April 23, 2000

Where's the Bandwidth?
   by stacy <>

I like bandwidth. I like being able to pull a gazillion bits down my pipe at a time. Cablemodems and DSL rock my world.

Just one problem. I can't get either one of them. PFFFFFT! I live in a major metropolitan city that is considered one of the biggest tech areas in the US. I can order food or groceries from at least a dozen online sellers. I can pay all my bills online, and my employer has no problem with telecommuting. However, my net connection is not sufficient to make any of these things worth my while.

In new apartment complexes and houses, it is not uncommon for fiber to be installed instead of normal copper wire. That is because the future of telecommunication lies with the more flexible and expandable fiber instead of the limited copper cables. I live in one of these structures. What they don't tell you is that DSL doesn't work with fiber at this time. The only high-speed option is ISDN which, despite years of service and relatively high demand, has remained pretty expensive. For much less bandwidth than even basic DSL provides, ISDN costs much more.

As if that weren't enough, my cable company has decided that it will not offer cablemodems in any more areas. This decision applies indefinitely, and it is more or less final. Guess whose area does not currently include cablemodems?

So, if you wonder why anyone would still use 56K modems when there are so many better options available, keep in mind that not everyone actually has those options. In the meantime, the telco and cable people are probably getting tired of hearing from me. I will NOT surrender! I want my bandwidth!

Published: April 23, 2000
Editor: stacy

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