Were We Betrayed?

The conditions that forced Northwest Connect into existence – thousands not connected to broadband services, no competition in broadband services, no timely upgrades in our region – grew from the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The Act exchanged universal service as a mandate for monopoly telecom services for competition in the telecom marketplace. For our region it has not worked out well. For us the Act has made universal service and real competition only possible through municipal ownership of new broadband networks.

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Broadband Rates Will Only Increase

Broadband 20 years ago meant 200 kbps; today it means 25 mbps; in ten years it may be touching a gigabit per second. Upward pressure will come from 4K and 8K television, the latter needing 90 mbps, plus the Internet of Things clogging local WiFi networks with constant messages, plus Augmented and Virtual Reality, plus uploading massive files that now take days. In ten years cable television networks will be as out of date as DSL networks are today. Increasing speed will drive Fiber to the Home networks…


All Roads Lead to Fiber

The global Internet includes tens of thousands of switches interconnected by fiber optic lines often operating at 100 billion bits per second (gbps).  Fiber will go much faster; copper will never get there.  As speeds increase the “last mile” will inevitably become fiber optic as well, replacing ancient twisted-pair and coaxial copper lines.  The only questions are who will be doing it, and when.


Let’s Kill All The Lawyers

As with many things Shakespearean, this line from Henry VI Part 2 in context very likely means its opposite, that to usurp the law we will have to kill all those who uphold it. We certainly need lawyers for our project. Local carriers will resist whatever we do. Unhappily, Connecticut law is sufficiently unclear that we find ourselves in legal and legislative battles to get this project done.

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Is 5G the answer?

Depends on the question. But as a substitute for fiber optics to the home, or a short term driver for amazing new applications, or a solution to rural communities suffering from inadequate broadband services, the answer is no.  Behind all the hype is a host of serious problems and the unnerving fact that none of the new applications critical to the success of 5G exist yet. We are looking at decades, not years, for universal 5G.

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