Sunday, 12 August 2007


Your tax dollars at work - 2

Remember that fiber-to-the-home high speed data service that we were promised "by the year 2000?"

All 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia contracted with their local telecommunication utilities for the build-out of fiber and hybrid fiber-coax networks intended to bring bidirectional digital video service to millions of homes by the year 2000. The Telecom Act set the mandate but, as it works with phone companies, the details were left to the states. Fifty-one plans were laid and 51 plans failed.

...I find it hard to remember any company or industry segment ever going zero for 51. This is a failure rate so amazing that any statistician would question the motives of those even entering such an endeavor. Did they actually expect to succeed? Or did they actually expect to fail? We may never know and it probably doesn't even matter, but one thing is sure: they expected to be paid and they were.

Over the decade from 1994-2004 the major telephone companies profited from higher phone rates paid by all of us, accelerated depreciation on their networks, and direct tax credits an average of $2,000 per subscriber for which the companies delivered precisely nothing in terms of service to customers. That's $200 billion with nothing to be shown for it.
 -- Robert Cringely
In my "major metropolitan" location there's no DSL (lines too old/too long), and fiber is nowhere in the future. I think I'd like my $2000 back. Then I could use it for something useful, like buying beer.

Posted by: Old Grouch in Rants at 19:42:35 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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