AT&T has completed upgrading its fiber-network in Austin, Texas, to 1-gigabit-per-second broadband speeds, the carrier said Monday.The Dallas-based company, which started the Austin upgrade in August, has been working to increase the speed of its U-Verse with GigaPower fiber network from 300 megabits-per-second to 1Gbps. AT&T is racing to bring faster Internet to customers before its competitors.
I am one of the fortunate ones along my road in that I am within the 1.5 mile distance from the AT&T central office. I can get my Internet connection at 0.003 Gbps. That is 300 times slower than folks in Austin get. To put that in perspective what takes them one second to get takes me 5 minutes. Sadly those north of me are limited to 0.0002 Gbps.So when I run across these types of announcements I often say “SHAME ON YOU”.
We all know that in the 21st century information is power. Those with it have opportunity; those without it have almost none and of course the Internet and access to it is fundamental to the 21st century information age. Why are those of us in less populated areas denied access to the Internet speeds that our urban neighbors take for granted? Of course the answer is profits.
I look out my front door and see a couple of two-inch diameter cables strewn between two poles across my front yard. In some places along my road these cables sag to just a few feet above the ground. They have not been improved in many decades. The picture above shows that both of those cables could be replaced by a single small fiber-optic line but to do that would require an investment that currently goes to the owners as profit.
Looking at the history of utilities in rural America I see where this is nothing new. It wasn’t until the 1930s that electricity or telephone was widely available to the farmers who provide the rest of us with food. The New Deal of the 1930s would finally help remedy that situation via the REMC. Here is a little about that from my friends at Wikipedia:
Many such cooperatives exist in the rural United States, and were created by the New Deal to bring electric power and telephone service to rural areas, when the nearest investor-owned utility would not provide service, believing there would be insufficient revenue to justify the capital expenditures required. Many electric cooperatives have banded together to form their own wholesale power cooperatives, often called G&Ts for generation and transmission, to supply their member-owners with electricity.
If we had a functional government in place, instead of the gridlock that is there, maybe this issue could be resolved like it was then. I guess I should be grateful for my 0.003 Gbps Internet connection even though my city neighbors had connections three hundred times faster. At least my snail like speeds are several times faster than all my neighbors north of me. It is about time for AT&T to spend a little money and put all of us on a fiber-optic system so that we all have a more or less level playing field for the future. I thought that was the FCC’s mandate but if it is it is being totally ignored. Shame on AT&T for not having done so already…. And shame on the FCC for not having forced them to do it already….