Broadband

Doing the job that telecom incumbents won't do

Via Fred Pilot at Eldo Telecom, Geoff Daily makes the argument that "all broadband is fiber." Geoff has it exactly right. Just yesterday, I met with a community leader who asked, appropriately, "What if we spend all this money on fiber and wireless turns out to be cheaper and better?"

Technology News:

Death of TV, Part XXVII: ABC, NBC, CBS... and Netflix!

The old TV empires are crumbling fast, and Netflix is speeding their demise. It just outbid all the other networks for a new original, uh, "TV" series called , which will star Kevin Spacey. Since you can watch Netflix on just about any device on the planet, there is even less reason to keep around one of those old timey television doohickeys.

Knowledge Democracy:

iPad users crash cable TV system

Someone asked me just today if we really will need all the bandwidth that fiber offers, with the unspoken inference that DSL and cable modem service seems to be working just fine.

Uh-huh.

Knowledge Democracy:

Lessons in disaster recovery, tsunamis, and meltdowns

We will probably not know the full story of the nuclear reactor problems in Japan for many months, but one news story I read over the weekend suggests that the the Japanese are re-learning the lessons of the Katrina disaster. Apparently the Japanese reactors survived the initial earthquake and tsunami without much damage--but whatever was damaged caused the primary cooling pumps to fail. No big deal, as nuclear power plants have extensive back up and redundant secondary cooling systems designed to take over if the primary cooling system fails.

Technology News:

Wired towns shove cities out of the way

Here is a study that indicates that smaller communities with the right broadband infrastructure are "...emerging as major economic centers." What about your community? Does it have the infrastructure to attract new businesses?

Broadband Information:

National Broadband Map now available

The first iteration of the National Broadband Map is now available. This effort has been part of the broadband stimulus effort, and it will be updated regularly over the next three to four years as individual states provide more data to NTIA. The map zooms nicely, so you can get a pretty good local picture of what technology is available, and you can select which technologies you want to look at (e.g. fiber to the home, cable modem, wireless, etc.). With the exception of mobile wireless (i.e.

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Broadband Information:

"This is like electricity was....This is a critical utility"

That quote is from Brian Depew with the Center for Rural Affairs, in Nebraska. The New York Times has an article today about how rural areas of the U.S. are being left behind with respect to broadband. Depew goes on to say:

Chattanooga Fiber and a city that gets it

The City of Chattanooga, Tennessee was recently selected by the Intelligent Community Forum as one of the Top 7 Intelligent Communities worldwide for 2011. This article by Robert Bell of ICF provides some of the back story and the amazing success of Chattanooga over the past couple of decades.

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Broadband Information:

Bandwidth boost for southwestern Virginia

The Roanoke Times ran an article yesterday (Sunday) in the business section on two stimulus projects building fiber in the Blacksburg-Roanoke region. The two middle mile projects are not linked to any comprehensive last mile efforts, which is also the challenge for many stimulus-funded middle mile projects in other areas.

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Community news and projects:

An honest speed test

Virginia Tech has an excellent speed test. Try it and see how your connection rates.

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Broadband Information:

Isle of Jersey to get Gigabit to the home

The tiny Isle of Jersey will be getting Gigabit fiber to the home as part of an initiative by the incumbent Jersey Telecom to replace all copper-based services with fiber over the next five years. Maybe some U.S. incumbents should make a trip to Jersey (in the English Channel just off the coast of France) to learn how to construct a business case that allows dumping 100 year old copper technology for something a little newer.

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Demystifying what appears to be a conundrum

Bob Frankston, who is smart enough to know why X.400 never worked the way the policy wonks thought it would, has an excellent and very readable short paper called Demystifying Networking that is one of the best overviews I have read on broadband, where we came from, and where we want to go. Take a few minutes and read it in its entirety.

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Knowledge Democracy:

More on Burlington Telecom (BT)

The always excellent Muni Networks has an article that sheds additional light on Burlington Telecom. The article includes a response from Tim Nulty, who helped start the BT venture.

Burlington Telecom the new "proof" that community broadband does not work

More information about the financial problems of the city-owned Burlington Telecom (Burlington, Vermont) venture are emerging. Opponents of community broadband will be eager to hold this up as the latest "proof" that community-owned telecom does not work.

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Community news and projects:

Google Fiber announcement on hold

A short note on the Google blog indicates that the community to be selected for the Google fiber opportunity won't be announced until "early 2011."

Technology News:

Skype busy destroying the phone company, melting down cable networks

Skype has announced a new record of 25 million concurrent users, meaning 25 million voice and video calls simultaneously. It also means that all those Skype users are NOT using their cellphones or land lines to make voice calls. Skype video works extremely well if you have a good Web camera (good means you ought to spend at least $50-$75) and a decent Internet connection; if you have tried Skype video and found it fuzzy or blurry, it's probably your camera.

The beginning of the end for cable TV

Comcast and Level 3 are having a public fight. Level 3 is a long haul network provider; the company owns thousands of miles of inter-city fiber and hauls all kinds of data traffic, including Internet traffic, for a wide variety of customers. But Comcast is groaning under the weight of Netflix and other video traffic, and the cable company wants Level 3 to pay more to drop traffic onto the Comcast network for delivery.

Knowledge Democracy:

Investors are willing to bet on fiber

Allied Fiber indicates it has raised the funds needed to build the first leg of a nationwide dark fiber and colocation network that will eventually be almost 12,000 miles in length. Allied called the current financing market "challenging," but was able to raise the money it needed to get started.

Technology News:

Netflix uses 20% of U.S. bandwidth

Netflix had an outage of several hours that prevented their customers from accessing any streaming content. This article discusses whether Netflix is spending enough on infrastructure, but what has also emerged is that Netflix customers using the company's streaming services are now consuming 20% of all the bandwidth in the U.S. during peak evening hours. As I and many others have been predicting for years, video in all its forms is now driving use of the Internet.

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Knowledge Democracy:

Fiber 2.0: The coming Balkanization of American telecom

A few months ago, a competitive telecom provider ran fiber down the main road near my home. Yesterday I figured out why; a crew was running a fiber drop to the bank branch on the corner. All over America, it is the dawn of Fiber 2.0. Fiber 1.0 took place in the late nineties, when an enormous amount of capital was spent on fiber too far in advance of the marketplace for demand. Along with the rest of the dot-com ventures, Fiber 1.0 was a bust.

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