Broadband hits a speed bump in California

29 November 2016 by Steve Blum
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Internet connection speeds took a dip in California during the second quarter of this year. The Akamai State of the Internet report for April through June of 2016 shows the average connection speed from users in California to its content delivery network dropped to 16.1 Mbps, from 16.4 Mbps in the first quarter of the year. On the other hand, connection speeds are still rising on a year over year basis – the average speed in California was 14.0 Mbps in the second quarter of 2015.… More

Status quo for broadband policy in Sacramento

11 November 2016 by Steve Blum
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Bradford is back.

There’s no predicting what impact the political upheaval in Washington, D.C. will have on broadband policy and development, but there’s likely to be little change here in California as a result of Tuesday’s election.

The one significant change that was at stake in Sacramento was a possible democratic supermajority in the California legislature. Votes will continue to be counted until Monday, but at this point it appears that democrats will have a supermajority in the assembly, but not in the senate.… More

Rapid climb in California's broadband speeds and use

4 September 2016 by Steve Blum
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The average speed at which Californians connected to Akamai’s content delivery network in the first quarter of 2016 was 16.4 Mbps, according to Akamai’s State of the Internet Report for the first quarter of 2016. Despite lagging behind U.S. leaders, that’s stilll a healthy jump from a year earlier, when the average was 13.6 Mbps, and a huge improvement over the 5.7 Mbps we were clocking five years ago – a 188% improvement.

The average Californian can and does buy faster Internet service plans as well.… More

California's broadband growth flat for six years

5 August 2016 by Steve Blum
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There are two ways to look at the latest Field Poll/California Emerging Technology Fund survey of household Internet penetration: the number of homes with someone online, at one level or another, jumped five points from 79% in 2015 to 84% in 2016, or broadband uptake has stalled in the Golden State for six years.

The case for the former is the topline gloss of the survey which has total broadband penetration at 84%, if you define broadband penetration as at least one person in the house with a smart phone in his or her pocket.… More

California's broadband speeds get average marks from Akamai

24 July 2016 by Steve Blum
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Internet connection speeds in California are better than the national average, but not by much and not by enough to be amongst the leaders. According to Akamai’s State of the Internet Report for the first quarter of 2016, the average speed at which Californians connected to its content distribution network was 16.4 Mbps. That compares favorably to the U.S. average of 15.3 Mbps, but it is well behind the leader, Delaware, which averaged 21.2 Mbps.… More

California says adios to Verizon, bienvenido to Frontier

3 April 2016 by Steve Blum
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Work in progress.

As of Friday, two million Californians have a new telephone company. Frontier Communications wrapped up the paperwork and took title to Verizon’s wireline telephone systems in California, Florida and Texas…

The acquired businesses include approximately 3.3 million voice connections, 2.1 million broadband connections, and 1.2 million FiOS video subscribers, as well as the related incumbent local exchange carrier businesses. New customers will begin receiving monthly bills starting in mid-April.

“This is a transformative acquisition for Frontier that delivers first-rate assets and important new opportunities given our dramatically expanded scale,” said Daniel J.


California broadband improves but still falls short of excellence

26 March 2016 by Steve Blum
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Average Internet speeds continue to rise in California and across the U.S. Akamai’s quarterly State of the Internet report shows the average Internet connection from Californian users to its content distribution network servers at 15.3 Mbps in the fourth quarter of 2015. That’s a 22% increase from a year before, and more than double – 107% – from three years before, when the average California connection clocked in at a mere 7.4%. Other states saw similar improvements…

In the fourth quarter, average connection speeds among the top 10 states continued the momentum from the third quarter with robust increases seen across the board…All 10 states had average connection speeds meeting the 15 Mbps threshold — up from 8 in the previous quarter—but none had average connection speeds reaching the FCC’s new 25 Mbps broadband threshold.


Artificial intelligence is smart enough for (some) federal highway safety rules

13 February 2016 by Steve Blum
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Assume feet and hands.

The federal highway transportation safety agency agrees with Google that the artificial intelligence system that controls its autonomous cars is the driver for purposes of federal vehicle safety rules. According to a letter sent to Google by the agency and posted on its website

Google’s design choices in its proposed approach to the [self driving vehicle] raise a number of novel issues in applying the [federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSSs)].


Money is no object for high tech traffic laws

17 January 2016 by Steve Blum
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“A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money”, Illinois senator Everett Dirksen said of Washington’s spending habits back in the 1960s. That was when a billion dollars would get you more than a cup of coffee. Heck, it might even have bought an official U.S. Air Force toilet seat back in the day.

Now, it’s only a good start on writing new rules for self-driving cars. The U.S. transportation department is planning to spend $4 billion to come up with new laws and procedures that would allow fully autonomous vehicles to operate on the nation’s roads.… More

Five turning points for broadband policy battles in 2016

31 December 2015 by Steve Blum
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Five policy decisions will drive broadband service in California, for good or ill, in 2016. Two will come at the federal level, two from the California Public Utilities Commission and one from the state legislature. There are more of course – encryption, privacy and implementation of California’s new wireless site shot clock are examples – but these are the ones I’ll be closely following as the new year begins:

  • Assembly bill 238. Introduced by Santa Cruz assemblyman Mark Stone early in 2015, it attempts to raise the minimum Californian broadband standard to 25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up for subsidy purposes.