Thursday, September 3, 2009

Declining Broadband Standards. The erosion of the future continues apace.

Verizon, Comcast Ok With Low Bar When Defining Broadband

Well of course the companies supplying broadband would define it with such low standards. It allows them to market "broadband" without fear of false advertising claims. It allows them to claim to the FCC and Congress that they are bringing "broadband" to an ever increasing swath of Americans. And it allows pokey cell phone based internet access to be called "broadband".

Comcast and others are also apparently trying to pull a perception/marketing switch.

First, one had a one sized fits all true broadband model with an ever increasing bar as to what broadband was. Then, rather than continually upgrade the system to handle the traffic that claims of unlimited access and unlimited downloads burden the system with, the ISPs attempt to establish lower standards and position existing rates as an "everyman", limited access service. This allows them to sell anything that is an increase in that new level of limited service as "premium" access at ever increasing fees. The FCC and Congress can't balk at that because, the Broadband ISPs can say, "Look, we are providing Broadband to the masses." How can one argue against what now appears to be a premium service aimed at those who can afford it?

Rather than bring true broadband to the masses, they offer a watered down platform and true broadband becomes a privilege of the rich.

Lastly, it also allows them to throttle the internet in age when more people use it to access communications and entertainment. Someone with slower, ISP defined "broadband" access is probably more inclined to keep things like basic cable and antique land line access because their "Broadband" just doesn't really support total immersion into the internet communication platform.

And that's the future. Entertainment, libraries and databases, communications are all moving to the existing internet and to what the internet is poised to evolve into.

On one side there is the supply of communication and entertainment. On the other, the the ultimate consumer... we the people. And sitting in the middle are the conduits, the "tubes", the broadband ISPs. Just like the old city states and duchies of yore along side the great rivers of Europe, the ISPs are attempting to set their chains across the rivers of communication and charge whatever tolls they can extort til someone with strength of will and power can limit them.

The question is, who has the power to stand up and break those chains? Do we wait for the government to act or do we as consumers rise up to tell our government to do what is right.

Alas, I fear apathy and the ISPs will win the first few rounds.