Thanks, AT&T: Tennessee 40th in Broadband Availability, Quality

pete_c

Guru
Thanks, AT&T: Tennessee 40th in Broadband Availability, Quality

by Karl Bode

Thursday Jul 21 2016 16:30 EDT

Tennessee is one of many states where local incumbents like AT&T all but own the state legislature, making improving broadband competition in the state an uphill climb. As we've covered ad nauseum over the years, Tennessee is also one of more than twenty states to pass laws hindering or outright prohibiting communities from building their own broadband networks (or even striking public/private partnerships).
 
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The laws are almost always written by incumbent ISPs like AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner Cable looking to protect turf. A little less than a year ago the FCC voted to use its Congressionally-mandated authority to begin stripping away some of these restrictions in the hopes of improving broadband connectivity, since the laws block local municipal broadband builds (like Chattanooga) from expanding.

Tennessee's response? To sue the FCC.

As that lawsuit is being battled over in the courts, Tennessee has taken the step of conducting a new survey of state broadband residents in response to significant state consumer complaints. The results of that study have been released (pdf), and show that 13% of all households in Tennessee (or 834,545 Tennesseans) lack access to any high-speed broadband internet service whatsoever. 54% of Tennessee residents are connected with what the study calls "lower performing" Internet services, including DSL, dial-up, or satellite broadband. The study ranked Tennessee 40th among the 50 states in overall broadband availability and investment.

The study found that to deploy standard broadband service (25 Mbps down, 3 Mbps up) to all Tennessee residents would cost between $1.1 billion and $1.7 billion. But it also found that even when faster speeds were available, consumers were flocking to slower options -- usually because limited competition keeps pricing high and slower speeds is what consumers could afford.

"Existing broadband infrastructure is not fully utilized because 69 percent of businesses had speed tests below 25 mbps download speed (the minimum for broadband service) and 76 percent of households had speed tests below 25 mbps download speed," the 172-page study found.

Some had worried that the study would be used by the state to try and shine up its cozy relationship with AT&T and other incumbents. And while the report does somewhat float over the state's all-too-cozy relationship with AT&T politically, the report is very clear that in Tennessee -- as with everywhere else -- broadband coverage gaps may require some form of public/private cooperation between governments and industry, because a lack of competition means no incentive to move beyond the status quo.

AT&T, as you might expect, didn't much like that recommendation, given more competition means less revenue. This is, in traditional AT&T fashion, disguised as altruistic concern for American taxpayers.

"It largely ignores private sector investment and focuses heavily on proposals that grow government with little reference to the associated costs and risks to taxpayers," AT&T complained in a statement to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Municipal broadband is like any business model, and there are both good and bad plans. Either way, these communities wouldn't be getting into the broadband business if they were happy with AT&T services -- something AT&T would surely prefer you not spend too much time thinking about.

"Having access to broadband services is quickly becoming the most important differentiating infrastructure of our time," the 172-page study concludes. "Education, healthcare, business operations and innovation, workforce training and e-government applications all rely upon advanced broadband networks."
 
 
As noted, there are a lot of us in the same pathetic bandwidth ox cart. Here in rural Montana we are slowly going over to radio towers. Coverage is spotty but I'm hoping it will improve.
 

pete_c

Guru
Yes; the FCC mostly has been cuckolded directly and indirectly making it a worthless entity. 
 
Well so have AG's today where they do protect big illicit business indirectly via the pols (lobby folks) rather than consumers in most states these days. 
 
I understand that is a blanket statement.  That is the way it is these days.
 
Here in a small 100 home subdivision AT&T rather than utilize their federal subsidies to replace the copper with fiber, they chose to pocket the money and put AT&T cable (using the CC cable) modems in place.  They did utilize the $100 a month package deal to sway over new users.  Neighbors asked about this and I told a few to just call up CC and their monthly rates were matched to those of AT&T.  That said there is a sucker born every minute these days and it was an easy sell for AT&T walking around and pushing their package door to door.
 
If FL I had old cable and DSL.  Verizon upgraded the copper to fiber years ago.  I switched internet from DSL to Fiber and it was great with no issues until Frontier came along.  What a sham they are.  It took just about 3 weeks of calls to fix an outage (including AG calls).  It really involved Frontier trying to slam the account by signing up with new service.  Even the AG got  involved there.  What a joke that was.  Personally in my book it would be to their benefit to get out of town and look for suckers some where else. (like maybe their home state and get out of Texas and California as they have caused much grief there). 
 
Unrelated to telco this stuff has always happened and typically only means anything when the guards change; then next ones just assume their duties.
 
Justice Department charges three in $1 billion Medicare fraud scheme
Published July 22, 2016 The Wall Street Journal

The Justice Department on Friday unsealed charges in its largest-ever criminal health-care-fraud case, charging three individuals with using a network of doctors, hospitals and health-care providers across South Florida to improperly bill more than $1 billion to Medicare and Medicaid.

 
I used to fly to Miami for day meetings and I would enjoy sitting outside of the airport for breaks just to watch the interesting activities happening there by the minute 24/7.  Here in the midwest many large hospitals went to using shoddy run extended health care facilities (what a joke that has been - seen it first hand here) and mostly post op you would go to the extended facility to die.
 
 
Here in rural Montana we are slowly going over to radio towers. Coverage is spotty but I'm hoping it will improve.
 
Yup; I dunno what to write here.  I have helped you over the years using your satellite stuff remote and it is slow. 
 
That said helped a friend a few years ago that owns a farm a few miles away from town and designed / land surveyed a DIY long range wireless set up using a building he owns in town (with CC) radio antenna and one on his roof in his new house using Ubiquiti stuff and it was way cheaper at the time than the Cisco stuff that I played with years ago.  He has remained using a wireless ISP from some 25 miles away that is slow, saturated (over subscribed), shared and expensive.
 
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