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Boucher: Let's Shoot For 50/20 Mbps For 80% By 2015
The least we can do is aim high...
by Karl Bode 01:07PM Friday Dec 18 2009
Consumer advocates were underwhelmed by their first glimpse of our national broadband plan this week. Still, it's still important to note that actually having a plan is a step forward for Uncle Sam, who in years past set no goals -- then proudly proclaimed success after having done nothing to accomplish them. The government's also had a bad habit on relying on incorrect data to make policy decisions, and setting the bar low when defining broadband -- first by defining it as just 256 kbps, then only recently upping that to 768 kbps. Doing even a slightly better job shouldn't be very hard.

A recent GAO report argued that whatever the government does in terms of addressing broadband, those goals should be clear. We've seen a number of countries recently do exactly that; Finland recently declared 1 Mbps a basic right on the path to 100 Mbps for all users by 2015. Though less ambitious, Spain too recently declared that all citizens should have access to 1 Mbps service by 2011. While we're certainly a larger nation with more residents, surely the United States can at least set some goals?

Congressman Rick Boucher apparently thinks so, and has penned a letter to the FCC (pdf) asking that whatever the FCC does, they should aim high. How high? 50 Mbps downstream and 20 Mbps upstream for 80% of the population by 2015. Given the cable industry already claims they serve more than 95% of the population, and DOCSIS 3.0 upgrades can be deployed to the majority of those users with relatively little expense, something close to Boucher's goal is obtainable.

One problem is, carriers who can't reach that 50 Mbps mark (like AT&T, Qwest, or say Echostar) and don't want that fact highlighted, are going to lobby the government to make sure no ambitious goals are set. Even Verizon, who this week announced they were testing 10 Gbps residential node connectivity, has lobbied to keep broadband standards low because they hope to leave the less competitive portions of their footprint on slower speeds for a very long time.

Obviously neither the phone or cable companies want to spend the kind of money needed to fill in less competitive and rural markets with faster speeds if there's low ROI. If Uncle Sam wants faster speeds across the majority of America, and phone or cable companies won't do it -- the result will be a push for government involvement in fiber expansion -- or the addition of new private competitors. And guess what? Carriers will lobby to stop both of those options. Setting the goal is only the start.

"Without committing to such ambitious, but achievable, levels of speed and service, the promises of telemedicine, distance learning and telecommuting may remain a far-off dream rather than a near-term reality," said Boucher. "If we fail to achieve such a goal, our nation will likely remain well behind other industrialized countries that are racing ahead and gaining a competitive advantage by doing so." Sounds good. Again though, the problem will be keeping carrier lobbyists from watering down those goals.

As noted the other day, while the FCC's early plan guidelines cover a lot of uncontroversial ground, the plan so far hasn't exactly screamed ambition.There's no indication that the FCC's eager to upset the broadband duopoly by taking bold steps to improve competition. There's also no indication so far that the FCC's ready to shoot for high national penetration goals. Perhaps that will change, but it would require shaking off the thousands of telecom lobbyists currently in DC trying to shape the plan. The FCC has 61 days until it unveils its broadband plan to Congress.

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iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
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1 recommendation

I'd go for 30/15

50/20 pretty much means that 80% of the population has to be covered by FTTH by 2015. Not gonna happen.

However 30/15 can be done with VDSL2 (Qwest), DOCSIS 3 (any cable company) or really high speed fixed wireless (802.11n or 802.11ac based stuff with a polling layer on top).

Lambaste me for aiming low, but 30/15 would be awesome if it was available everywhere cable covered, or everywhere the telco had a next-gen network. Which is a fair bit more than 80% of people, fortunately.

We should also have a 90% benchmark: by 2015 10/2 should be available to 905 of the population. This can be done by HSPA+, WiMAX, DOCSIS 1.1 cable and even single-line ADSL2+ with Annex M (or line-bonded ADSL2+). May not sound like a huge amount of speed but it's still good.

Oh, and 3/768 should be available to 98% of the population.

MSauk
MSauk
Premium
join:2002-01-17
Sandy, UT

Re: I'd go for 30/15

like our country would ever try to be #1 in anything anymore...

Especially when it comes to gov't goals.
--
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iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2

1 recommendation

Re: I'd go for 30/15

If we wanted to be #1 we'd have to pencil in 2 Gbit symmetric by 2015. Other places have gigabit, or will have it by 2015.

As much as I'd love 100 Mbps symmetric FTTH, I'd rather be realistic with results.

MSauk
MSauk
Premium
join:2002-01-17
Sandy, UT

Re: I'd go for 30/15

I think what was stated should be a very realistic goal and one we should try to attain
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SDKiwi
VIP
join:2002-05-27
El Cajon, CA
kudos:2

1 recommendation

Re: I'd go for 30/15

I don't think the goal stated is unrealistic and I also don't think it requires FTTH. Analog TV should go away by 2015 and that will allow Cable MSOs to significantly increase upstream and downstream bandwidth (much higher levels of channel bonding) without going to FTTH. New CPEs and diplex filter changes will be required, but we are talking hundreds of mhz of spectrum on existing plant that becomes usable by then.

cw3kkkkkkk

@rr.com
said by MSauk:

like our country would ever try to be #1 in anything anymore...

Especially when it comes to gov't goals.
We are the #1 debtor nation
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1
said by iansltx:

50/20 pretty much means that 80% of the population has to be covered by FTTH by 2015. Not gonna happen.

However 30/15 can be done with VDSL2 (Qwest), DOCSIS 3 (any cable company) or really high speed fixed wireless (802.11n or 802.11ac based stuff with a polling layer on top).

Lambaste me for aiming low, but 30/15 would be awesome if it was available everywhere cable covered, or everywhere the telco had a next-gen network. Which is a fair bit more than 80% of people, fortunately.

We should also have a 90% benchmark: by 2015 10/2 should be available to 905 of the population. This can be done by HSPA+, WiMAX, DOCSIS 1.1 cable and even single-line ADSL2+ with Annex M (or line-bonded ADSL2+). May not sound like a huge amount of speed but it's still good.

Oh, and 3/768 should be available to 98% of the population.
Those are some insanely low standards. You do realize bandwidth speeds in backbones increases approximately according to Moore`s Law, right?
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
Reviews:
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1 recommendation

Re: I'd go for 30/15

Absolutely. However I can't pull a backbone to my door for less than $1000 per month. so the point is moot. You set a standard that people can reach so they reach it, pat themselves on the back and work with you. As opposed to saying "1Gbps to teh homez uv ALL!!!1!" and watching as that train gets derailed faster than the wreck of The Old 97.

Our of curiosity, what kind of connection are you sitting on right now? Have you used a connection that's 30/15 or greater? Have you used a connection that's 50/20 or greater? Were you able to tell the difference?

I've used everything from dialup to HSPA to 22/5 and 50/10 Comcast to a 100 Mbps port on my university network...and from what I've seen if you can deliver a solid 3/768 connection you're in one tier of decency, 15/5 is another tier, and 30Mbps or so symmetric is a third tier. I had no idea of what to do with the 50 Mbps connection...only a select few sites supported it other than Usenet (good old Usenet). Yes, the applications will arise to fill the bandwidth demand but by that logic I'd have used my university internet connection in my dorm more than my home Comcast now. That's not what happened.
Lazlow

join:2006-08-07
Saint Louis, MO

100% first

I would rather see 5/512 to 100% of the population (at sub $30/month price tag) before we move to the higher speed. It would also be an idea to increase the incentives to make the systems 100Mbps capable to rural areas.
Natoma6

join:1999-08-30
Brooklyn, NY

1 recommendation

Re: 100% first

20/5 to 100% of the population by 2015 is doable and aggressive enough.

Remember, that's 6 full years away if it's end of 2015.
--
--Natoma
Lazlow

join:2006-08-07
Saint Louis, MO

Re: 100% first

Anyway one provides wired(including fiber) internet to most rural areas is going to require putting down new wire(fiber/whatever). In NY that will not be much of an issue but look at the central core of the US (say ND straight south to TX). You are talking about running millions of miles of new stuff, it is going to take a while. Just look back in history to see how long it took to run electricity(REA) to those areas. Phone was the same.

ArrayList
netbus developer
Premium
join:2005-03-19
Brighton, MA
Reviews:
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Re: 100% first

the more we piss and moan about how long it takes to do things like this the less it gets done. in 5-10 years they could get all this done. its not going to happen because the powers that be don't want it to happen.
--
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meh37II

@verizon.net
Same here, though I'd rather set it at 5/2 for $30 (or less) and 1/512 for $15 (or less)--just give everyone the opportunity to get off of dial-up (where that's their only option now). Thing is, all of the ISPs hawking 50 and 100 are killing off the "slow" single-digit tiers--they just aren't "profitable enough" to justify the expenditure (because reasonable profit isn't enough... it's gotta be ungodly profit in order to be an incentive to build out). Wireless will possibly enable it, just not cheaply enough (profit... again).
Lazlow

join:2006-08-07
Saint Louis, MO

Re: 100% first

Wireless will be an option in some areas but in a lot of areas it is just a no go. If you look at the way houses were built (geographically) in the area I mentioned, you will see that most of the homes were built in valleys. This means they loose their line of sight and wireless does not work. The reason the houses are built in these valleys is due to the wind(1 tree per square mile is common, so nothing to stop the wind) and lightning (if the house is in the valley it is not the highest thing around).

IF they put down the new lines to these areas it is highly likely that they will put down fiber. The majority of the expense is burying the cable not how much the cable costs. So the price difference between the fiber and wire itself becomes insignificant. This becomes even more likely when one considers upgrades. On fiber when you upgrade you pretty much just change the equipment at both ends. With most wire based upgrades they usually need to upgrade the wire itself, an easy example of this is when they started moving to D3 here in St. Louis. It was massively delayed becuase so much of the cable had to be replaced (D1 era cable).

DSL and its variants usually just drop out due to distance issues. With many of these areas having less than 10 people per square mile, dsl would require a RO/RT for every 3(ball park) homes(mom,dad, two kids). They also would need new lines ran due to the limited number of lines buried in the 70s.

meh37II

@verizon.net

Re: 100% first

I'm still hopeful (silly me) that something useful will come from white-spaces... useful, and [relatively] cheap.
Sammer

join:2005-12-22
Canonsburg, PA

Re: 100% first

said by meh37II :

I'm still hopeful (silly me) that something useful will come from white-spaces... useful, and [relatively] cheap.
Haven't you heard, if those who are making up this National Broadband Plan get their way at least 25 of the remaining 49 television channels as well the equivalent of 100 analog television channels of other prime spectrum will be auctioned (undoubtedly to AT&T and Verizon Wireless) for spectrum licenses and there won't be any room anywhere for white spaces. The wireless phone industry already has over 500 MHz of spectrum while the television industry now has less than 300 MHz (some of that shared) so guess who the real bandwidth hogs are?

knightmb
Everybody Lies

join:2003-12-01
Franklin, TN
said by Lazlow:

Wireless will be an option in some areas but in a lot of areas it is just a no go. If you look at the way houses were built (geographically) in the area I mentioned, you will see that most of the homes were built in valleys. This means they loose their line of sight and wireless does not work. The reason the houses are built in these valleys is due to the wind(1 tree per square mile is common, so nothing to stop the wind) and lightning (if the house is in the valley it is not the highest thing around).
That's not an issue anymore, as a person who to runs (2) wireless ISP companies I can say the problem has already been solved and a solution is already being implemented. But this isn't the place to get into a long technical discussion as to why or how because that's exactly what the competition wants to know.
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IowaMan
Premium
join:2008-08-21
Grinnell, IA
I agree for basic use 5-6 Mb is a good starting spot for the Upload it needs to be at 768K being the baseline IMO
As 3Mb/256K is starting to become slow at $29.95 per Month

Z80A
Premium
join:2009-11-23

1 edit

What's this "We" S

"We" is used all the time yet Boucher and his whore buddies don't do anything. His plan is merely unfunded mandates on everyone else to do it. And when it is gov't funded like the USF, it is a horrible waste of money wrought with fraud and corruption.

We saw from the PA Bell Atlantic deal, plans and goals don't mean anything and the taxpayer ALWAYS loses.

With such pointless twaddle like this and such messed up priorities it is certainly no wonder Congress has 68% disapproval ratings (NBC/WSJ 12/11-14).

PeteC2
Got Mouse?
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3 recommendations

telecommuting? telemedicine?..."distance learning?"

sigh...where will it all end? Hell, folks have been telecommuting for years already, and a lack of available broadband is hardly the limiting factor...

"distance learning"? Man, that guy can coin a phrase eh?...er, maybe not so much... Maybe Boucher would be shocked to learn that there have been on-line colleges for years now as well???

telemedicine though...that one I've got to have! Uh...what egg-zactly is "telemedicine" anyways? Is he suggesting that physicians and hospitals do not already routinely share data, and other important medical information, including diagnostic readings, etc., now?

Sorry, this is the same tripe that always gets rolled out when someone advocates that broadband coverage is some sort of sacred "right" and that every citizen "needs" broadband.

Hell, I like having broadband, don't get me wrong, but that is a long way from saying that it is some sort of god-given "right", or that government is for some reason obligated to make it so...

Edit: Along that line, what exact mandate do we have to either "keep up", or for that matter "lead the world" anyway? If anyone is upset as if we lost a race or something....buck up! We are #1 in homicides per capita amongst the "developed" nations! Woo-Hoo!
--
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WA_Resident

join:2009-12-12

Re: telecommuting? telemedicine?..."distance learning?"

Uhmm, seems like you have no clue as to how some rural hospitals utilize high speed internet connections to serve their patients. You should read up on it!

Transmaster
Don't Blame Me I Voted For Bill and Opus

join:2001-06-20
Cheyenne, WY
Reviews:
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1 edit

2 recommendations

A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage


Herbert Hoover
 

Rep' Boucher
Rep Boucher must be channeling Herbert Hoover. This Broadband letter to the FCC sounds very much like a modern day version of Hoover's standard stump speech during his 1928 campain for the office President "A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage". In answer to this letter all I have to say is "where's The Beef". Damn put a pair of glasses on Hoover and he kind of looks like Boucher.
--
I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's.
- Mark Twain in Eruption

meh37II

@verizon.net

1 recommendation

Re: A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage

Ahhh, virtual chicken again... twice (at least) in one day. Is that a chicken joke?

Digitlman

@rr.com

Yeah, right

Sure, let's get 80% up to fiber speeds, but we'll cap each of them to 10G a month...we'll rake in the $$$$!!
PDXPLT

join:2003-12-04
Banks, OR

The U.S. has set some goals

quote:
While we're certainly a larger nation with more residents, surely the United States can at least set some goals?
The U.S. set some goals, albeit vague ones, 13 years ago. The 1996 Telecommunications Act stated it was U.S. national policy to make affordable broadband available to all Americans. The law directed the FCC to take immediate action if it determined that timely progress twoard this goal was not taking place.

In response, the FCC adopted a metric that assumed that if one person in a zip code, then everyone else in that zip code was assumed to have broadband. Based on that, the Administration declared victory in 2007, even though tens of millions of Americans still do not have broadband available.
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

1 recommendation

Re: The U.S. has set some goals

Yes, how short is everyone's memory. And this is what all these putz politicians and corporations (one in the same) count on.

You are absolutely correct and it was the telecom companies themselves that set that standard at 40 symmetrical.

So I say since it has been over 10 years that we up that a little to 50 symmetrical to ALL people and places by X. Then start fining them heavily every month they are not done by that time.

Dolgan
Premium
join:2005-10-01
Sun Prairie, WI
Reviews:
·Charter

This could create jobs...

...by using this as a WPA type project. That is how much of our infrastructure was built up in the 1st place. Have the Government expand the backbone necessary for the increased demand for bandwidth, and let local carriers battle it out/upgrade the local infrastructure. Even Wireless Competitors could benefit from a project like this{ maybe split the cost of running the lines from the towers to the backbone in rural areas}. This would be a major undertaking, and long term...as the backbone will need to keep up/exceed the needs of the users. Instead of throwing money at Wall Street, we should be taking care of Main Street. Once people have jobs and expendable income, the economy will begin to grow again.
Lazlow

join:2006-08-07
Saint Louis, MO

Re: This could create jobs...

I would also like to see a WPA type project. But the backbone is pretty much fine, so I do not think that would work. However going out to those areas that are least likely to get any company to move into would. Running fiber optic out to all the farms in the US would generate a tremendous number of jobs. Take a look at the central part of the US (ND straight south to TX) and you have an idea of the type of areas I am talking about. Treat it just like they did when they installed electric and phone to those same areas.

Transmaster
Don't Blame Me I Voted For Bill and Opus

join:2001-06-20
Cheyenne, WY
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1 recommendation

Re: This could create jobs...

Good to see somebody here that knows our history. Indeed building out a broadband network using a Works Project Administration (WPA) type of model, or better yet a Rural Electrification type of model would do the trick. The is the kind of investment in the infrastructure of the US that makes since. Like the Defense Interstate Highway System which was started in the 1950's when the Pentagon recognized that much better roads where needed if it ever became necessary for large military movement across the country a national broadband "highway' should be considered just as important to the Nation.
--
I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's.
- Mark Twain in Eruption
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
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1 recommendation

get on the stick

somebody better light a fiber optic fire under the footprint that has Q W E S T written all over it! there is NO WAY much of these black holes that exist TODAY in LATE 2009 will go away by 2015 with any speeds faster then 10 megabits down and a paltry, can you spare the kilibits upload...
somebody needs to make exclusive MONOPOLY FRANCHISES ILLEGAL in the parts of the country that do not already have 10 megabits by at least ONE major carrier. AND just because they have it in PART of that footprint doesn't give them cover for the REST of the footprint!! Also, smacking AT&T upside the head for crappy dsl is in order as well.

By 2015, I want to see 100/100 by all the major carriers for under $75 unbundled, with NO contract. Though, one can have a *MODEST* truck roll fee equal to 1/2 the monthly service fee if the customer cancels within 4 months, because deploying the latest FIBER OPTIC equipment to someone's home carries risk in its investments. What happens if the customer moves, sells their home and the ONT sort of... um, disappears once they cancel service? The telco could be SOL for some expensive gigabit ONT equipment.
famu720

join:2008-03-24
Simpsonville, SC

Boucher: Let's Shoot For 50/20 Mbps For 80% By 2015

The Internet should be two gigabits in both directions at a bare minimum.

dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4

is this?

80% of fios customers? lol

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Screw This

This, like every other government "investment" program, will end up being the absolute worst combination of corporate welfare and nonproductive waste.
--
"Net Neutrality" zealots - the people you can thank for your capped Internet service.
mlcarson

join:2001-09-20
Los Alamos, NM

Re: Screw This

50/20 is very realistic by 2015 by doing what we've already been doing. It's the 80% that is not realistic. It'll be more like 20% or less because the rural areas where there's been no infrastructure investment will continue to be ignored. Money will just go into the most densely populated and richest areas where broadband is already available.

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Re: Screw This

said by mlcarson:

50/20 is very realistic by 2015 by doing what we've already been doing. It's the 80% that is not realistic. It'll be more like 20% or less because the rural areas where there's been no infrastructure investment will continue to be ignored. Money will just go into the most densely populated and richest areas where broadband is already available.
I am going to go out on a limb here and boldly claim that most populated areas of the USA have access to broadband through at least one provider. This isn't 1998, and private companies have steadily been building out access to previously unserved areas, and still continue to do so today. If you look at changes in broadband subscription rates over time, you will find that they have leveled off. This means we have reached the saturation point of broadband penetration in this country. The people who want it but cannot get it are a very tiny minority, and the other people who do not have broadband either do not want it at the price offered or cannot afford it anyway.
--
"Net Neutrality" zealots - the people you can thank for your capped Internet service.

Vamp
5c077
Premium
join:2003-01-28
MD
kudos:1

Terrible..

In 5 years 50mbps will be very far behind.. If you are going to set goals atleast set then with future speeds in mind.
--
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Bob Franksto

@verizon.net

The problem with broadband is that it's the anti-Internet

Broadband about billable services and speed. It's not about availability. If you're not jacked in you're disconnected. We should first assure you're connected anywhere, anytime without having to generate billable events (»rmf.vc/?n=IAC).

Speed is easy and will take care of itself but only if we don't let ourselves be held hostage to speed. We already have 100% copper but it's all unused because of the broadband funding model that requires scarcity. It could be running 10 to 100Mps today.

wildbill1978

@radford.edu

Maybe Boucher Should Focus on His Own District

It's funny how he wants to see 50/20 speeds, when many people in his district still only have access to DIAL-UP!?! Maybe he should first focus on getting the people he represents more options that doesn't max out at 56k. I at least have cable, but that is my only choice, and I have a small data cap to deal with each month.
jbwhite99

join:2005-03-22
Raleigh, NC

What we really need is lower barriers to entry...

Do you know why a lot of these Asian and European countries have great speed for low prices? Competition? Certainly, a lot of it is that this country is spread out, but most of us really have only 2 choices. Time Warner has a virtual stranglehold on our area, and standard ($55 in January) cable is 7MB down/384k (yes 384k) up. We need to change the way cable franchising is done, state by state; for that matter, seeing the rate increases for UVerse and FIOS today, that isn't the answer, either...