I want to be an optimist about this effort, but I am afraid that it will turn out to be another of many conferences bureaucrats attend using taxpayer money. The contribution that broadband services makes to economies is well documented and understood so listening to highly paid consultants restate what they can read in a magazine or report is not a valuable use of time. Instead they should use this forum to openly share results and experiences in deploying broadband infrastructure. They should learn what business models work and what don’t work. This forum should present ways to stimulate new applications of services and promote competition of service providers. I hope that “Next Century Cities” is used as a constructive tool to share the knowledge of broadband infrastructure deployment and service provider competition and not as a way to grow government over the private sector.
There is a new organization in town and it’s quietly getting the attention it deserves.
Called “Next Century Cities,” it met last month with mayors and executives from 32 cities in Santa Monica, California to talk about the new economy, the critical importance of broadband infrastructure to economic wealth and well being and the vital role cities must play to succeed and survive in what is fast becoming a turbulent, knowledge driven world. Continue reading
Mark Cuban at the Web 2.0 conference 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mark Cuban has become one of the loudest voices against new so-called net neutrality regulations that’s not coming from a telecom company’s executive suite.
On his lively Twitter feed and in provocative blog comments, the entrepreneur has questioned the wisdom of the government treating broadband Internet as a kind of public infrastructure, as was recently called for by President Obama. That approach would require that Internet service providers to ensure they treat all content that flows through their networks more or less the same. Cuban’s biggest worry: that those rules, even if well-intentioned, could end up killing innovation. Continue reading
This is an all too familiar tale of a city embarking on a broadband venture where only the consultants make money (Sorry friends). Residents of the city want to see competition but turn to the government. When that fails they start a grassroots effort. Unfortunately any grassroots campaign will not be enough to even fund a neighborhood. I wish this coalition the best of luck but they need to use their funds to get someone that can try a novel approach to engage a public/private partnership to drive broadband competition.
Baltimore was among dozens of disappointed cities when Google announced it had picked Kansas City, Mo., for a high-speed fiber-optic data network in 2011, but officials vowed to continue fighting for fiber nonetheless.
Nearly four years later, some are disappointed by the lack of progress— and want to show that some of the fervor that wooed Google remains, waiting for new, affordable options for fast Internet service. Continue reading
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai and FCC Secretary Marlene Dortch (Photo credit: ALA Washington Office)
Marcus Hedenberg, Reporter, Broadband Breakfast News
WASHINGTON, July 1, 2014 – The best way to prevent the internet from “fundamentally changing” is to not “fundamentally change internet regulation,” according to Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai.
In a speech that attempted to rally the faithful to his “light touch regulation” approach, the commissioner was also joined by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., at the Free State Foundation last week. Both slammed approaches to net neutrality through public utility regulation under Title II of the Communications Act, or under the less draconian Section 706. While “the former is outdated and politically corrosive,” Thune said, “the latter is legally untested and potentially far too broad.”
Mammoth Networks is picking up the slack for Internet services to rural ISP; thereby, bypassing large incumbent service providers and reducing the cost to the consumer. I bet that will spur a competitive response from the incumbents once Mammoth aggregates enough ISP. This business model is a great example of recognizing a market hole and filling it.
Gillette, and Wyoming in general, sometimes can be a little behind when it comes to getting new things.
Whether it is seeing a new movie, buying the newest cell phone or getting our first Starbucks, Gillette residents are prepared to wait.
Finally some common sense with regards to net neutrality. These economists are saying that, like most things, if the government regulates the Internet, then it will actually hurt the people it is trying to protect. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Net neutrality is truly a bipartisan issue with Democrats and Republicans both for and against it. There are several forces at work here that are pushing net neutrality. There are the content providers that are neophytes at lobbying who are trying to manipulate the market to protect themselves. They do not realize that the law of unintended consequences can come back to bite them in the backside. Then there is the FCC that is going with the meme of the current administration to expand governmental powers. This is a strange power struggle where the “bad guys” are really the “good guys” and vice versa, but for all the wrong reasons. You have to read this article carefully realize that these economists support the no regulation net neutrality that the Internet originally enjoyed.
Mytheos Holt, Reporter-Researcher, BroadbandBreakfast.com
WASHINGTON, July 9, 2010 – Four economists argued in a letter to the FCC sent Wednesday that the question before the agency was “not whether to impose network neutrality, but whether to eliminate it.”
They responded to a letter also sent to the FCC that was drafted by 74 Democratic lawmakers who said the FCC’s plan to impose new regulations on the internet would violate a standing bipartisan consensus about leaving the internet unregulated. The economists argue that, in the aftermath of deregulatory court decisions like the Comcast case, the question is whether to restore what was previously the status quo, not whether to impose new regulation. The court ruled that the FCC did not have the authority to regulate Comcast’s control over the speed that data flows through its networks.
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: