The NewsDemon Blog

School Libraries Cutting Librarian Jobs

June 24th, 2010

After summer is over, many students across the country may have a hard time to find help at their libraries. Based on a survey this past spring, the American Association of School Administrators project that 19% of all of the nation school districts will have fewer librarians next school year.

As many states face severe budget cuts, the loss of librarian jobs are on the chopping block for some in order to save on costs.  Administrators across the country have viewed libraries as luxuries rather than a haven for those to read, learn and research. Since only a few states have any laws to mandate libraries or librarians, layoffs seem as a minor inconvenience to some observers. Those that share this view neglect the importance and significance they are in fundamental learning and technology.

Unlike the overflowing bookshelves of wealthier families, 61 percent of low-income families own no age-appropriate books, according to a 2009 study commissioned by Jumpstart on “America’s Early Childhood Literacy Gap.”

Recently, the FCC promoted and had begun to deliver free broadband to libraries to help. Since early last year, NewsDemon.com Newsgroups began and continues to provide free Usenet access to librarians and libraries as well to help.

Unfortunately, some jobs will be lost and although the total damage seems small, it has been a slow trickling down process that further negatively impacts these great learning centers.

Dedicated newsgroups to libraries and librarians have long been a discussion forum for library enthusiasts who’ve shared concern of the impact this will make. “Information literacy is just so important for kids to be more successful in college,” said Livingston, 66, who worked in the Sammamish High School library for about a decade. “The kids are being hurt.”

 

Broadband Intiative: Free Wi-Fi USENET Access Nationwide

March 12th, 2010

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Could another influx of USENET newsgroup subscribers be on the horizon? At the Digital Inclusion Summit in Washington on Tuesday, Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said his agency is considering establishing “free or very low cost” wireless Internet service for the entire nation.

“In order to ensure long-term American competitiveness, we must not leave one-third of the nation behind,” Genachowski said. “The National Broadband Plan provides a vision for federal, state and local leadership and partnerships with private and nonprofit communities that will bridge the digital divide and transform America into a nation where broadband expands opportunities for all.”

The FCC provided few details about how it would carry out such a plan and who would qualify, but will make a recommendation under the National Broadband Plan set for release next week. The agency will determine details later. The number of Americans online grew nearly threefold from 85 million to 231 million between 1998 and 2008, according to reports from Usenet newsgroups. The FCC plan would extend broadband online service to an estimated 93 million Americans who the agency describes as being “left behind in the digital age.” and could dramatically help grow the USENET newsgroup community.

Both the FCC and the National Telecommunications & Information Administration are charged with mapping out where broadband is, and isn’t, as part of the national plan to deploy broadband nationwide. Debate has already begun over the proposal to offer the cheap or free wireless broadband, which would involve taking back at least some of the privately owned TV spectrum.

The cost of the plan, which will be submitted to Congress on March 17, is said to be in the neighborhood of $25 billion. According to the FCC, 4 percent of American homes do not have access to broadband Internet, and three in 10 people in the U.S. do not have high-speed Internet because of factors such as price. A survey by the FCC provides a great detail of figures of those without access in the US.

 

Virgin Media Plans To Offer 100MB Connections To USENET

February 26th, 2010

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UK members may be getting a speed bump when accessing USENET Newsgroups. Virgin Media, the UK’s leading cable, phone and internet service provider, has announced it will begin the roll-out of a 100Mb broadband service, the fastest available commercial product in the UK, by the end of 2010.

Various ISP and UK related newsgroups have posted that Virgin Media has added 34,200 new cable TV subscribers during the last quarter, taking the provider’s total market share to over 3.7 million. The television and broadband provider has indicated that it will introduce the high-speed internet offering to households across the country by the end of 2010. Its flagship service will also be around 24 times faster than the average speed offered by other internet service providers.

According to Virgin’s website, that would suggest no limits on downloads at all. On the face of it, the policy avoids various peak time traffic management tactics that reduce line bandwidth once a certain transfer threshold has been breached. No word on how USENET related traffic would be handled with this upgrade. The group claimed the service would allow web surfers to download a music album in as little as five seconds, an hour-long TV show in 31 seconds and an high-definition movie in less than eight minutes.

CEO Neil Berkett said: “There is nothing we can’t do with our fiber optic cable network, and the upcoming launch of our flagship 100 megabits service will give our customers the ultimate broadband experience.”

In late 2008, Virgin made its real move to compete with DSL and emerging fiber-based broadband services with its 50 Mbps downstream service, which was more than twice the speed of its 20 Mbps tier.

The new 100Mb service will help the UK catch up with other markets that are pushing ahead with broadband, such as Japan and Korea, which are rolling out 1 GB broadband.  Virgin added a total of 28,600 new subscribers in the last three months of last year, the biggest increase since the company’s creation through the merger of NTL and Telewest in 2006. With this new rollout, expect USENET access and activity in the UK to increase significantly.

 

FCC Promotes US Broadband Initiative

February 23rd, 2010

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According to the latest study by the Federal Communications Commission, one in three people in the U.S. don’t have broadband connections. In fact, only a small minority of these 93 million Americans even use the Internet at all: some have dial-up connections and some use Web services at work or at public places like libraries, but most just abstain from the Internet entirely, according to USENET newsgroup reports that posted up the new US Commerce Department figures that reinforce what some educators believe is causing some students to fall behind.

The report posted on USENET newsgroups shows that the telephone survey of 5,005 adults last fall included 2,334 adults who said they are not broadband users at home and precedes the FCC’s delivery of a National Broadband Plan to Congress. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said Feb. 16 he wants 100 million U.S. households to have access to ultra high-speed internet connections, with speeds of 100 megabits per second by the year 2020. That would be several times faster than the download speeds many U.S. homes with broadband get now, which range from 3 MBPS to 20 MBPS. One of the first steps towards overhauling the national broadband infrastructure will be the unveiling of a new broadband plan by the FCC on March 17. The FCC began working on the national broadband plan back in April 2009. The FCC is looking at multiple methods of funding a national broadband plan including reallocation of funds collected in the Universal Service Fund.

The Federal Communications Commission’s first-ever survey on Internet usage and attitudes concludes that those who aren’t connected today need to be taught how to navigate the Web, find online information that is valuable to them and avoid hazards such as Internet scams, something that has been a long standing resource that USENET newsgroups has also assisted with. The report found that 78% of adults are Internet users, and 65% of adults are broadband adopters. It then divides users who haven’t got broadband into four groups. The Digitally Distant make up 10% of the general population; this is the group that simply doesn’t want to be online. The Digital Hopefuls make up 8% of the population; they’d like to be online but lack resources to do so; many don’t have a computer and/or don’t know how to use one, and cost of computer and broadband connection is also a big barrier. An exact number of those who routinely use USENET newsgroups while they are online were not specified.

According to the report, nearly half of the respondents said cost was one of the prohibiting factors for not having broadband service at home. What’s more, nearly the same percentage of people said they were uncomfortable using a computer. The National Broadband Plan is expected to target widespread deployment of broadband networks, fueled in part by a revamp of the Universal Service Program that will emphasize broadband rather than voice connectivity, along with a plan to phase-out of traditional phone service, instead using the broadband network to support VOIP.

 

ISP Newsgroups: 02 Announced USENET Throttle

October 12th, 2009

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United Kingdom broadband provider O2 will begin throttling USENET newsgroups between 8PM and 11pm. Customers will experience slower access times to certain services during these hours.

On the O2 website, the company has stated that due to heavy traffic from some users, it has prevented or slowed access to what they deem to be “priority” traffic to email and social networking sites. They state that growth of online traffic has put a strain on their network.

The company had announced that they would begin rolling out the throttle program beginning today. Customers of the broadband provider may very well experience slower speeds to particular online destinations, including USENET newsgroups.

The site clearly states that all NNTP and other protocol and port traffic related to newsgroups would experience a slow down during the 8-11pm time period.

Since the announcement, ISP newsgroup discussions have begun stating their displeasure with this recent move, threatening to leave the provider.

This is the first time that a UK provider has imposed a throttle on ports. The US has experienced throttle campaigns by major players Comcast and Time Warner Cable which are still being tested out in certain regions.

 

Comcast Imposes Speed Limit on Users

August 21st, 2008

Comcast , the nation’s largest cable TV provider and an ISP to over 14 million broadband subscribers, plans to begin throttling service to some broadband users it deems to be hogging the pipes during times of congestion, Bloomberg reported.

Comcast senior vice president and general manager of online services Mitch Bowling said that the company will monitor traffic “in nearly real time,” and penalize its heaviest users by impeding their connections for up to 20 minutes, dropping them down to DSL-equivalent speeds.

“If in fact a person is generating enough packets that they’re the ones creating that situation, we will manage that consumer for the overall good of all of our consumers,” Bowling told Bloomberg.

Initial reports state that the policing of bandwidth of users would be beginning shortly, although no specific date has yet been announced.