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 Post subject: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:54 am 
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I have enjoyed stable and adequately fast (5Mb down) ADSL from AT&T for many years. It has been reasonably affordable paired with (and subsidized slightly by) my POTS home phone service. My household is dropping the land line before year-end, so I am starting to investigate my options for phone-less internet service to my house.

In my area, I am limited to Time Warner Cable and AT&T's U-Verse (VDSL) and ADSL. Picking between these two ISPs reminds me of a South Park episode. And from what info I can find for other markets, their choices are equally poor. I will probably stay with DSL, for reasons of cost and equipment flexibility.

But I am trying to understand why, over a decade after the 1996 telecom act "deregulated" the telcos in the name of competition, I have fewer and more expensive options for internet service. These services are more restrictive than ever, are probably spying on me, and are probably throttling content that competes with their other paid services (TV).

Tech Dirt has been a good source of information on (the lack of) telco competition in the US. This for example, is just hilarious: AT&T Argues That More Competition Is Bad For You & Leads To Higher Prices.

I'm still/always learning more about this topic, but I'm interested in what others have done/hacked/accepted for home internet access.

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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:26 pm 
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I assume that you live in the "Styx" to have such a bad selection of choices with lame speeds.

It is no different the other side of the pond for anyone outside a reasonably sized village, I am fortunate enough to have 30Mb cable broadband, and I could upgrade tomorrow to 100Mb (just to upset you further :wink:).


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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:49 pm 
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Since I don't live in the US, I can't give you practical tips other than the universal one: the cheapest access is your neighbors' access.

But most countries have had to deal with telco pseudo-deregulation on the yankee model (more or less amended). So we foreigners know a thing or two about it as well.
The article you link to is typical of the widespread misinformation you're liable to stumble on. What it seems to call economics is actually political talking points. Genuine economics has no trouble explaining how competition can increase prices. It's not all that mysterious: competition as such is inefficient, especially where infrastructure is concerned.
Competition obviously tends to bring about a more efficient economic system in the long run. But the immediate effect of introducing more competitors in a given market is indeed to increase costs. Prices may nevertheless drop because competition tends to lower profits.

One should also not confuse competition and deregulation, especially where natural monopolies are concerned.
Your high-speed internet access is a natural monoply (or rather a natural duopoly: DSL and cable). If the two cables which come into your house are part of a privately-owned network, complete deregulation will not bring about genuine competition because the cost of laying out a third network would be very high. It would instead allow the two owners to make a killing on your back (though it'd be even worse if you had only one such cable). You need some regulation to prevent that, to force network owners to improve service and to keep prices reasonable. And if you're going to have this sort of regulated artificial competiton, you might as well have a more efficient regulated monopoly or even a publically-owned infrastructure which allows any private service provider to do business with any customer.
The wireless issue is of course different. Competition works better. But it's still somewhat inefficient in the short run because the antennas, the underlying wired network as well as the overhead all have a cost. Wireless services can also interfere with each other, though this is probably trumped up by the AT&T spokesperson whose job is of course not to tell the truth.


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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:29 pm 
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andyb wrote:
I assume that you live in the "Styx" to have such a bad selection of choices with lame speeds

I live in a metro area with over 1.7million people. I can buy 24/2 from AT&T, and 50/5 through TWC. I choose 5Mb because it satisfies home needs and I was sort of grandfathered in at a very reduced price. That goes away if/when I drop my land line.

HFat wrote:
One should also not confuse competition and deregulation, especially where natural monopolies are concerned.
Your high-speed internet access is a natural monoply (or rather a natural duopoly: DSL and cable). If the two cables which come into your house are part of a privately-owned network, complete deregulation will not bring about genuine competition because the cost of laying out a third network would be very high. It would instead allow the two owners to make a killing on your back (though it'd be even worse if you had only one such cable). You need some regulation to prevent that, to force network owners to improve service and to keep prices reasonable. And if you're going to have this sort of regulated artificial competiton, you might as well have a more efficient regulated monopoly ...

Bingo. I had initially written a lot more for my OP, but decided to keep it shorter to see where the discussion would go. This is my opinion as well: regulate them as natural du/monopolies.

HFat wrote:
...or even a publically-owned infrastructure which allows any private service provider to do business with any customer.

But which parts would be publicly owned? Presumably the "backbone". From what I've been reading re: tier 1's, transit and IXP's, there is no "backbone". It's a collection of semi-private gigantic networks who peer with each other to pass data destined for addresses on the others' networks. To move to a public-owned model would basically mean the government would build-out their own exchanges or take over existing private ones. In addition to all intermediate infrastructure and tier 2 networks. I don't see that happening.

Currently, I think that the larger tier 1 & 2 networks are supposed to sell bandwidth to ISPs wholesale, to encourage ISP start-ups to participate. But like you say, no new ISP has the $$ to lay cable, nor much incentive when incumbent ISPs have already saturated a market. So the new-ISP hope is wireless. My hope is that 4G/LTE wireless will push down wired prices.

HFat wrote:
the cheapest access is your neighbors' access.

Yes, I've built some directional wok-fi .11g antennas to extend wLAN between buildings with good success. My neighborhood is a good candidate for sharing, given tight houses/lots. It's certainly a violation of every ISP's terms and conditions. But we are good friends with our neighbors and have already been discussing this.

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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 2:04 pm 
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Jay_S wrote:
But which parts would be publicly owned? Presumably the "backbone".

No, I was talking about the single-owner network that's between the "backbone" and your home. That's where competition is most lacking.

The "backbone" works pretty well as it is and is partially publically-owned in many places. Local and national governments can lay "backbone" pipes to under-served areas if necessary without overhauling the whole system.

Jay_S wrote:
So the new-ISP hope is wireless. My hope is that 4G/LTE wireless will push down wired prices.

We have a decent (or so I'm told anyway) wireless ISP here. They describe it as Wifi rather than 4G but it's long-distance. You need an antenna and a line of sight to their "tower".


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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:16 pm 
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Deregulation of privately owned utilities is a nightmare. And so also is non-regulation of newly emerged utilities that have become essential, i.e. TV service providers and Internet service providers.

In any given market there's only one provider of a cable or DSL system. Obviously, you can't have competition with respect to these, for it would mean duplication of the infrastructure. So these providers are monopolies, and unregulated ones at that. And, no, they aren't in competition with satellite or each other, because each delivery method is applicable to different sets of circumstances. Regulation of pricing, availability, and technological upgrading is badly needed, but doesn't happen in the present libertarian climate.


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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:00 pm 
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Reachable wrote:
In any given market there's only one provider of a cable or DSL system. Obviously, you can't have competition with respect to these, for it would mean duplication of the infrastructure. So these providers are monopolies, and unregulated ones at that. And, no, they aren't in competition with satellite or each other, because each delivery method is applicable to different sets of circumstances.

Even if there's only 1 provider of cable and DSL, they are both service suppliers in the same way. AT&T and TWC both supply TV, phone and internet services. So even though the delivery medium is different, the services you're paying for are the same. Similar to cell/mobile service - what ISPs offer is equivalent to the point that they should be evaluated like other commodities.

I agree with your point re: the inefficiency of infrastructure duplication. HFat touched on this point above.

I need to think more about publicly owned ISP infrastructure, what it would mean, and why attempts have failed to date (muni wifi?).

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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:20 pm 
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Jay_S wrote:
I agree with your point re: the inefficiency of infrastructure duplication. HFat touched on this point above.

I need to think more about publicly owned ISP infrastructure, what it would mean, and why attempts have failed to date (muni wifi?).

If infrastructure duplication is not be allowed, or made cost-prohibitive, there would be no technological innovation because it would be too expensive to compete with government subsidized/regulated infrastructure. We would never have gotten fiber to your home as Verizon (FiOS) and AT&T (U-verse) now offer in many locations that supply internet, TV, and phone (although AT&T only is fiber to "near" your home and then copper after that). Who knows what technology will be available in 15 years from now?

Such regulation of infrastructure (with free-market competition of content) exists now in the natural gas markets. I can change natural gas suppliers with a quick phone call, and they all use the exact same government regulated infrastructure of pipes and meters to my home. The gas suppliers are nothing more than a small group of people in a room who buy gas at wholesale and sell it at retail using the government pipeline infrastructure. This works great at reducing prices and natural gas prices are near an all-time low price adjusted for inflation. But technological innovation is probably not needed (and not likely) for gas transmission, as compared to internet access technologies.


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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:16 am 
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Just to give people an idea of what another country does : you can get triple play in France for around 30 euros a month (includes 20M internet, 100+ TV channels, free unlimited telephone including a whole lot of international destinations, and of course the modem/router).
You can also get quadruple play starting at around 50 euros (triple play plus unlimited texting and mobile internet, and 3 hours of voice)
note : in France, mobile voice minutes are counted only when you originate the call (if you're on the receiving end, minutes are unlimited)
That's for a DSL connection.
You can get fiber for a bit more money, around 50-75 euros for triple play (usually 100M internet, and some providers will throw in a free 250Go DVR, a blue ray player, a game controler, a fancy remote...)

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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:43 am 
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frenchie wrote:
Just to give people an idea of what another country does : you can get triple play in France for around 30 euros a month (includes 20M internet, 100+ TV channels, free unlimited telephone including a whole lot of international destinations, and of course the modem/router).
You can also get quadruple play starting at around 50 euros (triple play plus unlimited texting and mobile internet, and 3 hours of voice)
note : in France, mobile voice minutes are counted only when you originate the call (if you're on the receiving end, minutes are unlimited)
That's for a DSL connection.
You can get fiber for a bit more money, around 50-75 euros for triple play (usually 100M internet, and some providers will throw in a free 250Go DVR, a blue ray player, a game controler, a fancy remote...)

Dramatic difference. Is that because the pricing is regulated?


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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:51 am 
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Nope, prices are not regulated.

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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:26 am 
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m0002a wrote:
If infrastructure duplication is not be allowed, or made cost-prohibitive, there would be no technological innovation because it would be too expensive to compete with government subsidized/regulated infrastructure. We would never have gotten fiber to your home as Verizon (FiOS) and AT&T (U-verse) now offer in many locations that supply internet, TV, and phone (although AT&T only is fiber to "near" your home and then copper after that).

Except the FTTH / FTTD buildout seems to have been subsidized by the USF slush fund.

DSLReports suggests that Verizon's FiOS deployment has stalled in part while they wait for more USF money:
Will Verizon's FiOS Deployment Freeze Ever Thaw?
Many Cities Still Waiting On Next FiOS Deployment Phase

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Will ... haw-112904

And further that V and ATT are lobbying hard for more:
FCC Announces Changes to USF Phone Company Subsidies
Meaningful Reform or AT&T/Verizon-Friendly Broadband Tax?

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/FCC- ... ies-116455

m0002a wrote:
Who knows what technology will be available in 15 years from now?

My complaint is less about what technology is (or will be) available per se, than what technology is available to me as a consumer. The European members' posts in this thread demonstrates that even currently available (globally) tech is incredibly fast and affordable. But not available to me (locally).

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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:44 am 
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Reachable wrote:
Dramatic difference. Is that because the pricing is regulated?

Frenchie's answer, while it may be technically correct, gives the wrong impression.

The rent that the owner of the network connecting the cutomer's home to the intertubes gets is actually regulated. It's something like 9 euros. Everyone has to pay that charge.
The owner can then offer services over his own tubes and charge whatever they want (as far as I know).
But here's the rub: anyone else can also offer Internet access and other services over the owner's tube and all the owner gets is the basic charge (I'm simplifying a bit). And when I say "anyone" I'm not kidding: you don't have to lay cables and there are even non-profits offering Internet access in France.

Maybe some of what I just stated is wrong. All of this is second-hand information. Please correct me if you know better.


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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:51 am 
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Jay_S wrote:
Except the FTTH / FTTD buildout seems to have been subsidized by the USF slush fund.

DSLReports suggests that Verizon's FiOS deployment has stalled in part while they wait for more USF money:
Will Verizon's FiOS Deployment Freeze Ever Thaw?
Many Cities Still Waiting On Next FiOS Deployment Phase

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Will ... haw-112904

And further that V and ATT are lobbying hard for more:
FCC Announces Changes to USF Phone Company Subsidies
Meaningful Reform or AT&T/Verizon-Friendly Broadband Tax?

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/FCC- ... ies-116455

One of the big problems with the competitive model is that a company needs to speed billions of dollars for build out, and there is no guarantee that there will be any additional revenue to them, either from existing customers, or from people switching from other providers.

Also, I wonder if cheap and high speed internet is available in remote locations in France, or just in the cities. There is a reason why USF exists, because hooking up rural areas is not cost effective and needs to be subsidized.

Jay_S wrote:
My complaint is less about what technology is (or will be) available per se, than what technology is available to me as a consumer. The European members' posts in this thread demonstrates that even currently available (globally) tech is incredibly fast and affordable. But not available to me (locally).

I think that is a valid complaint, and I was not necessarily endorsing the competitive model. It is a complex subject with arguments on both sides. Like prescription drugs, innovation is pretty much 100% subsidized by US consumers, since everyone else in the world has regulated drug (and often internet) prices. The US does get the advantage of hosting the overwhelming majority of biotech companies to do drug research, and there is an advantage to that, but US consumers pay a huge burden while subsidizing the rest of the world.


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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:55 am 
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Jay_S wrote:
I need to think more about publicly owned ISP infrastructure, what it would mean, and why attempts have failed to date (muni wifi?).

Attempts may have failed in your locale but they have worked elsewhere.
Generally, the reason why private ownership is the rule and that most successful attempts have been abandonned is that politicians like to sell off publically-owned stuff, to please their cronies or because they're ideologically comitted to private property of anything but the roads and the military.
In some of the craziest jurisdictions, corporations can take the public to court to defend their monopolies against encroachment so politicians don't need to get involved.

From an efficiency point of view, it makes more sense for a single orgainzation to run everything so if the biggest telco is privately owned, local and national governments might as well sell everything to that corporation and regulate it.
But when the national government fails at regulating the big telcos, local governments sometimes figure they should get involved...


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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:02 am 
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m0002a wrote:
If infrastructure duplication is not be allowed, or made cost-prohibitive, there would be no technological innovation because it would be too expensive to compete with government subsidized/regulated infrastructure. We would never have gotten fiber to your home as Verizon (FiOS) and AT&T (U-verse) now offer in many locations that supply internet, TV, and phone (although AT&T only is fiber to "near" your home and then copper after that).

Your denial and your fabrications aren't funny anymore.

No technological innovation is involved in consumer-level Internet access, especially not in backward countries such as the USA.
Korea has been the world leader in domestic broadband for quite some time. What organization do you think brought that about? Hint: it aint' Samsung.


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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:08 am 
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HFat wrote:
From an efficiency point of view, it makes more sense for a single orgainzation to run everything so if the biggest telco is privately owned, local and national governments might as well sell everything to that corporation and regulate it.
But when the national government fails at regulating the big telcos, local governments sometimes figure they should get involved...

I don't know if some people are too young, or just not familiar with the US telco industry history. There was time when there was only AT&T for all local and long distance phone service in the US (except in a few locations). Prices were regulated and prices were very high, especially for LD. The government realized that a single infrastructure was needed for wiring every home for local phone service, but that they could deregulate long distance service, and long distance prices have plunged and are almost free these days, especially since LD is no extra charge on mobile phones.

Since the advent of cable TV via coax almost everywhere in the US, there is now usually two different infrastructures of wire to everyone's home (phone company and cable company), both of which can now offer phone and internet, and often TV. Now there is also satellite TV also, so most people in the US have a choice of 3 different TV signal providers (in addition to off-the-air reception).


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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:12 am 
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HFat wrote:
Your denial and your fabrications aren't funny anymore.

No technological innovation is involved in consumer-level Internet access, especially not in backward countries such as the USA.
Korea has been the world leader in domestic broadband for quite some time. What organization do you think brought that about? Hint: it aint' Samsung.

You are confusing deployment with the creation of the technology.

Calling the US a backward country shows your bias and ignorance.


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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:01 am 
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Ladies and gents, please keep it civilized. This sub-forum is full of threads that devolve to personal attacks.

Including TV in this discussion is counter-productive. TV/cable is the industry darling because the content and commercials (ie, revenue) is so controlled and predictable. That we have 4 choices for TV content is no surprise.

Big cable knows that internet delivery is the future, and is doing everything it can to delay this inevitability.

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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:22 am 
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m0002a wrote:
HFat wrote:
No technological innovation is involved in consumer-level Internet access, especially not in backward countries such as the USA.
Korea has been the world leader in domestic broadband for quite some time. What organization do you think brought that about? Hint: it aint' Samsung.

You are confusing deployment with the creation of the technology.

I don't see the confusion at all. No part of this thread is concerned with "the creation of the technology". It is all about (lack of) deployment in the US.

m0002a wrote:
There is a reason why USF exists, because hooking up rural areas is not cost effective and needs to be subsidized.

Techdirt again: Shocker: More Than Half The Money Paid Into High Cost Universal Service Fund Not Going To Provide Universal Service. Seems to me that USF was relevant 60 years ago to bring dial tones to rural areas. It's now another form of corporate welfare. Why can't these telcos sell bonds or find less government-y methods to finance expansion?

An interesting aspect of US phone service is that 911 availability is mandatory. I think you can open any residential NID, tap into the copper pair and get a dial tone. Every copper line satisfies this. Providers with new tech have to satisfy this requirement too; AT&T's uverse VOIP gateway apparently includes a battery backup to assure (to a point) 911 connectivity.

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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:10 am 
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HFat wrote:
Attempts may have failed in your locale but they have worked elsewhere.
Generally, the reason why private ownership is the rule and that most successful attempts have been abandonned is that politicians like to sell off publically-owned stuff, to please their cronies or because they're ideologically comitted to private property of anything but the roads and the military.
In some of the craziest jurisdictions, corporations can take the public to court to defend their monopolies against encroachment so politicians don't need to get involved.

I take a slightly more cynical view. It's not that politicians like to sell publicly-owned stuff, like to please their cronies, or operate in accordance with some private-ownership ideology. They may act or posture in ways that appear this way. Despite this, they will do whatever is necessary to please their campaign contributors. They are always interested in reelection first (which in America means pleasing your donors); fighting for the people they represent is secondary.

Personally, I believe in private ownership whenever possible. And that government should get involved when the private sector either can't or fails to do what's needed. This begs the question: is broadband needed? Yes - does anyone argue otherwise anymore? The next question: at what speed? It took the FCC until 2008 raise their definition of "broadband" from 200kbps to 768kbps down! Such low limits are presumably to include cellular services in studies of broadband availability & competition. "Look: competition! Residents have 4 ISP's to choose from", where these consist of edge / 2G data cellular services.

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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:20 am 
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Jay_S wrote:
I don't see the confusion at all. No part of this thread is concerned with "the creation of the technology". It is all about (lack of) deployment in the US.

I was explaining one of the justifications for allowing multiple infrastructures and not regulating prices. The more rapid creation of new technology is one the reasons cited against regulation, as is also the case for the pharmaceutical business. But what happens is that the US consumers pay the high prices, and everyone else in the world has lower regulated prices. I am not condoning this, but one of the arguments in favor of it is that at least most of the technological research, like most of the biotech research, is done in the US as a result of that. Not all of it, but a very disproportional amount of it is done in the US. But on balance, I do think US consumers are being ripped off.

Jay_S wrote:
Techdirt again: Shocker: More Than Half The Money Paid Into High Cost Universal Service Fund Not Going To Provide Universal Service. Seems to me that USF was relevant 60 years ago to bring dial tones to rural areas. It's now another form of corporate welfare. Why can't these telcos sell bonds or find less government-y methods to finance expansion?

An interesting aspect of US phone service is that 911 availability is mandatory. I think you can open any residential NID, tap into the copper pair and get a dial tone. Every copper line satisfies this. Providers with new tech have to satisfy this requirement too; AT&T's uverse VOIP gateway apparently includes a battery backup to assure (to a point) 911 connectivity.

If the transmission of internet access is regulated, then the whole thing becomes corporate welfare (whether for-profit corporations or non-profit corporations).

It would probably be better to completely deregulate the industry and not force private companies to serve rural areas, and then remove the tax on everyone else to pay into the USF. If local communities want to create their own government controlled infrastructure, then they should be allowed to do that also.


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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:11 am 
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Jay_S wrote:
I take a slightly more cynical view. It's not that politicians ... like to please their cronies ... they will do whatever is necessary to please their campaign contributors. They are always interested in reelection first

I don't think you're talking about smalltime contributors. So what distinction do you make between large "campaign contributors" and "cronies"? As far as I can tell, we actually agree... except on one thing: your "always". Politics is rarely that simple!

HFat wrote:
Personally, I believe in private ownership whenever possible.

I doubt you actually mean what you're saying here. As you know, it's possible to own slaves for instance...
Whatever political doctrines they profess, when confronted with an actual choice most people support ownership on a case by case basis.


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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:00 am 
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HFat wrote:
Jay_S wrote:
I take a slightly more cynical view. It's not that politicians ... like to please their cronies ... they will do whatever is necessary to please their campaign contributors. They are always interested in reelection first

I don't think you're talking about smalltime contributors. So what distinction do you make between large "campaign contributors" and "cronies"? As far as I can tell, we actually agree... except on one thing: your "always". Politics is rarely that simple!

I understand "cronies" as a person's peers or friends within their group. For politicians, this may be their party or ideological group who pat each other on the back for appearing to act in accepted ways. But these are not necessarily their campaign funders. Funding (or the threat of withholding funding, or of funding their opponents) frequently comes from lobbying groups who are trying to persuade a politician of a position they don't currently hold - ie, to join their group & become a crony.

We do largely agree, and the end result is the same. But I believe that politicians are unprincipled (in principle!) in general, and will kowtow to whoever is bankrolling their campaigns.
HFat wrote:
Jay_S wrote:
I Personally, I believe in private ownership whenever possible.

I doubt you actually mean what you're saying here. As you know, it's possible to own slaves for instance...

Wow, Ok. Fair enough - I believe in private ownership whenever possible, and limited to what's ethically ownable (?). The scope is internet infrastructure in the US ... does this need such qualification?

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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:20 am 
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m0002a wrote:
It would probably be better to completely deregulate the industry and not force private companies to serve rural areas, and then remove the tax on everyone else to pay into the USF.

Are private ISPs forced to serve rural areas?

It may differ by location. My experience is limited, but my parents and my in-laws live in rural areas and their options were pathetic (by US standards) until last year. My father is on the limit of ADSL's reach, and has a spotty 1.5mbps service that goes down in a strong breeze. He's tried cellular data with equally poor results. Next week they are switching to Exede satellite, which looks promising on paper. My wife's parents were limited to dial-up until last year when their local MVNO started offering cellular data service. In both cases, it has been a "you'll get it when you get it" situation. They hardly appear forced!

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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:10 pm 
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HFat wrote:
Jay_S wrote:
Personally, I believe in private ownership whenever possible.

I doubt you actually mean what you're saying here. As you know, it's possible to own slaves for instance...
Whatever political doctrines they profess, when confronted with an actual choice most people support ownership on a case by case basis.

Is it preferable to have the government owning slaves versus private individuals owning slaves? I don't think so.

I think that Jay_S meant that when ownership is ethical, then private is better than public when possible, but obviously not in every case.


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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:18 pm 
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Jay_S wrote:
Are private ISPs forced to serve rural areas?

Not to my knowledge. I thought the subsidies were technically for phone service, but it is hard to distinguish the infrastructure between phone/internet anymore, since no one is likely going to lay new lines that only support phones (and cannot support at least DSL).

Many parts of the world are moving to wireless phone/internet access, bypassing wired altogether, so the future of wired internet or even wired phone access in all rural areas is questionable. This is one reason why massive government high tech infrastructure projects for consumers may backfire, because they can become technologically obsolete rather quickly.


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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:37 am 
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Jay_S wrote:
I have enjoyed stable and adequately fast (5Mb down) ADSL from AT&T for many years. It has been reasonably affordable paired with (and subsidized slightly by) my POTS home phone service. My household is dropping the land line before year-end, so I am starting to investigate my options for phone-less internet service to my house.

In my area, I am limited to Time Warner Cable and AT&T's U-Verse (VDSL) and ADSL. Picking between these two ISPs reminds me of a South Park episode. And from what info I can find for other markets, their choices are equally poor. I will probably stay with DSL, for reasons of cost and equipment flexibility.

But I am trying to understand why, over a decade after the 1996 telecom act "deregulated" the telcos in the name of competition, I have fewer and more expensive options for internet service. These services are more restrictive than ever, are probably spying on me, and are probably throttling content that competes with their other paid services (TV).


Just to clarify things, which monthly fee are we talking about?
How much for the phoneless options among which you can choose (24/2 and 50/5)? In which sense are they restrictive? Do they clearly state that they put a bandwitch cap on some ports/services/time-of-the-day?
Some months ago I had a chance to try 24mbps U-Verse in a house around Wisconsin Ave. and 27th, and it seemed everything but throttled and limited to me.

I wonder why you can't keep using your 5Mbps. Correct me if I'm wrong, but dropping a landline means that you'll stop having POTS voice, am I right?
They aren't gonna phisically removing the copper wire... doesn't your ISP offer a 5Mbps phoneless option?

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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:16 am 
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flapane wrote:
Just to clarify things, which monthly fee are we talking about? How much for the phoneless options among which you can choose (24/2 and 50/5)?
Phoneless ADSL options:

768k/384k = $30/mo
1.5M/384k = $38/mo
3.0M/512k = $43/mo
6.0M/768k = $48/mo (I have the POTS subsidized version of this service - I see about 5Mbps in reality)

The POTS line takes $5 off each of these tiers. I currently get the 6M service at a very discounted price because I threatened to leave.

The published U-verse rates do not include a "High Speed Internet equipment fee". They don't say what that fee is, and reports online are $3, $4, or $6 per month (!?), so maybe it depends on what other services you subscribe to.

U-Verse options are:

3M = $38/mo
6M = $43/mo
12M = $48/mo
18M = $53/mo
24M = $63/mo

Time Warner offers the 50/5 service, but I have been unable to get pricing through their website for about a week ("We are unable to complete your request at this time due to a system error. Please try again later".) But I think it is $100/mo.

flapane wrote:
In which sense are they restrictive?
U-verse VDSL requires you to purchase their modem/gateway. This is another $100. There have apparently only been 2 models to choose from: one from 2wire and the current model from Motorola. Both are feature-restricted, the Moto unit more-so. Neither can be set to pass-through to act as just a modem - which I want because I want to keep my existing router. The 2wire can add lan devices to a sort of DMZ, so you can essentially achieve the same effect. The 2wire gateways can be purchased used.

flapane wrote:
Do they clearly state that they put a bandwitch cap on some ports/services/time-of-the-day? Some months ago I had a chance to try 24mbps U-Verse in a house around Wisconsin Ave. and 27th, and it seemed everything but throttled and limited to me.
AT&T says:
Quote:
How much data is included in my AT&T Internet service? Residential AT&T High Speed Internet service includes 150 gigabytes (GB) of data each billing period, and residential AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet service includes 250 Gigabytes (GB) of data each billing period. The data you send and receive each month contributes to your monthly data plan.

They charge fees for going over. This doesn't affect me given my usage, but caps didn't exist when I last shopped. Traffic shaping is harder to pin down. As far as I know, only Comcast has ever admitted to traffic shaping/throttling. Lots of conspiracy theories WRT other ISPs, though.

flapane wrote:
I wonder why you can't keep using your 5Mbps.

That's my current plan.

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 Post subject: Re: America: Y ur internets so uncompetitive?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:07 am 
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Jay_S wrote:
flapane wrote:
Just to clarify things, which monthly fee are we talking about? How much for the phoneless options among which you can choose (24/2 and 50/5)?
Phoneless ADSL options:

768k/384k = $30/mo
1.5M/384k = $38/mo
3.0M/512k = $43/mo
6.0M/768k = $48/mo (I have the POTS subsidized version of this service - I see about 5Mbps in reality)


That's pretty expensive.
In the last weeks I used what looked like a 16M/2M Optimus connection (overhead not included, it will be around 20Mbps total).
I didn't notice particular bandwith caps using different ports and services, but unfortunately I still can't manage to find the monthly fee on Optimus official website.
Image

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