Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Broadband Speeds Still Need To Improve

We have grown dependent on our broadband connection.  In the past, we expected that our telephone connection was always working and that our TV could always turn on to watch our shows.  Today, we not only want a constant broadband connection; we want the fastest speed possible at the lowest possible cost.  In homes, we share the telephone, we share the TV, but we each have our own personal monitor, tablet, or smartphone, each demanding access to the broadband stream coming into the home.  The result, the more usage, the slower the speed to each device.  Videos start running slow, web pages stop loading and we are forced to wait for our device to connect.  In our household, we feel the pain of this slowdown. 

"Yet broadband seems to be the one area of the information economy that has not followed Moore’s law, named after the proposition by Intel’s co-founder Gordon Moore that the power of digital devices would roughly double every couple of years, radically expanding their capability and driving down their cost."  Our demand for faster speeds at low prices grow, but there is little competition in the marketplace to help drive down pricing and force innovation.  "That means that in most American neighborhoods, consumers are stuck with a broadband monopoly. And monopolies don’t strive to offer the best, cheapest service." 

Will new competitors, like Google Fiber, emerge to compete against telco and cable for broadband share.   Dish Network certainly wants to expand by buying Clearwire and Sprint but other entrants are also needed.  Till then, there may not be much impetus for current companies to aggressively improve their broadband infrastructure.