Logo of the United States Telecom Association. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The FCC’s decision to reclassify broadband Internet access as a telecommunications service will now subject the Internet to international telecom rules, as governed by the United Nations and the ITU, and could prompt other countries to implement similar regulations, claims the head of the major lobbying organization for telecom companies. (See FCC Adopts Title II Internet Regs for Net Neutrality.)
Walter McCormick, president and CEO of United States Telecom Association (USTelecom) , says his organization will be filing a court appeal as soon as details of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ‘s new rules are made public, claiming the federal government is overstepping its authority in a way that is “unnecessary and unwise.” 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
Martyn starts his recollection of the history of ISP a bit late in time. We once had a vibrant ISP market before the telcos and MSO demolished the competition with superior speeds at competitive prices. Now we mostly have duopolies. Although Tim Wu’s report is generally accurate, he did not write anything about our static market that was not known before his report. Martyn’s typically European solution is more regulation, but it is the regulation and laws that have been put in place that prevent carriers and cities from building open-access fiber infrastructure by forming consortia or partnering along with arcane franchise regulation.
We are challenged by geography in the U.S. that makes deploying fiber much more expensive than in most other countries. Elimination of the barriers that will allow carriers and cities to work together to build and share the last-mile infrastructure would encourage competition that will benefit all stakeholders.
By Martyn Warwick
As an Englishman and therefore, a European (by dint of geographic proximity if nothing more) who is a very frequent visitor to the United States, I have, over many years now, been able to make my own informal comparative study of the state of the Internet on both sides of the Atlantic. My conclusion is this: in almost all circumstances the US Internet is slow, cumbersome and damnably expensive and in the Global Broadband Stakes, it comes in way down at the end of the field, a knackered, blowhard also-ran. Continue reading
/ APRIL 18, 2014
The battle between local governments and telecommunications providers over the right to establish community broadband networks heated up over the last several months, as a number of bills were introduced that could have significant impact on municipalities in five states.
Kansas, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Utah and Tennessee were all in the spotlight earlier this year regarding everything from de-facto bans on community networks to funding and development issues. Some of the bills were pulled off the table, while others have continued through their respective states’ legislative processes.
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Although I agree with Jack Mazzola in theory, he does not understand the reasoning behind the city’s actions and he is over dramatizing the impact of the utility’s proposed network. Mr. Mazzola has it correct that selling communications services is best left to private enterprise. The government should not be in the business of providing telecommunications services. It could provide the last-mile infrastructure to service providers that want to offer voice, video, and data services, because building such a network for a single service provider is cost prohibitive. The city should facilitate competition for private enterprise by providing a utility that a single provider could not afford to build on their own.
I am sure that the city would collect franchise fees from multiple service providers other than Charter, but the economics are not viable for Charter and other providers to build multiple networks. Once again I return to the fact that building a broadband network costs a bit over $1,200 per home passed in small communities. Divide the market in two and the cost doubles which extends the time for a positive rate of return to over 3 years. Too much for public companies.
The city is wise in its intention to amortize the cost of building a fiber network across different uses. The fiber has the capacity to support multiple services and applications. By apportioning the cost based on bandwidth used by a service or application, electricity customers will pay much less than if they had to foot the bill for the whole fiber network; negating the “rate hike” Mr. Mazzola mentions. Higher value and bandwidth services would pay their fair share which would increase the revenue to pay for this endeavor.
Mr. Mazzola’s arguments of over regulation and loss of freedoms/privacy are a little overstated. There is the potential for citizens to apply pressure on the utility to restrict certain types of “information” that Mr. Mazzola refers. Providing an open-access infrastructure is the way around that problem because the city is not involved in the actual content of the services.
I admire Mr. Mazzola’s principles in an age where so many of the principles of which this nation was founded are being discarded, but he needs to be a bit more constructive in his thought. If he would like to see free enterprise flourish and receive innovative services then he should support the city building an open-access fiber infrastructure to be used for the smart grid and competitive communication services. These goals can be achieved with the privacy and financial transparency his group is questioning. Opelika citizens head to the polls in about a week. If the ballot measure is approved, then citizens like Mr. Mazzola should remain involved and shape the network to achieve their goals of free enterprise and free flowing information.
By Donathan Prater | Staff Writer
While many expect Opelika voters to give the city the nod when they head to the polls on Aug. 10 for a referendum that would create a city-owned telecommunications company, that feeling isn’t unanimous.
Some opponents plan to attend the public hearing in the Opelika City Council chambers Tuesday to voice their concerns.
By Allan Maurer
RALEIGH, NC – North Carolina legislators recently killed a proposed bill by state Senator David Hoyle (D-Gaston) that would have put a moratorium on municipal broadband efforts, but the issue is likely to arise again in January, say community activists in favor of continuing to allow cities to build their own broadband networks.
Hoyle’s bill, S1209 was just the most recent of four attempts backed by incumbent providers (AT&T, Time Warner Cable & others) to stop cities from creating their own broadband networks.
One state down and 18 to go to allow municipalities to decide their own fate on the best broadband network option for them. Elimination of these laws is no guarantee that every municipality is going to enter the telecommunications business. Most of them do not have the expertise for such an endeavor which is why they will turn to private companies to assume that responsibility. If the incumbents could afford to upgrade the last mile networks in rural communities then there would be no need to consider leveraging the long-term financing of municipalities. The problem is that investing in rural broadband networks is not something that most public companies can do. As more and more communities build that last-mile infrastructure, I predict that the incumbents will start purchasing capacity or fibers from them.
By Matthew Lasar
“O joyous day! O rapture!” blogged a community broadband advocate on Monday. “That insidious bill [that] incumbents’ pocket legislator, NC state Senator Hoyle, tried to pass to kill muni broadband networks met its final demise over the weekend.”
Indeed it has. North Carolina Senator David Hoyle’s (D-GA) now-defeated amendment (S-1209) was cosmetically titled “An Act to Ensure That A Local Government That Competes with Private Companies in Providing Communication Services Has The Support Of Its Citizens.” But advocates of city/county backed high speed Internet projects just knew it as the Municipal-Broadband Must Die Die Die bill.