The Real Bandwidth Hog? The Telcos

from the ain't-that-rich? dept

We've been covering the latest network neutrality debates, where AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth have all made claims about how Google, Yahoo, Vonage, Microsoft and others are "bandwidth hogs" who need to pay up to continue delivering services. While it's been discussed to death (seriously, no need to bring it up again) how everyone's already paying for their bandwidth, Business Week is pointing out one very important fact. The real bandwidth hogs are the telcos themselves. How come Verizon doesn't have enough bandwidth to handle all that internet traffic? Turns out that it's reserving 80% of the bandwidth for its own TV efforts. I don't think that's what the government had in mind when it made all those concessions to get the telcos to offer fiber. So, basically what's happening here is the telcos didn't think far enough ahead to build new networks that can actually accommodate both the internet and their television pipe dreams... so they're just shoving the internet part aside. That's not a problem with all those popular web services, it's a problem for the telcos and their poor network planning and design.

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  • identicon
    mull, 2 Feb 2006 @ 2:04am

    How rude

    How rude of a telco to want to use their own equipment and deliver to their customers things that benefit the people who invested in the pipes in the first place. OK, right now, there are 3 choices for broadband, cable, wireless and FTTH/DSL. Where is the problem?

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  • identicon
    windows, 2 Feb 2006 @ 4:29am

    windows

    ***SPAM DELETED***

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

  • identicon
    windows, 2 Feb 2006 @ 4:30am

    windows

    *** SPAM DELETED ***

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

  • identicon
    Andrew Pollack, 2 Feb 2006 @ 6:07am

    Welcome to the market economy - All that's missing

    Ultimately, 'the telcos' -- which includes the cable companies, by the way -- are able to do what they want because of limited competition. In many areas its dsl or cable but not both.

    In areas with the most competition, prices are lower and bandwidth is increased. Ultimately there will be two battles. The battle for consumer endpoint connectivity which will get increasingly more competitive as new kinds of transmission capabilities come to market and new companies join the fray (the power transmission companies, wimax startups, etc). At the same time, alternative circuit companies will over different backbone connection options and ultimately bandwidth availability will be more competitive between sites.

    These two fronts drive each other. Consumers will be drawn to the best real bandwidth for the price provided its not significantly more difficult to use or pay for, and to provide that utility providers will have to compete to provide backend connection speeds.

    The less discussed tragedy of Enron and the like, is that the idea of multiple competing back end trasmission circuits -- be they for power or IP traffic -- is very much set back as a result of that industry collapsing. There will be a real time market for available transmission bandwidth, but not until consumer demand makes it profitable.

    For now, the telcos still believe they can provide enough in-network services to compensate for slow out of network connectivity. Some even try to actively block or otherwise discourage connection to out of network services. SMS across cell providers in the US is a great example of this.

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

  • identicon
    Dam, 2 Feb 2006 @ 6:33am

    Who Should Own The Bandwidth

    It seems to be a problem, having the telcos own the physical wiring to the users, and it's no better having cable companies own the wire either. I proposed an idea years ago that local municipalities own the wires and lease the bandwidth to services. This scheme would eliminate competitive issues with the wire ownership. Some think my idea is unworkable, but how is it any different that the municipalities owning the roads and sidewalks now?
    It involves a lot of detail, too much to discuss here. But, I still think it could be workable.

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

    • identicon
      jrx35, 2 Feb 2006 @ 7:42am

      Re: Who Should Own The Bandwidth

      How are the municipalities going to pay for the work force to maintain these facilities? Even if they outsource this work, how will they deal with upgrade issues - increase axes - bond referendums?

      No thanks - I don't want my taxes going up for that stuff. It's outside their core competency.

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

      • identicon
        Andrew Pollack, 2 Feb 2006 @ 8:21am

        Re: Who Should Own The Bandwidth

        A model that is working in the power industry in many places, is that there is one company which owns and is responsible for the delivery of the power, but not its production. That is to say, your electric bill goes to two places. Everyone's bill goes to one heavily regulated company which is responsible for the transmission lines, while consumers can pick (in theory) between a number of suppliers for the power which they consume (in theory of course, since they're payments only determine which sources add energy to the grid in rough equivilance to how much that consumer uses).

        The equivilant would be to have the telcos or cable companies own and maintain their transmission media, but be prohibited from competing to provide the content and IP connectivity itself. This will be fought tooth and nail however by the telcos et al.

        The telcos still look to the 80's model of AOL as the ideal way to serve connectivity to consumers. They want to provide the managed content as well as the connection, and benefit from advertising and other such things as a result. Ultimately, this model will fail.

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

      • identicon
        Tyshaun, 2 Feb 2006 @ 8:41am

        Re: Who Should Own The Bandwidth

        How are the municipalities going to pay for the work force to maintain these facilities? Even if they outsource this work, how will they deal with upgrade issues - increase axes - bond referendums? No thanks - I don't want my taxes going up for that stuff. It's outside their core competency.
        I agree that at first it will be a logistical nightmare, and perhaps a county or state level entity would be a better caretaker of the system, but there are advantages, and let's remember that it doesn't necessarily mean tax dollars are used to fund it. Where I live, the municipality runs the power and water companies, the service is great, the prices are very competitive, and the money to run/maintain those companies comes from the revenue from bills, not from taxes, as it should. The main problem I can see with government based caretaking of high-speed networking nets is that if you don't have sufficient subscriber base in a given region to support it.

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

    • identicon
      Terry, 2 Feb 2006 @ 9:45am

      Re: Who Should Own The Bandwidth

      "that local municipalities own the wires and lease the bandwidth to services"

      Not a good idea. By doing so, the number of hands in the pot if you will that have to receive revenue from that infrastructure increases. Under your plan, the muni would have to get their cut and the service providers theirs. Also, the muni's do not have the people, equipment, or expertise in most cases to manage a large network infrastructure.

      There is also then the issue of regulation. If the muni owns the wires, then does the state utility commission still regulate the wire's usage? Most state laws are written such that that would be the case. If so, could the muni (who lives to regulate) keep their regulatory hands off the wires - or would the add to the already heavy load of regulatory murk burdening telco and broadband servcies?

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

    • icon
      Mike (profile), 2 Feb 2006 @ 9:49am

      Re: Who Should Own The Bandwidth

      I proposed an idea years ago that local municipalities own the wires and lease the bandwidth to services.

      We've discussed this idea before, and it's already working in some places. It makes a lot of sense given that fiber networks are natural monopolies.

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

      • identicon
        nardo, 2 Feb 2006 @ 10:36am

        Re: Who Should Own The Bandwidth

        What is more likely to occur than the telcos changing their ways, or the government making any possitive difference in this matter. Would be the rise of a free public wireless network. Existing consumer grade wireless network hardware can reach speeds far above the averages of 6mb/s down and dwarf the upstream capacities that are 1mb/s. Imagine having a 25mb/s or more upstream and downstream connection. Now imagine all you needed to connect to the wireless public internet was a computer and a wireless network card, it would be free. Now throw in a network software solution such as i2p or tor and it would be free anonymous secure wireless internet. A freedom and privacy lover's wet dream.
        Completely outside of government and corporate control.
        This is the future we should be working towards not the continual fighting with these dumb telcos and others.
        No more monopolies, network bandwidth and performance only being restricted by hardware and software technological limits.
        The only competition for such a wireless network could be a fully fiber connection with both downstream and upstream speeds much greater than the wireless networks.
        Maybe people do not realize how far wireless has already spread and that it continues to spread. We really just need better ranges, even with current speeds it is enough to easily surpass what cable and dsl providers are offering.
        Though software like i2p or tor is needed, hardware alone will not be good enough.
        The telcos still have possibly a few more years before such a wireless network could be formed, at least without major additional development efforts. Until such a wireless network is formed, the telcos can hedge its creation off by ramping up bandwidth limits to at least 10mb up and 10mb down, in addition to cutting rates to about 1/3 what they are currently at. However I highly doubt they would do that and certainly not without serious restrictions.
        While cheaper rates and much higher speed fiber only connections would be most ideal, many of us still would take such a cool wireless network as a near equal. Given in many ways it would be better than any wired network.
        Sure there would still need to be gateways between the old wired internet and the new wireless one. Right now I would like to designate this new wireless internet concept as both web 3.0 and internet 3.0, one of the major requires for anything to be even considered worthy of 3.0 standards would be at least significant security and anonymity, in addition to much higher speeds than the current wired internet connections most telcos provide at significant monthly rates.
        Since for the most part the definition for web 2.0 has been hijacked by lame bloggers and rss junkies, why not beat them to defining both web 3.0 and internet 3.0, also considering that internet 2.0 is a closed network which is mostly a hardware effort by many uni's, it makes sense to define this as internet 3.0
        While many could and might argue about this, I think this is a good standard for 3.0

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

        • identicon
          Tyshaun, 2 Feb 2006 @ 3:26pm

          Re: Who Should Own The Bandwidth

          What is more likely to occur than the telcos changing their ways, or the government making any possitive difference in this matter. Would be the rise of a free public wireless network. Existing consumer grade wireless network hardware can reach speeds far above the averages of 6mb/s down and dwarf the upstream capacities that are 1mb/s. Imagine having a 25mb/s or more upstream and downstream connection. Now imagine all you needed to connect to the wireless public internet was a computer and a wireless network card, it would be free. Now throw in a network software solution such as i2p or tor and it would be free anonymous secure wireless internet. A freedom and privacy lover's wet dream. Completely outside of government and corporate control. This is the future we should be working towards not the continual fighting with these dumb telcos and others. No more monopolies, network bandwidth and performance only being restricted by hardware and software technological limits. The only competition for such a wireless network could be a fully fiber connection with both downstream and upstream speeds much greater than the wireless networks. Maybe people do not realize how far wireless has already spread and that it continues to spread. We really just need better ranges, even with current speeds it is enough to easily surpass what cable and dsl providers are offering. Though software like i2p or tor is needed, hardware alone will not be good enough. The telcos still have possibly a few more years before such a wireless network could be formed, at least without major additional development efforts. Until such a wireless network is formed, the telcos can hedge its creation off by ramping up bandwidth limits to at least 10mb up and 10mb down, in addition to cutting rates to about 1/3 what they are currently at. However I highly doubt they would do that and certainly not without serious restrictions. While cheaper rates and much higher speed fiber only connections would be most ideal, many of us still would take such a cool wireless network as a near equal. Given in many ways it would be better than any wired network. Sure there would still need to be gateways between the old wired internet and the new wireless one. Right now I would like to designate this new wireless internet concept as both web 3.0 and internet 3.0, one of the major requires for anything to be even considered worthy of 3.0 standards would be at least significant security and anonymity, in addition to much higher speeds than the current wired internet connections most telcos provide at significant monthly rates. Since for the most part the definition for web 2.0 has been hijacked by lame bloggers and rss junkies, why not beat them to defining both web 3.0 and internet 3.0, also considering that internet 2.0 is a closed network which is mostly a hardware effort by many uni's, it makes sense to define this as internet 3.0 While many could and might argue about this, I think this is a good standard for 3.0

          Who is gonna pay for this?

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

  • identicon
    DG Lewis, 2 Feb 2006 @ 7:01am

    FCC Documents

    Does anyone know what the "documents filed with the FCC" referred to by the BW article are?

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


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