To all the gigabit naysayers who believe that no everyday Internet user truly needs a gig, US Internet has a message: You are wrong, 10 times over.
That's what the Minnetonka, Minn.-based ISP is signaling with its recent launch of 10 Gbit/s service for residents and small businesses in Minneapolis. Joe Caldwell, the outspoken co-CEO of US Internet Corp. , tells Light Reading that the rollout is meant to be a wakeup call to other service providers that the world is going to become increasingly bandwidth hungry, and that the industry had better step up.
"Someone had to go first. No one else was going to do it, because the math doesn't make sense," he says. "Someone had to lead the way. Someone that likes innovation and couldn't care less about the money -- someone half crazy -- had to do it."
What US Internet did was upgrade the electronics on its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network to make 10 Gbit/s service available to about 30,000 households and businesses in Minneapolis, with plans to connect another 30,000 by next summer. He considers the move to be a shot across the bow of larger service providers, noting that Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts likely has never heard of US Internet but "should probably learn who I am."
"He's not worried about me because it's just a couple streets in Minneapolis. But eventually those streets become many more streets," Caldwell says. "This is a war. I can fire the first shot, but someone has to come with the cavalry."
Indeed, the efforts of entities like US Internet -- along with an ever-increasing number of regional telcos, cable operators, utilities and municipalities that are rolling out gigabit services in all sizes of communities across the US -- could potentially step up the pressure on larger providers to take the gigabit network competitive threat more seriously.
US Internet's ultra-high-bandwidth service comes with a hefty price tag of $399 per month, but Caldwell says the company has already had a few takers -- small business operators, computer guys "who have a couple racks of gear in their living room" or developers doing video or graphics development, he says. But he maintains that the company's 1 Gbit/s offering sets the standard for affordable Internet access.
"Our gig price is $65 -- that's 65 cents a meg," he says. "Now Minneapolis has the fastest and cheapest internet in the world. I just wish Verizon, AT&T and Google would follow my lead."
Caldwell maintains that today's gigabit networks -- and his company's 10Gig effort -- soon will be passé, particularly if applications development follows available network speeds.
"This is the first time ever that the applications are actually slower than the bandwidth -- but now people will build applications," he says. "If we fast forward, we'll be laughing about this. 10Gig will be slow in a couple years."
— Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, Light Reading