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Enlightening Eye-Opener, if a little heavy on the message.
on July 30, 2013
I just bought a 2nd copy for my dad. So here's a couple things that struck a cord with me in this book: USA is someplace between 24th and 37th in the world right now for internet speeds depending on which reputable, independent study you read. (Just Google US internet speeds and look for studies hosted on legitimate, respected academic or industry recognized websites. Be wary of telco lobbyist efforts AKA astro-turfing by "activist" organizations with names like NetCompetition, Broadband For America, and Media Freedom. They just praise the telcos and add nothing to the discussion. Recently in the last 2 years progress towards faster internet speeds here in the US has actually degenerated backwards. Let me explain. If you walk into an internet cafe in Tijuana, Mexico you will pay a metered rate for kb, Gb, or however much internet you use just like the "new" model adopted by Verizon, Time Warner, and the rest of the cartel/oligarchy. Most post-industrial, first world countries use flat rates. Metering would be acceptable if bandwidth was a legitimate scarcity, like crude oil, or silver. But the fact is we humans can make as much of it as we want. There really is no limit. Just greedy telcos worried about what the shareholders will say or do if they re-invest too much back into infrastructure. The most egregious part of it all in my opinion is the "dark fiber". You see, back during the dot.com bubble we saw explosive growth in internet-based online commerce and fiber optic communications backbones (cables) were laid all over the nation. Then when the bubble popped they just left it there. Dark. This dark fiber is mostly what Google is buying up and lighting up as part of their Google Fiber internet offering in a few cities. Comcast, Time Warner, and AT&T executives don't think we need gigabit speeds to the home. Or even 100 megabit speeds. They are telling us what we need. They are telling us that's too fast for America. By the way, current high definition 1080p quality TV is only available from a bluray disk player plugged into the TV because no home internet connection in America (with exception of the 2% of households on Google Fiber, Verizon Fios, or some other experimental market) can stream lossless 1080p. Right this second Sony, Samsung, and Seiki are selling 4K definition TVs right here on Amazon. That's right. 4000 vertical lines instead of 1080. When do you think your internet provider will allow you to stream 4K content from Hulu, Netflix, Vudu, iTunes, AmazonPrime, Playstation Network, or Microsoft Live without stuttering and timing out? 2050? "Our customers don't want it." one executive was quoted as saying. He's probably right from the perspective of what they are charging for the top tier of service. Compare any ISP rates to Google Fiber rates, I dare you. Anyways, that's just some of the top things come to mind from the book. It's a decent book. In my opinion, if people want to pretend broadband is a scarcity, then our lawmakers should legislate it like a scarcity. Just like low-flow/low-flush water fixtures, electrical appliances with the "green star" rating, and "zero emissions" manufacturer vehicle quotas; there should be Federal regulations governing minimum acceptable internet speeds in this country that are increased every year at a predetermined, predictable rate. Shareholders of the cartels can't cry or feign indignation about it because they knew it was coming, and every one of their competitors must also tow the line to bring us out of 3rd world internet speeds. Also I agree with the author, nobody can claim its a free market when all I can subscribe to is Time Warner because they have agreements in place with Cox to stay out of each others territory, and Verizon Wireless is selling cable television services from Time Warner and buying broadband spectrum from them too.
Let's fix our crap internet speeds America.