How Most Broadband Providers Have Focused On Decreasing Competition; Not Innovation

Articles like these are increasingly being written pointing out that lack of true broadband competition is stifling innovation.  Cities that have built open-access municipal networks have enjoyed lower pricing and innovative new services.  The cost of building that last-mile of fiber is unjustifiable for a public company if they are the only user.  Amortize the cost over several service providers and the payback becomes around 5 years which is well within the planning horizon of a city.  The incumbents should embrace the use of “other peoples’ money” to offer new and innovative services to increase ARPU.

from the indeed dept

Ryan Single has an excellent piece at Wired that details how incredibly misleading telcos are being in claiming that the FCC’s attempt to reclassify broadband access will lead to less “innovation.” He highlights how far behind other countries the US has fallen, and how hard the telcos seem to work at not competing and not investing in innovation. Basically, Singel points out what many of us have pointed out all along. All of this posturing by telcos is about lowering their own costs (i.e., not investing) and squeezing more money out of customers, in an attempt to please Wall Street:

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Broadband Issues Echo Electrification Debate of Decades Ago

The analogy to rural electrification that Adelstein makes is apt because just like electricity, broadband services are vital to the growth of all communities.  The other parallel is that deployment of broadband is a local matter.  Once again this administration is saying the right things but not following up with any action.  The National Broadband Plan has some nice goals, but there is little discussion of implementation.  Subsequent discussions at the FCC revolve around continuing to milk the ability of the copper in the ground.  Yes that will increase rural penetration somewhat cost-effectively at the expense of being behind in bandwidth delivered.  We need to build these networks targeting mid-century needs, not 20th century needs.

Mytheos Holt, Reporter-Researcher,

WASHINGTON, June 15, 2010 – Today’s broadband expansion throughout the United States faces similar challenges to wiring the nation with electricity decades ago, and the nation’s businesses, consumers and government must work together to tap into the resources that high-speed internet access offers.

In the keynote address prior to’s panel on challenges to adoption and availability of rural broadband, Rural Utilities Service Administrator Jonathan Adelstein stressed a number of areas where his agency could improve its broadband outreach, while offering a vision for the future and a historical context for the present debate.

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Uh-oh, telcos: 93% of Australia getting gov’t-run fiber

When the FCC issued its National Broadband Plan earlier this year, it set some modest goals for the nation: 100Mbps to 100 million homes by 2020, universal service of 4Mbps everywhere.

Australia plans to do things… a bit differently. Within the next eight years, the Australian government will spend AUS$43 billion (US$38 billion) to build its own “world-class broadband infrastructure” that will deploy fiber to 93 percent of all Australian homes and bring 12Mbps broadband to everyone else. The network will be wholesale only and will be open access, enabling every ISP to use the fiber to offer services.

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