I live in Saratoga, CA, part of “High Tech” Silicon Valley. And my neighborhood STILL does NOT have ANY broadband services.
None! (I don’t count unreliable wireless with less than 1Mbps for more than $100/month a viable consumer broadband offering).
AT&T and Comcast are the “franchised” service providers (I.E. monopolies) for the area and they have no plans for covering this neighborhood.
Areas that do have “broadband” are at 3rd world speeds. Worldwide speed tests don’t even have the US in the top 10.
The US is no where to be seen. But Russia, BULGARIA, LATVIA, ROMAINIA!! Where’s the US? I know I don’t have ANY broadband in my house HERE IN SILICON VALLEY….
My startup’s office is in Mt. View California. Right in the heart of Silicon Valley. The only “high speed” service we could get is 1.5Mbps down / 512Kbps up ADSL. To get anything significantly faster we would have to pay thousands of dollars a month. WTF!?
This should be considered a National Shame.
Its time for re-divestiture. AT&T / Verizon should never have been allowed to reform the Bell Monopoly. Comcast and Time Warner should never have been given exclusive franchises and allowed to grow so big.
This time lets do Divestiture the proper way: horizontally.
The physical plant is a natural monopoly (there is no marketplace for multiple last mile capital intensive physical plants with fleets of men in trucks) and a societal common good (the value to society is high) that can not be paid for by normal corporate ROI. (See the slightly dated, but still accurate Paradox of the Best Networks)
We need to treat telecom physical plant (rights of way, conduit, dark fiber, utility poles and physical meet points) like we do roads, water and sewers. Sometimes called the “LoopCo”, it could be government owned, community owned and operated or be a regulated monopoly that is mandated and overseen to operate for the common good as open access common carrier. The Singapore National Broadband Network has it close to perfect as far as I can tell.
The upper layers can be competitive vibrant marketplaces, enabled by a societal common good physical infrastructure.
This is being done in other countries. Similar concepts are being pioneered in Sweden, Netherlands (Now testing 1GBps!), Singapore, Canada, and Vermont (they keep threatening to succeed, so they can count as another country) as well as many other places even in the US.
The fundamental axiom of Telecom must be Structural Separation: the entities that own/operate the transport layer must not have any say or vested interests in the Content. Some countries are making it the Law such as New Zealand, Singapore, Europe (to some degree)
We can not allow Big Telecom (along with Big Media but that’s another rant) to continue to warp the fabric of free speech, commerce, arts and culture.
Its time to start pestering your Congress-Critters, City Hall, State Legislators and Governors. Create Meet-ups, organize your neighbors. We must take back OUR communications. And learn about those who are making it real around the country and around the world. Tell them its time to break up the monopolies again. But this time lets shut them down for good.