Ask Senator Markey: How to fix the infrastructure spending

Ed Markey is a champion for consumers and Internet users. He’s one of only three candidates I’ve endorsed in the last few years. He’s doing a live session with The Verge Wednesday May 12 I hope to attend.

The fog of misinformation in DC is overwhelming and likely to bring enormous waste in infrastructure spending. Those who understand broadband in DC see the logic of not spending more than$10-20 billion in the next four years or so. Biden and most of Markey’s allies haven’t realized that yet. Asking the right questions is a good way to get people – even Senators – to look more closely. My questions, below, in italics.

$10-20 billion could be spent in a way that brings fast connections to those who don’t have them available. Bringing down the prices for the poor is obviously necessary. Comcast has connected over a million with low prices.

But the evidence is that overbuilding cable with fiber does not lower prices; that 100+ Mbps cable upstream will reach 85% of the US quickly because the upgrade is ~$200; and that the US is building just about all the fiber the industry can already in the next 2-3 years and will need at least that long to mobilize for a large increase in funding. The broadband experts are putting this together but the politicians need education

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Thailand, Indonesia, & ASEAN soon at 60% smartphones

ASEAN Map113M 3G/4G phones sold in 2016. The ten South East Asian countries have a population of 625 million, nearly twice as many as the United States. By some measures, they will soon have more Internet users than the U.S. Indonesia, the Philipines, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore have more SIM subscription than they have people. Mobile is exploding in Myanmar, which will soon join that group.

There are probably only 350-400M mobile subscribers; dual SIM phones and other factors explain the discrepancy. Digitimes’s 60% smartphone estimate is for the end of this year, up from 46% in 2015.

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Craig Moffett may have just killed the Altice-Cablevision Deal

NY-Knick-NBA-fotoDolan is probably more interested in his basketball team than cableThis may just my wishful thinking, but Moffett’s analysis of the finances should be devastating. I’m not objective on this one because I want a great Internet for everyone in my own city. The deal is risky at best, not appropriate for an important public utility. I’ve come to a similar conclusion, calculating the investment won’t pay off unless Cablevision, with Verizon collaboration, significantly raises the price of broadband. This is directly counter to the policy goal of getting more people connected as well as unjustified by the real costs of delivering the service. U.S. prices are a third or more above prices in Europe, including Altice’s own Numericable. Craig has enormous influence, extreme originality and even a sense of humor. He wins polls as the best on wall street and is followed by nearly all major investors.

Craig reports New York City will “weigh whether the deal will be good for New Yorkers along four different dimensions: 1) jobs, 2) service levels, 3) prices, and 4) future investment in the network.”

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