FCCs RFC for the Definition of Broadband

Richard Bennett richard at bennett.com
Wed Aug 26 12:25:31 CDT 2009

The trouble with broadband in rural America is the twisted pair loop lengths
that average around 20,000 feet. To use VDSL, the loop length needs to down
around 3000, so they're stuck with ADSL unless the ILEC wants to install a
lot of repeaters. And VDSL is the enabler of triple play over twisted pair.

And apparently a number of rural cablecos, who have a suitable copper co-ax
plant, haven't seen fit to offer what they call "data service." It's ironic,
since cable TV was actually invented to help the rural user. 

Apparently the purpose of the definition is to ensure that the subsidies
don't do down the rathole of supporting easy upgrades, but as others have
mentioned, one definition for "broadband" isn't very useful unless it's
something like "10 times faster than what I had yesterday." 

I like to say first gen broadband is 10 times faster than a modem or 500
Kb/s; second gen is 5 Mb/s, and third is 50 or faster.

Richard Bennett

-----Original Message-----
From: Eric Brunner-Williams [mailto:brunner at nic-naa.net] 
Sent: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 10:00 AM
To: Luke Marrott
Cc: nanog at nanog.org
Subject: Re: FCCs RFC for the Definition of Broadband

In the applications I wrote earlier this month for BIP (Rural Utilities
Services, USDA) and BTOP (NTIA, non-rural) infrastructure, for Maine's 2nd,
I was keenly aware that broadband hasn't taken off as a pervasive, if not
universal service in rural areas of the US.

I don't think the speed metric is the metric that will make non-adoption in
sparce clustered demographics distinguishable from adoption in denser
demographics. I suspect that issues like symmetry of state signaling,
latency, jitter, ... metrics that resemble what I looked for from MPI runs
when benchmarking parallel systems, will characterize applications that may
be distinguishable from the adoption, market penetration, renewal criteria
from the applications that for reasons I can only conjecture, the standard
"triple play" killer apps, which simply aren't driving broadband (whatever
that is) adoption in rural areas. And no, I don't know what those
better-than-triple-play-killer-apps-in-suburbia are.

My meta-point is that I suspect there are two "broadbands", one where
triple-play sells recurring subscriber drops, and one where it doesn't, and
for the later a better definition would be more useful than a definition
that reads (in fine print) "not available here".


Luke Marrott wrote:
> I read an article on DSL Reports the other day ( 
> http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/FCC-Please-Define-Broadband-104056)
> , in which the FCC has a document requesting feedback on the 
> definition of Broadband.
> What are your thoughts on what the definition of Broadband should be 
> going forward? I would assume this will be the standard definition for 
> a number of years to come.
> Thanks.

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