Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Broadband and Manners

About a week ago I gave an interview to the newspaper in Burlington Vermont upon which I had subsequently commented upon here. As I am generally not interested in public expression to any degree, I have been down that path before, but as I was asked and I responded.

What truly interests me is the responses to the article and especially the ad hominem attacks but anonymous commenters. For example:

First Mr. McGarty from MIT I would ask for my money back from MIT or if you are teaching our young at MIT please get another job. You fail to see the added benifits (sic) this would bring to a rural area. You fail to take into consideration the future dependency of our economic and health care on HSI and your misleading statements can put people at risk of having no HSI at all.

Well, if the commenter, bandhog by name, had spent a few seconds on facts, he, I assume it is a he but alas one never knows, he would see that I donate my time, there is no exchange of money, except from me to MIT, and they do not even pay for parking no less the 600 mile round trip. As for satisfaction of students, just ask them to find out check my name on theses. Also I have no "job", for indeed I am old enough to be retired.

As to the benefits, one knows there are benefits, I enjoy them daily. Also as one who lives at times in our home in northern New Hampshire, I made a choice there as well. As to health care, I suspect that I know a bit more then bandhog, one does not diagnose solely by broadband, Osler would be horrified. As to my statements, they are economic statements of fact, you see, I had done this most of my life, and thus have the distinct disadvantage of experience. If you chose to live in a Walden like world, you take the consequences. It is your choice, and one suspects that others should not subsidize your choice at their expense. But bandhog seems to hide behind his nom de plume rather than engage in a true debate.

The second commenter, fibernetworks, states:

The first “industry observer”, Mr. McGarty from MIT, states that the cost per mile to build the Fiber network will be in the range of $50,000 per mile. This is wrong. The actual cost is in the range of $16,000 to $22,000 per mile, which, using his own logic, makes the customers “needed” per mile drop from 20 per mile to less than 10 per mile.

Well, I hate to disappoint the fibernetworks person but when, in my experience, you average buried and pole mounted, when you add the pole electronics, when you factor in the make ready, when you account for dealing with whomever owns the pole and delays, when you complete the strand mapping, and on and on it approaches $50,000. If you believe in $16,000 as the all in costs you may have a great surprise, or you may be in a very unique area. When we did the buildout budgets for Hanover, NH and the other almost 30 towns we assumed the $25,000 per mile but soon found it was closer to $50,000. For fibernetworks this means that facts of experience may trump his opinion.

Thus the lesson from this tale. The anonymous nature of the comments allows people to say whatever, since one can never test the basis upon which they comment. They comment often in hateful and baseless. This shows the types of folks who back the project which in many ways calls into question the project itself.