Broadband: Not Exactly

Rich Tehrani : Communications and Technology Blog -
Rich Tehrani
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Broadband: Not Exactly

With all the talk of EVDO lately, one wonders if we are fooling ourselves, touting such technology as a savior for those that need access on the go. On a recent trip to Silicon Valley the show hotel "broadband" was slow beyond compare and working on EVDO was a torture I wouldn't wish on my enemies (not that I have any. I hope :-).

We keep hearing about how broadband is pervasive and getting cheaper and the same stories apply to EVDO. This is all true of course until people try to use these technologies on a large scale. Yes! We ARE connected to broadband. But when 50 people share a 1.5 Mbps connection, guess what... It isnt broadband any more. It isn't even useful.

I was one of the first people to use 1xRTT technology and have been using EVDO since fall of 2004. In both cases I noticed a gradual decrease in performance of the networks over time. I assume as more people use the connection it just slows; like any other shared connection.

What is amazing to me is that most of us don't care enough about this issue. I should have asked for a refund at the last few hotels I was in as the broadband was useless. You know what? As I write this entry, I am getting steamed enough to do this on principle (but in reality I likely won't due to time considerations, etc). IMO you shouldn't be allowed to sell broadband without an SLA. This applies even for a single day's use. Even an hour. Serving up broadband that really isn't is like serving a salad with a worm in it or with dirt on the lettuce. When this happens, a restaurant usually makes a new salad, doesn't charge you for it and then brings you free dessert. What does the broadband provider do? Usually nothing.

Perhaps now is a good time for broadband providers to change the way they do business. It isn't right to sell broadband connections that aren't. Service providers need to gain the customer's trust now before more WiFi and WiMAX competitors pop up. Reducing churn begins with exceeding expectations, period. This is where business sense trumps technology.

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