The new mantra in real estate? Location, location, broadband. From this AP Article: “In less than a decade, broadband has gone from a luxury to a must for many people, and for some of them, it’s started to influence their real-estate decisions. Homes that have broadband are winning out over more remote ones that don’t. Areas with better and faster broadband are becoming more desirable than ones with slower access.”
Akamai has released the 2008 3rd quarter report on the State of the Internet. The U.S. is in 8th place in terms of speed, and just 26% of users have download over 5 Mpbs. Upload speeds are far more dismal.
Another telecom expert says the U.S. “needs more broadband competition”. We certainly aren’t going to get that in Utah with a Qwest and Comcast duopoly. We need UTOPIA and it’s accompanying open access principles to succeed.
Finally, Jesse already talked about this in his post, but the city of Monticello is moving forward with their own fiber network despite the legal appeal from TDS Telecom. The bond money has been locked in escrow by the courts, but they are moving ahead anyway with liquor store reserve funds. I guess they consider broadband that important.
I think we are seeing a trend here: fast broadband is becoming vital to businesses and individuals. It truly is becoming the “railroad” of this century. In the last six months, I personally know of three businesses that chose to locate in Murray because of UTOPIA and at least two friends that moved to Layton in the hopes of eventually getting UTOPIA. And can you believe I am in an area in west Ogden where neither Comcast nor DSL is available, it’s unbelievable!
On the DVR front, AT&T has finished deploying whole-home DVR in 69 markets. This will allow customers to watch recorded programs on any TV in the house and is a smart move on AT&T’s part to drive DVR adoption. While there’s no fee for this service, AT&T does charge for the STBs for each set. Dish Network, meanwhile, will be deploying a new kind of DVR next week that can record from satellite broadcasts, analog over-the-air and HD over-the-air and function as a digital-to-analog converter box. Not all is good in DVR news, however. The Supreme Court is going to hear appeals in the Cablevision networked DVR case and the content cartel is aggressively lobbying to make sure it gets outlawed. This will be an important case to watch as it will have a lasting effect on video innovation.
Forget triple-play: welcome to the quad. Cox Communications plans to use recently-purchased spectrum to deploy cell-phone serivce in its markets. Since Cox can leverage its existing infrastructure to keep transport costs low, the profit margins should be substantial. They will also deliver video services to handsets for existing video customers as they had tried to do with Pivot. AT&T and Verizon have been using wireless revenues to help subsidize the construction of their next-generation networks for quite some time with a lot of success. Qwest, meanwhile, has had poor financial performance as it does not offer its own video or wireless products.
Some universities seem to be cutting back on POTS (plain old telephone) offerings to dorms because of lack of use.
Cox and Time Warner were fined for implementing SDV and knocking CableCARD customers offline without proper notification.
It also looks like BPL (Broadband over Power Lines) is dead. Manassas, Virginia where the flagship BPL network was deployed has been turned over to the city who will keep it around until about 2010. For all you amateur radio (PDF) operators out there this is good news.
Apple is rumored to be working on a networked TV. That’s going to require a lot of bandwidth. In addition to normal TV functions, you could stream any content from iTunes like downloaded movie rentals, TV episodes on demand, etc.
Business Week recently did an excellent piece called “The Digital Divide” that talks about just how important broadband is becoming in spurring business in areas that have it, and leaving those that don’t in the dust.
President Bush signed the Broadband Data Improvement Act into law on Oct. 10. The bill will provide for improved data on the status of broadband deployment in the United States by forcing the FCC to make a couple of major changes to the way it puts together broadband information. This includes yearly metrics for “second-generation” broadband that can support full motion HD video and more granularity to for reporting of broadband broken down by ZIP+4 instead of just ZIP (as it is now). The bill also authorizes a program of grants to support public/private public partnerships to stimulate broadband deployment and adoption at the state level. I’m interested to know what this would mean for projects like UTOPIA. Thoughts?