Verizon introduces 150 MBps home Internet service

Touting the fastest mass-market offering in the U.S., Verizon FiOS has launched a broadband product with speeds of 150 megabits per second downstream and 35 Mbps upstream.

via Verizon FiOS Speeds Up To 150 Mbps | News & Opinion | PCMag.com.

At a pricey $194/month, the service is limited to high wage areas where Verizon provides service, including north of Seattle, Redmond and north.

Until 2010, Verizon provided service in North Idaho, southern Spokane County and NW Montana but sold their telephone service to Frontier Communications. During their ownership, Verizon upgraded only the Western WA and Portland area networks with their enhanced fiber network services.

Comcast is now selling a package of home Internet service and mobile Internet data service. The new “4G” service is available in the Tacoma to Bellingham area, Yakima and the Tri-Cities.  The combined package is priced about the same as home Internet service by itself. How this relates to Spokane’s opportunities should be clear tomorrow.

One Bus Away – Real time bus location information

One Bus Away. Provides real-time information – in Seattle only – letting you know where your local bus is – via Internet, phone, text message, and apps for iPhone, Android and Windows Mobile Phone 7.

The system was created by an interdisciplinary team of graduate students and researchers at the UW, from the Computer Science & Engineering, and Civil and Environmental Engineering programs, with funding from Nokia, Google and the NSF.

Spokane and 4G Cellular

Image representing Clearwire as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

The second most frequent search on this blog is for information about “Fourth Generation” or 4G cellular service and when it will come to Spokane.

T-Mobile began offering in mid-2010 a faster data service they call 4G – its faster than 3G but still slower than true 4G except when its faster (confused?) in about half of Spokane and half of Spokane Valley. Their web site has a detailed coverage map that estimates availability down to the street level. (Competitors say true 4G is is faster than T-Mobile’s interim 4G but its easy to make that claim when they haven’t built 4G networks yet …)  A chart here illustrates that all the carriers are misrepresenting 4G – in fact, none of them are building 4G networks but all are building faster networks.

Sprint is the other company that has put 4G in much of Washington and has done so with their Clearwire (now just Clear) subsidiary. In 2008, Sprint bought a majority of the Clearwire company which, like Sprint, was working to deploy “WiMAX” 4G wireless data services. Sprint obtained investment money from Comcast, Time Warner, Intel, Google and others.

In Eastern Washington, Sprint rolled out their WiMAX 4G network in Ellensburg, Yakima, Zilah, Sunnyside, the Tri-Cities and further east. Spokane is not currently listed on their “Future CLEAR City” map and the company has announced it will “freeze” expansion of its network due to their financial situation. (Update: They will be getting new funding and will eventually resume building the network.)

For more information, see CLEAR | 4G WiMAX Internet Coverage Map with Service Area.

Because of the Comcast investment, those who have Comcast cable TV and who live in the Sprint 4G areas can now receive combined cable modem and wireless 4G data service for about the same price as standard cable or DSL modem service alone. The Comcast service requires the Clearwire 4G service, which is not available in Spokane.

Other cellular providers such as AT&T and Verizon are rolling out 4G services. They have not announced specific dates of 4G service in Spokane – but we do know that Verizon plans to have service rolled out to all of their service areas by 2013. AT&T starts in mid-2011 and says it will take “several years to build out 4G”. A map of the initial Verizon 4G service area is here.

Bottom line: T-Mobile has a pretty good 3G+ system they call 4G running now in about half of Spokane and half of Spokane Valley. Sprint’s CLEARwire solution is not available in Spokane and has announced a freeze in further network construction. Verizon and AT&T are rolling out service and the best we can say is that Verizon expects to complete their network roll out by 2013.  AT&T plans to begin implementing their 4G network – somewhere – starting in the summer of 2011.  Besides T-Mobile’s “4G”, Spokane should be online with a 4G network sometime from 2011 to 2013.

Update: Please see this newer post. Verizon now says they hope to have their 4G in some parts of Spokane in 2011.

Tomorrow: Creativity, Innovation and Infrastructure

Measuring Creativity – and how community creativity might be defined

In particular from a policy point of view creativity should not solely be considered as ‘a product oriented phenomenon aimed at solving problems’ Lubart (1999). It is as well a quest, a risk, an approach rather than a solution. Because creativity can mean so many things the KEA’s recent study develops the concept of culture-based creativity, which derives from art and cultural productions or activities which nurture innovation. Culture-based creativity is linked to the ability of people, notably artists, to think imaginatively or metaphorically, to challenge the conventional, and to call on the symbolic and affective to communicate. Culture-based creativity is a capacity to break the natural order, the usual way of thinking and to allow the development of a new vision, an idea or a product. Culture-based creativity is creativity that comes from artists, creative professionals and the cultural and creative industries.

The KEA report on Measuring Creativity, for the European Commission: measuringcreativity.pdf (application/pdf Object).

(Contrary to their implication that artists are the only ones who “think imaginatively” – there are many creative people in many fields. We would not be reading this over an Internet if there were not creative people in say, the technology fields.)

Not everyone buys the creativity story

Creativity is, one might say, the new black. An increasingly fashionable urban-development script has it that a historically distinctive “creative economy” – powered by raw human talent, as cool as it is competitive – is displacing sclerotic, organization-era capitalism. The prime movers in this new new economy are members of the so-called Creative Class, a mobile elite whose finicky lifestyle preferences increasingly shape the geographies of economic growth.

The big promoter is professor Richard Florida:

Routinely overstated and hyperbolic, Florida’s essential argument is that human creativity has become the engine of early-21st Century economic development, such that the competitiveness of nations and cities is increasingly rooted in the capacity to attract, retain, and “nurture” talented individuals – the newly dominant factor of production.

….

Beneath the creative rhetoric, Florida presents a fairly familiar urban-economic development story: construct new urban governance networks around growth-oriented goals, compete aggressively for mobile economic resources and government funds, respond in formulaic ways to (imminent) external threats, talk up the prospects of success, and, whatever you do, don’t buck the market. The emphasis on the mobilization of elite policy communities around growth-first urban policy objectives is nothing new, but whereas the entrepreneurial cities chased jobs, the creative cities pursue talent workers; the entrepreneurial cities craved investment, now the creative cities yearn for buzz; while entrepreneurial cities boasted of their postfordist flexibility, the creative cities trade on the cultural distinction of cool.

See The Cult of Urban Creativity

And in Michigan, they’ve even got Coolcities.com

Richard Florida might be on to something (the real world suggests his theory has not always worked so well) with the creative class and creative cities concept. But his tools are blunt. He lumps so many people into his “creative class”  that any sizable city gets labeled “creative”.  In fact, the whole country is basically “creative” (see map). Some example misfires in this approach are described. In his  approach, health care workers are a “creative class” so Spokane is a creative city.

As you can see, not everyone buys in to the creative class concept. But his point is valid:

a jobs strategy needs to start from a fundamental principle: That each and every human being is  creative and that we can only grow, develop, and prosper by harnessing the full creativity of each of us. For the first time in history, future economic development requires further human development. This means develop a strategy to nurture creativity across the board – on the farm, in the factory, and in offices, shops, non-profits, and a full gamut of service class work, as well as within the creative class. Our future depends on it.

Rethinking human capital, creativity and urban growth

We should add that members of the so-called ‘creative class’, i.e. individuals endowed with high levels of human capital are no doubt especially unlikely to shift location in the absence of relevant employment opportunities (which is not the same as saying that they are relatively immobile). These are individuals who have by definition invested considerable resources and time in acquiring know-how, skills and qualifications, and they are presumably unwilling to dissipate their investments in this respect by moving to places where their personal assets are systematically at risk or undervalued in the local job market. Such individuals typically choose to locate on the basis of some sort of structured match between their talents and the forms of economic specialization and labor demand to be found in the places where they eventually settle.

….

We acknowledge that cities are frequently intense foci of creativity in the sense that they are places that periodically generate technological innovations and economically useful knowledge, as well as new trends, sensibilities, fashions, perceptions and movements (Hall, 1998)

via Rethinking human capital, creativity and urban growth — J ECON GEOGR.

Older post relevant to this topic:

  • Spokane County job openings by required degree
    shows that area job openings for 4-year degree holders is typically in the range of 10% to 15% of openings (which is very low) and the demand for graduate trained workers is nil, around 2% to 4% of available jobs. Most of this small group, with graduate degreess work in health care or education.

Spokane Commercial Real Estate Vacancy Rates

A Danish Christmas tree illuminated with burni...

Image via Wikipedia

The Industrial vacancy rate fell to 15.43%. A sudden drop like that, absent any recent announcements in the media about something big opening up – is probably a data error or a change in methodology.

Good news is the drop in retail space. We will know if that trend is sticky by the time we get into January and past the Christmas selling season. The trend in retail and office space are both favorable.

Source: OfficeSpace.com

As always, each firm’s estimate of vacancies is calculated in their own way and estimates vary between firms.