Daily Archives: April 26, 2005

Now This is Broadband!

Services like this should be doable at similar prices in dense urban areas of the US:

Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) officially launched its 1 Gbps symmetric service for the residential market. Approximately 800,000 households, out of a total of 2.2 million households in Hong Kong, are wired to receive the service. The 1 Gbps symmetric service is priced at US$215 per month.
HKBN noted that its 1 Gbps service is up to 166x faster downstream and 1,950x faster upstream than the advertised bandwidth of the incumbent’s ADSL service.
HKBN Premium bb1000 service is being offered on the same metro Ethernet infrastructure that delivers the company’s Mass Market bb100 (symmetric 100 Mbps for US$34/month) and Entry Point bb10 (symmetric 10 Mbps for US$16/month) services.

Even the low end blows away the crap that has commonly been labeled residential broadband in the US.
If they are allowed to proceed the Verizon and SBC buildouts, while not quite up to the Hong Kong standard, will be a substantial improvement over current US offerings.

Amtrak Subsidies

The New York Times editorialized today about the need for the federal government to continue subsidizing Amtrak:

For some time, the Bush administration has pushed for Amtrak reforms, which almost everybody supports in principle. But the administration’s most recent proposal is more like a death sentence – a slow dismantling of Amtrak into regional services while costs currently paid by the federal government would be forced onto cash-starved states. The fatal flaw in the administration’s thinking is the idea that the railroad should be self-sufficient. That’s impractical and unnecessary, given the benefits it provides in taking cars off congested highways and offering an alternative to air service in the post-9/11 era.

Sorry, this is a bit hard to say but the bushies may be right on this one. There is no good reason for “cash-starved” states to pick up the tab for anything either. The various government entities do not need to be in the theme park business.
If Amtrak really does an effective job of getting cars off crowded highways and is a meaningful alternative to the airlines (which I doubt) then for those routes where this is true it should be able to be self sustaining.