Broadband consumption increase 38-fold over a decade

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by IIA

DECEMBER 9, 2020

Internet data and analytics company DecisionData used historical data from FCC annual reports to map out the rapid increase in broadband consumption over the past decade. Their analysis found that the average household is using 38x the amount of internet data they were 10 years ago and 3.5x that of five years ago. If this trend continues, DecisionData estimates that within the next three years average household usage is likely to exceed 1 TB of data per month – an almost 200% increase from 2020’s estimated monthly average.

Much of this rapid growth is attributed to the growing popularity of streaming video services and proliferation of connected devices.

Couldn’t gather with the family during Thanksgiving? Internet innovation made alternatives possible….

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by IIA

DECEMBER 2, 2020

The ongoing pandemic forced many families throughout the U.S. to forgo their traditional Thanksgiving family gatherings and opt instead for virtual celebrations through platforms such as Zoom. Cable broadband usage saw a year-over-year 45% jump on Thanksgiving Day, according to broadband management and analytics company OpenVault.

The company’s monitoring tools show that average broadband consumption per subscriber on Thanksgiving Day was 15.59 GB, up from an average of 10.77 GB in 2019. Traffic peaked between 9AM and 2PM CT and coincided with the holiday suspension of Zoom conferencing limitations, which normally limit their free conferencing service to 40 minutes.

Source: OpenVault

Election night saw increase in internet usage

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by IIA

NOVEMBER 11, 2020

On election night, intense interest throughout the country in the results of the 2020 election drove a significant increase in broadband usage. During prime time on November 3 (5pm to 8pm CT), broadband management and analytics company OpenVault estimated a 7% increase in broadband usage compared to previous Tuesdays. Usage was up even more for cord cutters, where OpenVault reported an increase of 16.4% from previous weeks.

Broadband: Innovation in T-shirts may be good for your heart.

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by IIA

OCTOBER 23, 2020

Smart materials company KYMIRA recently developed a t-shirt that can accurately measure heart rates by printing an ECG (electrocardiogram) into the shirt fabric. The shirt is also equipped with Bluetooth, which enables the uploading of heartbeat data to a cloud where algorithms can be used to process the data and detect lifesaving heart irregularities.

Learn more about this heart monitoring t-shirt here.

Elected officials should better promote information technology when addressing rural economies …

Information driven firms don’t require the standard top-down hierarchical structure. It has no need for administrative staff. It barely has need for a managerial staff. Each wage earner must become more of a self-sufficient information node, with each node given more or less equal weight by a reduced by still centralized management.

The new information infrastructure will look more like a distributed energy platform versus the standard step down energy platform. This means greater reduction in labor, a forecast that has been bouncing around for half a decade.

For elected officials promising more job opportunities in the rural space, they will have to reconcile this coming reality and either weave it into their economic opportunity narrative or look for a fall guy or gal for the coming doom in the labor markets.  The adjustment will not be easy for their constituents.  The voter/citizen has been under considerable stress due to work from home requirements, stay-in-place requirements, and reductions in workforce as government induced fall off in demand for services took hold of and wrecked certain business models.  As part of his promise to create jobs in rural America, apparent Democratic nominee Joe Biden has proposed a $20 billion rural broadband plan for deploying more advanced communications technology into rural America.  Mr Biden states that this funding will equal three times the amount of funding under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Connect Grant Program.  Under 7 CFR section 1739.1, the purpose of the program is:

“to provide financial assistance in the form of grants to eligible applicants that will provide, on a “community-oriented connectivity” basis, broadband service that fosters economic growth and delivers enhanced educational, health care, and public safety benefits. ”

Donald Trump’s broadband program doesn’t seem that definitive.  On his campaign website, the President notes as an accomplishment a 2018 program dedicating $50 billion to empower rural economies, 80% of those moneys going directly to state governors and the remaining amount going to selected states that apply for a rural performance grant.  Whether funds went to the governors or to select states applying for performance grants, the amounts promised by the President appear less than those promised by Mr Biden.  Currently, according to the Department of Agriculture’s website, the Community Connect Grant Program is closed.  Funding this program or another one like it would support the President’s rhetoric about increasing economic opportunities in rural areas.

The economic uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has fueled talk about people leaving the cities for urban areas.  Axios, citing polling results, reported that one-third of Americans are considering moving to less densely populated areas including rural areas.  Urban residents are more likely to consider a move versus suburban or rural residents.  If this finding were to materialize then there might be an uptick in demand for broadband services in these areas.

Supporting more broadband is a political win for either of these candidates.  Consumers should bear in mind that broadband roll-outs call for coordination between federal, state, and local government agencies and the policy desires of a president are not enough. Elected officials will need to put their money where their mouths are and ensure the funding of programs such as the Community Connect Grant Program and other similar programs.

 

 

Balkanizing internet regulation is out of step with the uniformity needs of financial technology

Analysis

The eye-catcher ….

In two weeks, state utility regulators will convene in San Antonio, Texas for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners annual meeting to discuss how they can leverage a recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals-DC Circuit that the Federal Communications Commission cannot preempt state regulation of concerns over consumer access to and privacy on the internet via broadband.

Some states such as California have moved ahead with their own net neutrality laws, hoping to enforce consumer protections by prohibiting internet access providers from lowering traffic speed from certain websites or preventing internet service providers from favoring their own content by blocking a consumer’s access to content that the consumer prefers.

The state-by-state approach problem

The problem with a state-by-state approach for a financial technology firm is the uncertainty that data and capital face when they traverse state borders. Will a content delivery firm tasked with storing and transmitting financial data on behalf of a financial technology firm have to enter into different interconnection agreements per state because of the differing consumer privacy laws encountered in each state?  Will differing requirements on paid prioritization result in financial data traffic slowing down depending on which state border it crosses?

There is an irony that on a global basis, the United States is a staunch proponent of freer cross-border data flows, but would run the risk of subjecting those same data flows to a hodge-podge of regulations that create digital toll roads for financial data traffic.

The changing consumer taste in banking

What federal and state policy makers should be focusing on is ensuring the amount of bandwidth necessary for digital transmission of financial data and capital is available.  Our use of digital banking services will not be shrinking anytime soon.  MediaCom Business cited data in a blog post that 92% of millennials make their choices as to where to bank based on the digital services a bank offers.  Legacy banks hoping to compete with digital upstarts are accepting this type of demand an, as found by consulting firm Accenture, are exploring how best to integrate and deploy technology necessary for meeting this demand.

Recommendation: Seamless versus Balkanization

The supply of digital banking and payment systems services combined with increasing demand for these services means more bandwidth is needed in order to optimize the consumer experience.  State and federal policy makers can facilitate this need for increased bandwidth by focusing policy on ensuring the delivery of this infrastructure.  Coming up with 50 different rules on net neutrality is more distraction than help.

What should be spawned in next month’s NARUC meeting is a recommendation for national legislation on consumer privacy.  Consumer privacy concerns should no longer be leveraged to create 50-plus fiefdoms for net neutrality.  Transmission of information, data, and knowledge should be a seamless experience for consumer and firms that use financial technology to transmit value and capital.