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Telecommunications Service Providers: Where are they?

By semaj in News
Fri Jul 21, 2000 at 02:22:49 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

Having the usual conversation today with a co-worker provided said co-worker with the incentive to write a great article on the state and future of internet connectivity. I would love to see what the readers of this site have to say about the article.


Here is a clip of one of the best parts of the article:

Deregulate telecommunications. Make all the reselling, profit enhancing, and greed ridden charges that plague the circuits go away. ISPs, GSPs, and Telcos all provide for the same basic principle. Can't we all just get along? Combine efforts, formulate a plan and get everything under a single, sub-sected roof in which heavy Internetwork circuits can come down to a reasonable affordability. The price of a T1 would be tremendously low, in comparison, if that same circuit wasn't sold and resold by so many different people, all holding out their hands for their share. Combine your efforts, lay down nodes of huge circuits (much like the cable modem architechture), and make several different ethernet nodes for pre-defined areas. That way, the Internet can grow into what it was meant to be. A fast, usable interface at which you view the world and it's possibilities. In doing this, business, offices, and houses alike can be joined on a particular ethernet node in which their building plugs into. Make seeing an ethernet port in your house as common as an electrical outlet. All you have to do is pay for your service, plug in, and a DHCP server in your area gives you access after the appropriate authentication is passed. The full article can be found at DontBlowGoats!.com

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Telecommunications Service Providers: Where are they? | 14 comments (8 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
Of course not... (none / 0) (#5)
by Goatboy on Fri Jul 21, 2000 at 11:35:07 AM EST

I agree with most of you that the idea wouldn't work, but I wrote the article as an opinion of what the Internet could turn into. A vision of grandure if you will. In society today, everyone is out there to make their own money, I know I am, so deregulation on that level isn't possible, but an idea of having a common network to where high speed Internet is just one plug away doesn't seem that far fetched too me. It could happen, but chances are never would.

Eventually (none / 0) (#8)
by puppet10 on Fri Jul 21, 2000 at 02:40:38 PM EST

High speed telco is going to get to the last mile eventually (now probably sooner than later). Its already started to filter in in the form of cable modems and DSL, and the companies are going to compete for your business because the payoff is enormous (and already is in the ISP market, think AOL). Imagine a company that will become a utility, i.e. everyone in an area paying $20 or so a month to be connected to the service and you can see why a company should be interested in delivering high speed connections to an area.

The problem is that the process only really started a decade or so ago. However in the last few years a few things have happened to make delivery of high speed acess a new priority. 1) the explosion of e-commerce, e-commerce requires people to access their sites and people don't want to sit and wait on thier computer anymore than they want to sit and wait in a store. 2) Univeristy access for students. This is a potentially huge driver for high speed access. This has become a factor in some students choosing a university (mostly a negative if a school doesn't have access) and when the students leave they have become used to the joy of high speed access and will soon have disposable income to pay for that access if its available in an area.

In a nutshell WWW is the killer app for bandwidth and will drive high speed access the final mile to your doorstep and eventually reduce the cost to reasonable levels.

Re: WWW as the killer app? (none / 0) (#12)
by Stargazer on Sat Jul 22, 2000 at 04:09:15 AM EST

I can buy most of what you said, but your placement of the world wide web as the main force which will drive the desire for high bandwidth feels misplaced.

While users certainly don't want to wait at a site like they wait at a store, the difference in waiting between a 56K modem and any high-speed connection (cable, DSL, ISDN, T1) in going to be negligible to most people. Web browsing lends itself towards receiving data in quick, sporadic bursts, and a high speed connection can't help you much there. Most web servers are optimized for 56K connections, anyway.

I would suggest that the digitalization of traditional media and their transfer over the internet -- music in particular, with movies in second -- will be the true driving force behind the push for high bandwidth for everyone. I'm generally happy with my 28.8K modem connection, but I can admit that DSL would be extremely handy when I download my MP3 for the week. As these larger packages become more widespread and generally accepted -- and I feel that this process has been turning the wheels for a while -- there is where the push for more bandwith will come from.

-- Stargazer



[ Parent ]

Re: WWW as the killer app? (none / 0) (#14)
by puppet10 on Sat Jul 22, 2000 at 10:33:47 PM EST

Your right. I was including this delivery of multimedia content in the web, but didn't do so explicitly, and since the www isn't technically necessary I probably should have said it explicitly. However as (what I feel are poorly designed) websites which feel the need to push increasing amounts of fluff instead of/in addition to focusing on providing content (as in text, not multimedia, ie. the graphics are pretty but damn the page takes a long time to download :) ) will slowly drive up the bandwidth requirements, but this will track like the average user on well designed sites (ie. if you still use a 28.8 modem when people are designing for the average cable modem/DSL user plan on waiting a lot). However I've become enslaved/dependant/enthralled/etc. to my high bandwidth connection and can tell the difference in load times of even well designed web sites when I use a modem connection and become quite impatient. Its very addictive. Bandwidth is damn useful, and once you get used to high bandwidth its VERY annoying to lose it. This is sort of where I was trying to go with the large number of uni students being exposed to high bandwidth connections and thus catching the additiction.

[ Parent ]
IP == your geographical region? (none / 0) (#9)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Jul 21, 2000 at 09:17:30 PM EST

I dunno if I like the idea of someone tracerouting me to a specific neighboorhood/block/apartment complex. It'd make stalking very trival.

-- Ender, Duke_of_URL

The coin has two sides (none / 0) (#10)
by Coram on Sat Jul 22, 2000 at 01:34:52 AM EST

The article is an interesting rant, however there is a conspicious lack of mention of the perspective that the isps and telcos may take. In fact, the downside is neatly summed up in the last paragraph with, "Granted, a plan like that would take it's own delays and it's own constraints", which is hardly even lip service to the factors involved.

"Deregulate telecommunications. Make all the reselling, profit enhancing, and greed ridden charges that plague the circuits go away."

The market is deregulated now. Bell was ripped apart and scattered to the five corners of the continent, little telcos sprung up and the giants built themselves once more as private entities. ISPs sprang up from the ground, sometimes hundreds in the same city, the cheap ones starved of profit eventually went through that great STM1 to the sky. The ones with realistic pricing, from company and customer perspective, flourish - or not. From dictionary.com Regulation - A principle, rule, or law designed to control or govern conduct. Isn't this really what you want to happen? A centralised authority saying what is the right price, when services must be delivered, determining SLAs and doling out punishments to those who don't deliver?

"Combine your efforts, lay down nodes of huge circuits (much like the cable modem architechture), and make several different ethernet nodes for pre-defined areas. That way, the Internet can grow into what it was meant to be."

Equality for all, an E1/T1 in every home? Maybe we'll need it soon with everything in the house wired online, but I don't think so, at least not on a big scale at first.

This is the life cycle of technological development.;
Someone sees a need
The product to fulfull that need is developed
An alternative use for the product is found
This drives development in new directions previously unknown
Stir, simmer, repeat.

The internet wasn't built with capitalistic intentions as the driving force behind the motivation. The slowly increasing popularity of the internet was both the reason behind the great surge of corporate presence and the massive intake of users over the last 7 years or so. Stir, simmer, repeat - more users, more corporations online.

The same philosophy will apply to housholds online. The bandwidth is starting to become more readily available and at increasingly lower prices so there are new projects popping out that previously might not have been thought viable for some logistical reason. With the increase in these projects emerging in the market place there is a new factor pushing for better bandwidth, and so we are starting to starting to see the shift from "what do i *need* to be online" to "what do i *want* to be online?".

"Think of the amount of people connected to the Internet, and if this became a standard, the amount of money that would roll in by everyone having it readily available to them."

This sounds like the same argument presented time after time in forums ranging from fidonet, usenet and mailing lists right up to articles and editorials in print media, and to their counterparts in the online world.

How many times have you read someone's opinion on the pricing of internet services and it all boils down to, "If an isp gave you an account and let you download as much as you want and be connected for ever and only charged you a couple of dollars a month they would have so many users and make *so* much money!" It's a nice thought, and one I'd had a few years ago which seemed to make sense to me at the time.

The reality of the situation is that everyone has bills to pay. The more users this CheapNET isp has the more dialin ports they will need, the more bandwidth and support services required, all of which cost a great deal of money. I'm by no means saying that isps and telcos are barely scraping by - some are, but I would guess that most of the well established ones are making a nice profit.

The telcos have to have their cut for the circuits, often a fixed term charge as well as bandwidth costs (depending on type of circuit)- it costs them money to provision and maintain their networks, increasing bandwidth often means rolling out more cable at great expense in both money and time. New technologies may too mean new cabling, at the very least it means new equipment in all their exchanges.

Upline service providers charge for traffic passing through their networks - they have to pay for it too either from another isp or for telco circuits, why should they give a free ride away?

That leaves CheapNET, which unfortunately can't be so cheap now. The new wave of free isps such as FreeOnline have yet to prove themselves workable as a financial entity. I have a feeling that they will need to adapt or die off as well as other isps with little income from users. Many of these services make their money from banner advertising and corporate sponsorships. Banner ads are still showing themselves to be a joke, the corporate world must be pretty close to waking up to the fact and dropping the budgets for these campaigns. The point is, we don't as yet know that these services really can work, and as they are they all have limitations contrary to the ideas presented in the article.

"Whether they want it or not, it's still nice to have the option. Everyone would still get their money, and people like me would be happy shelling out $100 or more for screaming bandwidth."

The thing is most people don't want to pay $100 for their internet access. That's US$1200 a year, to me it's a bit over AU$2000. That's a sizeable chunk of my income after I've paid my taxes and I'm not sure that I would want to fork out that kind of money for the bandwidth that I do desperately crave.

Conclusion? There is no right to bandwidth and there shouldn't be. That the society we live in has the mentality where everyone thinks they are entitled to a better life, better job, more money and more bandwidth is both harmful and unreasonable. The free market is and should be free to determine its own strategies in the marketplace. You'll see that the end result will come to the products and services you want at a price affordable for you and the vendor.

--
judo ergo sum

Re: The coin has two sides (none / 0) (#11)
by Goatboy on Sat Jul 22, 2000 at 02:21:08 AM EST

I think you misunderstood a bit of what I was trying to convey. I, in no way suggested that things should be free or cheaper. Money savings to the consumer wasn't my intention in writing this.

The bottom line cost of an E1/T1 by the time it reaches the end user has gone up by leaps and bounds because of every ISP that circuit has to travel through tacks on their charges and channel mileage. I understand that, but what I meant was make the E1/T1 lines and such cheaper for themselves and not charge and back charge each other at such a rate. This would in turn bring about more development.

My whole idea behind this was more geared towards having the ability as a home user to plug into a port and based on whatever package they paid for, get bandwidth. The prices that I listed were off the top of my head and in no way what I would expect anything to be, if such a thing were to come true.

This wasn't in any way a plea for someone to hear my cry for a better plan. It was a dream, an opinion of what I would personally like to see come down the pipe, so to speak.

[ Parent ]
Re: The coin has two sides (none / 0) (#13)
by Coram on Sat Jul 22, 2000 at 04:09:16 AM EST

The bottom line cost of an E1/T1 by the time it reaches the end user has gone up by leaps and bounds because of every ISP that circuit has to travel through tacks on their charges and channel mileage. I understand that, but what I meant was make the E1/T1 lines and such cheaper for themselves and not charge and back charge each other at such a rate. This would in turn bring about more development.

I understand that this is the point that you were trying to make, what I perhaps didn't make as clear as I might have is that I do not believe that this is a realistic outcome.

It sounds like what you are proposing is a conglomeration of various components of provisioning of internet services. Rather than having multiple companies each adding their profit to the eventual cost to the consumer. The problem with this is though you reduce the number of parties with their hand out you require the same infrastructure to provide the service, and so the same costs apply.

--
judo ergo sum
[ Parent ]

Telecommunications Service Providers: Where are they? | 14 comments (8 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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