Archive for the ‘New America Foundation’ Category

The Cost of Connectivity

August 13, 2012 Comments off

The Cost of Connectivity

Source: New America Foundation

In this study, we compare high-speed Internet offerings in 22 cities around the world by price, download and upload speed, and bundled services. We have included some of the most relevant findings from our research in the report that follows, as well as a discussion of policy recommendations for the U.S. The report includes:

  • A comparison of "triple play" offerings that bundle Internet, phone, and television services;
  • A survey of the best available Internet plan for approximately $35 USD in each city;
  • A comparison of the fastest Internet available in each city.

The results indicate that U.S. consumers in major cities tend to pay higher prices for slower speeds compared to consumers abroad. For example, when comparing triple play packages in the 22 cities surveyed, consumers in Paris can purchase a 100 Mbps bundle of television, telephone, and high-speed Internet service for the equivalent of approximately $35 (adjusted for PPP). By contrast, in Lafayette, LA, the top American city, the cheapest available package costs around $65 and includes just a 6 Mbps Internet connection. A comparison of Internet plans available for around $35 shows similar results. Residents of Hong Kong have access to Internet service with symmetrical download and upload speeds of 500 Mbps while residents of New York City and Washington, D.C. will pay the equivalent price for Internet service with maximum download speeds that are 20 times slower (up to 25 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 2 Mbps).

The results add weight to a growing body of evidence that suggests that the U.S. is lagging behind many of its international counterparts, most of whom have much higher levels of competition and, in turn, offer lower prices and faster Internet service. It suggests that policymakers need to re-evaluate our current policy approaches to increase competition and encourage more affordable high-speed Internet service in the U.S.

Student Loan Interest Rates: History, Subsidies, and Cost

February 24, 2012 Comments off

Student Loan Interest Rates: History, Subsidies, and CostSource: New American Foundation

In his State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to prevent federal student loan interest rates from doubling later this year. This is the culmination of decades of legislative changes to the federal student loan program. Few people are aware of the policies that led to the pending student loan interest rate increase and many question whether the 6.8 percent fixed interest rate charged on the most widely-available loans provides a real benefit to students.

This issue brief details the history of federal student loan interest rates, including the decisions that led to today’s fixed rates and the pending rate increase. It also examines the popular argument that current rates are unfavorable for borrowers and disputes the claim that student loans earn revenue for the government.

+ Full Document (PDF)

The Way Forward: Moving From the Post-Bubble, Post-Bust Economy to Renewed Growth and Competitiveness

October 13, 2011 Comments off

The Way Forward: Moving From the Post-Bubble, Post-Bust Economy to Renewed Growth and Competitiveness
Source: New America Foundation

Notwithstanding repeated attempts at monetary and fiscal stimulus since 2009, the United States remains mired in what is by far its worst economic slump since that of the 1930s. More than 25 million working-age Americans remain unemployed or underemployed, the employment-to-population ratio lingers at an historic low of 58.3 percent, business investment continues at historically weak levels, and consumption expenditure remains weighed down by massive private sector debt overhang left by the bursting of the housing and credit bubble a bit over three years ago. Recovery from what already has been dubbed the “Great Recession” has been so weak thus far that real GDP has yet to surpass its previous peak. And yet, already there are signs of renewed recession.

It is not only the U.S. economy that is in peril right now. At this writing, Europe is struggling to prevent the sovereign debt problems of its peripheral Euro-zone economies from spiraling into a full-fledged banking crisis – an ominous development that would present an already weakening economy with yet another demand shock. Meanwhile, China and other large emerging economies–those best positioned to take up worsening slack in the global economy–are beginning to experience slowdowns of their own as earlier measures to contain domestic inflation and credit-creation kick in, and as weak growth in Europe and the United States dampen demand for their exports.

Nor is renewed recession the only threat we now face. Even if a return to negative growth rates is somehow avoided, there will remain a real and present danger that Europe and the United States alike fall into an indefinitely lengthy period of negligible growth, high unemployment and deflation, much as Japan has experienced over the past 20 years following its own stock-and-real estate bubble and burst of the early 1990s.3 Protracted stagnation on this order of magnitude would undermine the living standards of an entire generation of Americans and Europeans, and would of course jeopardize America’s position in the world.

+ Full Report (PDF)

New Report Calls for ‘21st Century Agenda for Pakistan’

September 7, 2011 Comments off

New Report Calls for ‘21st Century Agenda for Pakistan’
Source: New America Foundation

Today an expert study group co-sponsored by the New America Foundation and the National War College released their findings on U.S-Pakistan relations. The group, comprised of both American and Pakistani policy specialists, came together to devise practical ways to advance the U.S.-Pakistan relationship at a time when relations between the two countries are arguably at their most strained.

Peter Bergen, Michael J. Mazarr and additional members of the study group will discuss the findings at an 11 a.m briefing today at the New America Foundation.

The report states:

“In this post-Arab Spring, post-Osama bin Laden moment, military responses to radicalism have proven their limits, large-scale aid programs are becoming untenable, and the “leverage” of bilateral aid relationships has shown itself unable to produce sustainable changes in mindset. Pakistan, and its international partners including the United States, require a fresh approach that moves beyond security issues as the touchstone for policy, that lays out a vision for a more prosperous future, and that empowers civilian, democratic governments at all levels to become more effective.

“The strategic concept we propose to meet these goals is a collaborative agenda for Pakistan to take its place as a major power in a modernizing South Asia. This is a 21st century agenda for Pakistan, one based on progress, growth, trade, entrepreneurial energy, and popular involvement in democratic governance. It is a vision of an advancing, influential Pakistan standing at a vibrant crossroads of trade, diplomacy and geopolitics, at a time when the human capacities, natural resources, and mineral wealth of South Asia are destined to become increasingly important to global economic developments.”

+ Full Report

The Militant Pipeline: Between the Afghanistan-Pakistan Border Region and the West

July 13, 2011 Comments off

The Militant Pipeline: Between the Afghanistan-Pakistan Border Region and the West
Source: New America Foundation

A decade after 9/11, despite growing concerns over Yemen, Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and swaths of the country’s northwest arguably remain al Qaeda ’s main safe haven, and the area from which it can hatch its most dangerous plots against the West.[i] Al Qaeda’s presence in these areas has long threatened international security. It was in Peshawar in Pakistan’s northwest that al Qaeda was founded in 1988, and ever since Pakistan’s border region with Afghanistan has been a gateway for recruits joining the terrorist network and its affiliates, and an area in which its senior figures have felt comfortable planning operations, including the 9/11 attacks. After being driven out of Afghanistan, it was on the Pakistani side of the border that al Qaeda built up a new safe haven.[ii] And while bin Laden went to ground in Abbottabad in the settled areas of Pakistan some 70 miles north of Islamabad where he was killed on May 2, 2011, many of his key lieutenants remain in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

Recent years have seen increased numbers of Westerners travelling to the region for paramilitary training, with 100 to 150 suspected of making the trip in 2009 and reports of recruits continuing to stream in during 2010 and 2011, according to Western counterterrorism officials.[iii] While many went there because the area is the principal point of entry to join the fighting in Afghanistan, the presence of al Qaeda, and its sustained ability to train recruits and persuade them to launch attacks in the West, continue to make the FATA what President Obama called in 2009 “the most dangerous place in the world.”

+ Full Document (PDF)


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