"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

GOP Senators Want Lower Internet Speeds to Qualify as "Broadband"

According to this article in Ars Technica, the FCC's decision to designate broadband minimum speed of 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload, doesn't reflect what most Americans need. "We are concerned that this arbitrary 25/3 Mbps benchmark fails to accurately capture what most Americans consider broadband... Looking at the market for broadband applications, we are aware of few applications that require download speeds of 25Mbps," the senators wrote. "Netflix, for example, recommends a download speed of 5Mbps to receive high-definition streaming video, and Amazon recommends a speed of 3.5Mbps. In addition, according to the FCC's own data, the majority of Americans who can purchase 25Mbps service choose not to."

It's true in my opinion that faster is better, but a lot depends on how large your household may be in terms of what you may actually need. A household with multiple users accessing the internet simultaneously, probably won't be happy with 5 mps. Do they need 25mps? Maybe not, at least today. Much is changing in the world of the internet and tehnology such as G-Fast can bring 500mps and higher on your copper phone lines.Sckipio in early 2015 demonstrated G.fast delivering speeds over 100 megabits nearly 500 meters and more recently, 2 Gps at 300 meters. 
The next few years should bring about even more breakthroughs, but in the interim, we should do whatever we can to assure that every household in Moultonboro can have access to an acceptable level of broadband, even if it doesn't meet the FCC arbitrary definition. 


internet user said...

Not only present households, but future households as well. The government dictates to commerce, commerce accommodates the markets. Moultonborough governance has a tough time now, figuring out what its people want or need. Let the people decide and stay out of knowing better. Let the FCC peck away at rules that are good or bad for the ISP's.

"The list of those suing the FCC now includes three Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and four trade associations united in opposition to the FCC's decision that reclassifies ISPs as Title II utilities."

It is correct that the consumer should choose what it needs for broadband. The town doesn't provide broadband. It can act as a facilitator, but not provider.

Broadband Bill said...

If people could choose the broadband capacity they need, that would be great, but they can't. Here in town, we are limited to Fairpoint of TWC. Fairpoint offers 7 or 15 Mbps download max and 1-2 Mbps upload max. TWC offers a max of 50 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload. This meets most needs of most people, but not all. Those needing more are out of luck, unless they are willing to get a business grade fiber service and spend $700/month for 10/10 service or if along Route 25, $1000/month for 100/100 Mbps service.

The FCC's definition helps promote the use of Federal funds for building infrastructure that is somewhat future-proof, but doesn't require private companies to build it that fast, unless they use the Federal funds for a specific project. As Moultonborough Blogger points out, sharing bandwidth among household members is the reason behind most of today's higher needs, although applications like video conferencing, telemedicine and cloud computing can stress today's limits.

It comes down to what makes economic sense, as it should. When Fairpoint or TWC upgrade their technology, like to G-Fast, it takes a lot of money and the dense areas usually get it first, due to a faster payback. If there was sufficient demand for 100/100 service throughout Moultonborough, we would have non-incumbent providers setting up shop to offer it, but look around. They aren't here. The reason they aren't interested is that over 99% of the town has broadband of some sort and for 80%, it meets their needs. The market potential is a small niche, especially when there is business grade fiber in many parts of town.

Commenter "Internet user" pointed out the town is a facilitator but not a provider. While true, it would be nice if our library subscribed to a 100/100 fiber service. Then, those with a real need for that kind of speed (think video producers) could use a town sponsored resource until the usual suspects upgraded their infrastructure. It would also be a good way for the library to evolve to what its patrons need in the 21'st century.

Finally - agree with Moultonborough Blogger that the town should continue to facilitate expansion and upgrading of internet services throughout town. Property values depend on it as do most people, especially the young and infirm. Fairpoint and perhaps some day TWC will take our money to expand their infrastructure. It is worth it.