Let’s face it: America is facing a rather complicated hiccup: its sluggish internet service. Its broadband infrastructure is quite antediluvian, a little overpriced compared to that of other countries, and a lot of this, perhaps, is because it’s commitment to staying in favor of telecommunication companies that rip us off our money in return for a bog-standard internet speed.
Downloading a HD movie takes about seven seconds in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, Zurich, Paris and Bucharest, and people pay as little as $30 a month for that connection. In New York, Washington, Los Angeles, downloading the same movie takes about 1.4 minutes for those with the fast Internet available, and they pay $300 a month, as per The Cost of Connectivity report published by the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute.
Gigabit Speed Internet
Largely a result of monopoly providers who carve out illegal agreements to set regional monopolies. Eventually, someone is going to come and disrupt the immorality, perhaps Google Fiber, start-up service or city-run networks. But, that’s going to take some time, may be even a year of two!
Meanwhile, here’s the good news. 102 U.S. cities have pledged to come together to build gigabit-speed internet connections for its citizens, and by build, they literally mean it, even if they have to do it themselves. As a part of the Next Century Cities initiative, the cities have pledged to provide fast, affordable, and reliable next-generation broadband.
The coalition came into being last October, with an inaugural 32 members after the FCC make it clear that cities can build their own broadband networks, in spite of a few stats efforts to restrict or ban municipal internet services.
“At 25Mbps, there is simply no competitive choice for most Americans. Stop and let that sink in… three-quarters of American homes have no competitive choice for the essential infrastructure for 21st century economics and democracy. Included in that is almost 20 percent who have no service at all! Things only get worse as you move to 50Mbps where 82 percent of consumers lack a choice.”
Tom Wheeler, chairman of the F.C.C., said in a speech last month.
The coalition, in addition to laying the foundation of the giant infrastructure needed, is also going to wheel and deal with federal and state authorities to bring some changes into the existing rules and regulations in order to make network regulations fairer for the citizens. The coalition also wants to create networks in schools and churches, which in recent times has become a conversation churning topic for activists.
Without a doubt, these cities are going to have to face quite a lot of hurdles, and in fact even fight against giant companies in the broadband industry to make sure the project sees the daylight. As long as the infrastructure stays in those greedy companies’ hands. With one single internet provider dominating a city, the issue isn’t going to dwarf anytime soon.
These cities, are also going to face the infrastructure problem. The U.S. isn’t densely packed, it means that it’s going to be one hell of a challenge to bring fiber speeds to rural areas. In fact, Google Fiber’s expansion is slow as a wet wick. It has three cities set up so far, and five planned in the coming five years. City-run networks and start-up services could be the future. We’re not quite there yet, but 10-gigabit internet speed is not far off from becoming reality either.