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Saturday, 15 November 2014

speaking is easy, listening is hard

From: Internet Monk

“In 2010, French entrepreneur Micha Benoliel had a vision: that the world’s billion or so smartphones could be turned into their own network, with each phone acting as a “node” extending the Internet as we know it. He started to raise money for a startup, Open Garden, which would allow phones to communicate directly through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other ubiquitous technologies independent of the Internet and cellular networks. In 2014, as a proof of concept, he built a demo messaging app to take advantage of that network, FireChat.
     What happened next is a classic Internet story: The now 18-year-old leader of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement Joshua Wong called on the protesters to download FireChat to communicate, bypassing overloaded cellular networks and independent of the Internet, should the Chinese government decide to shut it down. In the first 24 hours, 100,000 people in Hong Kong had downloaded and installed the app; by the end of the week, 500,000 accounts had been created (in a city of 7 million).”
— Michael Learmonth, International Business Times
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“Downloading a high-definition movie takes about seven seconds in Seoul, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Zurich, Bucharest and Paris, and people pay as little as $30 a month for that connection. In Los Angeles, New York and Washington, downloading the same movie takes 1.4 minutes for people with the fastest Internet available, and they pay $300 a month for the privilege, according to The Cost of Connectivity, a report published Thursday by the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute. […]
     The reason the United States lags many countries in both speed and affordability, according to people who study the issue, has nothing to do with technology. Instead, it is an economic policy problem — the lack of competition in the broadband industry.“It’s just very simple economics,” said Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School who studies antitrust and communications and was an adviser to the Federal Trade Commission. “The average market has one or two serious Internet providers, and they set their prices at monopoly or duopoly pricing.”
— Heather, Crooks and Liars
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