Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's time to halt the "digital literacy" baloney and build fiber

With many areas of the United States lacking adequate fiber optic infrastructure to deliver premise Internet service, there continues to be an unfortunate effort to shift the focus away from that fact.

For example, this Texas Broadband Summit "designed to engage, educate, and equip technology providers and Texas communities with the resources and partnerships necessary to improve broadband access, adoption, and use," noting that "lack of digital literacy and the digital divide remain real issues in Texas."

What does "digital literacy" have to do with getting IPTV, VOIP and other Internet protocol-based services over fiber?   Nothing, because people have been watching TV and making phone calls for decades.  In that regard, they are already digitally literate.  And the web and email have been around for two decades and most people currently use these common services.

It's time to stop the PR baloney and work on alternative ways of building fiber to the premise -- such as community cooperatives and municipal fiber -- to fill in the gaps that investor owned telco and cable TV providers are unable to fill.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Demand aggregation won't attract investor-owned providers

Broadband Internet service for rural communities eyed - The Daily News Online: News:

A consultant asked Genesee County lawmakers Wednesday if they wanted to join a regional coalition to try to get broadband Internet service to rural communities and homes.
Evhen Tupis of Clarendon said he’s been working on getting high-speed broadband for unserved areas of Orleans County and Niagara County. The sparsely populated parts of the two counties don’t have a provider because it isn’t financially feasible for companies such as Time Warner and Verizon.

The coalition would issue a request for proposals to broadband service providers “with 100 percent coverage,” he said.
Tupis’ proposed Inclusive Internet Initiative would pool together the region’s counties to make it more attractive to communications companies. He estimated the cost to provide broadband to most or all of Genesee County at $150,000, the same as it would in Niagara.

Yet another misguided notion that investor-owned telecommunications infrastructure providers can be convinced to serve an area that is insufficiently profitable for them by aggregating demand.  Demand aggregation does not solve the underlying economics that make deployment impractical for these providers.  If businesses and residents want modern Internet access, they will have to provide it themselves with municipal fiber or a consumer cooperative.

Copper culprits hasten obsolescence of twisted pair

The obsolescence of twisted pair copper cable is being hastened by thieves who want to quickly resign it to the scrap heap in order to recycle the valuable metal and put money in their pockets.  By comparison, the tiny glass strands of the modern standard for telecommunications -- fiber optic cable -- offer no such market incentive to copper culprits.

Check out this Fresno Bee story that reports that the crooks have gotten so brazen they are toppling utility poles in order to get at AT&T's cables.

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