Last March, the FCC announced a national broadband plan with the goal of connecting ~85 percent of the US population to 100 Mbps high speed broadband by 2020. I just learned that New Hampshire is requiring that North Carolina-based FairPoint* (which paid $2.3 billion for Verizon’s New England land lines and internet service) is required to offer broadband service to 95 percent of its customers by 2013.
It’s true that the NH requirement contains no speed threshold. However, broadband speeds have been increasing by 50 percent a year for the past decade. Therefore, assuming that FairPoint keeps up with the technology – or even lags a little – they should be at 100 Mbps by 2010, given that the US average was 5 Mbps last March:
Part 1 of a series (How US Broadband and Cellular Telecomm Got So Messed Up) on U.S. telecommunication infrastructure
Back in December, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 along partisan lines to approve network neutrality rules, rules which had not yet been made public. The proposed rules (pdf) were released on 23 December.
The proposal features three primary points: transparency (Internet Service Providers can do whatever they want, so to speak, they just have to disclose what they are doing); no blocking (if content is legal, an ISP cannot “block” it, ditto applications, services and non-harmful devices); and no “unreasonable” discrimination against lawful traffic (which means yeah, it’s OK to discriminate against spammers … but there’s no definition of “unreasonable”).
As a concept, network neutrality is simple: just like telephone companies are required to treat competitor incoming calls like they would treat their own, ISPs should be prohibited from treating “bits” differently based on point of origin. However, as with most complex topics, the devil is in the details. And, in this case, also buried in a law written in 1934.