Kansas Has Dorothy, Toto, And Now Google Broadband

In the year 1939, the movie industry released several movies that, over the years, have become classics. Movies such as Stagecoach, Gone With The Wind, Of Mice And Men, Beau Geste, and the Wizard Of Oz. The film the Wizard of Oz featured a young girl named Dorothy who, along with her dog Toto, are whisked away in a tornado from their home in Kansas and dropped into the land of Oz. The movie put Kansas in the limelight, but now the state has another distinction for which many have applied.

When Google had announced that it would select a city in the US to install and test a new high-speed broadband system, over 1,100 cities applied. If I recall, one city in Kansas [Topeka] changed its name to Google in an attempt to gain attention to itself when it applied. But in the end it was Kansas City, Kansas that won the contest and has been selected by Google as its new test bed for what Google says will be broadband at speeds that are 100 times faster than what most Americans have.

So how is Google going to be able to meet these types of speed? The company states that it will be using ultra high-speed fiber optic connections. Google also states that the increase in speeds will allow streaming of HD video, video conferencing, and other new innovations to the people of Kansas City.

It should be interesting to see how this project impacts the city — not only the people, but also the businesses. The project is expected to be completed sometime in 2012.

Comments welcome.

Source – Google Blog

Will The FCC Ruling For An Open Internet Do More Harm Than Good?

There are two different opinions about the recent FCC ruling to govern the Internet and keep it open to all. Some believe that governmental intervention will do more harm than good. The other opinion is that if there are not regulations in place, companies such as Skype would be not be able to compete.

What was once described as a super highway of information has changed drastically during the past decade. We now have a multi lane highway that now allows users to stream video, download music, watch TV, make phone calls, conduct live meetings, and gaming, and what has taken the Internet by storm, social interaction aka Facebook.

Some of the major ISPs have decided that they have the right to throttle back access for some users. They have also chosen, on their own terms, who should have total access to the Internet pipeline and who shouldn’t. To be fair, there are in fact some users who are broadband hogs, spending their entire life downloading music, videos, and other content. To limit what they see as abuse, some of the major ISPs have throttled back on the amount of data some users can download.

One of the other issues involve companies such as Skype that allow phone calls to be made via the Internet. In theory, an ISP could provide limited access for a competitor’s product, while promoting and controlling their own applications. Some of these ISPs are now trying to control TV programming transmissions via the Internet and how it will be delivered to you and which devices will be supported.

There is little doubt in my mind that the major ISPs aren’t concerned about you and me, instead focusing their attentions on the almighty dollar. We have seen how greed nearly brought down own entire financial system. One can only guess how the major ISPs could actually strangle Internet access and control what we do on the Internet.

Most of us do not like the government to interfere in any business activities. However, sometimes a small dose of regulation is needed to keep the playing field level for all.

What do you think? Will the FCC ruling on an open internet help or hinder our Internet experience?

Comments welcome.

FCC document in .pdf format – Open Internet – 194 pages

Would You Pay $600 For Home Video Conferencing Equipment Plus $24.99 A Month?

When I first heard about Cisco coming our with a unit for home use in which you could video conference from your TV, I was excited about the idea. With having kids and grand kids spread out across the U.S., plus family in California, it sounded like a great idea. But Cisco has announced the price which seems a little steep. The equipment will cost $600 plus you will need to pay a monthly fee of $24.95 a month to Verizon.

In a recent article it stated that:

“I think the difficulty is probably the monthly price. $300 a year forever, that’s a lot of money,” said Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney. “But this is a premium product. And I think it will set the imagination off with a lot of people.”

The home TelePresence system, called “umi,” features a camera and console that connects to a standard high-definition TV and works over high-speed Internet. Its biggest selling point is high quality, real-time video without the pixelations and interruptions of low- or no-cost online services. It also allows unlimited calls, video messaging and video storage.

Cisco already sells a high-end videoconference system for businesses. These systems, often built to simulate boardroom-like settings, can cost around $300,000 per unit. They feature high-quality video and sound, with limited delays, making users almost feel like they are meeting in person.

Despite initial skepticism over whether many businesses would pay so much, particularly in a weak global economy, TelePresence has become one of Cisco’s fastest-selling products as companies seek ways to save on travel costs. Its recent acquisition of Norway’s Tandberg also made it the world’s leader in videoconferencing systems.

While Cisco has not yet established itself as a consumer brand, it wouldn’t be its first foray into the living room. It has acquired home router maker Linksys, cable set-top box maker Scientific-Atlanta, and more recently, the company that makes the Flip video camera.

I am sure this is going to be a high quality piece of equipment that is going to be the standard that others will be judged against. But having to pay $24.95 a month for life is a little step.I’ll be sticking with the freebies for now.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source – Reuters