Linked by Howard Fosdick on Fri 27th Jul 2012 02:57 UTC
Internet & Networking A free, new report from the New America Foundation compares cost, speed, and availabilty of internet connectivity in 22 cities around the world. The report concludes that U.S. consumers face comparatively high, rising connectivity costs, even while the majority have very limited choices -- often only one or two providers. The report argues that U.S. broadband policies need to change, otherwise consumer choice will continue to deteriorate.
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Two words describe the "why"
by deathshadow on Sun 29th Jul 2012 07:13 UTC
Member since:

Population Density -- look at the place that has dirt cheap gigabit: Hong Kong. Population Density? ~42,500 per square mile...

Coos County NH where 33.6 dialup is a good day? 19 per square mile.

I get a laugh out of the people who seem to think broadband can magically appear everywhere or that people everywhere are just "entitled" to what is for all intents and purposes a LUXURY. If you don't think it is a luxury, they you need to take a SERIOUS look at your priorities.

From a business standpoint, the cost of running broadband into a lot of areas -- like northern NH, western ME, most of the states in the northern Rockies couldn't be recouped for decades... and no business in the middle of a recession is going to be looking for something that puts them in the red for that long. You run fiber into a city you can divide it up with short runs -- you're not going to blow a quarter of a million dollars to run 100 miles of copper just to pick up 100 customers... much less the million it would cost for optical.

In a lot of ways the rhetoric being thrown about, and talk about changing policies reeks of the same type of stupidity as congress shoving HDTV and digital broadcast down our throats -- when people can barely afford what they already have, and the government is centuries in debt, forcing people to buy new stuff they actually don't need when what they have works, or WORSE subsidizing it with federal money that doesn't even exist is just asking to further contribute to the tanking economy...

But what can one expect in a credit based society -- pay more later for something you can't afford now. Kissinger was right, we've gone from a nation of savers to a nation of debters... There's this noodle-doodle idea right now that getting people to spend money they don't even have on things they don't need will actually help the economy - when what needs to be done is outlaw credit, loans, and to be frank, toss insurance on that heap as well.

This **** costs money, and right now, we should be worrying about the stuff that really matters -- like the 15.8 trillion dollar debt... in other words, over 50K per citizen.

Edited 2012-07-29 07:15 UTC

Reply Score: 1

tanzam75 Member since:

The article doesn't complain that Coos County, NH lacks broadband. It's comparing American cities to other cities around the world.

Now, it is true that the article conflates two very different factors. First, why is DSL so slow in the US? The table shows that most European cities are served not by fiber, but by VDSL2 at around 18 Mbps. In contrast, many American cities are being served by ADSL2, topping out at 6 Mbps. These appear to be automobile-dominated cities, where VDSL2 runs into distance problems. This is not a problem with market structure, but with American city planning.

Second -- and this is the one that really applies here -- why are the prices so high? This comes from lack of open access on coax. The USA has a more extensive coax network than other countries. 60% of US households subscribe to cable television over coax, compared to 30% in Europe. (Satellite dominates in Europe, whereas it is the challenger in the US.)

ADSL is not speed-competitive with coax. Yet the telephone network is subject to open access, while coax is not. Obviously, this is not going to produce any real competition! In a duopoly situation without easy entry, prices will be high.

Finally, a word on affordability. The FCC is currently giving subsidies of about $800 per home for broadband in undeserved areas -- i.e., the most expensive areas. Surely, a subsidy of $800 per home would suffice to improve DSL speeds in urban and suburban areas as well. Well, there are only 114 million households in the US. Do the math. Compare to the annual military budget of the United States.

You have a picture of General George Patton as your avatar. That must be why you cry poverty while spending more on the military than the rest of the world combined ...

Edited 2012-07-29 15:46 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: "Public Relations"
by zima on Fri 3rd Aug 2012 23:59 in reply to "Two words describe the "why""
zima Member since:

look at the place that has dirt cheap gigabit: Hong Kong. Population Density? ~42,500 per square mile...
Coos County NH where 33.6 dialup is a good day? 19 per square mile.

Seriously, you almost couldn't choose your flawed example more selectively - HK, nearly the most densely populated place on the planet.

But let's try some other - how about Finland, with two times lower overall population density than the US (that includes Alaska, or generally areas where... nobody lives, so internet access is moot). Similar Sweden or Norway (this one getting close to 1/3 of the US population density). All with much better speeds and prices.

What you wrote is just the PR of ISPs, a cheap excuse you swallow without thinking, just like an obedient consumer your telecoms want you to be. Go on, continue buying into excuses, to keep believing in "America teh greatest" while it keeps moving further from the truth... (BTW, contrast the popular myths of "American Dream" and "land of opportunities" with how the US is at the bottom of developed countries in actual measure of this stuff, social mobility; meanwhile, the popularly disparaged "nanny states" are at the top)

Oh, sure, most of people in Nordic places concentrate in population centres ...but that's exactly the case as in the US (one of most urbanized countries), not many people live in the woods / they aren't visible in stats comparing speed and price of broadband.

Edited 2012-08-04 00:18 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2