FCC chairman says ‘broadband for all!’
Meaning everyone in America
Appearing via satellite at the annual NXTcomm conference in Chicago, U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin urged telecom leaders to provide the entire country with broadband access.
In an effort to promote investment in broadband infrastructure, the FCC has worked to deregulate both cable and DSL services, so that providers are no longer required to lease their lines to competitors.
"I think that our policies have been a success," Martin said, Ars Technica reports. "Most importantly, we're seeing broadband adoption across all demographics. It's critical that we make sure that everyone in the country can take advantage of the broadband revolution.”
After direct pressure from the FCC, AT&T is playing a particularly conspicuous part in this broadband-for-everyone push. In December, as a way of gaining FCC approval for its merger with BellSouth, AT&T agreed to offer 768Kbps DSL for only $10, and this low-speed service is now available to new customers. AT&T is required to offer the service for at least 30 months.
In his video speech, Martin also addressed the issue of "net neutrality," which would prevent broadband providers from blocking access to competitors' content. He said that the FCC must work "to ensure that consumers will be able to access all of the content on the Internet and attach their own devices to the network as long as they do not damage the network."
But he acknowledged that providers should have the power to make money from their broadband lines. Some net neutrality advocates seek to prevent providers from using “tiered service models,” where surfers pay different prices for different speeds and different types of content, but Martin isn’t one of them. “It's crucial to ensure that people are able to recoup some of the cost of their investments," he said. “[Providers] should have the flexibility to offer various tiers of service.”
As part of its merger with BellSouth, AT&T also pledged to maintain “a neutral network and neutral routing in its wire-line broadband Internet access service" for at least two years - or until Congress passes a net neutrality law. ®
I'll just add insult to injury here :)
I'm in France, and for 30 euros ($40), I have:
- 5 mb download (24 max, but I'm too far from the exchange)
- 700 kb upload
- Free phone to 40 countries, including all of Europe, the USA and Canada
- MIMO modem hire
That does not stop the operators charging 300 euros ($400) for a 2 meg SDSL line, but rememeber for that price, you are getting :
- a synchronous line (2 meg down, 2 meg up, and not 2 meg down, 0.1 up)
- Minimum bandwitdh guaranteed by Service Level Agreement (you don't get that on a general public offering)
- 24 hour a day hotline
- 4 hours repair time guaranteed by SLA
- Penalties if the SLA is breached by the operator
700 MHz will never happen
As long as we have a government (and both Reps, and Dems apply here) that wants to sell frequencies, we'll never have a "free" band anywhere. Public service, yes. But broad band will have trouble being justified as "public service".
The communications "giants" "have to" make their money somewhere. So, unless the Feds intervene, it will either be on the backs of the rural customers or all customers will pay equally. But the consumer WILL pay for it. If the Feds decide to subsidize the service, you know who will actually pay for it. This was the case in Texas for a number of years. Until the Lege found out that the money was going almost everywhere except supporting infrastructure in rural areas. Rate payers were charged a fee to support this. We're charged a fee for just about everything. I pay $19.98 each for two lines, plus $2.95 for distinctive ring on one of those lines and $15.00 for unlimited long distance. But my total bill is around $100.00. Those are some heavy fees and taxes.
...who needs band plans and allocations ! Make 700 MHz a wild-west of might-makes-right, I was here first and I'm not moving, I'll just run more power and use more bandwidth no-man's land like 2.4 Ghz (and how 5.7 is becoming).
I *think* your complaint is against the "greedy carriers" and I agree ! But, making it available to the public on a no-license basis is asking for serious trouble. If anything, 700 should be put under tight license control, with public-safety given primary use of the majority of the band.
The incumbent carriers have plenty of bandwidth higher in frequency - they just covet 700 because their equipment costs are so much lower (less cells/access points per square mile).
Look at me - I'm a spectrum geek !