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RE: The Many Paradoxes of Broadband | Andrew Odlyzko [PDF]


RE: The Many Paradoxes of Broadband | Andrew Odlyzko [PDF]
by flynn23 at 10:01 am EDT, Sep 4, 2003

Decius wrote:
] flynn23 wrote:
] ] the assumption that the expansion of fixed wireless could
] ] preclude FTTH deployment is probably erroneous.
] Well, you've certainly hit the core of the apple here, but I
] don't think that this is an assumption. He does a fairly good
] job of explaining the costs associated with fiber deployment
] vs. fixed wireless, and he also makes reference to a clear 10
] to 1 consumer preference for mobility over bandwidth in the
] telecomunications.

there is a 10:1 preference for mobility over bandwidth _today_, after cellular has been around for 20 years and broadband has been around for less than 6. As he points out, broadband adoption and deployment has far surpassed cellular/mobility adoption in terms of time and growth rate. It's slowing now, but I think there are reasons for that which are complex in nature. But there is one helluva big reason and that's monopoly.

] ] For one, wireless will never have the capability or capacity
] ] of wireline communications.
] True, but the thing is that people don't really USE the
] bandwidth they've got. The problem with broadband, as you
] know, and as he demonstrates, isn't that its not available,
] but that people aren't really using it. I happen to think
] that'll change, but I'm not seeing anything on the near term
] horizon that couldn't be offered over fixed wireless. Wireless
] is perfectly fine for music. Video, frankly, just isn't here
] yet, and if I could buy it I'd be happy to have it downloading
] in the background overnight. I don't need it live.

you sir, have hit the core of the apple. People don't use the bandwidth they have OR people CAN'T use the bandwidth they have? Consider:

o broadband line capping
o high cost with costs rising ($50/mo for avg 384k line)
o bandwidth intensive applications destroyed (ie Napster)
o bandwidth intensive sectors under assault (ie RIAA, MPAA, etc)
o lack of devices with integrated broadband support (add ons for PS2, xBox just recently arrived. Tivo still doesn't have an official broadband connection, etc)
o legislation preventing use of NAT, firewalls, multiple machines on home networks (TN HB457, S-DMCA laws, etc)
o brain dead FCC regulations changes stifling competition while dis-incentivizing RBOC investment in broadband

it goes on and on. IMO, scalar wireless is just an aperition due to the fact that all of these things are conspiring to slow the utilization of existing infrastructure. Innovation needs to follow the shortest path. With all of these roadblocks, there's some bleeding into anything that will allow me to utilize today's capabilities and innovate tomorrow's. It's GOING to happen, one way or another. It cannot be stopped. How it happens though, is anyone's guess. If the current environment continues, I can see wireless being highly adopted because it's more ad hoc and more difficult to effectively regulate and enforce. But I would really NOT want to see that. It's a kludge.

] What is the application for all this bandwidth?

it's already here. Imagine having a device in your home which allows you to check email, video and audio conference with anyone anywhere, visit any website, play any song ever recorded, watch any television or movie ever made, play any video game ever made, store your pictures and home movies, and turn your lights on and off for you automatically.

We've only been talking about this stuff for 15 years! It would've been a reality in 1996 had monopoly hegemony not been allowed to gum up the works. We got close (I actually have business plans for such a device from 1999) but the economic bubble bursting has set us back quite a bit. Now you can do all this crap today in a limited way, but it's all built on DIY ethos. And there's still impediment to making content accessable.

And this is just an obvious application of these capabilities. The resulting bloom effect is uncalculable.

] ] Secondly, the economics of wireless deployment work against
] it
] ] just as much as a FTTH rollout. Even if you had 10mi radii
] ] fixed wireless POPs, you'd still have the issue that you
] need
] ] backhaul from each POP (almost requiring wireline
] ] transmission) and your infrastructure costs rise to meet the
] ] same dollars as a FTTH rollout.
] Not if you are using an adhoc mesh routing system.
] Furthermore, putting 10 drops in ten houses costs 10 times
] more the putting one drop in for 10 houses. He demonstrates
] this clearly.

this was exactly my point. Wireless providers always tout these economic 'savings' in their rollouts. But it's a give and take scenario. Yes, you do save some money because you are only putting cap ex in one POP versus a POP+drop/customer (provided the customer prem equipment is self-configurable). Essentially you are oversubscribing the infrastructure to a higher degree and that does contain cost savings for initial deployment. However, you still need to have backhaul, and a mesh network doesn't offer this in a meaningful way (consider the n squared problem as you cascade more and more POPs together). Plus, you're going to have to have significant spectrum and power requirements in order to even come close to a wireline standard, increasing costs and effectively reducing your competitive posture in the marketplace.

It's not really a question of mobility versus bandwidth. We're talking fixed bandwidth. Today's mobile tech doesn't allow for significant bandwidth. Net net, I think the costs end up being the same to provide comparable services. There's no right or wrong answer here, but I think you're right in that investment in either is abysmal.

] ] Today and in the foreseeable
] ] future, there does not appear to be a wireless technology
] that
] ] will enable 10's of thousands of subscribers (the norm in a
] ] 10mi radius deployment),
] Don't think 10 miles. Smaller cells, more bandwidth, less
] power, less spectrum. wifi...
] My AP is not my bottleneck. If it was outside my house that
] would be just fine, at least from a service perspective.
] Security, on the otherhand, gets a hell of a lot harder...

WiFi is not a workable solution for a service provider. In order to make the economics work, you'd want larger cells, not smaller. WiFi works great because it's for YOUR domicile. The fact that it can (usually illegally) be extended to include your block of the street does not make it a viable service provider vehicle. You still need backhaul, and 802.11 is *very* poor when it comes to meshing and user contention. We need something else.

RE: The Many Paradoxes of Broadband | Andrew Odlyzko [PDF]

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