31 Mar 2011

1Gbps delivered by Google, not AT&T. Of course.

Casual Interest, News No Comments

Google picked Kansas City for the Google Fiber Project and said it would roll out the 1Gbps internet access there first.  Kansas City, KS was picked out of about 1,100 candidates.  The connections should go live in 2012 as long as the Board of Commissioners signs onboard.

Google also said they haven’t ruled out other cities getting Fiber either, thankfully.

attmorans_smThe project is designed to be a real world test of the future of high speed Internet connections. 1Gbps is many times faster than even some of the best broadband in the United States. These types of speeds are normal in Asian Pacific countries, like South Korea.

In North Carolina, companies like AT&T, CenturyLink, and Time Warner Cable are lobbying the state legislature to try and get a law passed to block municipalities from doing this for their citizens.  It hasn’t got past the NC Senate yet, but just passed the NC Congress.

imageI’m a believer in free markets as much as the next guy, but if anyone thinks I’m talking about a free market they’re fooling themselves. We have x-opolies in control. Just look at AT&T’s acquisition of MetroPCS.  Sprint doesn’t like it, of course. Verizon doesn’t really care because they’ve got something else up their sleeve.  Mobile service in the United States, if the acquisition goes through, will really be down to just a handful of companies.

AT&T was broken up in 1974 and we in the U.S.A. saw some great years of innovation and telecommunication expansion. We’re headed right back to where we were, but this time the CEOs are smart enough to know when to stop.  They’re point at each other and cry “see! there’s competition!” while they simultaneously pay big lobbying firms to ensure laws are passed to prevent anyone else from entering their market.

imageIt is not a coincidence that most of us only have two broadband choices in our homes. Cable and DSL. By keeping the prices relatively the same and offering relatively the same bandwidth, locations that could easily have must faster speeds don’t because the poor infrastructure put in years ago is being milked for everything it is worth.

If Google pulls this off, people will witness firsthand what AT&T, Time Warner, and the rest doesn’t want you to know. That all this talk about throttling bandwidth, introducing tiers, and charging higher rates so they can more effectively ration bandwidth is a whole convoy of bull.

Don’t you believe any of it for one second.  They’re making enough money to buy MetroPCS but they can’t afford to buy faster routers to handle more bandwidth? Yes, it costs money to take advantage of all that dark fiber laying around. Maybe instead of selling it AT&T could use it for their Internet service?  Instead of expanding infrastructure, they want to charge us all more to use what’s there.

Just remember that AT&T sells unused fiber optics the next time you see them on capitol hill bitching about how much Netflix bandwidth they’re having to carry over their backbone.  Remember that when your representative government says AT&T have the right to throttle your Internet connection because they want you going to AT&T Uverse portal instead of Netflix, on what premise such decisions were made. 

Remember this when your ISP charges you a higher premium for using a competitor’s online service on your broadband connection instead of the optional (yet inferior) one they offer for a small subscription fee.

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