Telecom expert Timothy Nulty, our consultant for the community broadband initiative, discusses some of his other community broadband projects past and present at the munintworks.org.
Carlo Moneti's blog
Chattanooga, TN and its public utility, EPB, recently announced symmetrical 1 Gbit/s service to residential customers. This includes 170,000 customers, many spread out over a total of 600 square miles. That's a density of of only 283 customers per square mile, an expensive proposition. Syracuse has a density of 2,400 customers per square mile, much less expensive.
The ProAndContracts.com blog publishes a column that examines and analyzes Contracts that affect many of us in our daily lives. They have a duesy on the Comcast Cable subscriber contract agreement. Basically, they can do whatever they want and change the terms of the agreement itself whenever they want (why would they since they already reserve all rights in dealings with their subscribers).
Sascha is the Director of the New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative and Research Director of the Foundation's Wireless Future Program. Below are two short videos very much to the point on the reasons for creating community-owned networks, and why government should insist on greater openness and interoperability of communications products.
The FCC has been holding closed-door meetings with telecom lobbyists on Internet policy. Why public interest groups were not invited is unclear. To alert the public, FreePress.org, a pro-consumer advocacy group, placed a full-page ad in the Washington Post.
The network currently serves government, institutional, and business customers. It was built by the city, over time, in parallel with public works projects. As the network grew, the city canceled more and more of it's leased services and switched to the new network. There is no residential service, yet. But the city is looking for retail service providers. Who will build the last mile (FTTH)? The city or the operator?
Well, actually, they have been doing it for many years. But with cell phones, the call record includes the cell tower you are using, so your whereabouts can be easily tracked by time and location (within a mile, roughly). If telcos can access your phone's GPS location, your location can be recorded precisely.
Last week Hong Kong introduced symmetrical 1Gb/s broadband service for just $26/mo. They offer symmetrical 100Mb/s service for just $13/mo. These prices are based on current exchange rates between US and HK dollars, which may not reflect the living standards and comparable cost of doing business in the US. In fact, if we adjust for what is called purchasing power parity, those prices would be roughly 25% higher. So $33/mo and $16.50/mo are arguably more accurate prices. Still, very low prices.
The website http://stopthecap.com has a 3-part article on the history of electrification in the U.S., and notes the political and economics similarities the current development of broadband networks. A very good read. Of particular interest, in Pt. 3, there is a little history of Niagara Mohawk:
Rochester won't be getting Verizon FiOS service anytime soon. Nor will it get an upgraded network from Time Warner Cable—precisely because Time Warner Cable isn't feeling or expecting any competition. And yet, Rochester would gain substantial economic development benefits if it could offer high-speed communications services to businesses and residents. Instead, Rochester will be put at a downright disadvantage as nearby communities get wired for fiber.