Real Broadband Competition Would Kill Comcast’s Data Caps

Finally the concept of open-access last mile networks is getting more attention. We could debate the motives behind Comcast’s usage caps, but there is a good chance that they would disappear if there was service-level competition. Even in the wireless market where bandwidth resources are limited, carriers like Sprint still offer an unlimited data package. They do this to compete against Verizon Wireless and AT&T Wireless; it is a product differentiator. The open-access model does work and more cities should implement a variation that works best for their community. The infrastructure could be city, third-party, or carrier consortium owned or a combination of any of those options. In any case the most expensive part of the network will be a shared resource that will be economically justified because its’ usage will be maximized. Offering open access to all service providers on a non-discriminatory price basis will allow multiple service providers to enter a market to offer differentiated and competitive services.

by Karl Bode

We’ve long made the point that Comcast’s usage caps are just a symptom of the overall lack of competition. The caps, which even Comcast itself has indicated really aren’t financially or technically necessary, are little more than a glorified price hike designed to protect the company’s TV revenues from Internet video. And if customers in Comcast markets had the choice of other ISPs, they’d be able to flee to unlimited offerings. Continue reading

Seattle’s City Council Votes Down Municipal Broadband Plan

Picture taken by me of Qwest Field at night fr...

Picture taken by me of Qwest Field at night from Dr. Jose Rizal Park in Seattle, WA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Frankly I’m austounded that the Seattle city council voted against the plan because they have consistiently behaved as if the government could always do things better than private enterprise. They have been stung once so this time they are being a bit smarter at their approach. The city has discovered the risk of competing with public enterprises and that  broadband services are not necessarilly an utility.

by Karl Bode

Last week we noted that Seattle was once again considering building its own gigabit fiber network. More specifically, some city council leaders had proposed spending $5 million on a gigabit fiber network. More specifically, some city council leaders had proposed spending $5 million on a gigabit fiber build the neighborhood of North Beacon Hill, then moving forward with a larger, $480 million to $665 million network if the trial deployment showed promise. But the city council this week voted down the idea, striking a blow for a growing number of Seattle residents who — tired of CenturyLink and Comcast service — want to explore the idea of broadband as a utility. Continue reading

The Latest Big Cable Consolidation Will Screw Consumers and Startups

Get a Clue

Get a Clue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article is a bit late, but the subject is still pertinent. These technology bloggers do not have any idea of how the communications industry operates. It really doesn’t matter if companies consolidate across geographical boundaries because the companies are not competing against each other in the first place. The number of choices that a consumer has remains constant in this transaction. The premise of this article is flawed, but coming from Gawker Media it is no surprise.

I find it ironic that the author complains of not enough competition then lauds efforts by the government to get into the business which is the ultimate monopoly. These kiddies think that the government will solve all of their problems while in reality they care even less about service quality and customer service than commercial service providers. I totally agree that more competition will be health for consumers but stopping this transaction will not do anything to improve that situation.

Adam Clark Estes-, Gawker Media 

America woke up to some frustrating news today. Charter, the fourth-largest cable company in America, wants to buy Time Warner Cable, the second-largest, as well as Bright House, the tenth-largest. If the deal goes through it’s going to affect come 23 million internet customers directly. Not in a good way.

Major cable mergers like this one and, like the failed Comcast acquisition of Time Warner Cable, stand to further wreck the already terrible state of America’s broadband.
Continue reading

Pai Worried FCC Might Be Heading Toward Title II

By: John Eggerton

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai warned fixed wireless Internet service Providers (WISPs) Wednesday that he is worried the FCC might be headed toward Title II regulation.

In a speech to  WISPAPALOOZA, the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association conference in Las Vegas Oct. 15, Pai took a page from former President Ronald Reagan to make his point. “President Ronald Reagan wisely said that the ‘government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.’ Unfortunately, I’m worried that’s where the FCC might be headed when it comes to the Internet.” Continue reading

Google Fiber Is Beginning to Look Like a Head Fake

How a little knowledge is a dangerous thing especially in the hands of people making investments.  There is no question that “The Motley Fool” provides investment advice; therefore, it is in the business of analyzing and editorializing so I’m fine with Tim’s predictions.  I’m just going to debunk them as foolish.

Google’s Wi-Fi initiative is complementary to Google Fiber.  Their objectives are to increase people coming to Google properties to look at ads and content.  We all know that Wi-Fi signals barely cover most homes and that they need a wired network behind them to work.  What Google is doing is providing public broadband access to compete against other wireless providers.  These little Wi-Fi hotspots will not provide a signal into residential neighborhoods so it is no threat to Google Fiber that has deviated from its initial mission.

Secondly Google is supporting the misinformation campaign of “net neutrality” because it is in its best interest all the while expanding Google Fiber and Wi-Fi to prepare for the era of “walled gardens” should they occur.  Providing free power and cooling is a token effort for only those content providers large enough like themselves and Netflix to deploy thousands of servers across the country instead of relying on content delivery companies and managed services.  

Is it still net neutrality when a small startup cannot afford to create their own caching appliance to deploy in all of these offices like Netflix and Google?  Aren’t these little startups at a disadvantage and a virtual walled garden is created?  Hmmm.  The content providers, of which Google is one, are merely trying to preserve status quo to maintain their bandwidth costs and keep smaller players out of the game all while trying to appear to be not evil.  

I’m not saying Google is evil no more than I’m saying that Comcast is evil.  They are just behaving like any market-driven company until they divert from capitalism and use the government to gain a business advantage.

By Tim Beyers

English: Comcast service van, Ypsilanti Townsh...

Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) (NASDAQ: GOOG  ) may not need to blanket the country with Fiber after all, Fool contributor Tim Beyers says in the following video.

According to a report in The Information (via Android and Me), the search king plans to supply businesses with low-cost Wi-Fi equipment for enabling broadband access at retail locations and the like. A recent deal with Starbucks to power Wi-Fi at its various locations could serve as a template for others.

Continue reading

Could Comcast/Colorado DOT Fiber Deal Accelerate Public/Private Network Partnerships?

A new agreement announced this week between Comcast and the Colorado Department of Transportation could spur other communications service providers to explore new avenues for obtaining network capacity. Through the agreement, Comcast will lease two strands of a portion of the fiber network that the CDOT uses for electronic sign message control, traffic camera surveillance, travel time detection, weather station monitoring and other forms of communications. The lease agreement is for 20 years.

Continue reading

Google Invites AT&T, Comcast, Verizon To Fiber Party

Whenever they actually get a network built…
04:15PM Thursday Apr 22 2010 by Karl Bode

We already knew that Google’s plan to deploy 1 Gbps fiber to the home to a limited area was going to operate as a wholesale operation — with open access allowing ISPs to come in and compete on top of the network (whenever it’s finally built). Part of the reason Google’s deploying the network is so they can show how open access and competition can help keep prices down, service quality up and carriers on their best behavior. The company this week reiterated their dedication to open access, inviting companies like Comcast and AT&T to offer service over the network when it’s finally built: