A key problem in improving Internet access has been ensuring residents and local businesses have high quality services. One means of ensuring high quality is via competition – if people can switch away from their Internet Service Provider, the ISP has an incentive to provide better services. However, the high cost of building networks is a barrier for new ISPs to enter the market – limiting the number of options for communities. Open access provides a solution: multiple providers sharing the same physical network.
Publicly owned, open access networks can create a vibrant and innovative market for telecommunications services. Municipalities build the physical infrastructure (fiber-optic lines, wireless access points, etc.) and independent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) operate in a competitive market using the same physical network. In this competitive marketplace, ISPs compete for customers and have incentives to innovate rather than simply locking out competitors with a de facto monopoly. Continue reading
You just have to laugh at this stupid comment.
The FCC recently voted 4-1 to approve Charter‘s $79 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. The agency just released its full order (pdf) pertaining to the deal, outlining the various conditions the FCC hopes to enforce to keep Charter from simply becoming another Comcast. Among them are a seven-year ban on usage caps, a seven-year ban on charging for direct interconnection (the heart of the telecom industry’s battle with Netflix last year), and a ban on any attempt to pressure broadcasters into refusing deals with streaming video providers.
But the FCC says the merger conditions also require Charter to deploy broadband service to an additional 2 million locations, one million of which need to already be served by another competing provider. The faint threat of competition was enough to upset the American Cable Association (ACA), the lobbying organization for smaller cable providers. According to ACA CEO Matthew Polka, the added competition will actually be a horrible thing for consumers, because, uh, well, just because: Continue reading
AT&T today announced the company has expanded availability of its U-verse Gigapower-branded gigabit fiber service in four cities: Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, Atlanta and Kansas City. While AT&T’s overall fixed-line CAPEX has been dropping, the company continues to push fiber into housing developments, college campuses, and other areas where deployment costs are minimal. Speaking to investors during the first earnings call, AT&T CTO John Stephens said the company was on schedule to meet the commitments attached to the DirecTV acquisition.
“We’ll continue to expand our 100% fiber AT&T GigaPower network to additional locations,” AT&T says of the expansion. “We’re planning to triple availability by the end of 2016.”
As is traditionally AT&T’s practice, most of these deployments will be made available to high-end housing developments, and the company isn’t specifically stating just how many customers are actually able to get the service. Users in our forums are often frustrated to be told they’re in a launched market, only to realize AT&T’s fiber is deployed nowhere near their home. Continue reading
A flirtation with socialism in uber-capitalist Rancho Santa Fe could influence how telecommunications service is delivered to the rest of us in San Diego County.
On Thursday, the elected board that oversees land use in the wealthy rural enclave took a step toward building a super-fast, fiber-optic communications system that would reach each home and business. Here’s the twist: The system would be financed and owned by the public, with a telecom firm building and managing the network as a hired hand.
Internet speeds would start at 1 gigabits (1 billion bits) per second and top out at 10 gbps, or roughly 850 times the average U.S. connection of 11.7 megabits per second. Continue reading
Polk Theatre (Lakeland, Florida) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
LAKELAND — If the City Commission decides against starting a publicly owned Internet service utility, it won’t be because of a philosophical disagreement with the idea, commissioners agreed Wednesday.
Lakeland Mayor Howard Wiggs and Commissioner Don Selvage sought consensus from their colleagues following a brief discussion of the “gigabit” issue, in which the city would leverage its existing fiber optics assets to improve broadband connection speeds in the city. Continue reading
By MARC BROWN
Westerly’s Town Council is currently considering whether to enter into a contract with SIFI Networks of London to build a $30 million fiber optic network. SIFI is proposing to build the network and the town would lease-purchase it from the company at an annual cost of $1 million to $2.5 million over 30 years. SIFI has promised that a third-party internet service provider will sell broadband packages on the new network, sharing revenue with Westerly to cover the town’s lease cost. SIFI has “guaranteed” it. That guarantee is only backed by the word of the company — a company that hasn’t actually built a single mile of fiber anywhere in the United States. The town can supposedly back out of the contract at any time — but SIFI would then retain ownership of the network, and would be free to use it as they see fit without town involvement.
Steve Blum, a broadband consultant hired to study SIFI’s contract in another community, recently told The Westerly Sun that the town “should assume it will have to be subsidized by some other source, whether it’s a tax or a utility fee…They will not make enough money from operation of the system.” Even a cursory look at the numbers should raise a red flag. Using SIFI’s assumption of 36 percent penetration, the average monthly household bill would have to exceed $200 per month for the town’s revenue to cover the $1.5 million annual lease commitment. Continue reading