North American Network Operators Group

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

  • From: Daniel Senie
  • Date: Tue Mar 13 15:14:43 2007

At 02:15 PM 3/13/2007, Todd Vierling wrote:

On 3/13/07, Roland Dobbins <[email protected]> wrote:
> There are other technologies better
> suited to rural deployment, such as satellite, powerline, some cable,
> or even re-use of the previous generation's ADSL gear once metro areas
> are upgraded.

Or something like WiMAX?

Depends on how rural the area is. Some parts of the US have problematic terrain and *very* sparse population; there, the cost would far outweigh the subscriber uptake. Should someone want bandwidth in such an area, powerline or satellite are probably better choices.

You've mentioned powerline a few times. Care to expand on the business case for BPL? One vendor has gear which does not blanket the RF spectrum with noise (Motorola) but requires equipment on the local feeder network, thus much equipment density. Other vendors also seem to need fairly high equipment density. The trials to date have been in areas with other carriers already present, and have caused widespread RF interference (the equipment vendors have spent much PR money trying to refute the interference evidence).

As for satellite, have you ever actually used a DirecPC or similar service? The latency makes such services useful mostly for casual web browsing and for email service. You can't use VPNs, VOIP, or most other more interesting services. And the companies necessarily have severe, enforced "fair use" throttling to ensure more than a few users can use the service.

(I don't mention cell-based wireless technologies, because the
providers in that market space haven't truly awakened to the
possibility of fixed cell termination sites for broadband-type access.
That is generally seen as a congestion threat, not an opportunity, by
the carriers.)

Sprint seems to be doing an OK job in this regard, actually. Their "unlimited" contract seems to not have strings attached like Verizon Wireless (who think "unlimited" means "use it occasionally for email, but we really didn't mean "unlimited.").

If Sprint provided more cell coverage in the small towns of the Berkshires, then their EVDO service with a router and data card would be a reasonable, if a bit pricey, way to get broadband-like performance to many more people. Alas, there seems to be no economic incentive for them (or anyone else) to provide even voice wireless services in that area. Last year Verizon put up a cell site in Great Barrington, MA, resulting in an article about it in the Berkshire Eagle. First time many people had been able to use their cell phones in south Berkshire.