Qwest Won’t Invest

Thanks to the Baller Herbst list for sending out word on the Broadband Reports article on Qwest.

The very quick take on it is – Qwest is not interested in FTTH. Here’s the big quote:

It’s too expensive. We don’t see the return.

It seems a little shortsighted to me especially since they recently reported that income rose to $366 million from $194 million a year earlier. In fairness, the same article claimed that“Qwest’s revenue slid 1.5 percent to $3.4 billion, and CEO Ed Mueller said the company experienced a “tough December in retail.”

But there’s the news on Qwest.

FCC & Network Management Meeting

On February 25, the FCC held a hearing on broadband network management practices. (You can download audio and video of the meeting.) IP Democracy did a nice write up of the meeting. (A big thanks to them for saving me the effort!) The short description – the got together to talk about allegations of Comcast over-managing their network to the disservice of certain applications.

My super short notes – everyone recognized that providers need to be able to manage their networks to keep them running. But we need to know that network management is reasonable – that consumers will be able to do what they want and need to do. (So long as it is legal.) As Rep Markley said – Internet freedoms are consumer-centric.

Another big point was transparency. Consumers need to know the rules as the providers maintain them. As Michael Copps alluded, decisions on how the Internet works (and info flows) are currently being made by providers and other vendors. (He gave some great examples.)

Copps suggested that the FCC create a process for future allegations against broadband providers.

Several speakers mentioned a bill of rights for online citizens.

Gilles BianRosa gives a nice demo of Vuze (a Peer to Peer application) in explaining how traffic throttling by a network provider affects the service. He also estimated that the upload capacity of a US connection is 10-20 percent of the download speed – whereas in the rest of the world upload is generally equal to download.

Comcast votes for letting the market set the rules and encouraging the FCC to tread lightly on regulation.

(You can get a list of upcoming meetings on the FCC site.)

Minnesota Kids Help Host Megaconference Jr

I was so pleased to see ThisWeek reported on Scott Highlands Middle School’s participation in Megaconference Jr. on Feb 21.

Scott Highlands Middle School is located in Apple Valley, Minnesota.

Megaconference Jr is an amazing. Here’s the description from their site:

Megaconference Jr., now in its fifth year, is a project designed to give students in elementary and secondary schools around the world the opportunity to communicate, collaborate and contribute to each other’s learning in real time, using advanced multi-point video conferencing technology. Presenters design and conduct videoconference-based presentations and activities focused on both academic and cultural issues. Participants are able to address questions to presenters and to collaborate with geographically diverse peers in collaborative learning activities, thus building international cultural awareness.

Scott Highlands Middle School was one of 12 schools around the world to act as VJ for the conference. It’s a big honor!

Paul Bunyan is Getting Bigger

Nope, he hasn’t found a friend for Babe the Blue Ox. It’s Paul Bunyan Telephone Cooperative – they are getting ready to buy Blackduck Telephone Company and Blackduck Cablevision Inc.

I saw the story in the Bemidji Pioneer Online. I wasn’t able to find a press release on either the Paul Bunyan or Blackduck web site – but the article reads a lot like a press release – a really nice one.

According to Blackduck’s web site, they currently offer DSL but have been installing fiber. Paul Bunyan has fiber and offers “speeds up to 40 Mb”. So it looks like good news for Blackduck and very amicable merger.

Potential Broadband Economic in Minnesota Estimated at $2.7 Billion

So at the end of last week I liked an article that was a pure business plan for broadband from a vendor perspective. This week starts with a business case or research report anyways on why the nation needs broadband (from Connected Nation).

“The Economic Impact of Stimulating Broadband Nationally” details the potential state-by-state impact of legislation to accelerate broadband access and use. The report’s findings suggest that the U.S. could realize an economic impact of $134 billion annually by accelerating broadband availability and use across all states. The map above shows the potential for broadband that exists in every U.S. state. Please take the time to review the report and the potential for broadband in the U.S.

Apparently the potential annual economic impact in Minnesota is $2,791,481,531.83.

I have to state first that I’m always a little wary of a report that comes up with such a precise number – but maybe that’s a reflection of my own inability to be both precise and accurate.

Here’s the breakdown they gave for Minnesota:

Additional jobs 4 8,691
Direct Impact Growth $2,021,172,957
Average Annual Healthcare Costs Served $11,446,205
Average Annual Mileage Costs Saved $111,405,012
Average Annual Hours Saved 64,845,051
Value of Hours Saved $647,153,606
Average Annual lbs of CO2 Emissions Cut 56,429,893
Value of Carbon Offsets $304,751
Total annual impact: $2,791,482,532 Continue reading

Municipal FTTP Conference in TN

I am attending an interesting event sponsored by Calix. The topic is municipal FTTP. All of the sessions are discussions, not presentations, with topic experts and municipal network operators. I was able to lead a discussion on building community support for FTTP. I have also attended sessions on RFP writing, organization development, network services and working with incumbents.

I have learned that Tennessee communities are going gangbusters in deploying FTTP and doing it successfully. There was great interest in the work that Blandin Foundation continues to do on building demand.

More later.

A Business Case for Fiber

I ran across a great article today in CED Magazine (touted as the Premier Magazine of Broadband Technology). The article title (The business case for GPON in FTTP networks) did not necessarily draw me in. I figured it would be too technical to hold my interest but really it much of it could just as easily been a business case for fiber.

It seems that I’ve been reading a lot of policy stuff lately. The discussion there is still “Do we need broadband? Who will build it? Who will own it? What if it goes bust? How would we use it?…” This article spells it out – video is new but it’s growing in popularity and it requires serious bandwidth.

The article starts with the premise, “in order to remain competitive, service providers need more capacity to carry bandwidth-intensive applications.”

I have to say that I’m not always a proponent of letting the market drive industry – but it seems as if there won’t be much but a few outbursts of fiber communities until the market demand is there. This article as I said helps build that business case of market demand.

Here’s a nice picture of demand:

Throughput is particularly important for enabling triple-play services (voice, video and broadband). For example, a household with broadband service, two standard-definition (SD) TVs and one HDTV uses between 16 Mbps and 26 Mbps. Add in more demanding HD services, and the bandwidth requirements grow to between 59 Mbps and 85 Mbps per household.