In direct contradiction to what we’ve been hearing from our telcos and cable guys. and independent ISP in California is offering world class FTTH service at a price that is actually a small multiple of the cost to deliver it.
California ISP Sonic.net this week roll out its new 1Gbps, fiber-to-the-home service… for $69.99 a month.
Sonic.net has been around since 1994, selling DSL service in California, but it has recently expanded into fiber; the company has even secured the contract to manage Google’s own 1Gbps fiber network that will connect 800+ faculty homes at Stanford University.
Sonic.net’s new approach to broadband involves stringing its own fiber lines to homes and offering bargain-basement pricing; indeed, the new 1Gbps offering is the same price as the company’s earlier bonded 40Mbps DSL offering (in which two phones lines each provide 20Mbps of bandwidth to a home). The price even includes home phone service. (Ars Technica)
This is a perfect example of what Internet access in a free and competitive market could be. Make no mistake about it, our federal government sanctioned and is protecting the duopoly we currently have. Federal regulations and subsidies will never deliver what the private market can. Risk capital could make this happen everywhere at great speed if investors can be confident that the government won’t be used to crush competiton. Loosen the noose government has placed around the free market’s neck, and we’ll see this sort of service turn up in many more neighborhoods.
The upper boundary of the rate data can travel over a strand of glass has been revised again.
Scientists at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have succeeded in encoding data at a rate of 26 terabits per second on a single laser beam, transmitting the data over a distance of 50 kilometers, and decoding the information successfully. This is the largest data volume ever transported on a laser beam. (Science Daily)
This feat was accomplished on an ordinary fiber strand, just like the ones that have been buried en mass since the 80′s. Photonic transmission is still a fairly new science. It’s safe to assume the speed limit will continue to incease soon and often.
The most natural road to a third pipe for broadband is via electric the power utilities. While putting broadband traffic on existing power lines has proven to be unworkable, the utilities still have the most important asset necessary to building a broadband network: right of ways. Thanks to an endless collection of regulatory government entities, gaining the rights to physical space to run cables has evolved into a nightmare for upstarts. No such problem for power providers who have unrivaled access thanks to the existing grid infrastructure.
At today’s prices the margins on broadband service are exponentially higher than from power transmission and generation. At some point, power providers will find that profit potential impossible to ignore. With new smart grid networks being built, the cost of laying and lighting up additional fibers is negligible. At least one utility has decided to leverage its smart grid investment. Chattanooga, TN will soon have a third option with up to a 1GBPS pipe from the local electric provider.
Rural North Carolina has been a battle ground between local residents who have pro actively worked to improve their internet connections and duopoly controlled state politicians who have blatantly tried to stop them. At least in Salisbury, it looks like to locals won. They managed to do it without help from federal stimulus or the masses of political blowhards who are supposed to work in the interest of the individual.
The lesson: Forget the empty promises from Washington and the State houses. Time to act locally.
For the record, I think municipal broadband should be the Third Pipe of last resort, but in a duopoly world it’s a necessary evil.
The broadband duopoly exists only with the help of government – local state and federal. By locking down right of ways, the telco and cable giants have been able to maintain a low investment enterprise with declining costs while routinely raising prices to consumers. When municipalities try to use their right of ways to provide better service, the duopoly always invests in lobbying rather than trying to compete.
There are plentiful pols who are all too willing to carry the duopoly’s water. Fortunately, one case to thwart muni alternatives in North Caraolina has been defeated:
Indeed it has. North Carolina Senator David Hoyle’s (D-GA) now-defeated amendment (S-1209) was cosmetically titled “An Act to Ensure That A Local Government That Competes with Private Companies in Providing Communication Services Has The Support Of Its Citizens.” But advocates of city/county backed high speed Internet projects just knew it as the Municipal-Broadband Must Die Die Die bill.
Hoyle’s proposal would have banned any Tar Heel state city or county from contracting to “purchase, or finance or refinance” any kind of property to set up an “external communications system.” The law defined the latter as anything that “provides broadband service or other Internet access service, cable service, telecommunications service, video programming service, or a combination of these services.” (Ars Technica)
I hope NC voters will have enough common sense to send Senator Hoyle on permanent vacation from his law making duties when his term expires.
With the lack of will in Washington and most state houses to open the market for competitive broadband, the time for muni networks is here. These networks should not be the last alternative, but hopefully the one that will beak the duopoly strangle hold. Around the world broadband is moving from copper to fiber at break neck speed at falling prices. World Class Broadband isn’t delivered in electrons any more, it comes in photons. It’s time to join the race and leap ahead or stand on the sidelines with our duopoly and watch the rest of the world race by.
We’ve listened as duopoly CEO’s have repeatedly stated the we don’t need more speed and that we’re hogging scarce bandwidth. We’ve seen a new FCC broadband plan that is nothing more than a massive power grab by that agency that insures no competition for the duopoly. If you believe these people, then I’m a lone lunatic in the blogosphere who is suffering from a delusion of low bandwidth paralysis.
But I’m not alone. Google announce plans to offer a tiny sliver of American society ultra high speed broadband as a part of a test. Response has been overwhelming and extremely competitive:
Since we announced our plans to build experimental, ultra high-speed broadband networks, the response from communities and individuals has been tremendous and creative. With just a few hours left before our submission deadline, we’ve received more than 600 community responses to our request for information (RFI), and more than 190,000 responses from individuals (we’ll post an update with the final numbers later tonight). We’ve seen cities rename themselves, great YouTube videos, public rallies and hundreds of grassroots Facebook groups come to life, all with the goal of bringing ultra high-speed broadband to their communities. (Google Blog)
Why are there so many other broadband crazies out there? Not only will this new network make downloads and uploads nearly instant, it will enable boundless new opportunity. That means new higher paying jobs, better education, and a much more level playing field for all to take advantage of the opportunities this kind of speed enables. This will not be reported on the evening news. With ultra fast broadband, the evening news is history.