10’s of millions of Americans have only second rate Internet because our regulators have no courage. The US Broadband Plan found 44/100ths of 1% have truly brutal costs, $10,000 or much more per home. Everyone assumed the last 1% would be served by satellite, although we couldn’t say that for political reasons. But all the others poorly served are a failure of the politicians. In the US, that’s 5-10 million homes who have no decent offering. Almost half the country has at most one decent choice, the cableco.
The situation is the same or worse in countries like Germany, where DT offers only lousy service to about 20%. In Germany and the US, the most important reason for the lack of service is the possibility of getting government money, not high costs. In 2008, it became clear the government would pay for rural deployments in the US. Promptly, the telcos essentially cancelled their previous plans to cover most of the poorly and unserved homes. They weren’t stupid; if the government was going to pay for it, why spend the money? Result: the prospect of subsidies actually resulted in fewer unserved connected. Really.
By Doug Dawson
It’s clear that even before the turn of this century that the big telcos largely walked away from maintaining and improving residential service. The evidence for this is the huge numbers of neighborhoods that are stuck with older copper technologies that haven’t been upgraded. The telcos made huge profits over the decades in these neighborhoods and ideally should not have been allowed to walk away from their customers In the Cities. Many neighborhoods in urban areas still have first or second-generation DSL over copper with fastest speeds of 3 Mbps or 6 Mbps. That technology had a shelf-life of perhaps seven years and is now at least fifteen years old.