Archive for November, 2007

Degrading of the Internet?

There is an interesting article titled Internet ‘brownouts’ feared by 2010 as user traffic soars”, based on a study done by Nemertes Research. The premise is, “Rising demand for bandwidth-hogging Internet activities such as swapping music files and watching YouTube videos threatens to outstrip the Web’s infrastructure within three years”. That the outer edges of the Internet will not be able to handle the growth without significant investment, especially “last mile” infrastructure.

While I’m unsure of the timing, I do think we’re near a cross-road and many will begin to feel the speed degrade. The Internet is the vehicle for so many mission critical applications and activities and a slow down will be very troublesome.

So, what’s the answer? Is it a higher level of investment by the Federal Government, State Governments or Local Governments? Is it a higher level of infrastructure investment by private industry? Ultimately I think it needs to start with a National Broadband Policy and vision. It’s time to create that “Man on the Moon” vision for broadband. This should include a sustainable broadband infrastructure. From the National League of Cities, we’re pushing this notion and hope to gain momentum. The idea is as a country we strive to regain leadership in broadband speed, penetration and availability, citing not only the benefits to our citizens, but also the ability to continue to compete economically with the rest of the world.

Let me know your insights and thoughts on this!

More Stats on Media Usage

The November 5th Research Brief from the Center for Media Research is an article titled: Consumers Staying Tuned to TV’s, But Some Pick Online. What we see are astounding numbers of TV hours per household:

According to the Nielsen report:

  • The total average time a household had a TV set tuned during the 2006-2007 television year was 8 hours and 14 minutes per day
  • The average amount of television watched by individual viewers during the 2006-07 television year dipped by 1 minute per day to 4 hours and 34 minutes
  • It’s hard to imagine these numbers because none of us have our TVs tuned this many hours each day! However, it is not hard to imagine the allure of television for advertisers given this kind of traction.

    Another chart from the report is very interesting and adds to my ongoing collection of statistics.

    Key US TV and Internet Metrics (2006 & 2011 millions)



    TV viewers



    Broadband Internet users



    Online video viewers



    TV households



    Broadband households



    VOD enabled households



    DVR households



    Source: eMarketer, October 2007

    One more quote to leave you with:

    Paul Verna, senior analyst at eMarketer, suggests that “Rather than a wholesale shift in viewership from TV to the new-media channels, both media will actually grow in the next several years. Internet video will entrench itself in the content mainstream, right alongside TV, albeit not in such pervasive numbers.”

    Broadband Delimma – Part 3

    In a news release titled FCC Releases Broadband Access Data, Proposes Changes to Data Collection November 1, 2007 from CommunicationsDirect News, it appears that there is some positive movement in terms of understanding and redefining broadband:

    Kevin Martin, the chairman of the FCC, has also announced that following criticism of the 200 Kbps criteria as anachronistic, broadband data collection is set to be upgraded, with Dow Jones reporting that granularity will be improved to use nine-digit ZIP codes from the current five-digit ZIP Codes. The tiers of broadband service would also be measured with 200 kilobits to 768 kilobits per second considered to be first-generation broadband, 768 kilobits to 1.5 megabits basic broadband, between 1.5 megabits and 3 megabits a second classified as high-speed service, between 3 megabits and 6 megabits called robust service, and anything over 6 megabits a second called premium.

    This is positive, but what is still lacking is a National Broadband Policy that allows the U.S. to regain a leadership role in regards to penetration, speed and affordability. Two “old-school” notions that need to be broken, and I think are starting to be addressed by the FCC are:

    1. that 200kbps is considered broadband
    2. if anyone within a zip code has broadband access, then the whole zip code is considered to have broadband availability. (now getting more granular). I’d like to know it street by street!

    The FCC is now classifying broadband into certain levels (i.e., first generation, high-speed, robust and premium). This will help to truly gain an understanding of what is being offered. Problem is, what is considered high-speed under this scheme will not be considered high-speed in the near future. I predict 12 to 18 months.

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