State of IP

At Telephony Online, Rich Karpinski notes, In today’s carrier networks, IP may not always be hyped or even seen, but it is indeed everywhere — and in 2010, it’s only going deeper and making an even bigger impact. I think this protocol proliferation in the name of IP is the death rattle of the old network. IP is a data protocol so of course it dominated the enterprise market and it is prevalent on the Internet so of course Internet players such as Google want it to be upgraded for so-called Multimedia. But the message of all the brave talk about “ultimate outcomes that have yet to take hold today” is that once again it is becoming reasonable to predict Read More ›

Swanson on the problem with ‘net neutrality’

A must-read from Bret Swanson: Despite the brutal economic downturn, Internet-sector growth has been solid. From the Amazon Kindle and 85,000 iPhone “apps” to Hulu video and broadband health care, Web innovation flourishes. Mr. Genachowski heartily acknowledges these happy industry facts but then pivots to assert the Web is at a “crossroads” and only the FCC can choose the right path. The events of the last half-decade prove otherwise. Since 2004, bandwidth per capita in the U.S. grew to three megabits per second from just 262 kilobits per second, and monthly Internet traffic increased to two billion gigabytes from 170 million gigabytes–both tenfold leaps. * * * * At a time of continued national economic peril, the last thing we Read More ›

Thoughts on broadband strategy

The FCC received reply comments last week concerning the national broadband plan it is required — pursuant to the stimulus legislation — to deliver to Congress by Feb. 17, 2010. In the attached reply comments of my own, I conclude: The broadband market is delivering better services at lower prices. There is no evidence of a market failure which would justify additional regulation. I pointed out that just as the Sherman Act does not “give judges carte blanche to insist that a monopolist alter its way of doing business whenever some other approach might yield greater competition,” according to the Supreme Court, the Commission would be wise not to insist that broadband providers alter their way of doing business just Read More ›

Bandwidth Boom

Bret Swanson at Entropy Economics makes some fascinating findings in a new paper: We estimate that by the end of 2008, U.S. consumer bandwidth totaled almost 717 petabits per second. On a per capita basis, U.S. consumers now enjoy almost 2.4 megabits per second of communications power, compared to just over 28 kilobits per second in 2000. The ability of Americans to communicate and capitalize on all of the Internet’s proliferating applications and services is thus, on average, about 100 times greater than it was in 2000. It sort of makes you wonder why we need a National Broadband Plan from the government, particularly when you consider the possibility that the government’s well-intentioned efforts may backfire. Consider Swanson’s observation as Read More ›

Bracing for new regulation

Observers predict stepped-up regulatory battles in telecom, according to the Wall Street Journal, New congressional leaders as well as policy makers in the Obama administration are expected to press for fresh limits on media consolidation and require phone and cable firms to open their networks to Internet competitors, lobbyists and industry officials say. The article overlooks the fact that broadcast ownership limits and forced access policies are restraints on the free speech rights of broadcasters and network providers, and that the constitutionality of new regulation could ultimately be decided by the courts.

Regulation and investment?

Misguided regulatory policy is “among the most important inhibitors of capital investment in telecommunications,” conclude Debra J. Aron and Robert W. Crandall in a recent paper. The authors observe that Business firms do not make investments for altruistic reasons but rather make investments in order to earn a return on the invested capital. For any company to make any investment, it must determine, and convince the capital market, that the investment is reasonably likely to produce a positive return in net present value (NPV) terms sufficient to compensate for the risk incurred. When companies seek funding to execute a project, they compete for those funds with all other potential projects in the economy, not just with other investment opportunities available Read More ›

Telecosm recap

You should have been there! Telecosm was thrilling. I will list the ways, in chronological order in two or three posts over the next few days. (Below is Part 1.) 1) Lawrence Solomon, author of The Deniers, demonstrated, beyond cavil, that nearly all the relevant scientists, outside of the government echo-chambers, completely repudiate the climate panic. He concluded by pointing to evidence for a cooling trend ahead. 2) After I presented the statistics showing that most of the global economy is driven by innovation in the Telecosm–teleputers, datacenters, optical fiber, fiberspeed electronics–Steve Forbes gave a magisterial tour of the world economy. Relevant to the debates on the Gilder Telecosm Forum subscriber message board was his assertion that the Fed had Read More ›

Terabit Ethernet coming soon

George Gilder is getting some well-deserved recognition in Technology Review in an article by Mark Williams entitled “The State of the Global Telecosm – The most notorious promoter of the 1990s telecom boom has been proved right.” “I’m a fan of George Gilder, the bubble bursting notwithstanding,” Ethernet co¬≠inventor Bob Metcalfe (a member of Technology Review’s board of directors) told me after his San Diego keynote speech, “Toward Terabit Ethernet.” Metcalfe had told his audience not only that optical networks would soon deliver 40- and 100-gigabit-per-second Ethernet–standards bodies are now hammering out the technical specifications–but also that 1,000-gigabyte-per-second Ethernet, which Metcalfe dubbed “terabit Ethernet,” would emerge around 2015. Why, I asked, did Metcalfe believe this? “Last night, Gilder spoke to Read More ›

The bandwidth conundrum

John Dvorak, In today’s world, bandwidth demand is similar to what processing demand was 20 years ago. You just can’t get enough speed, no matter how hard you try. Even when you have enough speed on your own end, some other bottleneck is killing you. This comes to mind as, over the past few months, I’ve noticed how many YouTube videos essentially come to a grinding halt halfway through playback and display that little spinning timer. Why don’t they just put the word “buffering” on the screen? All too often, it’s not the speed of my connection that’s at issue–it’s the speed of the connection at the other end. It may not even be the connection speed itself; it Read More ›

Unleashing the Exaflood

Bret Swanson and George Gilder have a column in today’s Wall Street Journal in which they argue that more Internet capacity will be necessary to keep up with movie downloads, gaming, virtual worlds and other fast-growing applications. They explain that Internet capacity will have to increase 50 times in the next couple years in their recent report “Estimating the Exaflood: The Impact of Video and Rich Media on the Internet — A ‘zettabyte’ by 2015?,” which I discuss here. In their column, Gilder and Swanson warn this won’t happen if politicians re-regulate network providers: The petitions under consideration at the FCC and in the Markey net neutrality bill would set an entirely new course for U.S. broadband policy, marking every Read More ›