Yup; the Internet is screwed up.

Jared Mauch jared at puck.nether.net
Fri Jun 10 14:17:32 UTC 2011

On Jun 10, 2011, at 10:01 AM, Kyle Creyts wrote:

> I think the point is the ubiquity of access isn't what it should be.

I think there were several good points made in the article.

1) Data caps and how they impact software updates (or downloads) - hughesnet was mentioned but ..

Looking to the near future, Apple is selling a 4GB download for $30 in the next month or so.  That will have a large impact on networks that day IMHO.  If you have a 3G/4G/LTE/whatnot device it makes it impossible to pull down the image without hitting your 5GB or 10GB cap compared to a fixed access network.

Even assuming you go to the local Panera/McDonalds/Starbucks/Library access, if you get 2MB/s (16Mb/s) you're talking about 20-25 minutes.  Those locales don't usually have that fast of a network though.

2) Last mile is expensive to install and hard to justify for people.  This is because of a long history of universal service and subsidization/regulation.

In Michigan you could get a phone line installed for $42 (not sure, haven't installed POTS in a long time, may have gone up) regardless of the cost to the carrier.  This isn't the case when you want to extend other utilities (eg Gas, electric, water...).  People are willing to pay 10k+ to install these services as part of their construction expense.  Their other utility cost is masked in part due to the past 100+ years of telecom history.  The cost of lighting a 20km strand of fiber at 1Gb/s is somewhere in the $600, including ONT, etc.  Many people here on nanog would happily pay that amount.  Now, the 12-100k per mile to build the fiber is the hard part to eat.

3) Certainly he did a poor job of site selection.  Perhaps he was misled or even lied to.  I've faced similar challenges when working with both hardware vendors and carriers out there.  The sales peoples eyes get big once you start talking about "doing" something, but the engineers at the table generally start asking serious questions.  (I certainly will not move anywhere that doesn't have a HFC or PON/FTTH network.  Sorry AT&T/Centurylink/others but the plusses don't justify the minuses).


It's certainly possible that we will see improved last-mile access.  The USDA/RUS and DOC/NTIA efforts are to be applauded.  If you look at the current AT&T + T-Mobile merger people are talking about it will bring broadband to 97% of the country, and help AT&T (mobility division) with last-mile/local tower regulatory hurdles.  They are not talking about how it will remove the need for data caps that are 1/30th the size of their 150GB cap on their mobile side elements.

I suspect there's a lot that could be improved by each market player here, but as happened with Verizon in the Northeast, I expect the less-dense markets will need to have better local service from regional players vs the "big guys".  Overall this will be good, but the costs will also have to be paid for more with the local subscriber.

- Jared

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