The last mile has been bridged by fiberoptic cable in some New York households. Parts of Staten Island and Queens now have phone and internet carried by fiberoptic line. Verizon claims it will bundle TV into that deal, but there are still legal issues to surmount. The FCC is expected to rule soon on this issue. Meanwhile, ATT/SBC is promising a similar sort of convergence in its “Your World. Delivered” TV spots, but has yet to offer specific packages.
Looking into the details of the Verizon FiOS package is the usual muddle of exceptions and fine print, but one thing is clear: Verizon is serving up its internet in three speeds.
This looks like a first step toward tiered service. Although new switching hardware and software makes it possible to inspect data en route, it would be simpler to flag “priority” information at the source. Also, when Verizon offers $35 per month for 5Mbps and $180 for 30 Mbps — over the same fiberoptic connection — they are creating classes of customers, which would make it easier to divide service into tiers on a pay to play basis.
Then there’s the whole issue of throughput, which is obscured by telco and cable providers alike. It would be helpful to see some objective studies of the various connection types and the actual rates at which they move information.