Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Broadband delayed again� - News - The Charleston Gazette - West Virginia News and Sports -

Broadband delayed again� - News - The Charleston Gazette - West Virginia News and Sports -

This sickening story highlights the pathetic, on the cheap state of today's U.S. telecommunications infrastructure. Providers battle over subsidies that would be better invested in fiber to the premise infrastructure rather than stopgap, obsolescence-prone DSL and terrestrial wireless.

And the DSL provider (Frontier) has the temerity to suggest since it offers its West Virginia customers satellite Internet service -- a national disgrace that should only be serving locales north of the Arctic Circle -- it is therefore providing sufficient service.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

AT&T forced to invest in wireline plant to stem residential cord cutting

This item from Bloomberg/Businessweek helps explain why AT&T is opting to invest $6 billion in its wireline infrastructure.  The telco has been bleeding residential connections for years as these customers have dropped landline service and migrated to mobile wireless.  This is particularly true for those residential customers not offered wireline Internet service and thus had no reason to keep their landline account active.

AT&T is apparently now hoping to win those customers back and retain those thinking of cutting the cord by providing them Internet service via its proprietary, VDSL-based U-verse IPDSLAM service.  According to an AT&T news release today announcing its 3-year, $14 billion CAPex plan, U-verse IPDSLAM will provide Internet access and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to 24 million customer premises in AT&T's wireline service area by year-end 2013.

Friday, November 02, 2012

California PUC rectifies its mischaracterization of Internet infrastructure subsidy fund

Several months ago, this blog called out the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for incorrectly asserting the public policy goal of its program to subsidize the build out of Internet infrastructure in the Golden State was instead to encourage “the adoption of broadband.”

To its credit, the CPUC has rectified its gross misstatement of the law authorizing its $100 million plus California Advanced Service Fund (CASF). It did so this week, buried 18 pages deep into a proposed order that would loosen eligibility for CASF infrastructure loan and grant funding to include entities not holding a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) or a Wireless Identification Registration (WIR):

“We wish to make clear that although we propose to modify the CASF eligibility requirements to include both for profit and nonprofit broadband infrastructure providers, it is not our intent to change the focus of the CASF program. The CASF was created to fund the deployment of broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas of the state, rather than the adoption of broadband services.” (Emphasis added)

The CPUC should also make it easier for consumer owned, community-based providers such as telecom cooperatives to access CASF funding for last mile (to the premises) Internet infrastructure construction – a critical infrastructure link singled out for attention in the proposed order. A key need of these providers is technical assistance grant funding to retain engineers and expert consultants to develop preliminary network designs and business case analyses. These deliverables would help ensure that the contemplated projects pencil out and would generate sufficient revenues to justify the prudent investment of CASF funds.

The CPUC should also revisit its unworkable, hair splitting exercise in futility of attempting to map out what neighborhoods are considered “unserved” and “underserved” based on throughput speed and census block groups. The inherent variation of legacy telco infrastructure Internet service from one address to the next doesn’t lend itself to these broad brush delineations. Internet service available at a given premise can be entirely different from another one just a quarter mile or a half block away.  Some overlap or "overbuilding" as it is called by incumbent providers will the inevitable consequence of progress.  But it must occur if the United States is to remedy what President Barack Obama decried in his State of the Union speech at the beginning of this year as the nation's "incomplete" Internet telecommunications infrastructure.  A network filled with holes does not a network make.

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