And I thought transfer caps were bad
By stretch | Monday, June 23, 2008 at 8:35 a.m. UTC
The other day I came across an article discussing a series of ads put forth by cable companies with the intention of steering people away from Verizon's FiOS (a fiber to the premise service). It seems Comcast and Time Warner are trying to play on the fact that modern cable networks employ a hybrid fiber-coaxial distribution network to deliver service. This isn't a feature, but rather it is necessitated by the medium, particularly in this age of high-definition television.
Typical cable company ambiguity, right? Curious, I located one of the ads on YouTube...
No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, NO.
You want to compare services? Let's talk about transfer speeds. Let's talk about the physical limitations of a shared medium. Let's talk about your impending transfer caps. 5 GB for $30 is such a bargain, after all! Oddly, none of this is mentioned by your constipated, know-it-all customer. Coaxial cable does not compare with the potential network throughput of fiber, and Verizon has the cable companies nailed to a wall with its FiOS service.
I know this, and you know this, but the average consumer doesn't. And, sadly, many consumers are bound to get taken in by such misleading advertisements. Even the news article referenced above doesn't compare transfer speeds offered by the various providers. The good news is that Verizon has apparently taken some extent of legal action concerning these ads, as it should. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Verizon evangelist by any means, but this slander piece by Time Warner is garbage and they know it.
About the Author
Jeremy Stretch is a network engineer living in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina area. He is known for his blog and cheat sheets here at Packet Life. You can reach him by email or follow him on Twitter.
Posted in Rants
June 23, 2008 at 12:54 p.m. UTC
A little rough on the cable companies! Most home users do not have a need for more than 5mb. It is amazing how many people are still on dial-up. Most house are already equipped with coaxial. Do you know the cost/construction that would be associated with fiber to the home?
June 23, 2008 at 1:22 p.m. UTC
All of these are valid points, however none are addressed in the advertisement. Obviously the cost of deploying an FTTP infrastructure is enormous, but the advantages it offers over other media is proportionately sizable. Time Warner has very clearly taken initiative to conceal all this from the consumer, claiming that cable "is" fiber. It's false advertising, plain and simple.
June 23, 2008 at 3:43 p.m. UTC
Contrary to what we all think, FTTP is not so expensive. Our local telco is laying it everywhere, including the very rural environment where I live. I was positive we wouldn't get anything better than ADSL for decades and now I have 20/20 symmetric service over fiber for which I pay €26/month (around $40) for unlimited traffic.
And, BTW, misleading comparative ads like the one you've included would never be permitted in Europe. Sometimes I enjoy living on this side of the pond :)
June 26, 2008 at 4:44 a.m. UTC
What you use for the "last mile" connection to whatever ISP, company or service out there is largely irrelevant. The real bottlenecks are down the road, at or around the CO's or HeadEnds. And on the internet backbone.
And don't think that only the cable companies are up to these "shennigans". Try and find out if Verison fios is available at your house, you'll go From one page reading "FIOS High Speed Internet" directly to another reading "You are now ready to sigh up for Verizon High Speed Internet". Never mentioning that fios is not available or that you are signing up for DSL. AND, there was a fios banner(ad) at the top of every screen.
Didn't fool me, but it did fool my parents who still have dsl. Tell me thats not just as dirty as that ad...
Companies are evil, not this one or that one...companies.!