Monday, August 27, 2007

August 27, 2007

Just a quick note during my lunch hour...

Breaking News!

We've been Slashdotted!

I was wondering why our traffic was up so sharply. Thank goodness we're running this under blogspot otherwise we'd suffer the usual Slashdot effect. Google Rocks! (Yes, I know they aren't perfect but...). I also appreciate the high interest in the story. It's a problem that nobody in my neighborhood knew existed. My neighbors thought they still had "unlimited use for a flat monthly fee". At least that's what the advertisement said when we signed up.

My mail box is pulverized however. So many responses to read through. Please don't take it personally if I don't respond. Believe it or not, I do have my time away from the keyboard despite some opinions to the contrary :-)

Oh and it seems West Jordan will not be joining Utopia. Just received an email from our Mayor. I'm being told there are no plans as the City Council isn't convinced they should join. Citing iProvo's screw ups. Of course there are other cities doing well (Murry, Midvale, West Valley and so on). I'm curious, any ideas on what would convince a City Council we should investigate Fiber to the home?

Please post your thoughts. I'm curious what other's would do short of trying to replace them (It might come to that unfortunately). I really do believe a Fiber Infrastructure would have kept an abusive company such as Comcast from terminating people's account with next to no warning. A single phone call then your gone is poor customer service at best.

Newsflash to Comcast. There will always be a .001% top users list. There will never be a time where they no longer have a .001% top user list. Ever. If it's only .001% then why are there neighbors down the street terminated for heavy usage? One lady with 9 kids around the block received "The Call" and canceled on the spot. She didn't want to deal with the company after hearing of my experience the month before.

I have some new info that's come in about the $200 Billion American's have paid for Fiber to the home. I haven't reviewed it yet but if any of it's verifiable then I'll post it here in the next few days.

Thanks again for your interest and keep spreading the word! Several calls from reporters have come to me and other's unsolicited because of word of mouth!


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

August 22, 2007

Before I begin. I want to say I really appreciate the high interest and all the comments posted over the last few months. Both Pro and Con. I don't mind a dissenting voice. What a terrible place it would be if we all thought and spoke the same. I would like to say that lately I've received a number of dissenting posts with Adult language in it.

I'm uncomfortable with accepting those posts and haven't figure out how to edit them here (I've looked). If you have an opposing opinion please post but without the vulgarity (FU this and so on). I will reject those posts every time and would like to accept it. Even if I don't agree with it. Thanks!

Now on to our program...

I don't know what to make of it. Comcast says nay, and future ex-Comcast subscribers say yea.

Are they messing with bittorrent? I did find this so I'm willing to bet they are doing something as others have also noticed something going on.

Oh and in response to Comcast's cut/paste bandwidth response, I posted my analysis of their numbers in the February 20th post In an attempt to translate their response into English :-)

Their response makes no sense but I digress. I've already kicked that one around so enjoy!

From the Fedora article

If Comcast is allowed to continue cutting off even one protocol we’ve already lost. Voice your opinion. Contact your local office. Complain. Make some noise. Switch providers.

Until then I’ll be getting these two Comcast connections switched to a competitor. It may be a slower internet (in my area) on DSL, but at least its the whole internet.

I'm afraid it won't matter. I believe we've already shown how the company doesn't address consumer issues. It's bizarre but that's reality.

Comcast has been treating its customers so badly that even Clark can’t believe it. Customers are receiving letters from the company, warning them that if they use their high-speed Internet too much the service will be cut off. But Comcast doesn’t tell people what “too much” means.

It seems change only comes with running it through the courts as in this example. Yes, there are many other's but this one I found particularly interesting. I've wondered why our Attorney General doesn't investigate. Maybe someday (or elect a new one).

For those of you without alternatives I strongly encourage you to speak to your local Government. City Council, the Mayor, your Governor. Everybody. And keep speaking until something is done about it. It's your right and privilege as an American.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

August 19, 2007

Looks like Comcast is making friends today. A reader sent this to me today. While I understand why they are doing it, I don't believe this is the right answer. Bit-torrent relies on upload and download bandwidth being available. Sending RST to terminate the upload (while creative) is only alienating their customers even further. Personally I don't believe they really care. They simply want you to send them their money and read 130,000 email's every month. Or better yet, just send them the money and don't use the service. It's better for everyone that way :-)

Services such as Zudeo would be affected by this stunt. BTW, if you are a Star Wars fan, download "Dark Resurrection" from them(it's in Italian with English subs). It's awesome!

If Bit-Torrent is such a problem, here's another protocol which could finish the job of trashing the Internet. Internet Television is becoming VERY popular especially in my house (along with Internet Radio).

A recent report urges restraint to nurture growth of the Internet. I thought this part of their report was very interesting

The think tank, the New Millennium Research Council, released an 18-page report that called on Internet policymakers to avoid new regulations that could restrict Internet investment by the private sector and to find ways to encourage investment to handle the coming Internet onslaught.

How well has this "Hands Off" approach worked? Any guesses? Just read the above article on P2P for the answer. Oh, and for those who think fiber to the home isn't possible because of all the fiber we'd have to run across the country, check this out

The report said investment in network capacity by ISPs typically involves activating fiber optic cables that are already constructed but still dark; connecting the fiber to higher speed routers; dedicating circuits to Internet traffic; and expanding end user access lines where needed. Notably, 75 percent growth in the average traffic on the world's Internet backbones in 2006 outpaced the 47 percent growth of capacity, the report said, citing TeleGeography Research. That trend had continued for the third straight year.

Dark Fiber in other words. I believe we have the infrastructure already in place for the long runs people frequently bring up. It's the last mile which is the problem. This is why I support Utopia's efforts.

Finally I leave you with this thought.

The average IPTV user will likely consume about 224 gigabytes per month, he added, at a monthly cost to carriers of $112, a giant leap from the less than $5 attributed to Internet use. If that content were high-definition video, the average user would be consuming more than 1 terabyte per month at a cost to carriers of $560 per month. "Clearly that's not what the average user is going to pay per month for their video service," Kafka said. "That's why we need help."

Now I think I understand the knee jerk reaction and the fear companies such as Comcast display. The future doesn't look very bright without a fundamental change in either the habits of their customers or investment in the infrastructure.

Starting in the early 1990's, the Clinton-Gore Administration had aggressive plans to create the "National Infrastructure Initiative" to rewire ALL of America with fiber optic wiring, replacing the 100 year old copper wire. The Bell companies - SBC, Verizon, BellSouth and Qwest, claimed that they would step up to the plate and rewire homes, schools, libraries, government agencies, businesses and hospitals, etc. if they received financial incentives.

• By 2006, 86 million households should have already been wired with a fiber (and coax), wire, capable of at least 45 Mbps in both directions, and could handle 500+ channels.
• Universal Broadband: This wiring was to be done in rich and poor neighborhoods, in rural, urban and suburban areas equally.
• Open to ALL Competition: These networks were to be open to ALL competitors, not a closed-in network or deployed only where the phone company desired.
• This is not Verizon's FIOS or SBC's Lightspeed fiber optics, which are slower, can't handle 500 channels, are not open to competition, and are not being deployed equitably.
• This was NOT fiber somewhere in the network ether, but directly to homes.

We already paid for it in taxes. So why don't we have it? Does anyone else feel like fraud occurred somewhere?

• Costs to Customers - We estimate that $206 billion dollars in excess profits and tax deductions were collected - over $2000 per household. (This is the low estimate.)

• Cost to the Country - About $5 trillion dollars to the economy. America lost a decade of technological innovation and economic growth, about $500 billion annually.

• Cost to the Country - America is now 16th in the world in broadband. While Korea and Japan have 40-100 Mbps at cheap prices, America is still at kilobyte speeds.

• The New Digital Divide - The phone companies current plans are to pick and choose where and when they want to deploy fiber services, if at all.

• Competitor Close Out - SBC, BellSouth and Verizon now claim that they can control who uses the networks and at what price, impacting everything from VOIP and municipality roll outs to new services from Ebay and Google.

Next time you are told you didn't pay for it, remind them they already grabbed over 200 Billion from Americans under Clinton. It's time to cough up the benefits of our investment.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

August 15, 2007

Apparently companies such as Comcast terminating their customers accounts is a bigger issue than I had realized. This last month I've had a couple of unsolicited interviews with reporters for a couple of magazines about my experience. They were also very interested in speaking with anyone who had similar experiences. I gladly passed along contact information I had permission to give out. Hopefully those worked out for everyone. I'll admit, I felt kinda silly when asked for a photo shoot by one magazine. I guess I asked for it when I began speaking out. It's not me as I've never been comfortable with public speaking.

When the articles pop up I'll post the links here if they are available online. Speaking of which, I received this from Google Alerts just a while ago. No I didn't interview with them... I think :-) Basically the article talks about more and more cable companies running into the lack of bandwidth issue. It's a good article. I highly recommend reading it.

The last section of the article had a link to IPTV. I'm wondering if this is part of the reason Comcast selected me for their ex-customer club. I was getting into this a little before they cut me off. IPTV is sweet and IMO something Cable companies need to fear if bandwidth is an issue.. More products are coming out which use IPTV. It's only getting worse not better. In fact with my VERY high interest in MythTV, I can see fun products such as Myth causing some to panic and over react (Note to Brian Roberts: Get your people Customer Service training. They could use some).

One more note. I've had some people say America's Internet is totally awesome compared to the rest of the world. That may be true in some very isolated parts of the country. In general however we've a lot of catching up to do. Countries such as Japan and Korea beat us when it comes to average Internet speeds. An average of 4.8 vs. 61 Mps is pretty sad IMHO.

The last paragraph says it all.

The sad truth is that broadband connections of any speed can still be hard to come by in some parts of the country. The US consistently ranks relatively low in comparison with the rest of the world in both broadband availability and speeds. We also consistently pay more for our slower connections than those in other countries. As long as the government continues to make decisions that seem to work against consumers in this area—for example, not requiring cable and DSL providers to share their lines—Americans will continue to be stuck with subpar broadband speeds and prices.

I think it's time for me to speak before our City Council again. They might want to learn how far behind we are. Only projects such as FioS or Utopia will catch us up in a timely fashion.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

August 2, 2007

The White City Council meeting went well. The level of interest in Utopia is very high. It seems they will be joining Utopia far in advance of West Jordan if things continue. Both my wife and I attended and had the chance to chat with people. Since White City is a Township, they had a Council member assigned to them by Salt Lake County. We had a wonderful conversation with the Councilmen about Utopia and it's many benefits. They were very surprised to learn of our Comcast termination story and had many questions which I was pleased to answer.

Another gentleman I spoke with made a comment before the meeting if perhaps Comcast or Qwest would be a better choice for the area. He and others were stunned when I mentioned that Comcast is terminating Internet accounts in such a bizzare manner with inadequate notification for violating an undocumented bandwidth limit. Needless to say, it's unlikely Comcast will find much sympathy here.

Jesse (who presented the Utopia idea) mentioned Comcast was plastering the area with an advertisement he said they were loosing money on big time. I found it amusing the ad came only days after S.B. 66 died.

In the meeting I mentioned the one thing the Township needed to remember is once Utopia comes, they must advertise! When I spoke to a tech for the City of Murray I was told people had Utopia fiber and didn't know about it! They were looking to sign up with another service costing far more than Utopia. I'm hoping they will keep that in mind when it comes to the area.

Next we're on to Draper Utah. There has been a great deal of discussion in bringing Utopia there. Also I'm speaking with my City Council again about bringing Utopia here to West Jordan. It's ironic. Roger Black, COO of Utopianet lives in West Jordan and can't get the awesome service his company provides. Go figure.

Just received this notice. I strongly suggest everyone who doesn't wish to give up their legal right to sue Comcast to opt out here. You simply need your name, address and Comcast account number. As far as I can tell it's legitimate.

One more note. Looks like the State of Ohio has decided they want the ability to compete in the 21st Century and more importantly, save money. Now who doesn't want to save more money :-)

From the article

“This is the first step in bridging the digital divide in Ohio, and I look forward to working with industry providers, businesses and our local communities to take additional steps to provide superior broadband access to all of Ohio’s 88 counties,” Strickland said.

Please encourage your local and state Government to bring broadband which will allow American's to compete. America is already in 24th place in broadband penetration and in 7th place with technology and science. We're no longer number 1. I don't know about you guys but I find that disturbing.