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What Do You Think About Your Broadband Serivce?

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bband Is There Enough Broadband Competition?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently released its National Broadband Plan. In all of its 376 page glory, the plan has been lauded for recognizing that broadband is critical infrastructure for the 21st Century. It points out that “broadband is a foundation for economic growth, job creation, global competitiveness and a better way of life.”

While the plan is applauded for getting the high-level strategy right. Some believe the FCC merely kicked the can down the road when it comes to creating conditions that will ensure robust competition. For most U.S. households “competition” in broadband amounts to the choice of one phone company and one cable company. Many also argue that DSL offered by phone companies in many markets can’t compete with cable when it comes to speed. It is also argued that the market for business broadband offers even less choice among competitors resulting in higher prices and poorer service.

Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society developed a study for the FCC showing that a significant reason that other countries were able to expand access and lower rates over the last decade was that they have a commitment to open-access policies that require companies that build networks, i.e. telecoms and cable companies to sell access to competitors who will then invest in and compete on, the network. The study concluded that if every high-speed internet provider has to build its own network infrastructure, the price of entry is too high and competition will falter and over time the goal of attaining faster speeds at lower costs slips further and further away.

Fancy economic theories are well….fancy and theoretical so, I’d be very interested to hear from you…the practitioners. What kind of internet service do you use for your business? Cable, DSL, T-1, business broadband, etc.? What is your experience? Are you satisfied with the speed and price available to you? What is on your broadband wish list?

If you aren’t sure about your broadband speed, the FCC has a new tool that allows you to test it and report back to them. You can also report broadband “dead zones”.  Check it out here: https://www.broadband.gov/qualitytest/about/

Broadband Sign 2 on Flickr – Photo Sharing!

Melanie is the Senior Technology Policy Representative at the National Association of Realtors. That means she lobbies Congress and Federal Agencies on technology policy issues of importance to the real estate industry. In her pre-NAR life Melanie has been a practicing attorney and a software start-up executive. Like any native Californian, Melanie loves good wine and bountiful farmers markets.

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Julie Emery

    March 28, 2010 at 9:45 am

    What do I think of my broadband? I think I don’t have any. I think it’s crippling to small, rural communities like ours. And, I think the problem will only get more accute. I use satellite, but it’s a sorry excuse and no one should mistake it for true broadband. It does beat the heck out of dial up. This plan, in my opinion, is unlikely to have any serious impact on broadband availability here. And, any broadband expansion is likely to still be at speeds to low. There’s no great leap here, nothing to even get us on par with many countries in Europe. Never mind getting ahead. This should be a higher economic priority.

    • Melanie Wyne

      March 28, 2010 at 10:21 am

      Julie,

      I just added link to the FCC’s new broadband test too. You can also report the location of your dead zone. This FCC is very interested in data driven policy making. I encourage you to report your dead zone to the FCC. Here’s the link: https://www.broadband.gov/qualitytest/about/

  2. Julie Emery

    March 28, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Melanie, Thanks! I’ve taken the test and will be posting the link on my blog so others in the area can do the same!

  3. Lani Rosales

    March 28, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Our country has put itself at a major disadvantage with broadband by treating it like a utility which in theory sounds great but this isn’t a simple water pipe that either works or it doesn’t… there are varying degrees of effectiveness with broadband, and because of lack of competition, it isn’t affordable to everyone.

    If wifi hotspots catch on and people figure out how to use their phones as a wireless hotspot (like we do when traveling), the mobile phone carriers will benefit while the hard broadband will suffer, maybe that’s the answer- invest in app developers that turn phones into wifi broadcasters and bypass the whole frickin thing?

  4. Travis Knutson

    March 28, 2010 at 3:25 pm

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  5. Minna Quigly

    March 28, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    What Do You Think About Your Broadband Serivce?: That means she lobbies Congress and Federal Agencies on technolog… https://bit.ly/buifDe

  6. Sammy

    March 28, 2010 at 4:20 pm

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  12. Seth Young

    March 28, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    You might find the Reggefiber business case (4.13.1, at page 200) in the Berkman Center report interesting insofar as Reggefiber FTTH is conceived on a commercial real estate model. The report is available at https://cyber.law.harvard.edu/pubrelease/broadband. Chapter 4, in which the Reggefiber case can be found, is available as a standalone download.

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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