Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Broadband and Unions

In a recent email from the CWA I was informed as follows:

According to new research released today by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), 49 percent of U.S. residents do not meet the FCC’s minimum broadband standard of 4 megabits per second (mbps) download and 1 mbps upload. CWA’s annual Speed Matters report on Internet speeds in the United States indicates little progress has been made since the report was first issued in 2007.

“CWA applauds the FCC for its commitment to improving access to high-speed internet in America,” said Larry Cohen, president, Communications Workers of America. “Improving broadband deployment, connection speeds, and adoption will help facilitate job and business growth across the nation.”

This year’s Speed Matters report shows that between 2009 and 2010, the median download Internet speed in the United States has increased by only 0.5 megabits per second (mbps) from 2.5 mbps in 2009 to 3.0 mbps this year, while the median upload speed has barely increased from 487 kbps to 595 kbps. At this rate, it will take the United States 60 years to catch up with current Internet speeds in South Korea, the country with the fastest Internet connections. The number of years to reach South Korea’s current standards has quadrupled from last year, as improvements are being made at a rapid rate there and progress in the United States has been fairly stagnant.

The Speed Matters Speed Test, a project of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), measures the speed of a user’s Internet connection. The 2010 report is based on aggregated data from more than 375,000 Internet users who took the online test between June 2009 and August 2010.

Northeastern states topped the chart again this year, with many western and southern states staying on the bottom. The five fastest states according to the study are: Delaware (13.4 mbps), Massachusetts (9.3 mbps), New Jersey (8.6 mbps), Maryland (7.6 mbps) and New York (7.5 mbps). Among the slowest states were: Montana (1.2 mbps), Wyoming (1.5 mbps), Arkansas (2.3 mbps) and Mississippi (2.4 mbps).

 I really wonder what you do with that 20-100 Mbps channel, since it eventually hits a slower backbone. Somehow they just do not get it. When I built out fiber throughout central and eastern Europe, the issue was always the last mile, but, and this is a key but, the backbone had to get back to Frankfurt, and you cannot support 100 Mbps per person all feeding the backbone. Besides, just what are you doing with it, even my video today to Moscow and St. Petersburg does not eat up that much bandwidth!

What is the agenda here, more union jobs, but where is the money coming from? This has been the stupidity of the whole Stimulus package, money going to unions and government workers, taking opportunity from entrepreneurs, a group the current Administration has no clue about.

The Chairman of the FCC chimes in on suport stating:

I agree with CWA that the great infrastructure challenge of our generation is high-speed broadband Internet. Robust broadband networks create all kinds of jobs, all across the country -- everything from construction jobs, to urban planners and architects, engineers and scientists, sales people and IT professionals.

Broadband enables businesses to start and grow, and jobs to be created, anywhere in America, from the biggest urban city to the smallest rural town. Broadband opens new markets, allowing businesses -- small and large -- to reach customers in the next neighborhood, the next city, the next state, and even overseas. And broadband allows the smallest business to have cutting edge products and services that increase productivity and efficiency, reduce costs, and boost revenue

But let me make a point. Internet 2 is now being used by universities, non-profits, and even commercial entities for broadband apps such as teleconferencing. That is a significant user of bandwidth, and they are expanding it internationally as well. The problem is the assumption that there is some magic genie which is preventing broadband, it is not. The Government "gave" yes "gave" billions to entities to build rural broadband, with promises to make the rural environment better than the urban! So, as far as rural communities go, they have been given hand outs of taxpayers money independent of any rational economic premise.

The issue is one of economics, someone must have to pay for this. There is always the mention of Korea or Japan, or Amsterdam. I have been to all, as a purveyor of broadband, and Korea has housing density well above New York City in many areas and as such the economic proposition is simple. It is clear that CWA just wants more jobs and a continuation of those jobs. But the public does not, should not, must not, allow the creation of an ongoing broadband tax to pay CWA and its members over some unfounded basis of fear.