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FCC lays the ground work to dig the U.S. out of the broadband backwater

The U.S. is one of the most advanced and wealthy countries in the world, yet when it comes to broadband access in more rural areas of the country we lag well behind other nations. Citizens in the UK have access to better broadband speeds, as do other countries.

Here in America we are stuck with peak speeds for broadband in many areas that are but a fraction of the lowest speeds seen in other countries. This week the Australian government announced a sweeping plan that would see the investment of billions in government funds to build a nationwide fiber optic broadband network serving 90% of the homes in the country.

Wired reports that the U.S. government is now in talks to develop a national broadband plan. The FCC has been betting on the vacated analog wireless spectrum currently used by TV broadcast to deliver broadband to most homes in the country. The big issue with that plan is that the major winners, AT&T and Verizon, are notorious for strapping such low bandwidth caps on their offerings as to make them unusable to many.

Wired reports that the FCC has a year to survey the nation's internet infrastructure and recommend a plan either to start building a nationwide network or to leave things as they are. President Obama has a nationwide network in mind, as evidenced by the $7.2 billion that was allocated to extend broadband to underserved rural areas.

As often happens in the U.S. government, rather than action and progress the funds have been stuck in a debate over what “underserved and rural” actually defines. The AFP reports that the FCC is seeking input from industry, business, non-profits, and governments federal, state, and local. The different entities have until February 17, 2010 to report to Congress.

Among the aspects the plan is said to be considering are broadband supply and demand; quality and affordability; and problems, threats, or vulnerabilities to the proposed network. Also being examined is how broadband will affect civic participation, public safety, homeland security, community developments, health care delivery, energy independence, and education.

FCC Chairman Michael Copps said, "Today, we commence a national dialogue on how we as a nation can make high-speed broadband available, affordable and easily useable to citizens and businesses throughout the land. This Commission has never, I believe, received a more serious charge than the one to spearhead development of a national broadband plan."

The AFP reports that America trails Japan, Sweden, South Korea, France, Germany, and Canada in broadband quality and subscription rates per capita. One of the key elements under discussion is the speed of the network. Median speeds for broadband access in the U.S. are under 5 Mbps whereas median speeds in Japan are 63 Mbps and in South Korea it's 49 Mbps.

The FCC defines broadband today as connections offering at least 786 Kbps. However, groups such as the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) are seeking speeds on the network of between 10 Mbps and 50 Mbps.



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Speeds we should have access to...
By psypher on 4/9/2009 11:09:13 AM , Rating: 6
Simple.

In Urban areas, we should have access to 50Mbps.
In Rural areas, we should have access to at least 10Mbps.

It should cost less than $50/month.

There should be no bandwidth caps.

There you go. Make it happen.




RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By Silverel on 4/9/2009 11:13:39 AM , Rating: 4
I'd like to recommend a 6 for this gentleman. Best plan I've heard in a long time.


RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By quiksilvr on 4/9/2009 2:37:00 PM , Rating: 3
How DO people get a 6? I got one a long time ago and for the life of me can't figure out why it happens. Once someone gets a 5, you can't rate it higher.

Unless it's like he/she started at a 2 and then went up to a 4 but then someone rated him/her down to a 3 but then was rated back up to a 5. Since that person got rated down once, they can't get a 6. Is that how it works? You have to be continuously voted up to a 6 with no down rates? Or do the authors decide...my head hurts.


RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By GaryJohnson on 4/9/2009 3:44:57 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Or do the authors decide

Yes.


RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By tastyratz on 4/9/2009 4:02:09 PM , Rating: 3
Close

Only Kristopher can give people a 6, and its usually only for exceptionally radiant posts.


RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By AstroCreep on 4/9/2009 4:22:49 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Only Kristopher can give people a 6, and its usually only for exceptionally radiant posts.

The posts that make him LOL, anyway.


By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 4/10/2009 8:32:24 AM , Rating: 3
:)


RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By dastruch on 4/9/2009 5:36:46 PM , Rating: 1
you should be rated down for this one :)


By maverick85wd on 4/10/2009 5:48:32 PM , Rating: 2
why? He posed a good question, I was wondering how it happened myself.


By callmeroy on 4/10/2009 7:26:00 AM , Rating: 2
That would be great, but its very very easy to type up what SHOULD be done in a 10 second post on a forum, than for it to actually happen both financially, and labor wise --- so I wouldn't count on it.


RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By kattanna on 4/9/2009 11:17:08 AM , Rating: 5
willnt happen.. look who they are asking about this

quote:
FCC is seeking input from industry, business, non-profits, and governments federal, state, and local.


notice that this "national" discussion doesnt include your everyday citizen??


RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By MadMan007 on 4/9/2009 12:20:37 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah I'm envisioning Telecom Act of 1996 part II now. :( Companies get money from government, don't do waht they were supposed to, and pad the bottom line instead. I mean really, what's the point of asking the same entities who are already in charge of the system? Why not get some new ideas?

Maybe the Lafayette local government will be extremely vocal: www.lus.org


RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By Redwin on 4/9/2009 7:02:00 PM , Rating: 2
<sigh> I grew up in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Now I live in southern california (San Diego), where I would expect to be able to get much better internet than back home in lafayette... yet... I can't get Verizon fiber here because its an ATT-monopoly area, and all my high school friends back in lafayette are now telling me how they are getting their installs for LUS municipal fiber scheduled.

I cry at the irony.


By sleepeeg3 on 4/13/2009 4:23:22 PM , Rating: 2
You have AT&T and Cox as choices. How is having two options in a major city vs no options in a minor one ironic? Whine to Verizon, if you want a third competitor. Sounds to me like they would only stand to lose money. I don't want my taxpayer dollars going to pay for cheap internet for some guy in a wifebeater in Dacula.


RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By Cincybeck on 4/9/2009 12:57:19 PM , Rating: 5
"notice that this "national" discussion doesnt include your everyday citizen??"

Sure it does.

"governments federal, state, and local."

That's why we have representatives, and do not go to the polls everyday to make a few decisions. You want your voice to be heard? Write your State, and/or local representatives. Urge every one you know to write them as well, requesting the same thing. Or make a petition, and get 100 or so people to sign it. That what they're there for.


RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By PhoenixKnight on 4/9/2009 2:22:08 PM , Rating: 5
It helps even more if you have tons of money to hire lobbyists to offer incentives to your representatives.


RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By alifbaa on 4/9/2009 2:58:01 PM , Rating: 5
Actually, it really doesn't. I used to work at a senator's office, and I can tell you that when a block of people get motivated enough over an issue to call or especially write in, the office perks up and starts paying attention real fast.

The vast majority of issues, even serious ones, don't spur people into action. In those cases, the lobbyists are the only voices heard because they're the only ones speaking. Yes, they individually have more access to the leader than you or I do, but they only have about the same power that even as few as 10 people writing in have.

If we got a letter, we'd figure 100 or so people agreed with that person and were motivated by the issue but didn't bother to write. If 10 people wrote in to voice an opinion on a specific measure, it was a big deal. When the senator got his advice on how to vote from his chief of staff, he would ALWAYS get briefed on what the constituents had to say about it and how the vote would play back home with the voters. If there was a substantial polarity in the opinion, the lobbyists' views quickly transitioned from being the driving force to an influence.

Money certainly buys a candidate access to publicity, but only voters get him/her into office. As the previous poster said -- if you feel strongly about it -- write your leaders a letter and encourage your like-minded friends to do so as well.

On a side note, we had a policy that form letters got a form response while individual letters got an individual response. An individually written and mailed letter is the best, most powerful way for anyone to get their elected representative's attention.


By xanthyr on 4/10/2009 1:52:39 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you for that post. That has certainly motivated me to at least try to write my congressman.


By Pythias on 4/9/2009 6:52:10 PM , Rating: 3
If you believe "your" representatives actually represent anyone but themselves, I'd like to meet your pharmacist.


RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By FITCamaro on 4/9/2009 12:03:07 PM , Rating: 5
I have a better idea. Eliminate the mandated monopolies. Allow the free market to thrive and let competition raise speeds and lower prices. Let private industry pay for these upgrades instead of making the 50% of the country that actually pays taxes pay for the upgrades and provide service for free to people who do not.

Doing this would allow Verizon to gradually roll out FiOS nationwide which is capable of these speeds. Will it be available out in the sticks? No. But that's what you get for living out there.


RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By drebo on 4/9/2009 12:06:31 PM , Rating: 5
50% of the country pays taxes? That's being generous.

I'd wager it's more like 20%. Especially now.


By callmeroy on 4/10/2009 7:39:40 AM , Rating: 2
Considering 5% of the nation's population paid 50% (actually 59%) of the nation's tax bill in 2007, and in that same year 40% of American citizens (including non-filers) paid no tax at all....yes I too do think 50% is a rather high figure.


RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By quiksilvr on 4/9/2009 2:39:22 PM , Rating: 3
So people that live too far away can't get FiOS because..they live too far away? Cmon, man! Farmers need to get their HD pr0n on too!


RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By FITCamaro on 4/9/2009 3:16:06 PM , Rating: 2
Then they can watch it via satellite TV or internet. Besides companies are already working on wireless technologies to bring nationwide broadband speed internet.


By trisct on 4/10/2009 3:40:17 PM , Rating: 2
Deploying, in other countries. My cousin in Canada lives 20 miles from the nearest town (which is 800 people or so) but still gets 2Mbps wireless Internet via WiMAX. Not 10, mind you, but the Web and even lower quality video is completely accessible at those speeds.

Anyone that can see the tower (LOS, you don't really need to make it out) can get Internet. The USA market just doesn't have the will yet, it is easier to concentrate on the low-hanging fruit of urban areas to maximize the bottom line. Here, some legislative "assistance" might be needed.


By celticbrewer on 4/9/2009 3:39:18 PM , Rating: 2
I don't disagree with the free market philosophy. I think we're fine as is. BUT I don't think it'll solve the problem this article addresses. Companies (monopolies or not) aren't going to spend a few million to bring broadband to a backwater farm town of 200 people- they'll never make their money back.

Someone needs to come up with a method besides laying fiber, whether it's wireless or satelite. Others are working on using existing power lines to transmit broadband. That's the only way to reach everyone at a reasonable cost.


RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By newguy39 on 4/9/2009 12:05:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In Urban areas, we should have access to 50Mbps. In Rural areas, we should have access to at least 10Mbps.


Actually from an infrastructure perspective it makes more sense to do 10Mbps in urban areas where the population density is greater and the ratio of users to access devices will be greater. In more rural areas with less folks sharing the same access device, each user could have higher bandwith.


RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By Jeff7181 on 4/9/2009 12:18:23 PM , Rating: 2
No, it doesn't. It's more cost effective to lay infrastructure that services tens of thousands of customers (New York City) then it is to lay instrastructure to service hundreds of people (BFE).


By Jeff7181 on 4/9/2009 12:20:19 PM , Rating: 4
Also, if you didn't know already, the "word" instrastructure is interchangeable with infrastructure. ;)


RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By Oregonian2 on 4/9/2009 12:53:39 PM , Rating: 2
You're saying that they'll install the same insanely expensive super-duper high bandwidth "main" pipe (and associated electronics and super-spendy routers,etc) in the rural areas as they might do in a comparatively dense city install? I suspect your reasoning is good but there may be a problem with the assumptions made.

Systems in rural areas would likely be much more cost optimized to the likely revenue expected to be received to pay for it.


By sinful on 4/9/2009 10:26:20 PM , Rating: 2
Physically running fiber is the main cost, and the cost is essentially the same whether you're laying 1 strand of fiber or 50.

Generally, when most companies lay fiber, they lay excess in what they need - the cost of the cable is practically nothing, but the physical labor costs to do it is high.

Ergo, if you're laying fiber to podunksville, it costs the same to lay 100GB of fiber as it does to lay 10GB of fiber.
You may pay slightly more for the equipment, but your main cost is paying the people to dig miles worth of ditches....


RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By wildcatherder on 4/9/2009 12:34:28 PM , Rating: 5
This is the Rural Farm Delivery program of the 21st century. The ability to access good and services through the U.S. Mail revolutionized rural life and did much to heal the schism between rural and urban lifestyles.

Congress complained that RFD would bankrupt the country. Instead it revived flagging commerce and stimulated farm production.

A national broadband initiative is already overdue.


RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By shin0bi272 on 4/9/2009 1:46:23 PM , Rating: 2
It's not the congress' job to give you internet access.


By alifbaa on 4/9/2009 3:10:10 PM , Rating: 5
I think what the poster was saying was that it wasn't the congress' job to give farmers electricity either, but they did.

At the time, rural electrification was highly controversial, and very expensive. Many believed it would damage the country. Decades later, it's clear the result was a more harmonious and stable country with a better quality food supply at lower prices.

When I lived in Nebraska, it was not uncommon for towns with 20,000 people to only have 256K connections in the town and dial up just outside of town. Small factories and businesses there were unable to compete with large companies from elsewhere in the country because they couldn't set up an internet presence to buy materials or sell products. The lack of internet access is literally threatening the existence of these towns.

This initiative could go a long way toward increasing choice in the national/global marketplace while saving these small towns and the rural way of life.


By CommodoreVic20 on 4/9/2009 1:41:32 PM , Rating: 3
I second the motion!


By Ammohunt on 4/9/2009 2:37:02 PM , Rating: 3
The author is a little misguided. the UK is the size of an average sized state in America? its the same as compairing the German Autobahn to the US highway system the distances that need to be traversed are immense. Not a cost affective task running 10mb FIOS to podunk US for 10 users in a town of 500.


RE: Speeds we should have access to...
By Reclaimer77 on 4/9/2009 3:37:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Simple. In Urban areas, we should have access to 50Mbps.
In Rural areas, we should have access to at least 10Mbps.

It should cost less than $50/month.

There should be no bandwidth caps.

There you go. Make it happen.


Yeah but if anyone believes the Government via the FCC getting involved is going to make this happen, they are on crack cocaine.


By Beno on 4/9/2009 4:48:32 PM , Rating: 2
then we'll kiss all that goodbye


By superkdogg on 4/9/2009 3:44:37 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, that.

And since I'm rural, I want the option to have 2.5 and 5 Mbps service for $20 and $30 because low-volume users and basic web surfers won't notice much if any difference above 1 Mbps so they shouldn't be forced into paying $50/mo. for something that they have now for $15 (slow-speed dsl, etc.).


That all sounds great but...
By MrBungle123 on 4/9/2009 11:14:12 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
President Obama has a nationwide network in mind, as evidenced by the $7.2 billion that was allocated to extend broadband to underserved rural areas.


At a time when we have projected federal deficits around $1.8 Trillion we really should be axing projects like this that would be nice but are not really necessary. Instead the government should be encouraging more competition in the broadband markets which will have the effect of inching up speeds and lowering costs.




RE: That all sounds great but...
By TheSpaniard on 4/9/2009 11:18:20 AM , Rating: 5
there are way more useless projects that should be axed long before this....


RE: That all sounds great but...
By MrBungle123 on 4/9/09, Rating: -1
RE: That all sounds great but...
By Mitch101 on 4/9/09, Rating: 0
By TheRagnarok on 4/9/2009 1:22:16 PM , Rating: 2
Well said.


RE: That all sounds great but...
By shin0bi272 on 4/9/2009 1:42:08 PM , Rating: 2
Thats not what he's saying... hes saying the government shouldnt be funding this with our tax dollars. Its not their job. Its the job of companies like time warner and verizon to increase their speeds to entice customers (time warner rolling out 40gb/mo [no thats not a typo] bandwidth caps) and make themselves money and the government should keep their fingers out of it. Their job is to protect us from invasion and insurrection (and now piracy) and keep our debt paid off... fail, fail, fail and fail.


RE: That all sounds great but...
By PhoenixKnight on 4/9/2009 2:30:04 PM , Rating: 4
The problem is that the companies have no need to entice customers because the customers have no alternative but to use them. Many areas of the country have a choice of 2 or 3 broadband providers at most. If you don't like Comcast's prices/service, for instance, your only other choice is often dial-up.


RE: That all sounds great but...
By sleepeeg3 on 4/13/2009 4:35:20 PM , Rating: 2
So if you don't like where you live, why don't you move?


RE: That all sounds great but...
By Regs on 5/17/2009 4:29:20 PM , Rating: 2
I want to jump through my monitor right now and strangle you.


RE: That all sounds great but...
By AEvangel on 4/9/2009 12:54:58 PM , Rating: 5
I was with you till you said we needed the useless F22, yeah cause how many air to air battles have we had in the last 50 years?? We have pretty much dominated the skies since Korea.

Oh and has for the thousands of jobs that will be lost building those overpriced not needed plans, well know you can have them diggin ditches for fiber optic lines.


RE: That all sounds great but...
By MrBungle123 on 4/9/09, Rating: 0
RE: That all sounds great but...
By shin0bi272 on 4/9/09, Rating: -1
By PhoenixKnight on 4/9/2009 3:37:24 PM , Rating: 2
Then maybe should just build swarms and swarms of cheap planes to overwhelm our enemies. One F-22 may be more effective, but just imagine our enemies sh***ing their pants when they see 100 aircraft flying towards them.


RE: That all sounds great but...
By fic2 on 4/9/2009 2:59:13 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Gaining and maintaining air superiority has been a critical part of every military operation since WWII.


Well, it sure helped to have air superiority in Iraq and Afghanistan...

Also kind of sure it probably could have been accomplished with less than 20 F-22s.


RE: That all sounds great but...
By sinful on 4/9/2009 10:40:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If they are so dead set on spending this money why not buy more of the F-22's that the air force wants but now wont have the money for, at least a compelling case can be made for those.


The USSR proved that military spending while neglecting infrastructure is the road to economic disaster.

But hey, I'm sure American companies can be competitive with 56k modems and 1.5MB DSL when Australians are busy implementing 100MB internet to every house.

Just don't be surprised when the next Google, Youtube, Cisco, or Microsoft comes out of Australia and not the US.

I'm sure it will cost you a lot more than $21 if the US falls behind in technology....
Our businesses will be less competitive, there will be less innovation...
Basically, the cost of falling behind is a lot more than keeping pace.


RE: That all sounds great but...
By cscpianoman on 4/9/2009 11:29:11 AM , Rating: 2
This is one of the few things I actually think is useful with the caveat that it increases competition in the field. The primary reason we are as "backward" as we are is the lack of effective competition. Most locales enjoy probably two choices, Cable and DSL and many only have one. I have just one and I am in a very populated area of Phoenix, AZ.

The very fact that the gov't is listening to only businesses and gov't entities is a very bad sign.


RE: That all sounds great but...
By MrBungle123 on 4/9/2009 11:32:50 AM , Rating: 2
They could just make it so the cable companies have to open up their cable lines to 3rd party ISP's like the phone companies have to do with DSL.


RE: That all sounds great but...
By drebo on 4/9/2009 11:35:04 AM , Rating: 2
In the US in most places, phone lines are still a government-enforced geographic monopoly. It's up to the local government whether or not a telco has to resell its lines.


RE: That all sounds great but...
By Oregonian2 on 4/9/2009 1:05:18 PM , Rating: 2
That doesn't help at all within the context of this article.

We're talking bandwidth available to the home (or whatever). Whether there's one or ten ISP's available for the very same datapipe to the home, the bandwidth (ignoring total ISP incompetence) won't be any different. The "last mile" limiting pipe is the same pipe in all cases.

Within the context of this article, having different last-mile connections is what makes the difference. These include DSL, Cable, FiOS like fiber (what I have), and wireless. Folk forget that last one in postings I've read so far.

Having three DSL ISP's really doesn't help much to gain bandwidth unless each of the three have their own set of copper wired to the house, and at least in the USA that never happens AFAIK.

It's not so much having a choice of ISP's so much having a choice of last-mile connections to one's house/business. Having multiple ISP's on the same DSL or cable connection isn't bad, it just isn't anywhere near as important in the context being talked about.

P.S. - Now that I've FiOS connected, my DSL option is gone (copper wires are now "turned off" by Verizon even though my DSL ISP wasn't Verizon).


By MrBungle123 on 4/9/2009 1:24:57 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not saying that infrastructure upgrades don't need to be made, but if you get ISP's to start competing with each other the leap frogging and one-up-manship that will take place will achieve the same result without the use of federal dollars.


RE: That all sounds great but...
By drebo on 4/9/2009 1:45:39 PM , Rating: 2
Multiple ISPs absolutely is important, as it introduces competition. In the current market, where ISPs are guaranteed a subscriber base due to geographic monopolies that are government-enforced, there is NO incentive for ISPs to lower prices or upgrade equipment.

Competition causes companies to try and win customers either by lowering prices or providing better service. Right now, there's none of that.


RE: That all sounds great but...
By drebo on 4/9/2009 11:32:58 AM , Rating: 3
I disagree. This is exactly the type of plan the government SHOULD be spending money on. Why? It creates jobs and enhances our nation's infrastructure. Win-win.

What SHOULD be axed is the multitude of entitlement programs that we have. Kill those off and our budget balances almost immediately.

What sickens me the most about society now is that people see it as O.K. for the government to spend trillions of dollars on people who do not contribute to society in any way, shape, or form...yet a (relatively) small project such as this one which has TONS of potential not only to create jobs, but also to lower costs associated with (although not necessary to) living a good quality life, is scoffed at as too expensive.


RE: That all sounds great but...
By Bateluer on 4/9/2009 11:47:26 AM , Rating: 2
I'm torn. But extending broadband service to these under served areas, commercial markets will be extended, thus prompting these people to spend money online, helping out the economy.

I'm not sure how much I like it being government run, but given how ineptly the telco's have managed public money . . .


By shin0bi272 on 4/9/2009 2:09:14 PM , Rating: 3
and congress is better at managing money? Do you remember the house bank? where the members of the house and senate bounced 3800 checks (all but 1 of them were democrats [ahem john mccain]) for thousands of dollars each. They use a system of budgeting called baseline budgeting where each year they raise their spending by 5-10% a year regardless of how much they take in. Id rather have the telco's who can fail on their own merit (if the fascist government lets them fail that is) if they make mistakes. Government just keeps getting bigger and bigger and it's not allowed to fail so it just keeps sucking money from the people to fund its programs until theres no money left to take and we have to start printing more of it and devaluing our dollar. We've already sold over a trillion (thats 1/13th of our GDP) dollars in debt to china and they are out buying up russian oil and aluminum mines with it. You really want a government so inept that the same week an enemy with nuclear weapons launches a long range missile test that it cuts missile defense to run your life?

Run your own life and keep the government out of it!


Welcome to the Digital Desert
By guzzisport on 4/10/2009 9:03:38 AM , Rating: 2
I live 3 miles out of a rural town. Modem speeds for my neighborhood are 11K. I have HughesNet satellite. On the basic package, HughesNet costs $60/month. Bandwidth is about 100K/sec for the first second, 50K for the second second decreasing to 7-15K/sec after about 30 seconds. 100Mb download limit in a 24 hour window. Exceed that, and you get throttled to 1K/sec for 24-29 hours. Hughes throttles the bejeesus out of every connection except SpeedTest which will rip along at a respectable 389K/sec. Three years ago, it wasn't uncommon to catch a 4000Kb/sec stream but now it seldomes exceeds 51K/sec. Hughes apparently has changed policy or has so many customers that the bandwidth per customer has eroded to the level of a mediocre modem connection. At the same time, my only local phone provider (AT&T) has upped the cost of a separate land line to the point where a dedicated modem line would cost the same as the admittedly poor HughesNet access, so I'm basically stuck until the FCC establishes standards for smoke signals. Oh, and if you're on a satellite, the time for a "click" includes transit time up to the satellite, back to earth, out to the internet, back up to the satellite and back down to your home. Figure latency of better than 4 seconds. Satellite sucks. Massively. It also doesn't work when weather conditions are poor. By comparison, a good modem connection has quite a bit more leverage than it did a couple of years ago. Consider it a technological backslide. The digital divide in the USA is quite large and NONE of the major cable or phone carriers have any desire to change the set up. They have a captive market plus the infrastructure upgrade cost is too high. If you're not where you can get good cell coverage, even wireless cell coverage is not an option. Carriers will continue to compete heavily in areas where revenue return is high in the more densely populated urban centers. The rural areas will likely only improve as a function of cell phone coverage and expanded services in that service sector. This doesn't even address the politics of having a captive market so I don't anticipate that ANY plan that the FCC or Congress have will change anything except the level of funds in the account paying for the "research". As I said, welcome to the Digital Desert.




RE: Welcome to the Digital Desert
By phxfreddy on 4/10/2009 9:54:46 AM , Rating: 2
I feel for you but it would be nice to have private companies instead of government doing all this. For this to happen the FCC would have to be stop being a diddle doll for politicians money interests. That is to say they use the FCC to gate who can do what and when.

I suspect if this were not being done you all in BF_Egypt would have had your hi speed by now.


RE: Welcome to the Digital Desert
By MadMan007 on 4/10/2009 5:52:55 PM , Rating: 2
Undoubtedly this money will be used for government oink-oink contracts to certain companies. I just hope someone is smart enough to have learned from the Telecom Act of 1996 and penalties or more proper incentive is included. As for the FCC, between the crackdown on Comcast selective throttling and things like this lately they've been shaping up to be a lot better than they were through 2006 & the neocons.


RE: Welcome to the Digital Desert
By MadMan007 on 4/10/2009 5:57:13 PM , Rating: 2
I need to add a second sentence 'So it will be done by private companies, they just had no incentive to do so before.'


RE: Welcome to the Digital Desert
By xanthyr on 4/10/2009 2:13:56 PM , Rating: 2
Ouch. Think I found someone who's dial-up speeds are worse than mine.

I live 40 mins from the 4th largest city in the US. I live 6-7 miles from a decently sized city. What do I have for internet? 26.4Kbs dial-up connection.

Cable or DSL? Ha. Not available, at all. Wireless ISP? Can't get a decent signal, though I live around 4 miles from the closest tower. Cellphone internet? 5GBs a month for $60? If I go over the cap by accident, I'm paying for every byte. And that's if I can get a decent signal. Pass. Satellite? Too cost prohibitive because you have pay for the dish too. Not only that I'm not going with HughesNet with all I heard about them.

I doubt this talk with the FCC is going to go anywhere, but hey, better than nothing right now. Maybe we'll see something of it in...oh 2012?


By SnakeBlitzken on 4/10/2009 4:47:52 PM , Rating: 2
I'm in the same boat with you. AT&T DSL is 2 miles from my house and not coming out any time in the near future. There are two wireless companies that are serving this area and cannot keep up with demand. One is priced higher than the other but that is becuase they were the only game in tow for long time. I suspect the pricing will have to get competive since these two providers will overlap the same consumers. The US is usually lagging in areas like this because we were first. We get chained to antiquated legacy technology, politics and standards. If we were building an infrastructure brand new today, things would be a lot different. We're still suffering from the Ma Bell monopoly days of who owned the cable.

At least we have competition now with wireless. I'm still waiting my turn in line to get off my crappy wireless aircard on the Edge network.


RE: Welcome to the Digital Desert
By sleepeeg3 on 4/13/2009 4:59:11 PM , Rating: 2
If it sucks to live in the digital desert so much - move. You also probably pay less for housing and less property taxes. Gee I want my apartment rates to be cheaper - when is the government going to start giving me free money to pay for my housing? Now do you see how ridiculous your argument is?


By tspinning on 4/9/2009 12:51:50 PM , Rating: 2
As the USPS struggles to keep its head above water with traditional package delivery, why not step up and become the plumbers and backbone of a national broadband service.

One caveat- bits are bits, and IP routes around censorship so treat it as such and leave the moral bureaucratic bullsh*t at home and teach your children why it's poor moral choice to visit skinhead, hate, vulgar sites, don't legislate my choice to educate myself and others about the dregs of society through proof.

This is a chance for what is one of the most publicly trusted government organizations to step into the 21 century, and because they are a federal vehicle they will be unable to rule out sects of the country for "not enough profit" to roll out broadband.

This could also force the sorely needed innovation that our current service providers refuse to give us on grounds of wanting to become sole content providers to the masses for data that they own and we forever rent.

Note that the radio era is dead (one powerful broadcaster to many listeners) and now ANYONE can broadcast to EVERYONE!! We need to embrace this digital age and move forward, not legislate companies into locked profit schemes of an outdated analog world!

VIVA LA REVOLUTION!!!




By AEvangel on 4/9/2009 12:59:04 PM , Rating: 2
Actually that is not a bad idea as someone that lives in BFE, almost every town has a local post office and since the postal facility are going to be more under used as time progresses why not turn the back of them into server rooms and let the USPS run the nations backbone for low cost national internet.

I know it would never work, but it's better then anything else there tossing out there.


By MadMan007 on 4/9/2009 2:04:05 PM , Rating: 4
Well good, no one is making you listen to a certina person, or watch a certain video and so on. That was his point, in juxtaposition to broadcast radio consolidation.


By tspinning on 4/9/2009 2:12:25 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed it was!

We need (like church and state hahahaha) separation between content providers and network service providers, otherwise they will force us (by location, something we have little choice over do to family, money, or personal interests) to submit to not only their delivery mechanism, but their content too, in a world where digital content no longer has any bars and can reach all without depriving one this is not right.

I bring my man Thomas Jefferson to the table with his powerful words on ideas and ask you to look at something that is digital in the same manor:

"If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me."

Feel free to read more on this topic at, anywhere, but I cut and pasted from:

http://www.movingtofreedom.org/2006/10/06/thomas-j...


By Oregonian2 on 4/10/2009 3:38:21 PM , Rating: 2
I think you guys missed my point.

My point was commercial content producers who spend all day every day producing content as their way of life vs. the content one gets typically in a "from everybody to the everybody" amateur producer scenario.

Now you personally may create nothing but world-class content for others to consume, but my point is that the vast vast vast majority of amateur content producers produce junk. To me this is a nobrainer when even some professionals produce junk. But you're entitled to your opinion, I just stated mine.


woo
By Chiisuchianu on 4/9/2009 1:17:29 PM , Rating: 2
My prayers have been answered! Hopefully something really good comes out of this.




RE: woo
By Oregonian2 on 4/9/2009 1:28:13 PM , Rating: 2
Take care about what you wish for, you might get it!

Whatever gets built will be paid for, and if it's "you", then it may be liked less. Only is good when "somebody else" is the one who has to do the paying. :-)


RE: woo
By shin0bi272 on 4/9/2009 2:00:48 PM , Rating: 2
When has the government ever done anything that actually benefited anyone without loads of bureaucracy and taxing people to pay for it? Oh wait ... Reagan cut taxes ... I almost forgot.

If youve been praying for government involvement you really need to read the constitution. Or maybe stop paying attention to your high school and/or college teachers when they say that government is the answer to your problems... because if they knew how to do anything other than lie to children they'd be a business owner rather than a teacher.


RE: woo
By Chiisuchianu on 4/9/2009 6:13:28 PM , Rating: 1
Yea because we all know how great broadband in the U.S. is going without government involvement.

Maybe you should stop paying attention to your rebellious pro-gay teenage friends and realize sometimes government needs to step in.


RE: woo
By Reclaimer77 on 4/9/2009 6:45:35 PM , Rating: 2
This idea that the entire country has crap broadband is NOT true btw.


RE: woo
By sinful on 4/9/2009 10:57:24 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
This idea that the entire country has crap broadband is NOT true btw.


We rank about 15th overall, behind Japan, S Korea, Finland, Sweden, France, Netherlands, Portugal, Canada, Poland, Norway, Austria, Belgium, Iceland, Germany, and finally the US.
(Source: http://digg.com/d1CG0n)

We do have the highest RATE of broadband adoption, but our broadband is pretty much crap compared to a lot of other countries.
Granted, Japan & Korea are probably the exception with their amazing broadband speeds (about 10x faster than the US), but even France has broadband about 4x faster (on average) than the US.


Government efficiency
By borowki2 on 4/9/2009 12:43:41 PM , Rating: 3
The only thing the government is good at is wasting taxpayers' money. Exhibit A: recovery.gov, a web-site that's supposed to help prevent waste of stimulus dollars, costs $84 million. Most of us are techies here. Seriously, do you think a basic database-backed web-site should cost $84 million?




RE: Government efficiency
By Oregonian2 on 4/9/2009 1:15:13 PM , Rating: 5
I'm sure it didn't. 83.6 Million went into studying the idea to make sure citizen's hard earned tax money would not be wasted in making such a site. The other 0.4 million USD went into having it made by a contractor.


RE: Government efficiency
By borowki2 on 4/10/2009 11:45:13 AM , Rating: 2
Even with that absurd amount of money they still couldn't come up with something that actually serves its purpose. Our Reps are using Google to figure out where our money is going:

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/Congres...


By Roy2001 on 4/9/2009 1:10:23 PM , Rating: 2
I only want to laugh when they call 768/128 as broadband.




By Oregonian2 on 4/9/2009 1:25:49 PM , Rating: 2
fwiw - I thought it was wonderful when I move up to exactly that 768k/128k which I had before (ISDN which I think was 128k both ways).

Going from that DSL speed to the 20M/5M FiOS that I have now was very very nice, but still not near as dramatic as going from ISDN to DSL or from 14.4k modem to ISDN.

Things like ESPN360 still max out at DSL speeds so FiOS doesn't help as much as one might hope (other than it being "why" I qualify for getting ESPN360).


By celticbrewer on 4/9/2009 3:56:10 PM , Rating: 2
Depends on cost and necessity. 768/128 costs about $10 a month around here. That's the same price as dial-up. And if you're just surfing, IMing, and E-Mailing, that's all you really need. (no P2P, Games, VoIP, Streaming, etc..)

Yes, most of us want and can use faster speeds- and we pay for it. I welcome the options. If I were to get laid off, I'd gladly downgrade to save some bucks. I'd still need internet to hit monster.com, afterall.


Great
By KeithP on 4/9/2009 2:10:22 PM , Rating: 1
So the FCC is going to do a study and make a report, which is due a year from now. Meanwhile, 7.2 billion dollars has already been allocated to extend broadband in under served, rural areas for which there is no working definition.

So how much of this 7.2B will be spent before the FCC's report and recommendations are even published? Looks like President Change is as big of a moron as the idiot he replaced.

Not to mention there is no economic reason to extend high speed broadband to these rural areas. It is just a "feel good" bullet point. Yeah, it would be great for those folks that want to watch youtube videos between planting the crops and inbreeding, but it won't do anything to stimulate the economy.

Meanwhile we still have people comparing us to the rest of the world and saying are speeds aren't fast enough and we are paying too much. Of course, they are ignoring infrastructure and population density differences.

I guarantee that whatever screwed up system results from all this, it will cost us ten times more than it had to and it still won't work right.

-KeithP




RE: Great
By tspinning on 4/9/2009 2:17:34 PM , Rating: 2
Hey now, without that study how can we make sure all of our [fcc heads] futures are safe, I mean, without the research the "proper" companies might not be submitting the billable hours of work to implement this and my future employer might be left in the dark and me left without a cushy executive board to sit on later in life...


RE: Great
By MadMan007 on 4/9/2009 4:00:12 PM , Rating: 2
I'd guess that none of it will have been spent because that's the point of the study. One thing about the stimulus plan is that the spending is spread out over quite a long time, only simplistic headlines or skewed reporting make it seem like it's all at once. Funnily enough I'd sometimes see complaints about the stimulus plan in general just being too much govt spending and then the same person or people complaining about it being spread out so it 'wouldn't do any good.' Made me realize how many are just there to hear themselves talk and complain rather than do something.


ironic picture
By MadMan007 on 4/9/2009 12:22:08 PM , Rating: 2
The picture of the Roadrunner is ironic given the recent announcements TW has made.




RE: ironic picture
By shin0bi272 on 4/9/2009 1:56:02 PM , Rating: 2
ugh dont remind me! I live just outside one of the areas that they are rolling out their beautiful 40gb/mo caps in. I can picture myself going back to dialup soon.


Easy
By toyotabedzrock on 4/9/2009 9:56:39 PM , Rating: 2
1.5 Mbps Down and 384 up to EVERY WHERE ELECTRICITY IS AVAILABLE for $20 a month. Then there should also be 3 mbps/768 and 6/1 available to the same locations for $40 and $60+ a month




RE: Easy
By Wartzay on 4/10/2009 9:38:52 AM , Rating: 2
6/1 for $60?

Why do I have to pay $10 more for half my speed?

:)


By phxfreddy on 4/10/2009 7:16:29 AM , Rating: 3
My rich old daddy always used to tell me when I was growing up that anyone who has way more debt than money was for all intents and purposes broke.

Clearly that describes the USA. The USA is dead flat broke.

Its just plain goofy to keep calling ourselves "rich". Its a technique that congressmen use to get you to spend money on frivolous programs.

And just about all programs are frivolous when you are broke.




All I'm Saying Is...
By DiscipleOfJobs on 4/9/2009 11:42:18 AM , Rating: 2
It's not the President who has gotten us around the block. I've been in a cabin more than once in my life and let me tell you, I'd rather have a bed than a torpedo.




This plan stinks
By BailoutBenny on 4/9/2009 7:33:46 PM , Rating: 2
And so does any other governmentally planned enterprise subsidized by the US taxpayer.




"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone














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