by Kyle Perkins
The reason your internet sucks is simple: Cable.
America demands its cable, and because of that, our internet speeds will continue to suffer for the foreseeable future. Many companies preach about the amazing speed of fiber optics, and a few companies even offer it. However, the problem is that the fiber optics stop at the street, and have to run through shitty copper wires not meant for today’s internet demands before getting to your house. It’s sort of like putting a spigot on the end of a fire hose. Some people are still using copper wire lines that were put up a hundred years ago, so no matter how fast the fiber optics are, they still have to pass through that shitty copper medium. Meaning, it does nothing for you as a consumer, and I’m sure some of you were sold on the idea of faster speeds with fiber optics, and notice that not much has changed in terms of your download/upload speeds.
To make matters worse, there are only three companies that basically hold a monopoly over broadband. They are Verizon, Time Warner, and Comcast. If you think you aren’t using them, check who owns your ISP, you’ll most likely learn that your ISP is a subsidiary of one of these companies. So, why is it bad that there are only about three companies controlling the broadband? Well, they have no competition, meaning no incentive to fix/update the infrastructure, and why would they? People are willing to pay full price for fiber, even though they get copper speeds. It’s a placebo button.
Not to mention, that your internet doesn’t just travel straight from your ISP to you. It has to travel through several networks before it gets to you, and those networks may have caps on speed in between the site and your ISP. It’s like when you order your pizza during the time schools let out. The pizza guy has to slow down on route to you several times before delivering the final product due to city regulations. Well, the same happens to your internet. So, not only does your internet slow down between you and your ISP, but between the source and your ISP itself due to different regulations and agreements between those networks and the sites providing the data.
We need to build new networks, and update the infrastructure. Especially the lines in our cities leading to homes and offices. It’s going to require a lot of work and implementing bootstrapped ISPs and experimental municipal broadband networks like the one in Chattanooga.
Once the government starts seeing the internet as a public utility, instead of a private service, we will all be better off, and they should. In today’s world, the internet is a basic human need. The world runs on it, and having shitty internet speeds actually hurts our economy. This is something that needs to be redone from the ground up, but while people are willing to pay full price for outdated service, nothing will change.
The good news is, the FCC has made changes that will make it easier for cities to implement overhauls, now it’s just up to each individual city to either give a shit, or for changes to happen on a statewide or federal level.
Otherwise, get used to looking at this..