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Union City, CA

It's not that bad...

I'm actually quite surprised by Akamai's report as I was actually expecting an average downstream speed of LESS than 3mbps. Many of my friends and family members who are on DSL are getting only 384kbps (economy plan) to 1.5mbps, and do not seem willing to spend more for extra speed as a previous poster pointed out.

But it's clear that the path we're currently on is unsustainable. Consumers are hungry for bandwidth, whether it be wireless or wired. But upgrading the backhaul infrastructure in a country as big as ours is expensive and by the time one upgrade is complete, the development of content already saturates that new capacity, requiring yet another significant deployment of resources to infrastructure upgrades.

Did anyone notice that the top 10 countries on that list ALL happen to be either small islands or small countries? It's much easier and much cheaper to deploy and upgrade infrastructure across smaller geographic areas, and much more cost-effective when population concentrations are centered around a handful of major metropolitan centers. Compare that to the large suburban populations around the US, plus our significantly larger land mass, then add in higher cost of labor, and all of a sudden, you have massive cost issues, longer deployment times, all with smaller ROIs. And of course, the major players in the US are publicly-traded, and investors don't look favorably upon large capital expenditures without subsequent increases in revenue, earnings, market share, etc. Look at the flak Verizon got when they first announced their plan to build the FiOS network. Plenty of investors screamed bloody murder! It's already amazing that service providers can charge what they do for some of these connections and still remain in business.

I'm paying $78/month for Comcast's DOCSIS 3 tier from which I get 22mbps/5mbps on non-PowerBoosted state (30/10 when PB is active), which I don't think is necessarily unreasonable given the capabilities that the speed provides for. I can do 3-way video conferencing on my line, watch 720p videos without ridiculous buffer/download times. Things that take an hour on my friends' slow DSL lines take seconds to minutes on mine. And thus far, my content uses haven't outpaced the available speed. And I happen to live in a suburban community, so I'm just relieved that I can get this. Would I like to pay less? Sure. Who wouldn't? But is it an unreasonable price for what I'm getting? Not necessarily. Market competition can only bring prices so low. At the end of the day, the providers still need to balance the need to make money, appease their investors, while also staying competitive. It's a tough balancing act, and one which I think is only getting more difficult as Internet content places greater demands on the network.


To mitigate the capital expenditure costs of individual companies, and propagate the expansion of high speed internet services what should happen is the state should take over the pipes, tax payers pay for expansion, maintenance and future upgrades while the ISPs lease the lines from the State. It provides a level playing field for the ISPs to compete on without directly incurring capital expenditure costs. This also allows new entrants to offer services driving down the cost of the service.

The only way I can see the expansion of fiber to continue at its current rate sustainably (or even accelerate) is for someone big who doesn't have to answer to shareholders to take over.

Afterall we entrusted the state to build the national railway network and highway network now the future is the infrastructure required for carrying the internet.

My 0.02$
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reply to KingKuei6

Re: It's not that bad...

said by KingKuei6:

I'm paying $78/month for Comcast's DOCSIS 3 tier from which I get 22mbps/5mbps on non-PowerBoosted state (30/10 when PB is active), which I don't think is necessarily unreasonable given the capabilities that the speed provides for.
Paying $78 for ANY internet speed is stupid!! Granted, I know if you want to go faster, you pay more, but if you're so greedy you have to start paying THAT much for internet, that's beyond my reasoning capabilities!
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Union City, CA
And no offense, but you basically fit into the average population of a provider's subscriber base. If your sense of reasonable price is say $30/month, then that's what the providers have to target. If that means providing 3.0mbps max, then that's what you'll get. There are others who are paying $100-$130 for even faster connections. Verizon DSL meets your needs; fine. Perhaps you don't have any uses for a faster pipe, but others do. That doesn't make us greedy, it just means that we have applications or content that require it, such as 3-way video conferencing, large batch uploads, VOIP, etc.

Let's face it though. You can go get 56k dial up for $5 a month. It takes you to the same Internet, right? Why not just pay for that instead of whatever you're paying now: $13, $20, $30+ for DSL? But obviously webpages are no longer just static lines of text with cheesy clip art graphics. Now it's rich content with images and videos and ads. So you needed a faster pipe, because waiting 78 seconds for the NYTimes to load on 56k is painful when it might take just a few seconds on a faster connection. Waiting 1 hour to download a program like Adobe Acrobat is probably not an experience worth having on 56k. So you see, at some point content will necessitate the need for a bigger pipe. The hope is that BEFORE that happens, those faster pipes will have already made it to the average consumer at a price point that they average consumer is willing to pay.

But my point was that the service providers are EXPECTED to provide this service, but the marginal revenue generated from lower cost services, means that they need wide user adoption in order to recoup and offset the massive costs of infrastructure development. But content is moving far quicker than infrastructure at this point, and I was simply trying to drive in the issue of sustainability of the current business model. At some point, something major is going to have to change if we're to keep up.
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