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America's Internet continues to grow, along with its infrastructure woes

Every day, across millions of homes in the United States, most Americans are happily surfing along with high-speed internet from one of two different providers: the cable company, or the phone company.  While most users have been relatively satisfied with the service itself, the industry as a whole has become fat and lazy: whereas American consumers are just now beginning to receive asymmetrical speeds of 10-20 Mbps, in many cases shared amongst their neighbors, Japanese consumers are surfing along at symmetrical connections of 100 Mbps.

In the United States, where most consumers get to choose service plans between two or three regional providers, customers in the UK – even far away from London – have a choice between 20 and 30 different providers, or more.
On top of suffering slow connection speeds, U.S. consumers face terrible customer support no matter who they turn to: whether it’s an AOL representative fighting for his bonus by preventing cancellations, Comcast technicians sleeping on a customers’ couch during a service call, or Verizon accidentally setting fires during FiOS installations, many consumers loathe having to actually interface with the companies they receive their service from.
Even the concept of Net Neutrality – something that many would argue as responsible for the internet’s freedom and success – has been continually under siege, with the latest attack coming from the Justice Department.
Although forays into metropolitan wireless networks have made and are making progress, the solutions these service options offer – even long-term plans with the newly-opening 700 MHz band – are too little too late. European and Asian web surfers will soon leave American consumers in the dust, every time.
Highlighting the recent state of affairs is an editorial that appeared Friday in The Huffington Post, titled “Our Internet Policy is a Disgrace: Here’s the Proof.” In it, writer Art Brodsky describes a surreal experience he had during a conversation with a vacationing couple hailing from the 233,000-strong city of Derby, UK:
“This U.K. consumer did something not one U.S. consumer can do. This broadband consumer in the U.K. has so many options - 59 Internet Service Providers that he needed a spreadsheet to figure them out. Here in the U.S., a similar customer might have two - the telephone company and cable company.”
A comparable spreadsheet, made for Montgomery Country, Md., reveals a handful of plans available from two providers: Verizon and Comcast. Notably, the spreadsheet includes Verizon’s Fiber-to-the-Curb option, “FiOS,” and excludes any DSL service. In most urban and suburban areas in the United States, FiOS is simply unavailable, so one would replace the Verizon options on with whoever offers DSL.
Others have put together similar comparisons, writes Mr. Brodsky. Which?Magazine, a UK publication for consumers, published an evaluation similar to the Darby couple, listing 125 separate service plans from 25 different providers. Another website, ISPreview UK, lists about 200 different providers.
“It's time to start asking some pointed questions of policymakers, beginning with the House Telecommunications Subcommittee, a pivotal point for the development of telecommunications legislation and policy,” writes Mr. Brodsky. With a government that seems bought and paid for by the telcos, he advocates that it’s time for consumers to start taking matters into their own hands.

Brodsky adds, “You have to ask your member of Congress and your Senator, ‘Why don't we have the same choice for the Internet that people in England do?’ You have to ask what your representatives are going to do about this deplorable situation. And you have to keep on asking until there's an answer.”
Change won’t be easy, he warns, but without proper resistance from consumers the United States will continue to fall behind in broadband speed, proliferation, and policy: “The telephone and cable companies will spend millions to keep competition from flourishing. They will employ their in-house lobbyists and their contract lobbyists. They will deploy their fake support groups. They will trot out the racial and ethnic interest groups, which take the company money while betraying their constituencies. They will gin up dozens of papers from bought-and-paid-for academics and economists. They will contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to Congressional supporters."

Brodsky closes, "If they lose in Congress, they will fight in the courts and through the underbrush of implementing the FCC rules implementing a law.”

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Barking up the Wrong Tree
By Teetu on 9/8/2007 8:11:50 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, conditions in the US are far from perfect, but the fact is the US is a huge country with many inhabitants spread out over a tremendous area. Japan and the UK are smaller than California, so it isn't a fair comparison. I've heard the same complaint about mass transit in the US, and it's really a ridiculous argument.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By xsilver on 9/8/2007 8:21:08 PM , Rating: 3
exactly; here in Australia we have that large country minus the large population and its even worse here.
Regional areas cant get more than 1500k speeds (more like 512k in reality)

and in large metro areas like sydney and melbourne there are only 2 providers and resellers of those providers. Prices are also going up rather than down which is a very worrying trend.
New plans are offering 15gb of data for $70AU ($50+ US) on adsl2+ speed (up to 20mbps) but uploads are also counted.
what a joke.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By jajig on 9/8/2007 10:44:37 PM , Rating: 4
It is painful reading through the majority of the posts here complaining about internet we dream of here in Australia. The worst thing of all is not the speed but data limit caps. I work in tech support and constantly have to tell people that it is too bad their connection has been shaped to 64/64k because they have gone over their 12gig data limit on the $60 plan. At least once a week I have to tell people they are getting charged hundreds of dollars for going over their 200meg plan and that every meg over 200 is charged at 0.15c.

I pay $130 a month for 36gig (12gig during peak times 24gig during off peak time), only a few years ago I was paying $80 for 3 gig a month.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By iGo on 9/9/2007 2:21:16 AM , Rating: 3
Wow.... US, UK, Australia, I hear your complaints.
You guys should really come down to India. You'll experience what real Internet Pain is. The best we get here for consumers is 2 MBPS speed, and it comes with high cost + download cap.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By StevoLincolnite on 9/9/2007 4:15:35 AM , Rating: 4
Most people should feel lucky they can even receive broadband in Australia, I'm about 100km's from Port Lincoln (I live in Wharminda), which has the full 24mb ADSL 2+, Everything.
The only connection I can get is Dial-up 56k, even then I don't get even half the 56k speeds.
I tried going with Telstra's 3G Wireless, but there is no signal out this way.
Then If I was to goto Cummins which is about 40km's away, they also have the Normal ADSL 1.5mb connections, and I still have no hope.
Whats left? 2 Way Satalite at incredibly expensive prices with a Download limit so small an email would put you over the limit? I think not.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By CollegeTechGuy on 9/9/2007 3:15:59 PM , Rating: 1
My Parents home is out in the country in the US. We can't get DSL or cable...we don't even have Cable TV. The phone company said we are 2 miles out of range for DSL and they don't have any plans in the near future of setting up a repeater or anything. They live 45 minutes south of Indianapolis, and about 15minutes from well populated cities (Driving time). That to me is ridiculous.

Whats even more ridiculous is my father just bought satellite from a company called Wild Blue (well its actually through Dish Network). He pays $70 a month for the internet alone with a 13,000k download limit, and a 3,000k upload limit. Max download speeds of about 100k/s and upload is about 60k/s. The bandwidth limit is a rolling 30 day limit..not reset at the end of every month, as a day passes the 30th day previous gets dropped and todays is added.

Now all of these speeds are limited to weather, not only where they live, but also in Texas...since their main ground hub is down there...and Texas has been getting lots of storms this year so it goes out alot. Plus theres a delay between upload and download. So actually internet browsing is not different than Dial up. You click a link...wait about 8 seconds or more...then bam the whole page shows up.


RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By Lord 666 on 9/9/07, Rating: -1
RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By Lemonjellow on 9/10/07, Rating: -1
RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By 3kliksphilip on 9/9/2007 7:13:27 PM , Rating: 6
I was on holiday in Sri Lanka and it took literally 15 minutes to load up Daily Tech. 200 rupees poorer, but with an experience that I'll never forget!

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By KristopherKubicki on 9/9/2007 7:38:22 PM , Rating: 2
Such devotion. At least you can say 200 rupees guaranteed you a 6 post on DT once :)

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By Lord 666 on 9/9/07, Rating: -1
RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By Misty Dingos on 9/10/2007 8:16:16 AM , Rating: 2
Because he whent to Sri Lanka. Minus the terrorism there it has to be a great place for a vaction.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By wordsworm on 9/10/2007 10:55:55 AM , Rating: 3
You say that as if you've never read the murder rate in the US, not to mention fatal automobile deaths. I'd be more paranoid about going to LA than Sri Lanka.

In Indonesia, for broadband, in Jakarta, expect to pay about $300/month for about 150kbps. It's the one chink in the whole idea of my settling there. I'm considering moving to Batam, which is only 10-20 km from Singapore. Last I heard they've got it all over the country. I wonder when wifi is going to reach 50km+. Maybe, hopefully, by the time I'm ready to retire from this teaching gig in S. Korea.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By Fulvian on 9/12/2007 5:56:39 AM , Rating: 2
I hope that was a typo, because afaik it costs less than $ 30 to get a 256-512Kbps cable here.

The funny thing is that cellular connections (HSDPA & EVDO) are much faster than any DSL/cable that You can get here... now that's what I call pathetic

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By Cobus on 9/10/2007 6:21:15 AM , Rating: 3
Try 1MBPS, 3gig cap, shaped ADSL for US$100... Good ol' sunny South Africa...

We even have the situation where wireless internet is competing with fixed line ADSL on a price basis...

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By splines on 9/9/2007 12:48:43 AM , Rating: 3
Actually, I recently switched to the TPG 150GB plan, getting 15-16Mb down/1Mb up at around 2km from the exchange. It's 40GB peak and 110GB off-peak, so I just schedule stuff to run at night. My uploads aren't counted either, all for $70 a month.

That said, TPG are about the only guys making internet cheaper in Australia these days. A lot of plans are starting to count uploads nowadays due to the popularity of torrents. And if you're unlucky enough to live in a suburb where nobody has put their own equipment in, you're stuck with Telstra or a reseller offering a maximum of 8Mb at horrendous prices with crappy caps. That or paying through the ass to have cable installed.

As soon as I saw the TPG deal I was sold, and switched over within a week. It's the best of an increasingly worsening situation over here.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By xsilver on 9/9/2007 1:42:42 AM , Rating: 2
yes, the higher up the $$ tree u go in aus, some more value can be had, the scary thing though is that there are no plans available in AUS for "mom + dad" situations. either you pay $40 for 1 gig of data which is not enough or pay $60 for 15 gigs which is probably too much.

The tpg plans sound good but the service is apparently crap and they dont have the policy of grandfathering plans; so if they decide that the plan is no longer viable, they force price rises and u cant do squat.
with optus and telstra at least if you're on an old plan, you will be able to keep it indefinitely unless u change address or something.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By drebo on 9/9/2007 2:19:30 AM , Rating: 2
New plans are offering 15gb of data for $70AU ($50+ US) on adsl2+ speed (up to 20mbps) but uploads are also counted.
what a joke.

Joke? God, I'd kill for a 20mbps connection here in the good-ol-US-of-A.

I live along a 20-mile stretch of highway which is like the fourth largest metropolitan area in California. What do I get? $60/month for a 5mbit cable connection that I had to fight with the cable company for THREE MONTHS in order to get the thing to stay up for more than 10 minutes at a time.

I spent God only knows how many hours on the phone with the moron tech support, and I finally had to go in to the local office and demand a refund for my last three months of service, on pain of lawsuit, before I could even get a technician out to my house to test the line!

And you're complaining about a 20mbit connection that you "only" get 15gb/month of bandwidth for $50? I would take that in a HEARTBEAT!

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By jajig on 9/9/2007 2:40:42 AM , Rating: 2
The speeds are advertised 'up to 20mbps' doesn't mean you'll get anywhere near that speed unless you live next to the exchange in one of the few areas that has ports available. ISP's use to advertise 'up to 24mbps' for ADSL2+ but got in trouble from the government for false advertising.

And you're complaining about a 20mbit connection that you "only" get 15gb/month of bandwidth for $50? I would take that in a HEARTBEAT!

To get a deal like that you would have to bundle a phone line for at least $30 and as I said above live in one of the few areas thats it is available in. I live 10km from Melbourne in Victoria, our second largest city, can can't even get ADSL2.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By drebo on 9/9/2007 2:49:28 AM , Rating: 2
I live in a metropolitan area, and 99% of people here don't even know there is a thing called ADSL2.

I have a landline, and use it regularly. I bundle TV with my Cable internet, and my rates are still not that good...for "up to 5mbps".

I still fail to see what your gripe with "up to 20mbps" internet is.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By xsilver on 9/9/2007 4:05:34 AM , Rating: 2
yeah, sorry I was already painting as "best case" scenario for australia.

most people here are probably using a 512k connection with 1gb download per month for around $40au per month.

broadband to most people in australia probably means 256k connection. adsl2 is only available to about 20% of the suburbs in the 5 major metropolitan centres in the country.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By gt1911 on 9/9/2007 4:28:04 AM , Rating: 2
You guys aren't being fair.

I am with TPG and pay $60 for 30GB, no uploads counted. I have been with them for almost 2 years and while their customer support is not sparkling, the service is stable so it doesn't matter too much. Most of my friends are with them as well on the 18GB/$50 plan. IInet offers almost the same thing except you have to get your phone connection with them. I get stable 15Mb connection, one of my mates who is closer to the exchange on IInet gets 17Mb.

My parents live in a seachange style country town and they still have access to a 1.5Mb for a reasonable price connection if they want.

If you haven't already you should check whirpool. You guys certainly aren't posting 'best case' Australian scenarios.

Just for reference I am in metro Sydney.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By mikeyD95125 on 9/9/2007 3:52:13 PM , Rating: 3
I wouldn't kill for 20MB/s over my 6MB/s with a stupid data cap. I'm not really sure how much bandwidth I use a month but having to watch my internet usage like I watch my phone bill is retarded. Thats like Comcast saying I can only watch 100 hours of TV a month. I have never heard of any kind of data cap in the U.S. at least out in California. We may have less competition but it sounds like people in other countries just get ripped off.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By NagoyaX on 9/9/2007 12:06:03 PM , Rating: 2
I live in Vancouver B.C. Canada. We really get 2 providers. Telus for ADSL or Shaw for Cable. But @ least i say one thing for them. Their customer serives is excellent. I have had techs come to my house and fix problems before for both companies and they where intelligent and pleasant. Even the customer service now is great

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By videoclone on 9/9/2007 7:10:39 PM , Rating: 2
Everything you just said is BS .. other then 1500kbps “only” for remote regional country area's

It just takes a quick look at the whirlpool forums to see plans for 150GB per month on 20Mbps DSL at $60AU

I'm on a $99 plan for 80GB per month on 25mbps and I get every single kb when downloading .. 2.5MB's a second isn’t a bad at all i also have about 10 companies i can get that same ADSL 2+ plan with.

I started on the net with a 14kbps Dial up modem and seen the ups and down's but at the moment i see only good nothing bad. in comparison to the past.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By Director on 9/10/2007 5:48:15 PM , Rating: 2
IMO the pricing and lack of service has more to do with the restriction of information flow rather than any of the traditional excuses they give. The internet has given a historically unprecedented availability of information to the masses and they can now see what western governments dont want them to see (do some research on APEC, PECC, SPP, amero and 'The emperor wears no clothes' by Jack Herrer. Just for starters). Of course in authoritarian countries such as China and North Korea they simply block everything they possibly can. Although in the west, while we are largely ignorant and apathetic there would still be riots if our 'government' tried that kind of thing here ATM. So the next best thing is to make the internet unattractive. But that's just me... ;-)

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By Ralph The Magician on 9/8/2007 8:32:53 PM , Rating: 3
No, what's ridiculous is that whenever something is done poorly in the US it's because of its size, and whenever we do something well it's because of how great the US is. Stop with the bullshit. The US is big, but if their was more competition, or a better system for broadband competition, there would be more providers at higher speeds. The current cable and phone companies just have little incentive to do anything in most of the US because people have no options; so someone like me has no choice but to pay Comcast $50+/month for 6Mbps cable internet.

The size of the US really doesn't matter, because the amount of money to be made is enourmous. These big telcos are swimming in buckets of money, but don't have the incentive to do anything for consumers in most areas because they completely dominate.

By Gul Westfale on 9/8/2007 8:47:10 PM , Rating: 2
size is definitely a factor here; i know taht there are many choices in physically small germany, yet here in the great canada i can choose between crappy bell DSL and somewhat less crappy videotron cable. that is more or less it. in a smaller country the companies do not have to worry about huge infrastructures, but here they do.

on teh other hand, these copanies usually complain that they are not making enough money, then fire staff, reduce customer support, and then announce record profits... so maybe they should whine less about market conditions and try to improve service. after all, they have significantly less competition here than in europe.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By rsmech on 9/8/2007 11:40:43 PM , Rating: 3
The size of the US really doesn't matter, because the amount of money to be made is enourmous.

The current cable and phone companies just have little incentive to do anything in most of the US because people have no options; so someone like me has no choice but to pay Comcast $50+/month for 6Mbps cable internet.

First The size & COST of the infrastructure does matter. Next you contradict yourself. You state that the amount of money to be made is enormous but then complain about your $50+ a month. It sounds like you wouldn't be a good investment for a more expensive infrastructure. If infrastructure cost more your cost will be more. You talk about all the money they have well be thankful it's there to pad your retirement account. If they didn't have it you or a broker wouldn't invest therefore no capital to build an infrastructure at a price the customers won't piss and moan about. You can't have it both ways unless you expect someone else to pay for it.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By pugster on 9/9/2007 12:31:27 AM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't agree with you on that. I live in Brooklyn, NYC and houses are very close to each other where Verizon or the cable company could've easily put in the infrastructure for cheaper than the suburb areas. With their infrasture that they laid out, they could've easily pump out 50mb speeds but they decided to cripple it by not bumping speeds for the consumers. Hell FIOS wasn't even deployed in my area.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By Polynikes on 9/9/2007 12:56:57 PM , Rating: 2
That's not true, because they have to connect you to the rest of the country and the world. Sure, you may get 50mbps on a server your friend down the street hosts for Counter-Strike, but when you try to go to Apple's website in sunny Silicon Valley, you're not going to get those speeds. There's more to improving infrastructure than laying down a line from the cable backbone to your house. Laying down fiber optic cables across the entire 3000 mile span of the US is no easy or cheap task.

That being said, the whole situation of having no choices is complete bullshit, and I think if we can get the government to fix that, the competition that will spring up will force the telcos to start investing in those expensive pipes.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 9/10/2007 3:08:55 PM , Rating: 2
Laying down fiber optic cables across the entire 3000 mile span of the US is no easy or cheap task.

True, but that part is already done. The backbone is already in place (and has been since the late 90s.)

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By Polynikes on 9/10/2007 6:38:07 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, well then. Unfortunately there's still the rather daunting task of upgrading lines in residential areas. The US, due to its size, has a lot more neighborhoods to upgrade.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By FS on 9/8/2007 8:57:38 PM , Rating: 5
the fact is the US is a huge country with many inhabitants spread out over a tremendous area. Japan and the UK are smaller than California, so it isn't a fair comparison.

makes perfect sense, we shouldn't be comparing countries.

But even if you compare NYC to Tokyo, you won't see 50Mbit/50Mbit(half the speed) compared to 100Mbit symmetrical.


compare London to NYC and you won't even see half as many providers in NYC as in London.

and most of all, we shouldn't be making excuses, when we are the most technologically/economically advanced country. This is one of the reason we are seeing so many complaints now days about the broadband speeds in the US.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By rsmech on 9/8/2007 11:55:25 PM , Rating: 2
Just a thought but if the major providers didn't provide acceptable service in the rural or smaller towns or cities the gov't would get involved like they did with the telephone. Aren't we still paying that tax today? So on the business side the company spreads the revenue for infrastructure out of the big cities. If you didn't have to worry about the Federal gov't telling you how to do your business you could deal with it on a state for state basis which is easier to handle & the way the power structure of gov't should be. Therefore you could compare NY or CA to these other countries.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By excrucio on 9/9/2007 1:48:24 AM , Rating: 4
[quote]makes perfect sense, we shouldn't be comparing countries.

But even if you compare NYC to Tokyo, you won't see 50Mbit/50Mbit(half the speed) compared to 100Mbit symmetrical.


compare London to NYC and you won't even see half as many providers in NYC as in London.

and most of all, we shouldn't be making excuses, when we are the most technologically/economically advanced country. This is one of the reason we are seeing so many complaints now days about the broadband speeds in the US.[/quote]

Wait, what? most advanced technologically and economically?

where you've been the past couple of years? The strongest economy in the world is Europe with the euro, dollar is losing grounds. Technologically advanced only in military technology, because we are so far behind in things such as cellphones, and broadband connections. Asia and almost all of europe are using 3g technology communication while AT&T just set up the first 3g band in the US which only supports FILE TRANSFER and not video communication.

Connection in the US do hit the high points only if you got the money to drop on it. Home affordable connections here is max of 50mb with verizon fios. Optimun Online comes right next to it with its 30mbs except it only offers in CT NY and NJ.

Seriously, pick up the pace.

US used to be a very powerful nation, still is, just that its losing grounds quite quickly

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By rdeegvainl on 9/9/2007 8:12:02 AM , Rating: 2
Well yes the Euro is doing better than the dollar, but then again, the combined economical powers of the vast majority of Europe would either have to be better than the dollar, or it would be a terrible embarrassment.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By Muirgheasa on 9/9/07, Rating: -1
RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By Laitainion on 9/9/2007 2:44:14 PM , Rating: 3
Well you say that, but in both population and geographical terms the US is bigger than the Euro zone, so your point is a little bit uninformed.

The US may be bigger (geographically) but the population of the EU is roughly 200 million greater than America's 300 million. That's not too far off double.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By Muirgheasa on 9/10/2007 9:08:55 AM , Rating: 2
The EU isn't the same as the Eurozone. Last estimate I heard placed the eurozone just under 300 million in population, which is more or less the same as the US. In fairness wikipedia lists the eurozone population as 320mil, which is bigger than the US, but not by much, and also includes somewhat underdeveloped nations such as Greece and Slovenia.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By Ringold on 9/9/2007 12:51:58 PM , Rating: 4
Um, sorry. The relative value of a currency can get whacked around on the whim of currency traders or government-influenced central banks and, to a degree, has absolutely nothing to do with underlying economic "greatness" or failure.

The United States is far and away economically superior in almost all regards to Europe. If you wanted to qualify that, then yes, Europeans live better life styles in that they don't eat themselves to death and if you want to think socialized medicine is a superior system then that's an acceptable opinion. But if you had to choose a country to live in for long-term growth, mobility and potential to weather economic storms, you'd want to be in the US rather than the EU.

On the other hand, I'd argue Hong Kong is better than both the US and EU in terms of its economy, but hard to compare a city-state to continent-sized macroeconomies.

Technologically advanced consumer goods, though, you may have a valid point. But the "strongest economy in the world is Europe" is laughably wrong and has been for decades, so not sure what rock you've been living under.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By TestKing123 on 9/9/2007 2:50:51 PM , Rating: 4
The question is, where have YOU been? The world's largest and most powerful economy is the United States economy, as has been the case since the end of WWII. The eurozone economy is often quoted larger based solely on the grouping of all the nations of the bloc, but fail to account that each nation sets their own economic policies DEPSITE the directives set forth by the European Union. France and Germany are common culprits for deliberately bypassing E.U economic policies for their own backyard benefits. It is among these reasons (among many others) that the European Union economy is not quite comparable to the United States economy.

I also don't get where you got "strongest" from. For the past decade, the European Union's economy has LAGGED and stagnated behind the United States for almost every single year in terms of real growth rate, a pattern which continues to this day.

As far as technologically, I can see why you can only name telecommunications aspects as the deployment infrastructure favors the population density and layouts of smaller regions. Sorry to break it to you, but when it comes to "advanced technologies" (such as semiconductor technology and aerospace), the United States is the leader of these areas (and not just for military purposes).

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By jabber on 9/14/2007 7:21:12 AM , Rating: 2
I thought China owns and is the US economy?

As said before if China wanted to go to war with the US it would be a bulletless war as China could shut down the US production machine as most of it China.

Be careful now. There is no such thing as a single super economy, its all a house of cards and its looking a little shaky all round at the moment.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By Christopher1 on 9/8/07, Rating: -1
RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By Ringold on 9/9/2007 12:56:19 PM , Rating: 2
Add to that the stupid amounts of dividends that shareholders in these companies want to have each period, and you have a big problem.

Heaven forbid the theoretical owners of the firm want a small payday, eh?

If a telecom doesn't want to pay dividends then they can always buy back their own stock and take themselves private over time. Raising capital on the exchange by selling ownership and then whining about the new ownership expecting returns doesn't get much sympathy with me. Alternatively they could even issue bonds and not have to deal with part-owners, but they would have to service that debt.

It's not uncommon, either, this practice. Another large, low-growth industry that has to use dividends to attract any love: tobacco.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By leidegre on 9/9/2007 3:06:28 AM , Rating: 2
So it's an excuse to not do it? Even though your point isn't really just that, your not beeing constructive, or suggestive of alternative methods and it's bascially the same as saying it cant be done, not by us...

Obviously it's a lot more difficult, Sweden happen to be a very good country when it comes to IT infrastructure, and mind you, it's actually one of the biggest in europe, hardly comparsiable with the US but, we to have a small number of people scattered across huge land mass. Something which currently is beeing approched with wireless and radio technology. So don't tell me that it's a rediculous argument, it simply a fact that development went fat and lazy.

Put the presure on the companies and they will have deliver.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By rdeegvainl on 9/9/2007 8:16:48 AM , Rating: 2
We don't have enough leverage to put the pressure on the companies that we would like to. The huge lack of competition is the whole problem. In allot of areas, the streets are divided up, and only one provider has access to a house. With only one choice you can't really say to a provider that you're gonna switch on them, all you can really do is go without access, or (PUKE) use dial up.

By Stablecannon on 9/9/2007 8:28:39 AM , Rating: 2
You're absolutely right. However, that sounds like an excuse. Are you saying because we're bigger we've earned the right to be lazy with our broadband connections? The article is right about the disparity in broadband connections, if you want to stick up for the US (I'm a citizen), UK, Australia, using the "we're so much bigger than them, so we can;t go as fast" excuse; By all means do what you must.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By Continuation on 9/9/2007 11:01:10 AM , Rating: 3
What's ridiculous is your argument. You made it sounds like everyone in US lives in Montana with no neighbors within 10 miles. Sure US is huge, but a majority of the population lives in densely populated metro areas, no different from UK or Japan.

Take Manhattan for example. It's really not that different from London or Tokyo or Hong Kong in terms of population density. Yet the broadband offerings in Manhattan is 100 times worse than those in London/HK/Tokyo. What's your excuse for that?

Your comments on mass transit in US is equally ridiculous. Mass transit in US sucks because the government pay close to zero attention to it, not because US is huge. If the US government could spend trillions covering the entire country with countless miles of roads and to spend hundreds of billions a year subsidizing cheap gas (US gas prices are routinely half that of those in other developed countries), it surely could have use those same resources to build mass transit systems instead.

This "US is a huge country" as an all-purpose excuse for the failures of the government is getting old.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By FITCamaro on 9/9/2007 5:36:49 PM , Rating: 2
Our government doesn't subsidize gas. They just don't charge the huge taxes that the EU does. Our gas tax from the federal government is like thirty cents. In the EU its a couple dollars.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By Continuation on 9/9/2007 9:09:32 PM , Rating: 1
That's only because you're ignoring the costs of pollution. When factories all over the world are spending billions buying carbon credits to offset the pollution they're producing, the fact that motorists in US can generate all these pollution without paying for any offset means that they're getting subsidized.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By michal1980 on 9/10/2007 11:06:30 AM , Rating: 2
your post makes no sense.

how many dollars of those taxes on each gallon of fuel do euro countries use on helping pollution? probably not much.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By Continuation on 9/11/2007 12:10:00 PM , Rating: 2
It makes no sense to you only because you can't see the big picture. It's not that EU countries spend the gas taxes on pollution. The point is that gas taxes raise gas prices, which in turn reduces gas consumptions, which reduces pollution. Hence gas taxes reduce pollution. Economics 101.

Look at the per capita pollution (tons of CO2 per capita per year) of various countries:

US: 20
Germany: 10
UK: 10
France: 6

Is it simply coincidence that US has much higher pollution than EU countries but much lower gas taxes? yeah right.

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By on 9/9/2007 1:27:35 PM , Rating: 2
"Yes, conditions in the US are far from perfect, but the fact is the US is a huge country with many inhabitants spread out over a tremendous area. Japan and the UK are smaller than California, so it isn't a fair comparison. I've heard the same complaint about mass transit in the US, and it's really a ridiculous argument."

No, in fact, your argument is the ridiculous one. Even within and around large US population centers, our broadband AND mass transit options are grossly inferior to those in Europe. Chalk that up to both major political parties AND government regulating agencies like the FCC being effectively owned by corporate interests.

And as to the comparison with India, I'm sorry, but a country just emerging from third-world status isn't a good comparative measure.

By Shadowmaster625 on 9/10/2007 2:58:34 PM , Rating: 2
ok if what you say is true then why is service so crappy across the entire country? Why is it that even in a major metropolitan area, our rates are so much higher?

RE: Barking up the Wrong Tree
By trivik12 on 9/11/2007 3:38:39 PM , Rating: 2
Is Wimax a solution . There should be competition like we have for cellphone. Wimax is promising insane speeds as well. If Intel is behind it, we can hope to see wimax based laptops under $400.

By GeorgeOu on 9/8/2007 7:42:34 PM , Rating: 1
A rational debate on Net Neutrality

Prices in Europe and Japan aren't as great as you think. My friend lives in Germany and he pays a fortune for local phone calls. South Korea just banned Vonage and other VoIP service providers, even for our soldiers stationed there trying to call home.

Neutrality is a good thing, but Net Neutrality should really be called Net Stupidity since they want to ban all intelligence on the Internet.

By wordsworm on 9/8/2007 9:17:30 PM , Rating: 3
South Korea just banned Vonage and other VoIP service providers, even for our soldiers stationed there trying to call home.

I do believe that the reason for the ban is because those companies don't pay any fees to the Korean government. Could I hazard to guess that Vonage et. al. pay the American government certain fees that they might sell their services there? Telephony is always a hot issue in any country. I remember in Nova Scotia it was about $70/month for low quality broad band. Here in Korea, I pay $25/month for much faster broadband. My bosses call the USA all the time, for hours every month. I think they pay about $5 or $10 a month for this privilege. Are you trying to tell me that American military are so dirt poor that they can't cough up that amount?

By rdeegvainl on 9/9/2007 8:27:36 AM , Rating: 2
hmmm the military probably isn't given the option, where i am stationed now, we have wireless everywhere, with about 5Kbs, max. we all want better connections, but we aren't even given the option to pay for it.

By wordsworm on 9/10/2007 11:56:50 AM , Rating: 2
hmmm the military probably isn't given the option, where i am stationed now, we have wireless everywhere, with about 5Kbs, max. we all want better connections, but we aren't even given the option to pay for it.

Look on the bright side... at least you don't have to pay for 5kbps. Where are you stationed?

By GeorgeOu on 9/9/2007 6:09:08 PM , Rating: 2
No, there are no significant fees for Vonage and that's why it's so cheap. US Soldiers are being forced to use expensive S. Korean services.

By daidaloss on 9/9/2007 5:56:59 AM , Rating: 2
George Ou, you should stop talking crap.
Are you really George Ou from ZDNET? ( ). Prices in Europe are actually great.
I'm from Romania, you americans probably did not ever heard of it.
I lived in a 200k citizen town upt in the north of the country, called Suceava. I had an internet conection, fiber optic, 4 mbps (512 kilobytes) for 45 RON (VAT=value addded tax included , VAT is 19% in this country). 45 RON = 45/2,4165=18 USD (1USD=2,4165 RON). And that include 2000 minutes in the RDS telephony network, 200 minutes in other national fix landlines phone companies, 30 minutes in mobile networks. All that 4 mbps and all those free minutes are per month.
So let's do some math:

18USD x 12= 216 USD for a year. I think that's great.
The traffic is unlimited. I can download and upload until my PC dies, and they wont charge me. The P2P traffic is not shaped, messed with. Tech support is ok. Medium, not great, but i can live with.
Don't believ me? Check this:
to see the internet offer. i have the expensive one. There are cheaper.
Also check this: to see how much is one USD in my country.
And, let me tell you that Romania is the 2 pourest country in the EU, wich we recently joined. Bulgaria is considered 1 ( the diff. is not much).
I don't even wanna dream how great the internet connections are in sweden, or france or spain, wich are richer than us, and how cheaper.
translation from
"Latime de banda maxima in orasul tau"= bandwith in your town.
"Latime de banda maxima in internet "= bandwith on the internet.
"Trafic cu latime de banda maxima in internet** nelimitat "
<** Traficul este nelimitat 100% pentru orice tip de abonament>
the traffic is unlimited 100% percent, no matter what fee you pay per month.

PS- sorry for my bad english.
Also i forgott, in my home town, there are 3 major ISP player: UPC, ROMTELECOM - they recently slashed prices, now they have a good offer, and RDS), but also there are some LAN small time ISP, wich buy bandwith from these major player, and sell it to ppl. their offer is 1 2 USD higher than that of those big time players. but their support is actually better than those of the big time players. it;s their infrastructure that sometimes sucks.

By heffeque on 9/9/2007 10:29:00 AM , Rating: 2
French cable company Numericable offers their clients 30/1 with unlimited traffic for 19.90 euros or 100/1 with 50 GB traffic limit for 29.90 euros. Personally I think that the 30/1 offer is really attractive.

By daidaloss on 9/9/2007 1:02:04 PM , Rating: 2
Who rated me down? George Ou's acolytes?
Come on... Are u americans that pissed off that a poor romanian pays 18 USD per month for 4 mbps?
Why rate me down? so other ppl won't read my post, and see for themself that USA is't really behind a lot of countries in terms on Internet bandwith and prices?
why the hate for europe's and asia's great fiber optics
americans can't will all the time.

By kyp275 on 9/9/2007 9:08:54 PM , Rating: 2
Just a thought, but have you considered that maybe you got rated down because of your holier-than-thou attitude.

and yes, I have heard of Romania, as a matter of fact, I even have a couple of Romanian friends.

By daidaloss on 9/9/2007 10:46:53 PM , Rating: 1
ok, i'm sorry if my words misleaded you guys, i wasn't implying that americans must me stupid because they never heard of Romania, but from my own experience, a lot of americans never heard of it, why should they? it's not like we are Greece, a highly popular turist destination in the balcans, nor Germany, the richest country in the EU. Sorry if any of yuo got affended by that. i have some virtual american friends, met them on some dc++ hubs, so i don't have any problems with americans. i actually work for some of them, and earn big bucks( more like 500USD a month)
anyway, almost everyone of them complains of the internet access they have. i'm not an expert in USA broadband access, my guess would be that there isn't real competition between the big players, and that the USA government doesn't do something about it.
the recent romanian prices cuts, ( 1 year or so) are a result of the government making some market reforms, trying and "forcing" the Internet market to reform, to make it more liberal. i wont's buy the theory "americas huge, it would be very expensive to wired it all up with FIOS", because, even if it is huge, the moiney to be made are even greater than the cost of wiring it up.
anyway, again, sorry if u misunderstood me, i just wanted to point out , that a small (22 mil inhabitants) country, and one of the pourest of EU, actually has a good internet access. this should be enough of the reason for the USA to start investing big in FIOS.

By Oregonian2 on 9/10/2007 2:59:27 PM , Rating: 2
ok, i'm sorry if my words misleaded you guys, i wasn't implying that americans must me stupid because they never heard of Romania, but from my own experience, a lot of americans never heard of it, why should they? it's not like we are Greece, a highly popular turist destination in the balcans, nor Germany, the richest country in the EU.

I'm an American. I visited Romania for about two weeks last year, although mostly in the South in Bucharest and down on the Black Sea coast (Constanta -- furthest North I got was Brasov which I enjoyed tremendously). Don't be so huffy! You're not THAT remote! :-)

Sorry if any of yuo got affended by that. i have some virtual american friends, met them on some dc++ hubs, so i don't have any problems with americans. i actually work for some of them, and earn big bucks( more like 500USD a month)

Yes, that's part of the difference. I make almost that amount of money every working day and I'm only "middle class", not a rich person. The price of things in Romania is very low (although the EU will fix that), so it's one of those things where comparing prices internationally isn't wise -- the translations between currencies can be false. Salaries are low in Romania but so is the cost of living and it's that relationship that's important to the quality of life. But for visitors like me, it's great to get papanasi every day at every restaurant I go to and get it for nearly nothing (by my standards). Will be visiting again next year or maybe the year after. I love Romania, it's a very nice country.

i'm not an expert in USA broadband access, my guess would be that there isn't real competition between the big players, and that the USA government doesn't do something about it.

Competition is much more than characterized. Even the article above I think is bogus. Locally there probably are at least a few dozen ISP's available for one to choose from even if there's only several biggies. To one's house there are only a few actual physical wires, one from a cable company, one from one's telephone company over which DSL can be delivered, and in my case FIOS. I'm pretty sure that the fellow in the U.K. with all those choices doesn't have a different set of physical cables coming into his residence from each one of those choices -- no way that would happen. In my case, for instance, I've DSL from a company other than Verizon even though it's Verizon's physical plant that my DSL goes over -- but from the central office I'm routed over to my ISP's location and use their routing and internet connections. For businesses there are even more options such as metro Ethernet.

i wont's buy the theory "americas huge, it would be very expensive to wired it all up with FIOS", because, even if it is huge, the moiney to be made are even greater than the cost of wiring it up.

Most of Verizon's capital expenses (as much as they can spend without borrowing the money) goes into building FIOS. It's an insane amount of money (numbers are in their annual reports, etc). But the cost of installing the system is even more than insane. They do agree that the profits will pay for its building -- else they'd not build it (even though there are those who don't think it will). But they can only build it at a rate for which they have the money available to them and installation is very expensive and labor intensive (they bury hollow tubes underground up and down the street through which they can then later install the fiber cables), and even then they ONLY get revenue from those who sign up for service which will be only a small percentage of houses they build their infrastructure past. It may cost them a trillion dollars before the system is fully built out nationally. They just don't have that kind of money in their piggy bank to just buy the system instantly.

By GeorgeOu on 9/9/2007 6:15:11 PM , Rating: 2
Good for you if you have broadband. This isn't a pissing contest to see who's got better bandwidth, I'm just pointing out that it isn't the kind extreme price differences people like to cite. I don't have a problem with Romanians or Europeans and I respect all people, but your aggressive tone and insinuation that Americans haven't heard of Romania is probably what got you down-rated.

By Etsp on 9/10/2007 9:04:25 AM , Rating: 2
Do you even understand what QoS is? It isn't a magical service that lets you utilize more than your connection normally allows... It's simply a metric, that determines the behavior of your connection when there isn't enough bandwidth available. When your connection is fully taxed, QoS determines what is most important, and what is least important.

QoS does not have much to do with the throttling of certain web sites or applications, and that is what proponents of Network Neutrality are trying to prevent.

If your ISP decided it was going to let you browse google at only 56k, regardless of traffic on your connection, but allowed you to go to yahoo at full speed, which Search engine are you going to use?

Network neutrality protects your ability to use your connection to the full extent of its abilities, regardless of what you use it for. QoS has nothing to do with it, as the majority of its effects happen when the connection cannot handle any more total traffic.

Somebody mentioned Japan...
By drunkenmastermind on 9/8/07, Rating: 0
RE: Somebody mentioned Japan...
By JoeBanana on 9/9/2007 3:07:20 AM , Rating: 1
5MB for 40$?
That's not that good. In Slovenia we have 10up/2down for 35€(max 60/25MB on VDSL). On optic we have 10/10 for 31€, 20/20 is also nice for 56€, up to 1000/1000 which is redicously expensive at 4172€.

RE: Somebody mentioned Japan...
By Griswold on 9/9/2007 7:36:17 AM , Rating: 1
Slovenia. We'll talk again when the minimum wage there is on par with the rest of europe.

His point was, japan is not el-cheapo to begin with, so the prices he gave are better than good.

RE: Somebody mentioned Japan...
By daidaloss on 9/9/07, Rating: 0
RE: Somebody mentioned Japan...
By heffeque on 9/9/2007 10:59:25 AM , Rating: 3
Also take into consideration that the standard deviation and the variance in GDP PPP terms is a lot lower (the lower the better) than in the USA. There's a lot of middle class and barely any extremely rich or extremely poor people in the country, whereas in the USA there's a part of the population that has A LOT of money and there's a huge amount of people that live in extreme poverty. The USA is the rich country with the most percentage of people living in extreme poverty way above any European country, including Slovenia ;-)

RE: Somebody mentioned Japan...
By Continuation on 9/9/2007 9:22:38 PM , Rating: 2
"Extreme poverty" is highly relative. In the US the poverty line for a single person more than $10,000 a year. For the majority of the population in this world, living on $10,000 per person a year would be considered an unimaginable luxury, not extreme poverty. I doubt that in Slovenia a single person living on $10,000 a year would be considered living in poverty.

And even taking the high standard of "poverty" in the US into account, the % of population living under poverty line for US and Slovenia are:

Slovenia: 12.9%
US: 12.6%

So it looks like inequality in Slovenia is higher than US.

By Shadowmaster625 on 9/10/2007 3:02:36 PM , Rating: 2
yeah but in slovenia you dont need 10,000 a year just to have a roof over your head and a cup of ramen noodles. You'd get a hell of a lot more for 10 grand in slovenia.

RE: Somebody mentioned Japan...
By heffeque on 9/9/2007 10:42:54 AM , Rating: 2
Actually... you must know very little about Slovenia. It's actually pretty well off. Their economy has surpassed Portugal's and their GDP per cápita is almost as high as Spain's.

(I only know these things because I'm going to live there for a year on an Erasmus exchange program, so I don't blame you for thinking that Slovenia was poor country).

RE: Somebody mentioned Japan...
By JoeBanana on 9/9/2007 11:20:20 AM , Rating: 2
I don't blame you if you don't know that it is actually it is with the rest of europe. After all Slovenia is a small country. But not poor.

You implied the second part from the first one, so your whole logical statement is false.:P

RE: Somebody mentioned Japan...
By JoeBanana on 9/9/2007 11:21:56 AM , Rating: 2
TG please let us edit our posts.

RE: Somebody mentioned Japan...
By JoeBanana on 9/9/2007 11:23:06 AM , Rating: 2
Lol i meant dailytech. You see what i mean.

RE: Somebody mentioned Japan...
By Enoch2001 on 9/9/2007 11:28:21 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah but...Japanese woman are 10X hotter. ;-)

RE: Somebody mentioned Japan...
By daidaloss on 9/9/07, Rating: 0
RE: Somebody mentioned Japan...
By drunkenmastermind on 9/10/2007 8:25:40 PM , Rating: 2
What I meant was 100Mb/5000kbps

RE: Somebody mentioned Japan...
By Chocobollz on 9/12/2007 12:13:28 PM , Rating: 2
Well I have a friend who live in Kyoto and he said that he were able to download at 5 Megabyte/s and he were only paying about US$ 20/mo and that's unlimited...

Well I myself live in Bali, Indonesia and here, we have to pay for roughly US$ 20/mo for a 16 Kilobyte/s with 1 GB quota (that's right, I ain't lie to you xD)~ It is like having hell here in my internet connection but then I remember my friend who live in Texas... She said she were using a dial-up and have to pay roughly US$ 20/mo... It is such a twist everywhere xD~

And about the statement about the "Japanese Womens is 10x hotter" then I would say, they're absolutely "100x hotter than Slovenian womens" (and yeah, I've already see some Slovenian girls before ^ ^), but of course it's all based on personal opinions ^ ^.

Great article
By FITCamaro on 9/8/2007 8:29:10 PM , Rating: 3
I for one am sick of cable and phone companies stating that more choices for the consumer HURTS competition. I would love to hear them explain that argument. Verizon would love to bring us FiOS nationwide. But they can't thanks to Comcast, Time Warner, and Bellsouth. No we still wouldn't have 100mpbs connections. But we'd be a step in the right direction.

I am one who hates with a passion my cable company. But DSL is even slower and just as expensive. I would giggle with glee if my cable company headquarters were to burn to the ground with those who run it inside. When I move, I will make sure that this company is not the local provider.

RE: Great article
By Ralph The Magician on 9/8/2007 8:35:38 PM , Rating: 3
The saddest part is that even the cable lines that have been laid are capable of 30Mbps assuming companies like Comcast would upgrade their infrastructure. But since they have no incentive to do so, why bother? They can just charge you $50/month for 6Mbps shared cable.

RE: Great article
By TomCorelis on 9/8/2007 9:29:37 PM , Rating: 2
You have to remember that jockeying for all that bandwidth is your TV and phone service as well. HD VOD, TivoHD, any kind of HD functionality not running on your home box will share the came cable line as your internet.

RE: Great article
By rdeegvainl on 9/9/2007 8:20:47 AM , Rating: 1
that would be all fine and dandy if there was a difference in my speeds when I turned off the other systems.

RE: Great article
By theapparition on 9/10/2007 12:49:51 PM , Rating: 2
Also, that 30Mb/s is shared with you neighboors. I agree the cable co's should remove limitations and allow everyone to download at full speed. My guess is that they felt people would get pissed off when that 30Mb/s connection slowed to 2Mb/s during peak usage. Much easier to justify to your customers going from 5->2 rather than 30->2Mb/s.

I don't have that problem anymore, 40Mb/s on dedicated FIOS line.

RE: Great article
By TomCorelis on 9/11/2007 12:28:41 AM , Rating: 2
I envy you... piddly 3mbps ADSL, 384k up, 5 static IPs, and I'm still paying 80 a month or so to SBC.

Though, they have yet to complain about my eggregious bandwidth usage or all the various personal servers they host...

RE: Great article
By OddTSi on 9/9/2007 1:50:44 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that the "competition" that some members of government propose is regulating the industry and forcing the companies to share their networks at next-to-nothing prices. They feed us crap about how they're monopolizing the network, but they PAID for it why shouldn't they monopolize it? That's the same as if the government suddenly said that you had to share your house with homeless people who pay you a couple of bucks a month.

If they want to have completely open networks that any company can come in and use then they should build a public fiber network that's funded by the fees that companies pay to use it. But we all know that's not going to happen because large governments are horribly inefficient and greedy and they'll likely try to raise taxes in order to fund it while using half of the money raised for personal pet projects.

RE: Great article
By herrdoktor330 on 9/9/2007 4:50:26 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you. Big Cable is going to sell you what they can get away with at the price point they can convince you is reasonable. That's the way all businesses work. But I want to put these 3 ideas on the table:

1) I believe that FiOS is going to grow. Verizon is a very large company and will gain ground slowly in rolling out their services. AT&T is going to be rolling out U-Verse in alot of major metropolitan areas which is bringing the fiber closer in select neighborhoods, upping the speed of DSL services and offering Video-oIP services.

US Cable companies are going to be forced to address this in the coming years. Comcast has already displayed a DOCSIS 3.0 modem that can join 4 broadcast channels to offer something like 120Mbps downstream. Once that rolls out, we're all going to be dropping that sentiment and be happy consumers all over again.

Now, you're probably wondering why, if they have the technology, they're not putting it out today. It all does back to available bandwidth for the medium. Cable has about 120 broadcast channels that are available over coax and hardlines. Right now, about 65-70 of those are utilized to broadcast your analog channels (your basic and expanded basic packages). Another 40 or so of those are used to broadcast all of your digital analog channels + HD content (of which there isn't much... but I'll address that), which is roughly about 200+ channels in your digital tier including premiums. That leaves you about 10 channels for data, which includes HSI and VOD services, including any upstream communication your digital boxes and HSI modems want to do. And that's in a perfect world where coax is flawless and every channel works fine. Sometimes that isn't the case based on the hardlines being used in an area.

The point I'm making is that cable infrastructure is limited until all analog broadcasts cease in 2009. Once that happens, they'll be able to make more room for HD services and data bandwidth, thus alleviating alot of the problems consumers are having today. After that, going into 2012 and beyond, we may peak out cable company infrastructure when it comes to delivering content and bandwidth to customers. At that point, everyone will want to be a FiOS company, of which I'm sure Comcast, Time Warner (if they're still operating cable systems then... they may sell out at that point), Charter, and all the little companies in between will be forced to make the same FiOS offerings that Verizon is now in the select areas that they're operating in. That will be the new "Big Cable" game.

2) I know I'm making myself flamebait in saying this, but I remember a time when I was jamming on a 14.4bps modem and thought that was the best, when BBSes were the "internet" people like me were aware of. I used to work with small mom-and-pop ISPs that were operating off a fractal T1 line. That's about 720Kbps offered from the ISP to dial-up customers. Today, customers are getting speeds that are faster than T1 lines, which in my youth I drooled over as I sat over my Pentium 100 with 16 megs of Ram and 1 GB HD and played Duke Nukem 3d over an ad-hoc dialup connection.

Today, I have a cable modem. I get about 6Mbps down of which I share with a house of friends. And I got to be honest; I'm satisfied with that speed. My girl is able to do her Myspacing with no problem. I'm able to download my LEGAL torrents at a reasonable rate (30 minutes for an Ubuntu ISO is cool in my book). I have no real complaints.

Now I'm not saying I don't want more. More is better and everyone loves faster speed. I would love faster access so I can have instantaneous transfers from my friend's VPN across town, but if I can download his files from across town and have to do a night-long transfer to do it, I'm cool with that. I've had to wait all night before and I can wait all night now.

3) But the big thing about broadband penetration issues is rural areas. Let me explain a scenario for you: towns where the population is 300 people or less is not cost effective for a cable company to run those kinds of services to, nor for the phone company to improve their infrastructure to offer better DSL services. The money spent on that kind of endeavor delivers no immediate positive return other than the altruistic reward of bringing technology to people living on the fringes. Companies would have to wait years to see a zero return on that investment, and by the time they would see a positive gain they'd have to upgrade services again. Hence, the companies won't do it.

As it stands, the best cost effective solution to give everyone in the rural parts of any nation access to broadband at a cost that is palatable to any company is the proliferation of WiMAX and everything that would blossom from that. It wouldn't cost nearly as much to put up some antennas and stand-alone repeaters on existing utility poles as it would to run hardlines all over the place. But I wouldn't count on that happening soon in the US again until 2009 when analog is eliminated and more radio frequencies are made available for usage of that nature.

But all things aside, we're going to have a bandwidth problem in those areas because of all the costs involved with providing something better. Until then, you have dialup and broadband via Satellite. Which are both unappealing I know. But you do what you can with what you have. I remember a long time ago companies used to make "shotgun" dialup modems that would use 2 phonelines and split internet traffic among the 2 separate connections to the internet. I'm sure that could be duplicated with a PC with 2 dialup modems, a clever software package, and some creative network design.

Not that I don't agree with FIT... these companies do actively work to stifle internet proliferation. As far as the actual problem goes of getting EVERYONE broadband, economics and the pursuit of profit are the elements to that problem. If the US Government made the idea of wiring up small communities more appealing to the Phone and Cable companies, then more progress there would be made. But rest assured, more bandwidth will come in time. It all boils down to being patient.

don't complain
By gfredsen on 9/8/2007 9:15:03 PM , Rating: 2
a friend lives five miles from a town of 14,000 in eastern Washington State. There are houses every three hundred feet on both sides of his road. His options are satellite at 80 bucks per month for 786k or dial up at 56k @ $20 bucks per month. I live in that town and my option is Embarq 3 megs for $45 or Clearwire at about the same price for half the speed. That's it and it won't get any better very soon. those speeds don't even reach that half the time. Sucks.

No, I am not a robot.

RE: don't complain
By Christopher1 on 9/8/2007 9:40:06 PM , Rating: 2
Dialup at 20 bucks per month? You have GOT to be kidding me! Even in the boonies of West Virginia where my grandfathers house is, there are plenty of dialup providers, 5 or 6 at least.

I want to know where in the world he is that he has to pay 20 bucks a month. I could get service up there for less than 9 from two of the providers there.

RE: don't complain
By lobadobadingdong on 9/9/2007 1:06:49 AM , Rating: 2
It's not that uncommon, here it Texas some rural areas are lucky to get 28.8k for 19.95 a month (a few places in the last 10-15years have just now broken free from old school party lines) from the 2-3 locally available ISP's. (56k is a dream for my parents house, they usually only connect at 14.4 and they're charged 24.95 a month from the only available isp in the area)

Why would the phone company's want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace pulp telephone cable for 50-1000 residents, especially when all too often the majority of those residents are living near or below the national poverty level? Cable companies won't go near them, and cell phone providers could care less about putting up cell towers either. It's a buisiness loss for the companies to provide for these areas, it sucks, but it's all about the benjamines.

RE: don't complain
By drebo on 9/9/2007 2:27:57 AM , Rating: 2
You need to get a new ISP then. I know a dial up ISP (sister company of the one I work for) that's a whopping $4.95 per month and has phone numbers almost everywhere.

In the dialup world, there is actual competition and very few companies still use their own modems and infrastructure. Generally, if one company is available, most will be. With companies like GlobalPOPs providing the points of presence, numbers, and just leasing them out to individual companies, which provide the authentication, you're almost guaranteed to have more than one option.

RE: don't complain
By lobadobadingdong on 9/10/2007 1:07:22 PM , Rating: 2
Didn't you see there is only 1 ISP available in the area?

Unless you think paying long distance for internet is a viable way to save money. You still can only get the throughput older phone cables get to you local mux/demux.

The point of my post is that not everyone has the same options as everyone else due to regional infrastructure and service availability.

RE: don't complain
By drebo on 9/11/2007 2:30:27 AM , Rating: 2
You didn't read my post.

Most (in fact, I'd say about 95%) of all dial-up ISPs do NOT own their points of pressence. That means that they lease them, which means that there are automatically potentially 10s or 100s of ISPs that will service them.

Check . If your number shows up there, I can name several ISPs off the top of my head that will service your area.

Local dial-up is no longer a hodge-podge of mom-and-pop outfits anymore. If you're still being reemed by one, it's your own problem.

By Targon on 9/9/2007 6:20:40 PM , Rating: 1
The problem when it comes to a lack of providers comes down to how the infrastructure is put in place, and how much effort the government places on putting a good foundation in place.

The telephone industry for example had a HUGE amount of money pumped into it to put phone lines into every household and area and to push it EVERYWHERE. With government behind it and properly financed(with oversight), a much improved backbone with redundancy sprang up, and the telephone thrived.

Look at Internet access to see a complete case of neglect in the USA. Let every company in every area try to maintain their own backbone, and network, pay the fees to connect to others, etc. It's not cheap, and in the end, we pay the cost. With a public Internet backbone, it is as simple as putting equipment in the house and that equipment talking to "home base". In that case, you CAN have 30 or more companies providing access in an area, because none of them need to worry about most of the work getting customers onto the network.

Similar systems work for the electric grid, where you have providers of power that connect into the grid. There will be tax money that goes into maintaining the backbone, but the backbone would be so much more robust, it would be worth it.

We also know that George W. doesn't give a damn about things here at home though, so it is no wonder things like this never get any attention.

By Oregonian2 on 9/10/2007 3:17:32 PM , Rating: 2
You're saying to get rid of the competition and make the internet infrastructure be a Government thing? Want to go back to 56K modems?

By Targon on 9/10/2007 5:27:21 PM , Rating: 2
No, I did NOT say that. I said that the problem is that if every provider is expected to run their own fiber to every house in order to provide service to that house, then we have the "slow" speeds this article talks about. As a result, the infrastructure and service providers need to be separated.

If you have cable, your cable company is paying for the fiber installation. The government isn't helping in that regard.

The telcos have been getting money from the government for this sort of thing, but rather than the fiber being a part of a national network, the telcos hold ownership, even with government kickbacks. This is the source of the problem, where the national Internet backbone should be THE center of the Internet, but it's not, it's all private between the different providers.

By Oregonian2 on 9/10/2007 8:02:44 PM , Rating: 2
The telcos have been getting money from the government for this sort of thing, but rather than the fiber being a part of a national network, the telcos hold ownership, even with government kickbacks.

I wasn't aware that the government was paying for the country's fiber infrastructure. AFAIK the carriers have been building their own (at their own expense), which is why there are multiple fiber links between the same geographical points, each owned by different companies. Although I am in the telcom business, that's not my area. Could you give me a link to some info about that? Thanks.

It walso as my understanding many of the fiber backbones were put down before the big dot-com crash and that massive amount of dark fiber was just now being lit up.

P.S. - Do cable companies provide fiber to the home? AFAIK only Verizon's FIOS does that, with cable providing, well, cable for that "last mile". If you had only one link, that would limit competition quite a bit I should think. Which is why cable companies have monopolies for the most part. Local governments here were happy to give permission to Verizon FIOS to install and to provide TV services because it gave cable some competition that it generally doesn't have in most places (other than perhaps satellite).

By SandmanWN on 9/11/2007 10:34:53 AM , Rating: 2
You really need to put the coolaid down.

First Telcos are not funding by the government. Most telcos are revamped buildings that previously existed and lie alongside railroad tracks. For example the Atlanta Internet Exchange at 56 Marietta was a former Western Union building. That building and many others like it are privately owned by companies like TelX and Telehouse and have ZERO involvement with the government, be it payments, subsidies, or anything else. Most of these buildings are neutral and will allow any company set up equipment.

Second your typical cable/dsl company only lays a small portion of the cable in the US. There are reasons why companies like Abovenet, XO, City Net, IRIS, Equinix, Level3, etc, etc, etc... exist. Your typical ISP buys most of their lines from many other companies that run cable, be it continental or transatlantic/pacific. You would be completely dumbfounded by exactly how much "Dark Fiber" exists out there. Fiber is run constantly and much of it is completely unused and has never been lit. All of it is for rent or sale and can be used at any time!

Thirdly there is going to be a major new player in the market very soon and thats your local power company. One of the biggest hold ups in most cities is that the data lines run on poles or tunnels owned and operated by the power companies and are regulated 100% by that power company. Most power companies are starting to develop their own fiber optic rings in their perspective regions and are making it very strict on ISP's to run new lines.

Lastly there is no such thing as a National Backbone. Whatever gave you that idea is completely idiotic. The government does own fiber but its an extremely small portion of the overall backbone. It is generally used by the banking system and the military for obvious reasons.

To answer your question the infrastructure is built and owned by far more companies and organizations than you have the faintest idea about. You really need to start doing more research instead of blabbing on about government kickbacks that dont exist, national networks that dont exist, and this supposed telco/infrastructure collusion that is absolutely absurd.

Local governments
By umeng2002 on 9/8/2007 9:08:20 PM , Rating: 2
Local governments are also to blame, and that is where a lot of the corruption takes place. I remember calling Comcast for years about high speed internet and they always said that they are waiting on permits to install the equipment locally. Here in South Florida, broadband finally arrived in the summer of 2005.

I don't really care that much if there are only a few ISP companies as long as they provide competitive service. I have 6 Mbps with powerboost from Comcast for $45 a month including the cable rental fee.

My average speeds are more like 3 to 4 Mbps unless I'm lucky and get a really fast server or something. My simultaneous downloads do average around 6 Mbps or greater, so I think it's the whole damn net and not just your ISP when things are slow.

I'm really curious what "the rest of the world" is doing with their super fast speeds that most US internet users aren't doing.

RE: Local governments
By Christopher1 on 9/8/2007 9:43:53 PM , Rating: 2
That isn't really a competitive price, that 45 dollars for Comcast Cable Internet, especially when they are starting to get on people's cases for using the whole amount of bandwidth that they are supposed to have.

You want to know what the people in Japan are doing with their super-fast speeds: sharing TV shows (most japanese companies ENCOURAGE people to share TV shows), have better quality online viewable TV shows, download games, movies and music faster than over here and at a cheaper price... I could go on for awhile longer, were I willing to look up everything that Japan has over us internet wise.

RE: Local governments
By frobizzle on 9/9/2007 9:54:28 AM , Rating: 2
My average speeds are more like 3 to 4 Mbps unless I'm lucky and get a really fast server or something. My simultaneous downloads do average around 6 Mbps or greater, so I think it's the whole damn net and not just your ISP when things are slow.

The whole net slowing down?? I strongly disagree! Ever connect in a place whit mutiple T3 connections? I do every day on my job and speeds often exceed 10Mbps. And, BTW, my work location has 1000s of users sharing that connection.

Unfortuntely, for the home user, the choices are few and pathetic! For a while TWC was the only option for broadband. Initially, they offered up to 10Mbps. I was fortunate to ever get 2Mps on a good day. Then, one day, I noticed the speeds had significantly dropped and I wasn't the only one that noticed it. The local Road Runner news group was filled with people posting about the loss of bandwidth! It turned out that TWC, wanting to start offering higher tiers to business customers dropped the residential cap from 10 to 2Mbps and tried to keep it all under the radar screen! I wrote a letter to TWC saying that if they were reducing my (potential) bandwidth to 20% of what it was, would they kindly reduce my monthly bill to 20% of what I had been paying. Fair, right? Gee, I never received a reply from them. Fancy that!

In the meantime, the local telco started offering ADSL with a 2Mbps cap for the same price as TWC! I again wrote to TWC requesting a cost reduction or I would be compelled to take my business elsewhere. Again, no reply. I switched over to ADSL and it was an improvement as with TWC, I was now getting speeds that would not be impressive for ISDN. With ADSL, I was at least getting close to the 2Mbps cap!

Competition between the two providers seemed to work for a while. TWC would raise its cap so it could (legitimately) claim the "fastest Internet" service and then the telco would raise its cap to match it. The pendulum swinging went on for a while and eventually reached the point where both were advertising up to 6Mbps. I generally get the full bandwidth on my ADSL. Would it be the same with the shared bandwidth that cable offers? Based on my past experience, I doubt it! Sadly, both companies have stopped the competitive raising of the caps and both are happy, fat and dumb, I guess.

Perhaps there was some collusion between them to stay at this level and work together to keep any new competition from coming into the area. I say this because a similar sized metropolitan area 80 miles to the east is getting the option of FIOS from Verizon and a similar sized metropolitan area 60 miles to the west is also getting FIOS. When I questioned Verizon on when we will be getting the option of FIOS, I was told probably never. Seems that TWC and the telco have a lock on the area and Verizon can't get the necessary permits.

There are problems with the ISPs but as OP said, the local governments are just as much to blame as the providers!

RE: Local governments
By TestKing123 on 9/9/2007 7:56:11 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't it obvious? They're getting their porn alot faster than we are!

The emphasis on download speed.
By kyleb2112 on 9/9/2007 1:01:41 AM , Rating: 2
My question for those with fiber optic download speeds is: who's serving files that fast? I rarely see files served at even half my cable modem speed.

My beef is with the monthly upload cap that Cox imposes. I'd happily trade half my down speed to double that--I do a lot of video work and it would be a nice option to send large files from my home connection.

RE: The emphasis on download speed.
By drebo on 9/9/2007 2:55:02 AM , Rating: 2
My question for those with fiber optic download speeds is: who's serving files that fast?

That's just another side of the same problem.

The faster the customers can go, the faster the servers need to be connected. Colocations would need to adjust their pricing as well.

By frobizzle on 9/9/2007 10:05:04 AM , Rating: 2
I rarely see files served at even half my cable modem speed.

The problem may or may not be with the servers. Cable modem users share bandwidth with other cable modem bandwidth users in their area and you may be experiencing slowdowns due to congestion on your Cox bandwidth.

By theapparition on 9/10/2007 1:01:04 PM , Rating: 2
I have 40Mb/s FIOS, and for average surfing, not much difference between that and 6Mb/s cable. Some websites are slow, and there's nothing you can do about it. When it really shines is with file downloads. I've had some downloads at over 5MB/s (40Mb/s).

By NickWV on 9/9/2007 2:36:50 AM , Rating: 2
This is the real problem, most of the members of congress has no idea how the internet actually works.

Doesn't anyone remember the quote of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens?
"They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material."

Now obviously Senator Ted Stevens has no idea what the hell he is talking about, but low and behold, he is trying to make a policy. The rest of congress is just like this, they are politicians and have no clue how the web works.

Since these politicians have no clue how stuff works, they look to others around capital hill who they think has an understanding of the inner workings of the internet, meaning consultants, advisors, and ... yeah, lobbyist . Again, remember these guys don't have a clue, so how are they suppose to decifer the bullshit ramblings of the lobbyists from the technial leaders in the IT field? They can't.

Its corporations (like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, etc.) that are dumping millions upon millions trying to sway the government that is the problem. If the government doesn't have a clue how shit works, then how are they suppose to how to fix it? They may work on issues which they think is in the best interest of the general population, but their understand has been corrupted by bullshit

By jajig on 9/9/2007 2:55:46 AM , Rating: 2
Whats your problem with that quote? He seems on the ball to me.

By Oregonian2 on 9/10/2007 3:03:02 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, the quote is actually correct (although Qos aspects can change how the line is formed, and the net not being neutral would affect how the line forms as well).

By borowki on 9/10/2007 4:07:27 PM , Rating: 2
If the government is as clueless as you described, I would spend millions to keep it from regulating my business too.

By Kougar on 9/8/2007 10:13:01 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with the article, 1-2 choices of ISP that all offer slower speeds at higher prices is a major issue. Time Warner Cable is about as inefficient an entity as I have seen, anyone that had the ability to offer a comparable service would likely force them to shape up and fix their atrocious customer service, let alone stop raising prices and creating higher bandwidth tiers.

TWC can only be compared to the likes of AT&T in their business practices of where the consumer comes last, and I'm not going to list personal examples but they exist aplenty.

Part of my concern is that even if the major ISPs had a upheaval of business practices, the internet infrastructure they use wouldn't be capable of keeping pace. There are just to many overwhelmed or near borderline hubs and backbones. It took more than a year before whomever it was upgraded a major problematic hub in the DFW area that the entire eastern portion of Texas gets routed through. Typical latency would go from <100ms on previous hops to 600-865ms just on 2-3 routers. TWC claimed they could do nothing about it, but they route all their central Texas cable service through there.

RE: Infrastructure
By cmdrdredd on 9/8/2007 10:39:10 PM , Rating: 2
I have a couple friends living in Japan and they tell me all the time that their ISp may offer cheap rates for good speed, but they get crappy uptime. Sometimes it just doesn't work at all. I'd trade the uptime I get with my Comcast cable vs a 50Mbit connection that goes down randomly and for no reason.

Anyone care to comment on this?

RE: Infrastructure
By rdeegvainl on 9/9/2007 8:31:24 AM , Rating: 2
I would gladly pay more for better uptime AND speed. Now where is the option?

we used to have a lot
By michal1980 on 9/8/07, Rating: 0
RE: we used to have a lot
By borowki on 9/8/2007 11:40:53 PM , Rating: 2
That's basically the case in the UK. Basically an ISP would pay British Telecom for use of the line to a customer and pay BT again for a pipe to the Internet. No real investment in the infrastucture, really. Just a different way of slicing the pie.

My own experience in Europe is that it's usually better to stick to the telco. The wildcat operations can seem amazing at first, but then inevitably the quality of service would nose-dive as they sign up more and more people.

RE: we used to have a lot
By drebo on 9/9/2007 2:44:59 AM , Rating: 2
Right, but those "wildcat operations" keep the telco from gouging their prices. Think about it.

It's far, far easier for a tier 1 provider to simply resell bandwidth to other people and then let them worry about the users, the authentication, etc. So, these "wildcats" get dirt-cheap rates on bandwidth and access. Yet, the telco usually has the customer support already in place, so why not offer the service anyway?

Now you've basically got the telco competing with itself. Cost is lower on the resell, but revenue is higher on the direct sale. The "wildcats" then determine the final cost, depending on how low they want their margins to be. The telco has to conform to that price, or they get no customers, and in the age of VoIP, customers are very important to a telco.

So, if all of the "wildcats" determine that they want X service to be available at X price, you can be damned sure that the telco is going to be somewhat close to that.

This is completely contrary to what is currently in place in the US, where the tier 2 and 3 providers are (generally) the ONLY source for internet, and they don't generally resell to anyone. Thus, they have no inscentive to offer faster speeds or lower prices. Customers may demand it, but they've already got a monopoly and know that the customer can only go from bad to bad if they switch.

Now, if the government forbade these providers from offering services direct to customers, we'd see all kinds of ISPs pop up reselling services. Each one would offer just a little bit more for just a little bit less than the last, and prices would plummet. Or, we could just come up with some sort of quota regulation system. If you have this many customers, you must have this many resellers. Even one or two more ISPs in a geographic area would lower prices and increase speeds dramatically. Wireless is all well and good, even 700mhz band proposals are a step forward, but it's too slow (from a latency perspective) for a lot of users.

We need the resellers. They're excellent for business.

RE: we used to have a lot
By borowki on 9/9/2007 9:36:08 AM , Rating: 2
Why don't you actually take a look at the spreadsheet provided in the article as proof that things are wonderful in the UK. £20 for a 512/256 connection--yup, prices are plummeting and speed has increased dramatically.

... and here in New Zealand
By stevolution on 9/8/2007 10:54:53 PM , Rating: 2
The quality of life 4/10
The girls 5/10
ADSL connection 4/10

4Mbps to home
Just free modem if you are on 24month contract..
15Gb cap
128kbit up / 4mbps max (usually between 2 and 3.6) down

Am I in hell?

By drunkenmastermind on 9/8/2007 11:08:44 PM , Rating: 2
And that's why I don't live in New Zealand anymore ;)

RE: ... and here in New Zealand
By bunga28 on 9/9/2007 3:56:44 AM , Rating: 2
This may be a bit harsh but I suspect that the girls are not the problem; it is you that the one's having problems. There are beautiful ladies everywhere, if you look hard enough...:)

RE: ... and here in New Zealand
By B166ER on 9/9/07, Rating: 0
Europe? haha, no way
By Nyu on 9/9/2007 4:08:25 PM , Rating: 2
European and Asian web surfers will soon leave American consumers in the dust, every time.

ROFL, you mean SCANDINAVIA and Asia, the rest of europe is worse than the US when it comes to broadband

RE: Europe? haha, no way
By heffeque on 9/9/2007 5:16:10 PM , Rating: 2
You've got to get some reality check, Nyu. You should see how internet speeds and prices are in the States. You'd be surprised. People in Europe generally complain about their speeds and prices, but in the States they're far worse even compared to the new EU countries.

RE: Europe? haha, no way
By Jeremie on 9/9/2007 5:28:52 PM , Rating: 2
ROFL, you mean SCANDINAVIA and Asia, the rest of europe is worse than the US when it comes to broadband

That's a nice fantasy you have here...

Let's take an exemple: France.

In France, more than 95% of the population can have a DSL internet connexion. The average monthly price is between 20€ and 30€ (thats less than $40 USD), and it's quite easy (meaning, 90% of the people would get this) to get an unmetered 2Mb/256Kb speed.

In the cities (and suburbs, etc.) for the same price, we have 10 to 25Mb download, 1Mb upload. Basically it's the same offer, but urban density is higher, and the DSL lines are shorter (more quality).

Let's take my case. I leave near Paris (about 5 kilometers), in a small city. I pay 30€ a month (no hidden fees or whatever). For this, I get:

-a DSL line (ADSL2), 9Mb/1MB speed (I have a pretty long and bad copper line). No traffic meter, I can download and upload as much as I want, when I want.
- a DSL modem, with wifi, usb, and ethernet connectivity, that can do basic router tasks, is a switch (4 ethernet ports), can be plugged with a regular telephone
- national land lines, and about 30 international countries (including China, US, etc. and in some cases–like the US–that also covers the mobile lines) free phone calls (with my regular phones, that has its own number and can be called, etc.). And the charged ones are about 70% lower than the regular phone costs. As often as I want, 24/7, etc.
- a second box, connected to the modem by wifi or ethernet, plugged to my TV. For free I get about 100 channels of it (ok I admit, nothing very fancy), I can subscribe to others ones (monthly, not setup fees, I can unsubcribe when I want), and of course I still can use my internet connection or my phone line when my TV is on. The bow also has an integrated 40Gb hard drive to record shows, do pilotime, etc. I can also (using simple FTP) upload music or video to it (including xvid), and watch them on my TV, in my couch. If 40Gb is not enough, I can plug any USB external hard drive to that box, it will be recognized. Oh, and it's compatible with HD.
- and of course other minors goodies for free, like 10Gb web hosting (PHP, MySQL, etc.) plans, as many emails and personal mailing list as I want, a fixed IP, a customize reverse DNS, a fast usenet access (including binaries), etc.

And of top of that, their techs are pretty good. The hotline could be better of course, but their main engineers are very good and responsive. And there's about half a dozen ISP that provide more or less the same thing for the same price, for the whole France.

And what if I wasn't near a city, like in the middle of nowhere? Well I would have a slower DSL line, but everything else would be the same.

And that same provider is currently starting to put fiber into place (cable and optic fiber are MUCH less common in France than in the US). In one or two years, for the same price (and the same, I will get a 100Mb/50Mb IP line.

And it's nothing new... I had this ISP and this DSL access for several years now.

Take Exception
By SavagePotato on 9/11/2007 10:51:59 AM , Rating: 2
I have to take exception to the comment that tech support is abysmal. I suffer through providing internet tech support daily. Talking to the average customer is like speaking to drunk, mentally challenged illiterate chimpanzees at the best of times.

If I had a dollar for every time I have had a customer misspell ipconfig three times or more on the same attempt, even when it is sounded out military style (alpha, bravo etc), I would be able to retire or at the very least buy a nice handgun to shoot myself with so i never have to do it again.

RE: Take Exception
By skaaman on 9/12/2007 10:28:20 AM , Rating: 2

'ivypetercharlieoscarnancyfoxtrotivygeorge' is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file.


Okay. I typed it. Did I do something wrong? :0)

RE: Take Exception
By SavagePotato on 9/12/2007 3:52:47 PM , Rating: 2
I as in Ivy
P as in Peter
C as in Charlie..

Still too difficult? Trust me I've spelled it out more times that Websters. There are still plenty that can't get through it. The record holder spelled it wrong 5 times before deciding he would have someone else call in for him.

What about cities ?
By 13Gigatons on 9/11/2007 1:25:01 PM , Rating: 2
People keep making excuses for the cable and telephone companies. The country is to big and people are to spread out but that doesn't explain why cities like New York, Chicago and LA don't have 100mbps symmetrical access. It could be done, they just don't want to do it.

Let's face it the FCC is in bed with Cable and Telco and they are dragging their feet with deployment.

RE: What about cities ?
By zerocool84 on 9/11/2007 4:24:58 PM , Rating: 2
YES!!!!! I was thinking exactly this. I lived in Sacramento, CA for 2.5 years and they had Fiber Optics over there. I moved back home to Los Angeles and the best thing where I live, (which has a much higher population than over there) doesn't have Fiber Optics so I settle for cable......

RE: What about cities ?
By Pythias on 9/13/2007 8:51:26 AM , Rating: 2
Cable companies and telecoms don't need to be excused. Nor should they be forced to provide you with what you deem appropriate. If you want 100mbps you can get it just not at a price you'll like.

Canada's internet is the worst!
By Protozero on 9/8/2007 11:49:22 PM , Rating: 2
Wow...I really wish I could have decent internet. I'm in Montreal, Canada. Probably the 2nd biggest city in Canada, and in my neighbourhood the best internet I can get is Sympatico Basic DSL

256k up/down
A modem that overheats and slows down a ton
2GB bandwitdh ( I blow that in a few days every month )
20-25$ a month ( usually 50$ with my like 40GB's over limit )
While a friend 10 minutes away by car gets

3Mbs up/down
Unlimited bandwitdh
good reliable modem
45$ a month

Oh...and their the same company, the Indian guy on tech support ( no offense intended ) says my local network grid in my neighbourshood doesn't have the "capacity" to handly their highspeed...

By siberus on 9/9/2007 5:08:43 PM , Rating: 2
Have you looked into They are based in Montreal. I live in Toronto and I use them. 5mb service for 30 bucks Canadian no cap.

I agree
By Nik00117 on 9/9/2007 2:48:40 AM , Rating: 2
America invented the internet... Essentially that is.

They should be at least comparable to countries like England... I mean Japan has a adv its small with a lot of poeple.

If you were lucky in my town in the states you could get 2 options for ISP, however this was just a small portion of the town (I believe roughly 20-30 homes out of a town of 75,000 had this option) so needless to say not many poeple got it.

Otherwise each ISP owned half the town, both made equal profits and never competed aganist each other. They didn't care about customer support at all.

RE: I agree
By 3kliksphilip on 9/9/2007 7:09:17 PM , Rating: 2
I found that interesting, as I live in England and never really worried about the ISP choice. As said, it isn't a problem here.

Could some one fill me in on American Broadband? In England, most people are on 1 mb - 8 mb, though most of the country can only get a maximum of 5.5 mbps. About 3 people can get 24 mb broadband, but it's very costly.

For a decent 8 Mb package, I'd say it was about £19 a month (Roughly $38). I'd say that for that you'd get unlimited usage (Provided that you don't download excessively etc)

100mbps by 2009 in the USA.....YEAH RIGHT
By 13Gigatons on 9/9/2007 6:13:14 AM , Rating: 1
The sad thing is that AT$T promised everyone would have 100mbps by 2009.

Hopefully Obama will win in 2008 and mandate faster internet speeds. Fios for every American.

By umeng2002 on 9/9/2007 10:32:16 AM , Rating: 1
Democrats are anti-big business, so why would Obama give windfall profits to telecos with huge federal subsidies (the only way it would ever happen).

I do think that 100Mbps service will be a reality in 5 years here in the US without any more government interference.

By Oregonian2 on 9/10/2007 3:10:34 PM , Rating: 2
When did AT&T say that? Was it a prediction about the world at large or did they say that they'd provide it? Did they say it after they were purchased (by SBC I think it was -- although the resulting company switched over to the purchased AT&T name, much like KMART holding company switched over to "Sears holding company' when they bought out Sears)? AT&T isn't in a position to deliver that. Their only business on the west coast AFAIK is cellular and they're not delivering that by cell phone.

By semo on 9/9/2007 8:53:29 AM , Rating: 2
i'm sorry but i couldn't read the whole article because of so much frustration.

the uk does not have 100s of choices when it comes to providers. yes, there may be 100s of "isps" but the fact is there is no real competition. most of these "isps" use bt's phone line infrastructure and most just resell bt's broadband service (i.e. the same product packaged in a 100 different ways). look at it this way: if you have a big problem with your internet connection, it is most likely a bt engineer will eventually end up fixing it.

the real options are:
1: broadband over the phone through bt
2: broadband over the phone through an llu (local loop unbundled) provider (most require a bt phone line)
3: broadband cable(yuck and only around 50% coverage)
4: a form of wireless internet (expensive/slow/little coverage)

also most of the population can't get full advertised speed (or even close to it), there is alot of deceptive advertising just now starting to disappear (unlimited usage my foot) and customer service isn't great for most isps.

RE: hillarious
By Lonyo on 9/9/2007 9:45:25 AM , Rating: 2
Actually even though many ISP's use the same lines to our houses, its the back end which can make a huge difference, as well as the level of service, such as speeds, download caps etc.

Virgin DSL have a horrible back end. They have no load balancing, so often users get pings over 200ms, with lots of packetloss and serious speed drops in peak times (like from 5.5mbps to 512kbps on an up to 8 meg line), whereas another ISP using the exact same line can give 2mbps all the time with no increases in ping even at peak times.

Then you have differences between packages with some places offering 10gb/mo caps, some offering 40, others doing unlimited, plus the pricing differences.
Even though it may use the same line owned by someone else to get to our houses, there is competition when it comes to many aspects. In the US you have a handful of providers with a handful of packages, whereas in the UK there is a lot more choice of packages even through the exact same rented lines. Then you can include other options like LLU/cable etc, although cable is all controlled by one company.

Also, in the original article, it's Derby, not Darby.

TWC Roadrunner in Southern California
By cvb352 on 9/9/2007 10:41:30 AM , Rating: 2
Here in So Cal I pay 54.99 US for 10/1 extreme gamer service. Lucky for me I live in very rural area and no one is on my local router. My speed tested is 9559/977 all the time. I agree this nice but rather expensive considering DSL stops about 5 miles from my house.

By TomCorelis on 9/11/2007 12:29:42 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, where in SoCal? North San Diego county here doesn't have that kind of speed.

By ganjha on 9/9/2007 10:44:50 AM , Rating: 2
Since we're on the subject of comparing countries, I'd like to tell you about Iceland.
Iceland has the fifth highest GDP per capital in the world, and is rated second in U.N's HDI ranking.

Here we have to pay roughly 84USD/month for 8Mb/800Kb unlimited data, and roughly 160USD/month for 14Mb/2Mb Unlimited data.
This is just an example, lower and higher bandwith is available for many.

The good thing is however that about 90% of homes in Iceland have broadband connections of 1Mb or greater, the third highest in the world, but at a price.

...Still want to complain about prices?

RE: Iceland
By Oregonian2 on 9/10/2007 3:12:12 PM , Rating: 2
I know someone who lived there for a few weeks last year. Prices for groceries were sky-high too I recall. Nice place I was told, but VERY expensive place to live.

Server speeds?
By xtknight on 9/9/2007 11:51:29 AM , Rating: 2
Half of the time I can't achieve my Comcast 6 Mbps depending on where I download from. I can't imagine how disappointed I'd be if I could never use my 100 Mbps. Peer-to-peer speeds would be decent but achieving this kind of speed globally is far-fetched given the current state.

RE: Server speeds?
By chilinh on 9/9/2007 12:26:44 PM , Rating: 2
I pay ~$45 for 7mbps/512kbps Cox cable in California (I believe the 10 or 12mbps package is $60). I'm actually really happy with the service. Customer service is always on point and quick. Also quite happy with the reliability. I've rarely experienced any slowdowns or disconnects over the past 7-8 years of using their service. I heard they put in a cap recently of 50 or 60gb per month down. I've surpassed this occasionally and never had any letters or calls. Supposedly you'd really have to abuse it.

As for the server comment, I agree. Most servers won't max out my connection unless it's near the west coast, off peak hours, or high bandwidth. The connection itself however is highly capable as places like newservers and bittorrent max out my connection almost daily. I guess I'm lucky to have a decent cable company in the area. I know of horror stories just 10 or so miles away where the OTHER cable co. takes over. As for DSL, basic is dirt cheap ($15 for 1.5mbps/128) but not very fast. Premium DSL is available however it costs more than cable and is limited by distance.

By xxsk8er101xx on 9/9/2007 10:51:43 PM , Rating: 2
If there was a 100 companies to choose from it would only benefit the customers. Everyone should be for this. Competition creates better technology and lower prices. Win win for us consumers.

RE: eh...
By Oregonian2 on 9/12/2007 8:23:09 PM , Rating: 2
Some competition helps, but too much doesn't help because each competitor loses economy of scale. 100 small guys or five big guys, which is better for the consumer? This business is capital intensive, not one where just having a good technical idea leads anywhere. It's all brute strength capital equipment from Cisco and other major telecom equipment vendors and the application of heavy duty capital building money to the physical and economic situation of the potential customers. Certainly some may be incredibly incompetent in doing this, which is why a number of competitors is an absolute must -- but 100 may not gain much. Need only several competent ones to yield the benefit of competition.

Especially if all 100 is expected to rip up streets and install cable/fiber/wire systems to each and every household (at great expense).

The UK example probably is just of data center type ISP's, not those who provide the last-mile connection to your home. Those data center kind are all over the place (although less so as broadband takes over -- there were zillions of them in the phone-access days).

By wetwareinterface on 9/10/2007 12:26:33 AM , Rating: 2
The problem in the U.S. is rural areas and distance plus a lack of the majority of customers wanting faster service plus a lack of government incentive to offer broadband subsidies. The whole mixture = slower broadband @ higher prices vs. other countries without all these factors competing against each other.

For example Japan has a large population density in a small contained area. Your backbone is fiber so all you need to do is short runs of fiber bundles from city to city and have massive bandwidth at the termination points. Due to the countries smaller size traffic routing isn't a problem as you can route through several points or if an outage there are several major hub/dense population centers with massive bandwidth to use as alternatives to route through or around to still reach a destination. There is major incentive to connect the large amount of people in say Tokyo and Yokohama due to a large sales possibility for a concentrated area. Eventually it just escalates as you keep adding more customers you increase capital etc.. and as the country has a dense population and the runs from city to city are shorter due to that you get a fast infrastructure.

What most forget is that to connect a network in the U.S. you have to upgrade the interlinking infrastructure from one area to another. Major hub points (large dense population centers) need to upgrade their interconnections too and sometimes fiber isn't the most viable interconnect due to a town with 300-5000 citizens being 20 miles or more away. And on top of that you already have an existing cable plant on copper that suffices for current activity over it that you invested thousands in to start with. This type of city isn't ever going to see fiber until the copper plant has deteriorated due to age so much that fiber becomes the cheaper replacement option. At the major population centers fiber is the much cheaper option due to growth and new customers is much larger in major urban areas. Another issue that gives the large providers pause is not everyone in America that gets surveyed states they'd switch to broadband. This forces the telcos to only lay enough fiber to handle current capacity and the end points of the interconnections are only implemented to achieve voice or T.V. for all and broandband for around 40%. This means no incentive for the major telcos or cable providers to improve end point speeds or turn up more of the dark fiber interconnections to lighted fiber due to no one is buying broadband. How many people say "Dial up is fast enough"? The answer; enough to discourage telcos and cable providers from upgrading the infrastructure interconnect end points. Sure they'll roll out "high speed fibre to the home" but they will still barley upgrade the interconnect as there is no financial incentive to do otherwise nor real need. Until American consumers become ravenous for high bandwidth services you won't see them implemented by the providers.

There are a few people that want high speed in areas that can't have it due to distance to central offices/equipment or are on an aged incompatible cable plant with high speed offerings. And here is another problem, the telco/cable companies have to spend 400-500% of what they'd get back yearly (and only that low of a percentage if everyone in the area affected signed up for service) to upgrade that cable plant to offer the service. Now your a telco/cable company, your primary business model is still phone or t.v., do you invest the money? Hell no. You take a wait and see attitude. And the longer customers without broandband stay customers and the fewer requests you get for "is it avaiable in my area yet" the less likely you will upgrade your network and the more justified your postion becomes financially.

By 13Gigatons on 9/12/2007 2:45:40 PM , Rating: 2
That's garbage stop making excuses for the FCC and Telcom industry. They are dragging their feet because they want to milk profits from the old decaying network they have now.

It sucks!
By kimbentsen on 9/10/2007 4:58:40 PM , Rating: 2
Here in Copenhagen, Denmark I can max get 25 megabits/second download and 25 megabits/second upload.

In Japan and South Korea it is several times higher. This is not good enough!

RE: It sucks!
By cheetah2k on 9/11/2007 4:36:09 AM , Rating: 2
In Hong Kong, the best is a Hutchison 10M (up/down) connection (my average speed is about 500kb/sec, and tops out at 1.15MB/sec on downloads)

However, on weekdays living in Macau, well, i have a 4M connection there, and usually gets me between 400-500kb/sec download, which is reasonable..

Either way, i wouldnt complain about a 10M connection.

By frombauer on 9/10/2007 8:29:20 PM , Rating: 2
Like they say here in Brazil, you guys are complaining with your bellies full. Here in Brazil I pay close to USD55 for 4mbit down/600kbps up cable, which rarely goes above 2mbit. AND I have a 40gig transfer limit per month. DSL providers are not much better, close to 75USD for 2mbit/400kpbs (no GB limit). Oh well...

RE: LOL...
By frombauer on 9/10/2007 8:56:20 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, just for comparison, 55 dollars here is approx. 20% of the minimum wage.

56k aint so bad
By TomCorelis on 9/11/2007 12:34:57 AM , Rating: 2
Call me crazy, but... if you stay away from flash-heavy sites, 56K ain't all that bad :-)

On another note, who's genius idea was it to include a Flash player on 2.5g-network smartphone/PDA browsers? On top of utterly gobbling up the phone's CPU power and battery time, it consumes a ton of (often precious, often costly) data bandwidth.

RE: 56k aint so bad
By TomCorelis on 9/11/2007 12:35:30 AM , Rating: 2
erm, *whose :-)

And Bellsouth/At&t is horrible
By violatortn on 9/13/2007 2:04:10 PM , Rating: 2
I live in a small town in Tennessee. I have a giant Nissan plant directly across the street, like, hit with a rock close. All I can get is dial up, OR, ISDN. Tennessee has a law stating that everyone would be able to get affordable ISDN. So, I pay $50 a month for the super dial up called ISDN. When AT&T bought out Bellsouth, one of the concessions to the FCC was that there would be broadband throught Bellsouths area within the next year. AT&T realized that was a huge undertaking, and asked the FCC if they could supply Wildblue instead... and the FCC folded. That so sucks. I will stick to my super dial up before going satelitte....

By violatortn on 9/13/2007 2:05:09 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention ISDN basically makes your phone lines useless for anything else btw.

By JonnyDough on 9/9/2007 1:09:08 PM , Rating: 1
As to how their internet speeds measure up please use THIS:

I live in southwest Michigan USA, and pinging Australia is generally the worst. I've been known to have lag with California during gaming, as well as the U.K. too. Needless to say, my internet speeds register as being slightly above the United States average cable speed. I do pull host sometimes when playing Halo2.

By Makaveli on 9/9/2007 2:25:35 PM , Rating: 2
I'm in canada and these are my speeds

On a 8mbps/800kbps line about 20mins outside of Toronto.

this line cost about 50 a month, tho I don't pay that price.

Wireless Broadbrand
By kmmatney on 9/8/2007 11:19:17 PM , Rating: 2
We have an unusual service here in Colorado, which is completely wireless highspeed internet to your house. Its not as fast as cable, but there are several plans with pricing starting at $24/mo. Download and upload speeds are equal, and you get a static IP address. I don't know anyone whose tried it yet, though.

This seems like something that might work in a big city...

Monopoly is the problem
By VERTIGGO on 9/8/2007 11:48:34 PM , Rating: 2
I am a Marine stationed in Okinawa Japan, but those Japanese speeds that are raved about have nothing impact on us. We have 1 option. Count 'em. Mediatti "Broadband" Communications. $50 a month for what I've tested as maybe 700kbps locally. My downloading is capped at 100kbps no matter what, if I try to download too much my connection gets cut. BTW the service is notoriously the worst quality on the island. Monopoly.

Were about the Monopolies!
By Mitch101 on 9/9/2007 2:24:00 AM , Rating: 2
Thats because here in the USA were about the Monopolies not about giving consumers choices.

Cable and Phone companies here are monopolies for Internet connectivity.

You can say Dish service however the latency of dish transmissions doesnt work well for gaming and isnt really an option for those living in apartments.

Some day we may get Internet from the power company but I am betting wireless internet services will arrive before that day comes.

Slow speed ?
By OutpostCommand on 9/9/2007 4:55:47 AM , Rating: 2
BT currently supplies me with 2Mb broadband - and to be honest, it sucks. I live in London.
If America is getting speeds of 10-20Mbps, and Japan even rediculous speeds of 100Mbps, then I am feeling insanely jealous.

This IS disgraceful....
By ira176 on 9/9/2007 5:16:08 AM , Rating: 2
I am a DSL subscriber to Verizon. I entered into the one year agreement for 768K down 128K up service for $14.95 U.S. a month. Along the way, I decided that I was paying too much for a standard land line phone, which I use rarely (about $46.00 U.S. a month). I decided to change to IP phone through Vonage. I ordered the $15.00 U.S. a month phone service. When the vonage package arrived on about August 7th 2007, I installed it. My DSL and Vonage were working great. The next day, I tried to get online to check e-mail, but I couldn't. A very long story short, Verizon claimed I breached the agreement by cancelling my old land line. They claimed that when I cancelled my old phone service, their computers interpreted this as a cancellation of my DSL service. They then stated that I needed to have a virtual number assigned to my house so that they could re-instate my DSL. This was called a "dry loop" line. They also told me that I would now be charged $29.99 a month for one year contract, for the same exact upload download speed as before. My wife and I went round and round with Verizon's "tech" support before the problem was discovered. I also had a beef with the new and improved fee I had to pay, since it is not stated, in my original agreement that if I cancelled my land line a dry loop line would be needed at a higher monthly charge. Verizon could give me no satisfactory reason for this change in fee, they are offering me no additional improved service. I have considered changing to TWC, and contacting the New York A.G.'s office about Verizon's latest charade.

By paohyean on 9/9/2007 5:20:45 AM , Rating: 2
If you guys are complaining about 10-20Mbps connection as being slow and only have a choice of 2 or 3 providers only, then you really should experience what I'm experiecing here. In Malaysia, we only have one major broadband provider and the maximum speed is just 2Mbps . Even that costs a bomb to us at about USD40 per month. The most common would be the 1Mbps which cost almost USD25 per month.
Not that we never complain about it, but the telecomunnications here has been monopolized by a single company only. And that makes that totally fat and lazy.

South Africa
By Sunbird on 9/9/2007 5:56:37 AM , Rating: 2
Here in South Africa we have a fixed line monopoly called Telkom, they charge about $37 for a 384Kbps line and then about $10 per gigabyte with various sizes all completely capped. They are so expensive, wireless providers are actually in direct competition with them, I myself am on a uncapped 192Kbps line which costs me $100 a month, a 384Kbps uncapped line will easily cost me $180.

And in rural areas even dailup is scarce, a country with near 50 million people has less than 4 million fixed telephone lines :(

By poohbear on 9/9/2007 6:08:12 AM , Rating: 2
i pay $28usd for 1 month @ 100 Mbps here in Tokyo. gotta love fibre optics. Problem is, i've downloaded so much pron i dont know what to do w/ it!

Sweden here
By Kaleid on 9/9/2007 7:06:43 AM , Rating: 2
30/30 mbits connection with no caps from Spanish company Adamo which I chose over 6-7 other companies that offered 10/10, 30/30, 50/50, 100/100 connections and some variations like 100/10.
Cost is about 35 dollars per month.
I have download speeds up to 7.5MB/s from good servers.
Could go 100/100 for about 65 dollar per month but what I have now is perfectly enough.

Building CoOp
By nofranchise on 9/9/2007 11:21:35 AM , Rating: 2
Hi guys - here in Copenhagen DK I get 20/20 for around 65 USD. It's not cheap but the connection is great - high bandwith via fibre optics. The ISP is ComX - a provider who focuses on large building CoOp's. 10/10 is about 50 USD and as you go a bit lower in bandwith the price drops a lot.

These prices are still ridiculous compared with the prices my friends in southern Sweden get: 14 dollars for a 100/100 line - also in a building CoOp. (Probably a word which covers this much better in English, but I'm hung over, so bear with me. It's basically a lot of apartments or small houses who share a part in the maintenance etc. sharing internet connection and so on. You still get a dedicated connection - eg. I dl at almost 2 megs regularly.)

That probably didn't make any sense - my point being - this style of a large building sharing the price of establishing a good internet connection could be implemented in places like the US as well.

I know a lot of small towns i Denmark have done the same thing. My in-laws get 6/1 mbit for 20 USD and they live on a small Island with about 500 people.

By DragonMaster0 on 9/9/2007 11:24:14 AM , Rating: 2
It's not that great. In Canada it'S abou tthe same situation as USA for price vs. speed/bandwidth.

You can find 7mbps, 16mbps ADSL and 7mbps, 10mbps, 20mbps cable from the two big guys here:

7mbps/1mbps 30GB combined $40 CAD/month
16mbps/1mbps 100GB combined $80/month

They make you pay $10 more to upgrade you to a 30GB more per month service if you get over the limit. If you get over the 30GB, it's unlimited bandwidth for $30.

7mbps/820kbps 20GB/10GB $45/month
10mbps/900kbps 100GB combined $65/month
20mbps/1mbps 20GB/10GB $80/month
Cable is $8 per additional GB used

There are smaller ISPs which use the big guys' ADSL and cable system. They have to stick within the bigger guys' set bandwidth and speed limits though:
A smaller ISP is offering the 7mbps 20/10GB cable service for $30/month. The same ISP is offering for $30 per month a 5mbps unltd bandwitdh service for $30 per month(5mbps unltd was a service the big ADSL company was offering in the past).

The good thing with the small ISPs is that they offer about the same service for 2/3rd of the price and support doesn't suck. That ISP in question has other goodies like unlimited time V.92 dial-up which can be useful if you're in a place where there's no Internet connection.

At least here, we've got choice when it comes to ISPs, even if they end up giving a part of the payment to the big guys to be able to use their equipment to reach us, so the prices aren't as bad as other places, but still, big or small, we're pretty retarded compared to lots of places.

Expected Return
By drinkmorejava on 9/9/2007 12:30:03 PM , Rating: 2
Everyone always blames the ISPs, but I think the basic economic incentives are more powerful. Why on earth would any company want to spend tens of billions of dollars to upgrade their infrastructure when they know Americans are going to be the cheap asses that we always are and not accept any price increases?

Of course the most common solution that everyone provides is to open up the market and force free competition, which, of course, would be rather nice. However, you’re forgetting that you can’t just void contracts that municipalities have with providers, and a fast transition could easily put hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk as current providers dump underperforming areas, then again, it could also create jobs running thousands of miles of redundant fiber. Furthermore, it would still be easy for current providers to price anyone new out of the market.

The most effective and immediate way to spur growth would probably be full accountability of USF money.

I believe anything focused on requiring line sharing would be ineffective, though, as any significant competition to the owner would just provoke them to price everyone else on the line out of the market. A counter would be to link the lease rates to the owner’s own consumer prices; however, if there was a meaningful price difference you’d immediately have a very powerful disincentive towards laying any new lines. Also, while something like requiring at least 10% of a line to be leased could possibly spur growth, leasing providers would quickly run out of capacity to actually sign up more users and develop a revenue great enough to support laying their own lines.

the last word?
By poweruserx83 on 9/9/2007 2:51:56 PM , Rating: 2
Let me guess- This is all about who reaches orgasm fastest, right?

Cleveland Ohio
By Hakuryu on 9/9/2007 2:54:11 PM , Rating: 2
I always thought Cleveland was pretty backwards, but we have more than 2 choices. Cable (Road Runner), DSL (ATT), Cavtel (local cable provider), Satellite (not for this gamer), and I'm pretty sure I saw another DSL type service advertised.

Although I have more choices, it has still been an incredible headache at times. I used to live in an apartment where I had DSL, and the maintenance guys would regularly disconnect the wires in the telephone room becuase they thought someone came in and messed with them (big wiring board, dsl wires running across the whole thing to my connection)... true story.

Ever since I've been with cable, which I love, but I hate the way companies 'sell' their areas. I was with one company, then Comcast 'bought' the area and I'm charged $20 more a month, then Road Runner 'bought' the area and now I'm being charged another $10 a month (for lower speeds too). Shady.

By Wolfstan on 9/9/2007 10:37:50 PM , Rating: 2
I dunno, I'm pretty happy with my cable ISP. :D

By Nyu on 9/10/2007 6:07:46 AM , Rating: 2
spain: 60$/m for 3Mb/300kbps + 30$ phone line/m

By Dharl on 9/10/2007 8:53:39 AM , Rating: 2

This article frustrated me. I have only one ISP option here other than dial-up. It's a pathetically slow Cable provider that is down more than it's up.

By jay401 on 9/10/2007 10:34:49 AM , Rating: 2
I'd HATE to have to choose between 20-30 providers. Not only would that be a chore in itself but you can bet they'd all have little quirks and foibles that would take time to uncover. Much more frustration than having 2-3 options.

2 MPS...
By nefariouscaine on 9/10/2007 10:51:46 AM , Rating: 2
I even live in Los Angeles (USA) and things are sometimes different just blocks away. I can pick between Yahoo SBC or Comcast Cable. I know cable would be slightly faster but at almost twice the cost with a contract too. Yahoo only offers up to 2ish MPS where I'm at with no option of getting their faster service. Nor does Verizon compete with Yahoo/SBC in the same areas but is a provider just a handful of blocks away. I'd have thought being in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world that there would be more. It really bothers me that the USA is vastly behind in certain areas that some people take for granted that we (USA) have to be the tech leaders - #1 cell phones / #2 broadband

4MB/s is good enough for me
By pomaikai on 9/10/2007 3:10:51 PM , Rating: 2
I have cable at 4mbps down and I notice no difference loading pages/streaming music, etc than when at work. The only difference is downloading large files at work from certain large websites like microsoft. I hit 1-2MB per second while at home is usually 350-500KB per second. My cable internet has No download cap, no peak/off peak, and is very reliable. And i live in a suburb about 30-40 miles from dallas. We americans just want what someone else has. We think we are the most advanced country and should have the best of everything. I would never give up 4mbps unlimited down/up for a higher max with a data cap. If this ever happens say good bye to youtube, streaming music, streaming movies, etc. People just like to complain to hear themselves talk nowdays.

ouchies :(
By zangetzu on 9/11/2007 9:48:10 AM , Rating: 2
i really do feel poor for you guys wo real connections :( AND the freakin insane prices AND the stoneage quota system :/ (omg almost lost myself there :P).

a 100/100mbit fiberconnection in swe is about 40-50 USD free quota limit etc, and its availible for around 30% of the population.

the rest runs on everything between 0.2-24mbits through dsl/cable/wireless, but even tho we can see our broadband going strong nowadays it wasnt always like this >_< itll come for you guys aswell :P


By Dfere on 9/11/2007 9:50:56 AM , Rating: 2
Bundling! Most locations you need to be able to GET the $30-45 DSL package. Oh no, you just can't plug in...... You need a basic home phone line -$20, some LD package -$12, plus excise fees etc- which makes DSL much higher just to have it.

I wonder if this is a structural difference that was sort of highlighted in the discussion about England's options.

By Dxtrty on 9/11/2007 4:04:48 PM , Rating: 2
I heard on bbc that the avg consumer net speed in the major cities in France is about 15Mb/s... find it hard to believe though.

Here in Denmark it is not cheap either, 20Mb down / 2Mb up no cap on bandwitdh - 90$US a month...

high price on indonesia
By janggoman on 9/12/2007 10:47:48 AM , Rating: 2
you should come to my country, indonesia. my office had to pay 8 million rupiah or about 846USD excluding tax. and the connection is 30kb for downloading and 30kb for uploading and not to mention the connection sometimes awful

By DjiSaSie on 9/15/2007 4:10:39 AM , Rating: 2
Here in Indonesia, west Borneo province.. we still living in cave. We have electricity crisis, which black out once(5-10 hours) in 2-3 day
Anyone care for us...?

However we still have an internet connection called "Speedy" up to 384Kbps download and 64Kbps upload, that cost 200.000 rupiah (app. $21.5 us dollar) a month for 1GB Quota excluding tax.

Sorry for my bad english...

By SandmanWN on 9/8/2007 8:19:44 PM , Rating: 1
The real problem exists on the upstream side not the networks. The servers and so forth simply are NOT capable of sustaining a high speed upload when there are thousands of users interacting with the system. We need to focus on getting the servers working on faster storage mediums first. The current fiber optic network gets faster and faster every day as we discover new ways to compress data into waveforms. You can push an OC3 all the way up to OC192 down the exact same fiber. So I would suggest that the problem has nothing to do with the network and more to do with the storage systems.

Another problem in your assertion is that there are only a few companies available. This is incorrect. There are a great deal of companies that have large networks. The reasons why they don't get involved in providing service to the home user is the incredible burden it takes to support idiotic users, pay support employees, engineers, tech support, accountants, investment officers, all the other staff, and maintain consumer lever equipment.

For example, I worked for a company that started just 5 years ago and already has roughly 20 Avici TSR core routers in a multi-national fiber optic backbone on a staff of 18 people with thousands of business customers. Thats more of the same core routers than even AT&T owns yet you probably never heard of this company because they absolutely do not want involvement with the consumer level. There simply isn't enough money for the risk you take of hiring thousands of employees and dealing with the constant hassle.

To put it more simply, there are a great deal of issues and concerns that are keeping things from growing than you point out in your blog. You only hit the tip of the iceberg on this issue.

"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini
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