U.S. Mobile Deployments Lag Behind Asia, Europe

By Carol Ellison  |  Posted 2005-02-11 Print this article Print

Broadband providers' interest in maximizing their investments in current infrastructure, and questions surrounding interoperability and content rights are hindering the United States' role in the mobile world.

American consumers face no shortage of mobile technologies, but theyre still a long way from the level of service enjoyed by consumers in many other countries. "Youre more likely to get bb in Korea or parts of China than you are in the United States," said Dan Scheinman, senior vice president of corporate development at Cisco Systems Inc., who attributed much of the problem to federal regulations. Scheinman was one of a half-dozen high-tech executives speaking about "Entertainment and Technology: From the Digital Home to the Mobile Universe" at the McGraw-Hill Cos. 2005 Media Summit on Thursday in New York.
Panelists cited issues plaguing mobile deployments in the United States, saying that they range from the regulatory landscape to broadband providers interest in preserving their infrastructure to interoperability and legal issues surrounding DRM (digital rights management).
One thing that is not a problem is the technology, they said. "If the rest of the world knows broadband better than we do, its because here we have created a climate of limitation rather than allowance," said Tim Krause, senior vice president of strategic solutions development at Alcatel North America. As an example, he talked about children watching a movie download in the back of a mini van, and then being able to pause it, go into the house and begin watching the show on television at the point where they left off. "That takes an environment that the regulatory climate currently disallows," Krause said. "From a technical point of view, we have that capability today." Nevertheless, interoperability remains an issue, according to Scott Smyers, chairman of the Digital Living Network Alliance and vice president of the Network and Systems Architecture Division at Sony Electronics. Scheinman countered, "I think we do have a standard in the home: Its called 802.11. Its simple; its easy to use." Cisco, with its purchase of Linksys, is working to provide a connectivity platform for the home, he added. "We have to be able to take those standards of connectivity into the home with the content folks." Linspires chief is defying the DRM wave with a new music service. Click here to find out more. But Smyers noted that the 802.11 wireless standard is still evolving and that digital content rights are a key issue. Bill Taylor, senior director of product and channel marketing at Motorolas consumer entertainment solutions division, agreed. He called content rights management "a pretty sticky wicket. Its really about digital rights management." If other countries lead in broadband services, he said, it is "largely because they didnt have the investments in infrastructures we have in the United States." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.
Carol Ellison is editor of eWEEK.com's Mobile & Wireless Topic Center. She has authored whitepapers on wireless computing (two on network security–,Securing Wi-Fi Wireless Networks with Today's Technologies, Wi-Fi Protected Access: Strong, Standards-based Interoperable Security for Today's Wi-Fi Networks, and Wi-Fi Public Access: Enabling the future with public wireless networks.

Ms. Ellison served in senior and executive editorial positions for Ziff Davis Media and CMP Media. As an executive editor at Ziff Davis Media, she launched the networking track of The IT Insider Series, a newsletter/conference/Web site offering targeted to chief information officers and corporate directors of information technology. As senior editor at CMP Media's VARBusiness, she launched the Web site, VARBusiness University, an online professional resource center for value-added resellers of information technology.

Ms. Ellison has chaired numerous industry panels and has been quoted as a networking and educational technology expert in The New York Times, Newsday, The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio's All Things Considered, CNN Headline News, WNBC and CNN/FN, as well as local and regional Comcast and Cablevision reports. Her articles have appeared in most major hi-tech publications and numerous newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor.

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