Entrepreneur: Google Just Bought a Satellite Company for $500 Million

Posted on by Jose Mas

Google has snapped up Skybox Imaging, which provides high-resolution satellite images, for $500 million in cash.

For now, the acquisition allows the tech giant to improve the quality of the images used in its digital maps, but this definitely plays into Google’s long-term goal of getting a larger percentage of the world’s population online.

“Skybox’s satellites will help keep Google Maps accurate with up-to-date imagery,” the tech giant wrote. “Over time, we also hope that Skybox’s team and technology will be able to help improve Internet access and disaster relief — areas Google has long been interested in.”

Satellites aren’t the only devices Google has been experimenting with in an effort to bring Internet to remote areas of the globe. Continue reading →

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FCC Working to Tackle Rural Broadband Challenges

Posted on by Jose Mas

“The Rural Broadband Workshop focused on the importance of broadband in rural America and included presentations designed to elicit information to help develop “ideas about how to structure experiments that will inform our policy decisions regarding the deployment of next generation networks in rural, high-cost areas.”

In the Technology Transitions Order, the Commission recognized the “particular challenges for the deployment of next generation communications services” in rural areas and affirmed its commitment to ensuring that “as networks transition, the access of rural American customers, including customers living on Tribal lands, is not just preserved, but enhanced, in all areas of the country.” In order to better understand these challenges and develop targeted experiments to address them, the Technology Transitions Order announced that the Commission would hold a Rural Broadband Workshop in March 2014. The Rural Broadband Workshop focused on the importance of broadband in rural America and included presentations designed to elicit information to help develop “ideas about how to structure experiments that will inform our policy decisions regarding the deployment of next generation networks in rural, high-cost areas.”

The workshop included an examination of the broadband needs of rural populations and the unique challenges of both broadband deployment and adoption in rural areas. In addition, the discussion highlighted the economic, educational, and healthcare benefits that can be realized through broadband deployment and adoption. The workshop also examined different business models that have been used to deploy broadband in rural areas, including a discussion of the factors that drive investment decisions and technology choices of different types of providers in rural communities. Finally, the workshop examined the role that states have played, and can continue to play, in meeting the rural broadband challenge.

Source: Federal Communications Commission

Watch the workshop discussion here

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Can Mobile Phone Use Combat Illiteracy?

Posted on by Jose Mas

According to a recent study conducted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), mobile phones are positioned to combat illiteracy at a global level.  This rings particularly true for the world’s underdeveloped nations, where mobile devices are increasingly serving as the primary access point to the Internet due in great part to the lack of fixed home broadband connections available within underdeveloped parts of the world.

See Forbes’ recent coverage on this issue below:

Could Mobile Phones Save Millions From Illiteracy?
According to UNESCO, the answer is yes. Or at least, they could help. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization periodically publishes detailed report about mobile phones usage in some of the poorest regions of the world. This time, for the study Reading in the Mobile Age, the organization tried to understand not only if people in developing countries use mobiles  at all, but also, if they use them in a way that could help fight illiteracy. The research found out that, while mobile phones are still used primarily for basic communication, they are also, increasingly, a gateway to long-form text. Often, for millions, the only chance of reading a text where books are almost unknown. Think of Nigeria, for instance, where the illiteracy rate is over 40%, and, according to one study, there is 1 library every 1,350,000 people. Continue reading →
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AT&T Spends $15.5 Billion with Certified Diverse Suppliers

Posted on by Jose Mas

AT&T’s recent announcement that it spent over $15 billion in 2013, accounting for 28 percent of its total spend for the year, with certified diverse suppliers is a historic accomplishment for the company.  My company, MasTec, is certified as a Minority-Controlled Company and a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and I am pleased to see AT&T supporting other MBE’s looking to grow, expand, and be part of the innovation that we are seeing in today’s digital economy.  AT&T’s Global Supplier Diversity program is contributing to our country’s economic recovery and helping to create hundreds of thousands of American jobs – an accomplishment that should be acknowledged and should very much be celebrated.

Read more about AT&T’s new announcement this week below. Continue reading →

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Why a Comcast merger could be good for TWC customers

Posted on by Jose Mas

Interesting take on Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable.  How can one of the biggest mergers in the cable market ever be a good thing for consumers? CNET’s Marguerite Reardon explains.

As reported on CNET:

Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus thinks the $45.2 billion megamerger with Comcast is a win for Time Warner Cable subscribers.

Speaking at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference in Palm Beach, Fla., earlier this week, Marcus called the deal a “dream combination” that allows the companies to “innovate at a rapid pace.”

I know what you’re thinking: Of course he likes this deal. His company is getting bought out for $45.2 billion. And Marcus, who is paid in excess of $10 million a year, is the guy who spearheaded this tie-up in the first place. And there’s little doubt he will profit handsomely from the acquisition. Continue reading →

Posted in Access and Adoption, Broadband, Diversity, Employment, Inclusion, Innovation, Spectrum | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment
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