U.S. Hotel Broadband Sucks

Holy C%&^@. Does the broadband in this hotel ever suck!!!! Seriously, I’d be better off with a 56k modem and trying to dialup my Covad access. This week I’m staying in Austin TX at the Candlewood Suites, which is an extended stay portion of the Holiday Inn empire. At $119 a night its not dirt cheap, and they promote the free broadband as a major feature. It’s wired too, which is normally better than free wireless.

However, it’s provided through an outfit called SuperClick. They suck. I spent 30 minutes on the phone to them this evening just because their captive portal arrangement was so slow that it never offered me a login page.

Their tech support was operated out of Montreal, which is nice…I love Montreal…IMHO its one of the greatest cities to visit in North America.

Je suis Canadien, j’adore Montréal. New Orleans as well.

But even after they got me logged in the service was barely functional. For some insane reason they backhaul everything to a location in Atlanta. Any web service that makes an effort to guess my location by IP thinks that I’m in Georgia.

Maybe this will be the motivation for me to sign up for an EVDO service, or perhaps WiMax eventually. Since T-Mobile is finally rolling out its 3G network maybe I can tie a new wireless broadband service into my cell account. I spend enough days on the road that lack of functional broadband causes serious frustration.

Do you hear that Mr Holiday Inn? I will not be staying here again. I’ll be at the new Hyatt Place or Marriott down the way. G’night.

AT&T Fear-mongering re Intenet Backbone Saturation

Now let me be very clear about this; I despise AT&T. Ars Technica has a great overview on how their recent statements about the internet backbone becoming overtaxed are simply untrue. It’s plain, old fashioned fear mongering aimed at allowing them to build an argument against the principle of network neutrality.

Here’s the killer bit from my perspective:

Analyst Daniel Beringer argued in a 2006 article that network maintenance and upgrade expenditures are a lower priority for AT&T than attaining monopoly control of the market through acquisitions. “The Bells only invest in more monopoly which usually means buying each other. The track record shows steadily lower spending on networks to increase free cash flow for acquisitions. The $140 billion SBC spent acquiring Ameritech, PacBell, SNET, AT&T Wireless, and AT&T lifted the company’s market cap by only $40 billion,” wrote Beringer. “SBC missed an opportunity as $140 billion happens to be about what it would cost to run fiber to every home in America.”

They had the chance to built or buy…and they decided to buy. Now they’re stuck with the business in its present form. Copper for the last mile is at the root of their inability to delivery newer and better services. It defines them.

They whine about their competitive situation yet fail to take the steps to ensure their own ability to compete. All the while cableco’s continue to erode their land line business. They were shortsighted and it is costing them dearly.

Sadly, its costs us all by diminishing our competitive edge as nation.

Walt Mossberg Says “We suck at broadband!”

You really need to see this. It’s Walt giving a presentation outlining trends in TV viewing on PCs vs home theater and the sorry state of the broadband reality in North America. I don’t always agree with Walt, but he has this completely nailed. He very lucid and well spoken on the matter. He also highlights AppleTV & Tivo as well as the pending (60 days) availability of a 3G iPhone.

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Do I Dare Hope? Broadband Innovation In Rural Texas

Gigaom has an article this morning about a small company rolling out high speed wireless data service into rural areas of Texas. It certainly sounds like an impressive service. If I were in a covered service area I’d be all over this. Hopefully some of this trickles upstream to cities like Houston.

The US Has A Broadband Policy, Really?

So this week the Bush Administration published a report on US Broadband Policy and extolled how well its working. Curious given that members of the FCC have reported that they don’t think we actually have one. Ars Technica has the coverage.

As I’ve written before, my broadband options have not changed a bit in over ten years. Oh, the price goes up for decent service, and there’s dirt cheap DSL for marginal service. The providers are arrogant, lazy companies milking consumers while trying to minimize what we actually use so that they can avoid infrastructure investment and maximize their profits du jour.

Time-Warner is trying a new pricing scheme involving bandwidth caps in Beaumont, TX. Comcast is traffic shaping p2p activity. AT&T believes in spending to buy other telcos, but built U-Verse on the principle of not spending on infrastructure if at all possible. (The exploding DSLAMs in neighborhoods are really neat though!)

Verizon may have their problems too, but at least they made the investment in technology to deliver real fiber-to-the-home. It’s a longer term view that will serve them, and the country, well over time.

The administration is deluded. But that’s not exactly news…is it?

Something needs to change, and change BIG! We need a federal regulator with some backbone to ensure that the general public good is served as well as the corporate shareholders.

Remembering Sprint ION

Back in 2001 we had the pleasure of a year of Sprint’s ION DSL service. ION remains to this day the best broadband service that I’ve experienced. It’s a terrible pity that Sprint shut it down.

ION stood for, “Integrated On-Demand Network.” It was an xDSL drop to a CPD (CPD = Customer Premises Device) that presented network connections (RJ-45) and phone connections (RJ-11s.) It was offered in a couple of packages. We had the one targeting SOHO users, which was 2 fixed IP adresses and 4 phones lines. For $149/mo the service included 1.5/768 data and unlimited local calling & domestic long distance. There was also a lesser service with 1 IP and 2 phone lines for $99/mo.

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