[funsec] Not so fast, broadband providers tell big users (fwd)

Joe Abley jabley at ca.afilias.info
Tue Mar 13 16:11:01 UTC 2007

On 13-Mar-2007, at 11:27, Roland Dobbins wrote:

> On Mar 13, 2007, at 8:17 AM, Chris L. Morrow wrote:
>> what business drivers are there to put more bits on the wire to
>> the end user?
> BitTorrent.

So long as most torrent clients are used to share content illicitly,  
that doesn't sound like much of a business driver for the DSL/CATV  
ISP. And so long as the average user doesn't have an alternative  
provider which gives better torrent sharing capabilities, there  
doesn't seem to be much of a risk of churn because of being torrent- 

Building high-capacity access to the home is sooner or later going to  
involve fibre, which is going to necessitate truck roll and digging.  
There's a high cost associated with that, which means there's a  
significant competitive disadvantage to anybody doing it in order to  
compete with DSL/CATV folks whose last mile costs are sunk and were  
paid for long ago. Residential customers are notoriously price- 
sensitive and low-yield.

Pressure seems like it could come from either or both of two  
directions: there could be some new market shift which entices  
customers to pay substantially more for increased performance, and to  
do so in great numbers, to make it cost-effective for a green-fields  
entrant to deploy a new network, or the cost of digging up the  
streets could become much lower.

Given that there's only so much TV one household can realistically  
download and watch per day, and since that amount of TV demonstrably  
fits within DSL- and cable-sized pipes already, I don't see the  
average neighbourhood throwing money around in order to get fibre to  
the home. On the contrary, here at least I see people switching  
providers in order to take advantage of bundles of phone/TV/cell  
which will save them $10 per month.

Perhaps city planners have a role to play here. In cities where the  
streets are routinely dug up every spring as soon as the last snow  
disappears, for example, municipalities could choose to invest in  
equal-access conduit to reduce the cost for anybody who wants to blow  
fibre down them in the future. Such approaches are somewhat common in  
the business core, but perhaps not so much in residential areas.


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