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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Today's NPRM chuckle

Are they channeling Yogi Berra over at the FCC now?  Check out this phrase from paragraph 33 of the NPRM:
"schools that use broadband connections less because the speeds available are too slow for use of educational software"
They've basically paraphrased the great Yogi:
"Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."

If there is only one user, 1.5 Mbps is plenty to run any educational software.  The only reason not to use the software is if the Internet pipe is congested by other users.  (OK, maybe if you're running aDSL and it's oversubscribed or really far from the CO and the software needs a big upstream pipe....)

Unless the FCC is actually talking about latency, which is the amount of time it takes a packets to reach it's goal (and maybe bounce back).  I wouldn't bet on it, though.  While that section of the NPRM does mention latency, the FCC, like most people, consistently uses "speed" and "bandwidth" as synonyms for "throughput."  While "bandwidth" has lately come to mean "data rate" (and many people use it to mean "maximum data rate" in order to contrast it with throughput, which is the actual data rate), you would think that the FCC, which auctions off actual bandwidth (radio frequencies), would use a different term.

And don't get me started on using "broadband" to mean "high-speed," instead of it's real meaning.  I still can't stand to see "broadband Ethernet," because the BASE in your 1000BASE-TX connection means it's a baseband connection, not broadband.  Yeah, yeah, of course the packets hit a broadband circuit eventually, but by then they're not Ethernet packets.

OK, I'm a language curmudgeon, but in the case of technical language, shouldn't we be precise?

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