Shawn William Parker - The Case for Accessible Broadband Internet

Shawn William Parker works for Nokia and handles sales, business development and advocacy of community broadband in the United States.

When something becomes a part of our daily life, we tend to stop noticing it and don’t pay attention to its importance. Most people take electricity, lighting and water in their homes for granted. The same has been happening with the Internet.

Most of the people take for granted the information and resources that they access online on the daily basis. Americans search for jobs and submit employment applications, research the availability of services and look up health information online. Being connected to the Internet and having a reliable connection is becoming more and more important as a lot of resources start migrating online and are being frequently updated.

All of the above is especially true for families with children of school age. Having access to a computer and being able to go online are become integral parts of modern education. Digital tools enable students to keep up with school assignments, check grades, communicate with teachers, watch tutorials, conduct academic research, learn about colleges and financial aid and much more.

Because of all these reasons, digital inequality is starting to play a bigger and bigger role in economic inequality as well. This is why it is so important for communities all around the country to make technology available to low and moderate-income families and children. Professionals like Shawn William Parker point out to various studies in which such families usually have some kind of Internet connection, but often it is slow, unreliable, and mobile only.

Shawn William Parker - On the Importance of Utility Poles

Shawn William Parker is a community broadband professional who deeply understands the issues that surround the topic of broadband in the United States.

On September 20, 2016, the Nashville Metro Council approved an ordinance created to let Google Fiber accelerate the installation of fiber Internet in Tennessee, even though Comcast and AT&T were lobbying against the measure. If the events unfold in Tennessee in the same way they did in Austin, AT&T would sure the city just like it did with Louisville, Kentucky in the beginning of 2016.

AT&T sued the local governments in Kentucky to prevent Google Fiber’s access to utility poles.

AT&T claimed that the ordinances of local governments are invalid since they conflict with pole attachment regulations created and enforced by the Federal Communications Commission.

Earlier AT&T and Google had a similar clash in Austin, Texas. AT&T owns twenty percent of utility poles in Austin. The rest of utility poles belong to the city of Austin. The City Council decided not to increase the congestion of the poles and wanted Google to use AT&T’s poles. In response, AT&T said that Google had the right to attach its cables to AT&T’s poles as long as it qualified as a telecom or cable provider. The problem was that Google was not a certified communications provider, but a video service provider. Community broadband professionalss like Shawn William Parker are aware that issues like these can play an important role in the facilitation of the broadband networks.

Shawn William Parker - The State of Broadband Internet in the United States

Shawn William Parker is a knowledgeable professional as it pertains to broadband Internet in the United States.

For most people in the United States slow and expensive Internet mostly feels like an annoyance when they are trying to watch a movie on Netflix. However, the effects of provider monopoly and slow service can also have unfavorable long-term economic consequences for the entire country.

It takes about seven seconds to download a movie in high-definition video in cities like Zurich, Bucharest, Paris and Hong Kong. Customers pay around $30/month for service that offers connections with such speeds. For residents of New York and Los Angeles with the fastest connection available downloading the same movie would take about ninety seconds or twelve times longer than in some of the other major cities around the world. Americans will also have to pay ten times more, around $300/month versus $30/month to be able to use the service.

The reason why the United States is so behind when it comes to availability, affordability and price of fast Internet is an economic policy problem that has nothing to do with the technology itself. There is simply not enough competition in the United States when it comes to broadband Internet. Average American Internet user can choose between one or two Internet providers. The monopoly or duopoly allows the providers to create services and charge prices that maximize the profits and do not bring the latest technology innovations to the market.

It is very telling that in the cities with the fastest Internet in the country the service doesn’t come from the major players in the market such as Comcast, AT&T, Verizon or Time Warner. In Kansas City, the service is being offered by Google. In Chattanooga, Lafayette, and Bristol’s residents have access to fast Internet because of the existence of publicly owned networks such as Shawn William Parker promotes while working for Nokia.

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