Showing posts from June, 2009

59% of WiMAX Providers Expect to Offer VoIP By 2011

Some 59 percent of respondents to a recent Infonetics Research survey globally plan to offer VoIP over WiMAX services by 2011.

As always is the case, market considerations are key. Attackers, with no legacy voice revenues to cannibalize, will be more eager to do so. Providers with large revenue streams to protect will be less likely to do so.

Of the operators surveyed, 41 percent are from Asia Pacific, 36 percent from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), 18 percent from North America, and five percent from Central and Latin America (CALA).

Generation Z: Shift Happens

Though there's a bit of imprecision about the terms Generation X, Y and Z, their behavior is closely watched for obvious reasons: at some point relatively soon, they will start to represent the center of gravity for most products and services.

Generation Z, people roughly born between 1995 and through 2000s, have some characteristics in common with Generations X (roughly born between 1965 and 1980) and Y (roughly born between 1980 and 1994). We perhaps make too much of the precise delineations. But some behavioral trends seem common to all three "generations."

They don't read newspapers.

They tend not to watch scheduled TV, and some would note that even when TV is available, it isn't being "watched," as users are multitasking. They also often have access to digital video recorders and Internet video so "appointment television" doesn't make as much sense to them as it might for older viewers.

They tend to rely on mobiles for voice communicat…

Mobiles More Important than PCs, Study Finds

One reason lots of observers expect mobile broadband to grow in importance is that younger users rely on their mobiles more than PCs.

Or so suggests a new study by Toronto-based SRG. In that study, the mobile device was ranked the most important device by females between the ages of 12 to 24.

That doesn't mean women in other demographics rank mobiles the same way: they don't, yet.

But as some of us have noted for a while, it is important to follow the "youth" demographic because it isn't just a market segment.

Younger users represent 100 percent of the future market. And if younger users behave differently than older users, one has to pay attention. At some point, those younger users will move into different age groups, but likely will retain their behaviors.

Online Usage: Social Networking Grows Most

Users spend more time using social networking sites, less time on communications and more time on content sites in early 2009, compared to 2003, according to the Online Publishers Association.

Users also spend slightly more time using search and slightly less time on commerce sites.

It isn't yet clear how mobile Internet time spent matches up, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the trends should roughly match.

Not many of us would be surprised if use of social networking sites was higher on mobile devices, as a percentage of total mobile Internet time spent.

Click the image to see a larger view.

Network Services Generally Safe, But Only if Economy Does Not Worsen

Consumers say they are least likely to cut or reduce spending on Internet access and most likely to cut back on buying pay-per-view movies downloaded over the Internet, according to a new survey by Alcatel-Lucent.

Consumers also indicate they are likely to maintain spending on VoIP and multi-channel TV services.

They also indicate some other services, including mobile service and landline voice are less likely to be cut than other discretionary spending.

The findings are in line with past behavior during recessions. People say they are highly likely to reduce spending on such things as going out to bars and clubs, eating at restaurants, going to sporting events or renting movies.

But they are resistant to the idea of eliminating communication or entertainment video services. All that depends on the recession not growing worse, though. Should the economy deteriorate further, even network services will get a harder look.

About 29 percent say they will increase spending on communications …

Ads Won't Support Online TV Business

Too many media-related companies mistakenly believe their conventional advertising, subscription or even free business models will simply transfer over to a connected marketplace. They won't, says Diane Mermigas, Mediapost columnist.

But that's a mistake common to other industries buffeted by IP technology, such as the telecommunications, wireless and music industries, for example. The entire global telelcommunications business, for example, is finding itself facing a nearly-complete replacement of its underlying voice revenue model.

Media firms face something similar. Advertising has been 37 percent of all content revenues, and nearly half of all video revenue.

But advertising is expected to comprise only one quarter of domestic online video revenue by 2012. "The economics are simply not there for advertising to support online video, given rising variable costs and limited scale," says UBS analyst Matthieu Coppet.

There are some other, less quantifiable potential iss…

Dumb Ideas for Saving Newspapers

Be worried, very worried, when attorneys supposedly quite familiar with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (free speech, freedom of the press, he right to assembly, the right to petition the government, no prohibition on free exercise of religion) actually propose legally restricting free speech.

First Judge Richard Posner proposes rewriting copyright law to outlaw linking to and summarizing news stories. No summarizing? It's hard to talk about an idea without at least mentioning what the idea is.

Now we have "First Amendment" attorneys seriously proposing that copyright law be changed so that a newspaper’s story could appear only on its own Web site for the first 24 hours before it can be aggregated or retold. So a story about protesters on the streets of Tehran could not be summarized for full 24 hours.

Muddle-headed thinking will not save an old media form that is being supplanted by other new forms. Were it just muddle-headed, it wouldn't be so bad.


Bar Linking? More Silliness!

United States Court of Appeals judge in Chicago Judge Richard Posner has suggested that linking to copyrighted material should be outlawed. The suggestion was offered as a possible way to stem the newspaper financial decline.

Though many will find the suggestion odd, and others will cringe at the potential implications for many other Web applications, the concept illustrates just how disrupted content ecosystems now are becoming.

Ignore some obvious and glaring questions about abridgements of free speech rights. Ignore the essential silliness of banning the equivalent of footnotes.

Ignore the analogy to efforts other content owners once made--seriously--to bar the use of VCRs, or to tax sales of blank tape. Ignore damage to "fair use" concepts.

Focus simply on what the suggestion implies about business ecosystem disruption. As in the past, new media are disrupting older media. And as has been the case in the past, some suggest ways of restricting new media to protect the old…

Will Recession Behavior Stick? Will it Matter?

A serious, protracted economic crisis can result in changes in consumer behavior that persist after the end of the crisis. "Since mid-September, rapid, seismic changes in consumer behavior have created the most difficult climate we've ever seen," Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson said in
the thrid quarter of 2008.

And that is what executives in the telecom, wireless and video industries are watching intently these days.

People make what they think will be merely temporary adjustments in their consumption behavior but may discover that they like elements of their new consumption pattern. For some incumbents, this could reset demand curves.

For others, there is an unusual opening: a chance to take share on a permanent basis that did not exist prior to the recession. So far, there are few tangible signs of overt change, with one exception: prepaid wireless.

Incumbent telcos continue to see landline voice erosion, but that trend predated the recession and is not directly attributable …

All Content Online, but Ad and Fee Models Don't Work: That's a Problem

It's hard to say which prediction is more far reaching: that all content will be online in 10 years; that portions of the advertising business are shrinking; that for-fee and ad-supported content models have not worked well; or that nobody but Google seems able to make money from digital content.

But Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer argues all are true. And all are related trends. If all content is online, and if much content is ad-funded, then less ad funding or lower rates means less available professionally-produced content.

If ad support does not support the online equivalent of offline channels, then new revenue models have to be created, or less content will be made available.

One might argue this is "just a traditional media" problem. But it's a problem for users who want online access to virtually all the offline content they now enjoy, for telecom service providers who must supply the additional bandwidth and for all the media-related industries that depend on adv…

What Will Drive Consumer Demand for 50 Mbps Service?

While next-generation broadband speeds will increase dramatically to 50 Mbps, 100 Mbps, or even 1,000 Mbps, just seven percent of European online households will pay more for higher speed, says Forrester Research analyst Ian Fogg.

"Next-gen broadband will not be such an easy sell, as there's little pent-up speed dissatisfaction," at least not yet, says Fogg.

Evidence from the U.S. market tends to confirm that thesis. Not many consumers seem inclined to buy 50 Mbps service where it is available. Aside from the higher cost, there is no new application that compels such purchases, with the possible exception of households where are multiple users who tend to be online at the same time, sharing a connection and using high-bandwidth applications frequently.

Put simply, email drove dial-up access and the Web drove broadband access. It isn't yet clear whether video will prove to be the application that drives demand for higher-speed connections, but most people seem to think…

Best Buy Hopes to be Bigger Force in Mobile Phone Business

Best Buy Co. is planning to open 40 standalone mobile-phone stores this fiscal year and hopes the move will help it quintuple its share of the U.S. mobile-phone device sales market to 15 percent.

Mobile phones are a crucial component of the company's new sales campaign to focus on gadgets that feature "connectivity." That view is part of an overall trend of recent years: more of the commercial value of any piece of hardware is the services stream attached to it. Likewise, more of the value attached to any piece of software is the services that are associated with it.

Best Buy's phone sales share has grown 1.6 percentage points in the past two years and now has about three percent share of new phones and connectivity plans sold.

New iPhone Boosts Mobile Video Uploads 400% a Day

Once again, we have evidence that Apple iPhone users behave quite differently from other smart phone users, and in ways with broad ramifications for mobile bandwidth consumption.

Since June 19, when the Apple iPhone 3GS came out, uploads from mobile phones have increased by 400 percent a day, YouTube says.

By way of comparison, over the last six months, uploads from mobile phones to YouTube have jumped 1700 percent, say Dwipal Desai, YouTube product manager and Mia Quagliarello, community manager.

Google Voice Now Open to New Subs

Google Voice now is available to new subscribers. Users who already have requested an invitation on the Google Voice site or on the GrandCentral site should be getting email invites shortly.

Once you receive your invitation, just click on the link and follow the instructions to setup your new Voice account.

Google Voice has added a Google number picker that will allow users to personalize by area code and text. The idea is to allow users to pick numbers, letters, a specific word or a number combination.

If you haven't signed up for a Google Voice invite, go to

Seamless Handoff Between Wi-Fi, WiMAX and 3G at 60 km/Hour

Fixed-mobile convergence has been growing in importance for several reasons, among them a general demand shift to wireless access, but also because of growing preferences for a more unified user experience and broadband economics.

On the latter score, the key issue is simply that wireline broadband is more economical than wireless broadband, and likely always will be. So to the extent that end user demand shifts to wireless devices, service providers must find ways to offload traffic to the wired network.
On that score, KT Corporation of Korea, TelcoWare, and mobile broadband gateway developer Stoke say they have succeeded in implementing seamless network handover between 3G, Wi-Fi and WiMAX networks, even when users are moving at speeds of 60 kilometers per hour.

Seamless handoff will be key for mobile providers trying to automatically shift access to any available wired broadband network, and to enhance seamless handoff back to the mobile network.

Historic Milestone for Online Advertising Reached

Ad rates for popular shows like The Simpsons and CSI are higher online than they are on prime-time TV. That's a stunning reversal from the rule of thumb that online ads cost less, often far less, than they would if placed on a TV, radio, magazine or newspaper outlet.

If a company wants to run ads alongside an episode of The Simpsons on Hulu or it will cost the advertiser about $60 per thousand viewers, according to Bloomberg. On prime-time TV that same ad will cost somewhere between $20 and $40 per thousand viewers.

Why the reversal? Targeting and engagement. Online viewers have to actively seek out the program they want to watch, so advertisers end up with a guaranteed "captive" audience for their commercial every time someone clicks play on Hulu or

Also, fewer online ads means viewers are twice as likely to remember a commercial they've seen on Hulu than on television, Bloomberg reported.

The challenge for the networks, whose total prime-time audience s…

Online Video Seen As Biggest Growth Opportunity in 2009

A broad cross section of executives from the telecom, cable, broadcast, mobile, satellite, consumer electronics, ISP and content businesses--but heavily weighted to broadcast industry firms--think video is the consumer service with the brightest prospects for growth in 2009.

In total, about 70 percent of survey respondents to a Pike & Fischer survey are from the video or radio industries, so it perhaps is not surprising that online video and high-definition TV emerged as the applications seen as having the greatest opportunities for growth in 2009.

About 27 percent of respondents cited Web-based video as the broadband application that will generate the highest adoption rates in 2009, though a quarter  believe HDTV will get the biggest number of new users.

But executives from cable and telephone companies were most likely to see online video as the fastest-growing application in 2009. More than half of cable executives and 56 percent of telephone industry executives said they believed…

Broadband More Resilient than Mobility?

More than twice as many respondents to a Pew Internet and American Life Project survey say they have cut back or cancelled a cell phone plan or cable TV service than said the same about their internet service.

In the past 12 months seven percent of all adults have cancelled or cut back online service. But some 22 percent of adults sday they have cancelled or cut back cable TV service.

About 19 percent of all adults say they have cancelled or cut back cell phone service.

Mandatory Government Control of Broadband Pricing is Aim of HR 2902

Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) recently announced HR 2902,  the "Broadband Internet Fairness Act,” which would mandate government control of pricing for broadband. Consumer protection is a noble and worthwhile goal. Whether HR 2902 would have the opposite effect is the issue.

It is reasonable to assume that investment capital, and appetite to continue building broadband facilities, would dry up were the bill to become law.

What is Holding Up Blu-Ray Adoption?

It's hard to know precisely what message consumers are sending about HD DVD players these days. There no longer is a

format war, as Blu-ray has won its fight with HD DVD. But sales haven't exploded.

In fact, a recent Harris Interactive poll suggests that 93 percent of Americans are not likely to buy a Blu-ray player within the next year, up from the 91 percent who said last year that they were not likely to buy one.

But what that means isn't clear, yet, for several reasons. Popular consumer electronics adoption never seems to hit an inflection point until about 10 percent penetration of households.

About seven percent of U.S. households may already own a Blu-ray device, so we would be, by historical standards, about three percentage points away from any serious test of Blu-ray demand. Price points for both players and physical media seem high, by historical standards, as well.

In the past, no consumer innovation seems to take off until retail prices for devices get to about $30…

Singapore Will Offer 4 QoS Levels for Broadband: Key Implications for Net Neutrality Debate

It now appears subscribers to Singapore's new fiber to customer network will be able to buy different grades of service, ranging from "best-effort" to "mission-critical." Grades of service on the new wholesale network will be sold directly to providers of retail services, who will have the ability to buy four distinct grades of service.

Nucleus Connect, which will operate from two central offices in Singapore, from which retailers can buy wholesale broadband, now says it will offer the differentiated services as part of the "Opennet" framework, which allows retail providers to buy passive optical connections or "lit" service.

The network will support GPON, Ethernet, VoIP, VPN, videoconferencing, leased lines, security, mobile
backhaul and multicast functionality.

Under the new structural separation policy, the Opennet consortium, headed by Axia Netmedia with Singtel, will deploy a passive optical network, while Nucleus Connect, a StarHub unit, w…

Why do People "Unsubscribe" from Email Lists?

Though email marketing is one of the more effective and less expensive ways to retain and engage customers, content irrelevance is an almost sure-fire predictor of user "unsubscribe" behavior.

Though comScore found earlier this year that e-mail had a 4.4 percent sales conversion rate in the U.S. market, the key is relevance.

In a survey by MarketingSherpa and ad:tech, 44 percent of marketers said that emails to house lists had “great return on investment.”

The issue is to keep them from "unsubscribing." According to an Epsilon and ROI Research study, 55 percent of email subscribers in the US and Canada unsubscribe from opt-in emails occasionally—and 14 percent do so frequently.

Only five percent of survey respondents say they "never" unsubscribe.

“North Americans are receiving a lot of content, and at the same time they're getting more and more selective about the kinds of e-mails they want to receive,” says Kevin Mabley of Epsilon.

Most Internet users unsu…

Dell Earns $3 Million Using Twitter

The New York Times reports that since 2007, Dell has earned $3 million in revenues directly from Twitter postings, mainly through coupons and word-of-mouth. That might be among the most quantifiable benefits yet demonstrated for marketers using Twitter as a marketing channel.

“Twitter can be used as a form of permission-based marketing to encourage two-way conversation, and brands can use it to create relevant, authentic and transparent communications,” says Stephanie Busak of Bob Evans Farms.

“It can be used to build brand recency, loyalty and is a traffic generation tool in which links within profiles and tweets can direct people to specific areas of a site, microsites and blogs,” she adds.

“We have over 6,000 followers now on Twitter,” said David Tryder of Dunkin’ Donuts. “It’s another place where customers who really care about the brand can have a conversation with us.”

Cablevision, Verizon Offer $150 to $200 Inducements for New Bundle Customers

Here's one reason overall profits face potential pressure as a result of the recession: Cablevision and Verizon are offering new dual-play or triple-play customers between $150 and $200 in gift cards. At the very least, such tactics raise the marketing cost for each new subscriber or revenue unit. 
Verizon has been offering new triple play customers $150 gift cards since April and Cablevision now is offering $200 gift cards until June 30. 
To receive the $200 American Express card, Cablevision customers have to maintain Optimum Online and Optimum Voice service for four months.
The potential impact on average revenue per user is a bit more complex, as the new Cablevision promotion does not necessary represent a discount on monthly pricing.

Nortel Sells Wireless Assets to Nokia Siemens Networks

In a move that will reassure Sprint Nextel and Verizon Communications and give Nokia Siemens Networks greater presence in the North American wireless market, Nortel is selling its wireless business units to NSN for $650 million. The move also is among steps Nortel is taking to essentially liquidate itself. 

Under the proposed deal, more than 2,500 Nortel staff will become employees of NSN. Though NSN also is acquiring Nortel's Long Term Evolution portfolio, perhaps the more-important near-term asset is the Code Division Multiple Access portfolio, used by Verizon and Sprint Nextel as well as Bell Mobility. 
The sale effectively makes NSN a key supplier to all three networks.

Net Neutrality is Inevitable: Will It be "Good"?

Like it or not, more regulation is headed the U.S. telecom industry's way, it now seems, and the changes will come as "network neutrality" rules are applied, either by the Federal Communications Commission, or Congress, or both.

The big implications, though, will not be found in the narrow "bit discrimination" area. As typically is the case, the new rules will reshape industry profit margins, business models, marketing and operations in ways that are unforseen at the moment.

Consider the future of the video entertainment business. Most observers would agree that the goal of net neutrality rules is to prevent anti-comptitive behavior. One example would be a case where an ISP with its own Internet content operations actively blocks or slows down competing operations.

Most of us would likely agree that is an appropriate application of neutrality rules. But many would note that prevention of such abuse is already part of the Federal Communications Commission "Int…

Net Neutrality Battle Heats Up Again

President Obama, Acting Federal Communications Commission Chair Michael Copps, unconfirmed FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and some U.S. senators say they support network neutrality. The problem, as always, is that it is tough to define what that is, and what it means.

Most people would agree that it means no blocking of legal content, or degrading of the content of rival services by Internet service providers. But many worry that "network non-discrimination," which might very well wind up on the list of FCC "Internet freedoms," could prohibit many forms of network managment.

Those principles include the freedom to access legal content, use lawful applications, attach personal devices and obtain service plan information. "Network non-discrimination" would become the fifth principle.

Few would quibble with the notion of Internet “openness,” so that consumers can freely access third-party applications, for example, without the fear that the broadband network p…

RUS About to Waste Lots of Money on Broadband Stimulus?

The Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service might not be able to properly dispense funds supporting rural broadband as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act "broadband stimulus" program, an audit of RUS by the Department of Agriculture's Office of the Inspector General for the Southwest Region warns.

In fact, an audit of RUS funding has been underway for some time, since irregularities were alleged in 2005. The problem is that RUS funds are alleged to have been disbursed in areas where broadband service already is available, rather than to projects that bring broadband to areas where there is no service.

The inspector general's audit finds that RUS has not corrected problems identified in 2005, and warns that the new "broadband stimulus" funds likewise will fail to achieve that program's objectives.

To date, irregularities have lead to wasting hundreds of millions of dollars. The USDA Rural Utilities Service has spent $1.35 bil…

Wireless Carterfone on the Way?

Despite all the attention that will be paid to the $7.2 billion "broadband stimulus" provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, it is a sideshow compared to the much more important activities now building at the Federal Communications Commission, which is conducting an inquiry into national broadband policy, and a new inquiry that could radically change the way consumers and businesses buy their handsets and mobile service.

Mandatory bans on bundling of handsets with wireless service—referred to by many as “wireless Carterfone”—could be the result of a new proceeding the Federal Communications Commission already has directed staffers to open.

Acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps, in fact, says he already has authorized FCC staffers to open an inquiry into the handset subsidy issue, and that the commission will "take action if required."

Many warn that the result will be higher upfront device costs for all consumers, as the trade off for service wit…

IBM to Invest $100 Million on Easy-to-Use Mobile Internet Apps

IBM is investing $100 million over the next five years on development of easy-to-use mobile Internet services. The number of mobile Internet users will grow by 191 percent from 2006 to 2011 to reach roughly one billion users, IBM says, and emerging markets like India and China will be a main area of focus for the company.

One initiative will be developing ways for users to speak into their phones to grab content, so Web-enabled smartphones are not even needed. Two other areas IBM will concentrate on include mobile enterprise enablement and enterprise end-user mobile experiences.

U.S. Broadband Usage Grows Despite Recession

Broadband adoption appears to have been largely immune to the effects of the current economic recession, say researchers at the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

In an April 2009 survey, more than twice as many respondents said they had cut back or cancelled a cell phone plan or cable TV service than said the same about their Internet service.

About nine percent of Internet users (seven percent of all adults) say that in the past 12 months they have cancelled or cut back online service.

Some 22 percent of adults say they have cancelled or cut back cable TV service in the past 12

About 22 percent of cell phone users (19 percent of all adults) report that in the past 12 months they have cancelled or cut back cell phone service.

The latest survey also shows that U.S. home broadband adoption has reached 63 percent of adult Americans as of April 2009, up from 55 percent in May, 2008, say researchers at the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Perhaps the better news is that t…

Big Brand Online Advertising Grows 27% in First Quarter: Momentum Shift?

Anamolies always are interesting, and sometimes they are important. No doubt advertising is down overall because of the recession. 
But ad spending for display ads placed by some of the biggest brands actually increased 27 percent in the first quarter this year, compared to the first quarter of 2008.
And note where that spending went: YouTube. In fact, display ad impression volume on the site jumped by nearly 580 percent year-over-year, says Nielsen. 
Large consumer packaged goods brands have generally been incrementally increasing their digital spending. The latest shift indicates some momentum for online video and online venues generally.

Online Video Viewing Up 49%, Nielsen Online Says

People who watch online video spent 49 percent more time doing so in May 2009, compared to May 2009, says Nielsen Online. The "average" viewer watched 189 minutes of video during the month.

Unique viewers grew 13 percent over the same period, while total streams viewed grew 35 percent and streams per viewer also grew 20 percent.

None of that would surprise anybody.

U.K. Officials Expect 10 to 100 Times Digital Content Growth in 3 to 5 Years

U.K. officials believe the volume of digital content used by consumers will increase 10 times to 100 times over the next three to five years.

So officials at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport have proposed an interim goal of 2 Mbps connections to all U.K. residences by 2012, and also propose a new tax of 50 pence per month on all fixed copper lines to fund the next generation of access networks.

The "Digital Britain" report suggests the funds raised by the tax will be available to fund construction to the one third of U.K. homes that are unlikely to get next-generation access because costs are too high.

"We are at a tipping point in relation to the online world," the report says. "It is moving from conferring advantage on those who are in it to conferring active disadvantage on those who are without."

The report also notes that the broadband "problem" has a few sources, not just "…

Buyers are Shfiting Behavior: Will They Keep Those Behaviors After the Recession Ends?

Recessions are important not only because people spend less money, but because they sometimes change their buying behaviors, and the behaviors persist even after the immediate recession driver has past.

In the telecom space, there already is some indication this is happening in mobility services, where more users are shifting to prepaid plans, comparted to postpaid. There is evidence of a slowdown in uptake of new handsets overall, though perhaps not of smart phones in the North American market, at least.

But everyone should be prepared for other shifts, if recent sentiment is any indication.

Some 75 percent of U.S. consumers, for example, say they are making big changes in their supermarket shopping, GfK Custom Research North America says. Among the changes, more than 30 percent say they are buying more store brands. In 2006, 22 percent of respondents said they were buying more store brands.

Nearly 23 percent say they will be purchasing more private label goods next yera.

Nearly 55 percen…

A Few Tough Years for Online Advertising Ahead in EMEA, Microsoft Says

Microsoft sees a few tough years for online advertising, at least in the European, Middle East and Africa markets, with a recovery not happening until 2012 "at the earliest," says John Mangelaars, Microsoft regional VP, consumer and online International division, EMEA.

"From a Microsoft view, we don't believe budgets will go up any time soon, and I'm talking the next three years," he says.

"Not a lot of people are making money from online at the moment," he says.

Will ARRA Broadband Stimulus Actually Spur Much Broadband Use?

The U.S. federal government spends about $7.3 billion a year, every year, to foster broadband and telecommunications deployment. But "additional federal investments in broadband not necessarily guarantee increased adoption," says the Government Accountability Office.

The GAO says "representatives from four organizations that provide broadband told us that between 80 percent and 90 percent of the residences in their service areas had access to broadband, but fewer than 60 percent subscribed."

For some providers, the subscribership rate was less than 40 percent.

Separately, the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 75 percent of Americans use the Internet. About 57 percent use the Internet at home through broadband, nine percent use the Internet at home through dial-up connections and eight percent use the Internet from work or the library.

The Pew report also found that some Americans, particularly elderly or low-income persons, choose not to…

BT Wants to Charge YouTube, Hulu, Others for Access

BT has publicly said it hopes to charge content owners for delivery of their programs over its broadband access network.

The issue has been circling around the industry for several years, and perhaps the major reasons it has not yet occurred is end user resistance, the fear that some competitors will gain share at the expense of ISPs who do charge content providers for access or other competitive responses by content owners. But the problem is very real.

A text message might consume just 140 bytes. A three-minute voice call might consume 1,800 bytes, an order of magnitude (10 times) more bandwidth than a text message.

A three-minute PC video clip might represent 33,750 bytes, another order of magnitude increase (100 times more than a text message).

A two-hour standard definition movie might represent 3.6 million bytes, an increase of five orders of magnitude (10,000 times more bandwidth than a text message).

And that's the problem. Video imposes loads far beyond anything networks have …

Prepaid Wireless Interest Explodes at Virgin Mobile, TracFone, MetroPCS, Cricket, BoostMobile and Net10

Online visitors to six leading prepaid wireless sites grew 37 percent in the first quarter, compared to the first quarter of 2008, says comScore. The nearly eight million visitors represent more than four percent of the total U.S. Internet audience.

The six prepaid wireless sites include, (América Móvil),, (Leap Wireless), and (América Móvil). 
Growth in the category was driven primarily by, whose traffic was up 107 percent) and (up 105 percent), both of which more than doubled their traffic. and also experienced strong gains, growing 63 percent and 37 percent, respectively.
Although the marketing messages of most prepaid wireless providers target the youth market, prepaid wireless site visitation data suggest considerable interest in the plans among 35 to 64 year olds. In fact, the majority of visitors to (60.3 percent) and (58.…

Mobile Handset Market Bifurcates: Smart Phones and Low Cost Phones are Key

Annual sales of low-cost mobile handsets aimed primarily at consumers in emerging markets, with with possible implications for the prepaid segment, will grow 22 percent between 2009 and 2014, to over 700 million units, say researchers at Juniper Research.

In some ways the handset market is bifurcating, with interest focused both at the high end smart phone segment and the low end segment.

Efforts by industry players to lower the total cost of ownership for devices and services to below $5 are already reaping benefits in markets such as Bangladesh, Pakistan and India, Juniper Research says.

Meanwhile, players such as Nokia are developing invaluable content-driven services that will encourage first-time mobile users to keep on using their devices and improving their standards of living.

“With around 80 percent of new mobile users set to come from emerging markets over the next six years, it is essential that operators and vendors work together to dilute the price barriers associated with mo…

134 Million Mobile Internet Users in 2013

There will be 134 million mobile Internet users in 2013, eMarketer now projects. Despite the global slowdown in new mobile phone sales, smart phone shipments will grow by 3.4 percent in 2009, International Data Corporation researchers project.

In fact, smart phone sales will grow three times faster than will sales of feature phones in 2010, IDC projects.

By 2013, Informa predicts smartphones will make up 38 percent of all handset sales worldwide, more than double their share in 2009.

“It is increasingly evident that for many marketers, mobile applications constitute a necessary avenue for reaching and engaging with their customers, either by building and marketing a proprietary application or sponsoring a third-party app,” says Noah Elkin, eMarketer senior analyst.

Shift from "Push Marketing" to "Pull Marketing" is Well Underway

It would be hard to name just one single reason traditional media are in trouble. In fact, there are several forces at work. Users are shifting attention to newer formats: getting news online rather than from newspapers, for example.

Then there is the shift of revenue: with classifieds now cannibalized by online sources, newspaper economics no longer are viable, as display ads and subscriptions always fall short of what is needed to product the product if classified revenue is pressured.

There are more subtle forces at work as well. "Push" marketing, which tends to drive display advertising, is not working as well as it used to. Other formats offer hope of better results, and most of those are Internet mediated.

Information richness now is the order of the day, so there simply are other ways to learn things, again typically mediated by Internet and mobile mechanisms. That means less "need" for traditional media.

Also, many if not most companies have discovered that the…