U.S. gives $6 million grant for rural telehealth projects

Last week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) granted $6 million in funding to establish 10 telemedicine and health care projects to six states that have areas that are currently lacking adequate care.

"[This] funding can help improve the health of rural residents who live in the south central portion of the country," says Tom Vilsack, USDA secretary. "These projects can provide care to patients currently receiving no care at all and hopefully reduce the incidence of stroke, mental illness, and other health disorders in rural regions."

GE Energy provides city with $20 million smart grid system

On Monday, GE Energy formed an agreement with the city of Leesburg, Florida to undergo a $20 million smart grid project to modernize the city’s electric utility.  The project, paid for using $10 million in federal grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, will provide 24,000 customers with smart meters starting in March of next year.

The new system is expected to save Leesburg $15 million in electric operations over the next 20 years, according to the Leesburg City Commission.

M2M used in landslide detection for governments

On-Ramp Wireless (San Diego, Calif., U.S.A.), a provider of networking and location tracking equipment, on Tuesday announced it has partnered with Green Life Networks (GLN), a department of Gemtek (Hsinchu, Taiwan), a provider of wireless broadband solutions, to provide a landslide sensor for local, state and federal governments.

By deploying a group of sensors on hills with landslide potential, these sensors are able to detect minute movements to identify the formation of potential landslide.

Analysis: Sprint network upgrade may curb unlimited data plan

Reuters

Sprint Nextel (Overland Park, Kan., U.S.A.) may be forced to abandon the biggest advantage it has over its rivals - unlimited data services for a flat fee - because of heavy data users and a shortage of wireless airwaves.

Moreover, the increasing likelihood that AT&T's (Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.) plan to buy T-Mobile USA (Bellevue, Wash., U.S.A.), the nation's fourth-largest mobile operator, will fail may have the paradoxical result of making Sprint's position even more untenable, according to analysts who follow all three companies.

Blocking AT&T, T-Mobile deal could hurt rivals

Reuters

Driven by antitrust concerns, U.S. regulators are fighting hard to block AT&T's (Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.) $39 billion deal to buy Deutsche Telekom's (Bonn, Germany) T-Mobile USA. But, in an ironic twist, smaller U.S. wireless rivals may suffer more if the deal is blocked than if it is approved.

China overtakes U.S. as largest smartphone market

Smartphone shipments reached a record 24 million units in China during the third quarter of 2011, overtaking the United States, who had 23 million units, according to a recent report by Strategy Analytics (Newton, Mass., U.S.A.). This is the first time China has surpassed the U.S. to become the world’s largest smartphone market by volume.

In China, smartphone shipments grew 58% to 23.9 million units during the third quarter of 2011, while shipments in the U.S. fell 7% to 23.3 million units, according to Linda Sui, an analyst at Strategy Analytics.

FCC chief seeks added review on AT&T, T-Mobile deal

Reuters

AT&T Inc (Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.) was dealt a blow on Tuesday as the top U.S. communications regulator sought to have its planned $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile USA (Bellevue, Wash., U.S.A.) sent to an administrative law judge for review. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski sent a draft order to his fellow commissioners, citing FCC staff findings that the deal would significantly diminish competition and lead to massive job losses.

Clearwire shares plunge 31% on default fears

Reuters

Shares of Clearwire Corp (Kirkland, Wash., U.S.A.) plunged as much as 31% after a Wall Street Journal report quoted its CEO as saying the company was considering skipping a $237 million interest payment due December 1.

Shares of the cash-strapped high-speed wireless firm dropped as low as $1.28 as investors worried that their fears about bankruptcy could be realized. The stock regained some ground to close at $1.47, down 20%, on the Nasdaq.

Clearwire said it "does not comment on speculation" and declined to discuss the story.

U.S. announces national security investigation into Chinese telecom companies

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representative Intelligence Committee announced it was launching an investigation into the threat posed by Chinese-owned telecommunications companies working in the U.S., including Huawei (Shenzhen, P.R.C.) and ZTE (Shenzhen, P.R.C.).

The investigation comes after a ten month preliminary review of Chinese communications companies was conducted by the committee staff.  The preliminary review suggested that there was a national security concern of “the highest priority” and that a more extensive investigation should be conducted.

Tension simmers between Verizon, Vodafone

Reuters

Tension between Vodafone (London, England) and Verizon Communications (New York) over their joint venture in the United States has eased and the success of new partnerships could determine if that relationship goes any further.

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