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tv   Ali Velshi on Target  Al Jazeera  October 7, 2015 10:30pm-11:01pm EDT

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take my child. >> i'm ali velshi. "on target" tonight need for speed. the nationwide broadband battle, leaving customers caught in the middle. plus solar oil. how the dirty job of drilling for crude could go green. the battle for economic prosperity in the 21st century has convinced many american cities that they will be left in the dust if they don't offer businesses and entrepreneurs superhigh speed internet
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service, had a marines the holy grail has become the gai the gi. the average download speed in america is about 12 megabits per second. but all you need to understand is gigabit service is the new gold standard for broadband speed and it depends on an infrastructure built with fiberoptic signals as opposed to traditional metal cable and that is where the problem begins. it is a problem because many cities are finding that existing internet service providers are thought willing to upgrade their systems. these so-called incumbent providers, explain their reluctance to upgrade. so some cities are shelling out tens of millions of dollars to do it themselves. 89 cities across the united states provide their own fiber
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broadband and half offer gigabit service, paying for the infrastructure by selling bonds, opening lines of credit and they are running the service out of local utilities or partnering with privately company. by taking this proactive aggressive approach cities have sparked huge fights with cable and telecom heavy waits. the industry says it is unfair to have to compete against government entities so companies are pulling out all the stops to prevent cities from going gig, and they have helped put through restrictive laws in 19 states. president obama called for an end to these kind of restrictive laws but for many cities the decision to invest in gigabit internet is wayed against cost risk and how hard they are going to have to fight against those entrenched telecoms and cable companies. the battle has lit a fire under
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the incumbents to offer this service and that's creating more customers, fighting for high speed intrrntd customers. imrrninternet providers.jake wa. >> today chattanooga, tennessee is known as the gigabit city. one of the first american cities to offer superhigh speed internet through its own power utility. to do it he had to battle with telecommunications giants. >> when you're dealing with those giants, with the comcast and the at&ts, they are reluctant to give up the market that they have. >> littlefield and city officials worked with their power utility, electric power board or epb. the hope was to attract entrepreneurs and businesses and offer cheaper services than was
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available. needles tneedless to say,. >> they praye paraded into my o. >> epb paid for the $320 million price tag with bonds, a line of credit and a $111 million government stimulus grant. but november before littlefield said he offered local telecoms to build out the infrastructure themselves. >> they said, we can't afford to do that. i said, we can't not afford to do that. >> epb built 9,000 miles of fiber. comcast and others have argued that cities have an unfair advantage over for profit companies. >> most cities that actually charge broadband providers a fee and then if a city comes in and
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uses taxpayer dollars doesn't are to makhave to make a profit. it really isn't fair. >> epb prevailed and has almost 70,000 subscribers, the city credits its gigabet system for creating a new stem environment. >> we are competing on behalf of quality. we did it right. we did not actually compete unfairly with those giants, struggling as they are financially. >> reporter: and the competition has gotten even more fierce. in may, comcast announced it would offer its own 1 gigabit service, one upping the city. the 1 gig city should be referred to as the two gig city, thanks to comcast network.
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>> that creates real competition. >> if using regular internet is like triefg on a surface road, gigabit is like on a futuristic highway. critics say that cities may be investing too much taxpayer money into infrastructure that provides way more intrrnts speed thainternet speedthan the averad need. >> you don't need gigabit. a lot of cities have made a mistake by putting money into these networks. consumers are not asking for these networks. >> if we build it will they come? >> the city is weighing the cost and risk of investing in a fiber infrastructure. it's looking at building a network through a partnership with a private company.
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it's one of many options the city is weighing and there are many risks. >> people don't come right away. so if a company has to make money and they've partnered with the city or the counties will they come fast enough for them to repay the loan, to repay the lease payment, whatever that arrangement was, to the point where the company can make money? >> we're the kind of city that really nee needs to have fast internet access which is the fuel really for a university city. >> reporter: scott shapiro is a senior advisor to lexington's mayor. he sees luring new business he, bolstering hospitals and a higher level of stem education. >> why hasn't that happened yet? you can ask the internet providers that question. it seems as if there needs to be a third party in many cities that comes in and build a and ba
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fiberoptic network. >> they're doing it because they don't have any alternative. >> chattanooga's epb planned on operating santa loss for four years but began to see a return after 14 months. provo, utah frequent or burlington, vermont they put a lot of municipal money into these networks, taxpayer money at risk, these systems went bust, they just failed. >> most cities don't fail. >> by the time a project goes through every mum every theory every assumption will be testimonied in the mart -- tested in the marketplace. we see very few projects that fail for lack of consideration . >> a lot of the expense comes to
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installation fiber which can be attached to telephone line or buried like google is doing. >> i anticipated there would be a lot more competitors willing to step up and that's exactly what happened. >> in kansas city missouri and austin texas, google offers gigabit for $70 a month. as far as lexington, kentucky, the key is to get gigabit service. >> this is one of the opportunities i think from a technology perspective that you have to make the leap. the leap is that we will need that bandwidth. >> jacob ward, al jazeera, chattanooga, tennessee. >> coming up. cities shouldn't bother wasting their money on gigabit service?
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>> we're talking today about gigabit service. 118 cities either have superhigh speed service or figuring out how to get it. offering gigabit service like utility water or power. others are partnering with big companies, but the big existing provider like comcast
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time-warner and at&t are fighting cities that strike out on their own. baron socca says cities should be spending their money on helping throms building the helping telecoms building the friar themselves. fracture them. infrastructure themselves. >> not my view, cities should make it easy for everyone to deploy, both existing providers and new providers like google fiber. when the reality is, deploying takes the public infrastructure, you're either going underneath milpublic roads or deploying ard rights of way, my view is that cities should help faster broadband deployment. they shouldn't do it themselves. they should have private
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providers do it. spending taxpayer money into stimulating the market rather than providing the infrastructure themselves. >> cities like chattanooga where e incumbent provider said, can't do it for some time. we won't get there. you look at cities like austin and kansas city, google shows up and suddenly, the price drops from $wheuns t $100 to $70 a mo. >> right, competition works. austin and kansas city, the reason those were chosen by google fiecial, they were fiberg to cut red tape. what i want to see happen in cities all around america, it starts by making private deploymendeployment easy, i acto
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think there's a role for government but that role is installing smart infrastructure. that means putting in conduits understreets, so private companies like google fiber -- >> if you have checked recently verizon, at&t and comcast are wildly profitable companies. let them build their own pipes. >> right, here's the point. if you make deployment cheaper you can bring another provider into the market. it could be google fiber, it can be small companies that have tried odeploy and have been rebuffed. i would like to see new deployment into the market. the point is you can make it cheaper, can you change the economics of the market to stimulate deployment, and spending a lot less taxpayer dollars and then the city would lease out those conduits to private providers and you get the benefits of competition without the government having to
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be in the business. >> we have seen some of that but chattanooga is the example of doing well off of it. >> chattanooga rushed into the government providing a service. nobody has actually tried to model that i'm suggesting which is a middle ground, should be something that democrats and republicans can agree on. it basically says let's have the city shake up the market, install the conduit but before it goes to the length of installing its own fiber and all the equipment that goes along with running and maining a maina market. >> in the case of chattanooga though, the internet provider, the incumbent provider sued the city for doing it. they said we're not coming in we're not going to give you the gigabit service so when the city said fine we'll do it ourselves, the incumbent sued them. >> they sued them, what the city did and what many cities have
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done is create an unlevel playing field. they are essentially privileging, government corporations over priet corporations. i'm saying let's make it easy for everybody to deploy. fanned that doesn't spur definement let's try this first. >> i'm actually with you. that suggestion makes a lot of sense. in chattanooga, the incumbent sued the city. the mayor asked them to come in and do this. they said we're not going to do this. >> this is the essential point, the city said deploy, upgrade your networks. what i'm suggesting is actually something different which is where the city says actually, look we own the roads, if you were to dough ploy yo deploy yoo dig up the roads. we are going to install as
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public infrastructure, conduit. that model hasn't been tried. >> let's follow through, interesting argument. then the city uses taxpayer money, takes up a credit line to dig up the streets, put in conduit, chattanooga did, i hear your point but you can't fault chattanooga in the end. they took a bet might not be a good bet but it ended up winning for them. >> no, no, look you're picking out one example, the reality is that muni broadband networks have been heavily subsidized by taxpayers and even if one of them may be actually breaking even, what you're missing is that cities have chosen a model that will lead to monopoly in the long term. whereas i'm proposing a model that opens the door for multiple competitors. you don't have to rely on the city to get the network upgraded, you are making
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deployment cheaper for everyone. >> let me ask you another question. you have said that the concept of this gigabit that people are getting a little caught up in it. that most people don't need gigabit. again i would subscribe to it. i get 12 megabits a second, download speed, i wouldn't know that if i hadn't checked this weekend, it seems fine for me but clearly, there are reasons why people need faster internet. you think the concept of seeking the gigabit is wrong? >> yeah, so first of all let's just put things in perspective. if you stream netflix today that takes three ofour megabits per second, gigabit speed is 300 times faster than it takes to do the thing today that is the most intensive download that any user actually experiences. the way i put this is, of course people want faster internet and cheaper internet, saying they
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want gigabit speeds is like the europeans in the 1960s saying, you know what people need, they need supersonic transportation so we're going to build the concorde. making air transportation cheaper for everyone, somewhat faster and cheaper and safer, there are two different models of innovation. let's iterate, make it better, continually increasing speeds, like when there's another provider in the market like google fiber or the top down model that takes some arbitrary model, like crossing the speed of sound or gigabit speeds and you could make that goal and pour money into it, and produce networks that people don't use. >> i like your example of the concorde a lot because it is a perfect example of a need that
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nobody needed. i would love for the investment to go into another infrastructure. a study was done, you don't like that example because it goes against your argument, but let's go to choog. a studchattanooga for a moment.s improving infrastructure, not really the concorde there. >> what they found was when speeds are upgraded by private companies you actually do see some economic benefit. when they're upgraded by government corporations you don't see that benefit. if we could debate this, i'm actually in favor faster speed, everybody is, everybody wants faster broadband. i want competition i just don't want the government to do it. if it doesn't have to. if you have private providers to do it. let's try.
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>> time-warner didn't do anything to improve anybody's service around here. i hear you, you don't want governmental involved. if the government forms the other part of the competition at least now you've got another player in the game right? there is got to be having government plus a private sector exerlt has got to be better than a private sector without monopoly. >> hold on you just made my argument. exactly what i want cpt i want that to happen everywhere and i want more of it i want google fiber. >> you're making my argument for me. >> no no no because again -- >> admit it you're on my side of this argument. >> the city is setting up a false choice. >> but it's a choice, it's a choice baron. you and i are arguing exactly the same point. be blind to who offers it. why do you care if it's the government offering it if it's a better service at a lower price?
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>> that's a great question. i think anybody who has paid any attention to the debates of the last few years about surveillance or internet shut downs in the world should be very very concerned about the idea that the government is going to provide broadband service. >> time-warner, verizon and comcast all handed their stuff over the nsa on a silver platter. i shouldn't worry about the city of chattanooga spying on my stuff, it is a different topic and a very serious one. do you think you're at greater risk with the electrical municipal board of tennessee rather than comcast? >> absolutely. >> from a security perspective? >> absolutely do i, from a security perspective, from running the networks. my point basically was government run brawkd should be a last resort. i'm from rural areas of new mexico where maybe rural providers won't deploy.
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all i'm saying is let's try. >> baron, president of tech freedom. coming up solar power and fossil fuels collide. see how the sun is being used to drill for oil.
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>> environmentalists are pushing the world to wean itself off of carbon based energy like oil and use more renewable sources like wind and sun. here is one example of that, a company in california has found a cleaner greener way to drill for oil. it actually involves using solar power. as jake ward reports it's helping make a dirty process just a little bit cleaner. >> it's a messy problem. >> the oil industry is one of the world's largest users of energy. >> not only does burning oil produce carbon in terrible amounts but getting it out of the earth is also a hugely polluting process. we've already gotten the easy oil out of the ground, light oil that is essentially in liquid form deep inside the earth but two-thirds of what's left on earth is this stuff. heavy oil which comes out in
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this kind of consistency. imagine trying to get that into a pipe. and that's why companies use steam to loosen this up, make it easier to bring out in liquid form and then pipe it out that way. so far they have made that steam by burning a lot of natural gas, a lot of natural gas, fully 15% of the natural gas used in california is used to extract oil from the ground. here in california, glass point solar has created a pilot project to show the sun's energy can heat and loosen heavy crude for pumping. a parabolic mirror, has water inside of it, turns it into steam. it's incredibly simple but incredibly powerful.
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the mete mirror here is 40 metes long. one in oman is 140 meters long, 3,000 times larger than this one. >> today in the country of oman about 25% of all the natural gas is used in oil production. and there is a rising fraction of oil production is dependent upon steam injection and gas usage. so there's a substantial portion of the country's energy use that can be replaced by this technology. >> when it comes online in 2017 the company says the project could reduce oman's carbon dioxide emissions by 300,000 tons a year. but let's be clear. this is not a feel-good story of solar power or bringing us some kind of clean future. this is our sticky reality of our global dependence on oil, and to try to improve the whole
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dirty business. jacob ward, al jazeer al jazeer, mck-itrick, california. >> that's our show today. i'm ali velshi thank you for joining us. >> major escalation. russia and syria launch coordinated air and ground assaults. pressing for answers. >> we're calling on president obama to consent to the fact finding commission. >> doctors without borders demands an independent investigation into the bombing of a hospital saying president obama's apology is not enough. >> swollen

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