Friday, 3 December 2010

Dial-up Internet Wasn't Free

Whilst reviewing the paper published on the Australian Policy Online site by Robert and Charles Kenny I came across this:
dial-up ... wasn’t expensive – a 56Kbps modem cost $100 in 1997, in dial-up’s heyday. The per-line share of the ISP’s modem bank was a further $90. For this sub-$200 upgrade, society got email ... e-commerce ... User-Generated Content ... online news ... and social networking
(p. 16)

I would condense their further argument to "we didn't spend anything on the first Internet so why should we on the next one?"

FTTH chicken or egg?

In their paper published on the Australian Policy Online site, Robert and Charles Kenny make a strong case refuting some of the benefits that FTTH advocates claim and argue that subsidy isn't justified as the benefits aren't necessarily real.

I broadly agree with their arguments that fiber broadband isn't necessary for many of the applications often quoted as requiring extreme bandwidth, and that rushing to give taxpayers money to incumbent carriers to replace their copper with fiber access networks isn't warranted.

There are some oversights in their argument however.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

To me - to you

A couple of years ago we were fortunate that the water company decided to install a sewerage main in our road.  Prior to this we had a cess pit, the scourge of rural life.

I recall at the time the letter came through the door asking if we were interested in a connection (were we!)  and the terms were straightforward.  They would tee off the new main to the curtilage of our property for a modest fee - and it really was modest as they took into account the fact the navvies were there anyway laying the main so it was little more than the cost of the materials they used.

Satellite vs Copper - which is least worst?

The recent news about BT choosing the new HYLAS satellite to complement its part-taxpayer-funded broadband roll-out in Cornwall brings back memories of "satellite broadband grants" back in 2002.  Government money was given to small businesses in rural areas to install these broadband connections due to lack of alternatives.  To a lot of people they seemed to offer the ideal solution but the user experience wasn't too great.

The new purpose-built HYLAS satellite might be better than the re-purposed TV and marine telephone systems used back in the day, but the physics of radio communications hasn't changed.