Thursday, September 08, 2011

American Jobs Act misses on modernizing, building out nation's outdated telecom infrastructure

The Obama administration's American Jobs Act unveiled today misses the opportunity to build out the nation's outmoded wireline telecommunications infrastructure at a time when millions of Americans remain disconnected from the Internet. The White House instead continues to propose mobile broadband as the means of bridging the gap:

Expanding Nationwide Wireless Internet Services For the Public and the First Responders, in a Fiscally Responsible Way: The plan follows the model in the bipartisan legislation from Senators Rockefeller and Hutchison in including an investment to develop and deploy a nationwide, interoperable wireless network for public safety. The plan includes reallocating the D Block for public safety (costing $3 billion) and $7 billion to support the deployment of this network and technological development to tailor the network to meet public safety requirements. This is part of a broader deficit-reducing wireless initiative that would free up public and private spectrum to enable the private sector to deploy high-speed wireless services to at least 98 percent of Americans, even those living in remote rural and farming communities.
It's a major misapprehension on the part of the Obama administration to propose mobile wireless broadband as the means of connecting American homes and businesses to the Internet. Mobile broadband as its name implies is primary intended for mobile access and not to serve fixed premises locations. That's why it comes with preset caps on how much bandwidth is allotted to each customer as this post by Community Broadband Networks explains. Wireless Internet providers don't want customers using it for regularly accessing the Internet and particularly downloading high bandwidth demand video content.

Instead of taking this misguided approach, the administration should as part of its American Jobs Act fund fiber optic to the premises infrastructure and provide technical assistance grants to local governments and consumer telecom cooperatives to help them deploy it to homes and businesses where a business case cannot be made by investor owned providers to build out their incomplete networks.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Migrating from DSL to FTTP

More indications that providers are winding down DSL and migrating to fiber to the premises (FTTP) per this gigaom item on North State Communications of North Carolina:

North State offers an 80 Mbps down/30 Mbps up for consumers at a 12-month introductory price of $49 a month, which is about what I pay for 12-13 Mbps down/ 2Mbps up cable broadband from Time Warner here in Austin. However, the most popular package North State sells is a 30/30 Mbps symmetrical package, although he didn’t disclose penetration or take rates. Tucker also noted that the company is still supporting its 10 Mbps DSL business in its service area, but he doesn’t plan on making more investments in the technology. “Back in 2003 and 2004 and 2006, we were out there shortening loop lengths, building out fiber to the node and all that, but now we’re going to stick with maintenance,” Tucker said
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