Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Country telco windfall?...

It seems the Big Guys may not want any "gummint" money, because it might force them to abandon plans to offer faster service to certain favored websites - the main battleground of the now protracted War for Web Neutrality.
New York-based Verizon, like Dallas-based AT&T, may forgo the grants if it doesn’t like the conditions.
“We don’t have any plans to apply; we also have not made a decision not to apply,” Verizon Executive Vice President Thomas Tauke told reporters last month. “We’re certainly going to participate in those discussions to the extent that we can.”
The stimulus measure has a provision that makes NTIA a new battleground in the debate over so-called net neutrality. That’s the idea that broadband providers shouldn’t be permitted to favor some Web sites by delivering their content faster than similar content from other sites.
The law says recipients of NTIA grants must practice “nondiscrimination” in access to their networks and “at a minimum” must comply with broadband guidelines adopted by the FCC in 2005. Those principles, which aren’t formal FCC rules, say carriers should let subscribers have access to any legal Web content or service they choose as long as it doesn’t harm the network. [More]
The likely upshot is billions of federal dollars will be available to bring service first to "unserved" areas via entrepreneurs and small rural telcos, versus farms being brought into the mainstream broadband fold.  This suggests to me a two-tier broadband system, because after the stimulus money peters out, the revenue stream from small systems will not support upgrading or possibly even the expansion needed to handle sure-to-occur Internet use.

My selfish hope is therefore for the Bigs to plant a tower close enough to me to allow me to stay abreast of the advances in wireless speed and bandwidth.  Failing that, I hope satellite providers can use some stimulus money to speed up their systems.

Regardless, this action could mean a new lease on life for rural telcos, even as subscribers switch away from landlines.
Wireless-only households made up 14.7 percent of U.S. households in 2007, analysts say.

These wireless-only adults made up 13.6 percent of U.S. adults in 2007, but more recent surveys suggest national wireless-only households might number as many as 20 percent of U.S. households. Cord cutter penetration varies fairly significantly by state, though, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Household-level estimates ranged from a low of 5.1 percent in Vermont to a high of 26.2 percent in Oklahoma. Other states with a high prevalence of wireless-only households include Utah (25.5 percent), Nebraska (23.2 percent), Arkansas (22.6 percent), Idaho (22.1 percent), and Iowa (22.2 percent).

Other states with a low prevalence of wireless-only households include Connecticut (5.6 percent), Delaware (5.7 percent), South Dakota (6.4 percent), Rhode Island (7.9 percent), New Jersey (8.0 percent), and Hawaii (8.0 percent). Other states with a low prevalence of wireless-only adults include Vermont (4.6 percent), Connecticut (4.8 percent), Rhode Island (5.3 percent), Montana (5.4 percent), and New Jersey (6.1 percent).

Similarly, there is great variation in the prevalence of wireless-only adults across states, ranging from a low of 4.0 percent in Delaware to a high of 25.1 percent in Oklahoma. High rates of wireless substitution also are reported by adults living in the District of Columbia (25.4 percent). Other states with a high prevalence of wireless-only adults include Utah (23.9 percent), Nebraska (22.4 percent), Kentucky (21.6 percent), Idaho (21.3 percent), and Arkansas (21.2 percent). [More]

What about you?  Ready to go cell-only yet?


Brian in Central IL said...

No, Wife and I have talked about friends of ours who have gone all wireless or use mobile phones to place many outbound calls based on the free evenings and weekends. Our whole hitch from even considering a switch is the unreliabilty of the signal. My Wife's phone many times requires a "signal dance" just to get enough signal to make a call. A family member who calls on their cell on occasion gets dropped calls and therefore we are not confident that the phone will be there when we need it.

Maybe if we could be reasonably assured we will always have a signal, even if sometimes weak may change our minds but for right now its a no. I just got a Blackberry Curve and so far signal appears strong, but its only two wqeeks old and has not been out of the flat land of Central IL to be tried in the hills in West or South IL.

Anonymous said...

When my sister moved to Chicago out of college she never got a land line hooked up. It was cheaper for her to be all cellular than to have a cell phone, land line and internet subscription. She has since moved to Des Moines and still has the same arrangement.

From Virginia said...

My wife and I eliminated the land line two months ago and ported the long established number into my blackberry. The move saves us about $70 per month. Most family members have the same carrier for cell service which makes those calls free, and we buy a big enough package of minutes to cover all other calls. Going cell only is standard operating procedure for everyone under 30, and increasingly so for old folks like me.