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
Panorama of Estes Park, , , taken at an altitude of about 9,000 feet. Picture is taken from the mountains around Gem Lake, north of the town. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
ESTES PARK — The Town of Estes Park sent surveys by email to area businesses on Monday as part of its research into establishing a broadband utility within the current Light and Power service area. A random selection of residents also will be surveyed.
The survey, which will provide data on customer preferences for Internet service and pricing models, is being conducted by independent researchers at Colorado State University and Discovery Research Group. Customers will first receive a phone-call invitation to provide an email address so they may receive a link to the 10-minute online survey. Continue reading
Not often will I agree with opinion from “The New York Times,” but in this case they are pretty close to getting it right. After you dig through the comparison to other cities and slamming of our communications service providers they get to the heart of the matter by saying that a duopoly is not competition and competition will lower prices and improve the quality of service. Note that I did not mention “speed.”
here are structural differences that make the U.S. different from Asian and European countries such as our lower population density and more people living in single-family dwellings. These two facts dramatically increase the cost to build a network to where at best two providers can make a decent ROI. Why do you think that AT&T and Verizon keeps shedding their rural territories? Where we see competition, we see lower prices and better services. Another reason many of these countries have lower prices is that governments have subsidized building of these networks with taxpayer dollars easing the challenge of turning a profit to service providers. In many of these countries service providers use to be owned by the government so they still have a cozy relationship. Continue reading
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: