Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Fibre lobbyists think you're stupid

I've become acclimatised to some fairly blatant distortions of data and leaps of logic by some fibre lobbyists, but every now and then I'm still taken aback. Yes, I acknowledge it happens on both sides, but I would expect better of a company like Cisco.

I've been reading Cisco's 2012 report Get Up to Speed -How Developed Countries Can Benefit from Deploying Ultrafast Broadband Infrastructures, and came across this gem. The report offers examples of ultrafast broadband services in use today, including (p11):
"French company Erdenet supplies web-based courses that students can study at their own pace using interactive video and online collaboration tools. With an ordinary DSL connection, it is difficult to add rich media such as video, audio, and maps. Such applications require fiber connections."
Video, audio and maps require fiber?  Really?

For video, YouTube specify a minimum bandwidth of 500 Kbps. Of course higher speeds will give you better video resolution, but there's a big gap between 500 Kbps and the bandwidth of even a below average DSL connection. In the UK, less than 2% of ADSL households (roughly) are getting less than 7 Mbps in the evening busy hour (when speeds might be expected to be at their worst).

For audio, the picture is even starker. Even high quality audio streams typically use 320 Kbps or less.

The idea that maps require fibre I won't even dignify with a link. We've had maps online since the days of dial-up.

What's striking about Cisco's claim is that, while I've provided some technical data above, it's absolutely not necessary to know the claim is nonsense. Any DSL user reading that report will be well aware they're able to  use video, audio and maps.

I know Cisco aren't stupid - they can't possibly believe what they wrote. So it seems like the only other option is that they think we are.

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