Princeton residents within 18,000 feet of the town center can choose the option of a Verizon DSL connection to the internet. Because DSL has a maximum speed of 3 Mbps (compared to 50 Mbps and higher for fiber), it is not actually considered “broadband” by the Massachusetts Broadband Institute. But, even with its built-in speed limitations, DSL can be an attractive option for town residents who (a) live close to the town center, (b) have modest internet needs, and (c) and want a basic service at the lowest possible price. As a result, if that description describes you, you may have a certain reticence or hesitation with doing anything beyond the status quo and investing in a town-wide fiber-to-the-home network.
However, since the upcoming Nov. 18 vote is all about a long-term broadband solution for our town’s future, it is critically important to consider the long-term future of DSL.
Simply put, when you look at industry trends, it is clear that DSL is eventually going to be phased out. It is not a question of “if”, but a question of “when”.
Gigaom.com states in their article “Why Verizon is killing DSL & cheap broadband”:
The slow death of DSL will cause the rapid rise of expensive broadband for underserved areas if Verizon’s Fusion home broadband service is any indication. Verizon launched home-broadband powered by its wireless network — letting consumers trade unlimited slow broadband from a wire for faster, capped and more expensive service…Verizon may have started out as a collection of wireline telephone companies, but it has been rapidly abandoning its legacy copper by selling off its DSL businesses to Frontier Communications, Fairpoint and even the Carlyle Group. The plan, as we said back then, was to get rid of high-cost copper lines and come in later with wireless broadband that delivered better speeds. [Source]
Similarly, DSLReports.com states:
Verizon has been making it very clear that they have no interest in those customers remaining on DSL. The company last year returned to forcing new DSL users to subscribe to costly landline service, and now users in our Verizon DSL forum say they’re being notified that yet another round of traditional rate hikes have arrived. [Source]
BusinessWeek also reports in the article “Hey DSL, It’s Time For Goodbye”:
Today, AT&T essentially put the nail in the coffin for DSL technology when it announced it was going all-in on IP-based networks and IP technologies. As Stacey Higginbotham reported earlier this morning, Dallas-based AT&T is spending nearly $14 billion to completely switch from last century’s technologies and put its old, copper-based network out for pasture. [Source]
But it is not just industry pundits who are making gloom & doom predictions. In fact, the FCC and even Verizon itself have expressed publicly that the writing is on the wall for copper-based DSL.
The general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission predicts that DSL and landlines will stop working within the next ten years, “abandoned by companies like AT&T and Verizon in favor of wireless service in rural America or fiber (if you are lucky) in the cities.” [Source]
Verizon does say that they have no plans to shut down working service for customers. But, at the same time, Tom Maguire, Verizon’s senior vice president of operations support, is on the record as saying that Verizon has a “gradual phase-out” strategy [Source]. This is especially the case when existing cooper lines go down. As reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Tom Maguire underscores Verizon’s unwillingness to invest in long-term maintenance: “If we fixed the copper, there’s a good likelihood people wouldn’t even use it.” [Source]
This strategy is already being carried out in some regions. The Verge reports in the article “Disaster, meet opportunity: Verizon’s plan to push wireless on copper landline customers”:
Last Friday, Verizon filed a proposal with New York state that would allow it to abandon traditional copper telephone lines in favor of wireless service in select areas. Companies like Verizon and AT&T have been trying to leave these old and costly copper networks behind them. [Source]
Therefore, as each Princeton resident considers the Matrix plan and the upcoming Nov. 18 vote, it is important to consider not just what internet solution works this month or this year, but what will effectively service our community in 2024 and beyond.
Subscribers to the Matrix Design Group solution can expect Internet speeds of between 30 and 50 Mbps, which is a significant speed increase over other alternatives in town (basic Ayacht is ~1Mbps, DSL is between 1-3 Mbps, 4G/LTE in town ranges from 2-18 Mbps) . These Matrix fiber speeds will be able to fully accommodate “streaming” services such as Netflix and Hulu.
Representatives from the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) were guests at last week’s Princeton Broadband Committee meeting. Some notable takeaways from that meeting:
- Princeton is classified as an “unserved” community by the MBI. “Unserved” means that 90% or more of the population has no access to broadband.
- DSL and other forms of internet access available in Princeton are not considered “broadband” by the MBI, because they do not meet the minimum bandwidth standards of broadband access.
- There are approximately 25,000 households in Massachusetts that are “unserved”, most of which are in far western parts of the state. Princeton is considered the/one of the largest communities in Massachusetts that fall into the “unserved” category and the eastern most of these communities in the state.
If you would like to get some background information on how fiber compares to other broadband technologies, such as DSL and Cable, check out this 12 minute instructional (and occasionally humorous) video. Bob Evans explains the differences between these technologies in laymen’s terms.
More evidence that cooper wire-based Verizon DSL is no long-term viable solution for Princeton internet needs:
Verizon, the country’s second-largest landline phone company, is taking the lead by replacing phone lines with wireless alternatives. But competitors including AT&T have made it clear they want to follow. It’s the beginning of a technological turning point, representing the receding tide of copper-wire landlines that have been used since commercial service began in 1877…The elderly and people in rural areas, where cell coverage may be poor or nonexistent, will be most affected by disappearing phone lines.
<a href="http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/214618531.html”>Read the full article »
According to a survey in the current issue of Broadband Communities magazine, fiber beat out cable, DSL, and wireless in a wide range of categories, including uptime, speed, and overall quality. Check out the results below.
Download the May/June edition of Broadband Communities here »
If you or your neighbors are skeptical of supporting the Princeton broadband initiative because you have DSL, think again. Below are two current stories in the mainstream tech press that provide even more tangible proof that DSL is not a viable long-term solution for Princeton broadband needs.
Why Verizon is killing DSL & cheap broadband
The slow death of DSL will cause the rapid rise of expensive broadband if Verizon’s Fusion service is any indication. Verizon launched home-broadband powered by its wireless network — letting consumers trade unlimited slow broadband from a wire for faster, capped and more expensive service.
Verizon’s Driving Away DSL Users Intentionally With Rate Hikes Gives DSL Users $5 Rate Hike As Thanks For Loyalty
With the exception of some major cities where they’re still adhering to franchise obligations, Verizon’s FiOS expansion is over, and Verizon has been making it very clear that they have no interest in those customers remaining on DSL. The company last year returned to forcing new DSL users to subscriber to costly landline service, and now users in our Verizon DSL forum say they’re being notified that yet another round of traditional rate hikes have arrived.