Don't call Google for a ride home from the bar yet

19 December 2015 by Steve Blum
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Good news and bad news about self-driving cars from the California department of motor vehicles. The good news is that the DMV will allow cars to drive themselves; the bad news is that you still need to have a licensed driver in the front seat who “must be capable of taking over immediate control in the event of an autonomous technology failure or other emergency”. In other words, no robotic designated drivers.

The restrictions don’t suit Google, which has been in the forefront of developing autonomous cars in California, according to a story in the San Jose Mercury News

“We’re gravely disappointed that California is already writing a ceiling on the potential for fully self-driving cars to help all of us who live here,” said Google spokesman Johnny Luu in a statement.


Decisions coming soon on California broadband bills

7 October 2015 by Steve Blum
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Not quite yet.

Sunday is the last day for California governor Jerry Brown to either veto bills passed by the legislature this summer, or allow them to become law. Amongst the measures in the big stack on his desk right now are several that will affect broadband service and infrastructure, particularly in regards to how it’s regulated.

The bill with the most potential impact is assembly bill 57, which would put teeth in the Federal Communications Commission shot clock for wireless permits.… More

There's more network traffic at 4K levels, but can growth be sustained?

27 September 2015 by Steve Blum
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Home field advantage.

The prospects for widespread adoption of 4K television technology and programming – often referred to as ultra high definition – are slowly getting better in the U.S. According to Akamai, which just released its State of the Internet report for the second quarter of 2015, about a fifth – 21% – of U.S.-based users on its network are running at 15 Mbps or better, which ranks 18th best in the world. That’s the minimum service level needed to stream 4K programming.… More

From a global perspective, California's Internet speeds are pretty damn good

25 September 2015 by Steve Blum
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California has the 11th fastest average Internet speed in the world, according to the latest Akamai State of the Internet report, which looked at Internet traffic over its content delivery network during the second quarter of 2015. Clocking in at 13.7 Mbps, the Californian average is ahead of the U.S., which finished 18th overall with 11.7 Mbps, but behind several European countries – Sweden (16.1 Mbps), Switzerland (15.6 Mbps), Netherlands (15.2 Mbps), Norway (14.3 Mbps), Latvia (14.2 Mbps), Finland (14.0 Mbps) and the Czech Republic (13.9 Mbps) are fourth through tenth – and way behind the top three finishers, South Korea (23.1 Mbps), Hong Kong (17.0 Mbps) and Japan (16.4 Mbps).… More

Six Californias, six challenges drawn by broadband adoption map

20 July 2015 by Steve Blum
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Overall, California’s broadband adoption rate isn’t bad, compared to much of the U.S. or other countries. That’s one of the many pieces of good news in a study released last week in conjunction with the announcement of a federal pilot program aimed at increasing broadband access in public housing. The map above shows the pattern, with dark green coastal areas doing best and the red south poorly.

One thing that struck me about the map, though, was that it also does a fair, if rough, job of outlining the six proto-states proposed last year by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Tim Draper in his failed quest to break up California.… More

More and more effective investment in California on the table

12 August 2014 by Steve Blum
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Lawmakers meet in Sacramento today with regional leaders from around California, to talk about solving a number of economic challenges faced by the state, including how to pay for and upgrade basic infrastructure. It’s a follow-on to the California Economic Summit held in Los Angeles last year. The summit organisers are already claiming victory, of a sort…

Looking back on our goals for the year, every one of the major legislative proposals identified in The Summit Plan to Advance Prosperity in 2014 has been accomplished – from new investments in workforce training and infrastructure to a permanent source of funding for affordable housing.


Comcast occupies Crimea, I'm sorry, California

28 April 2014 by Steve Blum
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Comcast will be, by far, the dominant cable company in California, if the proposed acquisition of Time-Warner Cable and today’s announcement of a pie-slicing deal with Charter Communications come to pass.

In order to get the Time-Warner purchase past federal regulators, Comcast wants to trim back what would be its combined customer base to 30 million homes, which is about half the cable TV subscribers in the U.S. So this morning it announced a scheme to spin off some Time-Warner subscribers into a company effectively controlled by Charter Communications (which would become the second biggest cable operator in the U.S.),… More

AT&T invests in California broadband, but very selectively

12 March 2014 by Steve Blum
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Be grateful for what you have.

AT&T wants you to believe that they’re investing billions of dollars in Calfornia to upgrade your broadband service. And it’s true, if you’re the right sort of customer. Even so, reading between the lines of the latest AT&T press release, the assumption has to be that your wireline service is as good as it’s going to get for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, if you have an AT&T mobile phone account – particularly 4G – and you live in a large metro area or in a nearby medium-sized market, your speeds probably did get faster last year, and you might see more improvements as time goes on.… More

The state of the Internet in California is mediocre, according to Akamai

28 December 2013 by Steve Blum
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California is only middle of the pack when it comes to high speed broadband adoption, at least as measured by Akamai in its most recent State of the Internet report, for the second quarter of 2013. Of the broadband connections made to Akamai’s content delivery network from IP addresses in California, 23.2% were at speeds of 10 Mbps or better, ranking our state 20th in the country.

Top of the chart was Massachusetts at 41.9%; Arkansas came last at 4.1%.… More