According to the Federal Communications Commission, a connection consider broadband from 25 Mbit/s with upstream from 3 Mbit/s. The standard was introduced in 2015, and last year tried raise the bar to 100 and 20 Mbit/s. However, the initiative stayed in words – not all providers are able to provide such opportunities. And if you update the standards, broadband Internet will only 29% of Americans, not 97% as of now.
Another problem with broadband is geographic accessibility. BroadbandNow Research showed, that in 2021, 42 million Americans do not have access to high-speed internet—about 13% of the mostly rural population. You can also seethat in most counties less than 15% of residents had a broadband connection.
One of the reasons why Americans don’t connect broadband Internet is a high price. Among countries from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United States takes second place in terms of Internet prices. Americans pay providers twice as much compared to residents of other developed countries, such as Germany, Finland and Japan. This is due to the fact that the US telecom market divide few large companies, and low competition leads to poor customer service and high prices. The monopolization of the Internet services market is confirmed survey The Verge, according to which half of respondents can turn to only one provider.
What kind of public networks
Local authorities see the problem and are helping citizens gain access to fast and cheap Internet, so they are designing public broadband networks without monopolists. Study The Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University confirms that prices at the municipal level are lower and the quality of communication is higher.
Such networks can be implemented in different ways. Some municipalities use an open access model, where several private telecom companies can take general infrastructure for rent and provide their services. Another scheme is a gradual expansion of the network, as in Santa Monica (City Net), when first of all to broadband Internet connect public organizations like schools and are completing infrastructure for other facilities.
However, large providers oppose public networks and promote laws that ban or restrict their use. For 2023 such bans act in 16 states out of 50. Local authorities do not stop fighting and sometimes achieve success – after 18 years in the state of Colorado completely canceled ban on building your own networks, which was previously circumvented using referendums.
Thanks to this, by 2027, all homes in the state can be connected to fast, inexpensive Internet. This will be provided by local providers such as NextLight in Longmont – he was recognized the best in 2023 according to PCmag readers.
Telecom companies confront municipalities not only at the legislative level, but also enter into legal disputes. Thus, after the launch of a public network in the city of Chattanooga, large telecoms in the region – AT&T and Comcast – tried it thwart the city by filing four lawsuits against them and launching an advertising campaign against connecting to the public network. But these attempts were unsuccessful, and now 180 thousand subscribers in the states of Tennessee and Georgia connected to Chattanooga infrastructure.
Another incident occurred in Bountiful (Utah). Local authorities deployed a public network using an open access model for $48 million. Against this with a petition spoke Utah Taxpayers Association, whose members were associated with telecom giants. But the petition did not receive the required number of signatures, and Bountiful authorities were still able to conclude contract with provider UTOPIA Fiber to build public infrastructure.
Opinions in the community
According to Sheen Hollister, editor of The Verge, the main thing let on the way to affordable and fast Internet – lobbying. The journalist points out the connection between politicians and giants like AT&T and Comcast, which can be traced back to 2002, when lawalmost deprived municipalities are able to compete with federal telecom companies. For example, in Virginia it is still prohibited build public network, if connecting to it will cost less than a private provider.
Americans agree with the fact that the level of competition among telecom companies is now low, which is why users receive slow Internet at a high price. At the same time, the presence of a broadband connection plays a big role in the development of cities – it increases ratings and attracts specialists, especially from the IT sector, for whom the speed and stability of the connection is fundamentally important. This opinion is confirmed by PC Magazine, which in 2021 named With a public network, Chattanooga is one of the best cities for remote work.
What will happen next
During the active phase of the pandemic, when everyone went online, American users faced problems due to slow and unstable connections. Educational services, food delivery, and telemedicine were often unavailable. Even at the University of Chicago identified relationship: people without access to the Internet were more likely to get sick (including with tragic outcomes) because they could not see a doctor or order medications on time.
In search of an alternative to large providers, many have switched to public networks and are now perform for their development. After the pandemic, it is more difficult for monopolists to influence public opinion, but they still have leverage to promote their interests at the legislative level. Time will tell whether public broadband networks can defeat the telecom monopoly and provide Americans with faster, cheaper internet.
What else to read
Support from large companies, performance and new threats – what’s happening with HTTP/3. We give a short excursion into the history of the development of the protocol and provide studies on its performance. The overall picture is mixed – HTTP/3 increases transmission speed if the network experiences high latency. In other cases, the performance is comparable to HTTP/2 or even lower. We also find out what security problems the new protocol has and what environments it is more adapted to – home or corporate.
Providers against corporations and chaos in regulatory authorities. We explain what is happening with net neutrality in the world and what are the points of view on this issue. In the US, the crisis around the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) flared up with renewed vigor, and in Europe they are discussing a “traffic tax”. Opponents of net neutrality believe that this principle slows down the development of the telecom industry, while supporters believe that without it, operators can worsen the conditions for some services.
Why do corporations come to decentralized social networks? We’ll tell you why the boom in decentralized social networks is connected and why large companies again needed XMPP – a protocol for instant messaging. There is an opinion that corporations want to “support” decentralized protocols just to neutralize competitors.
How IT companies contribute to the development of decentralized networks. We analyze the pros and cons of corporate intervention in the affairs of decentralized social networks. On the one hand, this expands the audience and makes it more convenient and understandable for the user thanks to the involvement of experienced specialists. On the other hand, there are fears that large businesses will seize the initiative in development issues and begin to launch closed protocols.
QoS to ensure the quality of Internet access. We tell you how you can use QoS tools to manage traffic, and what problems can be solved with their help. We also provide recommendations for setting up QoS.
RESTRICT Act – A new bill would threaten the operation of VPNs in the United States. We are discussing options for limiting the operation of foreign social networks and services in the United States that are considered “potentially dangerous.” This bill covers not only social networks, but also any telecommunications products with an audience of more than one million people. The main point of concern and criticism is the broad language, which can lead to abuse.
Don’t cook the pot – isn’t it time to stop laying fiber optic networks? We analyze the current situation in the telecommunications market and find out why some are expressing concerns about a “bubble” in the fiber optic network market. Experts point to rising prices for cables and network equipment, as well as incorrect assessments of demand and areas where network infrastructure is needed, which can lead to ineffective investments.
How can an operator reduce the cost of uplinks?. We consider what content makes up the increased load on the uplink and how to optimize it using caching. This method was used by one of our clients in Latin America with a characteristic monopoly on the main line laid along the ocean floor. With the help of caching, the operator will save tens of thousands of dollars per year.