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"Before you jump to any conclusions about these companies, though, remember that the turn of the millennium was precisely when a lot of modern Internet cabling was being rolled out."

I feel like this is a very important point that is getting lost.

Of course costs are going to be higher and profits lower (or even negative!) when you're laying lots of new fiber and deploying new equipment. Maintaining that equipment in subsequent years will cost much less and you'll make more money those years selling service on it. There's nothing inherently wrong here.

Yes and no.

Yes, costs naturally will be lower after the initial large capital expenditure.

No, this so called modern cabling has not resulted in cheaper and faster access fees. Americans pay some of the highest fees for comparable speeds. [1]

[1] http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24528383

Lastly, the flip side of the coin is that if the ISPs figure out they can still make $$$ from not having to invest in upgrading infrastructure, then there is very incentive to do so.

A lot of that fiber run circa 2000 was by folks not in the charts. Qwest, Level3, Global Crossing etc.

All the last mile ISPs were doing circa 2000 was hooking smarter silicon on their existing copper.

The first big last mile fiber builds started towards 2005 I think. (fios etc)

The graph I would like to see here is "integrated expense" and "integrated income" over the years. That would indicate when the point-of-break-even happened (or will happen).

My guess is they were barely loosing any money in the years they upgraded their network and have recovered their investment within a few years while raising prices even more under the false pretense of needing/wanting to upgrading their network even further.

It would be interesting to have a line on that graph showing when ISP's weren't required to abide by FCC rules because they were not classified under title 2.

Yup, the cables are usually the expensive part too. Routers are cheap compared to fibre (labour costs, access rights, etc, etc, etc).

Yet with all this purported modern fiber, only like 5% of the US population at most have access to speeds over 100MB/s, and only at exorbitant prices that do not reflect the current low cost of maintenance of that infrastructure deployed a decade ago (when these companies were, note, still profitable).

This felt like the main point of the article for me. Geographically it is very relevant to me (and fellow Australians, even if they are too stupid to see through our government's crap).

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