Change &






& Technology





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Geography of Telecommunications


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1998 []

Societies in all parts of the world and at all levels are gearing up for the next century. "High technology", and, at least so it seems, telecommunications technology in particular, are providing the benchmarks for much of the success of this transition. Al Gore who has become the symbolic and prodding leader of this process, not merely in the United States through the National Information Infrastructure Initiative (NII) but also globally through the Global Information Infrastructure (GII), is quoted: "Telecommunications is an essential component of the political, economic, social and cultural development. It fuels the global information society and economy which is rapidly transforming local, national, and international societies and, despite physical boundaries, is promoting better understanding between peoples." (Washington Times, Oct.16, 1994; quoted after Jussawala (ed.), 1995, p.2).

As to be expected, geographers are split or torn between those camps celebrating the economic and social benefits of the communications revolution and those focusing on the inequalities and asymmetries which the enormous costs, corporate and Western dominance, and geographic "bypassing potential" of the technology entail.

The objective of this "Web Compendium" (not merely this page) is to assemble resources, conceptual frameworks and analytical models needed to accompany the continuing expansion of Geography into the field of information and telecommunications and, more specifically, the transformation of Economic and Business Geography to a discipline which not only properly acknowledges the significance of the information revolution, but fully incorporates its pervasive implications into all parts of the field.


Telecommunications Servers & Gateways:

Telecommunications: Government Reports and Policy:


Cities, county could provide Internet Bremerton Sun, February 24, 2002; By Ed Friedrich

Kitsap finance and technology experts are exploring whether high-speed Internet service should be a public utility akin to sewer, water and electricity.... "It's really the transportation industry of the 21st Century,... It supplants the need to move goods and people. This is an essential service that will define society, where and how people will earn a living." But who should deliver the high-speed Internet service to customers? "We would prefer to have private industry do this, but on the other hand we feel that high-speed access is the fourth utility of the future and if we're going to be competitive in Kitsap County we've got to have it..."

Closing the gap on distance learning, colleges turn to updated Internet Seattle Times, October 11, 1999 by Lynne K. Varner

GIGAPOP, according to many computer scientists and educators, is a faster and more efficient Internet system that educators hope will transform distance learning into an alternative teaching method on par with classroom teaching.

Cary looks at high-tech highway [By CHRIS O'BRIEN and KYLE YORK SPENCER, Staff Writers, News Observer, 4/5/99

CARY -- People once made towns into centers of commerce by building them next to rivers and railroads. As electronic commerce grows, some think it is just as important for a town to be located next to a high-speed ramp to the Internet. That's why Cary is considering building a $60 million fiber-optic network

ANDY ORAM: The Internet and the International Telecommunications Union [NANDO}

Two dangers may arise as the ITU tries to move beyond its traditional role in managing transmissions and allocating spectrum. The first is that the organization will stumble over other bodies that have handled Internet standards quite well, such as the legendary Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). So the ITU has contacted the IETF and other such organizations to inquire about what role each organization could play. The other danger is that the ITU could impose a bureaucratic or centralized broadcast model on the Internet.

AT&T-TCI: TELECOM UNBOUND. Business Week, July 6, 1998 (cover story).

"The merger could deliver on the promise of melding telephones, TVs, and computers.... in an ironic twist, AT&T (T), the company that has perhaps missed the most opportunities in the new world of digital communications, has come up with the deal that, if it works, will take advantage of all these trends -- and could be the catalyst for other deals and business plans that break the bottleneck and finally deliver on the promise of digital convergence. ''This is the deal that's going to get competition going,'' says former FCC Commissioner Reed Hundt. ''This is exactly what regulators envisioned--consumers having choice.''"

GTE, US West go different routes for DSL approval ; Seattle Times, Thursday, June 18, 1998; by Peter Lewis

"While US West is cooling its heels - under orders from state regulators to postpone introduction of new high-speed Internet-access technology - radio ads from rival GTE are airing locally to "soften" the market for the new service. Pretty much whenever it sees fit - but probably not before mid-July - GTE will start taking orders for the service, called digital subscriber line, or DSL."

US West must postpone Net-access line ; Seattle Times, Tuesday, June 16, 1998; by Peter Lewis

"Acting on a request by Internet service providers (ISPs) who didn't want to be left out in the cold, state regulators yesterday ordered US West to delay deployment of a new technology that promises high-speed access to the Internet. Under a ruling issued by the Washington state Utilities and Transportation Commission, the service - called digital subscriber line, or DSL - will be delayed until July 9. US West had planned to roll it out Friday in Washington state."

Business Week, October 13, 1997 (Telecom Cowboy)

Wired on wireless: Prices, promises duel in hot cell-phone market Seattle Times, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 1997 by Shelby Gilje.

You can't open a newspaper or turn on the TV or radio these days without being bombarded by cellular/wireless phone ads. They promise a free phone, free activation, free minutes or airtime - the list goes on.

"Clinton readies Internet policy", Seattle Times, May 22, 1997

Information and Telecommunications Technology:

Telecommunications Industry:

    Teledesic Inc. (Kirkland, WASH.)
    • UW Daily Article (December 6, 1996) (Teledesic sets sights on global communications network, by Kevin Hall)
    • Teledesic closer to air-wave deal Seattle Times, Friday, Feb. 28, 1997, by Thomas W. Haines "Kirkland-based Teledesic ... and Associated Communications, run by former AT&T President Alex Mandl, have been fighting since last fall over a critical piece of electromagnetic spectrum. Each company wants access to the spectrum to send data through the air over wireless networks."

Telecommunications ("Backbone") Infrastructure

  • About the Pacific/Northwest Gigapop The Pacific/Northwest Gigapop ("P/NW Gigapop") is all of the following and more:
    the Pacific Northwest's access point to the nation's leading-edge, high-bandwidth, next generation Internet networks including Internet2/Abilene, vBNS, high-performance Federal nets such as NTON and ESNet, and high-performance commodity Internet offerings....
  • Faster than the speed of Internet Seattle Times, Thursday, April 9, 1998 by Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times A consortium of California universities today was unveiling details of a super-high-speed, $15 million computer network that will carry data more than 100 times faster than today's Internet. The California Research and Education Network, or CalREN-2, will serve primarily academic institutions
  • K-20 Educational Telecommunications Network "On March 25, 1996, law E2SSB 6705 (referred to as chapter 137, Laws of 1996 or “the Act”), established the K-20 Educational Telecommunications Network. The network is intended to be “. . . an integrated and interoperable educational technology network serving kindergarten through higher education and promoting access for Washington citizens.” It is to be a collaborative effort of public and private K-12 and higher education, state government, the legislature, and the private sector in providing distance learning and other “lifelong learning” opportunities for learners of all ages in all places."
  • vBNS Connectivity for the University of Washington In November, 1996, the University of Washington received a two-year National Science Foundation award (number NCR-9617039) to connect its campus network to the very high speed Backbone Network Service (vBNS). The bandwidth of the connection is expected to be DS3 (45 Mbps) for the first year with an upgrade to OC-3c (155 Mbps) during the second year.
  • vBNS (very high performance Backbone Network Service) (from MCI & NSF) The vBNS is a nationwide network that supports high-performance, high-bandwidth research applications. Launched in 1995, the vBNS is the product of a five-year cooperative agreement between MCI and the National Science Foundation.
  • Internet2 Home Page started at a meeting in Chicagi in 1996, now with 120 member universities and corporate partners (Bay Networks, Cisco, IBM, Nortel, etc.). Internet Protocol (IP) remains the common bearer service. "Mission: Facilitate and coordinate the development, deployment, operation and technology transfer of advanced, network-based applications and network services to further U.S. leadership in research and higher education and accelerate the availability of new services and applications on the Internet."
    " Since the effort was announced by 34 research universities in October, 1996, I2 has tripled in size and become a key element of the Clinton administration's $100 million Next Generation Internet Initiative, as well as a close cousin to the National Science Foundation's high speed research network, the vBNS. As a result, substantial funding for the project is expected to be included in the President's forthcoming budget proposal."
    • GigaPop Workshop During two full days of meetings, technical and administrative representatives from the over 20 currently planned gigaPoPs met to evaluate progress, share experiences and discuss issues surrounding the emerging regional Internet2 points of presence. GigaPoPs are a key component of the Internet2 network architecture, serving as connection nodes for members to each other, to participating federal and corporate members, and to the wider Internet community.
  • Next Generation Internet (NGI) Announced by White House, October 10, 1996. Introduction:"The Internet is the biggest change in human communications since the printing press. Every day, this rapidly growing global network touches the lives of millions of Americans....We must invest today to create the foundation for the networks of the 21st Century. Today's Internet is an outgrowth of decades of federal investment in research networks such as the ARPANET and the NSFNET. A small amount of federal seed money stimulated much greater investment by industry and academia, and helped create a large and rapidly growing market. Similarly, creative investments today will set the stage for the networks of tomorrow that are even more powerful and versatile than the current Internet. This initiative will foster partnerships among academia, industry and government..."

Information, Internet- and Network Economics

  • Economics and the Internet [The old Hal Varian site at Michigan; will not be maintained]
  • Internet and Information Economics [Hal Varian's new site; Hal Varian is now the Dean of the new School of Information Management and Systems at Berkeley]
  • Internet-Related Economic Activities
  • The Informational Space Economy
  • Hatfield Model "has been developed by Hatfield Associates, Inc. (HAI), of Boulder, Colorado, at the request of AT&T and MCI for the purpose of estimating the forward-looking economic costs of 1) unbundled network elements (UNEs), based on Total Element Long Run Incremental Cost (TELRIC) principles; 2) basic local telephone service, as defined by the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service ("Joint Board") for universal service funding purposes; and 3) carrier access to, and interconnection with, the local exchange network. All three sets of costs are calculated using a consistent set of assumptions, procedures and input data."


Programs & Syllabi


Readings on Electronic (Tele-) Communications


PHONESIA (fo nee' zhuh) (noun): The affliction of dialing a phone number and forgetting whom you were calling just as they answer.

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2000 []