Measuring Broadband America

David Byrd : Byrd's Eye View
David Byrd
Chief Marketing Officer for ANPI

Measuring Broadband America

The report “Measuring Broadband America” by the FCC is an exercise in navel gazing. Previously, I have pointed out that it is important to analyze availability, speed and price or ASP. This report looks only at speed which in the US is abysmal compared to other industrialized and developing nations. Recently, I had lunch with a businessman from the Ukraine. He lives in Kiev and we were discussing ASP there. In addition to be cheaper, universally available, his current broadband speed into his home was 1 gigabit per second. Speeds like that suck the air from the room when my response using AT&T U-verse is 24Mbps, even Verizon FiOS is limited to 50Mbps. Moreover, yesterday AT&T decided it needed to throttle its highest users of broadband and data services.

Paying more for higher speeds has always been a concern of mine, however, I acquiesced when considering the concept of free markets. Nonetheless, if AT&T decides to sell a service at a given price and then determines it cannot provide it, it should reimburse the buyer or possibly increase prices. It is unacceptable to promise a service and then under deliver. Now in their defense, they offered an unlimited data plan when they did not know the future of IP endpoints. Data usage today in support of GPS, video and streaming multi-media applications far exceed the estimates of net work planners just a couple of years ago. Furthermore, the adoption of the iFamily and other tablet/smart devices will only drive up demand. If the current trends hold, we are on track to have a zettabyte of global annual Internet traffic prior to 2015.

For those of you needing clarification as to what a zettabyte is check out this excerpt from a previous blog “IPv6 and Yottabyte” …”A gigabyte is equal to one billion bytes or 109 (1,000,000,000). Following that is a terabyte, petabyte, exabyte, and the rapidly approaching zettabyte or 1021 (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). (Remember when you would race your siblings or a kid in the neighborhood to see who could count to 100 the fastest?)”.

Back to the subject, it is not enough for the FCC to determine if consumers are getting the download and upload speeds as advertised by carriers, it is more important for the FCC to establish market conditions where the US is competitive with countries like the Ukraine. We rank in the middle globally for internet service and 6th out of 7 when compared to the members of G7. (In the future, I will do my research on the G8, sorry Russia). Reading a report that highlights our successes on such weak offerings is disappointing and disingenuous. The report leads one to believe that things are basically good in America when internationally the report would be considered laughable. While Broadvox does deliver broadband and with the addition of Ethernet access, we can achieve gigabit speeds. We do supply these offerings to consumers. Those carriers supplying broadband and data services to consumers need to get ahead of the demand curve and move the US to the top of the list for ASP.

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