Friday, January 11, 2008

Broadband Divide: People and Businesses Moving for Bandwidth?

Ars Technica has an interesting post titled FiOS tops satisfaction survey; worth moving for? The post discusses a recent issue of Consumer Reports that rated Internet Service Providers (ISPs). In the Consumer Reports article Verizon's fiber optic FiOS service was declared to be best of breed. The Ars Technica post then goes on to highlight a couple of people who's recent moves were, at least in part, due to Verizon FiOS availability. Here's a quote describing Andru Edwards' relocation:

Andru Edwards of Gear Live tells Ars that he's one of those willing to relocate for the promise of fiber optic goodness. "I moved 10 minutes north of Seattle specifically for FiOS service," he tells Ars. "We push a lot of video to the web, and Comcast's 768k upload wasn't cutting it. Gear Live now has a 30 megabit down/15 megabit up connection. While customer service is horrendous (even ignoring possible security flaws that can result in easy identity theft), the FiOS connection is a Godsend for us."

And another quote describing Ars Technica's Editor in Chief' Ken Fisher's move:

"We're in a region where everybody is getting FiOS within six months, so it didn't really influence our exact location," he said. "We've had FiOS for almost four months and there hasn't been a single outage. It's always fast, it's so reliable that when you see performance problems online you can assume it's something other than your connection. In fact, some people will be disappointed when they get it and realize that it can't make Yahoo serve to you any faster."

I'm sure Yahoo (and others) will catch up in serving these high bandwidth areas so I'm not too worried about that. This is also not new news - Realtors have recognized over the past year or so that high bandwidth (like FiOS) availability can be used as a marketing/selling point - much like a 3 car garage or bonus room!

I'm also sure we'll see the cable companies going in with competing DOCSIS 3.0 based services in areas of high bandwidth availability. My concern continues to be the under served areas and, over the past year, my definition of an under served area has expanded to places where ADSL is offered. Sure ADSL is faster than dialup (if that is all you have) but when you compare it to FiOS type bandwidths.... it crawls. And........... don't forget, the "A" in ADSL stands for "Asymmetrical" - I've written in the past about the shift to symmetrical services.

Here's a few questions I've been asking myself:
  • Will people start moving out of areas where high bandwidth is not available?
  • What will happen to property values in these under served areas?
  • Will businesses want to move into areas where high bandwidth is not available for the business and their employees?
  • What kinds of academic issues will these communities face?
The Speed Matters blog has a post titled To candidates: How will we get high speed Internet?
Sounds like a pretty good question to me.


Unknown said...

Funny - Andru from GearLive is the guy who has been showing off the leaked version of iPhone firmware 1.1.3

Mark Viquesney said...

The first house I bought, one of the main selling points was that it had DSL and most of the other places I looked didn't (back in 94). When my wife and I were buying, I insisted we only find places that had cable (or would within six months). Our realitor thought I was crazy for asking about such things. Now days, it is almost a given to expect one of the two.