Friday, January 30, 2009

Thy neighbor's broadband

In the three years this blog has been in existence, by far the top Google search phrase that directs readers to it goes along the lines of "My neighbors can get high speed Internet/DSL/cable but I can't/why not?"

The common question ultimately reveals the hodge podge, Balkanized deployment of premises-based wire line broadband Internet access that's about as maddening as not being able to get telephone service when the folks next door can. Or them getting electricity while you're left off the grid.

The high frequency of the Google query directed to this blog also calls into question the widely repeated myth that broadband black holes can only be found deep in rural Iowa or Nebraska when in fact they turn up most anywhere in the United States.

The common Google search term also points up the technological shortcomings of DSL over copper, which is very sensitive to and degrades with distance, as well as the severely proscribed footpoints of cable deployments based on the number of dwellings per an arbitrary linear metric suitable only for neighborhoods laid out along urban gridlines.

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