When Will We Have a Comprehensive National Sneaker Strategy?

from the parallel-processing dept

My fellow Arsian Nate Anderson blasts the Bush administration for its laissez faire attitude toward the development of broadband infrastructure. He laments the fact that the administration lacks a "vision" or "national target" for broadband deployment. DSL Reports chimes in, noting that Japan claims to have deployed 100 Mbps fiber to eighty five percent of its homes. But Matt Sherman points out that while "we," meaning the government, may not have a single, unified broadband strategy, "we" the broader marketplace have several broadband strategies being developed in parallel. As he says, Verizon's strategy is fiber-to-the-home, AT&T's strategy is fiber-to-the-node, Sprint's strategy is WiMax, etc. Which of these will prove the most effective? I have no idea. But it's also not clear to me how greater federal government involvement in these deployments would speed them up. Matt also notes the peculiarity of using advertised broadband speeds as a measure of broadband quality. He's got a graph showing that, by at least some measures, North America leads the world in the deployed speed of actual measured broadband connections. Comparing advertised speeds can be problematic, especially since some countries have low usage caps that make the high advertised speeds and low advertised prices extremely misleading. There are certainly plenty of problems with the broadband marketplace, not least the limited amount of competition in many markets. But calling for a "comprehensive national broadband strategy" doesn't make a lot of sense. We need to find ways to increase competition and remove obstacles to the deployment of more capacity, but we don't need a national strategy for the broadband industry any more than we need a national strategy for the production of tennis shoes.

Filed Under: broadband policy, competition, us


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  • identicon
    Blowurmindbowel, 4 Feb 2008 @ 3:32pm

    whynot standardize fiber?

    Someone needs to tell Sprint that their WiMAX sucks a fat one, it also strikes me a weird that Sprint was just demoing fiber-to-home solutions in my area (KC) like 2 years ago and touting it as the next big thing (kinda like a cable all-in-one, TV/Data/Phone, except over fiber instead of cable coax). Now they are pushing their crappy wireless BS? Their cell network is laughably spotty and unreliable in the very same city where they chose to build their world headquarters...

    Can't we just all lay fiber and call it good?

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

  • identicon
    Borse, 4 Feb 2008 @ 3:44pm

    Competition

    Personally, I think the Bush administration is fine staying out of this one for now. Technology progresses so fast, and there are already so many different high-speed technologies and strategies, that if they back one thing, it could be a huge waste of time, money, labor, and capital(supplies).

    As it is right now, I don't think most homes need 100mps transfer rates. I do fine with 54mps, and I doubt I ever even use that much at a time. If a home or more likely office building needs a faster connection, they are plenty of options available. And yes they have to pay for it, but if they need it that bad then chances are they have the money to afford it.

    In the end, the phone companies will compete with each other, and possibly even collaborate at some point, who knows. But free competition is good for everyone. They will continue to develop and install better technologies and serve them to consumers, and its definitely way better than having it be government regulated. I shudder at the thought.

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

  • identicon
    DittoBox, 4 Feb 2008 @ 3:45pm

    Like a utility?

    I'm wondering if the first post is a good idea. See, my thoughts were: who manages it? The "government" (monopoly, bad idea), a single company (monopoly, worse idea), two or more companies (duopoly, a poor idea)...or

    Like a publicly owned utility? Slightly better than all the rest. Can anyone more in the know tell me why this is a bad idea?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Feb 2008 @ 7:40pm

      Re: Like a utility?

      The state of Utah has been reported (here on TechDirt even, like a year ago) to be doing a test of broadband as a utility along a stretch of interstate highway. Unsure of the results or if they are still 'testing'.

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

  • identicon
    Blowurmindbowel, 4 Feb 2008 @ 3:59pm

    uuhhhh....

    I definitely wasn't suggesting that we let a single company manage the whole fiber network nation wide, ur right that would be stupid. But it seems like with the HD format war, eventually its going to be clear that one of these technologies for home broadband is superior, and fiber has been the most likely for a long time and is involved in all of the leading high speed distro infrastructure (except for Sprint's WiCrap). And all of that hardware for the other less adopted infrastructures is probably eventually going to become worthless, why waste the money at all, just lay fiber.

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

  • identicon
    Blowurmindbowel, 4 Feb 2008 @ 4:10pm

    Also

    I'm not 100% sure on this but I believe I recall hearing a number of details that point to the fact that a metropolitan wide fiber-to-home network would have the highest potential for easy competition and multi-ISP sharing of the network, leading to the best prices and services for the consumer.

    Kind of like saying the network infrastructure itself could be owned by the city or a single company, but you'd have the choice of several companies to get service on it... (best option)

    And honestly dittobox you really don't sound like you have any idea how this industry works now, having a single dominant infrastructure that is wholly owned by a single company is pretty much status quo almost everywhere right now (the copper-wire phone lines are finally competitive, but who cares?), this certainly wouldn't be any worse! And beyond that it provides the possibility of much better possible outcomes...

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

  • identicon
    LDøBë, 4 Feb 2008 @ 4:10pm

    Fix 'em Up

    I wish that data communities were more prevalent. As I see it, the markets work harder when consumers gang up on a business. If you want cheaper high-speed for your residence, you should talk about cutting a deal with the local providers. Use the power of collective negotiations to bully verizon or whoever is your ISP into worrying about keeping a whole neighborhood full of customers *pronounced "addict"*

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

  • identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, 4 Feb 2008 @ 4:51pm

    It may be time to leapfrog all of this

    I'm not entirely sure about that, but I've been thinking for the past few years that one way out of the broadband problem (loosely defined as "availability/cost/quality/reliability") is to stop trying to solve it...and route around it.

    Those who know their 'net history (or who lived it) know that it's been tried before, with varying degrees of success. Usenet, for example, was a way to route around the problem set associated with acquiring ARPAnet connectivity. (That wasn't it's only purpose, to be sure, just one of them.)

    I'm becoming convinced that it's possible to abandon the telecom-centric model entirely. I think a sufficient number of the problems associated with doing so have already been solved, while those that remain -- although difficult -- are tractable. Anybody want to start another 'net?

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

  • identicon
    Michael Evans, 5 Feb 2008 @ 5:03am

    The dumb pipe is the utility.

    The dumb pipe is the utility. That's the natural monopoly. Rid all the telcos and such of the annoying task, centralize maintenance, build in proper redundancy. All while having one single network, with common hardware.

    The fiber it's self, if selected properly, can likely be used for decades to come, with incremental upgrade and replacement of connecting equipment.

    The above posters are correct, buy your bandwidth from the community peering point out.

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

  • identicon
    Clueby4, 5 Feb 2008 @ 3:05pm

    Little Timmy forgets...

    Little Timmy forgets...

    That the government is all ready involved by granting/selling/whoring out public right of way and/or airwaves.

    To not regulate such an environment is tremendously stupid and/or malicious.

    "The market will fix it" thinking isn't working out to well is it? Telecommunication Act, USF, Tax breaks, etc gave/gives these companies huge amount of money and exclusive access to more. To DEMAND that the infrastructure be NOT ONLY maintained to accommodate subscribers but expanded and upgraded is not unreasonable in the least. "Markets" that exist by RELYING on public right of way should expect a bit more regulation the "markets" that don't.

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

  • identicon
    Lloyd, 12 Feb 2008 @ 5:52am

    Bad Headline!!

    I was all set to read an article about a critical footwear policy, and I'm wasting time reading about networks? My feet hurt, people! Where are our priorities?

    And, of course...

    Think of the children!!

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


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