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Gigabit

Broadband Currency

Once again the U.S. dollar has hit near-historic lows against both the Euro and Japanese Yen. Alas, these days, a dollar only buys 0.63 Euro or 100 Yen.

On the flip side, European and Japanese tourists are flocking to the U.S., toting empty suitcases ready to return home with merchandise acquired on the cheap. What their strong currencies won't find in the U.S., however, is a screaming deal on 100 Mbit/s broadband Internet access.

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) made headlines launching 50 Mbit/s access in the Twin Cities using Docsis 3.0 gear. (See Comcast Enters the Wideband Era .) The price tag: a whopping $150 per month.

By comparison, in France, several broadband ISPs are offering 100 Mbit/s access for under 30 euros per month (less than US $50). Indeed, both MSO Numericable-SFR and Iliad (Euronext: ILD)'s Free service offer a bundle of 100-Meg broadband, digital TV and VOIP for that price. Ooh la la! (See Lessons From Iliad's Free Odyssey.)

In Japan, 100 Mbit/s access can be had for even less thanks to that country's fiber wars.

Hey, wait a minute. Might this signal an important trend?

Could it be that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has adjusted its policies to peg currencies to broadband access speeds? And thus, would the best way for the U.S. to increase the value of the dollar be to boost broadband speeds?

Rather than tinkering with interest rates, Ben Bernanke might be better off ringing up Brian Roberts and Ivan Seidenberg.

—Michael Harris, Chief Analyst, Cable Digital News

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