Skip to comments.Game Over: The U.S. is unlikely to ever regain its broadband leadership.
Posted on 08/04/2007 11:53:48 PM PDT by HAL9000
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It is very doubtful, almost impossible, that we'll catch up to those countries ahead of us in broadband penetration. They are too far ahead and our native demand is simply less because our Internet economies are developing more slowly. Absent some miracle, the game is already over.
As I wrote two weeks ago, the situation is likely to improve somewhat over the next year or two as the telephone companies sacrifice a little to lock us in before we switch to DOCSIS 3 cable modems and the cable companies, in turn, offer incentives to jump to their voice products. But these companies don't think at all in international terms and they simply don't care about international competitiveness or the growth of our economy. They should, but they don't. And they don't because they have never had to. Though they are required to operate in the public interest and to provide public services, these monopolies have never been forced to consider our place in the world.
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(Excerpt) Read more at pbs.org ...
I live in a suburban city, I have several high speed options, Comcast, WOW, Sprint, ... and I have to pay for them. I should not have to pay a higher rate so those in the boonies can have the same choices.
Those living out in the middle of nowhere, have other advantages, like a quieter country side, and the ability to keep chickens in the back yard. Should people in the sticks be taxed extra to provide services to city dwellers?
No. People are free to live where they want, they just have to set their priorities.
Europe has good cell phone systems because their wired phone service is terrible. Cell was the first alternative they had and they siezed it.
America has a large part of its populaton in the “boonies” where Europe does not. That’s the difference and the reason we have many more roads and cars than Europe does.
That applies to EVERY price. If a company does not try to maximize the price it charges, it will probably not exist very long.
I had a wireless connection like this in a Canadian Campground and it was great .......except when a train went by. The line of sight was so flat, a nearby elevated track interferred.
Just my opinion, from my ebusiness experience, the net capabilities aren’t used to their fullest capabilities due to the lack of skill and knowledge of the common user.
Hardware and services are available if the business needs it. Small to medium businesses don’t fully utilize the internet due to lack of personal to run emarketing for them. The customer base isn’t as high as it should be due to lack of computer skills.
Oh great. More spam to clean up.
The United States will catch up with WiMax and 3G wireless services.
Running wires to every house is soooooooo 1950.
For example there’s many areas of the country that are not flat...
Wireless gets pretty difficult once you lose line of sight. Not to mention there isn’t enough radio spectrum to supply everyone with broadband in densely populated areas.
More liberal shorts wringing....the game is almost over for ATT and Verizon.......mash here
International business operations should not be built in podunk.
Here we differ.
70 years ago there were undoubtedly people who said rural areas didn't need electricity because, by golly, the farms had never had electricity, that was just the way it was, and if you wanted modern conveniences you should move to the city.
We decided, correctly IMHO, that electricity is so fundamental to modernity that affordable access should be provided more-or-less universally. One can debate whether the rural electric cooperatives were the way to do it -- most of the world simply turned the job over to a state-run utility system -- but we retained an essentially privatized system through the REC's. One way or another, however, we got it done.
Today broadband has become essential for business development in many sectors. Areas without it will be redlined. Many rural areas have significant competitive advantages -- lower land costs, lower taxes, low-to-non-existent crime, no congestion, short commutes, a high quality workforce, etc. This isn't a new story; a fair share of branch plants, service centers, distribution hubs, etc. have been moving to rural areas for years. But today, they need broadband. Many rural areas will also attract folks who can and would prefer to work from home, provided they can get linked.
Do we really want to walk away from all that potential simply because Verizon, Comcast, or AT&T -- whoever owns the local metro hub (very often the county seat town) -- doesn't want to bother with providing service out to the county?
I can tell you what the political answer will be. Rural broadband is already a political issue. To this point, the political pressure has been contained. If most rural areas don't get served pretty quickly, however, the cable and phone companies are going to be looking at universal service requirements. That's more heavy-handed than the feds have been willing to be to this point, but it's the next step if the companies don't get off the dime and get it done.
Good points. There already exists technology to use power lines to piggyback digital signals. That could solve the mountainous areas issue.
Densely populated areas already have coverage, so wireless is not much of an issue.
I am confident that the market will figure out the best way to cover our nation. I don't believe that one glove fits all.
You're already paying it. And so are the customers in the boonies. But the money has been swindled. Billions of dollars that were supposed to be used for infrastructure improvements are unaccounted for.
Interesting thread. Thanks to all contributors.
The company I work for has roughly 600 stores all over the country. We use AT&T quite a bit now for the local ISPs (including the old BellSouth, SBC, and a few others), as well as hosting one of our DS3 lines locally, and using one of their "CO-LO" sites in Dallas as our backup site... One thing I've come to realize is that with all the acquisitions, AT&T is nearly as big as they were before the breakup. More importantly, they're back to their old attitude, perfectly summed up by Lilly Tomlin on "Laugh In" so many years ago... "We're the phone company. We don't have to care!"
Canada can do it, and we have a much higher population density.
A lot of our infrastructure was built by the CCC during the Depression. They installed 89,000 miles of telephone line.
I certainly don't advocate that now, but it's a fact that much of our telecom infrastructure was built by government employees.
Nowadays, the telcos have equipment that can install fiber lines far more efficiently that the original copper network was.
In PA Verizon has received huge state dollars to expand the reach of their DSL. Billions of dollars have just enabled them to increase their profits. These dollars have extended DSL out by about 15 miles beyond the city limits where I live.
My company could have extended wireless services to everybody in the county for 750K or less - yet those dollars aren’t available to my company because they have already been promised to Verizon.
And while some companies may have extended to more rural areas they do so only if there are other essentials available like land and access to highways. We are 35 miles from the nearest interstate and 150 miles from a major airport. Unlikely this area will see an IBM relocate here even if we had fttp and gigabit to everywhere. In fact it would be interesting if ANYONE could give me the URL of a single company that relocated from a city to rural area for the sole reason that broadband was available.
And someone stated that companies are outsourcing work that could be done in the US if “Broadband” was available. Hogwash! People in the US don’t work for 3 bucks an hour plus in this area one would be hard pressed to find any skilled worker who could do a technical job. So the workforce has to be relocated from somewhere else at huge cost. Cheaper to build a facility in India, bring the broadband there (probably at a cost of about 4 or 5K per mile), hire a bunch of people for high wages there, but 10% what it would cost here (not to mention the cost of benefits here - probably don’t exist in India) and save a bunch of bucks.
The extension of broadband is like building sewer systems. We see these big tax dollars going to extend sewer plants all over the place. The taxpayers are sold this with the statement that if they build sewers and water systems development will happen - hasn’t happened here in the 20 years we have been told this. Similarly with broadband - the availability of DSL and Cable hasn’t created an in-rush of residents and probably won’t. True it makes it easier to sell your house when you move to the big city for a job that pays more than the bare minimum, but there are no big corporations lined up to buy the unused farmland around here.
And finally ANYONE can get broadband. I repeat ANYONE can get broadband. You just have to pay for it. And that is the crux of the issue. People in my area of the country have this dollar general mentality that says that broadband should cost 5 bucks per month and they won’t pay more. Verizon can’t even entice them with $9.99 per month! And while government officials are clamoring for more broadband only about 30% of the companies in this city actually have broadband, the rest see no need for it! Fully 1/2 don’t even have a dialup connection.
The cost to deploy broadband increases with distance. It makes no economic sense for any company - whether Verizon or AT&T to build facility that won’t ever make money. Similarly it makes no sense for my company to do that - I’m not about to invest 3/4 of a million bucks with a return on investment of 8 years or more - I will if people want to pay for the service but they don’t.
So this whole broadband issue is one of perception. Kind of like the global warming debates - either you believe that everyone is entitled to broadband or you don’t. I believe people need to live where the infrastructure meets their needs. At no time should my tax dollars be spent to make the infrastructure meet the needs of the few telecommuters who chose to live on 100 acres 25 miles from the nearest town. I have moved several times in my adult life - each move has been to go where the work is. And each time I moved I chose to live in an area that best met my needs at that time - had I been a telecommuter I would have moved to a city where facilities permitted that.
American companies figure they can keep their customers happy by NOT providing better services. If no one knows what REAL High Speed Internet Access is, then no one will be angry because they don’t have it. Charging outrageous premiums for less than standard service in other countries keeps the major telecom’s money outlay at a minimum, while raking in HUGE profits in caparison. This along with the average American’s superiority complex AND their refusal to investigate how the rest of the world operates have combined to give American’s a HORRIBLE HSIA infrastructure filled with monopolies who send the least amount of money possible on it to begin with.
You don’t believe me? Just look at the cell phones in the US compared to foreign countries. Want to pay for something at a vending machine with your credit card? Not in the US. Want to pay with your Cell Phone? Not in the US.
I’m as free market capitalist as the next guy, but when you have so many LEGAL monopolies that innovation CAN’T come about by the little guys, then the system is broken. In this case, and may others, the system is broken.
And for those saying that this HSIA is only for piracy, I don’t even know where to begin. Why have heating systems that heat your house to 70 degrees, 50 degrees will keep you alive just fine. Why buy an HDTV, a 19 inch SD TV works just fine. The analogies are vast. Just dig you head in the sand if you want to stay at 750K up/150K down. I bet you are still using AOL, the internet training wheels
My rural telephone co-op installed fiber optic trunks so all the service are is within the 3 mile? limit;so 1.5M DSL is available for $49.95 a month(plus a $4.95 TAX assessed by the FCC? on high-speed connections)Dial-up is $19.95 a month ,and alternates like PeoplePC,AOL, are all long-distance calls because the “local access” numbers are actually auto-forwarding numbers which the co-op claims the alternates didn’t pay for.
I would love to have $9.99 DSL !Even $19.99 would be great.
Rural wages tend to be lower so there are fewer people willing or able to pay $100 a month for cable TV which ,oddly enough,insn’t extended to rural areas.
Eh? Well, yea, the population density in Japan is way higher then here, hence their infrastructure costs are different.
if you remember cell phones, *many* countries adopted cell phones on a massive scale well before the US as a whole. similarly, down here in Chile I was able to do online banking to Chilean banks via WWW *SIX YEARS* before I was able to do the same at my US bank.
why??? because US is composed of fifty states, state governments vary widely from state to state, and some states seem like they are in the stone age technology wise -- it doesn't help that communication is typically a monopoly and whoever runs a monopoly wants to keep things the way they are and rake in the dough with their existing infrastructure - can you say ISP? as in telephone and cable modem ?
The simple fact of the matter is that people are not willing to pay for faster broadband and the gov’t is not willing to allow the natural monopoly of a telecom to form. So the telecoms (and cable too) are not willing to dump cheap high speed internet into everyone’s home until they hit a certain economy of scale.
‘NTT wont come in because most folks already have cable and wont switch over because they know itll cost as little more’
That sums it all up. Replace NTT with AT&T and you have the same resoning. Telecommunications are a big money business with profits made from having a large sub base. If you have to little of a sub base then you lose money by the truckloads.
Teletruth isn’t an accurate misnomer. they’ve had their chance to testify but they’re more agitprop than truth seekers.
Bl;ah...I meant it’s an inaccurate name
They should have been upgrading their antique infrastructure instead of spending billions on unnecessary acquisitions.’
That’s $600,000,000 budgeted over the next couple years for just 2 states.
It will be interesting to see how much they actually accomplish. I recall when Ed Whitacre announced "Project Pronto", and promised to deploy DSL in many communities. Then he cancelled the project when it was halfway done. "Project Lightspeed" may turn out to be a big flop because it is a half-assed network that won't scale up well.
Verizon is doing a much better job than AT&T. They're actually deploying fiber to the premises.
Why do you say it doesn’t scale well? It’s building the underlying structure necessary to go to an all fiber network eventually without paying a premium?
Verizon is having to pay so much for FiOS that even with the good uptake they’re still having to roll the service out extremely slow. They’ve been rolling it out for 3.5 years now and they’re probbaly not going to finish it for quite a while longer. I guarantee you that if Verizon serviced you, you’d definitely not see it. As is they’re trying to sell off 3 rural states to accomplish it.
That's what AT&T should do - downsize to a level where it can afford to upgrade the network to modern standards.
Those spun-off Verizon states will fare better too. They won't get fibre right away, but they'll get better upgrades than AT&T's rurals will.
We are not getting enough porn fast enough. This causes Americans to remain prudish and far behind, by world standards.
You know Arkansas would so be on that list.
The spun off states would get screwed even more. Look at who has the fastest speeds in the cable industry across more of their area. Cablevision services how many rural towns?
the rurals are a net drain on finance and left to their own would not ever be upgraded unless it became cheaper to run fiber than to maintain copper. So far that’s at least a decade off.
It really, really didn't help a few years ago when AT&T went around buying up cable services so that they could implement a high-speed delivery system (which as AT&T, they were barred from doing themselves), and immediately upon completing sinking a couple decades worth of profits into the project, the FCC announced a regulation change which required them to give free access to the bandwidth to all communications companies....making billions of dollars just go "poof".
Having seen what Verizon had to do to roll out FIOS in my neighborhood, I can say it’s quite an undertaking, and can understand the costs involved.
As well, I think that the time to take to roll it out isn’t only a matter of costs, but also a matter of availability of workers to do the roll-out. That's part of the difference between rolling out infrastructure in urbanized settings and in rural settings - it takes more workers and more time.
Nonetheless, we’ve had FIOS for over a year now (I was the first person in my neighborhood to sign up for it) in my semi-rural neighborhood out in the sticks of Anne Arundel County, MD. For $100 per month (plus taxes), I get phone service with unlimited local and long-distance calling, basic television (local channels), and 15Mbps/down 2Mbps/up Internet. It works very, very nicely.
See, that’s a total strawman argument. I’m not talking about dialup vs. broadband. Obviously, dialup is too slow for *any* internet application. My argument is that the big bulk of economic benefit comes within the first 250 to 500kB of bandwith. What I don’t get is why we need 100mbit lines. Even the 3-8mbit lines available in most of the country are overkill for most productive applications. Also, how would increasing our bandwith reduce our energy demands? Please don’t say telecommuting - that ship sunk about 10 years ago. If anything, people would leave their computers on longer to download more porn and movies, wasting more electricity.
Yes, if we did it for telephone and power, we can do it for the internet as well.
Just a long term infrastructure investment, like everything else.
Yes, if we did it for telephone and power, we can do it for the internet as well.
Just a long term infrastructure investment, like everything else.
That’s it in a nutshell. AT&T doesn’t want to spend billions running fiber to every house just so some FCC 2-1 vote years down the line can cause them to have lost everything from a long term investment.
Look at FiOS. There are people clamoring for Verizon to maintain the copper that they’re trying to abandon. It totally undercuts the reason for the upgrade.
Having a 10Mb/s line is simply having a line capable of transferring a certain volume of information is a certain amount of time. Technically latency would play a far bigger role in terms of speed. Having a line that can respond in 15ms is far and away better for a trader or buyer than a 10Mb/s line with 120ms response time.
That was about 70 years ago. I don’t think that buildout is germane to the issue of broadband. Today, we would have more than 89,000 circuit-miles of line in a small town.
“How many people trade stocks and currencies in the US?”
I don’t know the exact figure, but I think it’s lots now. The internet, broadband, new trading software and brokers has increased the numbers a lot recently and it’s growing.
You couldn’t trade currencies as an individual just a few short years ago, now you can. The Forex market is the largest financial market in the world.
So, that means the rest of the world gets their porn faster than we do.
He’d probably access through a 3rd party courier. It could be located in a village a day’s horse ride from his hole. Even if he had it in his cave, how would we identify his signal from others? Various warlords, drug growers and other of the wealthier of the tribesmen could also have internet.
Wouldn’t you agree that about 90% of our population lives in major metropolitan locations?
Thought you might find this of interest~!
Keep after them,...that’s a damn good price....I am paying way more than that...just signed up for Time Warner phone serive over the Cable,...not that great though....
but the speed on the internet cable is excellent....they say it is 6M/sec.....assume they mean bits ...but downloads can be quick....