Meanwhile, details of Comcast’s new DOCSIS 3.0 deployments is coming to light and, while good news for current subscribers or those switching from DSL, it’s hardly competitive with offerings from UTOPIA. In addition to a 50Mbps/5Mbps tier at $150/mo, Comcast plans to upgrade current subscribers to 12Mbps/2Mbps at $42.95/mo and offer a 22Mbps/5Mbps tier at $62.95/mo to compete with a similar offering from Verizon. Compare that to a 15Mbps/15Mbps plan at $40/mo or 50Mbps/50Mbps for $55/mo from either MSTAR or XMission. Just be thankful you aren’t a SureWest customer. They charge around $192/mo for a 50Mbps connection.
I had the chance to sit down with someone from Veracity yesterday to get a better understanding of what they do and how they do it. One of the things that came up that is the relationship between Veracity and Nuvont, a spin-off company. I know I had a bit of confusion as to the relationship between the two entities. Now that I have the full story, it’s worth getting it out in the open to clear that air.
Dish Network has started offering HD and SD content in MPEG4 format. Other providers cable and DirectTV are only providing HD content in MPEG4 format.
Qwest is trying to get Comcast taxed as a telco here in Utah.
Google says they need more undersea bandwidth and traditional providers can’t provide. So they are building more of their own. From an older article on the same subject “Google has so much cash, it’s now competing head-to-head the world’s biggest telcos.”
I wish this study came out when I was still in school. Then I would have had a better excuse for the 2nd phone line for the modem back in the day. Apparently broadband at home helps kids get better grades.
Update: Sorry for the dupe on the Comcast cap thing. I guess I should check the front page before posting.
For several months now, rumors have been swirling about that Verizon may attempt to purchase Qwest, a move that would put us one step closer to a reversal of the 1984 breakup of Ma Bell. Most cite Qwest’s switch to selling re-branded Verizon Wireless service as testing the waters. Qwest is also in a weak financial position with dropping profits and subscriber losses. It’s no secret that the company has spent years trying to find a buyer after the company suffered precipitous drops in customer satisfaction and service quality from 2001 onward. Could cash-rich Verizon be the white knight they’ve been waiting for?
Qwest announced key leadership changes in Sales and IT. The link includes some background about each of the new executives that have been chosen. I’m hoping the new leaders will realize the importance of bringing telecommunications into the 21st century by investing in infrastructure like Verizon has been doing and understand the increasing importance of upload speeds.
Recently, it has come to light that Comcast has been throttling bandwidth for various applications with little or no disclosure. In a 67 page order, the FCC has said that “Comcast has 30 days to fess up about P2P throttling”. On Wednesday, there were also reports that Comcast would slow traffic for heavy users, but today in the NYTimes Comcast claims that no final decisions have been made about managing network traffic.
There is a looming problem on the Internet, IP addresses are running out. There is a finite number of addresses and experts keep telling us we are close to exhaustion. The solution is IPV6, but according to reports, it is failing to gain traction.
Internet traffic is on the rise and consumers are using more and more bandwidth:
“As cable and phone companies race to upgrade services or offer video for the first time, they’re doing it by installing equipment in boxes on lawns, easements and curbs all over American neighborhoods. Telecommunications rollouts have always been messy, but several towns and residents are fighting back…”
Some ISP’s have responded to increased bandwidth usage by some of their customers with announcements of new bandwidth caps.
P2P data is a big bandwidth user, apparently accounting for 40%-60% of all the traffic used on the Internet. Some researchers have a novel idea for cutting bandwidth usage. In a paper to be released next week, researchers found a way to lessen the load of P2P with an algorithm they dub “P4P”. Though the P4P article is scant on technical details, it involves finding shorter routes between users thereby making the traffic traverse fewer networks.
An analyst at a major investment firm says that broadband competition is today as good as it is going to get and that there aren’t going to be any major disruptive technologies in broadband in the future. All the more reason UTOPIA is so important: it provides an open infrastructure that fosters provider competition.
Speaking of politics, this article has an interesting look at the Internet policy in the 2008 Democratic platform. I couldn’t find any info yet about the 2008 Republican platform (it hasn’t been released yet). In 2004, the Republican platform stated: “Broadband provides Americans with high-speed Internet access connections that improve the nation’s economic productivity and offer life-enhancing applications, such as distance learning, remote medical diagnostics, and the ability to work from home more effectively…Broadband technology will enhance our nation’s economic competitiveness and will improve education and health care for all Americans.” It’s nice to see that both major parties acknowledge the importance of broadband for the future of this country.
We’ll see you at the Layton U-CAN meeting on Saturday at Noon at the Davis Library.
Could things get ugly at Qwest? They still have not reached a labor agreement with the Communications Workers of America. Those 20,000 workers could begin a strike as early as Sunday (tomorrow), the day their existing contract expires.
“The U.S. may be winning world speed records in swimming at the Olympics, but not in average Internet speeds. According to a new report, the country that invented the Internet has now sunk to 15th worldwide in the percentage of the population subscribing to broadband.” This is a great AP News article that summarizes the state of broadband today in America and compares it with other countries. In other parts of the country, like Oklahoma, they are significantly behind. According to this article, Oklahoma ranks below most other states in broadband, which is a worry for officials. “Infrastructure and connection is so important to economic development…Many future industries will be knowledge-based.”
The FCC has a proposal to build a national, free, wireless broadband network that nearly everyone could access. It is inching forward despite controversy and worries by T-Mobile and others about interference. They are seeking feedback on this plan. I would like to point out though that this will never replace the interference-free, low-latency, high-bandwidth connections that are possible with fiber optic networks.
In the presidential race, net neutrality and other broadband issues have become points of contrast:
John McCain’s position: “John McCain does not believe in prescriptive regulation like “net-neutrality,” but rather he believes that an open marketplace with a variety of consumer choices is the best deterrent against unfair practices. John McCain has always believed the government’s role must be rooted in protecting consumers.”
Barack Obama’s position: “So here’s my view. We can’t have a situation in which the corporate duopoly dictates the future of the internet and that’s why I’m supporting what is called net neutrality.”
John McCain has put forward an excellent bill in the Senate called the Community Broadband Act of 2005, which Barack Obama has not yet signed on to. Interestingly, this bill is supported by EDUCAUSE and more than 40 education and trade associations, public interest groups, etc. This bill would protect the ability of local governments to provide Internet services
to their communities. Jonathan Karras and I have talked about EDUCAUSE before. Though Obama hasn’t signed on to this bill, he has stated that “Every American should have the highest speed broadband access—no matter where you live, or how much money you have. We’ll connect schools, libraries, and hospitals. And we’ll take on special interests to unleash the power of wireless spectrum for our safety and connectivity.”
Many cities haven’t been as successful as they hoped in building various municipal broadband network, primary wireless networks. The first of these was Philidelphia. “Philadelphia’s goal to cover 135 square miles with a cloud of Internet connectivity was ambitious. But the need was undeniable. High-speed Internet access was fast becoming an economic, educational, and social necessity.” This article has an in-depth look at a lot of municipal networks around the country, but no mention of UTOPIA or IProvo.
I had an interesting conversation recently with the director of operations at a company that is one of the big players in the telecommunications industry in Utah and this individual confirmed that they were working with UTOPIA to begin to sell their retail telecom service with a UTOPIA transport. When asked when they would start providing service, this individual noted that they wanted to first be confident that UTOPIA would be reliable. It seems that they are doing testing and there’s even some infrastructure already being put in place. This is very exciting news.
If UTOPIA proves successful, I imagine that there will be a lot of service providers that will use UTOPIA as their transport in the cities where it is available instead of Qwest’s aging copper infrastructure. Ultimately, it will put pressure on Qwest to improve their infrastructure even in non-UTOPIA cities or “risk” having UTOPIA go in there as well. As we move into the future, companies and individuals are realizing that speed matters with telecommunications. Qwest has made some commitments to improve infrastructure with fiber-to-the-node; but while that offers improved download speeds, so far there haven’t been any pushes to significantly improve upload speeds which are becoming critical. Hopefully UTOPIA’s success will change that even for the cities it doesn’t service by pushing incumbents to invest in their infrastructure.
The fact that we will be doing a regular feature on broadband news shows that there is a lot of interest in this space. At a recent Qwest webinar, lots of business attendees mentioned slow network speeds are a major concern. Many people are supportive of UTOPIA for different reasons and come from different political persuasions, but the one cause that unites us is a desire to bring our communities into the future by supporting advancements in broadband deployments. We feel it can’t be stressed enough that networks are the railroads of the 21st century. Those cities that have it will prosper, those that don’t will be left by the wayside.
Major telecom incumbents have been slow to invest in our communities and bring us faster network speeds that will be crucial for our economy and our quality of life. In addition, these incumbents have fought and continue to fight efforts by others (like us) to improve broadband even when they themselves refuse to improve broadband speed, quality, and availability. Our goal is to share news developments and insights pertaining to broadband in the hope that with a more informed community we can make better decisions to improve the availability of fast, consumer-friendly, choice-driven, high-quality broadband. This kind of broadband is severely lacking in many parts of Utah, though fortunately, UTOPIA is changing that in more ways than one.
Without further ado, here is our first edition of Broadband Bytes:
Charter Communications says out with the old and in with the new. DOCSIS 3.0, SDV, and all digital in the works. (Goodbye analog spectrum)
Everyone was buzzing about the prospect of a wide-open network during the 700MHz auction (don't hold your breath on Verizon making good on it), but Clearwire is giving it to us now. The company, a joint venture with Sprint, Comcast, Time Warner and others, is promising open everything on its new WiMax network. Bring your own device? Check. Use any application? Check. Pick your own retailer? Check, and that's the real measure of the open network.