Friday, September 03, 2010

Businesses Still Pay More For Speed and Likely Always Will

From the 2nd Quarter Global Broadband statistics report from Point Topic and a little bit of leg work of my own (ok no leg work, only finger work) some of the latest broadband prices per megabit in the US were encouraging.
For DSL service, they still offer the lowest monthly rate but it works out to the highest per megabit price -  1mbps download at $20/month or $20 per meg of bandwidth speed.
The best DSL price was $40/mo for up to 7 mbps speed or about $5.70/meg
For Cable offerings, Comcasts best deal was 50mbps for about $115/mo (for the first 6 months):  that works out to an amazing $2.30/meg!
Fiber technology still growing with the main supplier in the US being Verizon Fios whose top matching plan is 50mbps at about $140/month for and average $2.80/meg, a big drop from when it first rolled out.
Note: Being the speed freak I am, of course I am focusing on the top available speed plans of the three and please note these are also the residential options only.
The business internet plans are still pricier from the three main technology sources, but here is what is interesting and also what most business customers don't know:  The higher prices businesses often pay for their service, is used to offset the carrier costs of the residential offerings!
Shocker, I know!
Actually this is common practice, and is a strategic business plan to be able to focus on the bulk of their customer base which are residential consumers.

What Point Topic's global Q2 report shows however, is that the cable suppliers have been able to bring the costs for their business clients down much closer to that of the residential broadband customers. That cost for businesses is roughly 1.5 times that of home owners, while business DSL is 3.9 higher and Fiber is 4.7 times higher than their comparable residential services.

Rest assured, those ratios will change. DSL, I do not expect will change much as providers just are not able to gain the numbers of residential clients needed to balance with the smaller amount of business clients. Fiber however is the broadband highway to the future. What is being laid out now in terms of fiber lines, has such longevity and capacity that providers costs will drop as the service becomes available to more and more clients. That 4.7 ratio is sure to drop as the service becomes available in more countries, and across more areas within existing fiber countries.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Samsung is doing it right, why don't the others?

credit Samsung
Samsungs decision to release the Galaxy S series of smartphone over all the major carriers is showing to be a very smart decision. Since its launch in mid July over just two of the carriers, Samsung has shipped over one million of the devices.

credit: T-mobile
The two carriers Samsung started their launch with was AT&T with the Galaxy S Captivate, and T-mobile with the Galaxy S Vibrant. For T-mobile users this was fantastic news indeed. The T-mobile phone offerings of late have truelly lagged far behind other providers such as Verizon and AT&T, the exception being the retooling of the My Touch into the My Touch Slide ( a phone this author was seriously considering for personal and business use ). Given all of the amazing features in the Galaxy S series on T-mobile, the Vibrant is sure to be the top selling smartphone of all of T-mobiles current offerings. Some of its more attractive features include : a 4" Super AMOLED touch screen, 16gb of memory (with slot for micro SD card), 5 megapix camera, GPS, Wi-Fi enabled, Android based with all the apps available, Swype typing, 1Ghz processor and more!

The next releases in the Galaxy S line from Samsung, are the Epic 4G from Sprint tomorrow, and this fall from Verizon look for the Samsung Fascinate.

Samsung is doing it right, for the consumers, for their business model, for the carriers. I hope that the other phone manufacturers take note, a broad release over all the carriers is what we want now. Let the carriers battle it out for customers by modifying their contracts and offering perks, and not make it about who has the better stuff.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Opening The Windows Wider, Mobile Phone 7 Models Leaked

Some not so new information in that we had already heard of these phones being in development and testing for Windows Phone 7. But as we rush towards the fall release of the operation system, we have some goodies in the way of leaked ( or released ) photos and video care of engadget. We thank for being the source of the photos.  We certainly weren't surprised by the form and factor, since the internal technologies are much on par with what is on the market now, however the gravy is the Phone 7 operation system.

From LG two phones, the c900 and e900 ( the former having a full keyboard and the latter is completely touch screen ). From Samsung, the i917 tips it's elegant hat, and HTC's full touchscreen enabled Mozart.

While some photos are not great quality, as you can see, the shape of phones are taking on a cloned shape, with either full touch screen or sliding keyboard, it now becomes a battle between the applications and operating system software to lure customers to their latest toys.

Look for the winds to start blowing more and more models in the open windows this fall!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

NFC East, West, North, South, Up and Down!

"Where's my bluetooth headset"? I wonder aloud, "I need to let everyone know about the newer but not so new field communication doohickey"...

And that would be NFC ( Near Field Communication ), for those who don't know of it already. You have all heard of the smartcards/readers which are RFID,proximity card, and likely have daily seen them in use. At gas station pumps as people pass a Chiclet in front of a symbol to pay for the gas. At a department store where one waves their credit card over a reader to make a purchase. The field is small, but the connection between the devices transfers data in a tenth of a second! (max is 464kbd/second at the current time for NFC). NFC is an extension of this type of communication but geared for cell phone/ smartphone use. The buzz is as the phone acts as a reader it could receive news, advertisements, and stats from stationary transmitters on billboards, movie posters, i-cafe etc. When the phone acts as transmitter, it will be used to pay for items, schedule and pay for public transportation (right on the train!), or instantly configure devices with preassigned bluetooth setups to save time. Two like NFC devices can share contacts, datebooks, etc by simply passing the devices near each other. (with appropriate security and safety protocols set).
Near Field Communication is a technology currently being tested in quite a few countries, the majority of which are in Europe (no surprise there), but there are several Asian, Latin American, United States, and Canadian test sites as well. I won't go into the list here of what cell phones are currently being tested with the technology as these are likely to change with each keystroke that I type. Suffice to say, current gossip is that company A is working on their NFC enabled phone that rhymes with "shmy shmone 5" ( a depressing thought for those of you who shelled out money happily for your "shmy shmone 4".

[ On a side rant, if we are asked to pay $500 plus for a smartphone, can it at least go a year before we are told it is no longer good enough, by it's own manufacturer none the less! ]

For more in depth information visit the NFC forums at

Friday, August 13, 2010

Help for gzip_detect.php on Facebook August 13, 2010

Many Facebook users are encountering an unusual announcement upon logging into their accounts today. They are being prompted to download the file named gzip_detect.php . As many users contemplate whether this is an action of their computer for an update, an unwanted virus, a patch from Facebook itself, or the beginnings of the awakening conscience of HAL within their own desktop, many other users are blissfully unaware of any issue at all.

Since the file download is apparently an issue that is arising when users of Internet Explorer log into Facebook is conflicting with the Facebook code itself. There is no official announcement yet as to the source of the file, only that common reaction is to cancel the download and try again.

If you want to ensure that you do not see gzip_detect.php announcing its arrival on your PC or laptop again or for the first time, follow these steps:

1. Ensure that you have your computer up to date with Microsoft Updates, especially the Internet Explorer files.
2. Clear your cookies. This one can hurt, because those same cookies surely make logging into all of our favorite sites so much smoother. For instructions on how to clear cookies, go here.
3. Reboot. A hard reboot of our computer is something we forget about and take for granted, but on a Microsoft based PC or laptop, it is a necessary action to do regularly!
4. My friends would, as a last resort (or perhaps a first?) , would advise me to get a Mac and avoid all these issues. I am not ready to take that step yet however.

If none of these actions seem to help, you can temporarily log into Facebook using another browser such as Google Chrome or Firefox until Facebook can work this out.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fios? Sounds like something my doctor wants me to take.

FiOS (pronounced Fy-Os) is coming! Why am I excited? Because it is coming to my area...(or so I have heard). FiOS is the latest broadband product being rolled out in a multi-million dollar gamble by Verizon. Verizon's fiber optics uses true fiber strands that carry laser generated pulses straight to the home (see picture in upper right corner of this page). Though not new technology, as mentioned earlier this year, it is just gaining a foothold now in the US. Because of the inherent lack of resistance to energy travelling along these hair thin, fiber optic strands, a much larger and faster amount of data can be transmitted digitally in light pulses. This also lends to a lack of degradation in the signal, whether it be voice, data/internet, or video. Yes! Video! Verizon is moving into the arena that cable companies have been greedily gobbling up by offering TV, High speed internet, and phone service to their customers. Verizon will now be able to also offer all three services providing, in this writers opinion, some much needed and long overdue competition in the cable television market.
Something that the cable companies should be worrying about, quite frankly, is the ability that Verizon will have to offer high quality phone and Television service, but broadband internet speeds that they will be unable to compete against. Here is a preliminary pricing packages from Verizon's webpage (speeds ate Download/Upload and Mbps=Megabytespersecond):

  • The "low end package" at a cost of what I pay for my DSL of just $34.95/month will give you 5Mbps/2Mbps
  • The "mid range package", coming in at what the cable companies charge for their broadband service, is $44.95/month and serves 15Mbps/2Mbps. (cable can only provide up to 6Mbps max!)
  • Finally, the mother load and quite obviously for business, $179.95/month gives you a whopping 30Mbps/5Mbps!!!

(Pardon me while I catch my breath) Though the speed demon in me salivates at that last speed rating, the economist cannot argue that option #2 is by far the best deal of the three for the home consumer. 15 Mbps is fast enough to satisfy any gamer, any media user, any home business, any..etc..

I applaud Verizon for taking this chance to invest in the roll out (there are trucks on multiple streets in my county) and lay out the Corning fiber optic cabling to take back some of the market share that is being strangle held by the cable companies today. And who wins?

We do....we win on speed, on cost (even if you stay with cable...competition drives price wars which means lower prices), and on choices. I say..keep it up...who is next? Bring it on!!