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Broadband, DSL, and the Race for Internet Connectivity

Broadband, DSL, and the Race for Internet Connectivity

Abstract This paper discusses current technologies and trends relating to Internet connectivity. Broadband cable, DSL, and fixed wireless are examined. Issues addressed relating to these technologies are the potential for providers to favor specific content on broadband cable and the ‘digital divide’ or the trend of inaccessibility of the internet in poor and rural areas.

In recent years, the Internet has radically changed both our economic and social institutions. The driving force behind the Internet has been increasingly cheap, fast, and reliable connections between distant machines. As Internet connectivity increases, internetworking can be used in more places for more purposes. Until recently, businesses and consumers depended on modems to connect to the Internet, but now several new technologies are being used to continue the trend of greater connectivity. These include digital subscriber lines (DSL), cable modems, and fixed wireless networks.

This paper briefly examines each of these new technologies. More important than the details of how they work, however, is the effect they will have on the Internet and society. This paper discusses two of the biggest issues: corporate control of Internet content and equal access to the Internet by all races and classes. The creators of the Internet designed a system where all people everywhere could access the inter-network and where information sharing could not be suppressed. However, the cost of implementing these technologies has resulted in greater access for affluent communities, putting poor and rural communities at an economic disadvantage; this inequ…

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…Jeffrey. “End of the open road?” The American Prospect. Princeton. Vol. 11, Iss. 5. January 17, 2000. pp. 42-47.

Dunham, Richard S. “Across America, a troubling ‘digital divide’. Business Week. No. 3640. August 2, 1999. pg. 40.

Stepanek, Marcia. “A small town reveals America’s digital divide. Blacksburg Electronic Village, Va., and surrounding communities; Internet age report.” Business Week. No. 3649. October 4, 1999. pp. 188-91.

Mehta, Stephanie N. “The $1,000,000,000,000 bet.” Fortune. Vol. 142, No. 8. October 9, 2000. pp. 124-136.

1 Mehta, “The $1,000,000,000,000 bet”

2 Mehta, “The $1,000,000,000,000 bet”

3 Mehta, “The $1,000,000,000,000 bet”

4 Chester, “End of the open road?”

5 Dunham, “Across America, A Troubling Digital Divide”

6 Stepanek, “A small town reveals America’s digital divide”

Internet Privacy, Cookies, and Data Mining Practices

Abstract Technology has progressed to the point where a user’s web usage can be tracked between sessions by almost anyone. Text files dropped on a user’s machine, known as cookies, can give certain corporations personal information about the user, and can even keep track of what sites the user has visited. Such personal information can subsequently be sold or exploited, jeopardizing the user’s privacy.

In recent years and months, use of the Internet, specifically the world-wide web, has grown by leaps and bounds. An aspect of web-usage that has become nearly ubiquitous is web-advertising, specifically, banner advertising. However, in recent times, data mining techniques applied to data collected through web advertising have progressed to the point where individual privacy is at risk. The threat of personally identifiable information being linked to individuals is a clear and present danger and various privacy organizations have filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission regarding these issues (Federal Trade Commission). This paper is an examination of the privacy issues surrounding web advertising.

Banner advertising should be examined in a different light from static advertising because banner advertising is directed to individual consumers. Although static advertising, which is when an advertisement is coded into a web site, is fairly common, banner advertising is far more common because it allows advertisers the opportunity to both customize advertisements to individual users as well as collect data on those consumers. Web advertising has grown to a level where it has become a $934.3 million industry ( article/0,1401,7561_231431,00.html). Furthermore, customization has become a very serious priority for advertisers (and content-producers in general) as repeat business now comprises more than half of all e-business transactions ( article/0,1401,7561_231431,00.html).

In addition to customization, the other advantage of banner advertising is that it allows the firms in question to practice data mining techniques that can significantly add to their revenues. “By merging the information gathered from their web site traffic analysis tools with other data sources, such as customer databases, savvy online marketers can mine their web site traffic data to maximize the effectiveness and the return on investment (ROI) of their web sites.” ( The difference between data mining techniques and traditional data extraction techniques is that data mining “extracts information from a database that the user did not know existed” (Thearling), as opposed to traditional data extraction, where the user is rarely surprised by the information gleaned.

Although these

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