back to article Gigabit? More like, you can gigabet the US will fall behind on super-fast broadband access

America is going to fall drastically behind the rest of the world, particularly China, when it comes to high-speed broadband internet access, according to a new report. The future of the internet is fiber and gigabit broadband, according to Rethink Technology Research, which this week emitted its forecast of the technology …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Well it seems that fiber optics companies are going to make a killing in offshore revenue

    Meanwhile, US telcos will do everything in their - admittedly - immense power to retain the status quo.

    Might as well try to stop the winter from coming. Change is inevitable and trying to avert it only means you will fall harder.

    1. David Webb

      Re: Well it seems that fiber optics companies are going to make a killing in offshore revenue

      Nono, the US telcos will lobby that they are falling behind China, France, North Korea (why not?) and require billions of dollars from the government so they will be able to upgrade their networks so everyone in the country can access super fast 20Mb interwebs, then spend all the money on explaining why they can't upgrade their systems to compete with other countries.

      Though speaking less silly, the internet speed of China doesn't matter to the US, they don't tend to have social media or search engines or such that can compete with US companies due to language barriers or high import taxes (or government censorship), all the major companies are currently American (Google, Ebay, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter) and people are not likely to switch away from them so there isn't the pressure from these companies to lobby the government, they already won the competition.

      1. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

        Re: Well it seems that fiber optics companies are going to make a killing in offshore revenue

        "....so they will be able to upgrade their networks so everyone in the country can access super fast 20Mb interwebs, ...."

        ---

        20 Megabits per second? WOW !!! That is SLOOOOWWWWW.....My home connection is already 300 megabits per second with Telus (Vancouver, Canada) and the work connections have had 10-Gigabit Direct to Telco Ethernet for a while now at a reasonable price rather than the incredibly expensive leased OT-768 lines of old. We're actually looking at Terabit Ethernet-over-Fibre and it's STILL RELATIVELY CHEAP! If you live in Downtown Vancouver in one of the highrise Apartments, you've had Gigabit Ethernet for more than TEN YEARS NOW!

        I feel sorry for the USA with their super-slow internet! My only telecom gripe with Telus is that we only get 10 Gigabytes a month data plans at 22 megabits download on our mobile phones and even THAT costs $80 Canadian per month (about 55 Euros).

        1. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: I feel sorry for the USA with their super-slow internet!

          Well, the upside is that our email works most of the time and the last time the internet went away it was due to a hurricane and teh webz came back when I fired up Start You F*cking Bastard, my generator.

          Seems like my mum and dad never had a good word for Tellus, and every week we read of lucky gigabit users being hung out by non-functioning ISPs.

          Swings and roundabouts I suppose.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Well it seems that fiber optics companies are going to make a killing in offshore revenue

          > 20 Megabits per second? WOW !!! That is SLOOOOWWWWW.....

          sarcasm *woooooosh* !

      2. Nosher

        Re: Well it seems that fiber optics companies are going to make a killing in offshore revenue

        "all the major companies are currently American (Google, Ebay, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter)"

        That's a very Western-centric view of the world - without even thinking about it too much I can replace that list with equivalent Chinese companies that are as big (at least relatively, but sometimes even globally) as the US equivalents: Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Sina Weibo

        1. David Webb

          Re: Well it seems that fiber optics companies are going to make a killing in offshore revenue

          @Nosher - True, and I do use Chinese websites to buy cheap tat, I mean stuff. You however didn't take into account the Great Firewall Of China which means the Chinese people are a literal captive audience who can't really use Google or post pictures of their democratic march against the price rises of soya beans at their local Starbucks on twitter.

          In a country with 440m households and a billion people, along with state sponsored online services, any local grown industry is going to be big

          @ StargateSg7 - I'm also on a 300Mb line with PlusNet in the UK, that wasn't the point of my post though, you just need to read other posts on this site to find examples of the FTTC changing the rules on what superfast broadband is or how it is measured to find it a tongue in cheek post.

      3. K Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Well it seems that fiber optics companies are going to make a killing in offshore revenue

        @David Webb - "the internet speed of China doesn't matter to the US"

        Me being silly - Sure it does, the US (or rather US government) absolutely cannot stand the idea of being beaten by any red-commie country! As a matter of fact, if I were a telepath, I'd say PoTUS is already thinking of tariffs and embargos on Cisco kit to prevent!

    2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Well it seems that fiber optics companies are going to make a killing in offshore revenue

      "Might as well try to stop the winter from coming."

      The US is already trying. Its security services are telling other countries not to use Huawei kit as it represents a security threat.

      Well yes it does, it means that the countries concerned won't get the same backdoors you get with US kit. But the more strategic reason may be to try to keep the rest of the developed world down at the US infrastructure level.

      1. fibrefool
        Boffin

        Gigabit Internet costs

        The main cost in providing FTTH is in running the last few metres of fibre into the home (i.e. digging a trench, putting a plastic tube in it, blowing fibre down the tube, and terminating the fibre in the home).

        Implications:

        1) it's not about "Huawei kit" vs "US kit".

        2) the cost is relative to local labour costs (so much cheaper to do this in China than in the US or UK).

        3) the cost is relative to housing density (as that determines how many metres you have to dig).

        4) fibre rollouts for FTTH and for mobile fronthaul are only loosely coupled (since those final few metres are required for the former but not the latter)

        5) you need to find a way to depreciate the dig over a much longer term than the equipment (since passive assets are immune from Moore's Law)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "The main cost in providing FTTH is in running the last few metres"

          That's why reusing existing infrastructure is smart, but it requires cooperation, not greed competition. Here the electric conduits are being used to deploy fiber, as it doesn't suffer from EM interference. So very little to dig, and easy access to most building.

          As long as each provider needs to build its own infrastructure, deployment will be far more expensive and slow.

        2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Gigabit Internet costs

          The main cost in providing FTTH is in running the last few metres of fibre into the home (i.e. digging a trench, putting a plastic tube in it, blowing fibre down the tube, and terminating the fibre in the home).

          When our house was being rebuilt some 10 years ago, I tried to get a fiber line installed from the pole to the house while the trench was still open (in the mistaken presumption that FIOS would make it here by now). Verizon had no clue how to go about it, and obviously had never even considered such an idea.

          1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

            Re: Gigabit Internet costs

            Fiber... hell, laying a pipe with a fishing line would do.

            It was a good thought, though. Which is what confused Verizon so much.

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: Gigabit Internet costs

            "While the trench was still open" you DID install a couple runs of empty conduit, just in case, right?

          3. PGHammer

            Re: Gigabit Internet costs

            The issue is not whether Verizon knows how to go about it (they do; I live in a FIOS-serviced area); however, most investors do not; they are underwhelming as far as investing in FTTH; they would rather go cheap (FTTN or even shorter) why else did FIOS deployment AND Google Fiber deployment BOTH come to an abrupt halt? Investors in infrastructure, by and large, are cheapskates - it is not even unique to FTTH; look at ALL infrastructure investment! Everybody wants to do it on-the-cheap. You can't do it on-the-cheap and get a quality product. (Even the PRC learned THAT lesson with their HSR (high-speed rail) deployment; they tried to do it cheap and it cost them - as in LIVES (Google "PRC early HSR deployment fatalities"). While they value life far less than other nations, they do still value it;, and even they don't want to lost that much face.

  2. andrewj

    "While the US is weighed down by an oligopolistic market with a small number of large broadband companies that avoid competing with one another to form local monopolies and maximize profits",

    and by a corrupt corporate shill leading the agency that is supposed to regulate them.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Well, the telcos' board needs to feed their families, buy new mansions, new cars, etc., etc. So they justify it and the shill just wants to be part of the gravy train. So basically, unless things change and someone gets some morality <cough> nothing will change. We're not the land of the free but the land of the greed.

      1. jake Silver badge

        It's quite embarrassing, actually.

        Land of the fee and the home of the greed. It's not the America I grew up in. Hopefully, in two years we'll take back America and start on the path to making us great again.

      2. A.P. Veening

        Land of the free

        USA is now world wide known as the land of the fee.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Land of the free

          USA is now world wide known as the land of the fee.

          As an American traveling through Europe, it doesn't seem much different here than in the US, but good job not letting that soap box go to waste.

  3. The_Idiot

    But... but...

    ... that nice, friendly Mr Pai said everything was going great!

    "“Today’s report confirms that the FCC’s policies to promote broadband deployment are working, After Internet service providers reduced new investments in 2015 and 2016 under the prior Administration’s regulatory approach, broadband investment increased in 2017 by $1.5 billion over the previous year.”

    Right. 2%. That'll fix it, yes? Oh - was that before or _after_ factoring in inflation, and the fact that the US was already _behind_ lots of other places? Sigh...

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge

    A variation of the early computer model then...

    It's worth noting that when it comes to technology the argument that "no one needs that much speed/power/memory" has literally never come true.

    Reference: "No one will ever need more than 640 kb of RAM".....

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: A variation of the early computer model then...

      Something that was never said and was obviously not true doesn't imply that our needs will grow forever without limit. There is no use case for consumer gigabit broadband today. Never say never, but there's nothing today and nothing on the horizon.

      People buy it because they hope it will fix their issues with Netflix stuttering at times or web pages that are slow to load, but those problems have nothing to with the link between your home and your ISP.

      We needed more than analog modem speeds because our content consumption got richer - from text to GIF to MP3 to video, but now that we've got HD/4K video there's no richer sensory input remaining to create demand for the next big jump in connection speed. Maybe someday "cloud VR" will become a thing, but not anytime soon.

      1. Garymrrsn

        Re: A variation of the early computer model then...

        "There is no use case for consumer gigabit broadband today."

        I would like to be able to upload or down load 5GB of grand baby movies or a 3GB Linux upgrade in seconds instead of hours.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: A variation of the early computer model then...

          So, Garymrrsn, now you've spent a couple of minutes downloading grandbaby movies at a couple of seconds per 5GB. How are you going to find the time to view them all? And for gawd/ess's sake, do NOT send them to me via email! FTP was invented for a reason, you know ... not least of which was unattended downloads at non-peak network times.

          Linux upgrades can be conveniently set for any time that you choose. It doesn't matter how long it takes if you are asleep at the time.

        2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: There is no use case for consumer gigabit broadband today.

          "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."

          Thomas Watson, president of IBM, 1943

        3. Cuddles Silver badge

          Re: A variation of the early computer model then...

          "I would like to be able to upload or down load 5GB of grand baby movies or a 3GB Linux upgrade in seconds instead of hours."

          Indeed. For some reason this keeps having to be said every single time anyone mentions internet speeds, but apparently some people just can't grasp the concept that saving time is actually useful, or that many households contain more than one person. Hands up who remembers the good not-that-old days when it took half an hour or more just to download a single entirely legal mp3 from Napster? Surely there can be no need for anything faster than 56.6kbps; after all, we had our music at the end of it so what could possibly be the point in downloading it any faster?

          At this point, sane people will probably notice that being able to download an entire album in under a minute is actually quite a bit more convenient, and most people were quite happy to see faster download speeds even before online video became widespread. Nothing meaningful has changed since then. Gaming is bigger than ever and almost entirely online these days - even if you buy a physical disc you'll still need to download GBs of updates as soon as you install it. And with games easily topping 100 GB, anyone telling me that 20 MBps internet is fine because there's no reason I would want to download a game in minutes instead of hours is simply an idiot.

          Sure, no normal home user is going to continuously saturate a gigabit internet connection 24/7, but that's not relevant. Pretty much anyone will be able to see a benefit from higher download speeds (and more rarely upload speeds). Exactly how much benefit they see and what cost they consider worth it will of course vary depending on circumstances, but the idea that there's no use for it at all is utterly ridiculous.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Downloading 5GB in seconds instead of hours

            That's a false choice. I said nobody needs gigabit, not that one megabit is fine. Once you get past 250 Mbps there is little value in faster speeds for home.

            What's the use case for downloading grandbaby movies in 50 seconds w/gigabit versus in 200 seconds with 250 Mbps or even 500 seconds with 100 Mbps? You aren't sitting there waiting for it to complete, unless downloading those movies is the ONLY thing you use your computer for. Whether 50 or 250 seconds, you will probably want to find something else to occupy your time while the download happens.

            Besides, just because you have a gigabit to your ISP doesn't mean you have a gigabit all the way to the cloud provider where your grandbaby movies are stored. What good does it do you have to be faster if you can't maintain that speed all the way to your destination?

      2. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

        Re: A variation of the early computer model then...

        ".....We needed more than analog modem speeds because our content consumption got richer - from text to GIF to MP3 to video, but now that we've got HD/4K video there's no richer sensory input remaining to create demand for the next big jump in connection speed....."

        ---

        I beg to differ on those case points. For a Proper Meet-Human-Resolution-Limits media experience, we need 16k Video (16384 by 8640 pixels) at 1000 frames per second at 16-bits per channel RGBA pixel depths which means at RAW UNCOMPRESSED data rates, that would be 1 132 462 080 bytes per frame or about 67 947 724 800 000 bytes per second (67.947 Terabytes Per Second or 543.567 Terabits per second) of data bandwidth! At modern interframe video compression ratios of 25:1, we are STILL looking at around 22 Terabits per second which can be done using Dense Wave Multiplexing over glass fibre technologies!

        Ergo, we STILL have a ways to go until we hit maximum human physical limits for resolution and required bandwidth to match! So there is ALWAYS ROOM to expand bandwidth at prices to match until PetaBYTES per Second Quantum Entanglement communications becomes common place and outsize 128k by 68k video at 10000 fps real-as-real-can-be imagery becomes common for broadcasting!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "I beg to differ on those case points"

          And of course your unicorn-pooped codec you brag on Canon Rumors forum about will take care of that, won't it, Harry? Did you add already holodeck features to it, for proper Meet-Human? What about the holodeck prototype you have in your basement, wholly produced with Canadian-only technology and components, of course?

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: A variation of the early computer model then...

      Nobody ever said "640K should be enough"[0] ... But Steve Jobs once said "256K should be more than enough for home users" (at a Homebrew Computer Club meeting, when introducing the Mac for the first time, a few weeks before it was unveiled to the general public.)

      [0] The supposed "640K limit" was an IBM hardware limit, not a MS software limit. And it wasn't really 640K, it was more like 704K, if you knew what you were doing. I find it absolutely amazing that this piece of incorrect trivia is still being parroted as fact after all these years ...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A variation of the early computer model then...

      If you want "smart working", working from home, startups, cloud deployments etc. higher speed, especially UPLOAD speeds are needed. As long as upload speeds are well below 10Mb anytime you have to upload something (even sending an email is an upload...) it will take too long.

      Unluckily most ISPs are still obsessed with an heavy asymmetrical consumer model - as if everybody just needed to download cat videos or porn (evidently, if they base customers' needs on their marketing team ones, that's what they think).

      I'm afraid here after broad FTTH deployment outside the larger cities, heavily subsidized with tax payers money, someone is going to offer "broadband" as 30/3 Mb, and if you pay more 100/10. To avoid to invest on their own backbones to handle the bigger traffic - as the fiber network operator routes the customers' traffic to the ISP networks.

      So once again you can easily get 1Gb in a relatively few densely populated areas, and far slower speed just a few kilometers outside, despite the FTTH fiber infrastructure does exist and already does support 1Gb speeds (it's GPON with 1:16 splitting), but ISP wait to rake in a lot of money before investing on their own networks.

      The "greedy model" of a lot of Western businesses, with most executives more careful about their year end bonuses than everything else, will discover one day they slowed down the whole economy, and everybody will pay the price.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A variation of the early computer model then...

        Upload speeds here in the US are definitely a problem. I'm on a 10MB-down, 1MB-up DSL connection here. The 10MB-down is plenty fast - two Netflix streams, couple web games, and websurfing all simultaneously works fine. But the 1MB-up is a problem. A backup to the cloud takes WEEKS, particularly since I have to throttle the backup's upload rate, because when it consumes all available upload bandwidth, everything else screeches to a halt.

        TLDR: 10MB down: works fine (for now). 1MB up? Can't do it, cap'n, we need MORE POWER!

        1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

          Re: A variation of the early computer model then...

          In a similar boat here. I sometimes casually twitch-stream my games, but I have to reduce the resolution and compress the hell out of it, and then can only solo local games.

          Letting my phone upload a video to my Google account can take hours and ties up all my bandwidth.

          Forget posting a video to YouTube. Takes all night, all my bandwidth and is likely to fail. I take it to work, instead, remote in and start it uploading at night. It's usually up in an hour.

          1MB up is useable for gaming and chat but you can't do much else.

  5. Kev99 Bronze badge

    If the rest of the US ISPs are anything at all like the pottard Frontier Comm, true high speed internet won't come along for more than the 5 years the report covered. They've said in writing they will NOT apply or accept any federal grants or other monies to boost the speed or access of their internet service. They've also told us they no intention of upgrading or replacing their current <2.75Mbps DSL service, which is subject to rain, snow, ice, and being used.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      If you have decent cellular where you live, you'll have fixed wireless 5G broadband available within a few years. If Frontier is still sticking to their guns and living by that statement they'll likely be driven out of business by that, but I have a feeling you won't mind if they are.

      1. Jaybus

        5G wireless is not a replacement for DSL, or at least not exactly. Traditionally, wired services, DSL, EoC, EoF, etc, are sold by instantaneous bandwidth, ie. bits transferred per second, whereas wireless service is sold by total bandwidth, ie. bytes transferred per month. That is a huge difference in business model, making it far more expensive for the customer, particularly for those who exceed 30 GB/month or so. Unless this fixed wireless 5G is going to be truly unlimited, I call bs.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Not really

          Many wired services, at least in the US, are capped. If 5G is capped, but it is capped at 1 TB are you going to care?

    2. Jaybus

      No ISP is going to upgrade DSL equipment. In many cases, it is not possible without replacing miles of tired old copper lines. I know that AT&T has for several years been petitioning the FCC and several state governments to allow them to retire all copper service, claiming that they can provide cellular service to all copper line service areas that meets or exceeds all state and federal requirements, e911, etc.

      Don't blame Frontier for abandoning DSL. Blame them for not having already replaced it with modern technology.

  6. Jay Lenovo Silver badge
    Coat

    Jealous, or maybe not

    Super high speed internet behind a Great Meddling Firewall.

    Yet... still can't download freedom. Minor glitch I guess

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Jealous, or maybe not

      Predicted super high speed internet. So far all we have is talk, and that's cheap. I prefer not to assume predictions are guaranteed to happen, unlike some others here.

      Perhaps in the next few years China really will do what they're claiming, while the hapless US falls far, far behind. But don't hold your breath.

  7. DougS Silver badge

    "Gigabit class wifi"?

    So in response to the correct claims that no one needs gigabit speeds today, they hope rolling out gigabit wifi will create a demand for gigabit internet service?

    You still have to do something that actually USES a gigabit. Which you won't come close to needing/using with web browsing, gaming, streaming, or any typical tasks.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: "Gigabit class wifi"?

      >You still have to do something that actually USES a gigabit.

      Not really, remember people currently buy Ferrari's and other supercars and go nowhere near a road or race track where they can actually open them up and exercise the horse-power. Thus I expect many will buy gigabit Broadband, not because they need it, but because they haven't a clue about what the numbers mean, other than bigger must be better and gigabit sounds more 'manly' than 80 megabits.

    2. Teoh Han Hui

      Re: "Gigabit class wifi"?

      Have you seen the size of game updates?

    3. A.P. Veening

      Re: "Gigabit class wifi"?

      I don't use that gigabit on my own yet, but together with the rest of my family I am about to need it at home. It isn't one single thing, but a couple of computers, three mobile phones, a TV and three tablets do add up. And that is before any guests with their mobile phones show up.

    4. Corin

      Re: "Gigabit class wifi"?

      As a few others have alluded, it's not that people are in need of a sustained 1gbit for hours on end for $task, it's that some limited tasks become much smoother with a higher speed connection.

      Take even streaming video now at 1080p. Might only need 20mbit; but if your player wants to buffer 10 seconds of video in RAM before it begins playback, the time it spends buffering will drop to almost near-zero with a gigabit connection.

      I write this from the lucky position of having Hyperoptic* 1gbit internet. I've found that I've stopped really caring about 'the internet' in terms of speed, stuff just works. If I'm sending a multi-GB file to cloud storage, it's done in barely no time at all. If I want a 15GB patch to download, it's done in the time it takes to make a cup of tea. A friend of mine languishing on 10mbit ADSL has to leave his computer on most of the day to grab the same updates in time for a gaming session in the evening.

      it isn't that I need to shift 50TB of data a month, but that the data I do transfer, I don't want to wait for. I now don't have to.

      (*Granted, the speed is lovely. Pity they still haven't rolled out ipv6 to me, nor can they offer a date when it'll arrive....)

      1. Dave Hilling

        Re: "Gigabit class wifi"?

        Funny I got IPV6 before I got even 100Mb internet on my carrier. I just recently went from 30Mb to 120Mb though my ISP claims that 200 may become the standard soon (this is in WV,USA). Course my upload only went from 10 to 20Mb still better ....i guess.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: "Gigabit class wifi"?

        "If I want a 15GB patch to download"

        A 15GB patch file‽‽‽ Holy crap!

        Oh ... wait. Windows, right? Has nobody introduced Windows programmers to diff yet?

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: "Gigabit class wifi"?

          Even if you have a 15GB patch for a game, if when you start up the game it says "please wait while we download and install this 15GB patch" you should bitch at the game developer for not having a background process to download the updates so they are already on your PC!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Gigabit class wifi"?

            15GB game update? That's not a "patch", that's an expansion pack!. Remember when an expansion pack was one additional CD?

  8. astounded1

    You Gotta Have Backhaul, Oh you Gotta Have Backhaul If You Want 5g...

    Makes for a catchy tune. In order for the mass rollout of 5G to deliver promised wireless speeds of a gig, there is going to be another round of fiber going in the U.K, the Continent and the USA.

    Nothing like a mobile carrier arms race to create a terrestrial network with enough fiber that even BT would think of hooking up your manse.

    USA? Oi vey! AT&T and Verizon already at each others' throats. Because of mobile billions, the major networks have no choice but to enable gig or the competition will. The mobile guys don't cooperate on "regions" like the cable guys do. They have to have your blood and they'll spend to get and keep it. This report doesn't touch on the backhaul reality of all that mobile data needing to be sucked into the ground but fast and routed to its destination in a few milliseconds. Only sweet Corning Leaf is in order.

    Thus, me droogies, said report is bollux.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: You Gotta Have Backhaul, Oh you Gotta Have Backhaul If You Want 5g...

      Most cell towers in populated areas already have fiber run to them, so that's not a problem. For rural towers AT&T has come up with a pretty nifty technical solution called AirGig. It uses incredibly high frequencies so it actually travels in the air surrounding aerial power lines (using them as waveguides, essentially) and can support tens or hundreds of gigabits per second. So all the rural towers need are aerial power lines run to them (they need electricity anyway) and fiber connecting somewhere along that aerial tower path.

      Very easy to install too since the devices clamp onto the power lines about every third pole or so, and take what little power they need from them. Just needs permission of the electric utility, but in rural areas of the US most electrical utilities are cooperatives owned by the customers, so getting permission will be very easy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You Gotta Have Backhaul, Oh you Gotta Have Backhaul If You Want 5g...

        Re: AirGig:

        Cool idea, but not actually ready yet. They're looking at doing more testing in 2019, and Georgia Power Chief Executive Paul Bowers said "It's too early to say whether it's gigabit." Apparently the lines are to carry "multiple gigabits per second", but that's split among users.

  9. Shane 4

    Is this a competition to see who can roll out the worst broadband?

    Aussie here, Hold my beer.

    You haven't seen our NBN!

    1. the Jim bloke Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      I live in walking distance of a state capital CBD... and I still havent seen our NBN

  10. jake Silver badge

    The report correctly notes:

    "While there is an argument that almost no-one currently really needs 1 Gbps"

    When I'm at my place just outside Fort Bragg, I use a pair of old USR modems to connect to my systems here in Sonoma at 19,200 baud (if the weather permits ... sometimes fog and/or rain + the aging cable plant's dusty, hardened, cracking wires screw up the signal to noise ratio to the point of dropping it to 1200 baud ... or lower ).

    I still manage to read and post to ElReg without any histrionics. Doesn't seem to affect the rest of my IntraWebTubes experience much, either. Gong text-only isn't as much of a hardship as you think it is. Try it sometime. (I'm not a gamer, and I see no need to schedule large file transfers when I'm up there. Nor do I see a need for "cloud" anything.)

    Live a little, learn Lynx ... 26 years old, and still going strong!

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: The report correctly notes:

      You're not a gamer, you don't schedule large file transfers, gigabit is not aimed at the likes of you. Numpty.

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: gigabit is not aimed at the likes of you.

        I think the point of the gentleman's post was that for most people the existence of gigabit ethernet is superfluous to needs, as implied in the article.

        There was no need for rudeness.

        I agree with his point. I used to look at what people were doing on their iPads, then iPhones when in transit as I was being assured that these then-new devices were tools of doing useful things on the move. All games, mostly stupid games too. These days it is video and texting/tweeting.

        None of these requires gigabit ethernet.

        It would seem on he face of it that gigabit ethernet is a solution looking for a problem. I have no doubt that the industry will find ways to fill the bandwidth. They always do.

        1. Jaybus

          Re: gigabit is not aimed at the likes of you.

          "I have no doubt that the industry will find ways to fill the bandwidth."

          They already have, in the form of multiple video ads on every web page. While this doesn't require Gbps either, it does make gui web browsing nearly impossible for jake and other like him in rural areas that are drastically underserved.

          I am in a similar situation to Jake, living in rural Tennessee. My wife and I both work mostly from home and have been struggling for years to get any sort of broadband service. Our options are T1 and Satellite. We just replaced T1 service that was in excess of $350 US per month, with business satellite from Viasat that is just under $200 US.

          I have negotiated with both Spectrum Cable and AT&T to provide us with cable and fiber, respectively. AT&T has fiber running along the Tennessee river supplying manufacturers. The closest fiber is about 1500 m from the border of my property. (Spectrum leases fiber from AT&T to provide cable to a waterfront community a few miles away.)

          Spectrum quoted me $86,000 US to run 1500 m of cable. AT&T is much cheaper and will run fiber for Ethernet service for only $11,000 US. In both cases, it was expected to take 6 to 9 months, as they had to petition the state for a right of way for a few hundred m along a state highway. So you see? What are they talking about? Gbit Ethernet service is available even in rural East Tennessee!

          Yes, we could really use a fast Internet connection, and no, we will not give up our horse ranch in order to have it. We WANT Gbit service, but we do not NEED it.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: The report correctly notes:

        Aladdin, no I'm not a gamer. However, I do schedule large file transfers. Just not to FB when I'm in FB; instead, I'll have the Sonoma system burn a DVD (or ten) and have it next-dayed to me. Or, if the weather is nice I'll go and collect it myself. Four hours on a bike through N. California is relaxation to me. So yes, I know what to do with Gigabit. My point is that it's not actually necessary. Nor have I seen a single necessary use case listed here. Unless "I WANT IT NOW!!!" counts as "necessary" these days, which, sadly, I suppose is possible ...

    2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: The report correctly notes:

      "Live a little, learn Lynx ... 26 years old, and still going strong!

      I use w3m and heirloom-mailx daily, despite having 80Mbs. Two things the kids today don't understand:

      - when to use the most efficient task for a job - a quick email / google lookup takes seconds without needing to touch a mouse.

      - how to "MacGyver" up a solution - like with your Fort Bragg example.. In that same situation many people would be lost, claiming a soultion was impossible.

  11. Someone Else Silver badge

    And nobody gives a ...

    America is going to fall drastically behind the rest of the world, particularly China, when it comes to high-speed broadband internet access, according to a new report.

    And nobody gives a flying fuck.

    The "providers"? Hell no, they'd have to spend money on infrastructure updates, and support equipment for users, and well...how's that gonna allow the head weenies to make their multi-million dollar bonuses each year? "We've got to protect our phony-baloney jobs, gentlemen!"

    The gub'mint? Hell no, they will just trust in the magic power of "the market" to cause this wondrous thing called "broadband' to happen. (All the while conveniently ignoring that, in a monopoly environment like the one we have, there is no "market". And besides, upsetting the status quo might jeopardize the flow of corporate dollars into their campaign coffers, or perhaps endanger a post-gub'mint cushy do-nothing, phony-baloney job with the providers -- I'm looking at you Pai-boy!)

    The consumer? Hell no, they don't even know that real broadband exists, most of them. And the ones that do (that 11%) either have too much money and are willing to pay the exploitive, monopolistic tariffs the "providers" demand.

    So, situation normal...just a little cigar smoke...nothing to see here...move along, move along....

  12. Someone Else Silver badge
    Devil

    It's worth noting that when it comes to technology the argument that "no one needs that much speed/power/memory" has literally never come true.

    Bill Gates: "640K is all anyone would ever need."

    Bill Gates: "The internet is just a fad."

    (Rests case)

  13. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker
    Joke

    Gigabit access?

    Make mine 1.21 gigabits.

    [dons shades and cranks Huey Lewis]

  14. ReadyKilowatt

    Full disclosure: I work for one of those horrible US ISPs.

    The only real advantage cable companies have over new entrants is that cable companies already have paid-for infrastructure in place. The bulk of cable systems were constructed with Michael Milken's junk bonds and accelerated depreciation schedules in the 1980s and are just upgraded from time to time as necessary. Internet service was just an incremental revenue add-on at first so the risk level was pretty low.

    Any new entrant has to build from scratch. And they have to convince people who already have service to switch. Believe it or not, there are people who are satisfied with their current service and don't want/care enough to switch to a new provider, especially the light users who pay the same as heavy users but use a fraction of the bandwidth (ideally the users who check their Facebook and email once a day are the perfect customers, not the hard core torrent freaks and gamers who are going to switch as soon as they see your trucks working in the area). As long as the investors are willing to put up with the burn rate you can run an ISP, but you'll have the worst of all possible worlds: Huge cap-ex, extreme users and serious marketing expense. Oh and if you itch enough to make the incumbent scratch they'll drop their margin to 0 and you'll be the expensive option to boot.

  15. Richard Bennett

    This story is nonsense and should taken down. The US already has gigabit coverage to a majority of the nation's homes, but few want it because web sites and video streaming services can't keep up with speeds higher than 20 Mbps.

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