Carlo Moneti's blog

What Happens When Communities Plan to Build Their Own Broadband Network?

If your town or city government starts making serious noises about constructing your own, municipally-owned broadband network (especially one built with fiber optics to the home), existing providers who have repeatedly said “no” to requests for faster service at more reasonable prices have a track record of quickly turning around and saying, “yes — why didn't you ask us before?”

The Economist on Bristol, VA Public Network

The Economist magazine reports on Bristol, VA public FTTH network, one of the first in the country.

Future of Private Competition

There is no guarantee that two or more privately owned broadband service providers will enter and remain in Syracuse for the long-run. For example, Time Warner Cable may compete with new competitor Verizon for a period of time, but then agree to sell or swap its local operations with Verizon's in another market (or vice-versa), each gaining a market monopoly.

Business Models For Public Broadband Service

There are a number of different conceptions of what "public broadband" means, and what it would include (organization, business model, services), especially in the case of Syracuse. There is the idea of having an up-to-date fiber to the home (FTTH) system that the city would own and would compete against Time Warner Cable and Verizon for all services. Then there are more limited approaches such as city-wide WiFi, or an institutional network, i.e., municipal connections between various sectors (education, tech, gov, non-profits), which could be part of an FTTH network. And how does all this relate to the new initiative coming from the FCC and the administration (stimulus money etc.)? I'll touch on each topic and then answer the question on stimulus.

Wireless Carriers: Ten Things I Hate About You

"The consumer electronics scene in the U.S. is wonderful and horrible at the same time. The devices, technologies and innovation are wonderful. The provision of wireless access is horrible. U.S. carriers are some of the most backward, unscrupulous and anti-customer companies in the nation. So, carriers, this column's for you. Here's what I hate about how you do business."

Why We Need Net Neutrality—And Why We Need It Now

"Some causes are worth fighting for and Net neutrality is one of them. Last week, a bill was introduced in Congress that would require Internet service providers to "not block, interfere with, discriminate against, impair, or degrade the ability of any person to use an Internet access service to access, use, send, post, receive, or offer any lawful content, application, or service through the Internet." Congress has shot down similar measures twice before. This time we should make it stick."

Municipal Broadband Can Learn From Municipal Power

Municipal power has a 100+ year history in this country. It has consistently provided higher quality, lower prices, and better coverage than private utilities. All the reason for establishing municipal power apply to municipal broadband. There are also economies of scale for a municipality that offers both power and broadband service.

Clearwire Partners With Presumed Competition

Clearwire is teaming up with Comcast and Time Warner Cable and others---who purchased 25% of Clearwire---to offer Wimax wireless Internet access as a supplemental service to their cable customers. Clearwire advertises 4Mbs service at $30/mo. Customers may access their account from any city served by Clearwire. Read the full article here

Municipal Broadband Plus Municipal Power

As I researched municipal broadband over the past year, I noticed that most of the communities pursuing municipal broadband had already established municipal power. Apparently, their success with one led them naturally to pursue the other. There are significant potential efficiencies in pursuing both. The following quote captures the idea nicely:

The Broadband Playing Field Is Not Static

I'm quite concerned about the future broadband playing field. To me, it's no longer a question of, "stay as we are, or go muni"; it is more like, "incur increasing nickel&diming, manipulation of service quality, restriction of use, and less privacy, or go muni". The situation is not static. This I think should be communicated more.

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