The evidence that broadband is the telecommunications protocol of the future, and of the present, continues to roll in, and the big infrastructure players, the carriers and the government, continue to debate the best way to respond.
Just released Nielsen numbers say that the push to online video continues. The firm says that last month, 10 billion video were streamed in the U.S., an increase of 1.3 percent over June 2009. Perhaps more significantly, this AdWeek story reports that Nielsen says average time spent watching videos rose 3.1 percent compared to the previous June and 2.5 percent compared to May. The only contrary number was the number of streams per person, which were down marginally (0.3 percent) over Last June-but up 3.7 percent over May.
At the same time that the majority of the trend lines in use of broadband for video point upward, the FCC has released a report, the sixth annual version, on deployment. GigaOm says the FCC that 14 million to 24 million people in the U.S. lack broadband. The story quotes a contrary viewpoint from Verizon, which is to be expected. The carrier takes issue with the FCC's findings, and points to statements in the National Broadband Plan that only 5 percent of the U.S doesn't have access to broadband.
The bottom line is that the United States needs to get beyond talking points and just do better. For instance, ZDNet reports that BT has restarted a "brownfield" trial in the UK aimed at delivering 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) to users. Unlike greenfield tests set in areas that have no prior telecom offerings, such as new subdivisions, brownfield test services are in areas that already offer services.
There are some fast networks in the U.S., of course, and there certainly are tests of higher-speed networks. 3.5G and 4G services also are springing up. But things must be done more quickly. The GigaOm piece, which points out that the FCC has upgraded the definition of broadband to 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps downstream, suggests some of the steps that should be taken. These incldue opening spectrum for mobile broadband and reforming the Universal Services Fund. These, and other steps, must be taken, and it must be done in such as way that the entire country benefits.