Comcast's Top Lobbyist Pens Editorial To Remind Americans That US Broadband Service Is Awesome

from the statistics-currently-enjoying-a-deep-tissue-massage dept

We live in a nation of wondrous technological advancement, where our average broadband speed and super low prices are the envy of the world, And if Google shows up to throw fiber around, the local citizenry simply shrugs its shoulders in indifference. Life is good... especially if you're paid to believe it is.

Karl Bode at Broadband Reports points us in the direction of a ridiculous "op-ed" piece written for the Philadelphia Inquirer by David Cohen, lobbyist and policy man for Comcast. It's filled with relentless, self-serving optimism and features Cohen's miraculous ability to take mediocre broadband statistics and transform them into "proof" of American superiority.

After cherry picking and massaging statistics to an almost painful degree, Cohen takes a little shot at Google Fiber, insisting that users don't really need 1 Gbps.

"For some, the discussion about the broadband Internet seems to begin and end on the issue of "gigabit" access. To be sure, a one-gig connection has value, especially for those who have invested in "inside" networks and equipment to handle that 1-gigabit firehose of data.

The issue with such speed is really more about demand than supply. Our business customers can already order 10-gig connections. Most websites can't deliver content as fast as current networks move, and most U.S. homes have routers that can't support the speed already available to the home. As consumer demand grows for faster speeds, a competitive marketplace of wired and wireless broadband providers will be ready to serve it."
Consumers are demanding faster speeds, though. This is why services like Google Fiber are objects of lust and desire interest them. Sure, many broadband companies offer higher speed connections, but at very prohibitive prices. When someone like Google comes along and offers a gigabit connection for $30/month, it's delivering what consumers actually want: higher speeds and lower prices. To date, broadband providers are only willing to give consumers either/or -- never both. (Additionally, service providers like Comcast frequently throw data caps into the mix, which nullifies the positive aspects of a speed boost. Cohen's piece never mentions data caps or their effect on consumer behavior -- both in terms of limiting consumption and increasing costs.)
Cohen claims that 82% of Americans have access to wired high-speed Internet access of speeds exceeding 100 Mbps. But these services, provided in 85% of the country by only the local cable incumbent (the large cable companies never enter each others’ territories, and Verizon FiOS is available to just 15% of the country) are extraordinarily expensive: Comcast charges $114.95 per month for 105 Mbps download services. In Seoul, you can get symmetrical 100 Mbps (equal upload and download) access for $30/month, and there are three or four competitive choices.
So, it's not really a question of need. Most consumers won't fully utilize a gigabit connection. But, they will have faster service at a lower price, and that's what really matters. What Google's entrance into the market does is add some real competition, rather than the cooperation and collusion that has masqueraded for years as "competition."
By focusing on whether you need 1 Gbps, companies like Time Warner Cable and Comcast hope to steer the conversation away from how a lack of competition allows them to offer slow speeds and ever-higher prices (or the fact they're being outclassed in their own industry by a search engine)...

If the United States leads in anything in the broadband sector -- it's the use of denial and distortion by those with a vested interest in protecting the status quo. If you can convince people that everything is fine, nobody tries to fix things and your profit margins as a predatory, lumbering duopoly benefiting from regulatory capture remain high. You can legitimately argue that things are improving in many regions -- but to insist the United States is the global broadband leader is an obnoxious level of hubris, even for Comcast.
Cohen's article paints a broadband picture so rosy one almost expects a "sponsored content" banner to be flying above it. He even takes a moment towards the end to bash the broadband industry's (many) critics.
Today there is a cottage industry of critics who always want to tell us that our broadband Internet is not fast enough or satisfactory for one reason or another. The reality is that the United States is leading the way in speed, reach, and access - and doing so in a vast, rural nation that poses logistical connectivity challenges unlike any other country.
As Bode pointed out, a strain of hubris runs through Cohen's piece, but here it comes to a head. Comcast itself has MANY critics but Cohen acts as though the negative attention is undeserved. This "cottage industry" exists in part to battle the kind of misinformation Cohen and his cohorts portray as "facts." His attempt to belittle broadband critics as some sort of self-interested fringe "industry" is where his hubris comes to a head. It's obviously more than that if Cohen feels the need to tout his industry's "stellar" service via a major newspaper.



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    silverscarcat (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 2:12am

    Really?

    The U.S. Broadband service is the best in the world?

    http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-reasons-internet-access-in-america-disaster/

    Granted, that was from 2 years ago, but I'm pretty sure that most of it still applies today.

     

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    Akari Mizunashi (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 3:30am

    Cohen's just pissed off EA took the title of "Worst Company in America" this year and can't stand the second and third place placements the company has received.

    Perhaps next year, Comcast can (and should) take the #1 spot.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 3:37am

    This is easy.

    Step 1: Take the current "awesome and amazing, no need for improvement" data and price rates.
    Step 2: Adjust them to the rates from 10 years ago.
    Step 3: Debunk.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 4:08am

    "doing so in a vast, rural nation "

    Last I checked, I think it was something like 258 million out of 315 million of the US population was living in urban areas. So...how is the US a rural nation again?

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 4:11am

    If their network is so awesome and cool, why would they up their speeds in areas where Google Fiber is in a failing attempt to keep consumers from switching?

    Yet another horse and buggy maker trying to fight against the future...

    To think if we took the money we handed out to make sure everyone in the country was connected and used a group not selling anything but their ability to lay cable we'd have the country covered by now.

    Maybe to secure the future of the country we need to stop letting those stuck in the past have control.

     

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      That One Guy (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 4:38am

      Re:

      The rest of your comment was good, but that last line is just perfect, a short, simple explanation for the root cause of so many of the problems in the US today.

       

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      Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:43am

      Re:

      If their network is so awesome and cool, why would they up their speeds in areas where Google Fiber is in a failing attempt to keep consumers from switching?

      I think it is that they have a vast misunderstanding of the logical ring topology Google is using to distribute their bandwidth...and what is funny is that none of the consumers of the project even realize how a fiber optic ring network really works.

       

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        That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:41pm

        Re: Re:

        Funny I don't think they care, they are to busy enjoying the vast bandwidth available and no data caps. No bizarre slowdowns if you use NetFlix instead of Comcast VOD.

        Oh and their boost, not even noticeable for most people.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 4:16am

    I am amazed at how coordinated this sounds. In Denmark we get exactly to the letter the same excuses from the monopolist. That TDC is among the worst monopolists in the world is undeniable and that they own at least 3 of their biggest competitors doesn't help!
    Googles internet is the standard that is needed for creating some inventions on the internet. That the end-users do not want to pay is irrelevant as such.

     

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      techflaws (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 10:24pm

      Re:

      Curiously enough someone from Deutsche Telekom just publicly stated that net neutrality isn't all good and that the Netherlands would suffer from it in terms of slower and more expensive service. Given the comments from Dutch users none of them ever noticed.

      What weirds me out about these statements against facts is that they are so easily to disprove, I wonder what they were thinking.

       

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    Anonymouse, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 4:18am

    Media

    All you need to do to debunk this is show how much further advanced almost every other country around the world is, apart from some countries that don't want the internet to get involved in their massive profits for only giving people access to phones with high charges.

    Google has advised they are moving all over the country and yes they are only creating fiber-hoods where they see a possibility of huge profits, but this is the same areas that the big three are ignoring, if they are correct in their thinking then Google will go bankrupt , if they believe their lies then they are going to go bankrupt. Personally i would rather invest in Google than any of the other big providers as their plans seem to be much much better than anything the others can offer at the same price.
    And one thing that is relevent more than any other is that

    Google is growing as the others sit stagnant fighting amongst themselves for the same customers as Google takes all the customers in an area as soon as they offer their service.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 4:31am

    Is this guy running for office?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 4:44am

    Meet David Cohen: professional liar

    He's simply doing what he's paid to do: lie, lie, lie. This is America, after all, where if you choose a big enough lie and repeat it often enough, the idiots who constitute the majority of population will believe it.

    Meanwhile, my neighborhood has two choices: Verizon DSL (it will never have FIOS) and Comcast. They both suck. They're both expensive. They both feature illiterate, incompetent tech support staffed by ignorant morons who don't speak English. They both screw with users' traffic.

    Not that I'm a fan of Google (and their legendary lack of support), but if they dropped in here I would sign up instantly. How could it POSSIBLY be any worse?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:18am

      Re: Meet David Cohen: professional liar

      I'm still using dial up out in the country, about 20 min out of a fairly large city. dial up. If anyone has tried using the internet with a dial up connection in the last five years, you won't hear from them because they are still waiting for their myspace page to load as they don't even know about facebook yet. Not that I use either, as Iím still waiting for my Friendster page to log-in.

      I'd really like to view a youtube video, but in most cases it's quicker to drive to the big city where they got all that internets people complain about being slow because they had to wait 5 seconds to watch an hd movie via Netflix. I'm probably the only person in America that still have movies mailed to them. I'm sure some guy at netflix somewhere is like "Ah damnit, got to mail A.C. his next "Quantum Leap" as he quietly grumbles to himself while smoking a cigarette on his way to drop my envelope in a mailbox somewhere.

      So. Could be worse.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 4:47am

    USA broadband speed is crap. it's suppliers are liars that rely on 'bribing' willing takers in government to ensure the few companies available dont have to do anything to improve services, improve customer treatment or reduce costs. in other words, competition is removed. when another company tries to get in on the supply side, it has to contend with as much bull shit as can be mustered by the incumbents who refuse to let go of the monopoly and the profits they have enjoyed for years. anyone from the USA that has been to Asia, for example, on holiday are blown away with the broadband service available even in hotels and internet cafes and the price charged. if the USA thinks for one second that it is a 'world leader' in broadband services, it needs to pull it's head out of it's arse and look around. mobile phones are the same, just as are the entertainment industries. all have enjoyed decades where competition is removed by politicians that are more concerned with lining their own bank accounts than getting competitive businesses in the market place. and all the time the ones that dip out the most are the ordinary customers, the man on the street. as far as i am aware, the USA is one of the last countries that, because of the monopoly enjoyed by the companies, still charge customers for receiving calls as well as making them! if that isn't a complete rip off, i dont know what is!!

     

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    apauld (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 4:56am

    NIce of him to tell us what we need.

    "Cohen takes a little shot at Google Fiber, insisting that users don't really need 1 Gbps."

    In some ways, he is kinda correct, as many people don't really need 1 Gbps. However, he is completely missing the point. The fact that we want 1 Gbps service is why his company will continue to loose more and more customers.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:47am

      Re: NIce of him to tell us what we need.

      Consider these two statements.

      1. People don't need 1Gbps broadband because there are no services that can take advantage of it.

      2) Companies haven't created services needing 1Gbps broadband because nobody has a 1Gbps broadband connection in order to take advantage of it.

      The 1Gbps broadband infrastructure has to be built first. Do that and offer it at prices most people can actually afford (less than $100 per month) and try to get the service into as many households as possible as quickly as possible and new services will spring up quickly afterwards that utilize all the available bandwidth.

      The truth of the matter is, these incumbent broadband providers don't want to offer symmetrical 1Gbps service anywhere because there aren't willing to charge Google like prices for it. They much prefer their high profit margin existing services with ridiculous caps, throttling and overage fees.

       

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    out_of_the_blue, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 4:56am

    I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

    And that's true for most people, like it or not, weenie fanboys. Cohen is right on every fact and generally so on opinion. The big jump from dial-up (3.4KBytes/S at best) to T1 (1.5Mb, approx 200K bytes/S) has already been done nearly everywhere. And I know of one place WAY rural where the local telco is already putting in a fiber tap for a house whether wanted or not.

    But minion portrays the sitch as desperate and backward.

    Now let's look at the real payload of this article: GOOGLE WORSHIP. "What Google's entrance into the market does is add some real competition," -- BALONEY! Google is actually getting subsidized by gov't, NOT competing in a free market, as in this sweet deal where taxpayers are already out $35 million for infrastructure:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/04/19/google_fiber_provo_one_dollar/

    And of course the KC case included subsidies.

    Besides that, advantage of coming in late (with lots of easily gotten untaxed cash too) is that all basic development costs were paid off long ago -- and now Chinese hardware is abundant and dirt cheap -- so that Google can sweep in and take over as a monopoly, cheered on by fanboys like minion here.

    Rest is just minion is railing for the hell of it, as typical of fanboys here.


    Take a loopy tour of Techdirt.com! You always end up same place!
    http://techdirt.com/
    Every "new business model" here requires first getting valuable products -- a whole town of cable network -- for free (or a dollar at most).
    00:55:10[a-026-1]

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:12am

      Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

      "I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine."

      You heard it here folks. out_of_the_blue doesn't need it, so no one else does.

      /sarc

      Now listen here bluey. You don't need it, but I certainly do. For 90% of the time, my connection lies mostly unused. But when I need to stream videos or download a big chunk of data, I want to have that speed available. I don't want to wait 3 hours to download a Debian DVD that could be downloaded in 15 minutes to find out that I downloaded the wrong architecture so I'm going to have to download a whole new ISO again (yes, this has happened to me. Yes, I am a moron...). I don't want to wait. That's why I pay for the privilege of having a 100MBps connection.

      And boy, do I pay for it. The ISP isn't complaining about that extra cash either.

       

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        Pragmatic, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:26am

        Re: Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

        What you said, buddy.

        Shut up, Cathy. You're bitter and miserable, and want everyone else to be, too.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:13am

      Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

      Im pretty sure your adhominem dripping comment completely missed the entire point. as usual.

      Also, TheRegister is a tabloid. Please find reputable sources for your info.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:15am

      Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

      ootb I take Google over you anyday.

      I trust more a company that will spy, sell my info and only God knows more what, than I trust you and your pals.

      The only people more loathed than cable/telco/MAFIAA may be only pedophiles.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:22am

      Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

      Have fun downloading holovids and reality simulators on your shitty 15mbps connection in 10 years. But you don't need more than 15mbps so I'm sure you'll be fine with your legacy devedes and streaming cat videos.

      Ignore the future and it will go away right? Who needs the future when the present is good enough.

       

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        ltlw0lf (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 2:34pm

        Re: Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

        But you don't need more than 15mbps so I'm sure you'll be fine with your legacy devedes and streaming cat videos.

        I'm pretty sure that in 10 years, cat videos will be holovids and reality simulators too. I watched an HD cat video a while back, so as people start buying cheap HD cameras, they start using them to video cats. I'm sure that will be true with holovids and reality sims too.

        Of course, the internet is still about catvids, and I suspect that won't ever change.

        So hopefully one of the old guard will step forward and offer a nice premium feature to downgrade cat videos for blue so he can watch them on his 20 year old computer when the time comes.

         

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      lucidrenegade (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:25am

      Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

      I thought your doctor told you that you had to stop wanking to that picture of Mike you have on your desk?

       

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      Rikuo (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:27am

      Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

      Okay Blue, you do realise you're not the only person in the US, right? Therefore, what you need and want isn't the same as what other people need and want? With me so far? There's other people, people who aren't trying to compete with a rock in an IQ test.
      Besides, what about upload speeds? I find myself now worrying more about what my upload speed is. I want to upload 720p/1080p and eventually 4K videos to Youtube and not have to wait all bloody night for a single video. I want to have group video calls through VoIP. I want to capture gameplay footage and do livestreaming. All of which can't be done if internet speeds aren't continually raised.

       

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      Rikuo (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:31am

      Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

      "Now let's look at the real payload of this article: GOOGLE WORSHIP. "What Google's entrance into the market does is add some real competition," -- BALONEY! Google is actually getting subsidized by gov't, NOT competing in a free market, as in this sweet deal where taxpayers are already out $35 million for infrastructure:

      so that Google can sweep in and take over as a monopoly, cheered on by fanboys like minion here."

      So you're cursing Google for being government subsidized and trying to be an internet monopoly...without mentioning that in most areas of the US, that's already happened with the incumbents. Most if not all the other ISPs, Comcast, AT&T etc, got subsidies and have a de facto monopoly in many cities.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:32am

      Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

      I don't care who gets me a fast steady connection or if they make a profit or not. I'm tired of them making a profit off the limpy pissy piece o crap service TWC is giving me.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:38am

      Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

      Saying 15mbps is good enough for everyone for the rest of time is ignorant to the point of mental retardation.

       

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      JH, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:38am

      Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

      >as in this sweet deal where taxpayers are already out
      > $35 million for infrastructure

      The deal where Google is taking over an aging, unfinished, unprofitable, money-pit from the city? Investing $18 million plus the cost to connect the remaining 2/3 of homes in the town? That deal? All investments Google won't be able to take with them if they decide to pack up and move out. OK, so the taxpayers invested $35 million already, but seeing as the project was bleeding money, and is in need of an upgrade they were about to be out even more. Now Google will be footing the bill. Would you prefer those taxpayers let their $35 million rot in the ground? Or be on the hook for all the upgrades as well? You're right it does sound like a sweet deal...for the city and taxpayers.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:18am

      Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

      You have 15Mb download, but what's your upload bandwidth? The internet is a two-way communications tool, and it's about time the providers stopped trying to turn it into a one-way force-feed consumer distribution mechanism.

       

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        Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:40am

        Re: Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

        Here is the problem....through actual research, it has been found that people tend to download a whole hell of a lot more information than they upload to the internet. Synchronous DSL is much slower because the signal is sent through one lane and being sent and received simultaneously...it is basically a traffic jam by comparison.
        Asynchronous DSL on the other hand intermittently sends and receives data on a turn basis. This allows for faster download speeds because the stream of data flow is not required to go both ways all the time.

        The more upload speed you have relative to the download speed, the lower your download speed gets because more traffic is being sent through the wire in the opposite direction. If we increase the downstream speed we can then increase the upload speed.

         

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          Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 8:42am

          Re: Re: Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

          OoTB has 15Mbps connection, he's more then likely not running DSL. But, that's half the point of this article. DSL is old technology, vary old technology. This is not the standard we should be following.

           

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            Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 10:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

            DSL is a standard...not a type of connection...BNC and Ethernet...those are types of connections. Cable companies use Ethernet based internet...but use RG6 and RG59 coaxial cables to transmit data so they can save on cost of reconstructing their infrastructure. That data includes the things we watch on TV as well as our internet. The only reason why Google can afford to do what they are doing is because they are using their own infrastructure from the ground up. Cable companies saw are building upon what they usually use.

            Google's topology is in no way modern or new and would normally fit into the category of an OC2 connection standard in terms of speed.

             

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:03am

      Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

      Guys don't need bras, girls don't need bras either.

      Yeah, that logic really applies.

      Do you masturbate over $100 million movies, too?

       

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      Berenerd (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:52am

      Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

      Wasn't it also Bill Gates who stated the home computer will never need more than 64k memory? Look how that is still true today.

       

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      bobbing_on_out_of_the_blue, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 9:09am

      Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

      Except that his facts are NOT facts. I live just outside Seattle. My neighbourhood is NOT rural. The best DSL speed I can get is 1.5 Mbs. Why? Centurylink had enough cash to buy Qwest but did NOTHING to update the lines they purchased. Here we are nearly three years later and still no improvement. (Why? Partly because of government granted monopolies and partly because of old fashioned GREED). Yet again, the smell of your desperation permeates the misinformation that oozes from your fingers, through your keyboard, and onto our internet.

       

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        Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 10:10am

        Re: Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

        The best DSL speed I can get is 1.5 Mbs. Why?

        It is because those are based on standard phone transmissions...DSL users are using JR11 phone cables to connect to their homes. They are not as durable or as shielded as Coaxial or Cat 5 and higher Ethernet cables. Hence the signal derogation.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 12:20pm

          Re: Re: Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

          I don't think he was asking for the technical reason...

           

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            Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 2:57pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

            "Centurylink had enough cash to buy Qwest but did NOTHING to update the lines they purchased. Here we are nearly three years later and still no improvement."

            I don't think he was giving the REAL reasons that those in the IT business see every day. He blamed his cruddy service on a cash grab when in reality it was the wires used to connect him to the internet.

             

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    •  
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      techflaws (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 10:27pm

      Re: I sure don't need gigabit. Have15Mb, but just one would do fine.

      I sure don't need gigabit.

      Since when have you become a metric for anything else but idiocy?

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:24am

    They're right, there is no way in hell I'd ever trade my 50mb connection that cost me $140 a month for a 1,000mb connection that would cost me $30 a month?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:29am

    Without faster speeds we can't have better content. Without better content we can't have faster speeds.

    The internet would not be the place it is today without a continual rise in data transfer rates. Anyone telling you that what we have is good enough is a bold faced liar who deserves to be called out on it by the world as a whole. By saying that speeds are fine and we don't need anything faster is to flat out deny progress and to flat out deny historical facts.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Bengie, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 5:56am

    yay

    We're number 28!
    U S A
    U S A

    Only in the USA would 28th place get a non-sarcastic congratulatory award.

     

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    Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:30am

    One thing to note about Google Fiber Optics..

    Got a bit of a problem here because Google's infrastructure is based on a LOGICAL RING TOPOLOGY. While it is a solid hybrid of the Star and Ring Topologies, the problem lays in where the MASU units bring you your connection. If you have a wired network in your house...the moment your copper wiring reaches 100 meters in total combined length on your home network...that Gigbit internet turns to 100 Megabit....still faster than normal US broadband services, but a ton of that really has a lot to do with the type of cabling you use.

    Standard RG59 and RG6 coaxial connections have a top speed of 54 Megabits per second. The good things is that you can get more bandwidth with two modems on two separate lines...but that is still quite expensive on the consumer side of things. It should never be about cost and it should only be about what the current infrastructure is capable of.

     

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      Benjo (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 8:37am

      Re: One thing to note about Google Fiber Optics..

      As an embedded engineer that works specifically in fiber optics, this sounds very wrong. I can't imagine how Google could measure impedance downstream from your modem (maybe from THEIR modem?), but they definitely couldn't measure downstream from a switch or router.

      I can't tell if you are intentionally being misleading since you've posted the same nonsense everywhere, or if you actually believe what you are typing.

       

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        Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 8:58am

        Re: Re: One thing to note about Google Fiber Optics..

        I'm not an embedded engineer but I can tell you what Wally said is wrong. A digital signal can be amplified indefinitely (unlike an analog signal) simply because it's not being amplified, it's being repeated. Routers, hubs, switches, they all repeat what they get.

        Yes, if you have sub-par cabling over extended distances, it can (and will) cause problems. But who's going to run a gigabit network over one cable for more then 328'?

         

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          Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 10:18am

          Re: Re: Re: One thing to note about Google Fiber Optics..

          "Yes, if you have sub-par cabling over extended distances, it can (and will) cause problems. But who's going to run a gigabit network over one cable for more then 328'?"

          I think that is where I went wrong...

          The issue is that the modem Google deploys is not an MSAU...it is a standard router that uses copper cable to connect to the MSAU box that is located to provide your neighborhood with the service if anyone else chooses to opt in.. The MSAU is a part of a ring topology that allows you to connect to other rings. The reason Fiber optic networks require a ring topology is that light photons can be pushed in only one direction...I cannot remember what it is called, but to get around that you use an MSAU to connect to an inner ring in case one of the nodes goes bad. In Google's case the MSAU is used to transmit that data from the ring they set up to the MSAU to the modem/router they give you to connect to the internet.

           

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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:44am

    "and most U.S. homes have routers that can't support the speed already available to the home."

    Hold on. There's two ways to interpret this. One is absolutely wrong, the other is intentionally misleading.

    First, if he's talking about the additional router or wireless router most people have to connect multiple devices, he's flat out wrong. The ones that aren't gigabit have 100Mb/s ethernet ports. As far as wireless, even if they're the old 802.11a/b spec, they can handle 54Mbit/s. And since the average broadband speed (either by what they're paying for, or what is actually delivered) is lower than that, he's flat out wrong. As far as the 105MBit/s down that Comcast offers in some locations, well, few people see that rate in reality, so no, it's still not "available" in their homes.

    Alternatively, he might be referring to the router functionality built into most cable modems. The problem with that is that he's the guy writing for the company that supplied most of them. Sure, people can buy their own cable modems, but the average user (not most Techdirt readers) doesn't. Last I looked, Comcast was the biggest cable operator, so they're the one that likely supplied the most.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:04am

      Re:

      There's also the fact that the 'investment' he's talking about to get a gigabit router is roughly the size of a single month's payment for an ISP subscription ($50-100). It's a trivial investment for anyone that's already paying for broadband.

       

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      •  
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        Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:24am

        Re: Re:

        Don't forget the installation fees are $300 plus the fees for local construction and zoning permits if applicable...that can reach as high as $1500 to $3000 in my area.

         

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        •  
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          Berenerd (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:59am

          Re: Re: Re:

          What permits are you discussing? I have a gigabit network in my house and I didn't need any permits to put it in. Took me roughly 45 minutes to wire 7 rooms with it. I will be doing it again in a few months when we buy our new house. It will cost me a little more for materials as we are moving from an 1100sqft Condo to a 2600sgft house, but that is to be expected. no permits needed. Just longer cables and more of them. Also adding 2 wireless repeaters so that the yard and garage is covered as well.

           

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          •  
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            Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 10:22am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "What permits are you discussing? I have a gigabit network in my house and I didn't need any permits to put it in."

            Did I ever say network??? I was talking about the installation of the fiberoptic connection to your house. That has nothing to do with installing a netowrk in your house.

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2013 @ 5:03am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The editorial was talking about the consumer's investment. The infrastructure outside the house isn't relevant...

              You do this so often, change the subject mid conversation, that I'm having a hard time believing it's not intentional at this point.

               

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  •  
    icon
    ken (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:45am

    Conflict of Interest

    Comcast as well as Time Warner Cable have an interest in keeping residential Internet Service Slow. It inhibits growth of services such as Netflix that they compete with as well as having to compete against their own cable services. It is a blatant conflict of interest for cable companies to be Internet Service Providers.

     

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    •  
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      Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:06am

      Re: Conflict of Interest

      "Comcast as well as Time Warner Cable have an interest in keeping residential Internet Service Slow."

      At least Time Warner isn't doing Six Strikes on their customers....Oh and I hate to burst your theory on growth..but the actual physical limitation of the coaxial cable for an ADSL connection through an RG6 or RG59 cables is limited to about 54 megabits per second every 100 meters....in my neighborhood, there is a cable box every 50 meters to keep the demand up. Each user has their own connection like cable tv so there is no interference. The maximum speed for a home connection is 50 megabits because you have to balance the upstream out so it doesn't create a traffic problem through your line.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:13am

        Re: Re: Conflict of Interest

        This really doesn't address the comment you responded to in whole or even in the part you quoted.

         

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        •  
          icon
          Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:20am

          Re: Re: Re: Conflict of Interest

          Comcast is the one who throttles Netflix in favor of their own services...not TimeWarner....I have Time Warner and have had not any issues what so ever with Netflix....are you happy that I completed the obvious?

           

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2013 @ 5:04am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Conflict of Interest

            If throttling was the only way an ISP could keep residential service slow then what you said might be relevant but it isn't so it wasn't.

             

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 6:56am

    To be sure, a one-gig connection has value, especially for those who have invested in "inside" networks and equipment to handle that 1-gigabit firehose of data.


    By equipment investment does he mean an ordinary router? Mine has four gigabit ports. Saturating a gigabit connection with multiple devices isn't even hard...

     

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    •  
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      Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:17am

      Re:

      While you can have gigabit equipment in your house, the topology Google is using stunts it to 100 Megabits once the total wired connection in your network exceeds 100 meters in length. Say you have 10 devices 10 meters away from your router, it is a one gigabit router that can handle each device at the same throughput of 0ne gigabit....the MSAU box Google deploys to your house can determine the total non-fiberoptic length of wire and for safety reasons...the standard makes the boxes lower the bandwidth of your network in general so photons of light do not end up frying your wires and router.

       

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      •  
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        saulgoode (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:58am

        I don't understand

        Why couldn't you have just one device, a multi-port switch, connected to the MAU box and thus (by connecting all of your intranet workstations to the switch) maintain full gigabit access to the internet?

         

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      •  
        icon
        Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 9:02am

        Re: Re:

        "photons of light do not end up frying your wires and router."

        Wally, you have no idea what you're talking about.

         

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      •  
        icon
        John Fenderson (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 10:13am

        Re: Re:

        There is no possible way for an ISP to measure the amount of wiring you have past the router that you've plugged their wire into.

        so photons of light do not end up frying your wires and router


        No. Just no. First, no photons ever touch your wires.

        Second, even if they did for some mysterious reason, the provider would have to be using an insanely powerful laser for it to cause any damage whatsoever.

         

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        •  
          icon
          Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 10:24am

          Re: Re: Re:

          They can measure that by ping delay....by measuring the amount of time it takes for a return signal.

           

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          •  
            icon
            John Fenderson (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 10:28am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            No, they can't, at least not reliably enough to measure things with as much precision as that application would require. Ping latencies are affected by all sorts of things aside from cable length: the amount of traffic on the wires, the speed of the machine responding to the ping, etc.

            And what about people like me who don't allow ping traffic at all past my firewall?

             

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            •  
              icon
              John Fenderson (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 10:31am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Also, they'd have to know the IP addresses of the machines behind my router to ping them at all -- and there's no way for them to know those.

               

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              •  
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                Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 10:52am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I'll give you that..but I was thinking about how the hell the modem would be able to keep up with that while the fiber optic signals are converted for use over a copper cable connection that said modem is attached to in your house. Google' infrastructure in your neighborhood is fiber optic. The connection from the MSAU node in your neighborhood to the patch into your house is copper wire. The connection from patch to modem is copper wire. That adds up.

                 

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                •  
                  icon
                  Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 11:01am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I am talking about the laws of physics here and how signals are processed over a wide variety of mediums. The only issue I have with Fiber Optics is that it is not bidirectional in transmission. The throughput of the FO medium makes up for it...but when you have to connect from Fiber to Copper...it causes a significant slowdown compared to what you could potentially get from tapping into a Fiber Optic network..which transmits data in one direction at a time per transmission (otherwise you need 2 fiber optic cable connections on your device...one for sending data..one for receiving data).

                  Now don't get me wrong here. 100 megabits is quite a fast in a synchronous connection...but Google is advertising 1Gigabit...and that really only depends on how far away you are from the nearest MSAU.

                   

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                  •  
                    icon
                    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 3:11pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    The only issue I have with Fiber Optics is that it is not bidirectional in transmission


                    I don't know the details of what Google's using, but bidirectional fiberoptics have been around for a good long while.

                    but when you have to connect from Fiber to Copper...it causes a significant slowdown compared to what you could potentially get from tapping into a Fiber Optic network


                    Not necessarily. It all depends on the specifics of the system and installation.

                    The Big Win of fiber isn't really raw transmission speed (and, in fact, you can come surprisingly close to fiber speeds using copper). It's the ability for a single cable to carry thousands of independent data streams for a very long distance without signal loss (relative to copper).

                     

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                •  
                  icon
                  John Fenderson (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 3:06pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I'm not quite sure what you're saying here. Gigabit speeds over copper are consumer-level equipment right now. If you're willing to buy more expensive equipment, you can get even greater speeds than that over copper. This equipment can keep up with Google's advertised speeds quite well.

                   

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            •  
              icon
              saulgoode (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 11:22am

              This is not the ping you're looking for

              It is possible for a switch/router to determine the length of a cable connected to one of its ports using time-domain reflectometry (I just bought a switch that does this to minimize power consumption). One might even call this TDR approach as measuring a "ping delay", though this would not be the same as an ICMP "ping".

              Even still, the only way Wally's point would matter is if the intranet connecting to the Google router was itself a token ring. I don't see this as a likelihood -- why would Google require their customers run a token ring network (and purchase specialized hardware) when nearly all commodity hardware and software is designed for ethernet?

               

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              •  
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                Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 12:43pm

                Re: This is not the ping you're looking for

                Logical Rings...not token...I will refer Google's infrastructure as is because that is how Fiber Optic networks work. The MSAU passes on the data so the user doesn't have to. Google's fiber lines are in LOGICAL RING TOPOLOGY....which has a tendency to utilize Star Topology to connect users to a node or MSAU. My issue isn't user's being forced to do something they are not aware of, it is Google promising users something that might not be possible at a certain distances...namely 100 meters....because of the limitations of the technology used to convert photons of infrared light (yes PHOTONS...not protons, neutrons or electrons..PHOTONS with the key word PHOTO which is GREEK for LIGHT and often used to refer to as particles of light) into electrical signals even if they are digital. The slowdown occurs because heavy shielding of copper coaxial cables can cause RF interference within the signal and thus the degragation rate is much slower.

                Best analogy I can come up with is that phone companies that offer DSL or ADSL use fiber optics to transmit data over vast distances between various switchback stations. To locally connect users, they have to use the local copper phone lines set up by their own infrastructure. All Google has done is make the local connection to the switchback station a direct connection rather than connecting you to switch boards. Google's fiber connection is tapped into by the same switching methods phone companies use to connect to the switchbacks and it is done via the MSAU.

                The MSAU by design is supposed to allow a pass-through of transmitted data in case one of the nodes goes out on a Ring Topology. You turning off your node (computer or modem take your pick) has no affect on the neighborhood. If it did, then it would a Token Ring network.

                 

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              •  
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                John Fenderson (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 3:14pm

                Re: This is not the ping you're looking for

                It is possible for a switch/router to determine the length of a cable connected to one of its ports using time-domain reflectometry


                Yes, but that can only measure the length of the cable from the ISP's "modem" to your switch. It can't measure the totla length of cable in your lan.

                 

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              •  
                identicon
                Clownius, Feb 17th, 2014 @ 11:13am

                Re: This is not the ping you're looking for

                Because Wally is either a technical incompetent fool or is confused by networking in general or is a stupid shill.

                Seriously i have a 2Mbps Internet connection via ADSL2+ due to distance from the exchange. In other words very borderline to work at all.

                Yet i have well over 100m of Internal LAN.

                The length of my LAN has absolutely nothing to do with the length of my phone line.

                Google Fibre uses GPON i believe which has some limited ring properties on the local section.
                At the home level the Fibre terminates at the box on the wall thats owned by the network provider.
                That box has Ethernet connections you can run to your local network.
                One of these Ethernet links will be your active Internet connection that you run to a Router (or computer acting as a router).
                Google (or your provider) sees you router. After that they dont give a flying fuck whats on the other side. Its all your gear.
                On the LAN side of the router you can run whatever cables and switches you like it doesnt affect google.
                LAN cables come in different categories. For example i use a mix of Cat6 and Cat6e for runs.
                Cat6 for example is considered good for 100m at 1Gbps while Cat6a should be able to carry 10Gbps at that range.
                Thats per cable length by the way not total length of all cables. Just point to point. Stick a switch in between 2 100m segments and you should be able to maintain the switchs speed.
                Cat7a and Cat8 specs are reasonably sorted and can do up to 40Gbps at 50 and 100m ranges. Still using the same (extremely similar and plug into the same sockets) connectors we all know so well from cat5 cable most people use.

                So no Wally over 100m total of cable should not limit anyone to 100Mbps. Your talking out your ass here.

                This stuff was well discussed when people were trying to claim Australia's NBN wasnt technically possible. It was debunked badly then that consumer gear for networking wasnt capable of such speeds...

                In the end ours was killed by politicians. Ideology and big bribes from big media FTW right......

                 

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 10:29am

        Re: Re:

        Ow. The stupid in that last line quite literally made my head hurt.

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 7:30am

    "The reality is that the United States is leading the way in speed, reach, and access"

    I would like to live in this reality.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    me, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 8:34am

    my connection drops daily

    broadband internet is only as good as your local infrastructure. If thses self serving skanks really cared about their ""product"", they would team with municipalities to solve the kind of issues I experience

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 8:36am

    CORPORATE PROPAGANDA 101: When a competitor has a product that makes your meager and pathetic product look like dog shit, proudly boast that the public "doesn't want" your competitor's product and/or that the competitor's product is "not needed".

    Case study: See Google Fiber vs. Comcast Xfinity.

     

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  •  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 9:02am

    $30 a month for Google? Where did you get that number. It's more like $60 a month.

     

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  •  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 9:06am

    Where Google is really killing the competition is offering free 1Mb internet for the "good enough" crowd.

     

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    •  
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      Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 10:28am

      Re:

      Dude....have you even tried surfing the web at 1 megabit per second? That is only 128 kiloBYTES per second..a half hour to download a 20 megabyte file.

       

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      •  
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        jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 11:55am

        Re: Re:

        For poor people who don't have internet, getting it free is pretty sweet. Nobody else is offering a way to get online for free.

         

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        •  
          icon
          Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 12:46pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Tell me how reasonable of a connection is it when you are trying to use that to contact people helping you get back on your feet?

           

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 1:02pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Reasonable enough to send emails and post online job boards, certainly. Certainly more reasonable than no connection whatsoever. How many people in the business of helping others get back on their feet require their communication to be over streaming video chat or other high-bandwidth required protocols?

             

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            •  
              icon
              Wally (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 3:14pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              COmsidering the average web cache size for Gmail's stand alone inbox page is now 20 MB in size...yeah I'll take my chances at the local library...

               

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          •  
            icon
            jupiterkansas (profile), Jun 5th, 2013 @ 3:03pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yeah, it's better when the trudge down to the library every day to check their email.

             

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      •  
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        Benjo (profile), Jun 6th, 2013 @ 9:47pm

        Re: Re:

        1024 kB = 1 MB
        20480 = 20MB
        20480KB / (128KB/SEC) = 160 S
        = 2 minutes 40 seconds

        in 30 minutes you could download 225MB

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2013 @ 1:45pm

    I can't even watch a god damn youtube video sometimes.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Shon Gale, Aug 8th, 2013 @ 6:31am

    ComCast Business Class direct fiber in Eugene Oregon, delivers 10MB up and 10MB down, cost $943.00 per month. Prohibitive at best.

     

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  •  
    icon
    Andy King (profile), Nov 4th, 2013 @ 10:39am

    Add to this the moronic Data Caps theya re adding. At some point the greed needs to end.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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