Most people are at least vaguely familiar with the early history of modern digital computers, particularly their importance in breaking the Nazi Enigma codes during WWII. Less familiar is the computing machines that preceded them.
In response to the need for more and faster computation, researchers developed a series of analog computers that did the job but were complicated and difficult to maintain. Inspired by (and in some cases actually using) the switches used to connect telephone calls, digital computers using relays were developed that used base 2 arithmetic. As useful as they were these relay computers would end up mostly being forgotten, replaced by machines based on vacuum tubes.
FCC has opened the floodgates to complaints over net neutrality, unfortunately most of them are over data caps and slow service. Maybe the FCC should focus on encouraging competition, which as the Google Fiber rollout shows us, actually works at addressing these issues. Oh, and maybe stopping the industry efforts at squashing municipal broadband.
It’s not surprising that 22 years after Verizon promised to deliver fiber to all of its service area in PA, millions still have only DSL or wireless. Neither DSL (0.5-15Mbps) or LTE (5-12Mbps) currently meet the definition of broadband (25 Mbps) and wireless comes with higher initial costs and monthly bandwidth limitations.
It all comes down to the lack of competition. Areas where Google installs its Google Fiber experience an overall improvement in speed and cost. But Google has been selective in rolling it out so there remains a lot of areas with only one viable choice.
If you have almost any brand smartphone you actually have an FM radio as well. But for almost all of them you can’t use it because manufacturers and wireless providers haven’t bothered to turn them on. Sure, you can listen to your local FM station, but over the network and therefore not for free.
It’s not just a money issue (although that’s certainly a big part of it) it’s very much about public safety. In the event of a disaster or major network failure people rely on radio broadcasts for information. Why can’t they use a radio they already have in their pockets?
What really shows up in these maps of “broadband” internet service is the almost total lack of competition in any geographic area. And that’s the reason why service is slower and more expensive in the US than anywhere else. It’s really that simple.
Let’s put it this way, you don’t have broadband because you never had broadband. What you have is “faster than dialup, usually”, especially if you have DSL.
You know what happens when you have a select few providers control a market? You get something like AT&T offering new customers “double the data for the same price” while simultaneously throttling everyone else.
Technically it’s not a monopoly, but it sure feels like one, doesn’t it?
What Happened to Motorola is the story of an iconic company that once created markets but eventually became an also-ran. If you work for a big company, you’ve probably seen at least one of the mistakes Motorola made happen in your company.