Archive for December, 2007

Plan For Digital TV Conversion Part 2

According the the most recent research brief from the Center for Media Research, half of the population is unaware of the Digital TV Transition in 2009. See the article.

There are some interesting stats in this brief and I think it points out the challenges that lie ahead in communication and transition.

A Plan For Digital TV Conversion

Does the FCC have a plan for the Digital TV conversion slated for February 17, 2009? Congress isn’t sure and is beginning to raise the caution flags as to the potential fall-out.

In short, on February 17, 2009, analog signals will cease to exist, thus making those analog televisions that rely on over the air, or terrestrial signals useless. That means no more soaps, American Idol, or any other shows for an estimated 20% of the population. That’s enough to cause major political upheaval and Congress knows it! See today’s article in the Kansas City Star titled Congress prepares for digital TV switch

Consumers will have three options: They can buy new TV sets with digital tuners. They can connect to cable, satellite or a pay-television service. Or they can buy a converter box for $60 to $70 that will allow them to watch digital programming with their old analog sets.

What’s at stake besides lost elections and people finding something else to do with the 4.6 hours each day that they watch TV? It’s a little thing called spectrum and the desire to free up spectrum for public safety use and to auction off the rest for billions of dollars.

I suspect this one will get real interesting over the next months.

Marketing On FaceBook

Justin Smith from Inside Facebook has written a very interesting post titled The Facebook Marketing Bible: 24 Ways to Market Your Brand, Company, Product, or Service Inside Facebook. This is definitely worth the read for those who wish to understand the marketing potential afforded through Facebook. The insights given not only give a glimpse of how people use and interact in Facebook, but also some strategies to reach this group with your products, services and ideas.

Hats off to Justin for this article that gives us the opportunity to build on our understanding of this channel.

Top 10 Lists from Nielsen

Nielsen just recently released its top 10 lists for 2007. This is an interesting, but not overly revealing look at what was popular this past year.

See the article “Nielsen Issues US Top-10 Lists for 2007″ on Marketingcharts.com

Call for a National Broadband Policy

Below is the text of a paper I helped to develop for the National League of Cities. Sorry for the length of the post. I’m anxious for feedback.


Cities: An Advocate and Partner in National Broadband Internet Deployment

Once a leader in availability of broadband Internet access, the United States continues to fall behind other countries in broadband Internet availability. America’s local governments believe that this situation threatens the competitive viability of our country. The National League of Cities (NLC) advocates for the development of a National Broadband Internet Policy, with the goal of wider deployment of broadband Internet networks throughout our nation, providing affordable services and applications that will have a profound impact on all aspects of life in the United States. Broadband Internet access can transform the way our children learn, the way we work, the way we spend our leisure time, the way we govern ourselves, and the way we communicate. NLC is convinced that broadband Internet access will help the United States bridge the economic and social gaps that separate our nation’s citizens. As a nation, we must do more to achieve these goals.

Country

Users

Denmark

31.9

Netherlands

31.8

Iceland

29.7

Korea

29.1

Switzerland

28.5

Norway

27.7

Finland

27.2

Sweden

26.0

Canada

23.8

Belgium

22.5

United Kingdom

21.6

Luxembourg

20.4

France

20.3

Japan

20.2

United States

19.6

In the same way that affordable, universal telephone access fostered our country’s economic success after World War II, broadband Internet access clearly has the same role in our country’s economic success. Broadband access promotes economic development, enhances public health and safety, and increases educational opportunities for millions of Americans across the country. In the early 1990s, the United States was one of the world’s leaders on broadband Internet penetration. In 2001, the US ranked fourth among its Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) counterparts. In a dramatic slide, by 2006 the United States slipped to fifteenth in national broadband penetration in a later OECD survey. The table at right summarizes the 2006 data.

What is broadband Internet access?

We define broadband Internet access as a high performance, continuously available Internet Protocol connection capable of supporting full-motion two way interactive video applications.

The Federal Communications Commission currently uses an antiquated standard of 200 kbps to measure “advanced” broadband Internet connections within the United States. Connection at this speed is insufficient for users to originate high‑quality video, and barely allows users to receive low‑quality streaming video; indeed it is only four times faster than a dial-up connection. By defining broadband Internet access at speeds that fail to facilitate the two‑way links necessary for interactive video applications, the FCC’s policy leaves our citizens at a disadvantage in the global market. The broadband Internet capabilities of other countries accommodate much higher connection speeds and are more widely available and less expensive per megabit than in the United States. In 2007, Japan emerged as the leader in broadband connections speed with an average downlink speed of 10.0 mbps (9,982 kbps), followed by Sweden with 7.3 mbps (7,304 kbps) and Latvia with 6.3 mbps (6,251 kbps.)

As consumers and businesses begin to recognize the potential for connectivity, the demands of users of telecommunications will change the acceptable standards for internet speeds. We believe that our nation is moving toward “2nd generation broadband,” which will require significantly higher upload and download connections. Demand for this “2nd generation broadband” will be shaped not only by what is currently available and being used, but through taking into consideration the ways that users will want to interact online. Successful implementation of “2nd generation broadband” will move the United States into a world leader in broadband access, and industry must strive to meet the increased connectivity speeds demanded and expected from all segments of society.

Why is broadband Internet access important to the United States?

Many experts assert that much of our recent economic growth is a result of businesses leveraging broadband Internet access, improving productivity, providing new products and services, and supporting innovation in all sectors of the economy.

By regaining a leadership position in worldwide deployment of broadband Internet access, our nation can continue to be the leader in developing services delivered over broadband networks — ensuring that our nation stays competitive. It is clear that broadband Internet access increases marketplace competitiveness, enabling businesses to allow their employees to telecommute and work flexible schedules. Flex-time and telecommuting policies enable businesses to tap a geographically dispersed workforce, and work with colleagues around the world on innovative projects. Workers benefit by having a wider choice of employers, and providing needed options for those unable to work in office settings due to illness or disability.

The 2006 American Interactive Consumer Survey found that:

  • The number of Americans whose employers allow them to work remotely at least one day per month increased 63 percent, from 7.6 million in 2004 to 12.4 million in 2006
  • In 2006, 19.1 million home-based “employed telecommuters” used broadband Internet access, compared to 8 million in 2004.

The Department of Commerce found that between 1998 and 2002, broadband Internet access added about 1 to 1.4 percent to the overall growth rate in jobs. This is significant considering the overall job growth rate during this period was 5.2 percent. In addition, broadband Internet access added about .5 to 1.2 percent to the growth rate of business establishments (firms) in the U.S. between 1998 and 2002.

How can government help facilitate a competitive U.S. broadband Internet access market?

Just as the original development of the Internet was spurred largely by the Department of Defense, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency interest in creating a, “network of computers, connected to one another by wide-band communication lines” which provided “the functions of present-day libraries together with anticipated advances in information storage and retrieval and [other] symbiotic functions.”[1] NLC believes all levels of government (local, state and federal) should facilitate deployment of broadband Internet access through policies and regulations that favor government and private sector investments.

NLC further urges Congress to enact federal legislation creating a task force to be comprised of representatives from all interested parties, including, but not limited to, all levels of government (local, state, tribal, and federal), consumer organizations, representatives of underserved communities, all segments of the communications industry, representatives of private sector generally, and not-for-profit sector organizations together to recommend and promote policies and programs that will result in ubiquitous, affordable broadband Internet access, and report its recommendations to the President and Congress within a timely manner.

Finally, NLC advocates that the federal and state governments should promote the continuing advancement of municipal broadband Internet access. Local governments across the country are offering fast, affordable broadband Internet access, and should be encouraged to promote these initiatives. The NLC urges Congress to pass legislation that would prohibit states from hindering local government broadband networks through state legislation that prohibits or restricts local municipalities and communities from offering high-speed broadband access.




[1]Man-Computer Symbiosis, January 1960, J.C.R. Licklider.

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