Tuesday, October 05, 2010

"Opening the pipes" isn't a feasible or global solution to America's rotten telecom

Scientific American joins The Economist and other publications in describing the current state of next generation Internet protocol-based telecommunications service in the U.S. -- commonly known as broadband -- as "awful" in an editorial this week. Scientific American's solution also mirrors those proffered by others: using the force of law to compel investor-owned telcos to allow service providers to buy access to their systems.

There are a couple of big problems with this. First, as long as the fiercely protective and territorial telcos own the infrastructure or "pipes" as they were termed several years back by then-AT&T honcho Ed Whitacre, they will be in charge of who gets to sell services over them and at what price. And one can be assured the telcos will litigate the issue to death for decades if necessary to slow down the process as they did following the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Second and perhaps most importantly, this is not a global solution to what ails U.S. telecom infrastructure. The reason: the so-called "pipes" don't even run through much of America, forcing residents to use outmoded, early 1990s era dialup or lousy, relatively low value satellite Internet connections. Additionally, in the majority of the nation, the pipes to the extent they are comprised of aging copper cable to will soon be obsolete and unable to transport the exponentially growing volume of digital content. They need to be changed out and replaced with fiber optic cable in order to accommodate future growth.

No comments:

Web Analytics