Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks

Defining “Broadband” and “Underserved”

Posted by Matthew Greensmith at 7:09 AM on April 7, 2009

$7.2 billion in stimulus money has been earmarked by Congress for spending on broadband service and underserved areas. Thus is born a conundrum that is becoming virtually unsolvable.

What exactly does “broadband” mean? According to ATT, it’s anything not dialup. To others, like the Communications Workers of America, it is anything over 3 mb. And since our median “broadband” speed in this country is about 2.3 mb, while Japan boasts an median of 63 mb and Canada about 7.6, what are we truly talking about when we talk about broadband?

And what is meant by “underserved” areas? Is it rural areas with no access to broadband? Or is it broader than that, applying to any area that can’t get 3 mb or more, which includes both urban and suburban areas?

This is what the FCC is trying to figure out, and is open to comments through April 13th. The acting chairman of the FCC, Michael Copps, believes his agency is up to the challenge of defining these terms for the purposes of deploying the stimulus funding. But he notes that President Obama’s long-term goal is to get broadband deployed deep into the country, which could place rural deployment of broadband at the top of the list.

I’m all for that, since I’ve been craving a move to the country for some time. But I also want to see fatter pipes, to the tune of at least 10 mb, if not more. I realize I’m very blessed at this moment to have a realistic 8 mps down and 3 mb up on a regular basis, but I’m living in an area where the majority of people are using dialup, and if I were to move even one more mile further away from the main metro area, I would lose any type of broadband altogether. I’m also one of those that believes true broadband (I subscribe to the better-than-3mb club) should be a basic utility, just like gas, electric, and phone service. To me, it is no different.

You can submit your own comments to the FCC, through April 13th, on this important determination. Visit for more information, or take this link to go directly to the comment instructions (PDF file).

Personal Cellular Sites Possible Soon!

Posted by todd at 11:00 PM on December 10, 2006

Last night I outlined my issue with changing desk and loosing the ability to use my Cellular service and EV-DO card because of no signal, and now comes word that Mobile Operators are thinking about allowing there customers help solve these very issue for them.

Not  many people know it, but you can buy equipment today off the shelf that will boost the mobile signal in your workplace. They start at about a $1000.00 for basic amplifiers and can get very expensive for solutions designed for moderate to big buildings.

I know that folks in my office bitch about this issue every day, and if the carriers would come in and boost the signal we would all be happy. Most people put up with no signal and few are willing to go to the extreme of buying an amplifier like I did. I was not happy to have to spend $250.00 to make my EV-DO work but it was a priority for me.

I actually went and purchased a long distance phone card for the first time in 10 years because making personal Long Distance would not make my boss happy.

GigaOm has some details on how mobile operators are thinking about dealing with these issues by apparently allowing customers to deploy mini cellular sites called femto cellular.

My mom lives in Michigan the service out their really sucks and this idea would go well their. I had put out a offer that if Sprint would like to put a tower up on our property we had plenty of acreage to support it, and I would give them a long lease and rent for free in exchange for free service. I realize towers are multi-million installations but you can’t blame a guy for trying to hook his mom up.

I am going to spin that a little bit in that I will extend the offer in a new way if a mobile company buys me one of these femto cellular units I will be happy to install and plug the thing in at work so that our mobile phones will work.

Do you have the same problem with no signal in the office? I am sure there are millions of us with these issues. [GigaOM]

Is Microsoft looking to put a dent in Orb and Slingbox bottom line?

Posted by geeknews at 1:50 PM on January 19, 2006

I have a windows media player that I have been paying a lot more attention to since CES and I have a very good friend who has a Slingbox which he really loves. I have been wondering for sometime why Microsoft doesn’t allow me to do the same thing with Windows Media Center as Slingbox and Orb provide.

Well according to engadget there are some rumors on the street that is hinting that Microsoft may be getting ready to release a Windows Media Player update that will do some of the functions of Slingbox and Orb. [Engadget]

Nation Wide Google WiFi for free how it could change everything!

Posted by geeknews at 2:01 AM on September 21, 2005

First I want to thank one of readers for sending us the Google WiFi link yesterday, he helped us be one of the first few sites to post the information which resulted in one of our higher traffic days around here. More info is on the street tonight.

Those of you that took the time to read the FAQ which is no longer online it was noted that the service was only going to be rolled out in and around Google HQ. A lot of people jumped on this today with lots of speculation that they are likely going to be launching something nation wide based upon all the bandwidth they have been buying up.

Time will tell but I bet that they have the telco’s, wireless and broadband providers scared to death.

Here are some thoughts.

1. Google Talk Anyplace Anytime (Replace Phone Company)
2. Surf the net Anyplace Anytime (Replace Broadband Cable Providers)
3. Sell services such as TV Programming, Videos etc through that Free Wifi pipe!
4. Sell a hardware device you can use to surf the net, talk on the phone, watch TV, listen to audio through this free WiFi Network!

If they follow through on this, this single act will route around all of the major commercial data providers. Google wins big and kills a lot of companies in the process gaining market share by simply giving away free WiFi nation wide and selling premium services. [Silicon Valley]

Winzip may cost you something now!

Posted by geeknews at 12:28 AM on July 18, 2005

I have at least 7 licenses for Winzip and have always paid for the application. Obviously a lot of you are running hacked versions of the program. Well their is a new Sheriff in town and you may soon very well find Winzip to not be as nice when it comes to those running cracked versions.

Expect the next versions of the program to have significant security upgrades and features that only registered / verified users are going to be getting. I for one look forward to seeing what tricks they have up their sleeve and look forward to supporting one of the applications that is a integral part of my desktop. [Cnet]

Pubsub saw my post and responded!

Posted by geeknews at 10:13 AM on July 14, 2005

I had a e-mail come in late last night from the Pubsub staff and they fixed my problem. Cool thing is they saw my problem obviously from a keyword they were tracking. They were concerned that my e-mail to support had went missing and actually had me send a test message to their site. Apparently this is a bug they are aware of. So if you are using Pubsub keyword searches and the results dry up send them a e-mail and tell them about it.. [Pubsub]