Broadband over Power Line (BPL) can best be described as that "other" fixed high-speed Internet access technology--the one most consumers have never heard of. But BPL's days of obscurity may soon end, allowing the technology to join DSL and cable as a popular choice for wiring homes and businesses.
Parks Associates, a Dallas-based technology research company, predicts that the number of number of U.S. households subscribing to BPL will grow from 400,000 in 2007 to 2.5 million by 2011, an adoption rate outpacing both cable and DSL.
Hillary Clinton intends to “talk”, “chat” and “start a dialogue” Oprah-style with potential voters via the internet. In this, she joins a number of high-profile politicians who are harnessing the potential power of the internet to woo voters directly.
Like her current main competitor for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, Senator Barack Obama, she eschewed the traditional televised speech and made her announcement via her website.
This came a few days after John Edwards’ White House ambitions were unveiled on a video broadcast on Google’s YouTube.
All this underscores something that people have known for some time - the growing impact that the internet is having on politics and how it is likely to shape the 2008 presidential election.
Over in Europe, the internet has acquired an unprecedented importance in France’s presidential campaign. While many of the French parties were on the web in 2002’s presidential elections, the impact of political sites is being seen as much bigger this time around.
In 2006, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) reported that access to information and communication technologies continues to grow at high speed. Especially important was the growth rate of mobile subscribers in developing countries, considerably reducing the gap with the developed world. It is well known that the development of mobile technology, as in any other industry, may improve economic development by creating new sources of revenue, new jobs and economic spill-over effects to other industries. Besides, it is also known that any wireless technology in general have some specifics advantages in terms of reducing transaction costs, widening markets, becoming a substitute for costly transportation and creating better information flows. However, what it is not so intuitive is that mobile technology has also a very important socio-cultural and political impact.
Romanian Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Zsolt Nagy, has announced the extension of the country’s ‘Knowledge Based Economy’ project to some 251 rural communities and small towns throughout the country.
These new communities will join the existing nine rural areas included in the pilot-phase of the project, raising the total number of beneficiaries to 260. The initiative, which will run from 2007-2010, is expected to “contribute to increasing competitiveness in the single European market by creating an information-based society, fostering the efficiency of the electronic information in education, and facilitating the interaction between citizens and administration”, noted Nagy when announcing the project extension.
The newly selected communities will benefit from access to the Local Community Electronic Network which will facilitate the connection to the internet of local schools, public offices and libraries. In addition, a Public Access Point will be set up in each area. It is estimated that the Knowledge Based Economy Project will connect 472 public schools, 260 local administration offices, 260 local libraries, and 260 Public Access Points.
Support will be provided to help these areas develop their private sector, stimulate the use of information technology in schools and SMEs, enhance human capital, and reduce the rural-urban divide. The services provided will target over 1.7 million Romanian citizens, approximately 8% of the population.
The European Commission has distanced itself from a report it commissioned that endorsed the use of open-source software. The Commission contacted ZDNet UK this week to insist that it is "technology neutral" and that it did not therefore support open-source software. The report was published on the Commission's website earlier this month, and detailed the financial contribution that open-source software is expected to make to European economies.