2+2 Does Not = 5 and Copper Coax is Not Fibre

Sorry, Paul McAleese, Shaw’s cable network doesn’t match the capabilities of the Bell or Telus fibre to the home. That you offer a gigabit download to 99% of your customers is a great advance, worth trumpeting. It’s especially welcome where the telco hasn’t upgraded to fibre. But coaxial cable is not fibre; calling it fibre+ is simply false advertising.

Shaw’s upstream is “up to 25 Mbps.” Where Telus has fiber to the home, the upstream can go up to 940 Mbps. Neither company releases actual speeds, but I can tell by the network design what customers can expect. Shaw customers will get 20 Mbps upstream at least 90% of the time. Telus fibre customers will get 400 Mbps upstream at least 90% of the time. (Almost all networks are shared, but a decently designed network rarely see serious degradation. All the Canadian networks are well-designed.)

Telus took Shaw to court on the misleading claim. In the U.S., advertisers are allowed some “puffery,” so I don’t know what the court will decide. Shaw is defending vigorously, mostly by confusing the issue with irrelevant technical datapoints. It would have been smarter to concede the semantics and point to the facts of upgraded cable – including that it’s available in many locations where the telcos don’t offer fibre.

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“TCP/IP is unsuitable” Telcos want to take over through “deterministic networking”

I’m sure Vint Cerf – and the vast majority of Internet architects – remain certain that TCP/IP with minor improvements is the right way forward. But the European and Chinese telcos, backed by their suppliers, want a replacement called “New IP Networking.” ETSI, the very powerful European standards group, calls it “non-IP.:They claim, as you can read below, “A fundamental change is needed.” Deutsche Telecom and suppliers are key proponents.  

Update July 20: 

Current status of deterministic networking:

  • IETF RFC moving forward with support from Cisco, Ericsson, and Huawei
  • ETSI Special committee formed to move Non-IP forward
  • ITU Focus Group 2030 included it in final architecture, likely to be rubber stamped by Study Group 5. US may make noise that will lead to same result with slightly toned down wording.
  • Internet Society Opinion piece but no active engagement visible

Highly likely result, unless something dramatic is done: will replace TCP-IP over 5-15 years in favor of telco system. End update

Since the 1980’s the telcos in the U.S. have been fighting to control the Internet, a war described as Bellheads vs Netheads. (Ask Vint Cerf or Dave Farber about this or “protocol wars.”) The telcos are back big time, with proposals called “Deterministic Networking” (IETF, Ericsson, Cisco) New IP (ITU, China,) and Non-IP (ETSI, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom.)

Telcos have an enormous advantage because they control the physical network. They are businesses dedicated to making money; of course they would like to erect a “tollbooth on the Internet.” The problem they face is that Internet connectivity is very cheap to deliver. The local and long-distance phone networks were enormously profitable. 

The telcos continue to be among the most profitable companies on Earth. Verizon’s net income has averaged over US$20 billion the last three years. But they are not providing investors the promised increased profits.

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