From Ashville to Grand Rapids, from Portland to Sarasota, American cities are fighting tooth and terabyte to be the next Google higher-speed broadband experiment. On April Fool’s Day, Google turned into Topeka, Kan.
No doubt, more broadband-enabled homes and faster networks will create additional opportunities for smartHOME and residential security professionals.
Traditional broadband is well established, according to a FCC survey.
Broadband Home Access by Technology Percent of Homes
Cable Modem 58%
DSL-enabled Phone Line 44%
Mobile Broadband Wireless Connection for
Computer or Cell Phone 44%
Fixed Wireless Provider 29%
Dial-Up Telephone Line 12%
Satellite Connection 10%
Fiber Optics Connection 10%
T-1 Connection 5%
At the same time, home broadband speed continues to increase, by 28 percent compared to last year, albeit at a slower rate than in 2008, according to In-Stat research firm. "Today's broadband service subscriber is becoming increasingly aware of the capabilities, and the limitations, of their broadband connection," said analyst Mike Paxton.
Among In-Stat findings:
• The average downstream speed of a U.S. broadband connection is 7.12 Mbps.
• Broadband speed increases were most dramatic among cable modem and fixed wireless subscribers. The broadband speed increase among cable modem subscribers was about double that of fiber-to-the-home subscribers.
• More than one quarter of survey respondents also had a mobile wireless broadband connection in addition to their wired broadband connection.
Ironically, according to FCC figures, ala carte brings in more revenue than bundled services. In 2009, the average reported bill was $40.68 per month, falling to $37.70 for bundle subscribers and rising to $46.25 for standalone buyers. Dial-up access costs an average reported rate of $22.98. Seventy percent of users reported buying bundled services, but only half of those were able to identify the cost of the Internet service portion of the package.
In the city fight over Google’s fiber infrastructure, more than 1,100 United States communities applied to become Google's test site. All the excitement around Google's fiber optics experiment speaks to the appetite for faster broadband as Americans come to rely on the Internet as their primary source of communication and entertainment. "Our goal is to experiment with new ways to help make Internet access better and faster for everyone," Minnie Ingersoll, product manager on Google's alternative access team, reported in an e-mail. "We want to see what developers and consumers can do with ultrahigh speeds, like creating new bandwidth-intensive 'killer apps' and services, or other uses we can't yet imagine." Google's one-gigabit-per-second network will raise the bar for broadband.