Internet Policy Advice Rolls in for Obama

By Roy Mark  |  Posted 2008-12-02 Print this article Print

title=Is Now the Time for Broadband Investment?} 

To underscore his point, Campbell cited a study conducted by the Said Business School at the University of Oxford and underwritten by Cisco that analyzed broadband connections in 42 countries for their ability to benefit from next-generation Web applications and services. Using nearly 8 million records from broadband speed tests conducted by worldwide users, researchers calculated statistical averages for each country of several key indicators used to determine the quality of a broadband connection.

The researchers concluded that a broadband-quality connection is mainly affected by broadband speeds in both directions, latency, network oversubscription and packet loss. The United States finished well back in the pack.

"[The study] was developed on the premise that the new generation of Web applications will rely on a higher level of performance of broadband connections," Alastair Nicholson of the University of Oxford stated in the study. "Average download speeds are adequate for Web browsing, e-mail and basic video downloading, but we are seeing more interactive applications, more user-generated content being uploaded and shared, and an increasing amount of high-quality video services becoming available."

The report concludes that future applications that are sure to strain the Internet include consumer telepresence for communications, health care and education, high-quality video file sharing and streaming, high-definition IPTV, cinema-quality live event broadcasting, and advanced home automation.

Campbell said, "It's critical that government and industry work together to create a 21st century information infrastructure that ensures U.S. economic and social growth in the future."

Campbell, Scott of Free Press and most members of the tech alliance pushing for Obama to make broadband availability a top priority are supporting the type of public-private partnerships touted by the Clinton administration.

Not everyone at the Dec. 2 Capitol Hill confab agreed.

"We need to be wary of any policy that might scare away capital," Republican Federal Communications Commission member Robert McDowell said, "especially given the state of the capital markets today. I don't think $100 billion taxpayer program is the right way to go right now."

Scott, though, claims the moment is now.

"I look at this as a real Eisenhower moment. You look back at the 1950s: The government and the private sector got together and triggered investment in our highway systems," Scott said. "We need to have a similar 21st century highway bill where we invest in our broadband infrastructure."


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