Friday, September 21, 2007

September 21, 2007

My time is short and so much to do. I'm preparing for a business trip so I won't be easily available for the next week. I'll have limited email access though. Don't know how my wife is going to handle it with 6 kids by herself. I'll have to make it up to her when I get back :-)

As much as I need to go, I wish I could stay. I just learned there is a meeting next Wednesday to discuss Utopia in the State Capital. I understand Comcast and other's will have reps there. I certainly have something that needs saying. So I'm writing letters and contacting as many people as I can to get there if possible and sign up for the Citizen Comment period at the end of the meeting. Speaking of writing, I'm finishing up a few letters to several people including Senator Howard A. Stephenson and Representative Frank, Craig A.

Sen. Howard A. Stephenson is the Senate Chair and Rep. Craig A. Frank is the House Chair.

Here is their contact information.

Utah Howard A. Stephenson (R)
Email 1038 East 13590 South
Draper, Utah 84020 Office (801) 972-8814
Home (801) 576-1022

Write to the following address to make sure he gets any correspondence.

W115 Capitol Complex
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114

Frank, Craig A.
825 E 1300 N

But write to this address for Frank

W030 State Capital Complex
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114

I heard a rumor that SB 66 may be revived. Bad Idea. Why on earth would we want to push a technology invented in the 1800's is beyond me. Especially when fiber's limits are simply not known and we certainly know the limits of copper wires.

Please tell everyone you know to attend or write. I'll be there in spirit. If someone could take notes and let me know how it turned out I'd really appreciate it.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sept 16, 2007

Before I dive into the latest, I'd like to ask if anyone from the New York Metro area has been disconnected by Comcast "for using the Internet too much", to please contact me as soon as possible. Or if you know of someone, I would count it a personal favor to contact me. There is a reporter who is interested in speaking to someone locally.

I have several people in the East coast interested with interviewing but they are a little further than the reporter would like. Simply post a comment on the blog with your email or phone number. I will NOT post it and spread your information beyond what you allow. Thanks!

Ok, so what does the Government say Broadband is?

I was stunned to learn the FCC considers anything above 200K to be Broadband. Most countries these days are looking at a minimum of 2 Megs before something can be called that. My guess is they don't understand this was Broadband when everyone had 2400 baud modems or slower.

Several people I've spoken with the last couple weeks suggested Broadband isn't important. That the US has all it needs and then some. I don't agree. In fact other states (such as Ohio) have signed initiatives to build a fiber infrastructure and countries are getting the jump on us. Australia for instance is looking to build an Infrastructure which 99% will have Broadband within two years! From the Australia article:

The joint venture, known as OPEL, would contribute a further 900 million US dollars to provide broadband of at least 12 megabits per second by June 2009.

"What we have announced today is a plan that will deliver to 99 percent of the Australian population very fast and affordable broadband in just two years' time," Howard said.

An expert group will also develop a bidding process for the building of a fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) broadband network, funded solely by private companies, in major cities.

And in Ohio, they seek to save money and build an affordable system available to everyone:

The order directs state agencies to use the Broadband Ohio Network rather than the patchwork of public and private networks agencies presently use, allowing the state to realize cost savings and efficiencies.

“By fully utilizing our state broadband network we will be making efficient, responsible use of our public dollars,” Strickland said.

I wish them well.

One more note, looks like Farmington City Council may not be moving forward soon with Utopia. At least those are the rumblings I'm hearing. I hope in their September 18th meeting they will at least investigate it before making any decisions.

The decision to move from pledging to non-pledging was motivated by risk tolerance; the council just doesn't feel comfortable with being on the hook in the rare instance that UTOPIA can't make the bond payments.

I haven't heard of any cities complaining about money being an issue. Only iProvo is cited as an example of what not to do. Fortunately, iProvo is not Utopia. I've been told they sublease Utopia lines and it's a service the city provides to residents. Utopia doesn't provide services, only the lines. A big difference there.

Personally, I've thought about my future home purchases. It's very unlikely I would consider a second purchase here in West Jordan unless a change in the climate occurs. In purchasing a second home, I'm looking only in cities in which Utopia is available or will be. West Jordan is a great city however the same services can be found in other cities as well. Either the Internet is important or it isn't. Can't have it both ways.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sept 11, 2007

I just had to share this with everyone. As I was driving home from work today, I heard a most awesome Clark Howard minute on KSL 102.7 FM. He basically went through the whole issue with Comcast terminating customer accounts for violating their "Invisible Bandwidth" limit. What really amused me was how he reported it, calling the company "Arrogant" and a Monopoly. It felt good to hear his comments. We basically brought this upon ourselves. He then quoted what Japan has for Internet services. Generally about 9 times faster than what we have here in America at a fraction of the cost.

As I understand it, they interviewed people from Atlanta Georgia area several months ago. I don't know who they are but I'm very pleased they came forward with their story.

If anyone was able to record it please let me know. I'd love a copy of it. If only I wasn't driving :-)

I'm getting contacted by reporters in Europe now. I apologize for not keeping up with my email. Articles are popping up in Germany, Italy and other countries and I've interviewed with several of them. There may be an article from France soon. Thank goodness for the Internet. I know a fair amount of Portuguese, a little Italian (still learning it) and no German, there are free tools available. Simply put your Internet address or text, select how you want it translated, then press the translate button. It's simple and does a fair job of translating.

I hear we're in the Washington Post! Several have posted here or emailed me the link (Thank You!) I unfortunately don't know of anyone in Washington DC who was terminated. If you or someone you know in the area has been terminated by Comcast please let me know. I'd love to send your contact information to them with your permission of course.

I've asked several people in recent conversations to come forward and speak with reporters. More and more are telling me they are afraid of retribution. Don't be afraid. YOU are the customer. The more who come forward and complain of this ill treatment the more power we all have to make a change. Whether it's Comcast to give up it's outrageous abuse policies or replace them with a national infrastructure as was pushed in the 90's by Clinton and Gore (NII). Comcast has already terminated services. They can't legally do anything more. It's done. Many have already come forward and even posted here.

Speaking of HighSpeed Internet, I recently came across this article about Japan. At least now I understand part of the reason why they've been able to leap frog America... again. Nothing wrong with competition. But when we deliberately hold ourselves back? Something certainly needs to be done. This is why I'm telling people to contact local Representatives and every Politician until they get a move on.

Another article of interest. Internet pipes in the YouTube Age. Very insightful.

"Unless we ensure an adequate supply of quality bandwidth at reasonable prices, many current and future business models will be stranded, which will have serious implications for economic growth and national competitiveness in the Internet sector," Kleeman writes.

Someone recently posted stating they like to be social and go out, talk with people. I'm fine with that. I do it all the time. However the article very clearly mentions we'll have problems with economic growth without the proper infrastructure. Time to get rid of the buggy whip :-)

One more note. Is Comcast violating the law by filtering P2P?

Many states make it illegal for an individual to impersonate another individual. New York, a state notorious for its aggressive pro-consumer office of the Attorney General, makes it a crime for someone to "[impersonate] another and [do] an act in such assumed character with intent to obtain a benefit or to injure or defraud another." (See: NY Sec. 190.25: Criminal impersonation in the second degree).

Also from the article

Comcast is perfectly within its right to filter the Internet traffic that flows over its network. What it is not entitled to do is to impersonate its customers and other users, in order to make that filtering happen. Dropping packets is perfectly OK, while falsifying sender information in packet headers is not.

I completely agree with this. While I believe they need to manage traffic(QOS: Quality of Services), I'm curious where this would go and if the AG's are looking at investigating the company. I'm curious where the FTC is with investigating the company. It's been many months since I filed a complaint citing unfair business practices. Time for me to follow up.