Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Why Alabama Can’t Have Nice Things, Including Internet Service

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, December 21, 2017

Why Can’t Alabama Have Nice Things?
-or-
Why FCC’s Net Neutrality Repeal Could Be Good For Alabama’s Economy

Already, following quickly on the heels of GOP FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s (a former corporate lawyer for Verizon) Net Neutrality repeal, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) such as Comcast, Cox Communications, and Frontier Communications have announced increased costs starting January. see: https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2017/12/19/comcast-cox-frontier-net-neutrality/

<sarcasm>I suppose the “savings” regular families get from the GOP’s Tax Scam bill will offset any additional costs.</sarcasm>

Now, here’s the (easy to understand) “deal”:

Those firms want to increase sales, and by extension, increase profits. Not merely margins. In order to do that, one must TRULY compete on a “level playing field.”

But, let’s consider another thought, that being of service. There are, even now, many areas in our nation WITHOUT ISP, or options. It’s VERY “close to home.”

For example, I can drive 30-45 minutes and be in a VERY remote area… which, until this point, had NO ISP, save for satellite service. At my urging, relatives, whose example I am referencing, began to collaborate with their neighbors to get ISP to “lay line” to their, and others’ residences.

They (area residents) were already paying for a service (satellite ISP) which quality was poor, unreliable, and costly. The “wire line” ISP (falsely) claimed that to extend service to that area (even though it was already nearby – at the road), would not be “profitable.” I demurred, urged and encouraged them ALL THE MORE to request “landline” ISP service by “running lines” to their, and others’ residences.

It worked!

Now, nearly a dozen or more families are enjoying high-quality Internet service, and have been for going on over two years. And they’re NOT the only ones, just the ones in that immediate area.

You see, in a very misguided manner, corporations (not all) have taken a very “conservative” approach to the use of money, and by extension, business operations, by “shuffling” money, and by refusing to improve the quality of their product, and/or service. Think of American automobile manufacturers, whose quality declined, and in part, through continually-declining sales, ushered in an era of domestic “foreign” automobile manufacturing. We first saw it with BMW in South Carolina, and in Alabama with Honda, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, and others.

If corporations, such as ISPs, were to SPEND on IMPROVING their infrastructure, they would AUTOMATICALLY obtain many new customers. But now, they’re “shooting fish in a barrel,” by refusing to improve their operations and infrastructure.

The Alabama Research and Education Network (AREN), a governmental entity of the State of Alabama, owns, operates, and maintains a fiber optic Internet network which courses statewide.

Another case in point: The State of Alabama

Unless you’re a computer nerd, you probably wouldn’t know that the State owns and maintains Gigabit Fiber Optic network coursing throughout Sweet Home, which provides Internet Service to almost all city, county & governments, numerous schools, universities, and some businesses… even in the “Blackbelt Region” – THE MOST impoverished region of the state.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The State of Alabama owns and maintains a Gigabit Fiber Optic network that runs statewide.

“The Alabama Supercomputer Authority (ASA) is the governing agency created in 1989 and funded by the Alabama Legislature.

“ASA manages two primary projects: the Alabama Supercomputer Center (ASC) in Huntsville and the Alabama Research and Education Network (AREN), which was formerly known as the Alabama Supercomputer Network (ASN). ASA’s Board of Directors voted to change the name of our network to Alabama Research and Education Network in 1995 to better reflect our service to the state’s education community.”

Known as AREN, the Alabama Research and Education Network innervates and is connected to 225 clients, “including all public universities and colleges, the state’s community colleges, several state government agencies, some public libraries, and approximately 137 public K-12 school systems.”

Bet you didn’t know that, eh?

“AREN is the statewide managed network connecting its clients to the Internet and to Alabama supercomputer resources. AREN currently consists of a multiple ring, 10G Ethernet based network connecting major hub sites in Huntsville (2), Birmingham (2), Montgomery (2), Atlanta, Troy, Dallas, Dothan, and Mobile.”

see also: https://www.asc.edu/network/services/faq

Folks, that is not merely “blazing fast,” it is LIGHTNING fast! The Speed of Light FAST! To put it in perspective, that’s over 1000 times as fast as the average cable connection. Cable supports about 300 Mbps bandwidth, and DSL only has speeds of up to 100 Mbps. But Fiber Optic? Fiber Optic has 10Gigabit speeds!

In a manner VERY SIMILAR to Chattanooga’s EPB (Electric Power Board), aka GigCity®, the State of Alabama ~could~ have provided superior quality Internet Service to practically ALL Alabamians at LOW cost (just like EPB did)… at least by comparison to what Wall $treet-traded firms like Comcast, Cox, and others are doing – and could have done so LONG, LONG ago.

What EPB brought to the Chattanooga area was much MORE than mere Internet service… it ushered in an entirely NEW, and vibrant economy, with jobs (remember the GOP’s sacred cow “job creators”), and opportunities GALORE!

Alabama ~could~ change all that.

But… thanks in large part to the state’s inept legislators, Alabama can’t have “nice things” because of corruption, and corporate lobbyists.

THAT MUST CHANGE!!

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