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September 14, 2009


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Low density is only one cause. Explain to me why people in New York City, which is very dense, do not have access to $30 per month 100 Mbps symmetrical FTTH broadband service, which is possible in European cities.

In Europe, it's a combination of factors that led to the deployment of fiber networks and upgrades in DSL/cable service:
- the European Commission's (and national regulators') persistent pressure on telecom incumbents (note: in the US, regulators believe in the magic of free markets and self regulation);
- public investment in fiber networks which allow the network owners to wholesale access to Internet service providers (lowers the costs for everyone, allows small operators to survive).

In Asia, governments have a very strong role in pushing the deployment of high-speed fiber networks. They realize that you need low-cost, high-speed broadband access to encourage entrepreneurs to develop the next generation of applications. The US model is to wait around for the "free market" to do it. Note that "free market" is in brackets because it's nothing close to a free market - rather it's a series of regulatory decisions that favor large telecom and cable incumbents at the expense of true competition. I am not singling out the US government on this. Municipalities have been particularly stupid about granting exclusive cable franchises. Talk about mortgaging your future.

Wolfgang Beck

Blame suburban sprawl. A DSLAM can only cover a certain area. If that area does not contain enough paying customers, there will be no DSLAM. Of course you can increase that area to get the required number of customers, but only by sacrificing access speed. The same is true for all low-delay access technologies.

Asia and Europe are traditionally more densely populated than the US, so your observations are not really surprising.

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