Are You Noticing a Broadband Price War?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting (in what sounds like a Verizon PR piece) that there is a broadband Internet price war going on in the United States.

My question to you: do you see it?

It seems like few people in the United States have enough broadband choices for there to be any local competition for prices.

Businesses could promote something nationally that makes it sound like you’re fostering competition, yet at the same time do nothing to promote it in markets where you have no competition.

Is this lowering costs or increasing speeds for consumers? If so, where?

Comcast Admits to Data Limit on Cable Connections

The Consumerist has uncovered a previously secret number: the monthly data download limit on Comcast internet connections:

Leaks: Comcast’s Download Cap Is 200 GB, But Only In Areas With Subpar Networks

Comcast even has a system ready to go where if you exceed the limit a popup will ask you to purchase additional gigabytes, our source says. The graphical user interface is completely designed and everything, but Comcast hasn’t deployed it, because they’re waiting for either another ISP to do it first, or to figure out how to do it without angering their customers, whichever comes first.

I guess the first question that comes to mind for me is, “what would you expect the limit to be on an unlimited connection?” This question has come up before regarding data connections from Verizon Wireless and will surely come up many more times before companies are forced to publish a figure stating exactly what you’re getting for your money. That shouldn’t be too much to ask.

I found The Consumerists’ story over on Geoff Daily’s App-Rising blog. Geoff’s been doing a great job covering broadband growth including fiber build outs and municiple approaches to broadband. If you’re into that sort of thing, tell Geoff I said, “Hi.”

Update: Matthew Ingram points out that wireless card plans from one popular dominant wireless carrier has a 250MB cap. 250MB? My email could chew through that in a month.

Killer App Expo Conference Kicks Off

The
mayor
of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Graham Richard
, kicked off the
Killer App
Expo
with a keynote speech outlining how technology investments have
improved the lives of Fort Wayne residents.

Starting in 2000, Fort Wayne began investing in a fiber to the home initiative.
The challenge is to transform the town from the “Rustbelt economy” it was built
on while serving the under-served in the community.

The city faces common challenges, such as decreasing revenue at the same time as
demands for government services increase. Average annual wages have been
training US metro areas, largely due to a loss of high paying lower-skill jobs.

Fort Wayne, IN Graham Richard

A study by the city determined that access to broadband was ranked #2 behind
quality workforce by companies deciding where to locate new offices. This
confirmed that building a robust Internet infrastructure would be a wise
investment for business recruiting and job growth.

Fort Wayne’s fiber to the premises initiative created 900 new jobs, bringing
FiOS connections to 128,000 homes and businesses. “Real time interactivity . . .
on steroids” is the power of high speed broadband. Face to face interaction over
the Internet provides powerful high value collaborative applications.

The city has a demo green home / smart home with examples of what can be done to
make your home both more energy efficient and wired. On the wired side, the home
included IP controlled lighting and thermostats, allowing you to control the
home’s temperature and lighting settings from work.

A net literacy campaign connects tech natives, including high school students,
with seniors to teach them how to use a computer, email and the web. In return,
seniors can mentor teens using their new-found tech skills.

The mayor and the city seem to be taking technology very seriously. They see it
as not just a perk, but a must-have in order to compete in an ever flatter
world.

Look for interviews later today from the Killer App Expo Conference on
Technology Evangelist.

CES Day 3: Sling Box, Toshiba dual core TabNote, and Google

Day 3 of CES, and we’re starting to feel the pain, but it’s so exciting we just can’t stop. In this report we bring you Sling Box, the new dual core Toshiba laptop, and Google in all their Googleness.

Tomorrow is the final day of CES, and we have a lot planned; however, due to when our flights leave we won’t be able to edit any footage until Monday evening. Please be patient with us as we try and hook everything back up in Minneapolis, MN.

If you’re having issues playing the video, or if you’re looking for minimum system requirements, please visit our Video Help page.

The opening day of CES: Treo 700, Wireless USB and Wireless XGA

It’s the first day of CES and we have a roundup of three really cool technologies: Palm Treo 700, Wireless USB and Wireless XGA.

There are thousands of products on the CES show floor, and we have many, many interviews just waiting to be published. We will be posting each interview one-by-one as unique posts over the coming weeks. During the CES show itself we will be bringing you a 5 minute update of the top technologies we see each day. Fear not, expanded coverage continues after the show.

The higher resolution feeds will be made available as soon as possible. Upload speed in the hotel is very poor, so it takes several hours for each video to make it online. EVDO is not much better, so we’re stuck with lag time. Next year I would like to bring my own OC192 trunk. Due to the limited bandwidth, 480p, the iPod Video feed, and the MP3 podcast are the only files available at this time. While we’re shooting CES Day 2, I’ll start the upload of 720p and 1080p so you can get the content in its full HD glory. [UPDATE] 720p is online, 1080p is uploading now.

We have added the Video iPod feed. Apple still needs to approve the feed directly in iTunes, but until then you can use the link below to subscribe in iTunes using the ‘Advanced’ menu. I hope Apple will approve the feed within 24 hours (but it’s out of my hands).

If you’re having issues playing the video, or if you’re looking for minimum system requirements, please visit our Video Help page.

FiOS Growing Pains at Verizon?

A Verizon customer shares his frustrations with Verizon’s new FiOS internet service.

A Technology Evangelist reader has shared with us some major frustrations he’s had with Verizon’s new FiOS service.

First, a FiOS definition: FiOS (fiber optic service) is the latest technology option for residential high speed internet access. Internet access is provided over fiber optic cables rather than coaxial cables or copper phone lines, allowing for faster data transmission at comparable prices to cable or DSL. Verizon is currently rolling out FiOS internet service in select markets across the United States.

Bill Kelm of BrokerBlogger.com decided to switch to FiOS from DSL in hopes of reaching faster download speeds. However, he has been met with disappointment and frustration both with setup and support. He has posted a three part series on his web site explaining the trouble he’s gone through trying to get is set up properly. A few highlights: Integrating the service with his network proved to be very difficult, the download speeds were much lower than anticipated, and once frustrated to the point of wanting to return to his previous DSL connection, he was told that he could not go back to DSL.

We at Technology Evangelist haven’t had a chance to test FiOS out yet, since it’s not available in our town, so we’re throwing the following questions out to all of you:

Have you tried FiOS yet?

Did you have any problems transitioning to the service?

How do the speeds compare to your previous service?

Do you have any ideas why a FiOS customer wouldn’t be able to revert to DSL at a later date?

Bell South Un-Donating a Building to New Orleans

Bell South has decided to un-donate a building to the city of New Orleans after the city announced plans for a city-owned internet network:

Angry BellSouth Withdrew Donation, New Orleans Says (Washington Post)
“City officials said BellSouth was upset about the plan to bring high-speed Internet access for free to homes and businesses to help stimulate resettlement and relocation to the devastated city. Around the country, large telephone companies have aggressively lobbied against localities launching their own Internet networks, arguing that they amount to taxpayer-funded competition. Some states have laws prohibiting them.”

Bell South is in a tough position:

How do you sell dial-up or DSL internet to people who already get it for free?

How do you sell phone services to people once they realize they can use Voice Over IP on their new high-speed internet connections?

What do you think is more valuable to the city of New Orleans? A donated damaged building for their police force, or a free city-wide high-speed internet network?

Should Bell South employees boycott Panera Bread for offering free WiFi?

What will Bell South un-donate from Google when they launch a free internet service ?

How will information gatekeepers like Bell South need to change to survive in a free WiFi world?