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The Internet

The State of Broadband 121

Bartbrn writes "Here's an article ripped from today's headlines! Though this sounds like one of those Reader's Digest articles like "Ten Ways to Make Herpes Work For You!", it's actually a pretty interesting nugget written by Stephen Heins, Director of Marketing (uh oh) for NorthNet LLC, concerning the current political state of broadband access in the USA." Although this guy has a vested interest in the process, his take on the situation looks pretty accurate as far as I can tell.
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The State of Broadband

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  • Though this sounds like one of those Reader's Digest articles like "Ten Ways to Make Herpes Work For You!"

    wtf?
  • All this talk of highspeed internet connections, and I'm here, probably forever stuck with a 56k modem :(
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I remember reading somewhere(5 years ago) that by 2000, that all payphones will be changed over to broadband web terminals, what happened to that? Is that another pipe dream to be filed away along with flying cars and space stations? -Even in the future, nothing works!
  • by qpt ( 319020 ) on Wednesday February 28, 2001 @11:31PM (#393552)
    The broadband 'explosion' is crawling to a halt, and many providers are wondering why. It's quite simple, really - everyone has as much pornography as they want.

    Pornography has always been the driving force behind Internet innovation, after all. It was for pornography that ever faster connections were demanded, and it was for pornography that the basics of online financial transactions were fleshed out.

    However, there's simply a limit to the demand for pornography. To put it bluntly, everyone who uses the stuff is beating themselves sore, and can't possibly consume any more. Thus, the adoption of home broadband connections has dropped off severely.

    I predict, though, that our wily friends the pornographers will find a way to stimulate demand. Perhaps they will lobby congress to allow advertisements for pornography on television. Perhaps they will hire a celebrity spokesperson, such as Bob Doll or Heidi Wall. Regardless, once the pornographers get back on their feet, broadband demand will ignite once more.

    - qpt
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I have no idea what this guy is whining about. If he can't do a better job than the existing "monopolies" (read: people with more market share than he has), it makes perfect sense that his competitors are leaving him in the dust.

    And it even makes sense that they do a better job than he does. The concept of the "economy of scale" has been one of the most significant ideas to come out of the Industrial Revolution, and I'm amused that so many people consistently forget its implications. The idea is that the more you do something, the more cheaply you can do it. So, yes, of course Mr. Heins' competitors do a better job than he does, because they've got more of the job to do.

    But it's sheer inanity to protest that customers should be forced to buy from minority access providers (read: Mr. Heins), as Mr. Heins so valiantly tries to do.

    The free market is what it's all about. Nobody should be losing sight of that.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Must have been a typo. The original article was Ten Ways to Make Herpes Work for You if are serving a life sentence with a bunch of lonely guys named 'tiny'.
  • I have to say that's a well-executed troll,
    from the slightly absurd premise to the misspelled "Doll".
    It's just that it was a little too boring
    -not inflammatory enough to start anyone roaring.

    --

  • not fair, I just did that a few hours ago

    --

  • The broadband 'explosion' is crawling to a halt, and many providers are wondering why. It's quite simple, really - everyone has as much pornography as they want. Pornography has always been the driving force behind Internet innovation, after all. It was for pornography that ever faster connections were demanded, and it was for pornography that the basics of online financial transactions were fleshed out. However, there's simply a limit to the demand for pornography. To put it bluntly, everyone who uses the stuff is beating themselves sore, and can't possibly consume any more. Thus, the adoption of home broadband connections has dropped off severely. I predict, though, that our wily friends the pornographers will find a way to stimulate demand. Perhaps they will lobby congress to allow advertisements for pornography on television. Perhaps they will hire a celebrity spokesperson, such as Bob Doll or Heidi Wall. Regardless, once the pornographers get back on their feet, broadband demand will ignite once more.

    Well, as one person (whose name I can't recall) said: "The entire body of computer science can be viewed as nothing more than the development of efficient methods for the storage, transportation, encoding, and rendering of pornography.".

    It's easy to see how pr0n providers could cater to and increase demand for the broadband market: higher resolution and encoding for stills and motion picture files, high quality sound in motion picture files, Flash site navigation, etc. etc. etc. Figure, what, the average file size of a pr0n JPEG is 40-80KB? You could easily 10x that if you went for higher quality encoding and/or greater resolutions.

    btw, Bob Dole is already a spokesperson for the sex industry. "Take viagra! It gave me a stiffy!"


    --
    News for geeks in Austin: www.geekaustin.org [geekaustin.org]


  • Does anyone else think of Hole when the term BroadBand is used?

    Maybe it's just me....

  • by DavidpFitz ( 136265 ) on Thursday March 01, 2001 @12:00AM (#393559) Homepage Journal
    Broadband is not happening because telco's don't know how to charge for it.

    In the UK, BT is holding back [yahoo.com] ADSL because of marketing reasons -- ie. it can make more money from dial-up.

  • I live in a verizion only town ... a so. cal town of about 100,000 people ... dsl has been avaliable here for years, if you live in the rural part of the valley! ... Thats right, they put dsl into the rural / agricultural portion of town ... my buddy who has a 10 acre farm has dsl, the budweiser clidesdales (sp?) live a few miles down the street from him and THEY could get dsl ...

    Meanwhile, I live in the urban part of town, high schools, businessess, high population .. no dsl .. no plans to put dsl in ... however this dosen't stop them from sending out flyers every 6 months to announce that dsl is avaliable in my area --then you call them and they tell you they aren't REALLY planning on putting dsl in, they just wnated to see how many people are interested to gague wether it'd be profitable ...

  • I don't think this qualifies as a troll, in fact it should be modded up as "informative".

    Pornography has always been the driving force behind new media.

  • by OpCode42 ( 253084 ) on Thursday March 01, 2001 @12:14AM (#393562) Homepage
    If you think the USA has it bad for broadband access, take pity on us UK guys.

    Apparently you can only get cable modems or ADSL if you live in one of two cities, have a sister called Sue, an even number of vowels in your name and order on a Thursday.

    -----

  • by raju1kabir ( 251972 ) on Thursday March 01, 2001 @12:15AM (#393563) Homepage
    I remember reading somewhere(5 years ago) that by 2000, that all payphones will be changed over to broadband web terminals, what happened to that?

    I think you blinked and missed it. In Amsterdam there were high-speed all-weather web stations clustered with pay phones all over town for the past couple years. Now most of them are gone. I don't think they got a lot of use - I saw lots of people staring at them and taking pictures, but not many actually sidling up to do some surfing.

    Likewise the web kiosks that were placed in shopping malls all over Malaysia have vanished (no great loss, as half of them were displaying BSOD at any given moment).

    Yet both countries have thriving internet cafe cultures. In Amsterdam they've now got [easyeverything.com] what seems to be the largest internet café on earth, and it's been packed every time I've been there (and with its high speeds, ludicrously low charges, comfy workstations with nice LCD screens, and well-kept machines, I'm there quite often).

    I just think people didn't want to do their webbing standing up. And a fair number of them wanted to be able to run telnet, IRC clients, etc., which most of the kiosks don't offer.

  • by jjr ( 6873 )
    Since this is a "new" services these problems are coming up this is why the FCC needs to nip this crap in the but now before it gets to much out of hand
  • But it's sheer inanity to protest that customers should be forced to buy from minority access providers (read: Mr. Heins), as Mr. Heins so valiantly tries to do.

    That's not what he's protesting. He's protesting that minority access providers aren't allowed to buy last-mile carriage from the monopsonist suppliers (i.e., the ILECs and cable companies) on fair-market terms.

    The concept of the "economy of scale" has been one of the most significant ideas to come out of the Industrial Revolution, and I'm amused that so many people consistently forget its implications. The idea is that the more you do something, the more cheaply you can do it. So, yes, of course Mr. Heins' competitors do a better job than he does, because they've got more of the job to do.

    What this doesn't address is the relationship between scale and quality. Can McDonalds produce a commodity - say, 2500-Calorie, three-food-group meals - more cheaply than a little gourmet restaurant? Without a doubt. Is it desirable that McDonalds be the only purveyor of food in the marketplace? No. Would it be a good situation if McDonalds controlled all the dining room seats in the country? Probably not.

  • by Sir Runcible Spoon ( 143210 ) on Thursday March 01, 2001 @12:40AM (#393566)
    Mr Cringley [pbs.org] had go on this very subject last week.

  • Believe me it ain't that bad.

    Its expensive yes, but at least there is _some_ competition in the market from the likes of NTL which provide Cable modem acess in a few cities.

    I thought it was bad, then I moved to Paris a month ago. I not only have to put up with a stupid keyboard, rude assholes everywhere you go or a confusing choice of cheese, I can get a telephone from ONLY ONE SUPPLIER, France Telecom, the equivalent of BT (NO COMPETITION WHATSOEVER), cable companies don't do phone services as all the lines belong to FT. I can get ADSL for about £45 per month, yet again, a product from ONLY FT as the cable companies have silly upload/download limits, and after a certain amount, you start paying per the Mbyte.

    So to cut a long story short it ain't as bad as you think in the UK. BT are monopolistic pricks yes, but they don not have _TOTAL_ control of the market as FT has.

  • by NigelJohnstone ( 242811 ) on Thursday March 01, 2001 @12:51AM (#393568)
    Think of all the third world countries in the world and help them first.

    I read of one third world country that had huge debts and its people have no hospitals to go when they are sick.

    Its politicians are corrupt and can be bought and sold.

    Why out in the remote province of California people have no electricity and constantly shoot each other to protect what little they have. Mobs rule in the city of Miami (pronouce My-am-ee).

    On top of that the people of this third world country suffer Earthquakes, tornadoes, and Seinfeld reruns.

    Don't be selfish, help that country first before you indulge yourself with broad band internet access.

  • I've recently seen some pretty big claims from CableTV providers talking about brining in 45+ Mbit access to subscriber home with an average thruput of over 20 Mbit. I belive MaximumPC Magazine even had an article on this. In my area we can only get ~4.5 Mbit cable, 1.5 Mbit SDSL, and 2.2 Mbit ADSL. What is available in other parts of the country? Anyone have experinece with *consumer* 20, 30, or even 40 Mbit broadband?
  • by qaggaz ( 148579 ) on Thursday March 01, 2001 @12:59AM (#393570)
    Comunication providers (including ISPs) do not manufacture a product, and thus do not benefit from "economies of scale" in the same way that a manufacturing enterprise would. Why? They are primarily service providers. Take the following two examples:

    Example 1 - Traditional widget manufacturer: develops a product in R&D labs. Incurs high development costs, prototype units are each hand-built by engineers. Manufacturing process is developed (at additional expense), assembly-lines are set-up, workers hired and trained. Now the first widgets come off the assembly line and quality-control finds problems in 50% of the widgets. Reasearch determines that a crucial step was missed when developing the process, which then must be revised.

    Example 2 - Plumber, a service provider: Fred, a plumber decides to open his own plumbing business. He is a trained professional with 10 years of experince. One day, he may work on a bathroom remodling job, the next he may be working on new construction. He initally invests in a computer to help with his bookeeping, a set of tools, and a truck. After a while, he has more work than he can do himself so he hires a helper. This enables him to work faster, but he would like to take on even more work, so he hires a few more teams of plumbers and helpers, but then needs to expand his administrative staff to cope with the new employees. He hires supervisors and foremen to direct the work.

    Now, in the context of the first example, the unit cost of the first 100 units is quite high while the unit cost of the millionith unit is quite small since the development costs can be spread over many more units. This is the basis for the "economy of scale."

    The impact of "economies of scale" is much less pronounced in the second example. Yes, the unit cost (to Fred, not the customer) of the first job is much higher than the 100th, because Fred has to recover the costs of the tools, the truck, and the computer. On the other hand, Fred is not able to serve customers more quickly (and thus reduce his cost) just by increasing the number of jobs completed. The increased overhead of the additonal administrative expenses will curb an increase in profits. Fred may, in fact, be better off as an independent contractor and limiting the number of jobs that he can do.

    I am a network engineer, not a plumber nor a widget maker, so I'm sure that these examples are over-simplified. But I am equally certain that the telecominications is much more like the service provider and less like a widget maker. Yes, there are economies of scale early on: it will take much longer to recover the cost of a 100 port DSLAM with only 10 customers, but much less with 90. But guess what? The 101st customer will require that an additional DSLAM be purcased, space found in the Central Office (notoriously cramped places), cables run from the MDF (main distribution frame), etc. At the 201st customer, the same exercise must be repeated. At the 1001st customer, an extension to the Central Office must be built, power and HVAC installed, new distribution frames installed, and so on.

    I have not even mentioned customer care, network engineering and operations, billing, and all of the other factors assoicated with rolling out a communications service.

    Economies of scale just don't apply in the "big" telco world.

  • Has anyone stopped to think about some of the expenses that the world's broadband providers have? Overpriced Cisco routers and switches (running Cisco IOS), overpriced NT and Solaris servers, overpriced HP NetVue management software, etc. Notice a common thread? Closed source.

    Folks, we are giving these people OUR money... and they're spending it foolishly. This the the age where a company's OpenSource Strategy is just as important as their Business Plan. Yet these companies act as though they were in the dark ages. Why do we stand for this? Perhaps we try not to care or don't even know about it. Costs, reliablity, and scalability are all suffering because of the choices our major providers have been making. It has to come to an end.

    There once was a time when the town barber was also the town surgeon. There was also a time when closed source projects fit the bill. It's time to move on, it's time that these companies using OUR MONEY join the opensource community and begin to enjoy and pass along the benefits.

    Speak out!
  • Apparently you can only get cable modems or ADSL if you live in one of two cities, have a sister called Sue, an even number of vowels in your name and order on a Thursday.

    It's not quite that bad - we've just moved to a fairly small town in the south west (here [streetmap.co.uk], population ~20K). Faxed an order to Madasafish [madasafish.net] two weeks ago, BT came round last Friday, I plugged the ADSL into the iBook and it's all working fine.

    Given that an 0800-all-the-time ISP is about 15 quid a month, 40 quid for a much faster connection doesn't seem that bad a deal (particularly if you compare it to ISDN).

    Granted the situation varies depending on where you are, but I was quite surprised that things went so smoothly given that we're fairly rural.

    -dair (having said that, I did order on a Thursday, and I do have two vowels in my name... :-)
  • "Broadband" does not mean "Fast" or "High Speed", it simply has to do with the transmission mechanism.

    Gigabit ethernet is not Broadband.
    Cable is.
    DSL isn't.
    Fiber isn't, usually.

    Let's start calling it 'high speed' and quit calling it 'broadband'.

  • Correcting definitions is a lost cause these days.
  • "High-speed cable access is not a telecommunication service -- it is an information service"

    What about convergence ? In my opinion, there is no difference between telecom and information. Can anyone defend his point by making the subtlety clearer ?
  • Yeah. But I can't resist...
  • you ain't living in the South West

    Yeah, you're right - but as a Scot who moved down from Edinburgh, it's all the same to me... ;-)

    -dair
  • You just don't know how good your state really is. In Germany, DSL became available in numbers only a couple of months ago. In Britain, it's still a pain in the ass to try and get it. In Russia or China, as long as you aren't in one of the main cities and pay a hell of a lot of money for it, you won't get it. In Sudan where I spent some time working now, you pay about $1000 per year for good old modem access.

    Recognize your own luxury when you see it.

  • In related news, the company X is worried as competition from other companies in the same field of industry does not allow them to fulfill their vision of "$$ for company X"

    Just one sample from the article:

    "FACT:"Until spectrum caps and other regulatory barriers are eliminated, neither wireless nor satellite high-speed services can fulfill the vision of 3G wire-free access to the Internet.

    Radio waves have a lot more use than just wireless net. TV, commercial radio, communications (for aviation, coast guard, ships, police, military, satellites), radio astronomy, HAMS, etc. This is just why there are spectrum caps.

    Radio spectral ranges are a natural resource that could be used at least 100 times more than there is available bandwidth. So, everyone using radio bandwidth would like to have some more. Whining about that is hardly "news for nerds".

  • Should we all quit our jobs too? I am willing to bet that over 50% of Slashdot readers from America are either sysadmins or coders, making six figures. To us, broadband is PART of our life and job.
  • New infrastructure costs money and sows the seeds of its own discontent. Anytime a new infrastructure has been built (to my humble recolection) it seems it was done by a highly profitable monopoly which stole from the poor to give to the rich, and was then with much fanfare broken up by the government, or other sufficently powerful force. Literally. You had the finacial infrastructure crafted by J.P. Morgan (who laudably didn't really profiteer as he might have) bringing the U.S. to the stage of the finacial world. Rockafeller with real estate in New York. Carnagie(sp? with steel mills. Hell, there's even a game called railroad tycoon. But this goes all the way back to glory days of the British Empire, and has continued on to the present day with Ma' Bell, and Microsoft. I'm certainly not saying it is right, but without excessivly powerful monopolies bending countries (and sometimes the world) to a common vision the U.S. would not be what it is today. One might make a credible argument of the fact that we would be the poorer if not for them. Now I'm not saying that monopolies enrich the lives of those who suffer them. Clearly, that's a silly assertion. I agree that everyone who suffers monopolies and cartels are probably much worse off. But after the fact, when the powers that were are a relic left to rot in history books and carved into edifices, the lives of the people that use the infrastucture are enriched. If only by the fact that they were built with a common vision. If this particular pattern has stood the test of time, over a period where few things can claim the same, perhaps there is something to it.
  • On top of that the people of this third world country suffer Earthquakes, tornadoes, and Seinfeld reruns.

    Seattle isn't a third world country. Although Tacoma is pretty close.

  • Has anyone stopped to think about some of the expenses that the world's broadband providers have? Overpriced Cisco routers and switches (running Cisco IOS), overpriced NT and Solaris servers, overpriced HP NetVue management software, etc. Notice a common thread? Closed source.

    No. The common thread is hardware. You mentioned routers, switches, servers (running NT and Solaris), etc.

    Juniper [juniper.net] routers use an OpenBSD based OS (JUNOS [juniper.net]) as the kernel of their software (as well as an Intel-based PCI platform routing engine as hardware). This reduced development cost and time of their products, but the list price is as high or higher for similar Cisco products.

    Why?

    Network equipment vendors manufacture hardware and are therefore subject to economies of scale. If Cisco ships 10 times as many 12000s as Juniper ships M40s, guess which one will be cheaper to manufacture?

    Another factor driving up hardware costs is the limited customer base for this sort of equipment. What is the market demand for 10Gbps routers?

    Of course if you want to run open source software on specialized hardware, that is possible too. For instance, you can run Linux on a Cisco 2500 [mcvax.org], if you are an open source purist. It would be unlikely that this will significantly reduce the cost of owning and deploying a network, however.

  • Unfortunately when they advertise that the system does "40 mbit", they usually dont mean to the consumer, but to the HFC side (coax side) of the link.

    The modem then further restricts the user. Example: the cablemodem that I am now using has 30mbit to the HFC side (which is shared between myself and the neighborhood) but is restricted to 768/64 .... [most locations elsewhere are now 1024/128, but there may be service as low as 64/64 and as high as 3072/1024 or "unrestricted"]... They usually limit the speeds to ensure "Network quality of service"...

    --
    Amarillo Linux Users Group [alug.org]
  • In the UK, BT is holding back ADSL because of marketing reasons -- ie. it can make more money from dial-up.

    I have a friend in UK and I was talking to him about this the other day. My suggestion was to start a petition, and get the entire community to sign it.

    I speak from quasi-experience. A friend of mine had a friend who lived in a new housing sub-division, 90%+ of which were families with ages sub-40 (you gotta love my science, but stereotypically, this is probably the largest demographic that wants high speed internet). The sub-division has about 900-1000 homes in it, and they got about 1600 signatures. The petition said something along the lines of 'give us DSL, or we go elsewhere' (they had the benefit of being able to get local telco service by another company, unlike what it sounds like in the UK w/BT). They sent in the petition, and about a month later, their CO was wired for DSL.

    I told my friend in the UK to try this petition deal, because it's better than not doing anything at all. He said everyone and their dog has a cell phone, so ditch BT and your local wired-line and get a cell through some other company.
  • Well, actually, the DMT version of aDSL is broadband. It uses FDM with multiple carriers.
  • High speed internet (dsl, cable) isnt taking off becuase there is too much red tape 3rd party DSL providers have to go through in order to provide the service to the end user. Coupled with the fact that they have no clue how to market it, it makes for very slow roll-out to urban areas.
  • Not all that many cable companys are offering broadband access. And since cable only reaches about half of the population its not going to work for everyone (neither does ADSL either, but thats another problem).

    All the cable companies I've seen that do offer broadband access place far too many restrictions on what you can and cannot do with your line. Many ADSL providers however allow you to network, run servers and other such niceties that are usually expressly forbidden in the terms for cable use. So, to cut a long rant short, ADSL is the least restrictive of broadband solutions. And yes, BT does piss everyone about.
  • yo, Manhattan (NYC) is Verizon-only territory too and i have DSL (earthlink) but guess how long it took to get it? SEVEN GODDAMN MONTHS. Why? Verizon. You can bet your last dollar that had my DSL provider been Verizon itself that i'd not have had to wait more than maybe a month or so. But no...
  • At least you don't have to sacrifice a goat by the light of the full moon.
  • One would think that at a mere 55 miles from Washington DC one might be able to get a pretty spiffy internet pipeline. But oh no.
    Our local cable company a few years ago was planning to offer cable internet access. Then they, Media General, were baught out. For a while, our new cable company, Cox, offered limited one-way cable internet using a 64kBps cable modem downstream and a standard 28.8 modem for upstream. Latency times were so horrible that unless we had a huge download to do, we used our 56k line because it was faster for web access.
    The cost of the service was $39.99 per month for the access, $10 per month for the modem, and $20 per month to the phone company for the extra dedicated phone line.
    The more rural parts of the area who had Adelphia as their provider had 256/32kBps cable service at $40+10.
    Then, the Cox switched ISPs from ISP Channel to RoadRunner. They had to upgrade all of the cabling to and in the neighborhoods to offer two-way cable access. There was a 2 month period where dial-up was it and the large number of users hopping on their 56ks again caused huge amounts of down-time on the few local dial ISPs. Finally we have our cable service back. It's cheaper now without the extra phone line, it's faster, but it's still slow, averaging 100kBps down and 20kBps up.
    Verizon, aka Das Mann, has no plans to put DSL in the area despite numerous promises that they do, and flyers offering it.

  • i remember when roadrunner came out... it was available in some/many of the backwaters of NY state but not in Manhattan... Manhattan, home of TimeWarner headquarters... Manhattan, where TimeWarner cable has held sway for decades... as a result, i got DSL from earthlink.
  • First, you can check this post [slashdot.org] out for the experience I had with the Covad/Qwest run around I shopped around and compared price/features on DSL:
    • SpeakEasy offered me all-in-one billing
    • Charged me the same price for the modem no matter what sort of box it was (try getting that free internal modem for Linux/Mac from Qwest...ain't happening)
    • Oh yeah...rebated the install/modem through Covad
    • Offered me three free months
    • Offered support on just about any platform that could handle 10BaseT network adapter
    • Didn't put me behind a firewall
    • Allow me to run a server if I wanted
    For the same price as it would cost me with Qwest's DSL + ISP. I am getting bang for my buck. Now...

    For Covad & Speakeasy to set me up, Qwest had to plug in my phone loop to Covad's DSLAM. The request went in twice...Qwest twice said "Sure, it's done"...and hadn't done it. The tech. told me this was typical procedure (and Qwest wasn't paying the gas on his van nor his salary). I considered dropping my order...but whose fault would the delays have been?

    I agree that competition is inefficient when such an unfair advantage is leveraged in this maner.

    Galego

  • There may be a good technical reason for rural customers having DSL and urban customers not having it.

    DSL requires clean copper from end to end. In a lot of urban areas, the phone company ran out of pairs out of the central office (CO) a long time ago. They solved this by using a thing called a SLIC-96 (subscriber line interface card). What a SLIC does is take 96 phone calls, encoded them to digital at 64 kbit/sec, and puts that on 4 pairs of wire. So, that new housing development gets all its needs solved without running new wires.

    However, a SLIC will KILL a 56k modem, and DSL is right out. It may be that your local area is just chock full of SLICs, and the telco would have to run a SPL (shit pot load) of pairs from the CO to enable DSL.

    For rural customers, the scenario is different. The only traps waiting for them are loading coils. A run of wire has an intrinsic capacitance, that gradually rolls the signal response off. In order to keep the voice band of 0Hz->3kHz flat, the insert inductors (loading coils) to offset the capactiance in the voice band. However, this doesn't come without price: everything above 3kHz is toast.

    However, telcos haven't been installing loading coils for a great many years, since they knew this sort of thing was coming. Especially in a case where they had to upgrade the rural plants, they pulled a bunch of pairs and have clean copper in the ground. (The single biggest cost in pulling wire/fiber is the hole in the ground: the cost of the cable itself is trivial).

    The other thing that is happening is that in the urban areas, the ILOC (incumbant local operating company, a.k.a. baby bell, Verison in your case) must provide space, equipment, and service to any CLOC (competitive local operating company, a.k.a. Bubba's Barbeque Pit and Phone Company) at a loss.

    Now, why would Verison upgrade their racks again...?
  • 1) Repeal all laws granting legal monopolies to cable and telephone companies. The ex-monopolies will either have to resell access to ISPs or risk a competitor building new (and state-of-the-art) infrastructure in their territory. Works for me either way.

    2) The Federal government is being greedy as hell with their auctioning of spectrum licenses. A "land rush" model would be more appropriate, with the first company to occupy spectrum (deploy service) registering their claim with the government (and meeting certain qualifications, ie, real service and not a white noise generator). Yes, this was Ayn Rand's idea. Cheaper for the companies than paying hundreds of $billions to Big Brother (guess how they'll have to pay that back?), and it makes it far more likely that we'll get 3G (and whatever succeeds it) soon and cheap. If companies can share spectrum, this model works even better.
  • [Fact] According to Frank Tower, NorthNet managing director, Verizon "suggested" that ISPs secure OC-3 connectivity because the ILEC knew few ISPs would be able to afford that large of a pipe, which comes with an equally hefty price tag. In effect, Verizon is attempting to run independent ISPs and CLECs out of the DSL marketplace.

    Well, I would think that an OC-3 will allow for future growth. Unless they only want a few hundred customers (thus never making the payback on their DSLAM, rent, etc), or provide lousy service to their customers (oversubscription on a "trunk" line is a terrible thing), they should be putting in a DS-3 at a minimum. I'm sure Verizon wanted them to install an OC-x to allow for growth without having to go back every 6 months.

    The problem with all the deregulation in the telecom act of 1996 is that it was sold to the American people as a way for grassroots orgs to create and run telephone and cable systems. The reality was that groups of companies wanted to resell phone service (not actually run new lines), and the major telecoms wanted long distance. No one really expected a bunch of "regular folks" to run a phone system (grassroots), but that was the image many people in congress had when they signed the bill. Of course, CLEC equipment still costs money, renting lines still costs money, and since you are running with 0 customers (and the ILEC has 96% of your potential customer base), you better be ready to loose money for years, perhaps decades.

    The only real threat to ILECS at this time are cell phones. Cable companies (if they can get their s*** together and get through the mess AT&T made of subscriber valuations) have the best chances of anyone of really putting an end to the ILEC stranglehold. They just have to get their reliability problems under control, but that's easy.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    It actually comes as a shock to many Europeans that that in the U.S. phone companies generally charge a flat rate for all local calls made during any given month.

    Hence, the phone company doesn't make any more money if you use your ISP for 1 hour per month or 200 hours per month. There is actually an economic disincentive to withhold DSL service in the US since they just lose market share to the cable companies. TV cable is also much more ubiquitous than in Europe, where satellite seems more pervasive (Sky etc.).

    Sorry about the anonymous coward post but I didn't want to lose the moderation I did on this thread ;-)
  • Damn, For a thousand bucks a month, I'll fly you in to America and let you sleep on my couch.

  • DSL uses a bandwidth of about 1 MHz on the wire. If that's not broad, I don't know what is.

    And gigabit ethernet will die a horrible death if the wire won't pass at least 100 MHz of signal.

    Let's compare the ratio of carrier frequency to signal bandwidth (Q := BW/Fc). DSL and ethernet are baseband signals (Fc= 0Hz, BW ~ 100 MHz, Q = BW/Fc ~ NAN). Cable is fairly broad (Fc ~ 300 MHz, BW ~ 20 MHz, Q = .1). Fiber isn't broadband (Fc ~ 230 THz, BW ~ 600 MHz, Q = 2.6E-6).

    Don't sweat it: most people think their modems are 56kBaud....
  • You can get a cable modem if you live in a Telewest or Blueyonder area. Most people don't . You can get ADSL if you live within 4km of the right kind of BT exchange. Most people don't. The ADSL will come from BT only (Freeserve, Demon et al just sell rebadged BT ADSL). This does not constitute competition in my book, or in that of any sane person. And this is just for home use, the prices they charge to businesses are significantly higher.

    If OFTEL gave BT a kick up the arse, and there was proper LLU, then (a) there would be ADSL available from more exchanges, (b) there would be an incentive on BT's ADSL competitors to provide ADSL at >4km distance, (c) cable companies would have further incentive to lay more cable in order to reach more possible users and (d) you would get a better cable modem service at a better price. What we seem to be getting is exactly what has happened in the US. Yet another case of the UK blindly copying the US and it all going tits-up.


  • [Fact] It is far more likely that competitive DSL providers (DLECs), Competitive Local Exchange Companies (CLEC) and independent ISPs created the competitive environment for copper-based high-speed services, which motivated the Baby Bells to upgrade their systems.

    With facts like these, who needs fiction ?

  • We could call DSL extremelyFinelyChoppedBand
    if you'd prefer.

    K.
    -
  • I don't know why everyone seems to think that we have it so bad when it comes to broadband. I personally live in a relatively small town with less than 200,000 people and we have time warner for our local cable company. I can't exactly complain because we get roadrunner for 39.99 month the bandwidth is unlimited with the exception of an upstream cap of around 60-75K downstream I have seen as high as 900K. I guess I have assumed that this is almost the norm in most cities the size of ours. Roadrunner was advertising their millionth customer contest about 6 months ago so apparently just on roadrunner there are 1 million people. That seems like an awful lot to me...
  • It gets worse...

    Here in the UK a common term of service is that you can only use ADSL or Cable for 24 hours in a day.

    Fine you say...

    That works if there are ONLY 24 hours in a day...wait till we start colonising other planets and 'permanently on' means permanently on for 24 hours then waiting another few hundred hours before you can surf again.

    Go ahead prove me wrong, but they really do restrict to only accessing the service for 24 hours in a day.

    Surfing on Mars will really stink compared to broadband in the US

  • He who has the gold, makes the rules and the ILEC's and cable companies are all buying politicians as needed to prevent any incursion into their monopolies. I used to co-own/operate and ISP and my experience to date says the broadband report is at best optimistic compared to reality. Read the AOL/TWC terms of service, would you want to work for someome who said we get 75% of your gross income to start plus these additional terms and fees? The only reason for the outrageous terms is to prevent anyone from being able to afford to even think about sharing access with AOL/TWC. I think I'll add aol.com and rr.com to my mail filters on my personal machine and just reject any email from them as well as verizon and bellatlantic. I have no desire to talk to a monopoly.
  • Actually ... it's not THAT bad. Comparing it to everything else around, the situation is bearable. It used to be a complete mess one year ago, where they were technically incompetent.

    Now, it's almost good! The prices have decreased, and while there is lots of chaotic situations where the bandwidth and latency suffers terribly, it compares favorably to sucky leased lines providers (ever tried Easynet? don't).

    There is a reason for it. They have (close to) no competition ... now. But they know it's coming and have to put a lot of effort into it.

    I had to relinquish my DSL connection as I am moving, and trust me, I understand how good it was, now.


    --

  • actually, the "rebadging" of BT's Adsl services is called arbitrage, and in telecommunication circles it is definetly not considered competition, especially when BT also owns the lines that independent ISP need. Here in Canada, Bell jacked up the price of their T1 lines threefold a month before announcing their own DSL service.
  • It's called "The Last Mile Problem". For whatever reason (and I suspect Greed), high speed data can not reach the people willing to pay for it and buy the services it can provide. The reason many .Dot Coms went belly up is not that they had bad ideas, but bad timing. To sell their wares, they needed wide band access to their consumers and that wasn't there. Until it is, the promise of Internet and the impact it will have on the lives of the average person remain Vaporware.
  • but n/a in my instance... Verizon had nothing so much to do but to certify my copper pair as clean. there was no visit to my abode ('pre-war' co-op apartment building) nor any wiring or re-wiring to be done, not in my vicinity and as i stated previously we are talking New York City, Borough of Manhattan. (center of the known world, heh heh, all your media giant are belong to us)
  • all your 238 country are belong to USA
  • The current state of broadband access in the US seems to be isolated. Most of the problems and monopolies seem to be only where people are. I bring the example of much of the US. If you exclude population epicenters such as Chicago, Madison and Milwaukee competition is well kept. For local telephone services it isn't just a baby bell it is GTE, Ameritech and CentryTel. All offering a broadband package in the area, even in remote rural areas. Cable is service has merging coverage in most of the Midwest with most Cable service provided by Charter Communications. While I'm not going to get into details of broadband. People crying wolf about telecommunications should understand some things. The Telecommunication Act of 1996 has worked similar to how it was intended. Broadband prices will eventually fan out. For example 512K Cable here is 39.95 a month, the exact same price per month for service. This is more of a poorly written rant. Sorry for wasting your time.
  • I don't mean to play devil's advocate here for the "incumbant carries," as Mr. Heins refers to them, but I do have a point of view from our regional provider, Ameritech. I don't have the specifics of the story, but a friend who works installing DSL for Ameritech says that Ameritech has ceased upgrading equipment in all CO's. The reason is because they have been forced by the FCC to lease out their new, expensive equipment at laughable rates in the name of competition.

    So instead of buying any more they've decided to take their ball and go home, so to speak. But when Heins says that "independent ISP owners and operators are willing to pay fair-market rates" it does make me wonder what he means by fair-market rates .

  • Multimegabit consumer internet access cannot work with the current "all the packets you can eat" fixed pricing that most ISPs (but strangely not colocation facilities) have.

    The upstream capacity cannot be purchased for $79.95/month in 20Mbit increments, more like $1000/mo for 1.5Mbit incrememnts, plus carrier charges. (I'm betting that there's some price break to go to DS-3, and again some break to OC-3, but the equipment and circuits are more expensive).

    ISPs of such high-speed service would need to charge you by the packet or byte. This would enable "hogs" who necessitate upstream connectivity purchases to pay for the service they're using. You can always gamble that most people will sit idle most of them time (my home service averages 58 bytes/sec, with full-time DNS/Web/Mail service), but it doesn't take too many people @20Mbit/sec running servers or deciding to download all the ISOs they can find to choke off an OC-3.

  • Moderate down
  • by Anonymous Coward
    All the cable companies I've seen that do offer broadband access place far too many restrictions on what you can and cannot do with your line. Many ADSL providers however allow you to network, run servers and other such niceties that are usually expressly forbidden in the terms for cable use.

    How many Cable Terms of Use have you read, out of interest? I ask because my Blueyonder contract expressely allows me to run servers (Of any type) on a computer connected to the service. They also allow VPN's etc., although you won't get any support if you call them.

    The only "restriction" I have on my Blueyonder service is that all port 80 traffic (HTTP) is forced through a transparent web cache (Which yes, does suck a fair amount), but that's easy to get around if you use a proxy.

    I seriously don't know where this whole "High speed access in the UK" stuff comes from, because there simply doesn't appear to be a problem for the majority of people who live here!
  • What do you mean? You've never seen AT&T's Public Phone 2000 in an airport or train station? Talk about a high-tech marvel. They were so far ahead technologically, they didn't even have to wait till 2000 to build the thing! Now if only someone knew how it worked. And why it has that screen...
  • Want to know about a situation where living in a proclaimed "rural area" really bites?

    Welcome to Loudoun County [loudoun.va.us], Virginia. I moved out here to live close to my place of employment. In the past few years Loudoun was sly enough to lure all these high tech companies out here. Let's look for a second at which companies have buildings and/or HQ in this general region:

    AOL
    WorldCom
    PSINet
    EDS
    AT&T
    Oracle
    Winstar
    ...probably a lot more that I've missed.

    Looks neat, right? Until you move out here and realize that there is /shit/ for broadband. Absolutely nothing. Adelphia cable is oversubscribed and not accepting new customers, and is unidirectional anyway. And then despite being 9000 feet from the CO, I ran into fiber on the loop when I tried to get DSL. Oops. And of course satellite is right out.

    Granted, this isn't ma bell's fault so much, as it is the county for luring in the high-tech companies w/o appropriate infrastructure. But there's something bitterly ironic about the fact that I live 4 miles from the largest ISP in the US and can't get broadband. They call this area "silicon valley of the east". Well, if this is an oasis, I'm in the fucking desert.

  • Here in central PA there are some enthusiasts that are trying to break up Verizon (former Bell Atlantic, former Ma Bell). I'm not sure of who, or the specifics, but Verizon is airing a radio ad campaign against (of course) the break-up. Basically, they are saying that it will cost 1 billion dollars, raise our phone bills, cut thousands of jobs, etc. Since I don't know much about this, I'm asking for any thoughts on why a break-up would be a bad (or good) thing. I always thought that it would encourage competition, and therefore, be a good thing.
  • Pornography has driven early adoption, but I think you're way off base to say that the future of broadband adoption is closely tied to it.

    The price of DSL is still too high -- $40-50/month. I remember when dial-up was that high; everybody was talking about this internet thing, but unless you were a student at a good-sized university, you probably didn't know too many people that had home access.

    For DSL to take off, it needs to come down to where non-tech enthusiasts can afford it -- $20-30/month. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much incentive for the ILEC's to drive the price down, and cable companies similarly don't have any incentive to lower the cost of cable modem access when they are already matching or beating the price of DSL.

  • ...CableTV providers talking about brining in 45+ Mbit access to subscriber home with an average thruput of over 20 Mbit.

    Each (6Mhz) cable channel dedicated to Cable Modem service can carry between 27 and 32Mbit, depending on the frequency and the encoding. Of course, since cable modems are a shared technology, that bandwidth is divided amongst however many people are on the local loop (optimistically, 300-400, for some companies more like 2000-3000.) So yeah, the cable companies are telling the truth, just not the whole truth. Now, it's possible to use multiple channels for cable modem service, but you won't see a whole lot of it. Each cable modem channel used takes away a slot that could have been used for an analog cable channel, or up to 10 digital cable channels. Right now, that's not part of companies' business model.

    You can also reduce the size of the local loop. This means running multiple copies of the local channels (one for each loop) through the analog fiber from the head-end. One of the biggest problems today for many large cable infrastructures is lack of fiber bandwidth, even more than lack of space on the local loop. So any plans to bring sustained 20Mbit connections to homes is a long way off. It may not arrive til fiber-to-the-home, which is where DSL and Cable are both going to converge.

  • I've been pushing my local cable (AT&T) and phone (Ameritech) offices to bring some form of broadband to my area. What have I gotten? Several emails back stating that 'there is no more need for broadband in your area'. All this while I watch a city less than an hour away go from 384K DSL, to 512K, and now up to 1.5M DSL...all within the past year! Seems to me the companies could solve some of this broadband divide problem by expanding their coverage instead of upgrading what they do have.
  • I'm also a Verizon customer and I live right in the middle of nowhere and get 0 for service. My understanding of the GTE-Bell Atlantic merger is that Verizon has to offer all of its services in all of its markets by 2004. I'm not exactly sure about the date, and they will undoubtedly be granted an extension anyway. But look on the bright side... in 3-10 years I'll have something more than my POTS line! Yippee!
  • Radio spectral ranges are a natural resource that could be used at least 100 times more than there is available bandwidth.

    Sure, but at the moment they're not being used very efficiently. A lot of the services that use those radio bands would benefit from a global/national high-speed wireless access network. And think of all those channels being wasted for UHF and VHF. I live in a very large city and most of them are unused. Imagine how many go to waste in Cleveland, OH. So there are a lot of uses for the bandwidth, but many of the existing services could be rolled into high-efficiency digital systems.

  • I suggest we call it bigband.

    (What do you call a piece of black tape patching a hole in coax shielding ? a broadbandage.)
  • Here [founderscamp.com] is what one expert has to say on this.

    "I thought a few telecoms might go bankrupt, and maybe 3G would take longer to roll out than previously expected. It was all a big joke -- it never once crossed my mind that 3G might never even happen. "

  • There are a lot more costs involved in running an ISP or other tech service than just the service itself.

    Administrative, marketing, legal, and other general office costs make much less of a price impact when serving 150,000 customers than it does for 1500 customers.

    Does "economy of scale" matter as much for the service industry as it does for manufacturing? No.
    Does it matter? Yes. No question about it.

  • 1) Last week usen [usen.com] started offering 100mbit service for $50 a month. Yes, that's not a mis-print. 100megabits. That's 66 T1 lines for $50 a month. It's not available everywhere but they do have a roll out plan. It's supposed to be available in all cities in Tokyo (including mine) by October this year. Just FYI this is fiber optic service. They've been laying the cables for a while.

    2) NTT (Japan's version of AT&T and still a virtual monopoly) is offering 1.5mbit DSL for $60 a month throughout the country. They have some competition from 2 or 3 other DSL providers but the other providers have to work through them.

    3)The power companies were recently deregulated allowing them to sell more than just power. Their first product is 3mbit service through your powerline. Maybe California power companies should offer this service to help their financial problems.

    Japan *was* behind the U.S. but it looks like they are quickly going to pass the U.S. in terms of being *wired*
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Two things in the article made me wonder, why the hell aren't WE the slashdot crowd running our own, for pay, geek-community-catering ISP?

    from article : [Fact] AOL Time Warner Inc. CEO Gerald Levin recently stated that the basic cost of providing high-speed cable services was about $12 a month, so the company could tap into a potent new revenue stream by selling wholesale access to independent ISPs like EarthLink, which has agreed to pay a wholesale rate of $24 to $27 per subscriber per month.
    [Fact] Independent ISP owners and operators are willing to pay fair-market rates. The problem is that access has not been available at "any" rate. Only AOL Time Warner's extortionate rates have been announced to date.

    So lets snap together some DNS', routers and some basic security and let it rip sometime this year right? I mean, to quote Winston Zedmore [aol.com], "We have the Tools, we have the TALENT!" do we not?

    interested parties can email me [mailto].

  • Broadband typically refers to running multiple frequencies over one wire (such as multiple channels on cable). Baseband is what twisted pair wire systems are usually classed as. Although, DSL is an odd beast being that the signal is being split into a low and high frequency range for voice and data.
  • I won't be happy til I have 20Gbs optical fiber into my home

  • Telco's and large comms companies use Cisco switches and routers, Sun servers, etc, etc for a reason - they work.

    No ifs, no buts, no upgrade this kernel, install that rpm bullshit.

    Your f**king dreaming if you think a large telco is going to run their mission critical infrastructure on linux, maybe the BSD's but stuff like solaris and IOS comes on true HA hardware, with shit hot support from a vendor the company has worked with for years. You'd have to run gated on a BSD to even approach the number of advanced routing protcols a Cisco would support - and where would you get your enterprise level support, VPN support which integrates with your firewall?

    The beauty of vendors like Cisco is that you can buy a totally Cisco network and if something goes wrong you can ring up the TAC and say - you fix it. If you've got other routers in there they'll be very helpful but they won't be able to replicate your setup in their lab

    Open source zealots like yourself do more damage than good.

  • First off, I think it's unfair how Cable and Phone Companies often advertise their services - inside their monthly bills! What makes it really unfair is that most people own a phone and only can get service from one provider (despite deregulation attempts), meaning they have free postage on advertising to over 90% of the population. Cable may have a smaller number of subscribers than phone, but they still have a good basis of people to work from - people who make enough to afford a luxury service (which cable is) and can probably afford another. Personally I think regulated monopolies shouldn't be able to compete in high speed internet services or have restrictions put on them. I know the phone company technically isn't a regulated monopoly anymore, but effectively they still are, because I still only get one choice for local access provider (Quest).

    I think MediaOne has now started to offer local phone service in my area, with lots of features for a fraction of Quest's - which would be great except that I'm exchanging a monopoly that is being forced to compete for a monopoly that doesn't have to. I want fair competition already!

    Another problem is when one company owns both the cable and phone provider in an area and offers either DSL or Cable but not both. For instance AT&T and MediaOne have the same owner, and they only offer one or the other for DSL and Cable services in most areas. I saw a report on this in the Star Tribune, and their justification was that they didn't want to compete with themselves.

    Maybe I'm just upset that most of the monopolies offer inferior service speeds and no static IPs for higher rates than independent companies for residential service. I also think DSL advertising from the telecos is deceptive - $20 for high speed access... let us not mention that you need an ISP that is ~$20 and probably $10 more for high speed access.
    I haven't actually looked into the costs since last year because I've been under a year contract with PhoenixDSL that has been transferred to Telocity (with the bankrupt Northpoint providing the line). I'll be shopping around again soon - I like having a choice - unlike cable!

  • However, a SLIC will KILL a 56k modem, and DSL is right out. It may be that your local area is just chock full of SLICs, and the telco would have to run a SPL (shit pot load) of pairs from the CO to enable DSL

    I live in a rural area but I think this is what has happened to me. Every day at around 9-10 am and 530pm, the line quality degrades so much that my external USRobotics modem can't keep the signal and disconnects. As a home worker this pisses me off. Thankfully the 3com PCMCIA card (it is v.90) in my 486 laptop behaves a bit better and connects at a less optimistic speed (~31200) and stays conencted all day.

    Unfortunately broadband is out of the question. BellSouth want to get everywhere wired up with ADSL by 2002 (they claim) but currently have no plans to put it in here. Intermedia actually came in a year or two ago and took out all the internet capable cable equpt and swapped it with another county

    I can't even get ISDN reasonably. Bellsouth's areaplus plan which makes any of the POPs local is not available with ISDN. The only ISP which has a local pop (valley.net) has not returned any of my numerous calls or e-mails.

    Sprint ion isn't here yet (big surprise). I think it's going to have to be Starband but I'm half suspecting that the satellite's going to have an imperfection is its dish so that we can't get it here.

    Rich

  • "I have not even mentioned customer care, network engineering and operations, billing, and all of the other factors assoicated with rolling out a communications service."
    From what I hear on a daily basis, Southwestern Bell DSL neatly sidesteps the customer care issue by just not providing any.

  • I think his point was really the opposite: that high-speed cable access is a telecom service, and thus regulatable by the FCC. The big telcos are arguing that it is an information service, which apparently makes it unregulatable. An information service is like your library, where they actually store knowledge. A telecommunications service basically provides bandwidth between points A and B, rather than any specific information.

    The whole slant of the article was that deregulation hasn't really worked because the government hasn't followed up sufficiently to make the big telecoms open up their networks. The question that I have is: are they really being forced to sell access to 3rd-party ISPs at a loss? It seems like that's the crux of the argument. Nobody should be required to sell access to their infrastructure at a loss, but if the price is fair-market then there shouldn't be a problem.

  • If third world countries weren't broke, where would your new pair of Nike's come from? Get real. Just as Mr. Cringely's article pointed out the fact that ILEC's make it hard for CLEC's to make money so they get to keep their monopoly, the same holds true for the US vs. third world countries. If we helped them enough, perhaps they'd become developing countries and eventually compete with us. Bye bye cheap sweatshop labor. Hello higher prices. I think it's time for the US to become a nationalist country. Fuck the world and mind our own business. Close the borders.

  • By the time that happens 20Gbs won't be enough space to open a brower

    ---
  • I think you're asking quite a bit out of the government in this case. Do you actually expect them to be able to resolve disputes within the bandwidth? Do you expect them to troubleshoot multi-vendor conflicts and determine who came first and who caused the problem? How do you expect for these kinds of issues to be resolved once your land rush occurrs? In the courts? Six-guns at ten paces would probably work better. Comparisons of phone companies and other types of media always make me smile. There is something critically different about phone companies that even cable companies don't achieve. Local telco companies have a significant burden placed upon them in the form of legal responsibility (enforced from mid last century). What this has caused is a reliance upon the telephone (and local telephones) to be our preferred method of communication. Cable has no such legal burden. There are times and places for controlled monopolies to be granted. Stating that ALL monopolies for ALL cable and ALL telephone companies be revoked is extreme and misses the point. Of course competition is good, in some cases. The problems with competition in mission-critical systems where the levels of reliability are "assumed" and not shopped for opens a significant can-of-worms. Case in point, I had dial-up ISP for years. Occasional busies, but I could always try a few different #'s. Also, I sometimes had additional dial-ups (school, work, etc.) that could always be used. I was NEVER off the net when I wanted to be, but I didn't really want to be there that much. Now, not only do I WANT to be on the net, but I NEED to. Due to my work, I now need telco levels of reliability from my network access, however, I also want (and need to some level) the speed of broadband. At this point I bring in the COMPETITION HEAVY past year of broadband providers (and I'll focus on DSL because that's the most competitive area currently). These providers dropped price and added bonuses to try and grab customers. Invariably, they would under-spend for capacity because of their attempts to compete. This led to denial of service, slow response to problems, poor quality of speed, etc. All BECAUSE of competition. The uber-competitive person would say this is great and viva-la-free-market. However, what is missing here is that for over a year now many of us have been forced to endure sub-standard providers as well as stock-holders and investors losing money on failed providers. In the case of certain areas it is EXPECTED that some level of service be provided. Water, Power (hah!), etc. are necessities. It is arguable that the phone is a necessity and I would back that argument in today's society. It is becoming so that the Internet will be one such necessity in the future and the government is being careful about letting it get out of hand. One way they are doing this is by placing broad-band restrictions to increase the levels of service. When dealing w/ products that have become "necessities" it is at least justifiable (if not required) for the government to put some form of regulation on the industy. If this is via managed competition, limited monopolies, or whatever, then in this kind of market it appears appropriate. Viewing this situation from this kind of perspective may lead to understanding for the government's actions. Or not... :)
  • What's wrong with the web cache? Wouldn't it make your webpages load faster due to the fact that your ISP has a local copy?

    All I know is the theory, I'm curious as to what happens in the real world.

    Later,
    ErikZ
  • I am sooooo happy for you! Meanwhile I live in Wisconsin, area code 53010, in a semi rural area (the houses maybe average a half mile to a mile apart) about six miles from the nearest phone switching station. I sure as shit want DSL, but hell, for a month I couldn't even use my modem because the phone line was too bad to connenct but still good enough to make voice calls, and Ameritech/Verizon doesen't guarentee modems to work, only voice!!! I was starting to fantasize doing a Columbine High on their corporate headquarters :-) It's people like me who need broadband the most because of our relative isolation but are least likely to get it, because the population density is too low to make it profitable. Well, I say we should creata a modern day equivelant of the the interstate highway system, but with fiber. It will likely have the same long-term importance. Meanwhile, I feel lucky to connenct at 26k, am currently conected at 24K, and fully expect it to take ten years (or more) to get anything faster. And don't mention satelite, I only work part time! Ironically, I live less than two miles from a cell phone tower, so I might someday be able to get a 2Mb connection that I have read about before DSL, but I ain't holding my breath.
  • "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is"
    - excerpts from Bill Clinton's grand jury testimony

  • you are not alone
  • Your analogy breaks down in at least one regard. Once Fred the plumber gets paid for a job, that's it. Telco's keep raking it in every month.
  • Competition is inefficent. WTF! Read that again. Competition is inefficient. How does forcing 2 people to compete make them inefficient. Well, let's see.. I guess by having competition and allowing consumers options.. well.. obviuosly the poorest service will be chosen by everyone.. the most expensive service as well.. so all the companies that inovate new and exciting and affordable technologies will just go under. Free marker is what this is all about. The Baby Bells and At&T have MONOPOLIES on "the last mile" wiring. Baby Bells have the phones and AT&T has the cable. No they plug their networks into the internet backbone and BOOM.. all these wires become broadband pipes. The MONOPLOIES that they have are anti-competitive and anti-free market. We, as end users, have no access to the free market of broadband service because the only people who we can buy from are these MONOPOLIES. Congress has mandated that these MONOPOLIES open their systems up to a free market system. Congress said "well.. listen. You have the wires.. but eminent domain says that you have to share" They wont share. Can you honestly tell me that all the advances to the long distance telecomunications industry after congress split up the phone company has been a bad thing? How far have prices dropped? How many more options do you have now.. like cell phones with nation wide coverage.. or calling cards.. get a clue dude.. the only way for a free market to work is to have it be a free market with NO barriers to trade.
  • If you were on a SLIC, you'd be on it 24/7. It sounds more like to me you have crosstalk from other lines, and they happen at that time of the day. You might try disconnecting the modem, picking up the phone, dialing a single digit to quiet the dial tone, and listening. See if you can hear any voice on the line (it will be pretty faint). If so, call the phone company and complain about "hearing other people on my line." DO NOT MENTION THE WORDS MODEM OR HOME WORKER If you say those words the phone company will try to nail you with a business line charge. Say you hear other people talking on the line and maybe they will re-route your pairs away from the problem. Or maybe they will make it worse....
  • You've heard of Reader's Digest Condensed Books? This was a Reader's Digest Condensed Title.
  • by Esperandi ( 87863 ) on Friday March 02, 2001 @05:02AM (#393667)
    How many more years am I going to have to wait around until people start waking up to the real issue of consumer broadband? That issue is that asynchronous connections are going to turn the Internet into a completely passive medium. You can watch, but you can't create. Sure, with a cable modem or DSL I can watch a TV show streaming across the web just fine. But I'd never be able to stream my own, not even to an intermediate server which would handle the larger scale distribution. If you think its paranoia that I think we're being set up to watch the Internet turn into TV, go ask any broadband provider why they cap upload speeds. The reason isn't because THEY have a capped upstream (they buy synchronous bandwidth) or even anything like "we're afraid people will use it for illegal stuff and we'll get blamed", the reason is because if you are serving content, you must be making money right? People wouldn't put up personal web page with multimedia conent and want to run the server from their house unless they were just raking in the cash, right? That's what they're doing. Either charge for it, or don't serve. The Internet that was built on personal web pages and experimentation is dying. Don't say I never warned you.

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened. -- Winston Churchill

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