Monday, April 28, 2008

Interesting Facts About Broadband Performance

I'm indebted to The Stalwart for making me aware of the tech policy blog Technology Liberation Front which has now rocketed to the top of my list of favorite tech blogs.

Linked up at The Stalwart was a piece that discussed the evolution of broadband services, and how the actual delivery of service differs from popular opinions about it.

Technology Liberation Front: More Broadband Progress

One of the things that makes it hard to judge is that broadband speeds and prices don’t tend to grow continuously and evenly around the country. Rather, carriers take turns leap-frogging one another, with each upgrade accompanied by a temporary price increase. So it can be tricky to judge the average rate of improvement by looking at just one market, because one market may seem to stagnate for several years at a time. But if one looks at the country as a whole, and focuses on time horizons closer to a decade, I think it’s undeniable that things are improving at a fairly rapid pace.

The facts that Technology Liberation Front present interested me because I've been keenly observing the improvement in broadband speeds primarily because of the advent of HD downloads, a subject that's very important to me. I don't think I'm being overeager when I say that quick and convenient HD downloads on demand are going to be here before a lot of people think.

On a related note, Going Private has an extraordinarily long diatribe (even by her standards) that is both archly caustic and achingly beautiful on several separate levels. There's almost a graduate-level seminar's worth of business acumen in that single post, but what I'm focusing on in particular is her comments about the bogus nature of telecom's service fees for broadband service.

Going Private: The Five ForcesCircles of Hell

Coming full circle, we arrive at the business model for every telecom company on the planet. The amazing part to me is that, almost De Beers like, wireless providers have managed to somehow maintain the fiction that they maintain massive proprietary networks, and price data transmission accordingly.

There's more to her post than that, but she's almost impossible to excerpt into small bites.

Consumers are well aware that they're being jacked by telco's on data rate prices. Note the recent post on Marketnews Gadget Talk about Bell's data shaping plans. Anytime this subject comes up it triggers a flurry of comments from angry readers. As it happens, I was IM'ing on Friday with Christine from Marketnews about the adoption rate of fibre to the home in the US. I glibly commented "If Bell or Telus or Rogers were offering fibre here in Canada, can you imagine how hard they would gouge us on it?"

I'm not 100% sure where I'm going with this post, but mostly I'm just talking out loud, putting the pieces of the puzzle together for myself. Thanks for listening.

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