Monday, December 20, 2010

Broadband Speed: What Does It Mean?

Last week we commented on the CWA report on broadband speed. Clearly the CWA has its agenda, what union doe not, but the issue is one that must deal with reality. Today I saw a note in another on-line commentary which states the following:

Also, while the broadband sector still has four years to meet the FCC’s 2015 goal for 50 Mb/s downstream and 20 Mb/s upstream to 80 percent of households, it has a long way to go--only 1 percent of broadband connections currently qualify.

The data, compiled by, suggests that the median U.S. download speed of 3.0 Mb/s and median upload speed was 595 kb/s outs the U.S, in about 25th place globally for broadband speed. 

Let us address the two point made.

First, the FCC goal of 50 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up. Nice but where is it to come from and where is it to go to? You see these are networks, they go from point A to point B or amongst some group. I noted just a few days ago about the growing of video. Video does not eat up that much bandwidth unless you are trying to create lecture hall presentations, viewable by anyone who is say 350 feet away! Thus the first issue of this first point is what are you going to transmit? Second is that what is sent or received must transit a backbone. Well if we want every person to have 50 Mbps down, and most likely they mean instantaneously and simultaneously, then that is a real lot of backbone, no wonder CWA is happy, why not just have a fiber from every home to every other home, that is a real lot of fiber, just in the US, but why stop there. Thus the first point has lots of unreasonableness about it. The uses are ill defined and the ultimate resources required to adequately use the local resource have never been considered. That is what happens when non-technical people with no real experience come up with nonsense like this.

Second, the slow speeds measured, they make no sense. They are effectively DSL numbers, the median is biased by the way the study was done, in my opinion. The US is not Korea or Finland. There is Montana, North Dakota, even Vermont and Maine. In all there are regions of a few people, and the demand is at best driven by a vocal group who chose isolation but want others to pay for their benefits.

This whole argument is rant with assumptions not even the slightest bit based upon facts. Tis a shame!

Frankly this whole argument is akin to some individual who owns a Porsche and wants to drive it very fast, and he demands the town fix their roads so he can speed some 120 mph, and then he hits the interstate and it's jammed with rush hour traffic. Just because you can speed to the interstate does not mean you can or will or should speed all the way in I 80 from New York to San Francisco!