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Should Broadband Flow Like Water?

11:10 AM -- The folks at Supercomm have put out a survey stating the importance of broadband access in an attempt to drum up interest for their conference. It worked, obviously, but I think they picked the wrong headline.

The survey press release touts that "nearly 70 percent of all respondents believe uninterrupted broadband access should be as readily available as other utilities like electricity and water."

Nearly 70 percent means not quite 70 percent. Therefore more than 30 percent of those who took Supercomm's survey do not believe broadband access should be as available as electricity and water.

Does anyone find it odd that the promoters of the "Broadband Life" are saying, via their survey, that some 100 million Americans think broadband doesn't need to be as instantly available and is somehow not a core utility?

This could be a regional thing. Folks in the rural parts of the country who don't have broadband may not know what they're missing. (See Recovery Act: Everyone Wants to Rural the World.)

But it could be that what Supercomm's promoters have revealed, indirectly, is that people feel less dependent on a core broadband service at home so long as their iPhone is getting their emails and their Twitter account is still free. Maybe they've accidentally revealed that the mobile Web is really the future.

Am I reading too much into that shocking 70 percent figure?

— Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 3:56:52 PM
re: Should Broadband Flow Like Water? Probably more like 50/50. I know a lot of wired up old coots, but then there are people like my mother-in-law who still talk at hosted voice mail as though it's an answering machine: "Phil? Are You There? Can YOU PICK UP PLEASE?"
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:56:52 PM
re: Should Broadband Flow Like Water?

 


That they focused on the 18 - 34 age group replies?  Wonder what the numbers were for us old fogies?


seven


 

rjmcmahon 12/5/2012 | 3:56:50 PM
re: Should Broadband Flow Like Water?

According to my reading of Charles Jacobson's Ties That Bind 80% of U.S. water infrastructure is publicly owned while 20% is investor owned.  In Western Europe the ratios are the inverse.  It's kinda a strange because Western Europe is perceived as the land of socialized states while the U.S. is perceived as the land of free markets. (At least from a U.S. main stream perspective.)  So the basic fundamentals of life, being water, is socialized here and privatized there.


An obvious question to ask is "Why are water utilities publicly owned in the U.S. and privately owned in Western Europe?"


Jacobson claims it was due to conflagrations in the U.S. which were a result of lax building codes causing the local fire chief to need access in abundance in order to put out the fires.  Essentially the water infrasructure is publicly owned due to history of fire departments being the anchor customer.  Europe had stricter building codes and less conflagrations so there wasn't a strong public agency as the anchor.  (These are in the context of urban build outs.)


Now, water in Western Europe is much more expensive to boot.

bmenezes 12/5/2012 | 3:56:50 PM
re: Should Broadband Flow Like Water?

...given the apparent wording of the survey question. If the analogy offered to the respondent was broadband compared with electricity and water, of course the negative response rate would be high; it's an apples to oranges comparison of a communications utility with those providing comfort/life sustaining benefits. In that context it seems pretty likelymany respondents would downgrade (consciously or unconsciously) the importance/personal value of a readily available broadband connection.


Now, if the comparison was broadband vs. telephone/television/mail or some other communications "utility," a 30% negative rate might be more shocking.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:56:50 PM
re: Should Broadband Flow Like Water?

 


Now that was funny.  But to interject a serious note to this (and I apologize for doing so), the age thing is important.  Why is that?


1 - Older folks tend to vote more, thus their opinions are more important to politicians who want to be elected.


2 - Older folks have more money, thus their opinions are not just vote weighted but money weighted.


3 - Older folks (for lack of a better word) run things.  Not too many Carrier CEOs in that 18 - 34 category.


Disproportionatly, the thinking of us codgers has a voice here.  That is why I thought about this.  Not sure Robert Byrd is big on Twitter or that Dick Cheney has a World of Warcraft account.  The age thing does make a difference and I think that younger folks need to be serious in pondering what they want here.


seven


 

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 3:56:46 PM
re: Should Broadband Flow Like Water?

Great points about the aged. So now it seems even more odd that Supercomm focused its survey on younger folks that probably aren't going to its show and don't give money to its supporting associations (the TIA and USTelecom).


 


Strange choices, indeed.

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