Friday, December 23, 2016

The legacy telco communications strategy to shift focus away from infrastructure deficiencies

Understanding the Broadband Adoption Gap | USTelecom: And most Americans have chosen to take advantage of widely available internet service. According to NTIA’s data, the share of American households using the internet at home has risen from 26 percent (27 million households) in 1998 to 73 percent (92 million households) in 2015. The share of households in which someone uses Internet anywhere—at home or in other locations such as a school, a library, or a workplace—is now at 79 percent, Yet, 33 million U.S. households (27 percent) still do not use the internet at home. Government data suggests (link is external) that the gap between rural and urban area internet usage has remained stubbornly constant at anywhere from 6 to 9 percentage points. In 2015, 69 percent of rural residents reported being online, compared to 75 percent of urban residents. 
This is part of a continued push by the telephone company trade group to shift the focus away from modernizing America's outdated, metallic telecommunications infrastructure to fiber to the premise (FTTP). The strategy is to shift time back 15 to 20 years when consumers were first using Internet protocol-based advanced telecommunications services to "go online" to access email and websites via dialup and later "broadband" Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) service. That glosses over the fact that IP provides other modes of telecommunications including video and voice in addition to these applications. Legacy telcos also like to conflate mobile wireless service with premise service to distract from landline infrastructure deficiencies.

Why the propaganda campaign? Because as the nation's crisis of inadequate telecom infrastructure deepens and grows more urgent, pressure builds for public policy solutions that could seriously disrupt the industry as it lacks the resources to address the infrastructure gaps. Lacking the financial resources, all the industry can do is to attempt to reframe the issue in an attempt to ward off any disruptive policy changes.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

State "Connect" efforts symbolic, fail to address U.S. telecom infrastructure deficiencies

Yemassee, Furman to get new fire trucks | The Hampton County Guardian: According to Connect South Carolina's website, the non-profit organization’s mission is to increase high-speed Internet access, adoption and use to diversify the economy and ensure South Carolina's competitiveness in the connected global economy of the 21st Century, the website states. Connect South Carolina was commissioned by the Office of the Governor to work with each of the state's broadband providers to create detailed maps of broadband coverage and to assess the current state of broadband adoption, community-by-community, across South Carolina. Connect South Carolina will continue to develop and update broadband data over time, ensuring state policymakers and citizens alike are equipped with important information. Connect South Carolina's efforts are funded by the United States Department of Commerce's State Broadband Initiative (SBI) Grant Program through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. More information is available at www.broadbandusa.gov.
This exemplifies the misguided and misleading "Connect" response throughout the United States to the nation's telecommunications infrastructure deficit. It is predicated on a lack of information as the source of the deficit. Gathering information about deficient infrastructure as well as use of existing telecommunications infrastructure isn't going to remedy the deficits. But policymakers have endorsed the approach because it gives the appearance of doing something about them.
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