Thursday, November 20, 2008

November 20, 2008

Now that the voters have spoken, it's interesting to see more and more we're hearing Government is talking about building a National Broadband policy. There have been many interesting articles the last couple of weeks including this one. I'm curious where this is going. Many have also said it will take $100 Billion to upgrade our infrastructure to Fiber to the home. Fortunately they have over 200 Billion already in their pockets through taxes for over 14 years through the NII.

I'm encouraging people everywhere to write to President Elect Obama and remind him of these facts and to encourage him to influence those in authority to either make it happen or return the money for service not rendered.

I had an interesting email from a blogger recently. Talking about the AT&T caps and sharing this article about it. He had an interesting statement to make which I just have to share with you

Hmmm, Let's see. If I pay for 6 Mbps connectivity, if I used it 24 hours per day for a month, I could download almost 2,000 GB. The ATT plan would give me the first 80 GB
free and then I would pay $1,920/month for the rest? If I only get 80 GB in a month, then I think I'm only getting 240 Kbs connectivity or so. This type of logic is like offering cellphone service pricing where you get unlimited minutes of connectivity but only 5,000 words per month.

Puts it all in perspective as Comcast rolls our their new services. Sure they are offering more than AT&T, so double the numbers and you roughly have an understanding of how bad of a deal it is. Oh and don't forget, you risk reaching your usage cap faster with those speeds. No, you don't get more bandwidth. I haven't heard of any tier services available either. It's pretty silly actually. These caps are like saying you are driving your car too much even though you paid for the car, insurance and the gas. Yes you have a full tank but you should only use 1 gallon then get off the road. Seems many other's agree with this opinion

Here's what Comcast should have said:

"See, we've got this legacy cable business. That wouldn't be so bad if innovators weren't making it easier to stream video over the Web. Microsoft 's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Silverlight helped bring you the Olympics. So did Limelight Networks (Nasdaq: LLNW), and it's also behind Netflix 's (Nasdaq: NFLX) Watch Now service. Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) is working on chips for Web TV. These technologies will improve over time and, as they do, they'll demand more bandwidth. We're not big fans. In fact, we'd prefer you ignore these innovations and watch TV and video the traditional way, over our cable network."

It's amazing how many articles in the last month have come out against bandwidth caps. The proponents are ignoring something they seem unable to grasp. That's ok. Perhaps in the near future they will become as inconsequential as the buggy whip if technology keeps advancing. Something like this (should it materialize) would make Copper cables and even reduce the need for a public fiber infrastructure. Very impressive IF it appears.

One more note. I found this article interesting.

What Comcast didn’t mention, however, was that it had reached a settlement with McCollum’s Economic Crimes Bureau to pay $150,000 to the state to resolve “concerns over disclosure issues related to bandwidth use policies,” according to an Aug. 29 news release issued by the McCollum’s office. The settlement was the result of a state investigation of Comcast’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) in which Comcast “allegedly did not inform consumers of a specific bandwidth limit” for customers to be notified of “excessive use, which could lead to a customer being kicked off the service.

Sounds like the top 1000 customers are kicked off regardless of usage each month if I"m reading this correctly. Doesn't matter whether a customer was affecting the network adversely or not. That wasn't part of the criteria.

When consumers asked Comcast to specify a cap on usage, “Comcast did not provide consumers with a specific bandwidth usage limit, stating that the consumers’ service would be at risk if they remained among the top 1,000 bandwidth users and directing them to the AUP and frequently asked questions explaining the AUP’s excessive use policy,” according to the settlement document.

That wasn’t good enough, as the Attorney General said that “a ‘top 1,000’ criteria, as previously applied, did not clearly and conspicuously disclose to the consumer the specific amount of bandwidth deemed to be excessive under Comcast’s subscriber agreements.”

Personally I'm surprised Florida was the only state to actually take this to court. Sounds like fraud but that's just my opinion.