Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Broadband in the US
There is an alright article about the state of broadband in the US over at Salon.com. I don't agree with a lot of what the author says. He makes the case that the US is way behind in broadband deployment, and I think he is just wrong. He casually dismisses the argument that the US is intrinsically a more rural country (more people living farther from one another) by pointing to Canada, without any mention of how most people in Canada are clustered near the border. He also picks out specific cities and says the geography argument "Cannot explain why densely populated cities such as San Francisco do not have access to the same types of high-speed connections found in Seoul, South Korea, or Tokyo." Well, it can in fact explain it if you look at all cities in the US versus all cities in South Korea. I would imagine that you will have a preponderance of large US cities having great broadband (like the options we can get in Arlington, VA of 15 Mbps DSL from Verizon), even compared to the excellent service I am sure they must enjoy in Seoul. Also, he uses metrics that don't really mean much to customers, saying that 384 kbps is abysmally slow for high speed internet, without revealing that for most people (in all countries) that is a great speed, because people don't host websites from their homes. People use their home connections to download primarily, and not upload, and I would argue that creating a system that is synchronous would be wildly wasteful, when most people are happy with asynchronous connections. However, I do support the assertions about the cable companies and the phone companies needing to get up off their hides instead of trying to introduce legislation to restrict municipal internet connections. That was spot on. Over all, a good read if you take it with a critical eye.