The 2015 Order famously outlined clear net neutrality rules. But those rules only passed muster because the Order also explicitly classified broadband service as a “common carrier” service, regulated by Title II of the Communications Act, rather than an “information service” regulated by Title I of the same Act. And that classification has several corollary effects, because Title II isn’t just about net neutrality. It is also meant to curtail the anti-competitive conduct from incumbent monopolists like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon. In essence, as common carriers, they are not able to use their power to control the Internet experience, and they are not able to directly harm their competitors in the broadband market.
Source: More than 40 ISPs Across the Country Tell Chairman Pai to Not Repeal Network Neutrality and Maintain Title II Enforcement | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Google Fiber’s deployment ran into snags in Austin, Texas when those poles were owned by AT&T, because the surest way to prevent competition is to just physically prevent their entry into your market. If a company the size of Google could be stifled without the law supporting them, what hope does a smaller ISP have in entering into a market where the incumbent broadband provider owns the poles that are a necessary component to deploying the network? The FCC Chairman’s plan fundamentally ignores this problem and offers no clear solution to competitors. An incumbent broadband provider that owns a lot of the poles is going to have no federal legal obligation to share that access at fair market rates if broadband is no longer a common carrier service.
See the problem? If people begin noticing that there’s no competition, that Americans are paying too much for too little, and that the entire country is suffering as a result, that’s a big problem for Big Cable.
Source: How One Little Cable Company Exposed Telecom’s Achilles’ Heel
What really matters is whether, someday, we’ll take on as a country the issue of the dismal state of high-speed internet access in America. If the Title II reclassification holds, it’s more likely that we will take that step sooner. And the carriers know that.
Former Sprint lobbyist Mark Jamison was named this week as one of two telecom consultants guiding the Trump administration’s telecom policy. Alongside telecom-tied think tanker Jeffrey Eisenach, Jamison is tasked with choosing the next FCC boss, and the direction of the new Trump FCC.
But in an October blog post, Jamison indicates he doesn’t believe that telecom monopolies are even real, while making it very clear (as Eisenach has) that the over-arching goal is to gut the FCC completely:
Source: Trump Telecom Advisor Doesn’t Think Telecom Monopolies Are Real
Bell Labs achieved 1Gbps symmetrical over just 70 meters on a single copper pair and 10Gbps was achieved over a distance of 30 meters by using two pairs of lines bonding. Both tests used standard copper cable provided by a European operator. The speeds are impressive but the distance is clearly more problematic, which might mean more of a choir for operators as they’d need to bring the accompanying fibre optic cable even closer to your doorstep at this range you could almost call it FTTB.
via World Record as Alcatel-Lucent Push 10Gbps Broadband Down Copper Lines – ISPreview UK.
The question for some operators will be whether or not it’s even worth following the G.fast to XG-FAST path, as opposed to simply putting fibre optic cable in the ground and having less to worry about in the future.
The joy of being a vertically integrated company is being able to exercise something called vertical leverage. Basically, the bigger Comcast gets, the more extraordinary financial power they wield. The terms they can negotiate upstream and downstream are more likely to be favorable to them, and not to anyone else.
A report [PDF] from the Consumer Federation of America calls these “bottleneck points.” And the bigger Comcast gets, the more of them they have — as in their recent peering dispute with Netflix.
via The Comcast Merger Isn’t About Lines On A Map; It’s About Controlling The Delivery Of Information – Consumerist.
In the end, making Comcast bigger only gives it more leverage — a company that would control the lion’s share of to-the-home information for this country. Until such a time when (and if) wireless and fiber providers begin offering a service that competes with cable Internet on speed, availability and cost, consumers are only going to see the walls around Comcast’s sandbox grow taller, while bottlenecked Internet businesses face higher and higher tolls for access to a huge portion of American homes and offices.
The reason this deal is scary is that for the vast majority of businesses in 19 of the 20 largest metropolitan areas in the country, their only choice for a high-capacity wired connection will be Comcast. Comcast, in turn, has its own built-in conflicts of interest: It will be serving the interests of its shareholders by keeping investments in its network as low as possible — in particular, making no move to provide the world-class fiber-optic connections that are now standard and cheap in other countries — and extracting as much rent as it can, in all kinds of ways. Comcast, for purposes of today’s public , is calling itself a “cable company.” It no longer is. Comcast sells infrastructure subject to neither competition nor a cop on the beat.
via Comcast’s Time Warner Deal Is Bad for America – Bloomberg.
The new option takes the fibre to a “distribution point” closer to the customer’s permises, and makes use of the shorter distance, to apply G.FAST technology, a faster version of DSL which can offer speeds of 1Gbps over a distance of up to 250 metres using copper, and deliver faster speeds without the expense and disruption caused by FTTP deployment.
via BT To Trial Huawei G.FAST FTTdp Copper Broadband Technology.
One of the biggest obstacles organizers are likely to face are laws discouraging or preventing governments from competing with private broadband providers. So far 19 states have passed such laws.
“It strikes me as crazy that some states are banning communities from building or expanding existing networks, even as we’re subsidizing private companies,” Mitchell said.
He says these laws actually end up preventing incumbent providers from expanding higher speed internet services in many areas, because they know their existing legacy services won’t face competition.
via Why Your City Should Compete With Google’s Super-Speed Internet | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com.
The next step, after raising half a million pounds from shareholders, is to convince Lancastrians to pony up about fifty dollars a month for internet service. (Those who invest £1500 or more can get a year’s free service, a tax credit of 30%, and the option to sell the entire investment back in 2016 at full value.) This isn’t AOL dial-up: customers will have access to a blazing fast 1 gigabit connection, something that many city-dwellers, myself included, would covet.
via There Will Be Broadband: Forgotten by the Future, Some Take the Internet Into Their Own Hands | Motherboard.
According to a new report from the state-run paper China Daily, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is ordering all newly built residences to install fiber optic connections in any city or county “where a public fiber optic telecom network is available.”
via China Demands All New Homes Install Fiber Optic Networks.