This turned out to be a very informative panel

Rob Frieden, Professor, Pennsylvannia State University: The Spin on Broadband Statistics.

Conclusion: benchmarks and statistics matter.  Measuring broadband penetration in the US is highly contentious.  Be suspicious of statistics like, “77% of al US zipcodes have a choice of at least 4 broadband providers”.  Reality is very different from what’s been presented by the outgoing Bush administration.

Heaher Hudson, Professor, University of San Francisco: Dr. Hudson is a tireless advocate of the right of people in small countries to good connectivity.  She points out that internet subscribers are less than 4 per 100 in small Pacific Island states, well-below the norm in advanced capitalist countries.  Listen to her discussion of how Skype Out rates to these countries is an indicator of the terrible state of connectivity in these countries.

I have to say that I do not totally agree with her assessment.  Skype Out rates in the other direction (periphery to core) are the more typical 2 cents a minute.

Francis Pereira, Professor, University of Southern California: By 2015, the advanced Asian countries promise 100 mbps into the home.

Singapore’s government initiatives include TradeNet, Singapore One Broadbad Network, economic incentices to ME’s to conduct e-commerce.

S’pore and Hong Kong offer good case studies because they are both large ports.  Very early on, they began to use technology to attract and hold shipping business.  Singapore’s TradeNet processes 99% of all trade declarations used by 2400 companies, at an estimated annual savings of $2.8 billion.

This is just one example from the presentation of how govt. initiatives drove the development of software and internet usage.

Laurie Sherman, Consultant