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Colorado Town Offers 1 Gbps for $60 After Years of Battling Comcast (techdirt.com)
1606 points by CrankyBear on Sept 18, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 498 comments

CenturyLink, in particular, but also Comcast, has brought this upon themselves...

They are doing everything they can to protect their existing infrastructure and do as little as possible to upgrade services.

I'm thinking of back in '98 when QWest was rolling out DSL, the would only connect you to a central office. They refused to put DSLAMs in the pedestals, because if they did that they had to allow CLECs to do the same and CLECs could start "cherry picking" service locations for DSL. One very rural community ("Ruby Ridge?") had to sue to get the right to put in DSLAMs. DSL was dependent on how many wire feet you were from one of the two central offices in town.

Compared to my inlaws up in Saskatoon Canada: Similar size city, they deployed DSLAMs in the remote terminals and ran fiber to them and used the copper to the house for the last mile and covered the whole city.

Remember, the telcos got a $2 billion rate hike to enable them to deploy fiber to the home by the year 2000. Except for a few small trials (I used to work at QWest), they just pocketed the money, no large scale fiber buildout was done.

Until Fort Collins passed the "we are going to build out our own fiber network", Comcast was really dragging their feet on upgrades. You can get gigabit now for around $100/mo, if you commit to a year. I'm just sitting on 120mbps for $90/mo, because people the next neighborhood over are getting door hangers saying the city fiber is coming soon.

I'm in a combo CenturyLink / Comcast market, and it's AMAZING what competition between even just those two firms does to my offerings. Switched from Comcast's $90/mo gigabit with a 1 TB data cap and only 90 Mb/s upload to CenturyLink's $60/mo symmetric gigabit with no data cap. I have a contract-less "lifetime price guarantee", they did free install (which included running a fiber line from the pole to my house with a cherrypicker), and threw in a free fiber endpoint box (I don't know what it's really called) and a modem/router that's actually pretty good.

I get 980 Mb/s up/down with a 1ms ping in speed tests. Games are amazing, downloads are amazing, hosting files to myself is amazing...all it takes is a little competition.

> free fiber endpoint box (I don't know what it's really called)

That would be an Optical Network Terminal, or ONT

If you have no contract, what's to stop CenturyLink from reneging on the lifetime price guarantee?

If it's in writing on the GP's "welcome packet" or whatever, then violating the guarantee is advertising fraud.

nothing but competition

I wonder why we are stuck with these options (in the town referenced in the post): 1gbps Comcast and 40mbps CenturyLink.

Colorado has laws that give monopolies on the infrastructure to whoever owns it. But in order to get around anti-trust laws (or for some other cynical reason), so in your case, there is really only one provider, but they share their infrastructure with their competition and throttle them to nothing. So your options are "whatever comcast offers" and "whatever comcast decides CenturyLink can offer"

I don't understand. Comcast has their own infrastructure: a bunch of coax in the ground. Century Link (previously known as: QWest, USWest, and Ma Bell) has their own: Cat-3 coppter in the ground.

DSL/Telephone copper line has physical limits to the bandwidth it can provide. It can't do anything close to gigabit and plummets very quickly with distance from the telco box.

Lots and lots and lots of regional lobbying.

"threw in a free fiber endpoint box (I don't know what it's really called)"

PON ONU. Memorable, it isn't.

Make sure you do your speedtest to a server beyond CenturyLink.

My speeds were about that to the CenturyLink data center, but anything outside that was slower than Comcast 150 Mbps.

Which leads me to believe they don't have a fat enough pipe to the internet in my area.

Which was too bad, because the $60/mo price was a deal


This is aggressive and unnecessary language.

Adopting an antagonistic stance towards American telecoms is a patriotic duty of all functional Americans.

CenturyLink has been acting in what appears to be good faith within Denver city limits in the past few (~4) years or so. They've been offering gigabit fiber service in select parts of the city for around $60-70/month for at least that amount of time.

While I agree with the general sentiment about large providers needing to do more for less and faster, it seems that CL is being a good corporate citizen in Denver at least.

Personal Anecdote: I signed up for gigabit fiber at a previous residence and experienced consistent 850+ Mbps synchronously, often exceeding 900Mbps. Then upon purchasing a home in another part of the city I cancelled this newly-installed (< 1 year) fiber service with no charges.

Fast-forward to last week when I see CL contractors installing fiber in my alley. I'm now signed up for an install of this same gigabit fiber service for $70/month with no data caps, blocked ports, or other random charges (excluding tax) or restrictions. It's quite a good deal compared to other offerings here. A friend in another neighborhood is also set to receive his service soon, so it appears they're investing quite heavily in their fiber-to-the-home rollouts.

The availability area for CenturyLink gigabit in Denver is tiny [1] and hasn't grown much over the last few years as far as I can tell.

[1] https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1iOdQ6O5Nv9AkqN29de...

I had a gigabit fiber-to-the-home connection in an area inside of Denver city limits (more than 3 years ago by the way) that is not shown on your linked map, so your data source for this is not accurate.

That is CenturyLink's map, not mine. Click "See Map":


Oh I see. That's actually a map of where they are currently _expanding into_, not where they offer service. A much larger part of the city is covered than what that map is showing.

The parent comment is a better reflection of the state of CL's fiber rollout than you might think. I recently did the exercise of trying to figure out what homes did and didn't have fiber from them all around Denver.

> CenturyLink has been acting in what appears to be good faith within Denver city limits ... offering gigabit fiber service ... for around $60-70/month

This is good, but I see higher/lower prices as a symptom, not the problem itself. My beef with Comcast and its ilk is not that their price is too high, but that they aggressively lobby to kill any viable alternatives, such as city fiber (which allows them to keep prices high and bundle "required hardware" rentals, but throw in short term incentives to appear cheaper than they are). My 2c.

Denver has it but it's not expecting to are outside the metro area. I had an installer tell me that fiber would never come to my neighborhood despite it only being a 10 year old development in a fast growing city (Castle Rock, south of Denver).

In Fort Collins, CenturyLink only offers 80 MB down. Fiber from CL in Northern Colorado isn't even on the table.

I was among the first in Boulder CO to have gigabit internet installed circa 2014. Don’t think it ever moved further north than us.

This isn't true for Century Link.

Lots of people in Seattle, and a growing number of other cities, have Century Link gigabit fiber to their residence. I pay less than $70 a month for this.

Comcast is losing marketshare fast in Seattle because of this.


This isn't true for Century Link.

It's best not to make broad generalizations when it comes to ISP's.

A single ISP may provide high speed and low rate in one city, then provide low speed at high rates in another. Your experience in Location A is likely not what other people experience in Location B.

It all depends on the competition, regulation, infrastructure, geography, population density, history, and other features of an area.

But are there competing gigabit internet in Seattle? Obviously they will stay competitive, that's beside the point.

It's like how Comcast happened to bring cheap gigabit internet to every city Google Fiber entered... The fact that it takes a local competitor to get these big companies to bring cheap gigabit is exactly the problem. Your anecdotal evidence about a city full of competition doesn't really prove anything.

Here in Salt Lake City, Comcast is not competitive with Google Fiber at all. It's about 2.5x more expensive ($170 vs $70 if I'm not mistaken), and comes with a 1TB/month data cap, making it completely useless.

There are far more options in Seattle than ever before (and possibly than any other city in the US). WaveG, CenturyLink, CascadeLink, WebPass (Google Fiber), Comcast

That doesn't appear accurate. If you happen to live in a building (condo/apt) that is supported by one of the other gigabit companies you list then you are good to go. But that is a very very small part of the population.

Otherwise Seattle has only 2 options for physically connected internet: Centurylink and Comcast. And they are priced accordingly.

Yup and there are large swaths of Seattle where Century Link doesn’t have competitive speeds to Comcast. Cities should have even more competition for service providers than rural areas.

Yes! I live in Seattle and whenever I try their checker it tells me "Great! You qualify for up to 12Mbps" for $45/mo. I'm not a fan of Comcast, but that Century Link offer is a poor joke in comparison.

And this is despite living less than three blocks from a Century Link building crammed full of machines (I can hear the hum from the sidewalk when I go by). I don't get it.

It's the cost of the last mile, and the difficulty and expense of running those wires.

Or just apathy by incumbent providers, why do better when doing worse still gets you paid.

Hmm. I wouldn't call that a very very small part. It's not pervasive. But it's still better than the competition in most cities.

That's fine though, as long as they're not actively campaigning and lobbying to keep entities from entering the field in the first place.

No it isn't fine - the fact that the monopoly is developed enough to suppress competition is already a bad thing - these guys need to be broken up hard.

When they additionally lobby to stop locals from fixing the problem - that's them rubbing salt in the wounds and I'm glad they're doing it, it's getting less technical folk to wake up to the BS.

I think I did a poor job communicating what I meant.

I agree with you, the current status quo is abhorrent.

Were there to be competition, some providers offering poor deals is fine. That isn't the case though. Thank you for articulating.

Do we know that they aren't lobbying? I'm not familiar with CenturyLink for Comcast absolutely is all over the US.

I live in the middle of Capitol Hill and would love to ditch comcast, so I went to check this out. Good news, I qualify for "high speed" internet of up to 7Mbps!

Century Link expanded its fiber network in Seattle when it seemed likely Google Fiber would come, but in the last 4 years while it has been clear it wouldn't, it seems like CenturyLink has stopped expanding their network.

My block is surrounded by blocks that all have gigabit fiber, but my block never got hooked up. Every year I ask, every year they have no comment.

If you can set up line of sight to an acquantance's home on a block with gigabit, you can spend a few hundred and connect up an Ubiquiti point-to-point connection.

I did that recently with their Litebeam AC. I have always found Ubiquiti's products to be technically great (superb reliability at a reasonable price, configuration is fairly straightforward although may take some googling). Unfortunately their product range is insanely confusing: even with some familiarity using their products and knowing the exact product exists, I always struggle to find the model I need.

I just set up a 40 acre property with WiFI coverage throughout using all Ubiquiti gear. Even put up some solar powered APs. Finding the right products wasn’t too bad, though it leaves some to be desired.

Their forums are pretty good and there’s tons of information on there for any conceivable project.

I’m very happy with all the gear, especially the Rocket 5AC Prism Gen2 with a 60 degree sector antenna. Holy cow those are powerful!

Yeah, well look just a couple of miles outside of the core city, and you'll find loads of people who still can't get anything faster than 1.5Mbps DSL. Hell, I live in the city, and CenturyLink only offers 12Mbps DSL to me. I know people who live in denser, core residential areas than me (Ballard, Queen Anne, etc) and can't even get over 25Mbps from CenturyLink.

There's a comment above that suggests that Comcast owns the physical layer and, as such, is allowed to limit CenturyLink's access on its infrastructure (though there is a contrasting reply to it). I've always wondered why CenturyLink's advertised speeds were so much slower.

I don't understand, what are you referring to that isn't true?

I guess he's opposing the statement that they're doing as little as possible to upgrade their service.

When you've been beaten by a stick for years that first carrot can taste pretty good.

Losing market share downtown maybe -- all I can get in Fremont is 100MBps from Centurylink, just a few blocks from Adobe, Google, Tableau -- it's nuts.

Fiber is slowly making its way through my town and I'm looking forward to the speed, but more than that I'm looking forward to telling Comcast that I don't have to put up with them anymore. I picture it like that episode of South Park, except with the roles reversed.

In the late 90s fiber was widely deployed by Telcos in the US in anticipation of future demand growth that never occurred due to the ability to extract greater bandwidth out of single fibers.

Bellsouth had fiber laid in much of suburban Georgia in the late 90s that remained dark. In the early 00s they were offering internet to some communities by running fiber to a box on the side of the house that converted it to 10mbit Ethernet capped at 1.5mbps and calling it "DSL".

I'm not sure what ever became of this infrastructure. I know that Google and others were buying up dark fiber networks but my understanding was that they were acquiring long haul links and not stuff deployed in communities.

The stories I heard about the expansion that was anticipating growth that never came was all about long-haul fiber: Fiber between cities and across the country. Some of that, one could speculate, was because these long haul fibers were being sold to businesses, who were paying ~$100/mbps, but the residential endpoints were still very slow (1.5Mbps DSL was blazing fast in 1998, if you could even get it), because the telcos were holding onto their in-ground copper investment.

It was more than just long-haul.

Some cities suffered from the growing pains of the fiber feeding frenzy. City streets would be torn up five or six times within a couple of months as competing fiber startups tried to cash in on the anticipated gold rush.

Those towns with good planning departments put together "street cut coordination" plans to minimize repeated disturbances. But most didn't get their acts together before the fiber bubble burst.

3-4 years ago the town in this article got tired of the tearing up of its main street, and refinished that street, after telling the likely suspects that they'd better put down extra capacity now if they were going to need it, because future digs would require the diggers to completely redo the road rather than just trench and fill.

I'm kind of surprised they weren't installing conduits and vaults. Isn't that common practice to facilitate easier repair of faults?

Fiber companies aren't interested in spending the extra money for conduits and vaults. They just want to get quick cash to feed to their investors.

They're currently installing fiber in my area with vaults that, according to my partner the engineer, are way closer together than they need to be. I wonder if something else is going in them as well...

Possibly your municipality is requiring them to do that in the build-out to make them future-proof.

That's what can happen when the provincial government runs the telco -- it's not a guarantee of course, but they act in the best interest of the stakeholders (the people).

My brother lives in Saskatoon as well and I remember going there in the early 2000s and his "cable" TV was IPTV (the cable box for his TV was connected with an ethernet cable -- it didn't even have a COAX connection). That blew my mind at the time but it made so much sense from a network health/bandwidth standpoint and allowed them to offer great options for movie rentals, etc.

Saskatchewan has a government run telco called Saskatel, that's why you're inlaws have decent service. Every where else in Canada has worse service than Comcast.

I’m in a major city in France and I use a gigabyte fiber for my 4 employees and it’s 19,90€ per month. And at home I have ADSL and the 3G is faster (12€ for 100Go per month, 8Go in Europe). For the first time, France has one thing working correctly ;)

>You can get gigabit now for around $100/mo, if you commit to a year. I'm just sitting on 120mbps for $90/mo, because people the next neighborhood over are getting door hangers saying the city fiber is coming soon.

I'm in FoCo and I think that gigabit is now $70 bc of the city announcement, but that is only an "intro" price (love that about comcast). It is also AFAIK not bi-directional gig. Uploads are still capped and you have a data transfer limit as well.

I think I checked 3 weeks ago, right about the time Connexion was saying they were lighting their first household in the next couple days. I MIGHT be misremembering the $100 gigabit, because they had a staggering number of offers (many different speed options with many different terms), but I think I recall there being a 400Mbps@$60/mo offer and the gigabit was $90 or $99 with a year commitment.

Would be VERY entertaining if they dropped it by $30-40 in the weeks since...

I was thinking about getting one of the lower levels because I'm on an older 120Mbps plan, which started out at $60 for a year or two, then jumped up. I'm not expecting Connexion any time soon, because of my location, but then I realized I need a new cable modem to get the new offer, so most of the saving over a year would be eaten up ($130 for a Surfboard).

Then the roads a block away started getting marked for utility locates. Hmm, I should ask one of my neighbors how crazy utility locates are, he works for a company that does utility locates...

> They are doing everything they can to protect their existing infrastructure and do as little as possible to upgrade services.

Well, that's how rent-seeking works.

Cox is now offering universal 1 gbps services, so I'm not sure the "do as little as possible to upgrade services" is accurate any longer.

> fibre to the home by the year 2000

weeps in fibre to the home axed for Australia in 2015

I have CenturyLink 1Gbps in Colorado Springs. Not sure what you mean about not upgrading their infrastructure. The price is $75 fixed forever as long as I always pay my bill on time.

I have CenturyLink 1Gbps in Colorado Springs. Not sure what you mean about not upgrading their infrastructure.

Not everyone lives on your block in your town in your state.

Centurylink in Fort Collins offer 'up to 40 mbits' but it's rarely that fast and costs about $48 a month. Plus router rental. That's what we mean about them not upgrading infrastructure. They had their chance, and now the city will compete with them.

They used to quote their speeds in ATM frame rates, not in IP speed, and ATM has a lot of overhead. 15%? I wonder if their 40mbps is still quoting frame rates rather than actual IP throughput. Not sure, because 40mbps isn't enough for my home use, so I haven't even talked to them.

What is your home use scenario?

Where 40mbps isn't sufficient you mean? A family of 4 with a hell of a lot of video streaming being the primary one, but also not wanting my own Youtube videos to take 3-4 hours to upload 20 minutes. :-)

Personally, I hate those "fixed price forever" Internet offers. The price of Internet continues to trend down, I think of these plans as "We guarantee we will be overcharging you in 2-3 years" plans. :-)

Could you please talk more about how why you consider the facts you've cited "$75 fixed forever" relevant to the "not upgrading their infrastructure" discussion?

it's also important to note that these companies are known for lying. I've had five separate CenturyLink employees lie to me over the phone in the past week and a half so I don't really even think their word something you can rely on.

Can't speak for Comcast, but for Centurylink, they've been rolling out fiber like crazy. In Seattle I have a fiber connection for $70 / month. This was maybe 3-4 years ago and never had an issue with it. It doesn't appear to be in bad faith. Now, who knows if they'll continue to roll it out.

Nice! Only 20 years late! :-) (referring to the $2B rate hike they were given to deploy fiber by Y2K)

Longmont, just south of Fort Collins, was the first city in Colorado to build out a municipal ISP, and it’s inspired surrounding cities to do the same. It’s where I live and it was a not-insignificant reason why I chose to move here. So far it has been a resounding success for the city. The buildout completed on time and adoption rates are higher than initially expected (the city planned for 37% but the last number I saw was around 54%). In my experience, the service has been so good as to be totally invisible. And I know my $50/mo rate will never rise. I wish Fort Collins the same experience. The fact that they both cities have municipal electric service will help this significantly.

“And I know my $50/mo rate will never rise.”

Let’s hope they tie it to inflation or similar. Otherwise the system will die slowly due to underfunding.

In general I agree, but in practice certain nominal prices can be monotonically decreasing due to improved technology lowering prices faster than inflation raises them.

For instance, in terms of $/GB, data storage costs have been strictly decreasing in nominal terms even with the existence of inflation.

That said, I am not sure how much innovation is going into the costs of maintaining a fiber network, so it’s possible that it won’t decrease as fast as 2-3% a year on average. I would be really interested if someone had those numbers!

Of course, people are going to expect more as technology improves.

APM Marketplace [1] just had a researcher on the program the other day sharing that most Americans don’t use more than 20Mbps of bandwidth, and paying for anything above that as a typical internet user is throwing your money away.

Power users, businesses, researchers, and others might expect more, but not the majority of residential users. Muni fiber investments will last quite a while.

[1] https://www.marketplace.org/2019/08/27/for-faster-internet-d...

One reason for getting a faster link is that most broadband connections in the US are not symmetric.

Comcast in my area doesn't even make claims of upload speed anymore, but my recollection of when they used to is that it was about 10% of the download speed. If you want more than 2 Mbps upload, that 20 Mbps plan wouldn't cut it.

Part of the reason for asymmetric cable modem (DOCSIS) speeds is due to the coaxial medium being essentially half duplex. Operators split the RF spectrum into a lower frequency range for upstream, and a higher frequency range for downstream. Increasing the width of the upstream range would eat into the available downstream bandwidth, and also has other implications in terms of power, noise and overall network design.

There is a full duplex version of DOCSIS, but its adoption faces some challenges due to how operators have to re-architect their physical networks to support it.

There is also currently a push to extend the downstream spectrum up to higher frequencies, enabling both more downstream bandwidth and also the ability to move the upstream split higher, therefore increasing upstream bandwidth.

(Disclaimer: I work with a client who develops products in this space.)

This. Cox basically always provides an upload bandwidth of 10x less than the download (except their gigabit plan, which is 1000/30, which is bullshit). So I pay for 300/30, because I upload things. Man I wish I could get 1000/1000 where I live...

I don't disagree that asymmetric speeds are a problem, but I think there's this bubble where tech professionals think that once everyone has gigabit up and down, your average Joe is going to be demanding 10 gigabit and up, and the data isn't proving that out. People are happy to stream a couple of views of Netflix at once and that's it (even if you're thinking everyone is going to do live syncing of block volumes to the cloud; everyone might use iCloud for their Mac backups once Apple supports it natively for Time Machine, but even then deduplication and off peak transfers will do the heavy lifting).

Agreed with that, my connection is plenty fast. It would be nice to have a faster one, but not enough that I'm going to pay more for it.

I think I'm around 50 Mbps and it could be used much more heavily, but it doesn't make any sense on YouTube's end to send me a 50 megabit video stream. It's a the storage and upload costs on the provider side limiting that.

Even if you pay extra for Netflix's 4K support, that only needs 25 megabits. It's compressed to hell compared to a 4K bluray, but if we all had faster internet I don't know if that would change. It's lot harder to market the actual visual quality of a video compared to talking about how many pixels it has.

Maybe we'll see whole new services that need the bandwidth, but most stuff that sends a lot of data could be downloaded in advance if you don't mind waiting 5 minutes instead of having it instantly accessible. How many billion dollars are we willing to spend to build out faster networks to avoid that? What's the selling point for very fast streams, we go back to cloud mainframes and all of our devices are dumb terminals that stream our games and the whole OS from an AWS datacenter?

Why is asymmetric speeds a problem? I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with having multiple types of service for different use cases. That is true with other utilities (electric, water, gas) and is part of general infrastructure planning in those areas.

Of course the actual pricing, availability, etc are also important but I don't think there needs to be a one-size-fits-all model for Internet bandwidth.

Constrains end user capabilities. Harder to live stream or heavily use something like Dropbox with under 5Mbps up.

I get that. I'm not saying that there aren't different use cases, I'm saying that it is reasonable that there should be different price points for the different use cases.

Even if the physical plant supported symmetric bandwidth, I would expect different pricing plans for different utilization patterns.

Well, for one 4k streaming will probably significantly increase desired download speeds.

I purposely limit my usage because my connection goes to shit when it's over used. My family all understands this as well. If I had better connection id be consuming way more bandwidth.

And I can't even get a faster more pricy connection because my legacy contract gives me upload speeds I don't get till I add 50% to my bill

Exactly this. I work at a research and education network (a regional ISP), and we are asked to perform upgrades and new deployments constantly. If it is just residential use, the upgrade path will be more predictable. However, business and municipal users can scale quite unpredictably and the 10GE links allocated in 2019 might need to be 100GE in 2025.

Two things:

- data costs for bandwidth costs hasn't gone down at the same rate

- A big chunk of an ISP is labor costs, which do not go down over time

>labor costs

It depends. If you're constantly doing new customer setup/teardown, yeah that'll cost man-hours. But once your network is up and running it really doesn't take much work to keep it running.

My ISP is a very small local outfit. They have a "few thousand" customers... and the whole thing is run by literally two dudes, doing everything from netops to hw installs to billing and support. Yeah I'll have a few hour outage once every few months, but overall the service is great and it really doesn't take that much effort to keep things ticking.

Are you willing to share what the ISP is called? Sounds like it may be a fun read.

They don't have any written material, this is just from talking to the guys. Turns out starting an ISP isn't hard if you can lease last mile from one of your local big boys (and here, by law, they have to make last mile available for lease at a reasonable price).

Basically rent a quarter cab in a colo, get a router (or two), a switch (or two), and a server (or two). Negotiate with last mile provider and a pair of upstreams. Get your DC to x-connect you to your upstreams and last mile provider. Do some marketing (elevator ads in residential apt buildings are apparently basically gold). Buy a pallet of cable modems, spend a few weeks configuring your crap... $50k later, you have an ISP, and you can offer service at 50% of the big boys' rates while still raking in a substantial profit.

> data costs for bandwidth costs hasn't gone down at the same rate

For clarification, at the business level data has always been charged by capacity and not volume. And the costs have fallen at double digit rates since they've been measured.


ISPs plan their networks for peek capacity, the only reason they charge by volume is because they can.

> A big chunk of an ISP is labor costs

Explicitly the reason for automating things, esp. since network connections don't require a ton of labor once provisioned.

Orchestration engines help to do the former (Ansible, Salt, Puppet, whatever), and they usually tie into monitoring systems like Nagios, ScienceLogic, or SolarWinds, and can trip, and then launch, remediation efforts automatically.

Isn't this article and the discussion precisely about the reason why costs for bandwidth haven't gone down? That is, the infrastructure providers are keeping the costs high because they can.

Well, Romania is known for cheap internet prices, but for reference, here the largest _private_ operator is offering 1Gbps for $9.33/mo, taxes included (19% VAT).

I kinda' doubt that $50/mo is really unsustainable, especially once the infrastructure is already built.

You can't really compare sticker prices here. US percapita GDP is about 6 times higher. The average salary is about 8 times higher. So as a proportion of those things, cost is fairly similar.

GDP doesn't matter here. Average salary might... presuming employees that maintain the system are paid average salary, AND the cost is overwhelmingly in the "salaries" category - which I sorta' doubt.

You don't have to take my word for it. There's recently been a push for expansion of Romania's broadband network to more rural areas. At an investment of about $110 million US, it will reach an expected 150,000 additional households, for a cost around $730 per household. Compare that to the US, where the estimate is closer to $3000 and as high as $8000 per household, a 7 to 11 fold increase over Romania. [0]

Nearly all aspects of infrastructure build out are heavily weighted towards labor costs. A 2009 rule in the US required large projects use union labor, and just that marginal increase in labor costs increased infrastructure costs by around 15%. Anecdotally, I had a home addition some years back. Materials costs about 20%, labor about 80%.

Also once built, the capital expenditures for something like broadband drop to negligible rates while the labor cost of maintenance & administration just keeps on going, maybe not as high as the initial build but you need new & different workers too-- sales reps, account managers, etc. Given that prices tend towards the marginal cost of production over time, in this case being mostly labor, it makes perfect sense that a country with 1/8 the labor costs could offer a service at 1/5 the cost in the US, the difference in those proportions accounting for the marginal capital costs of maintenance.

[0] https://www.telegeography.com/products/commsupdate/articles/...

GDP per capita is a proxy for local price level, and it absolutely matters. Running a fiber service is overwhelmingly a matter of labor costs. Everyone from employees who deal with permitting and approvals to guys who run the cable to network operators to customer support representatives. The stuff that’s made in China—the fiber and the equipment, is a small part of those costs.

> GDP per capita is a proxy for local price level

No, this is incorrect. GDP is a proxy for production in nominal terms. If it were just a proxy for local price level, then every place would have the same real income and would differ solely by relative prices. That the U.S. has a a GDP/capita that is 4x times some other nation does not mean that prices are 4x lower in the other nation.

GDP is a measure of production in nominal terms. It’s a rough proxy for labor prices (the kind of price I was talking about). That’s because a dominant component of GDP is personal incomes.

It's a rough proxy of production. Even assuming constant labor shares and working hours (which are not all constant), wages are higher in A than in B because workers produce more per hour in A than they do in B, and then there is a relative price effect. But it's not all a relative price effect, it's not a proxy for the relative price effect, and for large multiples, productivity dominates relative price effects for most occupations.

When you are asking "how much would it cost to do something in B than in A", workers in B might be paid 4x more than in A, but you may also need 1/4 of the workers to do the same job. So the issue isn't wages, it's output per unit work, primarily because of accumulated human and physical capital, as well as things like infrastructure, legal system, needing to pay bribes or efficiency wages, etc.

What's the actual bandwidth like? Where's the closest big exchange?

I don't have the 1Gbps connection, I took the cheaper 400Mbps one. But they're fairly good at actually offering the promised bandwidth. Again, internet is one of the very few top-notch things here, better than most of the world.

What is the effective speed you can get because of bandwidth throttling done by remote servers? Can you get close to 400Mbps to cloud storage for example? Currently I have 150Mbps and been wondering if increasing it would be worth the extra cost.

It really depends on the cloud storage provider, and once you have gigabit, you can tell who's being cheap with their CDN/local POP. Some downloads scream along and gigabit is worth it. It's ridiculous to me that local disk can be the bottleneck. (This is with a spinning disk. An SSD, less so.) Others downloads... don't.

It could just be locked in for existing customers, but rise for new customers. Over time, people move or die, so it shouldn't be much of an issue.

thats correct. its now $70 for new customers.

On Spain, I'm paying 25€ for 600/600, unlimited calls, a mobile phone line with 3gb of data and 10 hours of calls.

$50 for just 1gbps, seems like they can even make profit from that.

On Spain, I'm paying 25€...

My first reaction was to say that's wrong. Maybe it's just new, but last time I checked, a couple of years ago, there's no way to get a decent land line under 40€. The trick was that the "cuota de línea" is hidden from the listed price. Most of the land lines are owned by Movistar that rents them to Vodafone thieves and other ISPs that consider it an independent expense, as if it's not just a regular cost. Another possibility are time-limited offers.

Now it's my landlord who pays so I don't care, but still would like to know where did you find that price.

Jazztel, everything included

You just need to negotiate with them, not just accept the first base offer.


Thanks, I had Jazztel years ago and it worked well and they were cheap, but that's better. "Base imponible" suggests that VAT still must be applied though.

That's not how it works. Bandwidth is a shared resource and most people aren't using 1gpbs every second of the day. Profit for telecom providers isn't on a variable basis and therefore unit economics make much less sense.

50$ for 1Gps is amazing in the US. I would also suspect that most of this cost will go to running it, not the tech/actual internet bw

with 3gb of data - maybe I'm a weird consumer, but I don't get it what's with this insanely low data caps... while in France I had a 100gb / month 4G data plan for ~20EUR, and couple times I even exceeded those 100 gb!

how/what are most people using internet for that they tolerate such small caps?!

My phone is always on WiFi unless I am in my car driving from place to place. I use under 2GB a month, closer to 1GB most months. I can't even comprehend how you would use 100GB of data on a mobile device in a month. My primary internet consumption is sitting at a computer all day long, or a laptop on the couch. The mobile data is just for traffic, slack, email, and news. All my podcasts are downloaded on WiFi, all my music is as well. There is just no reason for me to use any real amount of data while not on WiFi.

You live an urban lifestyle where you commute and travel by train and you don't stay in your suburban palace most of the time when you're not at work. Then you look at youtube videos during that time.

uhm, yeah, the sim card was in a mobile "pocket router" and shared to phone(s) + tablet + laptop, and I'm sometimes watching multiple streaming videos at the same time as a way of mixing music (Bach + heavy metal instrumental rocks :P) without bothering to turn video off or to low qual even if I'm not watching it

Unless you're consuming a lot of media, multiple GB is a lot. I have a super cheap plan with 500MB/month. It might sound impossible, but really all I have to do is turn off background mobile data for most apps, which had no business constantly sucking bytes anyway. Bonus, now my battery life is better.

If you have no WiFi access it's a somewhat different story, but WiFi is ubiquitous.

What are you doing with your phone? Run bittorrent unthrottled 24/7 just because? I use about 300mb a month, rest is covered by Wi-Fi at home or work.

I know a few people in France who actually ditched their landline contract, they had full 4G coverage but were still at 8mbps with their landline. So now they're doing tethering for the complete house instead. The only thing they can't do is gaming because the ping is atrocious.

It's also cheaper, a 4G contract with a 100GB cap is about 15€ per month, whereas my FTTH connection at 900Mbps down / 400Mbps up cost me 40€ per month.

If you stream Pandora, Spotify, or a few podcasts in your daily commute, you'll eat up 3GB pretty easily.

How much of your taxes is being used to subsidize that rate?

None. Those are private companies that do this. It's the same in Germany. I have a 7 euros/month unlimited calls cell plan but only 500 mb data, which is enough for me. I pay around 25 Euros month for Internet at home. It's fast enough for Steam/Streaming, I don't even know the speed because I stopped caring a while ago.

In Russia, 1gbps may be from $3 to $10 per month depending on the place, and it works as such at least throughout Russia maybe falling to 200-300mbps to far off places like the U.S.

In Lithuania, i paid 15 EUR a month for 500/500 and it worked perfectly too.

U.S. prices are super high - mostly a consequence of most people living in detached houses - long distances and high complexity of wiring. In Russia and Lithuania, most live in Soviet-style apartment blocks - high user density.

Nothing, those are private companies without subsidies

IP transit rates drop by like 30% per year[1], you have to assume transit is a large portion of expenses. Further, all the hardware an ISP needs get cheaper year after year. There's no reason prices should ever need to rise, apart from greed.

[1] https://drpeering.net/white-papers/Internet-Transit-Pricing-...

The $50/mo rate is for charter members who signed up within the first 3 months of it being available. New customers have to pay $70/mo, which drops to $60/mo after the first year. So not everyone is paying the $50/mo rate.

Just moved to Longmont 3 weeks ago, signed up, paying $50/mo...

Well, they can presumably offer 1Gbps for $50/mo indefinitely.

Not if they also fix the bandwidth allowance. Over time, I would expect the cost of provisioning a 1 Gbps link to drop faster than that $50 loses purchasing power.

Your $50/mo for 1 Gbps can therefore remain stable, and the ISP might someday offer 10 Gbps for $70/mo as an upgrade offer. Clearly, by those prices, as long as the per-customer costs are less than $47.78, that $50 more than covers the cost of the 1 Gbps bandwidth. Everyone who doesn't upgrade ends up subsidizing further build-out.

It isn't but the number of people who get that deal is limited. It was a limited time offer for people who signed up when the program was first getting started. I'm not worried about the funding level over time.

Source: Longmont resident

Eventually $50/1Gbps will seem like $1/1Kbps and they can sell higher priced packages.

I live in Longmont as well and can confirm that internet here is awesome. I've never once had to think about it and always get at least 800 Mbps.

Longmont as a city is great as well. People view it as a cheaper place to live than Boulder, but I'd much rather live here.

I grew up there, and just moved back. Is much nicer than 30 years ago, and legitimately nicer than boulder.

Fiber is great, and people forget how much of US infrastructure was communal in early electric buildouts as well.

Some of the objections seems to be reflexive anti-government sentiment. I haven't seen corporate services do well enough to convince me of the realistic improvements. And with most services negotiated on the national level (Netflix, apple, hbo, whatever) as direct buys, the last mile as a subsidy for cable negotiation seems wasteful.

How is the diversity there? Will a Chinese American family feel welcomed there? Asking for a friend. :)

There is almost no diversity in Colorado when compared with the large coastal cities. You may still be welcomed but don’t expect to see many Asians or Asian restaurants and stores.

Not super diverse but diverse enough to not be gawked at. There's a fair amount of Chinese and Indian tech people who moved there with families.

Maybe a short family weekend trip is in order. SF is getting so outrageously expensive.

You might want to check out the area between Boulder and Denver too. It's mostly never ending suburbia in a sense but at least you have both Boulder and Denver open to you for employment options if you live there. There's also some quaint places with smaller town feel like louisville.

Commuting from Longmont to Denver is possible but would be a lot of hours driving/on a bus. A rail link is planned but it is scheduled for something ridiculous like 2050 or sometime infinitely far in the future.

Northern Colorado is a great place to live but unfortunately not very diverse.

OT: Outside of Boulder, what's the tech job scene like out there?

The Denver tech job scene is pretty strong. A lot of startups and a growing corporate outpost presence, as well as all of the "old tech" around the Tech Center.

Northern Colorado (Longmont, Ft. Collins) has traditionally been a center for hardware design and test equipment, but unfortunately most of these companies have shrunk overall and have reduced their Colorado presence.

I would say that in recent years the epicenter of startup software jobs in Colorado has shifted back from the brief Boulder startup run and moved into downtown Denver, while Boulder has become a center for corporate outposts (Google, Twitter, Amazon, Microsoft, Workday, NetApp, Splunk).

Agreed - I wish FoCo could attract more tech companies - it is a great city with highly educated people (esp with CSU here). But for now your best bet is remote work if you want to get paid a salary equal to the COL of FoCo (which is almost the same as Denver/Boulder). Sadly due to lack of competition in tech, the few tech companies here pay well below market because they can. You can literally move to Boulder/Den and get a 30-40% pay increase...

Agreed. Live in FoCo, work remotely for this reason.

Go say hi to Mr Money Mustache, a fellow Longmontian (and hilarious blogger):


Theres still locations here that can't get fiber. The local hospital is owned by a church and they own apartments adjacent to the hospital. These apartments are surrounded by others that get fiber but the map still shows they aren't planned.

If you can't get municipal fiber where you live in Longmont (I'm a resident; hi!), you should most likely be complaining to your landlord, not the city. If you're not sure, call up Longmont Power & Communications and ask them what's up.

There are a few apartment complexes around Longmont that have resisted integration with the city's fiber network. My understanding is that the city has negotiated with each of them over the installation of fiber on their premises and that some of those negotiations didn't succeed, e.g. the apartment complex owners wanted to own and control the fiber that the city would pay to install.

(I don't live in Colorodo)

But this rings true. My building has some sort of an arrangement with Comcast. It's only Comcast and AT&T that are there right now. They pretend to work with other ISPs I bring in but usually cite "something something safety" and prevent them from setting it up. I have given up for now since Comcast has got the price down to $50 for a 75Mbps line for me.

Point is, while I don't know how and can't confirm, I have a strong feeling that Comcast pays off landlords somehow.

Get a neighbor and a few dollars and broadcast that connection as a wisp via ubnt equipment.

I have a friend that did this between 3 houses. The Ubiquiti equipment to make it happen is fairly affordable, and works pretty well.

If there is some geographical last mile type issue to bring internet to these buildings that are surrounded by fiber, it could be helpful to pitch the church/hospital with a wireless link from one of the fiber pops. I have brought service to medical and hospital buildings in this way before and it's always worked out well.

In the case described above, the topography is "completely flat", and the internet provider in question already provides electrical service to the premises.

That should mean they have public utility status, access to public poles etc. It would simplify such a solution. I've deployed such links in a flat scenario as well.

Sounds like the landlord problem.

church owns apartments, does it rent it out to anyone ?

> municipal

> my $50/mo rate will never rise

Came here to dispute that. Your rate may never rise but deficits will come out of taxes.

Being a public service the budget is publicly available.

For 2018, I count $11,930,874 in expenses and $12,420,323 in revenue (literally 99.9% from $50/mo service charge). That's a 3.9% margin. At that margin, I don't see how rates will never rise. The expenses will go up with inflation. If the revenue remains constant ...

That said, it wasn't readily obvious so I didn't dig deeply to see if some 2018 expenses were unusual one-time charges, or anything like that.

In Colorado here as well, but unfortunately unincorporated Jeffco. Really hope this begins to spread through Colorado, since right now our only option is Comcast.

If it does well for Fort Collins and Longmont, maybe other areas will try it as well.

Nitpicking title: 'Town' vs. 'City', bugs me as a former CO resident.

Ft. Collins is huge (~170k people compared to most CO towns which are 400-10k ppl). The title sort of leads you to believe it was a folksy, rural community effort. In reality Intel, AMD, Broadcom and a major State University are located there and that probably helped the effort substantially.


I looked into this, and Ft. Collins is a "Home Rule Municipality" under state law, meaning it can name itself either a town or city. It seems to have chosen to be a city, so you're right.

Around the world, it seems that there's one consistent criterion for something being a city: it must have self-rule and a certain amount of government structure. Some places (notably not the US) have population requirements, but those tend to be really low (100-1,000 people)[1].

I personally appreciate the headline saying "town" in a colloquial sense, because I don't think of 170,000 as "huge" and it's significant that it's not a large city doing this.

For context, Ft. Collins is not in the top 150 most populous US cities, and to even reach the top 50, it would have to more than double in size.

1. https://www.thoughtco.com/difference-between-a-city-and-a-to...

>I personally appreciate the headline saying "town" in a colloquial sense

But that's the problem. It's not a "town" in a colloquial sense for anyone who grew up outside of major metro areas. If 170k is not enough, then there are no cities in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, nor South Dakota.

Well, I'm inclined to agree with that claim...

And you would be wrong. There are many cities in those states that contain all of the components of larger cities (universities, self-governance, public transit, international airports, etc).

The difference between 100k and 1 million residents is much less significant than the difference between 10k and 100k.

> it seems that there's one consistent criterion for something being a city: it must have self-rule and a certain amount of government structure.

What do you mean by self-rule? Singapore is autonomous, but that's definitely not the norm for cities. Almost all of them belong to larger states.

No US city has self-rule even at the level below the federal government. Washington, DC comes closest, but it is technically ruled directly by the federal government (in a manner that is not true for cities that belong to states). China has four "province-level" cities, but is generally accepted to have many more than four cities.

> What do you mean by self-rule?

Typically at the municipality level, self-rule means the ability to make and enforce your own laws, as long as they are not inconsistent with the laws of higher government levels, without needing explicit permission of those higher government levels.

This is completely unrelated to what "self-rule" means at other levels and in ordinary speech. Why the special definition for cities?

It's a legal term. There are lots of legal terms that have different meanings in the law than in ordinary speech.

In the law, what does it mean for a country to enjoy "self-rule"?

We're not talking about the concept of national sovereignty here, we're talking about a concept derived from self-governed British colonies, which generally ran themselves unless the crown needed to step in for some reason.

This is the concept at play at the municipality level that is being discussed. The cities run themselves unless the state has to step in for some reason. Just as the states run themselves unless the federal government needs to step in for some reason.

This is as opposed to say, a village, which in New England at least is defined as a population center which is not self-governed, but under the direct control of a larger municipality within which it lies.

But British cities, towns, villages, hamlets, and farms also generally ran themselves unless the crown needed to step in for some reason. They still do, and this is also true of everywhere else in every other legal regime. The colonies only differ in that they're so far away that the crown generally can't step in even when it wants to.

Jews in medieval Europe were generally subject to Jewish law and not subject to the law that applied to the rest of the city. That's self-rule.

Well, the concept of an independent city - that is, one that isn't contained within any county - does exist in the U.S.:


Of course, Washington DC could be considered one example, although the above Wikipedia link begs to differ because DC isn't a state. However, there are a few dozen more, most of which are in Virginia.

Such a city is still under two higher levels of government; it's hard to call that "self-rule".

Also, this kind of administrative definition of "city" causes weird conflicts. It's easy for a city, such as Los Angeles, to be much larger than the county it's nominally located in, such as Los Angeles county. Conceptually, it's also easy for a city to be its own county, which is a different status than "not contained in any county" -- but in practice where this is supposedly the case, the city will not actually match the county boundaries, instead being noticeably bigger or smaller.

I conclude that, in order to make the claim that cities usually have self-rule, the people who would like to make this claim adjust their definition of self-rule so that it covers the things they're already sure are cities, rather than having a definition of self-rule in mind and observing that, by apparent coincidence, most "cities" turn out to have it.

In the context of a city, self-rule means the place has a mayor and a city council. It can pass local ordinances, have a local sales tax, and provide services to the constituents.

Not all places start out with those things. The rules differ by state, but generally, you need a certain population, a percentage of whom must petition the higher authorities (which you mention), and then vote as a community to create the create the infrastructure and take care of themselves.

At that point, they lose a lot of the benefits provided by those higher levels, like the county and state service providers of fire, police, and garbage disposal for example.

Virginia has pre-emption of pretty much all matters of law. Cities and counties can only pass zoning ordinances.

For example, it's not possible for a VA city or county to make something a crime, unless there's a specific law on the state level allowing them to.

Here in New England, the distinction between a city and a town is whether it is governed by a town meeting style government with selectmen, or by a city council style government with or without a mayor. In MA at least, you cannot choose to be a city unless you have at least 12K in population.

The board of selectmen were always interesting in my town (at least to me, I didn’t really understand it as a child). Not sure if we are over the 12K minimum, but I doubt anyone would call us a city even if we were.

Municipal ISP would have been cool, but I think power would be a better option first. A neighboring town (either Mansfield or Medfield) as municipal power and compares to us during storms they do great (as in fast response times and efforts to not lose power).

My father served on the board of selectmen for my town when I was growing up. He was so miserable during that time, it taught me to never, ever go into politics.

I can imagine. By ‘interesting’ I should have clarified: it’s like watching a bunch of kids argue over who can take care of a pet rock better, but in reality the rock is a cat being neglected in the corner.

Not all selectmen are terrible, but it only takes a few bad eggs to make it hell for everyone.

I should also note that analogies are not my forte.

>>Around the world, it seems that there's one consistent criterion for something being a city: it must have self-rule and a certain amount of government structure.

It used to be in the UK you needed a Church of England Bishop (and a cathedral) but now you have to apply to the Lord Chancellor.

To add flavour in the guise of figures:

The largest city in the UK is (Greater) London, population ~9M. This is an outlier. The next largest is Birmingham, population ~1M. The smallest city (by population) is St Davids, population ~1800. This is also an outlier.

Most cities are 100k to 1M. However, there are a decent number of towns >100k.

The largest town is Reading, population 230k.

There possibly isn't a smallest town worth defining - there's no objective divide between villages and towns.

> I don't think of 170,000 as "huge"

Interesting, that's pretty big from my perspective.

I grew up in a suburb of a big city (~750k, ~4M metro), and my city was ~60k people. I currently live in a city of <50k. I never considered either to be huge, but definitely not small. The biggest city in my county is a little over 100k people, the "big city" in my area is just under 200k, with the metro area being just over 1M.

My 30k city has its own fiber network, and several neighboring cities have banded together on a fiber project. When I see "town", I think of something smaller than my own city, not something nearly as big as the "big city" in my area.

For contrast: My rural hometown of around 15,000 (not tiny but still 10 times smaller than Ft. Collins) built its own fiber network in the mid-90s. It still runs today and has expanded to include many of our smaller neighboring communities of 400-10k people. Now that the city has grown to about 20k we have larger ISPs moving in. They lease the city's infrastructure so we have a municipal fiber network with multiple competing private options. You get fancier hardware and more channels with the private companies but I find the local ISP more reliable and I have one bill for internet, power, gas, water, and waste.

Way better setup than when I was in I was in ATL and forced to use Comcast. Plus there aren't any data caps.

What town is this?

Yeah but everyone in Ft. Collins is a cow herder so this town label is still appropriate.

(sorry this is a bad intra-Colorado rivalry joke, please ignore)

Sko Buffs!

But also Fort Collins has a lot of beer production, so they are ok in my book. It’s still not Boulder though...

Careful not to spill your quinoa smoothie on your bespoke Macbook when you type your comments.

You're gonna make fun of people for being healthy and rich? I think you just self-owned.

Where I’m from in a “folksy” rural area you can get gigabit internet service to your farm for $75 a month. But it is not a particularly interesting story.

Honestly I'm glad they didn't go with "Colorado City", since Colorado City is a town... in Arizona.

My little village (around ~1200 people I believe) in Central New York is currently exploring its own municipality owned internet. They sent out surveys to all the residents a few months back to see if there's a large enough interest.

anything less than 6-7,000 people is a village.

The 8th largest city in my state has a population of 16,000.

The western US is funny- I could name maybe 5-6 'cities' in Montana, but the largest barely has a large enough population to fill a football stadium.

When last I was in Lincoln, Nebraska, they told me that on football Saturdays, the stadium was the second-most populous location in the state, after Omaha. "Last" was over thirty years ago, so this may have changed.

Living in a giant state with just over a million people definitely changes one's perspective on city versus town.

As a FoCo resident, Comcast sent me an email saying that they're "upgrading our network" and "increasing your Internet download speed". Not really clear what that means until I see an updated rate sheet.

I'm sure this is entirely a coincidence and has nothing to do with the fact that they suddenly have some competition now.

> "upgrading our network"

They actually where not doing this before because it's probably a bad idea.

Modern cable networks look like this. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_fiber-coaxial#/media/Fi...

Fiber goes to copper which then splits out to a large number of homes. The copper line near your home can do multiple gigabit but that needs to be shared with everyone else on the tree.

So selling higher speeds is easy, but reaching them for everyone requires splitting trees with new fiber drops. Providers usually do the first and only some or none of the second in order to sell bigger numbers and compete with Fiber.

A similar thing happened to DSL trying to compete with cable, lets look where that is now.


See chart 15.3, DSL across the ISP industry only provides advertised download speeds 40% of the time. In any other industry this would be considered blatant fraud.

Basically every telecom network is built as fiber to the node not fiber to the premises. The nasty truth of all communication and transportation systems is that arteries are cheap and capillaries are expensive.

If I am building roads, it is WAY cheaper to just build highways than it is to build the small roads to everyone’s homes. When doing construction for telecom, the payback calculations are based upon “passings” which basically says “if I lay this cable, how many potential subscribers will I get?” which is a function of addressable users and sales modeling. Comcast used to believe that in a new market, competing against att only, they could win more than 50% of customers over just by connecting them to the Comcast network.

Please always remember, telecom, and transportation, are not technology businesses, they are real estate businesses. Telecom’s real estate are exclusive operation licenses, the most important of which being wireless spectrum, and the second most important of which being the places where they can exclusively tear up the earth to lay cable.

Circling back on my point at the beginning, if we laid fiber to every home, we would not need to upgrade the network connection itself for a long, long time. As it stands now, we have a lot of work to do if we want real high speed options in the future.

More fiber to the home, less fiber to distribution nodes!!

So we had this in the Florida Keys with AT&T who is the service provider of our area. I live 2 miles out on a peninsula of an island named Summerland, anyway I bought my house and AT&T assured me that I could get DSL but fiber would not be an option. I knew it was copper all the way to my home so I figured it would be the case.

Anyways, I buy said house AT&T comes out and tried to get DSL working, and the lines have been so patched and spliced that they cannot even get 1mbps, so they basically tell me I am screwed that it would not be cost effective to run new copper down a 2 mile stretch and that my only option would be to pay (or band my neighbors together to pay -- All 2 of them) for them to string fiber the whole way. I think it would be something like 70k.

2 Months later Hurricane Irma hits and rips down every poll down our street, and AT&T is forced to restring the whole street due to the fact that they are legally required to provide phone service to every customer in their "exclusive" area or they loose said exclusivity. Fortunately for me they opted to string it with fiber, and provided fiber to the home.

My point is, I don't see how allowing these "exclusive" coverage monopolies does anything but harm the consumer. I imagine a community based provider like the one in the article would be met with a host of legal challenges here.

> My point is, I don't see how allowing these "exclusive" coverage monopolies does anything but harm the consumer. I imagine a community based provider like the one in the article would be met with a host of legal challenges here.

This is a holdover from the early days of the phone systems, i.e, 1920s.

It is extremely expensive to string cables, and so a whole bunch of companies would install stuff to the most lucrative markets (big cities), go bankrupt, and then there would be all of these cables would be left hanging causing a hazard. So it was decided that only one company would string cables... but that company would have its prices regulated.

Fast forward a few decades, and those incumbent telco/cableco companies still had monopolies (or huge advantages because they had infrastructure built back in the day), but the price regulations were rescinded.

IMHO the solution is either:

* bring back price controls (with infrastructure upgrades and a modest profit margin taken into account)

* force the incumbents to allow ISO Layer 2 access to other companies so there is competition at Layer 3 (IP)

The latter is:

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-access_network

Without the exclusivity agreement, it sounds like you wouldn’t have been reconnected. A community provider probably wouldn’t allocate 70k in capital to bring 3 (potential) customers online.

So you’re benefitting by the subsidy of users in denser areas being forced into exclusivity.

Consider what the community is already investing in these people. The street along which those lines were strung probably cost a lot more than 70k to construct and maintain; why would the municipality draw the line at Internet?

It’s not really 70k. It’s probably 15-20k.

How much of that is also a tax write off for the Telco?

> My point is, I don't see how allowing these "exclusive" coverage monopolies does anything but harm the consumer. I imagine a community based provider like the one in the article would be met with a host of legal challenges here.

I think the problem that was trying to solve is to avoid the Comcast poles, AT&T poles, Verizon poles, RCN poles and probably others, all strung up with their own networks of cables and wires.

It’s precisely due to the fact att destroyed competitive telecom equipment and infrastructure at every turn for the last 150 years that we have exclusivity agreements. Att has threatened to break domestic telecommunications over and over again if they couldn’t have monopolies (although now Comcast exercising those same monopolies is hurting att).

Funny parts is we actually have that here, the next island over (Ramrod Key), is exclusively Xfinity/Comcast and I believe Key West is split between AT&T, Comcast and Verizon (but most of it is underground there). I am not sure what the upper islands are but I would assume a mix of at least AT&T and Comcast.

How is paying ATT 70k to string fiber different from your city paying 70k to string fiber? That the city can make people who don't live on your peninsula pay for the lines to your house?

The difference is that ATT owns the fiber after I pay for it and I have no rights or ownership of said fiber. If it has been a municipal endeavor or a non-profit endeavor I would have gladly paid the 70k and wrote off the amount as charitable contributions or state taxed write-offs. Granted I could have written it off as a one time business expense but AT&T still owned what I would have paid for.

I get that it is not cost effective, I have no problem with that, and am not under the impression that I am owed service, rather I just find the exclusivity agreements to be restricting competition and locking anyone out of the market that would have been willing to provide me with service at a more affordable rate. Comcast may have quoted me 20k to run the lines, I will never know, as it was not an option.

> My point is, I don't see how allowing these "exclusive" coverage monopolies does anything but harm the consumer. I imagine a community based provider like the one in the article would be met with a host of legal challenges here.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean here. I think the confusion is over exactly what exclusivity AT&T holds? (I don't intend this as a lecture since you may well know all of this, I just want to include the full picture.)

In theory, exclusivity is a tradeoff to make regulated markets work. Given a market where they'll be legally required to accept loss-making projects like running service 2 miles for 3 customers, AT&T is persuaded to join by the offer of legally-guaranteed exclusivity. Without that, someone would come and undercut their price in town while refusing high marginal cost customers service altogether. So the idea is that you get access to wiring, in return for AT&T charging higher prices to population-center customers than a competitor might.

This works pretty well for some markets. The USPS is required to offer service everywhere, inflicting much higher operating costs than e.g. FedEx, but it gets a partial monopoly via government mail. ILECs did a decent job of getting everyone telephony access, despite later monopoly issues. And regulated utilities (water, gas, sometimes electrical) provide access consistently without extreme pricing abuses.

But the mess of internet is that unless the Keys have something strange in place, AT&T is an exclusive telephony exchange there. So they're obligated to get you telephone service, but don't actually have to sell you internet - they just do it when the telephony rules make adding internet affordable. Instead, AT&T has a non-regulated coverage monopoly on internet access. Their telephony monopoly gives them a reason to run wires of some kind to every house, at which point providing internet access is fairly cheap. And while competitors can access their poles, the combination of delays and cabling costs means it's rarely cost-effective to do so. Verizon, Frontier, CenturyLink, and Windstream are all inheritors of telephony monopolies, too. The only major broadband providers who aren't started life as cable companies (e.g. Comcast, CableOne, Altice), which weren't regulated monopolies, but still developed natural-monopoly ownership over large areas, and still create an added reason to run cabling.

(Of course, that's enough to create a few large natural monopolies, but it doesn't explain just how crappy things are. ILEC phone carriers should compete with cable ISPs, but outside of Fios intruding on Comcast that's been rare. And ISP pricing/quality is so terrible that in some regions it should still be profitable to eat the fixed costs and compete. As far as I know, that's a story of informal cartel pricing, "make ready" wiring issues, and anti-competitive practices like paying landlords for monopolies. Plus pocketing a small fortune in government funds for network improvements that never came to pass.)

my understanding is they have exclusivity to the polls, only AT&T can string the polls on my island only Comcast can string the polls on the next island over. I could be mistaken but that was the way it was represented to me by AT&T and Comcast when I talked to both of them, AT&T was willing to string the poll, Comcast said they could not because they where AT&T polls. They may have been wrong or mistaken, but that was the info I was given. I ended up going with a line of site, microwave internet connection (that ended my investigation into getting the polls strung), which was decent (I believe due to everything being on pillars above the tree-lines down here). That is, until after the storm which changed everything.

Oh interesting, thank you! In that case, I think there are two possible cases - and you're totally right, they're both strictly bad for consumers.

One is that AT&T has absolutely exclusive rights to string those poles. That would be unusual - the Telecommunications Act of 1994 generally requires pole owners to give other users access. But you're in an unusual spot physically, and they might have swung some local rule (e.g. access to the sites instead of the actual poles?), or just cut a deal with Comcast to not touch each other's customers.

The other is that they own the poles, and only have a de facto monopoly on stringing them. The requirement to permit access (the "make ready" rule) isn't very strong, and they can easily delay for months or even years before actually letting anyone else put up a single wire. So legal rights aside, Comcast might just list those poles as "cannot string" because in practice they can't honor any requests to do so.

Either way, it's an absolute mess that's purely bad for consumers. And one that creates some strange incentives... I wonder if anyone without a handy storm has gone and trashed the lines themselves to force a replacement?

The brilliant part is how quickly Comcast makes back the money spent on cables laid to apartment complexes and projects. They can wire up 20-1000 apartments with copper coax and distribution boxes for something like $50,000 and have the infra and labor paid off in under a year. After that first year, the business is essentially a money printer - no incentive to innovate or rewire neighborhoods when you have no competition.

Since the cable internet standards haven't required new copper (DOCSIS 1->2->3.0->3.1) in over a decade, Comcast can simply upgrade one or two $100 boxes per complex, raise their prices and provide "faster" service while spending nothing on actual R&D.

They can outsource customer support to Southeast Asia, standards to CableLabs, modems to nearly any company in China, and even piracy detection to random firms like IP-Echelon. Don't forget - Comcast owns an enormous number of film studios and production companies. If there's anything approaching the digital media panopticon, it's Comcast.

I don't know if there's a better-positioned software company in the ISP business.

Except we already gave telecoms billions of dollars to do exactly that, the last mile connections. They did a little bit then took the money and ran.

Doesn't 5G solve that problem? Lay fiber to a bunch of 5G nodes and then you can service hundreds of customers who only need to install a wireless modem to get fiber speeds and latency.

It can work for light users who don't really care about speed if they get something decent, otherwise is a very bad idea, not to mention that it's basically impossible to avoid shades or guarantee any coverage at all.

The ISP I currently work for (in Spain) is playing with this idea for sparsely populated areas, where we didn't lay FTTH yet and our customers are connected through DSL. It can potentially save a lot of money on deployment but the current BTS locations are not enough, we'd have to build at least 2x for decent coverage, update their links and so on. I don't know, I think we will just lay FTTH in the end. Dealing with saturation on wireless connections is very difficult sometimes.

Unless 5G is literal magic I severely doubt it won't have the same problems with congestion as every preceding wireless networking system. 4G home Internet sucks, the latency, available bandwidth and general connectivity are unreliable. Makes playing an online game miserable and watching streaming video annoying.

5G will work differently, if you can get a signal at all it will be pretty fast.

But considering leaves are enough to totally block a 5G signal, good luck getting it.

Oh god, I can't think of many things worse(network-wise) than having wireless internet at home, no matter how fancy the technology behind it is.

I'm out in the countryside, with wireless 4g lte data through a mvno. It's actually pretty decent compared to my other option, which was 4mbps max DSL. Multiplayer games are out, but streaming video at a decent quality isn't bad at all, certainly better than satellite internet.

On the flip side, our local provider got a grant to update their network to fiber (and a threat to lose exclusivity if they didn't improve the network). Oddly enough, they'll be charging $200 for gigabit, and offering lower speeds for more reasonable prices, even though they're installing fiber directly to our home next spring.

It is kinda shitty, but then again, it's just another tradeoff to make when living out here. Personally, I wouldn't give it up for anything compared to living in the city.

5G (at least the high speed kind) has really really bad penetration, T-mobiles 1.9Ghz has trouble working indoors 5G's 30, 40, and 70Ghz frequencies are much worse.

You will need direct line of sight to a tower optimistically a mile away. Otherwise you'll fall back to '5G' on traditional 4G spectrum and you won't get any faster speeds.

> 5G (at least the high speed kind) has really really bad penetration,

To be fair, both Fiber and Coax have far worse "penetration"; Changing the definition of a 5g fiber connector from "wireless to devices inside of a home" to "a small antenna you put on the outside of the house or by the window and a wifi router inside" drastically changes the definition, keeps infrastructure cheap, and the cost at the home is still significantly less.

Sounds like you're talking about WiMax. I was briefly on WiMax in Bellevue, WA, but the service sucked, not sure if it was the tech itself or their infrastructure...

WiMax was the (pre)4G implementation using the old Nextel spectrum (a major reason why Sprint was an investor).

I had the EVO 4G on WiMax, had amazing speed, especially near the highways before anybody else did. Also made for a great hand warmer.

The point is that 5g may provide the product that most people want when they want fiber; have less additional infrastructure cost, and the wireless penetration doesn't matter if we consider a base station -- or a physical install (as required by fiber or coax)

Yeah this was a while ago.. maybe 2007.

So put the base node somewhere high like a water tower, hill, or really tall pole and then put your home modem on the telephone pole or your chimney to establish line of site. They can even use beam forming to bounce their signals against other objects to get to their destination. Homes and base stations don't move so they actually seem like a good use case for 5g over phones which are consistently inside and moving which breaks the line of site.

You don't need "5G" to do this; low-cost line-of-sight wireless networking technologies have existed for well over a decade now. There is a reason line-of-sight WISPs have not replaced, or in most cases even effectively competed against, wireline providers.

That reason is: it's far more difficult to provide reliable service this way than it seems at first.

What other low cost options are there and do they work with cell phones so that they get dual usage and thus the costs are amortized over more devices?

The verizon 5g home looks pretty good [0] if your current options are only dsl or cable which they are for a bunch of americans. It's even got a 4g backup connection.

[0]: https://www.reddit.com/r/verizon/comments/9lqp6n/i_got_5g_ho...

We need like 1000x more cell sites working in coordination. Think slightly bigger than picocells.

There are a bunch of proposals on how to do this (I think Artemis networks is one if I remember the name). The problem is that existing roof rights don’t map well to a bunch of microcells.

To distill this down to a memorable heuristic, the cost of building out a municipal network of any kind is proportional to the mean linear distance of the street frontage.

This has interesting implications for civic planning. It is very much cheaper to put dwellings right on the frontage line, with zero-setbacks to adjacent properties, and then have huge backyards, than it is to center each building on its lot. That relatively small distance between the street/conduit/pole/pipe and one building is multiplied thousands of times across a municipality. An extra meter of frontage on a property at the root-end of a street is counted multiple times when calculating distances to properties closer to the leaf-end of the street.

Things that seem relatively minor for individual properties, like residential street widths, setbacks, minimum lot sizes, and maximum building heights, these have a huge impact on the cost of building municipal service networks. Those zoning rules established for aesthetic reasons literally create millions of dollars of economic impact. You just can't have cheap fiber to the premises if your premises can't be closer than 20' to the property line.

With the capillary road network, don't most cities make developers of new blocks pay for the roads too? I think the difference although is developers are many small independent firms, while telecoms are large national corporations, and don't give ownership up once they are done developing.

With your post, it made me realize that telecom & power cable runs should really be owned by the resident city, like roads are.

> Basically every telecom network is built as fiber to the node not fiber to the premises.

My town is quite literally stringing up fiber (and laying it in some cases) throughout the town limits over the next 90 days.

So unless you mean that most residents/businesses won't technically have a physical fiber-optic type cable dangling inside their abode, I don't understand what you're talking about.

I have fiber directly to my house here in the Philippines. It's pretty much becoming the standard offering here now, with mobile data as the low-entry-cost alternative. Lack of pre-existing infrastructure has some interesting side effects.

We have a local ISP [0] that builds FTTB, usually with 1000BASE-T to the individual units. Sometimes, if laying STP cable isn't easy and the customers don't need anything more than VDSL can provide, they replace the (L3?) switch in the basement with a DSLAM, but I think those are quite a bit more expensive than a switch with 10G SPF uplink and 1000BASE-T downlink (possibly aggregating a few 10G uplinks for large buildings, I'd guess).

(Germans tend to deploy shielded cable, seems to have something to do with both unifying deployments between known noisy RF-environments/eliminating problems with noisy RF-environments up front and with (electrical?) codes that don't discriminate against shielded twisted pair cabling.)

If you pay for the additional setup, they're happy to provide 10G/2G or even 10G/10G for 199/399 EUR/month. That apparently requires you to provide singlemode wiring from the basement to the units, but to be honest, that's rarely hard to do, considering them being available with coatings that are allowed to be in most low-flammability zones like stairways, quite thin (so it's easy to hide the complete trunk behind a baseboard or along doorframes (if you can slightly round their corners to conform to the bending radius you'll need to adhere to for the many bends you'll have when snaking up a stairwell)), and non-conducting, so there's no isolation/ground fault/lightning protection to consider.

If my street would have gotten dug up just a little further when they did so a few months ago for subsurface electricity and more direct water lines (some buildings, including ours, had their water house mains come from a neighboring building through a meter between their intake meter and the other (e.g. our) building's main cut-off valve/initial fan-out piping.

Note, I would have literally dug into my meager savings and bankrolled/installed fiber conduits in accordance with what this ISP would accept/recommend, going from the houses (talking to the communal utility for sharing the wall feed-through, because at reasonable rates that's literally cheaper than buying the part/renting the drill to DIY at all the neighbour's houses that would take my offer of installing it for free) to a connector/hub box or just something that keeps the insides of these pipes clean from dirt and significant moisture ingress (maybe with a slight distribution to blow dried air through from my house's connection, and flow-regulating valves at the other buildings to extract any moisture that will diffuse through the walls, or something like that).

Once the street between there and the next conduit where the ISP can easily get fiber to (without digging) would get torn up (happens eventually), I'd make sure that more of this is placed, likely with some larger pipes to stuff further innerducts through for all the other residents on this street (low hundreds in units, about half or so single-unit buildings, half multi-unit buildings, but quite a few build in rows of a couple, so, with appropriate fireproofing, they could share a single house-to-street trench digging).

It's not worth it to dig the street up for this alone, but at least the part I'd have placed fiber isn't even paved, it's literally just compressed gravel/dirt mix, and will hopefully get a nice surface sooner or later. It get's rather dangerous to walk when frozen, and because it's not mine I can't use mineral products (salt/sand) to make it safe.

Yes, I also offered to fund a coating with crushed basalt, which would restrict maximum torque (the structural integrity/load bearing depends on a certain ratio of downwards vs. horizontal force), but eliminate most issues with water (at times there is no dry footpath that does not involve a >150cm leap from dry bank to dry bank (if you miss-judge, you will jump into a puddle and might slip in the mud)) and thus also some of the ice problems.

Sorry for the rant.

[0]: https://www.tal.de/produkte/fibertoyou/internet-anschluesse/

Fiber to the home/GPON is also a shared medium. One OLT (the fiber device in the headend) port generally goes out to a splitter in the field that then goes to 128,64,or 32 customers which has about ~2.5 gbps of downstream speed that is probably also shared with the video service. That is generally more capacity than DOCSIS but it isn't a fiber straight from the customer house back to the provider network.

Modern DOCSIS networks are much more capable than the linked diagram. The general guideline is that your top speed package shouldn't be any more than half of the node capacity (which ends up being similar to GPON that often does a 1gbps service on a shared ~2.5gbps network). The video portion of a HFC network also doesn't share the bandwidth that has been assigned to Data.

The diagram shows a node of 500-2000 homes - that is a HUGE number, I've worked on networks with nodes much larger than they should be and about 250 is the biggest node. ~100 customers per node is more common and in newer or upgraded HFC networks the goal is normally N+1 or N+0 (Node plus one active device or zero active devices - the linked diagram is N+10) those numbers get down to the 32-64 customers/node range.

I do work on DOCSIS networks for small providers but some of the tools the big guys use to monitor the RF quality is pretty amazing. They are able to read the RF Spectrum of every modem in the network and find common impairments in the cable plant and they can also assign individual modems different modulation profiles, so if your inside wiring and drop cable are capable of it your modem gets a higher modulation profile (and higher speed) than your neighbors that have crappy radio shack cable (the inside wiring has a huge impact on the signal quality). Traditionally you would have to set the service to work for the lowest common denominator but the emerging technologies are changing that. That doesn't necessary mean the big guys don't have capacity issues in other places (example: Netflix peering) but there is quite a bit of work and technology behind the last mile delivery.

You also can't ignore the business aspects - there is significant capital investment in upgrading any last mile network. I can take a group of 200 customers at 50mbps and upgrade them to 200mbps and the overall traffic pattern doesn't hardly change at all. That makes it hard for operators to justify to shareholders why spending hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to go from 500mbps to 1gbsp is a good investment.

A technically and financially accurate post.

Perhaps not mentioned (that i see thus far) is how density drives the economics of telecom network deployment. Network will be deployed (and upgraded) in direct proportion to the availability of revenue (homes passed)/dollar of capital investment. Those who live in high density cities will have abundant (1Gbs) and relatively cheap bandwidth. Most people living in remote, rural areas will not receive abundant (1Gbs) bandwidth unless someone subsidizes it.

I live inside the perimeter in Atlanta, GA, where ATT provides a 1Gbs fiber connection for $70/month. I just tested it at 878 Mbs down, 650 Mbs up. And that performance has been consistent for over 2 yrs, with no outages except after hurricane or ice storm.

Before that, Comcast couldn't deliver 25 Mbs and went down at least once a month, for hours at a time. Comcast now offers a 1 Gbs service here, but I wouldn't trust its reliability.

Chattanooga, TN has three plus private ISP's. The local power company (EPB) fought AT&T and Comcast tooth and nail to obtain its telecom services license from the City of Chattanooga/Hamilton County. EPB offers 1 Gbs for $68/mo, 10Gbs for $300/month - residential service - and according to family members, the service is excellent (TV and phone offerings also available). EPB offers 1Gbs service to 98% of the city. Neither At&T nor Comcast are close in coverage, but both claim to offer 1 Gbs service.

The key to EPB's success - they already owned the rights of way required for fiber infrastructure (electric grid), they had the capital to commit to the long term investment required for telecom payback (7-10 years), they deployed a fiber-based network from the outset, they hired experienced telecom people to run that business, and they were/remain a respected corporate citizen dedicated only to serving their local area.

Those rights of way are a key consideration often overlooked when outsiders evaluate telecom economics. LOTS of legal and regulatory (local, state, federal) hurdles involved in obtaining them if one doesn't already have them.

It's because software services are built according to the infrastructure of their typical customer. If symmetrical connections were the standard in america, how would that change the software landscape today?

Fraud yes, because they're underprovisioned if everyone asks for 1 Gb, but the ponzi scheme continues to work okay because many households will find that median 72 Mbps is enough for several vid streams so they're good to go.

The bigger problem is the industry which can do horrible, abusive things to its customers and communities. They'll try anything except delighting their customers. If any of the upcoming WISP solutions like Starlink take off, you might imagine a serious disruption.

> Fraud yes, because they're underprovisioned if everyone asks for 1 Gb

All residential ISPs overprovision [1] at some point or another - be it at the acccess level (as with shared mediums like DOCSIS and GPON), distribution/aggregation (metro Ethernet switch and (V)DSL DSLAM uplinks) or at peering/upstream level (always).

You cannot expect to have non-overprovisioned 1Gbps at $60/mo, when global transit is currently around $0.6/Mbps/mo. Typical overprovisioning levels range from 1:8 to 1:16.

[1] - From the point of view of offered speeds vs. underprovisioning infrastructure, as you put it.

EDIT: corrected that DSL is not shared medium

There is a neighborhood community ISP in Copenhagen called Bryggenet. They used to make it very clear how much overprovisioning was going on, and have two different options each subscriber could pick with different levels of overprovisioning. I understand from some people who were involved that it caused some initial confusion and complaints, especially when comparing to advertised speeds of commercial offerings, but people understood eventually.

They now seem to have moved away from that model, based on a quick look at their website.


GPON is the least over provisioned of these, but it is definitely overprovisioned.

DSL is the worst. Local VRADs just get slammed, particularly in areas with long connection runs.

$0.6/Mbps/month is a bit on the high side for IP transit at scale.

You can buy IP transit for under 10 cents per Mbps at well connected datcenters. Additionally, any ISP with peering at an Internet exchange will have a lower blended costs as a lot of content can be accessed over settlement free peering and local CDN nodes.

How is this a Ponzi scheme?

As GP (and FCC) indicates, you pay for a service but only get what was promised if the collective load permits. If everyone hits their lines at the same time, there's not enough capacity to maintain advertised service.

Similar problems occur with the electric grid or water etc, but the thing is as long as there is excess capacity 24/7 you can’t tell the difference. Unlike money you can’t bank unused bandwidth.

The reality of 1Gbps networks is people have trouble saturating the line for very long. Even 5 different 4K streams is not hitting anywhere close to that.

Being able to download a 20GB file quickly is the benefit, even if you don’t download many of those per month.

That doesn't describe a Ponzi scheme though.

I think it's a very high level comparison to the idea that the funds/rewards in a Ponzi scheme are underprovisioned.

Edit: Yes, it's not a great analogy.

But on an even higher level, a Ponzi scheme is outright fraud where most victims get nothing. Underprovisioned internet bandwidth gives every customer part of what they were promised, which is plenty for most of them anyway. Using sensational words imprecisely distorts meaning.

I lived in Fort Collins and had Comcast from 2005 through 2016. Over that time, Comcast did improve its download speeds from 3 to 25 Mbit/sec over that period, for the same tier of service, "Performance Internet".

Since then I've lived on a farm outside Boulder, Colorado, with internet from Comcast. Here, the download speed of their "Performance Pro" tier has increased from 60 to 150 Mbit/sec, and will increase again to 175 soon. Also, Comcast has been good about fixing service problems, replacing the coax from their utility poles to the premises when I experienced loss of signal issues.

> I'm sure this is entirely a coincidence and has nothing to do with the fact that they suddenly have some competition now.

Yes, between Century Link putting in Gigabit fiber and Boulder's moves toward their own municipal internet, Comcast is likely feeling enough competition to keep making technical improvements.

You have to know the slang:

"upgrading our network" - In this case network refers to financial network, but should really be "net worth".

"increasing your Internet download speed" - download speed for them is actually slang for the amount of money they can charge you for standard access.

Seems that most cable providers do this when an incumbent moves into town. It’s happened to me in two separate metro areas and just happened to my buddy in Phoenix.

Sorry to nitpick but incumbent should be used the other way round. Namely Comcast is the incumbent (currently “holding office”) and the new town ISP is the new comer

Thanks for the thoughtful correction. I won’t make that mistake twice!

Same thing for me. Went from 150 down to 175 down, upload unchanged. I’m only paying $40, though, so I’m not sure I’d upgrade to $60 fiber if I had the option. Might be worth doing on principle, considering how spotty the connection can be sometimes.

Same thing happened when AT&T fiber came into my neighborhood. $70 for unlimited gig put some pressure on them.

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