Fiber optics are easily the next big thing, but there is a problem: Big Metal does not want fiber to be available to the general public. Why? The answer is simple: Big Metal has had it far too easy for far too long. This is the story of Big Metal, and it explains why so many consumers simply cannot get fiber optic connections despite their interest.
Investment Means Everything
Businesses are designed to make money, and that is their key purpose; they make money and employ people. Big Metal is no exception to this rule. Big Metal has invested countless billions of dollars in deploying networks based on metal wires. This money is accounted for in salaries, advertising budgets, leases, lobbying firms, lawyers, and so on, but all for one purpose: making money by selling data services.
It might be a little unfair to criticize Big Metal for trying to protect their investment, but only on the surface. At some point one has to hold businesses of all kinds responsible for poor investments and shortsightedness. Fiber optics have been the clear path of the future for almost 20 years, since before consumer broadband ever took off. Even though the signs were clear, Big Metal continued to deploy, improve, and market broadband systems that required metal wires?
Why would anyone do this?
There might be many answers to this question, but one possible answer is shortsightedness. Just as one might say that automakers producing insanely large SUVs in an era when fuel prices increase steadily and global markets seem to incapable of remaining stable for more than eight or nine years at a time. At some point in time, large corporations must be held accountable for their lack of vision, even if that means that their employees and investors will suffer the consequences. Thus, it seems only natural that Big Metal tries its best to protect its interests and investments.
How Far Big Metal Will Go
How far should a company or organization go to protect its interests? Should there be a line drawn? If so, does that line need to be drawn before or after said company/organization intentionally stifles broadband growth and development that would serve the populace of a country well? This is a question for each person to answer for themselves, but the United States as a nation is currently being left in the collective dust of the broadband capabilities of other countries. For a nation that primarily exports ideas and concepts in the form of intellectual property, this is a very dangerous trend that needs to be reversed.
Opposing this necessary rectification is Big Metal. Big Metal may not be doing anything outright illegal, but they certainly invest in tactics that are uncompetitive and are ultimately hurting the nation as a whole. By the time it becomes clear that Big Metal is holding Americans down, it might be too late.
Here is what Big Metal is doing in a nutshell: lobbying and advertising. Neither lobbying nor advertising are illegal, but they are expensive ventures. Lobbying could be considered buying access to politicians to get a corporate agenda turned into laws, permits, or obstructionist trials or referendums called. Advertising is essentially a method to gain access to the people, but it shares one thing in common with lobbying: money, and lots of it. That’s right; both of lobbying and advertising require incredible amounts of money. This creates a situation whereby smaller startups, even those funded with millions of dollars of capital cannot compete. For a reasonable analogy, just imagine putting a heavyweight boxer in the ring with a featherweight; the featherweight might dance around and land a few small hits that probably would not phase the heavyweight, but nearly every single blow from the heavyweight would be telling.
In this same fighting parlance, a lobbyist for Big Metal calling for a halt to digging permits or a referendum to measure citizen interest in an environmental impact study prior to granting a permit would be knock-down blows. It might be possible to get up from such blows, but a few such shots in quick succession ends the fight. Similarly, a few commercials and/or political favors and the doors of progress swing shut and are tightly bolted by those owing their success to Big Metal.
At the Same Time…
Consumers suffer horribly, often without even knowing that they are suffering thanks to the advertising prowess and muscle of Big Metal. While some American businesses and households seem content with broadband speeds in the 5-10 Mbps range, European households and businesses are already using connections that are 10 to 20 times faster. As that gap expands, it is only a matter of time until the people realize that Big Metal has been holding them back. One key bandwidth intensive application might be all it takes, and then the fiber optic floodgates will be wide open.