Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Uh, Duh...Dell Urges Fiber-Optic Links

Dell's CEO used his keynote address at the yearly tech-fest CES to urge telecom companies to provide Fiber To The Home.
The missing pieces that will allow consumers to use their PCs as digital media hubs are fiber-based broadband links to the home and seamless integration of multiple devices, Dell Chairman Michael Dell said in his keynote address.
Uh, Duh...

Dell wants to make tons of money off new integrated convergence tools like its "Home Media Suite desktop PC." Apple announced its bid in the home convergence race yesterday with Apple TV. Microsoft and Intel have launched major initiatives in the area.

So, Michael Dell is right, and it's obvious that what is really needed is the bandwidth to realize those dreams, and, not incidentally, those profits.

It should be equally obvious that the only way to get there is to support--openly and consistently--muni broadband and especially muni fiber.

The companies that are currently "threatening" to provide the US with real broadband all have a financial interest in protecting their vertically integrated business model: they want to hog the bandwidth and route it through their set top boxes with their own proprietary DVRs, search systems, and extremely limited connectivity to the open internet or anyone else's software. As long as companies like AT&T/BellSouth and Cox control the network connection into your home providing bandwidth for individuals who might buy these dream products will work against the financial best interests of the network providers who DON'T want you moving to Downloadable Video (DV). YouTube and iTunes does nothing for their bottom line even if you love it.

Sooner or later the tech mavens are going to wake up to all this. One can only hope that the current net neutrality dustup will alert the tech companies to the large war in which net neutrality is only a battle. The basic problem is not the rules governing internet traffic--the basic problem is the ownership of the means of getting bandwidth to the people by those whose interests are solely in making the greatest amount of money off the pipes in any given 2-4 year horizon. In a word: Greed--La Gourmandise.

Coda: Intel, in fact, has endorsed muni broadband in a pretty unambiguous fashion. Intel doesn't sell directly to the incumbents and, being almost a monopoly itself, has little to fear from their wrath. In contrast Microsoft is providing both Verizon's and AT&T/BellSouth with their (trouble-making) desktop box operating system. Narrow and short-sighted self-interest always explains more than it should.

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