Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Failure of Google's "Homes with Tails" concept correlates to dearth of consumer telecom coops

Britain mulling broadband speed disclosure for every home - AlphaBeatic: The idea is reminiscent of “Homes with Tails,” a paper published back in 2008 by Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu and Google public policy manager Derek Slater. In the paper, the duo envisioned a future where consumers owned the fibre connections to their homes, obviating the need to go through an ISP to connect to the internet. Such fibre connections would lower the cost of internet service and raise the value of the homes. A typical home with a fibre connection was worth $4,000 (U.S.) more than one without, the duo argued.

Home ownership of fibre was attempted in Ottawa several years ago, but the idea never got off the ground. Bill St. Arnaud, the project’s founder, attributed the problems to central exchange providers, who were unwilling to open up their networks to allow competition for the likes of Bell and Rogers. There was also the issue of trying to convince home owners to spring for building the fibre connections, which can run thousands of dollars. Consumers are accustomed to effectively renting their internet connections, rather than owning them, so it may have been an idea ahead of its time.

This also explains why consumer telecom cooperatives have not sprung up in the United States to build and own fiber infrastructure serving member premises. People have been conditioned to see telecommunications as a consumer commodity purchased from a centralized corporate provider. Even though these monopolistic providers have no incentive to avoid redlining neighborhoods they don't want to serve and have a lousy customer service ethic, people would rather bitch about shitty service options when renting their telecommunications circuit than pony up a few thousand dollars to own it and set their own terms of service. Even when that investment would raise the value of their property by amount of the investment as research has shown. Brings to mind the old adage that one gets what one pays -- or not -- for a product or service.

No comments:

Web Analytics