Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Broadband access to the home, change is needed now.

There needs to be a better model of access to the home. With the potential that IP-based services offer, it's a shame to have only one service provider – or two, if you're lucky, that ultimately dictate broadband access policies for your home. What are annoying issues with my provider today will become paramount tomorrow. Small issues such as IP address assignment, hosting restrictions (for those that think a server might actually play a role in the home), and of course cost and reliability guarantees. Can I trust my broadband service provider (in my case, Comcast) to do the right thing by me when it comes time to expand services in my home? Today, there are policies, mostly not enforced, that restrict the number of PCs, the types of devices - such as routers, etc., that you can have installed and 'officially' supported. Since the policies are only randomly enforced they produce little conflict today. As more and more services are enabled through IP communication and more home media and home automation solutions are brought to market, will your broadband provider do the right then? It seems we have to trust that they will give the trajectory of the market and the regulatory bodies governing this critical piece of infrastructure.

In an article - Q&A: Vint Cerf on VoIP: Vint Cerf talks about VoIP but also argues this same point:

"The Bells' fibre to the home initiative dredges up some pretty complex regulatory issues, correct?
I haven't been a very happy camper about the regulatory positions taken on this. These new networks all ought to be openly accessible to any ISP for a reasonable price. If that were the policy, then every customer, business or consumer would have a choice of ISPs over those broadband facilities. Under the current situation, there's almost no choice. So that's a far more restrictive environment than we had with dial-up. Broadband shouldn't be any different, but it is based on my current understanding of the triennial review by the Federal Communications Commission. I've been arguing we should really open up all these broadband facilities. "

No comments: