Sunday, April 30, 2006

April 27 Sac Bee item connects with Eldo readers

Bob Walter, columnist for the El Dorado County section of the Sacramento Bee, reports in today's column his April 27 column on the AT&T "upgrade or divest" petition garnered strong reader interest, demonstrating that quality telecommunications services is an issue of concern to county residents.

This blog is also mentioned...

Friday, April 28, 2006

Fiber is the future

Fiber-connected U.S. homes doubled since October
By Ed Gubbins

Apr 27, 2006 3:15 PM

The number of U.S. homes connected to fiber has doubled in the past six months, according to new data released today from Render Vanderslice and Associates.

Between Sept. 31, 2005, and March 31, 2006, nearly 350,000 U.S. homes were newly connected to fiber, bringing the country’s total to 671,000, a 107% increase.

Fiber is the future. It's time for El Dorado County to embrace it and abandon aging, antiquated copper cable.

An insane and highly ironic commute

Now this is insane, $3 gas or no. And it's highly ironic to see an employee of the world's leading provider of Internet servers drive 186 miles to use a cubicle-bound computer that could just as easily be used in a home office if Mr. Givens has reliable, high speed Internet access, which he likely doesn't.

If you're howling about paying a lot more to fill up these days, thank your lucky nozzle you're not David Givens.

Every weekday, Givens drives 372 miles commuting from Mariposa to his job at Cisco in San Jose.

On Thursday, as prices in California skyrocketed 3 cents more, to a record average of $3.18 a gallon and Exxon Mobil reported a historic first-quarter profit of $8.4 billion, Givens talked with resignation of doling out $40 a day, $200 a week, $800 a month in gas money.

For his daily round-trip journey, Givens won the ``America's Longest Commute'' contest conducted by Midas Muffler, which received nearly 3,000 entries from New York to the Golden State as part of a 50th anniversary celebration. Considering the average one-way commute nationally is 25.5 minutes, you can call Givens a runaway winner.

Story in San Jose Mercury News

Are we on the same planet here?

El Dorado County inhabitants who have been left hanging on the wrong side of AT&T's digital divide with sluggish 24K dial up connections to the Internet over aged copper cables must be wondering if they are living on the same planet as this item in Thursday's Sacramento Bee business pages:

AT&T expands broadband service

Seeking to stay competitive in the hotly contested broadband market, AT&T said Wednesday it will offer a new tier of service with download speeds of up to 6 megabits per second and uploads of up to 768 kilobits per second for $27.99 a month.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Sac Bee: Drive for faster online access boots up in El Dorado County

Here's Bob Walter's column on the AT&T "upgrade or divest" petition drive that appeared in today's Sacramento Bee.

AT&T spokeswoman Vanessa Smith says the company is committed to expanding broadband offerings in the the county. Your blogger is quoted expressing a healthy degree of skepticism given years of promises and no action. I'm from Missouri on this issue. "Show me."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Telecommuting interest rises with fuel prices

That "down the hill" commute getting more costly with rising fuel prices? Telecommuting (and a telecommuncations system in El Dorado County that allows for reliable broadband Internet access) is looking better and better.

See related story Fuel Prices have workers eyeing telecommuting

Monday, April 24, 2006

Florida town's problems with wireless Internet pose implications for topographically challenging deployments

Here's a link to a story on problems with a wireless Internet deployment that illustrates the technology's weaknesses compared to a wire line-based system. And keep in mind this is in relatively flat Florida, not topographically challenged El Dorado County.

Illinois municipality joins with AT&T to offer broadband

Starting next week, high-speed Internet connection will become a basic municipal service available to Bedford Park residents, much like garbage collection, police protection and library access.

The southwest suburban village has struck a deal with AT&T Inc. to deliver digital subscriber line connections to all residents who want it, paid for by the village.

Story in the Chicago Tribune.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

AB 2897: Millions being spent on regulatory battle instead of service improvements

Here’s an analysis of legislation, AB 2897, that would give the California Department of Corporations sole authority to grant cable and video franchises, preempting the existing authority of local governments to grant the franchises.

The bill’s proponents including AT&T and other telecom vendors want one stop shopping to obtain video franchises from the state rather than having to separately negotiate agreements with cities and counties.

There’s nothing in the analysis that suggests AB 2987 would do anything to expand broadband Internet access in El Dorado County despite the bill’s stated purpose to promote competition among providers. It’s unfortunate that these vendors are spending millions on regulatory food fights rather than investing those dollars in urgently needed improvements to upgrade and expand their services.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Americans commuting farther, longer than ever

Another story on Census Bureau research that points up the need for modernized telecommunications in outlying residential areas to allow people telecommute to their jobs.

Presently, however, too many can't get on the information highway from home, trapped on the wrong side of the digital divide and relegated to sluggish and outdated dial up connections to the Internet.

Population shift to exurbs has major implications for telecoms

Northeasterners are moving South and West. West Coast residents are moving inland. Midwesterners are chasing better job markets. And just about everywhere, people are escaping to the outer suburbs, also known as exurbs.

This story has huge implications for telecommunications companies that serve outlying areas who should be putting in place updated networks now to serve the growing population.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Think tank: Rural U.S. faces potential loss of telecom infrastructure

If changes are not made soon, then the universal service system as we have known it will suffer irreparable damage. Consumers in the most rural and high-cost areas of the nation will face the very real possibility of having no telecommunications carrier capable of connecting them to the telephone and information networks,” the firm concludes in “Universal Service: Rural Infrastructure at Risk, Release 2.0,” a white paper published earlier this month.

Article at NRTC Update

Friday, April 14, 2006

Broadband in Iceland, but not El Dorado County

U.S. government officials have noted that the low population density of the U.S. makes it difficult to deploy broadband over large areas of the country, but the advance of other low population density countries like Iceland, Norway, Finland, and Sweden seems to indicate that broadband can be deployed in rural and remote areas if there is a will.

Article in Internet News by TechWeb News

Sacramento Bee: Rain exposes problems with AT&T's aging infrastructure

Phone service rained out for many in region
By Clint Swett -- Bee Staff Writer

Published 2:15 am PDT Friday, April 14, 2006

Carl Wood, a former commissioner at the California Public Utilities Commission and now a labor union consultant in Southern California, said AT&T may be more vulnerable because it serves a large geographic area and much of its infrastructure is aging.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Senate hearing on wireless broadband set

MONDAY, APRIL 17, 2006


10 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Room 3191
SUBJECT: Wireless Communities:
Connecting Communities
Rural and Urban Broadband Possibilities
Wi-Fi vs. Wi-Max

Frustrated with long phone outages? Tell the Sacramento Bee

From the Sacramento Bee Business section:

Published 5:55 pm PDT Monday, April 10, 2006

Some Sacramento-area residents are complaining of lengthy outages and of waiting more than a week to get service restored to their landlines.

If this has happened to you, Bee reporter Clint Swett would like to hear your story. E-mail him at with a daytime phone number.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Pipes? What pipes?

AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre recently proclaimed that businesses like Google and others who reach their consumers over the Internet should pay for the right to use AT&T's system. "Why should they be allowed to use my pipes?" Whitacre told Business Week Online.

The inhabitants of El Dorado County must be collectively scratching their heads at Whitacre's remark. For most of them, their sluggish dial up Internet experience courtesy of AT&T is like sipping through a cocktail straw. Pipes? What pipes?
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