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It’s Time to Stop Buying the Capacity Crisis Myth

From DSL Reports,

As usual though, actually bothering to listen to and look at the data tells a different story. Nobody argues that spectrum is infinite, but buried below industry histrionics is data noting that there really isn’t a spectrum crisis as much as a bunch of lazy and gigantic spectrum squatters, hoarding public-owned assets to limit competition, while skimping on network investment to appease short-sighted investors. Insiders at the FCC quietly lamented that the very idea of a spectrum crisis was manufactured for the convenience of government and industry.

Burstein correctly reminds us that there’s nothing to fear, and with modern technology like LTE Advanced and more-than adequate resources, any wireless company struggling to keep pace with demand is either incompetent or cutting corners (or both). The idea that our modern networks face rotating oblivion scenarios lest we not rush to do “X” is the fear mongering of lobbyists, politicians, and salesmen. All of them use fear by trade, but the key failure point when it comes to capacity hysteria seems to continually be the press, which likes to unskeptically repeatwhatever hysterical scenario gets shoveled their direction each month.

I think that this really strikes to the heart of things: while all parties recognize the (literally) physical differences between different physical layers that are used to deliver broadband services, hysterics (on both sides) have stifled rational discussion. We really need to have the engineers come forward to talk about things in a manner that lets them evade corporate ‘loyalties’. Moreover, we need to acknowledge that spectral bandwidth is one component of data transmission, not the entirety of it. New codecs, new compression algorithms, and new efficiency protocols can all enable much higher bandwidth volumes and throughput while using identical amounts of spectrum as older, less effective, means of using spectral resources. We need to holistically look at these resources, and get away from as much FUD as we can.

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Verizon and Rogers skirt rules on network neutrality versus Free’s innovative network

St. Arnand says:

They tried and failed with UBB. Now they are at it again with “speed boost” technologies.  The two technologies at question are Verizon’s “Turbo” service  and Roger’s “SpeedBoost”.  There are very few technical details, but it appears in the former case that users will be able to purchase additional instantaneous bandwidth to the detriment of other users on the same shared service.  Whether this will make a difference to actual throughput is another matter because the slow video may be due to server problems and not network congestion. And if you are in elevator with very poor connectivity, you will unlikely get any faster download speed, no matter how many times you press the turbo button. But will Verizon give you a credit if you don’t get the advertised speed boost?  I doubt it. Similarly the Rogers’ service, while still free, seems to imply faster speeds if they detect you are streaming a video, particularly from their own on-line service.  Will users who are not streaming video, but using other real time applications get the same benefit such as VoIP or Telepresence?  I doubt it.

I agree with his thrust that this kind of practice creates undue preference for certain kinds of content distribution over others. I would just note that (based on some people I’ve spoken to about Rogers’ practices) it seems like Rogers’ system temporarily ‘upgrades’ a person’s throughput capacity to try and get ‘bursty’ traffic to the end-user quickly, and to create a buffer for streaming media. Thus, if you subscribe to a 10 mbps service then you would temporarily go to a 15 mbps connection, and after those few seconds pass by you revert back to your 10 mbps speeds.