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  1. #1

    The Sorry State of American Broadband

    So I sat last night and spend a couple hours banging out this statement for the FCC's most recent request for public comments regarding the state of Broadband in America. It was pretty off the cuff, I didn't dig for references, other than checking a few links on twitter. Most of the factoids I referenced are widely panned in the tech world. I do encourage everyone to write similar comments to the FCC on this issue.

  2. #2
    Most international examinations of broadband speed and penetration label the USA at number 27. While big companies like Verizon, AT&T, et al., decry these studies as flawed; the numbers are largely correct. The US lags behind in the broadband race. To be sure, there are legitimate arguments to be made about the sheer size of the United States, and the cost of rolling out a robust and future-proof fiber optic network are very high. The sad truth, however, is that much of our communications infrastructure is extremely old copper and coaxial wiring. These materials simply cannot sustain further growth. The FCC must take a hardline stance on broadband penetration.

  3. #3
    Take, for example, recent laws passed in a variety of states wherein the Big Broadband companies colluded to have laws passed against community broadband networks; often in areas that are sorely under-served by those same conglomerates. Chattanooga Tennessee recently completed its fiber optic network, despite lies, smears, and obfuscation in the courts designed to make the rollout too costly for the local government to complete. This anti-competitive behavior has become more and more widespread in the last two to three years. Louisiana, Minnesota, West Virginia, and many more have all seen anti-public broadband laws passed; most of which merely make the cost of entry and regulatory burden too vast for small local governments to overcome, but a few that have outright banned such community endeavors. All to protect local and regional duopolies held by the local (often by national companies) cable companies and telephone companies.

  4. #4
    Furthermore, both existing and planned fiber rollouts by Big Broadband have largely been halted. These companies have further colluded so-as not to need to compete with each other in any given area. They have carefully crafted an illusion of competition. If one looks at the data, one can easily see that in instances of a community broadband or private local network managing to overcome the high cost of entry; consumer prices have decreased, speeds have increased, and customer service has been improved. Contrast this to areas where Comcast, Verizon, AT&T et al reign unopposed: you find high (and increasing) prices, indifferent (or even insulting) customer service, and bare minimum speeds.

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