Jack Kemp, 1935-2009

admin Tech Note 0 Comments

I have a photo of my father from around 1982, standing on the tarmac of South Bend airport with Jack Kemp. The economy was in the tank, and America’s world standing was uncertain. My Dad had gone to pick up Kemp, who was to speak at an event for his fellow Republican, Jack Hiler, who was our friend and congressman from northern Indiana. I was maybe eight years old at the time. We were Reagan-Kemp-Hiler conservatives, interested in entrepreneurship, economic growth, and a muscular but prudent international stance.

Some 15 years later I would go to work for Kemp as an economic analyst. It was not preordained, but neither was it a complete coincidence, I suppose, that I spent several years working for the man who, more than any other public official, had articulated and even helped shape my, and my family’s, worldview. Kemp and I even shared the same birthday, July 13.

It is difficult to overestimate Kemp’s impact on history. For those who don’t grasp the importance of economics in politics and geostrategy, that will seem a wild overstatement. But I do think Kemp changed the arc of human events by helping to launch the U.S. on a much higher growth trajectory. Read the rest of this post »

Creating the broadband future

admin Tech Note 0 Comments

Lots of commentators continue to misinterpret the research I and others have done on Internet traffic and its interplay with network infrastructure investment and communications policy.

I think that new video applications require lots more bandwidth — and, equally or even more important, that more bandwidth drives creative new applications. Two sides of the innovation coin. And I think investment friendly policies are necessary both to encourage deployment of new wireline and wireless broadband and also boost innovative new applications and services for consumers and businesses.

But this article, as one of many examples, mis-summarizes my view. It uses scary words like “apocalypse,” “catastrophe,” and, well, “scare mongering,” to describe my optimistic anticipation of an exaflood of Internet innovations coming our way. I don’t think that

the world will simply run out of bandwidth and we’ll all be weeping over our clogged tubes.

Not unless we block the expansion of new network capacity and capability. Read the rest of this entry »

Bandwidth caps: One hundred and one distractions

admin Tech Note 0 Comments

When Cablevision of New York announced this week it would begin offering broadband Internet service of 101 megabits per second for $99 per month, lots of people took notice. Which was the point.

Maybe the 101-megabit product is a good experiment. Maybe it will be successful. Maybe not. One hundred megabits per second is a lot, given today’s applications (and especially given cable’s broadcast tree-and-branch shared network topology). A hundred megabits, for example, could accommodate more than five fully uncompressed high-definition TV channels, or 10+ compressed HD streams. It’s difficult to imagine too many households finding a way today to consume that much bandwidth. Tomorrow is another question. The bottom line is that in addition to making a statement, Cablevision is probably mostly targeting the small business market with this product.

Far more perplexing than Cablevision’s strategy, however, was the reaction from groups like the reflexively critical Free Press:

We are encouraged by Cablevision’s plan to set a new high-speed bar of service for the cable industry. . . . this is a long overdue step in the right direction.

Free Press usually blasts any decision whatever by any network or media company. But by praising the 101-megabit experiment, Free Press is acknowledging the perfect legitimacy of charging variable prices for variable products. Pay more, get more. Pay less, get more affordably the type of service that will meet your needs the vast majority of the time.Read More