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Re: [funsec] Not so fast, broadband providers tell big users (fwd)

  • From: Joe Abley
  • Date: Tue Mar 13 12:18:57 2007

On 13-Mar-2007, at 11:27, Roland Dobbins wrote:

On Mar 13, 2007, at 8:17 AM, Chris L. Morrow wrote:

what business drivers are there to put more bits on the wire to
the end user?


So long as most torrent clients are used to share content illicitly, that doesn't sound like much of a business driver for the DSL/CATV ISP. And so long as the average user doesn't have an alternative provider which gives better torrent sharing capabilities, there doesn't seem to be much of a risk of churn because of being torrent- unfriendly.

Building high-capacity access to the home is sooner or later going to involve fibre, which is going to necessitate truck roll and digging. There's a high cost associated with that, which means there's a significant competitive disadvantage to anybody doing it in order to compete with DSL/CATV folks whose last mile costs are sunk and were paid for long ago. Residential customers are notoriously price- sensitive and low-yield.

Pressure seems like it could come from either or both of two directions: there could be some new market shift which entices customers to pay substantially more for increased performance, and to do so in great numbers, to make it cost-effective for a green-fields entrant to deploy a new network, or the cost of digging up the streets could become much lower.

Given that there's only so much TV one household can realistically download and watch per day, and since that amount of TV demonstrably fits within DSL- and cable-sized pipes already, I don't see the average neighbourhood throwing money around in order to get fibre to the home. On the contrary, here at least I see people switching providers in order to take advantage of bundles of phone/TV/cell which will save them $10 per month.

Perhaps city planners have a role to play here. In cities where the streets are routinely dug up every spring as soon as the last snow disappears, for example, municipalities could choose to invest in equal-access conduit to reduce the cost for anybody who wants to blow fibre down them in the future. Such approaches are somewhat common in the business core, but perhaps not so much in residential areas.