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Providers don't want to be under FCC regulatory control

Part of the billions of taxpayer dollars that president Obama set aside to help the economy and improve the technology used in many parts of the government is allotted to greatly improving the internet infrastructure in America. Millions of Americans around the country have no access to broadband or simply can’t afford access.

One of the first steps towards overhauling the national broadband infrastructure will be the unveiling of a new broadband plan by the FCC on March 17. The FCC began working on the national broadband plan back in April 2009. The FCC is looking at multiple methods of funding a national broadband plan including reallocation of funds collected in the Universal Service Fund. Last week, the FCC announced that it is aiming for nationwide broadband speeds of 100Mbps, but ISPs are already saying it will be hard to hit that speed in the next ten years.

Reuters reports that the FCC's national broadband plan is set to be unveiled on March 17 to Congress. The plan hopes to bring affordable and fast broadband internet access to the 90 million Americans who lack service today. According to the FCC, the major barriers it sees to broadband adoption by more Americas are cost, digital literacy, and relevance.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement, "In the 21st century, a digital divide is an opportunity divide. To bolster American competitiveness abroad and create the jobs of the future here at home, we need to make sure that all Americans have the skills and means to fully participate in the digital economy."

Cost is one of the main barriers to broadband cited by the FCC. Subscribers to broadband access around the country pay on average $40.68 per month while those bundling with other services at about $37.70 monthly. The cost of getting a computer in the home is also part of the cost barrier to getting broadband for many Americans. The FCC has not yet said how it plans to overcome the cost issues to broadband adoption or the other barriers for Americans.

As the FCC gets ready to unveil the national broadband plan next month, broadband ISPs are speaking out against any new regulations form the FCC over their networks. The FCC has been urged to place ISPs under the same regulatory umbrella that telecom providers operate under by digital rights groups. A decision on an old case currently before the federal appeals court could possibly derail the FCCs plans for national broadband reports the 
Washington Post.

Digital rights groups urge the FCC to place the broadband providers alongside phone providers with regulatory controls. The FCC is waiting on the federal appeals court to offer a ruling on whether it has authority over broadband providers. The appeal if from a 2007 case against Comcast where the FCC found the ISP violated open-access guidelines prohibiting network providers form slowing or blocking websites.

AT&T and Verizon are two of the largest broadband providers in the country. Both firms penned a 14-page document along with trade groups arguing that classifying broadband service providers along with phone services would be to "extremist" and add too many onerous ruled for the broadband industry.

The paper written by the companies stated, "The proposed regulatory about-face would be untenable as a legal matter, and, at a minimum, would plunge the industry into years of litigation and regulatory chaos."

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It's about time
By dguy6789 on 2/23/2010 12:37:40 PM , Rating: 5
Greedy and lazy ISPs have held this country's internet speeds back for too long. It's about time.

RE: It's about time
By Oregonian2 on 2/23/2010 1:12:30 PM , Rating: 3
Thing is, Verizon and AT&T are two of the biggies and two that are against the FCC control of their actions.

I don't know about AT&T, but Verizon has not been greed/lazy as you pen. Verizon has been spending insane amounts of money in the rollout of their FiOS network, rolling it out probably as fast as it can be done short of using government tactics (going into death defying debt for the foreseeable future).

Despite having Verizon's FiOS, I am not someone who likes them generally due to their selling my state off to Frontier (still in progress) to get rid of their NON-broadband facilities. They're doing that so that they can concentrate their funds on their broadband FiOS initiatives, not having their slow wireline stuff drag down their sources of money for broadband. If anything, they're TOO aggressive in moving to expand their FiOS network.

RE: It's about time
By keith524 on 2/23/2010 1:19:42 PM , Rating: 2
Verizon has certainly been greedy. In my neighborhood Verizon came in and installed the fiber for FIOS 3 years ago. They even sent sales people around selling DSL saying it would be upgraded to FIOS in 3-6 months. Yet it has never gone live due to "Marketing Reasons." Their marketing reason is that they can still sell DSL for more than basic FIOS and still be cheaper than Comcast (greediest of the bunch). With no other competition Verizon has no incentive to turn on FIOS.

RE: It's about time
By Oregonian2 on 2/23/2010 9:00:12 PM , Rating: 2
That indeed doesn't sound very good at all. However it also sounds very un-Verizon like, and generally odd for a couple reasons.

One is that they can sell DSL for more than FiOS. That is VERY strange. FiOS (which I have) is indeed nicely priced, but it still was more than DSL which I had previously.

Another is that Verizon hates the copper wires going to one's home. They do NOT want to maintain them. They hate them. When FiOS is installed, they "disconnect" the copper and won't switch one back to copper (something I didn't like when I switched over).

A third reason is that FiOS costs Verizon a LOT of money to put in. Not just the line from the street to the home, it costs a LOT of money to install the fiber infrastructure to that connection point near one's home -- it's all newly underground dug installation. Having that money spent and not installing FiOS (which carries Internet, TV services, and POTS) to pay for it would be VERY uncharacteristic and something the opposite of greedy. Spending big bucks and wanting no return on it at all.

I'm of the opinion that there were some marketing lies being told. Don't know if they were first-party or third party ones, but I think they're being told.

I don't believe that FiOS is available for installation to those who are being sold DSL (or the sellers of DSL, even if over Verizon lines, wasn't Verizon doing the selling). What I mean isn't that they won't install it, but that there isn't the newly and expensive installed fiber running in front of those people's homes from which installation could possibly be done from.

RE: It's about time
By Oregonian2 on 2/23/2010 9:07:14 PM , Rating: 2
P.S. - What Verizon tries to sell here isn't the "basic internet connection". They heavily push upscale selections with emphasis on triple-option plans (TV+Internet+phone) for maximum revenue. Something the cable guys do as well (for the same reasons).

Although FiOS was "in my neighborhood" for some time, it wasn't actually at my house proper for several years after that, and once "here" it took only a few months before being orderable (although TV wasn't available at first). I still get snail-mail mailings from them at least once every week along with newspaper inserts trying to get me to upgrade to a higher revenue selection.

RE: It's about time
By Ammohunt on 2/23/10, Rating: 0
RE: It's about time
By Solandri on 2/23/2010 2:52:20 PM , Rating: 3
Thing is, the government already gave those companies billions of dollars in the 1990s to build the infrastructure needed to meet future and rural broadband needs. The companies gladly took the money, and did little or nothing with it. They instead fought to have the definition of "broadband" lowered or held steady, so that their pre-existing networks qualified as having satisfied the terms for receiving the money. It's why the definition of "broadband" in the U.S. is a ridiculous 768 kbps, while most of the rest of the developed world is working on 5+ Mbps and in some cases 10+ Mbps network speeds.

RE: It's about time
By JediJeb on 2/23/2010 4:14:46 PM , Rating: 2
This is true, if it were not true I would agree with the post above about the cost, but since they took the money and are now complaining about the cost almost 15 years later I do not feel sorry for the broadband providers. Most of the money if I recall went to AT&T and the Bell splitoffs from them.

Where my sister lives here in Ky, there is a small local Telco that has provided more or less FioS service that is broadband internet, telephone, and Digital TV all over one wire to towns of less than 1700 people. They are now working to spread it out to the rest of the rural parts of the county. The same company was also one of the first to offer cell service outside of the larger cities in the state and still dominates at least 1/3 of the state in cell service. If a small private company can do something like this, there is no excuse what so ever for a company like AT&T or Verison to do the same.

RE: It's about time
By HrilL on 2/23/2010 6:39:26 PM , Rating: 2
that small company might not be public and doesn't have to do whats best for the share holders. Problem with the big ISPs is the CEO isn't going to do anything revolutionary. Big companies stick to the status qua and try to suck as much out of their customers while giving them as little as they can.

RE: It's about time
By Omega215D on 2/23/2010 11:38:09 PM , Rating: 2
So I'm guessing you work for the government as it seems you would like us to all run in place and never get ahead because it just might not be worth it.

RE: It's about time
By Ammohunt on 2/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: It's about time
By Chiisuchianu on 2/23/2010 6:51:24 PM , Rating: 2
They should allow for competition in broadband access, which will most likely skyrocket our speeds and lower our costs. Not spend all our money to wire up rural America. We have 4G satellites for that.

RE: It's about time
By inperfectdarkness on 2/24/2010 3:07:38 PM , Rating: 2
additionally, there's no differentiation between speeds >56k. technically, everything >56k is now referred to as "high speed".

the FCC can help a great deal by creating tiers of speed and labeling them exclusively. there is no rational reason 128k dsl should be labeled with the same "high speed" moniker used for verizion FIOS. perhaps:

<or=56k = "low speed"
<1Mbps= "normal speed"
1Mbps-10Mbps = "high speed"
10Mbps-25Mbps= "very high speed"
25Mbps-50Mbps= "super high speed"
50Mbps-100Mbps= "ultra high speed"
100Mbps+ = "ludicrous speed" (i kid, i kid)

this, in of itself, would probably do a great deal to push us forward. if, for instance, only sustained speeds > 50Mbps were allowed to be labeled "ultra high speed"; it the marketing alone would allow relatively uneducated customers to differentiate between different priced offerings. no longer would ISP's be able to skate by on shoddy offerings labeled "high speed" as though being offered by snake-oil salesmen.

here's to hoping that something like this goes into effect.

By spwrozek on 2/23/2010 1:04:58 PM , Rating: 3
Cost is one of the main barriers to broadband cited by the FCC. Subscribers to broadband access around the country pay on average $40.68 per month while those bundling with other services at about $37.70 monthly.

It is $20 for not great high speed but totally fine for grandma or mom who wants to read some emails, buy some sewing supplies, or look at a few pictures or videos.

I think the problem is people don't look into options and just pay the $50/month.

RE: Cost
By Oregonian2 on 2/23/2010 1:18:56 PM , Rating: 3
When I went from 768K to my current FiOS (20M/5M), most things didn't change much. The email, etc sort of things. Even video from sources like didn't change as much as one might hope for (I think they limit to DSL speeds). Certainly, somethings are wonderfully faster, but the difference from 0.768->20 Mbps was much less dramatic than going from 56K->768K.

RE: Cost
By barjebus on 2/23/10, Rating: 0
RE: Cost
By bldckstark on 2/23/2010 2:42:49 PM , Rating: 5
I don't agree with your analogy. Latency would be the equivalent of how fast you can open the valves that send the water down the pipes. Decreasing his latency would increase responsiveness as you said, but it is not the limiting factor of internet download speeds.

What you are talking about is server side speed limiting. ESPN360 only allows you to download at a certain rate, say 5Mbps. That means his 20M pipe is only 1/4 full.

On the other hand, he can download 3 more videos from different servers at the same time and maintain full speed of the download on all of them, effectively filling his pipe with water.

RE: Cost
By barjebus on 2/23/10, Rating: 0
RE: Cost
By Alexvrb on 2/23/2010 9:21:58 PM , Rating: 2
It was a poor analogy, but more importantly he *did* reduce his latency. FiOS has significantly lower latency than your typical DSL/cable connection. His new-ish 20/5 FiOS plan soundly beats his old 768K DSL plan in both latency and speed. I have much lower latency with FiOS than I could have dreamed of with the DSL and Cable connections I have used in the past.

Oh, and latency is generally not the limiting factor for raw download speed. Even a satellite connection is capable of 5mbps (given enough money) and that has unbelieveably bad latency - far worse latency than even a decent dialup connection.

The fact that he doesn't notice much of a difference only means that he is under-utilizing his FiOS connection. I use the heck out of mine. The difference in performance becomes even more apparent if you have several people sharing the same connection and using it heavily.

RE: Cost
By Oregonian2 on 2/23/2010 8:38:45 PM , Rating: 2
Latency is the sort of thing that ping measures and is an attribute of path and delays within, and it'll vary quite a bit depending upon whom I'm connecting to. I can ping across (metro Portland, OR) to a particular server and get much higher latency (delay) than pinging a particular Seattle site (of course the cross-town ping may have passed through Florida on the way, I didn't check).

In terms of being able to have high transfer rates, my windows (having to do with ACK/NAKs, not uSoft) are nicely optimized and I get close to the 20/5 rates on various test sites, and even cross country I'll usually get at least half those rates.

As to and my comments there, when I've used a monitor to see how fast I'm getting, it was a lot slower than 5Mbps and why I gave my DSL speed comments. If you've ever used ESPN360, the image size is very small and it's of relatively poor quality -- getting downright horrible if one puts it into full-screen mode.

As I mentioned, for sites that allow it, my 20Mbps download is great, and some sites even peg at that speed. But that doesn't happen very often, at least with my patterns of use. It's sites like where I do use it often to watch my former school's games where I wish they'd crank up the resolution and needed net speed (now that I've got it).

ok then
By MadMan007 on 2/23/2010 1:44:46 PM , Rating: 2
OK ISPs, you want less or no regulation? Then we will have to outlaw your exclusive service contract areas. What do ya say?

RE: ok then
By drebo on 2/23/2010 2:52:57 PM , Rating: 4
AT&T actually already wants to be let out of their geographic monopoly requirements.

RE: ok then
By HrilL on 2/23/2010 6:35:40 PM , Rating: 4
Verizon also wants access to more markets for their fios service. Currently they have to fight legal battles city by city to be able to install it. The cable co. in each of those cities fights them trying to slow it down or stop it. This is why our internet sucks!

RE: ok then
By tspinning on 2/24/2010 8:50:33 AM , Rating: 2
Thats funny, because Verizon refuses to install FiOS to Somerville, MA (the nations densest municipality) because they cannot be the exclusive carrier of broadband to our community.

We have a "choice" of RCN or Comcast, both suck, but Verizon also sucks for not bringing their product to the table.

Personally, I think we should retask the USPS with broadband delivery and have them be the mail carriers/plumbers of the future. They already are the most trusted government entity :)

RE: ok then
By Alexvrb on 2/24/2010 11:32:21 PM , Rating: 2
Don't even joke about that man. There would be no such thing as a private connection (they'd read people's email and steal attachments!), it'd be slow and overpriced, packets would arrive damaged, and occasionally an employee would go postal on a bunch of routers.

I can’t get internet.
By RealTheXev on 2/23/2010 7:59:08 PM , Rating: 3
I don’t want to hear stupid comments on how there are rural area’s that don’t want or need broadband. Just because someone runs a farm and is surrounded by cows, perhaps they want access to watch ESPN, youtube, and who know what else? I don’t wana hear crap about how these area’s don’t want it? Back in 2002 I took a survey of everyone who lives on my parent’s road, and every single person said they would purchase DSL or another broadband service if it was available. We can’t even get cable out this way because companies don’t think we’re interested. This is about 25 houses in a 4mi road... yeah, we got some distance between us and most of us don’t live directly next to year other, but we want broadband service and have wanted it for years!

I ended up moving out of the area to go to school because I had to have faster internet then the 19k my phone line is capable of with a full hardware modem and extra line filtering! I’d have been happy with something closer to 56k, but I didn’t get that until I moved into an area that can get broadband ANYWAY?!

My cousin’s live in a similar area and even have a drive way that is a half mile long, BUT they can get DSL because some rich guy that lives on the same road as them decided to pay the phone company the $3000 or so to get the line run up the road. So yeah, if I had that kind of money just lying around, I could get broadband too since I was forced to move back in here for awhile.

Second thought, it’s just easier to move back into town… or better yet , out of the RURAL STATE of Pennsylvania. Just another reason the youth of this state are moving out en mass, compacting the issue of a state where most of the population is old and dieing!

Yeah, everyone works a white color job with fast internet access, thank you ignorant bastards, stick that finger back up your ass.

RE: I can’t get internet.
By jimbojimbo on 2/24/2010 2:34:54 PM , Rating: 2
BUT they can get DSL because some rich guy that lives on the same road as them decided to pay the phone company the $3000 or so to get the line run up the road
So you're saying the government should be this rich guy and pay up for everyone? There are advantages and disadvantages of living anywhere. In a big city there are lots of technological advantages but I can only see the bright stars at night. In the rural areas you have peace and quiet but no techological advances. Move the hell out if you don't like it!! People should decided what's more important to them then decide and live by those decisions.

RE: I can’t get internet.
By RealTheXev on 2/24/2010 9:36:03 PM , Rating: 2
So you're saying the government should be this rich guy and pay up for everyone? There are advantages and disadvantages of living anywhere. In a big city there are lots of technological advantages but I can only see the bright stars at night. In the rural areas you have peace and quiet but no techological advances. Move the hell out if you don't like it!! People should decided what's more important to them then decide and live by those decisions.

Sometimes its about whether you can move or not. And no, I am not saying that the gov't should make the tax payers pay for this. What I am saying is, the FCC should force telecoms to provide service in area's where there is adequate demand, and there is so much demand here it's not even funny.

The social repercussions have been clear in this part of the state. Many young people fresh out of High School are choosing to move out of the community to far away collages, and broadband access is simply one part of a larger equation, but it IS part of that equation. No one would ever think of starting a tech related business in this area because of the lack of adequate internet access.

Gotta love how awesome a value PA education is. People take that education and move the hell out. Its not something all of us can do.

Red Tape
By Shig on 2/23/2010 1:04:22 PM , Rating: 2
Will prevent any serious national broadband policy from taking off in the near term.

I really hope they don't spend exorbinant amounts of money laying fiber to rural type areas, when most of them don't even want it anyways or will have some sort of high speed wireless option through the big telecoms.

Secondly, how many people have free access to high speed at work? Yeah pretty much anyone with a desk job. Tons have it at work and don't feel the need to pay someone 40$ a month to check e-mail / facebook from home.

Would be nice if we could create a national plan that seamlessly integrated broadband fiber with 4G wireless internet and beyond.

RE: Red Tape
By MadMan007 on 2/23/2010 1:47:14 PM , Rating: 2
FYI having internet access at work is a far cry from having it at home with the internet policies that many workplaces rightfully have in place.

RE: Red Tape
By JediJeb on 2/23/2010 5:11:34 PM , Rating: 2
True, at work here this site is still allowed, but facebook, youtube, myspace, espn and many other are not. Anything with streaming content is blocked because the the bandwidth usage. Those were allowed after work hours, say if you needed to stay later or were in on the weekends when we did not need the bandwidth for work purposes, but since some just can stay away from places they shouldn't be and brought in malware and viruses that has been taken away also.

Cost of Computers?
By clovell on 2/23/2010 1:40:05 PM , Rating: 2
> The cost of getting a computer in the home is also part of the cost barrier to getting broadband for many Americans. The FCC has not yet said how it plans to overcome the cost issues to broadband adoption or the other barriers for Americans.

As long as there's coverage, people will be able to buy their own computers - just like they do with cell phones. No need to get your foot in the door of buying poor folks computers with tax money...

RE: Cost of Computers?
By Taft12 on 2/23/2010 4:59:09 PM , Rating: 2
Off-lease and donated computers are at or near the $0 mark already. I would be shocked if you couldn't buy a Pentium 4 PC some place for under $100 in any city in the US.

Supplying the poor with computers is not (or at least should not) be a big ticket part of this plan.

And that's why...
By Judguh on 2/23/2010 2:59:20 PM , Rating: 2's awesome to have a company like Google who is trying to bring really fast internet (a gig I believe) to people's homes for cheap instead of being like all the other ISP's out there and slowing down the progress of providing a better service - especially when you're in the town i'm in where Charter has pretty much a monopoly here and charges you an arm and a leg for their basic 5 meg service with basic cable.

The technology is definitely available, but it costs money that executives and stock holders aren't willing to share for the sake of R&D.

RE: And that's why...
By JediJeb on 2/23/2010 5:21:17 PM , Rating: 2
To a degree, but the infrastructure and technology isn't there yet for those who live more than a few miles outside a town. It is slowly creaping outwards, but it should be doing so at a faster rate. From talking to someone who works at AT&T I know, until x number of people in an area express interest by asking them for DSL, they will not upgrade the area to handle it. Many sit waiting for it to arrive not knowing that without enough of them asking they will never get it.

The people built the network
By 1Subscriber on 2/23/2010 3:22:10 PM , Rating: 2

What is the Subscriber Line Charge and why do I have to pay this charge?
The Subscriber Line Charge is a fee that you pay to your local phone company that connects you to the telephone network. Local telephone companies recover some of the costs of telephone lines connected to your home or business through this monthly charge on your local telephone bill. Sometimes called the federal subscriber line charge, this fee is regulated and capped by the FCC, not by state Public Utility Commissions. It is not a tax or a fee charged by the government. The money received from the subscriber line charge goes directly to local telephone companies. To ensure that all Americans can afford at least a minimal level of basic telephone service, the FCC will not allow phone companies to charge more than $6.50 for a single line

The Telco's dont use their own money do build the networks they use the Subscriber Line Charge and the USF fees both mandated by the FCC to build it. They been usinig it to build a private netowrk and then selling off the old wireline business.

Just think 2003 100,000,000 land lines at $6.50 per month times 12 months times 7 years = $54,600,000,000 mandated by the FCC and in turn the lines are now for private use.

My question is if the lines aren't shared how do the telco get to continue to charge this fee on broadband users. Obviously they now need to maintain the line for their private sector business.

RE: The people built the network
By Kary on 2/23/2010 4:16:46 PM , Rating: 2
That was an interesting read..I do wish they would change:
The FCC's Truth-in-Billing rules require telephone companies to provide clear, non-misleading, plain language in describing services for which you are being billed.

The FCC's Truth-in-Billing rules require telephone companies to provide clear, non-misleading, plain language in describing services for which you are being billed or are considering subscribing to.

Finding out that a $10 a month phone plan (Economy Phone service...ATT doesn't tell you this, but if you just want a phone you don't have to subscribe to a monthly plan..incoming calls are weren't planning on calling anyone, right?) cost me $22 a month from random fees kinda ticked me off. It's almost as bad as that company that offered 1.5Mb/s DSL service at a set price but would only actually provide 0.7Mb/s DSL service while charging the same price.

Hope it goes through
By seaquake2 on 2/24/2010 12:13:44 PM , Rating: 2
I surely hope that the Broadband Providers have to follow the FCC plans come March 17th.

For to many years the ISPs (especially Cable Companies) have sat on their butts and let the money roll in while doing nothing to upgrade their networks for faster more reliable service.

If you don't have broadband but the house 2 miles down the street does it will cost you thousands to have them run a cable line to your house. That's why we have a digital divide.

Instead of spending the money they get in each month and make their network better and more widely available they just sit on it.

If that's not true then tell me why with the Economy the way it currently is then how can Comcast built the largest building in Philadelphia, PA?

Also don't even get me started on them (ISPs) trying to say that their broadband services can't or shouldn't be governed by the FCC. Explain to me why it shouldn't. The FCC stands for "Federal Communication Commission". And what travels across broadband lines? Data Communication .......

By atlmann10 on 2/24/2010 4:53:53 PM , Rating: 2
How can they say this as it provides the same thing in an enhanced model. The internet is communication just like phones, and in fact can do phone communications cheaper than a regular phone can. So it provides phone use as well as the enhancements of web surfing, shopping, entertainment in many forms etc. I would love to see the FCC hit broadband providers with a set of rules like the ones there proposing.

By Smell This on 3/1/2010 3:44:01 PM , Rating: 2
I hope the plan is over 10k pages (with really hard covers) and they beat Charter Communications over the head with it.

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