Fast, affordable Internet access for all.
My current interest is moving beyond the 19th century concept of telecom to community owned infrastructure. This would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the US and much more value by creating opportunity for what we can't imagine.Read the transcript of this episode here. Enjoy the holidays! We want your feedback and suggestions for the show - please e-mail us or leave a comment below. Also, feel free to suggest other guests, topics, or questions you want us to address. This show is 15 minutes long and can be played below on this page or via iTunes or via the tool of your choice using this feed. Listen to previous episodes here. You can can download this Mp3 file directly from here. Find more episodes in our podcast index. Thanks to Haggard Beat for the music, licensed using Creative Commons.
My current interest is moving beyond the 19th century concept of telecom to community owned infrastructure. This would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the US and much more value by creating opportunity for what we can't imagine.Our interview discusses how the Internet is much more than something you connect to via a cable or telephone company. Fundamentally, we should be building networks that allow ubiquitous access to communications, not designing networks around billing relationships. Confused about what that means? Listen to our interview below and read some of his writings. He also talks about community broadband in an interview we previously noted. You can find our other stories that involve him here. We want your feedback and suggestions for the show - please e-mail us or leave a comment below. Also, feel free to suggest other guests, topics, or questions you want us to address. This show is 30 minutes long and can be played below on this page or subscribe via iTunes or via the tool of your choice using this feed. Search for us in iTunes and leave a positive comment! Listen to previous episodes here. You can download the Mp3 file directly from here. Read the transcript of this episode here. Find more episodes in our podcast index. Thanks to Fit and the Conniptions for the music, licensed using Creative Commons.
The Internet is no more capable than the infrastructures that carry it. Here in the U.S. most of the infrastructures that carry the Internet to our homes are owned by telephone and cable companies. Those companies are not only in a position to limit use of the Internet for purposes other than those they favor, but to reduce the Net itself to something less, called “broadband.” In fact, they’ve been working hard on both.There is a difference between the Internet and "broadband." Broadband is a connection that is always on and tends to be somewhat faster than the dial-up speeds of 56kbps. Broadband could connect you to anything... could be the Internet or to an AOL like service where some company decides what you can see, who you can talk to, and the rules for doing anything. The Internet is something different. It is anarchic, in the textbook definitional sense of being leaderless. It is a commons. As Doc says,
The Internet’s protocols are NEA:Because no one owns it, few promote it or defend. Sure, major companies promote their connections to it (and when you connect to it, you are part of it) but they are promoting the broadband connection. And the biggest ones (Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, etc) will do anything to increase the profits they make by being one of the few means of connecting to the Internet -- including charging much more and limiting what people can do over their connection, etc. This is one reason the connections from major corporations are so heavily tilted toward download speeds -- they want consumers to consume content. Just about every community network built in the last 3-4 years offers symmetrical connections by contrast.
- Nobody owns them.*
- Everybody can use them, and
- Anybody can improve them.
Last I heard, the fastest cable offering in the upstream direction was 12Mbps. Cox, our cable provider in Santa Barbara, gives us about 25Mbps down, but only 4Mbps up. Last time I talked to them (in June 2009), their plan was to deliver up to 100Mbps down eventually, but still only about 5Mbps up.
Big cable and phone carriers want to take credit for what the Internet has become -- but they never wanted it to be open. Smart decisions behind the scenes by people like Bob Frankston have allowed the open Internet to flourish despite the big carriers. In Frankston's case, it was creating the router that allowed home users to put any device, and number of devices they wanted, on their network connections when the carriers wanted to charge for every device.