Remember that promise of universal broadband courtesy of all of that government stimlus? Well, it’s becoming obvious that the only stimulus is for those in the business of making very high priced maps. Did “shovel ready projects” really mean that someone was going to be using a gold plated shovel to pile the “rhetoric” higher than ever before? These contracts look more like politically motivated “research grants” to me. When was the last time a research grant built anything?
The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the government agency responsible for taking the lead on broadband data as part of the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus program, announced funding for broadband mapping and planning activities in Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri.
The awardees must contribute at least 20 percent of non-federal funds toward project costs. Each state has designated one entity that it believes should receive funds under the program.
According to Monday’s announcement, five states will receive grants, plus Connected Nation – for its efforts in the state of Kansas. NTIA said the “state of Kansas will direct and implement all planning activities” for the organization. It has been awarded approximately $2 million from the government.
NTIA has also awarded Alaska’s Denali Commission, an independent federal agency, approximately $1.4 million for broadband data collection and mapping activities over a two-year period and nearly $500,000 for broadband planning activities over a five-year period in Alaska.
Other state entities to receive funds for broadband data collection, mapping and planning activities include: Colorado’s Governor’s Office of Information Technology, the Delaware Department of Technology and Information, the Missouri Office of Administration, and Louisiana’s Office of Information Technology.
The sea change could happen sooner rather than later, beginning as early as the 2010-11 school year.
“This is one of the few times we can do things cheaper, faster and better all at the same time,” said the measures author, state Rep. Scott Hochberg, D-Houston.
The legislation is one of two bills passed this year that allow the Texas Education Agency to create its own repository of digital textbook content.
By switching to online content, schools could save money, customize materials to fit students needs and more easily integrate textbooks with video, software or other technology.
This month, the Texas Education Agency is taking the first step by calling for bids for online material from both traditional publishers and online content providers. Officials there expect to have the first open-source textbooks and other materials online for students next fall.
“We did have a publishers meeting last week, and spent three hours talking through the open-source and electronic textbook concepts with them,” said Anita Givens of the TEA instructional materials division.
The states move toward online content will affect other states too, since publishers tailor their products to conform to the needs of states with the most students.
But the price of a notebook you say!! Well yes if you buy the latest and greatest. But I can put you on a 10″ screen notebook today, new, for $199. Now it is not the fastest thing, but remember what it would be used for — mainly reading, taking notes, etc. That does not require massive compute power.
The State’s aim? More self reliance. Shared, self authored materials are possible with web & ebook technologies. Updates are quick. Teachers can pick the subcomponents they wish to emphasis for their classes. Oh and they can save money.
We wish all of our readers the best of Thanksgivings. We hope that you enjoy the day with loved ones, food and football. We also hope you’ll remember all that you have thankful for.
We are grateful to you for making our efforts worthwhile. In a year that has been so tough that many blogs have faded away, we’re still here and will continue to be here as long as we can pay the server bill.
We wish you the well and hope you’ll keep reading!
It what has to be a positive move the FCC has released a query for suppliers for a database platform and service that will be part of the whole infrastructure. —
On November 4, 2008, the Commission adopted a Second Report and Order and Memorandum Opinion and Order (Second Report and Order) in ET Docket 04-186 that established rules to allow new, sophisticated, unlicensed wireless devices to operate in broadcast television spectrum at locations where that spectrum is unused by licensed services.1 This unused TV spectrum is commonly referred to as television “white spaces.” The rules will allow for the use of unlicensed TV band devices in the unused spectrum to provide broadband data and other services for consumers and businesses.
To prevent interference to authorized users of the TV bands, TV band devices must include a geo-location capability and the capability to access a database that identifies incumbent users entitled to interference protection, including, for example, full power and low power TV stations, broadcast auxiliary point-to-point facilities, PLMRS/CMRS operations on channels 14-20, and the Offshore Radiotelephone Service. 2 The database will tell a TV band device which TV channels are vacant and can be used at its location. 3 The database also will be used to register the locations of fixed TV band devices and protected locations and channels of incumbent services that are not recorded in Commission databases.4 The Commission decided in the Second Report and Order to designate one or more database administrators from the private sector to create and operate TV band database(s), which will be a privately owned and operated service. Database administrators may charge fees to register fixed TV band devices and temporary broadcast auxiliary fixed links and to provide lists of available channels to TV band devices.
Why a database is needed for a broadband low power spread spectrum channel? Well multiuse. The band(s) in some cases will have public service users in some areas. So any smart device must be able to discern that they reside in the same locale with say a fire dept siting on the open band between formerly CH 10-11. With that knowledge a smart device can map around and use other channels.
Its good news though. It means that finally the FCC is looking to see that white space systems are brought online. Personally I hope the Hams get in the act. We could see some wonderfully weird devices using the airwaves that might show commercial usage.
Time was when the Walmart steam roller cam to town, it flattened all but the mast capable competitors with the promise of low price and selection. As it turns out, often Walmart offers neither with small selection and higher prices one local competition is crushed. If Walmart has a weakness, it’s in the online channel and that where Amazon continues to thrive. With Wallyworld making a firm commitment to dominate online, and Amazon continuing to grow, we’re likely to see a serious price war for some time to come. Since Amazon firmly believes in the long tail of a broad and deep selection, Walmart may even need to grow its product mix to stay the game.
In what is emerging as one of the main story lines of the 2009 post-recession shopping season, the two heavyweight retailers are waging an online price war that is spreading through product areas like books, movies, toys and electronics.
The tussle began last month as a relatively trivial but highly public back-and-forth over which company had the lowest prices on the most anticipated new books and DVDs this fall. By last week, it had spread to select video game consoles, mobile phones, even to the humble Easy-Bake Oven, a 45-year-old toy from Hasbro that usually heats up small cakes, not tensions between billion-dollar corporations.
Last Wednesday, Wal-Mart dropped the price of the oven to $17, from $28, as part of its “Black Friday” deals. Later the same day, Amazon cut its price, which had also been $28, to $18.
“It’s not about the prices of books and movies anymore. There is a bigger battle being fought,” said Fiona Dias, executive vice president at GSI Commerce, which manages the Web sites of large retailers. “The price-sniping by Wal-Mart is part of a greater strategic plan. They are just not going to cede their business to Amazon.” (New York Times)