2 thoughts on “Sorry State of US Broadband”

  1. SBC lobbying against municipal wireless is like verizon lobbying they needed more spectrum in the late 1990s. We got a big country here – we need all the broadband we can get our hands on. An analyst I talked to at WCA last week, after watching the Phily Muni talk described it as “the bus”: ” if you can, you take your own car..if you cannot, you take the bus”. i.e. the opportunity for SBC and other sumo-class carriers is to offer superior SLA agreements, enhanced services, etc. not just basic connectivity.

  2. US broadband lags behind a few other countries because of a couple of complicated reasons (although not limited to the various monopoly issues):

    1) Low population density means that it’s difficult to get connections in some areas, combined with
    2) Universal service requirements mean that regulated telcos make up their low density loss leaders in the highly populated areas, plus
    3) Unmetered phone calls (unlike most other countries) has traditionally meant that people have been more reluctant to upgrade from dialup to broadband. Metered minutes made for more pressure for broadband, which kicked in economies of scale elsewhere. Once you go broadband, you can’t stand going back, but plenty of people still haven’t made the leap.

    I’m also a little skeptical of muni plans that boil down to making the non-technology users subsidize the heavy users. There’s tradeoffs between getting more people online and just subsidizing people who would get it anyway by having the ones who won’t or can’t help pay for it.

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