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The key metric for broadband should be the applications and needs that drive consumer requirements and choices. In this way, broadband should be understood as a connection that is sufficient in speed and capacity such that it does not limit a user’s required application.Their magic broadband number is a reasonable and doable 10Mbps symmetric connection for residential and small businesses as well as a 1Gbps level for enterprise users. Importantly, they note that a single broadband connection supports far more than a single computer or use - these connections are shared, often among many wired and wireless devices. Compare these comments to those of the NCTA [pdf] (lobbying organization for cable companies) that argue broadband is nothing more than an "always on" connection regardless of the speeds or user experience. This is how they justify maintaining the international laughingstock definition of 768kbps/200kbps.
Statewide Video Franchising: Bad for Communities
WashPo: Headline Wrong, Story Mostly Correct
"If you want to get broadband out, you have to do it with [those] who brought you to the dance in the first place, and in this case it is the incumbent cable and telephone carriers who have 85 percent of lines in the country," said Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington tech policy think tank.Mr. Atkinson appears to educate himself solely with the press releases and reports of incumbent-financed think tanks. He has systematically ignored the potential for publicly owned networks - as we have shown, these networks are some of the fastest and most affordable networks in the country. Instead, he opines about the need for incumbents to build more of their super slow DSL networks - as though that is what the country needs to remain competitive in the 21st century.
Roundup: Chattanooga, Seattle, Portland, and More
A couple of short interesting stories this week:
The Chattanoogan.com published a "Declaration of Independence from Comcast", written by a "fi-oneer" or person who is testing the new publicly owned FTTH services.
Unsurprisingly, there are some glitches this early in the process, but the fi-oneer seems pretty happy with it overall:
The television is fantastic; we have a multitude of channels, both high def and non high def; local, 'cable,' sports, movies, etc. Contracts are still being completed with a couple of providers, so we are missing my favorite, HGTV. I have been told that it will be coming in less that two weeks.
Although as with any new product there are occasional glitches, but we have only had a few, minor not major ones, at that. The picture might freeze for a few seconds, or pixilate for a few seconds. There are some things you need to learn about the remote control.
Interestingly, early problems can actually help community networks. In Burlington, Vermont, early problems allowed the publicly owned network to demonstrate how good its customer service was compared to the incumbents and gained a better reputation.
More news out of Seattle - following up on our recent story noting Reclaim the Media's push for public broadband in Seattle, Seattle radio station KUOW's program "The Conversation" had some guests discussing the existing network in Tacoma and a potential network for Seattle. Follow that link to listen in, the relevant portion runs from 14 minutes to 21 minutes (a total of 7 minutes).
- Karl Bode at DSL Reports slams a recent report by incumbent-flack group Discovery Institute that concludes government regulation of broadband is unnecessary. Bode's response is worth reading, here is an excerpt:
Nation's Largest Citywide FTTH Network to be Completed Next Year
"There are two primary components to building this system. One component is taking longer than we thought and the other is happening much faster than we anticipated", said Harold DePriest, President and CEO. "The end result is that services will be available to the entire cities of Chattanooga, East Ridge and Red Bank by summer of 2010." DePriest says once in place, EPB's fiber optic network will be the largest of its kind in the country.However, Chattanooga has suffered the same problem that has plagued other publicly owned broadband projects around the country: incumbent telco and cableco lawyers. Comcast has sued Chattanooga in multiple courts in an attempt to limit competition (see here, here, here, and here for a few examples). As with these cases across the country (from Monticello, MN to Bristol, VA, to Lafayette, LA), the incumbents have lost the cases but successfully slowed the build-out, which hurts the community while padding company profits for an extra couple of years. The network will offer symmetrical speeds of 10-50Mbps while keeping costs lower than the standard prices in the market.
Community Broadband - High Capacity, Low Cost
Community Broadband Networks: The Best of the BestNote: Speeds are expressed as Mbps Down/Up. Each network has distinct offering for each tier.
|Tier 1||Tier 2||Tier 3||Tier 4|
|Lafayette||Louisiana||10/10||$28.95||30/30||$44.95||50/50||$57.95||-||-||All connections come with 100Mbps connections to others on the local network.|
|Wilson||North Carolina||10/10||$34.95||20/20||$54.95||40/40||$99.95||60/60||$199.95||There is also a 100/100 tier for $299.95. These prices come from the bundled options. There is one unbundled option - 20/20 for $59.95|
|UTOPIA||Utah||15/15||$39.95||30/30||$49.95||50/50||$59.95||100/100||$147||This is an open access network, 100/100 is not offered by all service providers|
|Tullahoma||Tennessee||10/1||$37.95||5/3||$49.95||20/5||$59.95||50/15||$149.95||There is also a 100/30 tier for $299.95|
|Compare to the best from the private sector:|
|Comcast||DOCSIS 3 in MN||1/.384||$39.95||12/2||$59.95||16/2||$69.95||22/5||79.95||A higher tier of 50/10 is available for $139.95/month. These are unbundled prices, bundling generally saves $15/month. Speeds are "up to" depending on neighborhood congestion. Comcast marketing makes it difficult to understand what speeds you are paying for.|
|Verizon||FiOS||10/2||$49.99||20/5||$59.95||20/20||$69.95||50/20||$144.95||These are unbundled prices - bundling with phone reduces monthly price by $5. FiOS is not available throughout Verizon footprint.|