions of the current emergency calling system.
The Washington Post blog on the report starts with some chilling anecdotes of people who died because they couldn’t be located in time. The group surveyed about 15 percent, approximately 1,000, public safety answering points (PSAPs) nationwide. (PSAPs are more familiarly known as 911 dispatch offices.)
The problem is that the Assisted GPS technology used by the system doesn’t work well when the person who first responders are trying to find is indoors. Only 187 of the PSAPs reported having “a great deal” of confidence in the data provided to them by wireless carriers, the post said.
Good News for Android on Advertising
CNET has pointed out that until recently, Apple’s iOS has been the top dog in mobile advertising. That changed, at least to some extent, during the first quarter of this year, according to Opera Mediaworks. The firm says that the OS’s share across all mobile devices during the period rose to 42.8 percent, which was 5.1 percent more than fourth quarter of last year. Apple’s iOS moved in the other direction, shrinking from 43.4 percent to 38.2 percent. The two OSes, in essence, traded places.
Despite that, iOS remains ahead in the category that matters most:
However, iOS was still the top global money maker last quarter, accounting for 52.2 percent of all mobile ad revenue, according to the report. Android took second place with a 33 percent share of revenue, though that was up from 26.7 percent a year ago.
The New Source of Bedtime Stories
And, finally, comes a story about a great use of mobile devices in areas where reading materials are in short supply. A United Nations report that looked at more than 4,000 surveys from Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda and Zimbabwe found that one-third of the folks who were questioned read to their children from mobile devices.
The report found that women read on mobile devices more than five times as much as males, that the amount of reading increases when mobile devices are involved and that a good deal of search by “neo- and semi-literate” people is done. The study made recommendations on improving the variety of content being read while also attempting to increase education about and usage of mobile devices for home reading tools.