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(   Why does U.S. broadband access suck compared to the rest of the world? Your dog wants 10-mbps broadband   ( divider line
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1983 clicks; posted to Geek » on 04 May 2006 at 4:02 PM (12 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2006-05-04 03:46:43 PM  
What the article doesn't mention is something else that grinds me. In some cities you only have 2 choices for broadband. Your cable company and the phone company (even if you go with another DSL provider, the phone company still owns the wires).

Either way we're just won't see ultrafast broadband here anytime soon.
2006-05-04 03:46:50 PM  
Good question, Subby.
2006-05-04 03:54:50 PM  
slayer199: In some cities you only have 2 choices for broadband.

Heh out here neither of them even bother. There's no cable TV here and it's way too long a run for DSL.

There's satellite, if you want to shell out 600-800 bucks and have a place for a dish and want to pay $70-80 a month and STILL have usage limits,

or cellular, if you want to pay about a dollar a minute for DSL speed.
2006-05-04 03:57:22 PM  
i knew a guy who ran an ftp server in an irc channel i frequented about 6-7 years ago. he worked for his local ISP and lived about 4 houses away from the place which gave him a nice 30mbps connection. 6 years later and i'm paying for 4mbps.
2006-05-04 04:02:27 PM  
Zipster: Heh out here neither of them even bother. There's no cable TV here and it's way too long a run for DSL.

There's satellite, if you want to shell out 600-800 bucks and have a place for a dish and want to pay $70-80 a month and STILL have usage limits,

or cellular, if you want to pay about a dollar a minute for DSL speed.

sounds like where i lived until last year. no cable, but dsl, and no cellular either. what really pissed me off was a guy in the nearby town who bought the little relay structure from the telephone company. he didn't like having it right next to his property. of course he didn't get rid of it and let it fall into disrepair when the telephone company would have kept it looking nice. they ended up erecting another building about a mile down the road, putting me about .4 miles past the max distance for dsl service instead of within it like i would have been.
2006-05-04 04:06:20 PM  
in europe you also only get a certain upload/download amount per month, as opposed to here where you get unlimited (relativly anyways) amounts.
2006-05-04 04:07:52 PM  

in europe you also only get a certain upload/download amount per month, as opposed to here where you get unlimited (relativly anyways) amounts.

Not really. Comcast severely limits your downloads. Why offer fast speed if you can't download. That's the entire purpose of broadband.
2006-05-04 04:08:52 PM  
chezzmxd3: in europe you also only get a certain upload/download amount per month, as opposed to here where you get unlimited (relativly anyways) amounts.

Not all the time. I live in Germany and have an unlimited plan.
2006-05-04 04:09:12 PM  
My 20/5 FIOS gets installed Tuesday.
2006-05-04 04:09:58 PM  
sorry to hear about that (i have yet to hear 1 nice thing about comcast as an ISP). I'm kinda sure cablevision doesn't do that, and I'm on a college campus where I'm limited to 2 gigs a day on the internet and unlimited up/down on the network.
2006-05-04 04:10:23 PM  
What I don't get is a few years back they wired this whole state with fiber optic phone service, and said it would be better for data transfer and bring us all into high-speed utopia. Now, I'm told I can't get DSL at my house, because that requires copper wires. I'm stuck with cable, which is great for speed, but costs me a jillion dollars. On top of that, I can't get only data cable, I have to get TV service too, which costs even more. And I don't watch TV. but the TV service is cheaper than the surcharge added if I don't want it.

/Verizon sucks
//Charter sucks
2006-05-04 04:10:51 PM  
saturated pipes and over aggregating bandwith.
2006-05-04 04:11:24 PM  
I pay $100/month for my 6mbps DSL...but I don't have any alternative because I have ComCrap.

/is annoyed over slow-ass broadband
//hates ComCast
///is submitter
////celebrating first greenlight
2006-05-04 04:11:39 PM  
A company wanted to come and lay fiber optic to our whole city, til the local phone company and cable company came out, bought some legislators, and spent millons in lobbying against it. So now I'm stuck with DSL. That's why we have sucky speeds.
2006-05-04 04:13:09 PM  
Things aren't so bad:
Dial-up services through regular telephone lines typically run at speeds of 50 kilobips

Billion (10^9) instructions per second. Same as GIPS.

50,000 bips = 50 tips

I'll have to call up my ISP and get on that plan.
2006-05-04 04:14:03 PM  
Some competition in the field would be nice.
2006-05-04 04:14:30 PM  
slayer199: celebrating first greenlight

Congrats!! :)

/I hate ComCrappy
2006-05-04 04:17:47 PM  
What the article fails to mention is the cost of constructing fiber distribution to the home. It requires all new physical plant (fiber cable) and beefier electrionics at the head end. If you want $20 broadband, it's not gonna be 10Mbps. While the legislative part is a pain, and defiantely skewed to the big boys, they are the only ones with money to even start a project of any size.
2006-05-04 04:18:03 PM  
You think you're pissed now?

Through tax breaks and increased service fees, Verizon and the old Bells reaped an estimated $200 billion since the early 1990s to improve subscriber lines in the United States. And what have American consumers received? The most common DSL Service over the old copper networks tops out at 768 Kbps in most areas-a hundred times slower than routine connections in other countries.​isid=001 86

We've already paid these assholes for a fast service. And now the director of AT&T says we should pay for a tiered service so they can make even more.
2006-05-04 04:18:58 PM  
Did anyone else find it odd that an article on about our lack of bandwidth didn't contain any reasons?
2006-05-04 04:19:23 PM  
That link was broken by formatting:

Here's a link to the article (pops)
2006-05-04 04:20:42 PM  
Hey mpmalj... you in VA? We've got the same problem here in Suffolk... Charter or Verizon. Verizon isn't available in half the area, and Charter charges ridiculous fees. Plus, if I don't get basic cable with it, I pay a surcharge that costs more than basic cable would have anyway.
2006-05-04 04:22:55 PM  
Actually, in about 5 years the US will have faster broadband. For a few reasons, ONE: Voice Over IP will reduce the number of telephone companies, and once that happens, all of the T1, DS3, Channelized OC-48 trunks will be used for internet instead.

Another obvious reason is that SONET will be A LOT cheaper. That means that the old ATM switches that most telephone and cable companies currently use will be replaced by Juniper and Cisco nodes.

You'd actually be surprised to hear that we already have plenty of fiber and copper to make it happen, just the equipment is too expensive.
2006-05-04 04:22:56 PM  

Some competition in the field would be nice.

Hell, even at the local level. Cities sign exclusive cable contracts and studies have shown without competition rates soar.

Another cable company wanted to compete with Time-Warner/Roadrunner in the city I used to live in. The city council had numerous hearings...and approved it....only to change the requirements at the 11th hour. The 2nd cable company walked and we had to continue to pay 25% more than surrounding cities (that had competition).
2006-05-04 04:25:55 PM  

Did anyone else find it odd that an article on about our lack of bandwidth didn't contain any reasons?

Sure it did.

"In the 1990s, the "Baby Bell" regional telephone companies persuaded Congress to enact sweeping deregulation. In return, they said, they would utilize their newfound freedom (and profits) to roll out exciting new services, including high-speed fiber-optic lines, so-called universal fat pipes, directly into tens of millions of U.S. homes.

In fact, however, capital expenditures fell from 24 percent of the Bells' total expenses in the early 1980s to merely 14 percent of expenses in 2004. Rather than deploying fiber-optic services (FiOS) into homes, they spent the money to fund technologically obsolete digital-subscriber lines (DSL) while trying to fend off the inevitable shift of long-distance services to a cheap (or even free) Internet telephone platform, known as VoIP, or voice over Internet protocol."
2006-05-04 04:28:00 PM  

Plus, if I don't get basic cable with it, I pay a surcharge that costs more than basic cable would have anyway.

That's because you'll be getting basic cable anyway. It has to do with the technicals of how cable internet access works but the bottom line is if you have a cable modem you have basic cable too. People used to take advantage of this - just order cable modem and enjoy the free basic cable, so they added that surchage so it doesn't make sense to do it any more.
2006-05-04 04:28:19 PM  
We're going through a shiatstorm in Jersey now called the "Verizon Cable Tax", where Verizon is trying to break into the cable TV service (along with their FiOS) to offer competition to the monopoly every community faces: Comcast or Cablevision. No community has both, its one or the other and they both eat my balls.

What sucks is, just like someone else said, they are going to offer their FiOS, but bundle it with their TV package. Thing is, they're moving forward with it as a TV package and the FiOS is an added bonus to go along with their fancy new network.

A big problem is they are only doing a few areas at a time (I know several TF'ers in Jersey already have it in their towns, I f'n hate you guys!!), and it's really convenient that the places they're rolling it out to are mostly upper class towns (screams of favoritism and 'pay to play' type stuff this wonderful state is known for). This also has a lot of people in an uproar because for some reason, someone thought it a good idea to increase the state cable tax threefold to help Verizon pay to install this shiat. So even if you don't have it or can't get it, you as a taxpayer pay to install it.

THIS is why the US sucks at broadband. Politicians, dirty, stupid, politicians get involved. Granted, this is Jersey,home of 'Pay to Play' so I'm sure this is an extreme example.
2006-05-04 04:28:43 PM  
Bleh.. I dont know what backwoods places you guys are living but if they can get cable and dsl access to where I used to live (very northern california near the oregon border) they should be able to get it pretty much anywhere.

Here, I have my choice of DSL, Cable, or wireless. I go cable because I can get 3mbps. Thats the fastest around here althought he cable company was talking about going to 5mb.
2006-05-04 04:29:22 PM  
Ya'll come to Northern Oklahoma. I'll hook you up with some nice, quality, fast wireless broadband with plenty of backhaul to handle it.
2006-05-04 04:31:06 PM  
hrm, two different broadband alternatives are being tested here in the US right now. Fiber striaght to the house, and IP over Powerlines (BPL) which has just been approved for testing.

The powerlines alternative seems interesting, at least in theory. It seemed interesting 8 years ago when I first read about it too, but now that it is entering testing it should prove to be a good technology. They are talking about speeds of 45mb-66mb in the beginning.

Anyway, my cable is faster than 5mb, more along the lines of 6mb right now with plans to upgrade to 10mb by the end of the year. We are slowly getting there.

As far as Comcast as an ISP goes, I don't have any real complaints. I have only had one outage in the past two years, although there have been some recent slow downs in the bay area. The couple of problems I had were immediately dealt with and they have been very helpful. I have a feeling that I'm in the minority though ;)
2006-05-04 04:35:50 PM  

The article also fails to mention that Europe and Asia have much higher population densities, and shorter links make for higher speeds. I think the land lines are also, mostly, in government hands; freeing them from a need to turn a profit and allowing them to be subsidised without involving any Abrahamoffs.

/ Reasonably happy Comcast customer.
// but I only use them as a pipe.
/// My important stuff is spread across some nominally dial-up Earthlink accounts.
2006-05-04 04:36:54 PM  
Twitch OSX: I dont know what backwoods places you guys

Northern Virginia. All the telcos and ISPs have facilities around here, but you can't actually GET their service. It's Comcast or Verizon, pretty much.
2006-05-04 04:37:42 PM  
Put me on the list that hates Comcast as well...

/so wish Verizon would put FIOS in my area
//would ditch Comcast in a heartbeat if I could get something faster (or heck even equivalent) for cheaper
2006-05-04 04:39:52 PM  
So what the hell?! Is there anything we can do about it? What is the outlook of things (serious question, no "fark" answers please)
2006-05-04 04:41:38 PM  
Geography. And that's it.

/living in West Virginia and I have a very nice, but pretty expensive, 9mbps/768kbps connection
//Farking stingy with upstream broadband companies are
2006-05-04 04:42:08 PM  
We have Charter cable here.
2006-05-04 04:50:44 PM  
Dr.Robotnik: Petition your state legislature to start a motion for ceding from the US. Then you'll only have to worry about wiring your state, and the problem becomes much more tractable. Unless you're Montana. If you're Montana, you're just screwed. Start having babies.

/was that a Fark answer?
2006-05-04 04:51:17 PM  
Have had Comcast for a few months now. Gone down for a couple hours two or three times, but aside from that, no real complaints. Apparently, there are still bandwidth limitations, but they're believed to be way up there--around 300 GB per month. I hit 200-250 GB/month two months running, and didn't have an issue (knock on wood).

Paying around 40 bucks a month, 6 mbps and I've maxed it out a few times (750+ KB/s). So, no real complaints.

/PeerGuardian 2 (cough)
//Twitch OSX: Anywhere near Crescent City?
2006-05-04 04:57:19 PM  
test your speed

select the "f-16 jets"-test. I got 2491Kb
2006-05-04 05:02:53 PM  

You've hit the nail on the head. The governement subsidized the telecommunications industry throughout the 90s for the sole purpose of laying down fiber-optic lines. They have failed to do so, yet the government has not halted the subsidies. I know of two class action lawsuits regarding this rip-off, but this America, so I do not expect the government to do anything that might get in the way of business as usual.
2006-05-04 05:10:15 PM  
Yauch: No whats really interesting is that is generally a Libertarian/Free market leaning magazine. And they are arguing for regulation.

These small countries didn't have any regulations did they?

These small countries didn't have any existing infrastruction for us to lean on either though. (
2006-05-04 05:14:11 PM  
2006-05-04 05:17:40 PM  
Oh, I should mention, Time Warner, at least in my area and with regards to my "premium" level account has absolutely no usage limits.

Seriously. I've broken 1TB/mo before downloaded and never heard a peep. Likewise with upstream (not a TB obviously, but an assload).

/digital packrat
2006-05-04 05:18:52 PM  
Hong Kong Broadband Network Limited (HKBN), a wholly owned subsidiary of City Telecom (HK) Limited announced the official launch of its bb1000 service, a symmetric 1Gbps for the Residential market. HKBN believes that Hong Kong is the first market in the World whereby 1/3rd of the total households, approximately 800,000 households out of a total of 2.2 million households, can now enjoy World Leading FTTH (Fibre-to-the-Home) symmetric 1Gbps Internet access service.

bb1000 is the fastest Internet access service in Hong Kong, being up to 166x faster downstream and 1,950x faster upstream than the advertised bandwidth by the leading Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) deployment in Hong Kong. Priced at HK$1,680/month (US$215) for unlimited access, bb1000 targets premium residential users, such as Home Office or Remote Office access applications. As an introductory offer, HKBN is offering a three-month rebate for the first 200 customers who commit to 15 months contracts.
2006-05-04 05:20:56 PM  
...also running fiber is expensive and in Hong Kong where you lay 1km f fiber you pass 10,000 houses in the North America - 25-40?
2006-05-04 05:43:04 PM  
I thought part of the reason might be that our basic phone service is better in the US than many other countries (or at least, cheaper). Don't most other countries have a charge per minute, even for dial-up?

So maybe there's just less motivation to upgrade? Broadband is still a pure luxury for most people. I've been paying $9.95 a month for my dialup connection for years.
2006-05-04 05:44:56 PM  
my old place was the worse, granted it wasnt a major city, but they Cable company would only provide cable modems within 2 miles of their central hub (aka, nowhere) and the phone company didnt even know what DSL was, granted they were a local municipal, but still

retards hosting internet for retards

i have insight com right now, great fast cable modems, but not 100megs =(
2006-05-04 05:46:57 PM  
Working for telco here. I think the panacea will be wireless broadband. Don't know why no ones brought it up yet. Step 1 start company and slap equipment on towers. Step 2 ratchet down security. Step 3 avoid all telco messes and power plays while profiting...
2006-05-04 06:17:17 PM  
nesler: //Twitch OSX: Anywhere near Crescent City?

Uh.. try about 250 miles east of there off I-5. That was the area I was talking about (Yreka, Montague.. Mt. Shasta areas).. I'm in southern oregon now.
2006-05-04 06:19:27 PM  
F-16 jets test got me: 1362 Kb

Of course, I am also streaming Internet Radio as well.
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