Salon notices many other countries have decent bandwidth for less than we pay for the craptacular SBC service here:
Next time you sit down to pay your cable-modem or DSL bill, consider this: Most Japanese consumers can get an Internet connection that’s 16 times faster than the typical American DSL line for a mere $22 per month.
Across the globe, it’s the same story. In France, DSL service that is 10 times faster than the typical United States connection; 100 TV channels and unlimited telephone service cost only $38 per month. In South Korea, super-fast connections are common for less than $30 per month.
WOW! Who knew? Just like with cable, the FCC has completely dropped the ball on broadband. While cable rates rise, broadband seems to be attached at the hip… But as new technologies emerge such as VOIP bundeled with broadband DSL, Cable or another, new legislation will have to be modified to handle these technologies.
A draft of the new legislation was released yesterday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and surprisingly, it doesn’t look half bad.
The Federal Communication Commission’s influence can be seen on the legislation, as it would make the FCC’s policy of encouraging competition between BITS (broadband Internet transmission services) rather within them a matter of law. All broadband providers, whether cable, DSL, powerline, or other would be put on equal footing. In addition, broadband providers would not be able to block lawful content from their networks. That means that if your cable ISP offers VoIP telephony, but you choose to go with a competitor, your ISP will be barred from blocking or otherwise hindering your calls.
VoIP users will also be given access to emergency 911 services under the draft legislation. As is the case now, VoIP providers would have to negotiate with the incumbent telcos (e.g., SBC, BellSouth, Qwest, Verizon) for access to their 911 networks. The legislation would force the VoIP providers to provide full access while mandating that the telcos offer it to them at “just and reasonable” rates. If negotiations between VoIP and a telco stall, the FCC could be brought in to mediate. VoIP subscribers could also see some modest cost increases in the form of the same federal Universal Service Fund charges that POTS (plain old telephone service) subscribers currently pay. The decision on whether to add USF charges to VoIP service would be left up to the FCC.
Efforts to create municipal broadband networks would get a thumbs-up from the legislation as well. State and local governments will be able to create and operate their own broadband networks although they would be subject to the same laws and regulations governing networks operated by the private sector. That legislation would trump laws passed in a handful of states that bar towns and cities from operating broadband networks. From the Committee’s section-by-section summary.
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