Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Verizon and Fiber

I am always amazed by some people who seem to miss the point, a simple technical and economic fact. Namely that wireless is getting better and better and fiber is just plain expensive, especially in New York. Verizon is slowly becoming a wireless carrier. I saw that in the late 80s and early 90s when I was the COO of the wireless company. I pushed CDMA and Qualcomm over AT&T soon to be Lucent and soon to be dead. Good choice. I saw wireless as a growing capacity and in the past 10 years we have seen with LTE and 4th generation (4G) some of that dream come true and with the 5th generation (5G) on the way this is a reality along with expanded WiFi.

Now just how much capacity do we need? Good question. But 25 Mbps is real good for most things. 1 Gbps is great if you have massive imaging data and real time needs. Not every home is going real time multi patient multi location functional MRI analyses.

Then along comes the lawyers, with some chip on their shoulders. One in particular has a desire to get that 100 Gbps service for what appears to be free. Publishing in Backchannel she states:

But I have a suggestion. Here’s a plan for New York City, one that has the potential to be a win for everyone concerned: Cut a different deal with Verizon. Make Verizon into the operator of a passive, neutral fiber network that (as in Seoul and Stockholm) is connected to every single home and business. Release Verizon from the shackles of serving customers and acquiring programming. Let other ISPs emerge that will actually have the relationships with customers (who will probably be pretty happy never to negotiate Verizon’s voice mail again). Set a reasonable price for provision of wholesale fiber access that Verizon must charge to any ISP.

 This is like demanding we have Ford provide a million horses and carriages to be certain that everyone can have a ride in old technology any time they want.

Fiber has a niche market. That niche deems it quite valuable whereas most people can and should be served by an amalgam of wireless services. 

It is real tough when you just can't seem to understand the basic technology and you demand the world fit your view. Add on top the demand that you tell people how to allocate their resources. I think someone tried that. It was the old 5 Year Plan. It did not work then and will not now.