Monday, March 7, 2011

To gig or not to gig?

I sent an article to a friend.  It dealt with Hong Kong, which is very densely populated, having companies that provide one gig of download throughput for residential Internet service.  One of those companies charges only $26 per month ... for ONE GIG!

Here are the costs for Verizon FIOS Internet:

15 meg $50
25 meg $65
50 meg $140

And you need to check availability.  Of course, you can bundle this with other services but the speeds and pricing indicate the large disconnect between Hong Kong and good old USA.  The duopoly service providers in my area, Verizon and Cablevision, are not inclined to engage in anything approaching serious price competition but are content to basically share the pie evenly.  Cablevision refused to provide Internet only pricing on its website, I'm sure to have a sales person try to convince you to subscribe to its triple play services (Internet, Voice and Video).  Better to lock you in and make you dependent on Cablevision for all these services.  Verizon has this same approach, just less insidious.

My friend and I both have Verizon FIOS, he in the outland of rural Massachusetts, I in more densely populated Westchester county New York.  In other words, my friend is in no danger of getting one gig Internet speed.  My friend's reaction was that he could not imagine needing the one gig.  My thought is: if you build it they will fill it.

But he has a point.  The biggest current download would probably be streaming HD video, i.e., watching HDTV in real time over the Internet on an HDTV, not on a computer.  Even allowing for a family of four all doing this concurrently, it probably would not approach one gig.  Somebody do the math.  Current 3D TV takes the same bandwidth as HD, so that is not yet more of a factor.

I still want one gig at a reasonable price.  That's not likely since conventional residential U.S. Internet service providers are fat, dumb and happy and the FCC is not pushing it.

I'm confident that the gig would be filled.  For instance, it would make viable getting ALL video over the Internet and not paying for video service separately to say Cablevision.  In fact, within five years of introduction, one gig would not be enough.

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