The ugly truth

Nutria would do well to read and understand the facts of life:

In this sense, broadband is like old-fashioned telephone service, where there are always more lines leading from homes to the local switching station than there are going from the station out of the neighborhood. If everyone in a neighborhood picks up the phone at once, some calls won’t go through because there aren’t enough outgoing lines. But that rarely happens, so the system works.

On the broadband network, the over subscription means that one megabit-per-second connection to the Internet is enough to serve 40 DSL accounts, each at a maximum speed of 768 kilobits per second, typical for low-end DSL. So the cost of providing data to each DSL is about 25 cents to 50 cents a month per customer.

Of course, the carrier also needs to pay for the equipment that brings data from the Internet connection point to the subscriber, first through fiber-optic lines and then through DSL or cable.

Over-subscription doesn’t present a problem as long as people are using the Internet for Web surfing, e-mail and the occasional file download. But if everyone in a neighborhood is trying to download the evening news at the same time, it’s not going to work.

“The plain truth is that today’s access and backbone networks simply do not have the capacity to deliver all that customers expect,” according to Tom Tauke, Verizon Communications Inc.’s top lobbyist.

Over-subscription is the essence of packet-switching, boys and girls, and without it we have the good old telephone network. We don’t want that, do we?

3 thoughts on “The ugly truth”

  1. Gosh no! Since the telcos did such a good job building that one… using monopoly money for “their” infrastructure, why shouldn’t we just trust them and wait until they build us the broadband network they’ve been promising for years?

    I mean, it’s not like they will turn over your call records and Internet use statistics to the government, whenever they ask. That would never happen! I mean, it hasn’t happened… well, more than once, right? And if there was any problem, I’m sure the FCC or AT&T would tell us if something was wrong.

    So even if we advertise “Your World. Delivered.” Just don’t ask for too much of it! Becuase, after all, everyone understands that we can’t build a real robust network. Everyone who’s not a boy or a girl, that is.

  2. The phone companies, utility companies, and cable companies have been turning over billing records to the government for 10 years in order to colect child support. Why wait until now to complain?

    Packet-switched networks all operate on the principle of dynamically allocating bandwidth from a common pool, that’s the reason they’re typically able to operate faster than circuit-switched networks that never over-subscribe. There’s an engineering trade-off here between performance and predictability, and between cost and price.

  3. I’m with Richard on this one. You can use a credit-card to purchase anyone’s calling records these days. And somehow it isn’t fair for the Government to use them for data-mining purposes to combat terrorism? Last time I checked, this is wartime. And given Iran’s proclivity to threaten the U.S., U.K., and Israel with annihilation, the heat may be turned up a few thousand degrees sometime soon.

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