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FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski  (Source: LA Times)
Funding redirection could bring high-speed access to new areas of the country

The Universal Services Fund (USF) was an initiative put in place by former U.S. President Bill Clinton's Federal Communication Commission in 1997.  The USF takes a large cut out of consumer phone bills -- approximately 15 percent out of a long-distance bill, for example -- and redirects that money to funding landline telephone service to low-income rural areas, and providing broadband at public institutions.

Over time the usefulness of landline phones has faded, but the FCC continues to pour money into that aspect of the effort.  In his bid to beef up our nation's broadband, U.S. President Barack Obama's appointed FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski, is looking to scrap that funding and redirect it to promoting broadband in rural areas.

He proposed the change during a speech [PDF] at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.  He stated:

In the 21st century, high-speed Internet, not telephone, is our essential communications platform, and Americans are using wired and wireless networks to access it. But while the world has changed around it, USF -- in too many ways -- has stood still, and even moved backwards.

Currently the landline fund eats up $4.3B USD a year, while the broadband fund only gets a chunk of the remaining money.  Chairman Genachowski suggests a gradual fadeout of the telephone funding, transitioning that money to a new broadband deployment and support fund designed to push broadband into rural areas.

The new fund, formally titled the Connect America Fund, would aim to cover 24 million Americans with broadband.  Chairman Genachoski complains that the USF is becoming outdated and needs the changes.  He states, "The fund pays almost $2,000 per month -- more than $20,000 a year -- for some households to have phone service. And in many places, the existing system funds four or more phone companies to serve the same area."

The speech came with the filing of a "Notice For Proposed Rule-Making" (NFPRM).  This is the FCC's way of giving the public chance to comment.

Wireless service providers like Verizon and rural broadband providers have expressed enthusiasm about the shift.  Thus far rural landline operators have kept quiet, but they're unlikely to appreciate the measure.

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another option
By kattanna on 2/8/11, Rating: 0
RE: another option
By tastyratz on 2/8/2011 12:26:33 PM , Rating: 5
everyone in a rural area can *not* get satellite. Satellite is expensive, slow, and requires property owner consent to install a big dish on top of your house. Renters, historic housing, and low income markets all are not ideal.

Dial up is no longer just an inconvenience, the web has evolved beyond it and it can be compared to walking to work vs driving to work. Anything is possible in time but the benefit is just not there anymore.

Development of these rural areas will require utilities - and the internet is just as much of a utility as electricity/water/phone/etc. now. Without them our cities get denser and more widely spaced.

The USA is behind because our (self allowed) monopolizing internet providers only deploy and upgrade in the most profitable of markets. That means unless you live in a fairly populated area you will NEVER get service.

That being said I think it is a good concept where execution is clearly poor. It would be nice if this money really went towards the goals and ideas it was collected for - instead of say... padding the pockets of large phone companies that never deliver promised infrastructure.

RE: another option
By tastyratz on 2/8/2011 12:30:55 PM , Rating: 2
I forgot to mention members of homeowners associations, and people with homes that have no clear sky direct view (like having a tree... or another house for example in the way of the direct path.

I myself do not live in a rural area and have my choices, but I can see a problem with the "move somewhere else" view the privileged seem to have.

RE: another option
By StevoLincolnite on 2/8/2011 12:39:53 PM , Rating: 3
But I can see a problem with the "move somewhere else" view the privileged seem to have.

Not only that, but allot of people who live in remote areas are also farmers.

Would be interesting to see how city-elitists would feel/act if the farmers were not farming to provide food on their plates because they were forced to live in a city.

RE: another option
By mcnabney on 2/8/2011 1:44:10 PM , Rating: 5
When I went to bed last night broadband internet was not a right. What changed?

RE: another option
By tastyratz on 2/8/11, Rating: 0
RE: another option
By Taft12 on 2/8/2011 3:45:56 PM , Rating: 2
I think the demonstrations that happened recently in Egypt, mostly organized through the internet (and the government's move to shut down the internet as a result) makes it abundantly clear that it might be the most important tool we citizens have in the 21st century.

RE: another option
By ebakke on 2/8/2011 11:40:09 PM , Rating: 2
Americans became greedy, selfish brats that feel entitled to everything and have no problem stealing from someone else to pay for those entitlements. "You have fast internet, and I want fast internet!! So I'll vote for someone who will forcibly take your money and build me some high speed internet infrastructure!"

RE: another option
By wookie1 on 2/8/2011 2:05:39 PM , Rating: 2
Farmers don't produce food as a public service. They do it to sustain themselves and hopefully have a little extra at the end of the day. Somehow I think that the farmers are still going to produce even if they aren't subsidized with broadband. Some may choose to get service, others may not care one way or the other. Farmers have produced food for thousands of years without broadband, but all of a sudden now they won't because the city slickers have broadband and they don't?

RE: another option
By tastyratz on 2/8/2011 2:42:12 PM , Rating: 2
Depends. Farmers in Florida grew oranges and sold them to people in Florida. Now they ship Florida oranges around the country if not world DRASTICALLY increasing their sales revenue. "thousands" of years ago your market was as far as you could wheel your goods and pitch them. Try to do that these days and remain competitive with those which are connected and you will realize your at a great disadvantage.

The old fashioned way worked fine when it was the only way to do it. Now it means you might have 10% the sales 300% the overhead and may never survive in your target market as a result. "Thousands" of years ago if your competition had better tools you were not as competitive, and the same applies today.

RE: another option
By wookie1 on 2/9/2011 10:57:30 AM , Rating: 2
Why is it my responsibility (and all of the other taxpayers) to offset these competitive disadvantages? I agree that if I were running a business and didn't use the internet, that I may be at a disadvantage to other businesses that did outfit themselves with broadband. So I would then outfit myself with broadband. I wouldn't demand that all of the taxpaying citizens of the country outfit me with it.

RE: another option
By delphinus100 on 2/8/2011 10:34:18 PM , Rating: 2
Farmers don't produce food as a public service. They do it to sustain themselves and hopefully have a little extra at the end of the day.

Farmers have produced food for thousands of years without broadband, but all of a sudden now they won't because the city slickers have broadband and they don't?

We're not talking about subsistence farmers who grow just enough to feed themselves. A family farm is, at the very least, a small business that has to make a profit.

Could you run a small business (and one that's inherently some distance from an urban area) without at least telephone service, in the 21st Century? I'm thinking not.

Now, broadband Internet access is not as utterly necessary to that end, it's true. But increasingly desirable? Yes.

RE: another option
By wookie1 on 2/9/2011 11:00:16 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not talking about subsistence farmers, either. I don't think that the traditional family farmer pulls in a big truckload of cash, though.

I probably couldn't run a small business without a telephone, or electricity, or water, so I would definitely plan on budgeting for those necessary inputs. Hey, it's cool if I can get the taxpaying public to cover my operational costs, but should I reasonably expect that?

RE: another option
By spamreader1 on 2/10/2011 2:11:44 PM , Rating: 2
Most family farmers, even larger ones, don't get to set thier own prices on most products (milk and eggs, largest example). Everythings regulated at state and federal levels. Where you can budget the necessary inputs, farmers have to sacrifice as it is for telco service, many areas are cooperatives that aren't even being fed these funds mentioned in the article, and are paid by the members of the cooperatives. (rural electric is the same in most cases, especially since electric deregulation, I personally pay 33 cents per kw/h now...)

I live on a hobby farm, meaning I don't expect to make a profit, and as such make my money in the IT sector. I use cdma broadband (att aircard) due to the 1500ms lag time of satalite is prohibitive to do any remote access (300ms is doable). There are options available in may locations that are covered by wireless carriers as well as dish for those who don't have access to wireless carrier networks. In areas that have wireless coverage for cell phones I think it would be great to stop supporting the rural telephone network, most of us can't justify the $80+/mo to have a land line anyway, when cell phones are 1/2 the cost. I'd be really interested to see where these funds go, I've lived in rural areas of Texas for most of my life, and to my knownledge the only subsidy employed for telco was the initial investment made when they inacted the rural electric stuff anyway.

RE: another option
By FITCamaro on 2/8/11, Rating: 0
RE: another option
By monitorjbl on 2/8/2011 1:14:40 PM , Rating: 2
First of all, we "industrialized" like, 150 years ago. Why would the requirements of our citizens have stayed the same? The fact is, we're way past "industrialized" now. Also, towns are created under the authority of the state in which they reside. As such, its not just "their" decision to live there, it's the entire state's.

RE: another option
By DanNeely on 2/8/2011 1:21:42 PM , Rating: 5
You don't have a right to be provided with meat, or fruits, or vegetables, much less grains. Those are the luxiries of an agrarian economy.

If you choose to live in the middle of an area incapable of supporting agriculture (cities, towns, suburbs with HOAs), that's your choice. You have to accept the consequences of the decision. Why should the rest of us have to work for minimum wage to feed you to exercise your choice to live in there?

We're not talking about small towns. We're talking about enormous cities of millions of people who can't begin to feed even 1% of their population.


RE: another option
By mcnabney on 2/8/2011 1:47:55 PM , Rating: 1
You do understand that there is very little local variety in agriculture outside of California and Florida.

Go up to Iowa and Nebraska. Agricultural powerhouses. Nothing but miles and miles of corn and soybeans. Probably not the best diet available. The folks that live there get their produce from California, cheese from Wisconsin, and beef from Texas just like everyone else.

Food is a portable commodity.
Broadband is a service.

RE: another option
By swampthing1117 on 2/8/2011 2:07:42 PM , Rating: 4
ok i live in iowa, you have no clue of what you speak. Corn and soybeans are major crops here, yes. Now think what that corn and soy is used for, the multitude of products you wouldn't have without especially soy. You really think the rest of the country doesn't depend on that soy heavily?

We don't get beef from texas in iowa, are you nuts? Iowa corn fed beef is some of the best in the US. Pork is also a HUGE export and industry in iowa, i mean HUGE. Iowa is biggest pork producing state in the country.

Cheese from wisconsin? are you serious? Not much cheese here is from wisconsin. There's some but it's not like wisconsin is the only place that makes cheese, there's actually tons of cheese plants in iowa.

For that matter, agriculture is not even iowa's biggest industry. Manufacturing is, it's 23% of the economy here. Agriculture which includes, fishing and hunting and forestry is only 3.5% of the economy. Retail actually doubles agriculture here.

next time actually know what you speak of as you seemingly know nothing at all about iowa. All you did was list a bunch of regional stereotypes, almost none of which are true. Iowa an agricultural powerhouse?

No, not even close, more like a manufacturing powerhouse.

RE: another option
By FITCamaro on 2/8/2011 1:46:41 PM , Rating: 3
You don't have a right to be provided with meat, or fruits, or vegetables, much less grains. Those are the luxiries of an agrarian economy.

Absolutely right.

No one has the right to anything anyone else does. You have food, water, electricity, etc because people chose to start a business to provide you with it. And if you want the fruits of their businesses, you are supposed to earn a living in order to purchase those things. You're not just given them.

And internet is even less of a necessity. No one dies from not having the internet. It is not a right. It is a luxury. If you want to live in the country, you have to accept that you're not going to have all the luxuries of someone living in a big city. And you accept that life for your children as well.

RE: another option
By silverblue on 2/8/2011 1:57:48 PM , Rating: 1
If you want to live in the city, you have to accept that you're not going to have all the luxuries of someone living in the country. Fresh air springs to mind.

I reckon, to balance this out, rural homeowners should pay less for their food as it costs less to transport it to them. People living near refineries should pay less to fill their cars. Can you imagine the outcry that would result if absolutely everything was charged this way?

Telecomms companies wouldn't fall down overnight if they provided a basic broadband service to a rural town or two.

RE: another option
By Jaybus on 2/8/2011 4:16:50 PM , Rating: 2
It has nothing to do with rights, civil or otherwise. Do the inner-city poor have a right to free money? Are subsidies for inner-city business development a necessity? Electric vehicles are completely useless in rural areas, yet they are subsidized. I the government is going to subsidize things that are only useful in the cities, then it is certainly fair to subsidize a fiber build out in rural areas.

RE: another option
By FITCamaro on 2/9/2011 10:26:19 AM , Rating: 2
Do the inner-city poor have a right to free money?


Are subsidies for inner-city business development a necessity?


Electric vehicles are completely useless in rural areas, yet they are subsidized.

And they shouldn't be.

A bunch of wrongs don't make a right.

RE: another option
By theapparition on 2/8/2011 1:56:43 PM , Rating: 3
While I somewhat disagree with the OPs view, your reply was beyond stupidity.

Those who farm for a living only make money by selling thier harvest. Without those ridiculous city people, the famers wouldn't have enough money to continue farming.

With that said, Internet access is not a right for anyone. The US is blessed with lots of land mass, so a comparison to a tiny European or Asian country is ridiculous. About the only fair comparison would be to Australia. And ask some there what they pay for internet access?

My concern is that the government has been taking my telecom tax money and "giving" it right back to the same companies whom then aren't using it towards the intended goal. Much better that the government then either loan that money, and collects interest (which lowers tax burdens) or creates the infrastructure themselves and sells it to the free market. But that last idea is somewhat hard to swallow as some will say that's the beginning of state run utilites. I'm not quite that cynical, but I do have a hard time believing that the government can manage anything efficiently.

RE: another option
By monitorjbl on 2/8/2011 3:16:36 PM , Rating: 2
Those who farm for a living only make money by selling thier harvest. Without those ridiculous city people, the famers wouldn't have enough money to continue farming.

The rest of your post is opinion and that's fine with me even if I happen to disagree with it, but this is just flat-out wrong and for one reason or another it irks me. Maybe it's because I know a few farmers, and I bet it would outright piss them off. Cities DO depend on farmers, not the other way around; farmers have been farming for thousands of years, before big cities even existed. They sold and ate their crop just the same in smaller communities, its just that their farms were correspondingly smaller since there were less people. Cities on the other hand can't grow their own food in quantities large enough to support their populations, they absolutely depend on farms outside their borders to supply their citizens with food.

RE: another option
By theapparition on 2/8/2011 4:31:55 PM , Rating: 2
But you hit the nail on the head. Most "farms" have become big scale operations that are unsustainable without massive sales of thier harvest.

The smaller ones might grow enough to sustain themselves. But the roadside stand doesn't pay the mortgage, taxes, farm equipment, feed, fertilizer, etc. Not to mention electricity, gas, diesel, and of course the most important thing.....internet access.

Again, I'm not dismissing farming. It's a nobel occupation, one where people work very hard. But today's farming is not like 2000 years ago. Cities do depend on farming, and farming just as much on cities. And trust me, not one farmer wants to go back to the old days of struggling to pull a plow behind an ox.

It's utterly stupid to argue that it's anything but a benificial symbiotic relationship.

RE: another option
By monitorjbl on 2/8/2011 5:27:23 PM , Rating: 2
It's symbiotic now, but it's only necessary for the farms to be this way because of how important the relationship between cities and farms is today. They essentially depend on each other in their current states but if you took the farms right now, the cities would starve, crumble, and die. If you were to do the opposite and take away the city, the farms would just shrink until they could sustain themselves. It's a symbiotic relationship, but the cities can't live on their own while the farms can.

Of course, I'm disregarding any kind of economic factors, since there's really no telling what would happen if cities suddenly went away and the population stayed the same. Anyway, what is happening now is extremely beneficial to both parties and I think we both agree on that. So, why do the people that grow the food to sustain urban life get passed over for services that most other people have? I live in a city so I'm not arguing for myself, I just don't really see the fairness in keeping these people out in the technological equivalent of the mid-90's. The government spends money on far sillier things, this one doesn't seem so bad to me.

RE: another option
By 0ldman on 2/9/2011 8:43:43 AM , Rating: 2
Uh, if you don't have electricity and water try raising a family.

DHR can and will take people's children because they don't have electricity.

How's that for a luxury...

RE: another option
By smackababy on 2/9/2011 9:22:22 AM , Rating: 2
Children are now considered a luxury.

RE: another option
By kattanna on 2/8/2011 1:08:05 PM , Rating: 2
everyone in a rural area can *not* get satellite. Satellite is expensive, slow, and requires property owner consent to install a big dish on top of your house. Renters, historic housing, and low income markets all are not ideal.

nice set of excuses there. i see lots of apartments and homes for rent with sat dishes now. also any usable wireless setups now require some sort of antennae to work, so you stil have that issue.

historic housing? thats a world of pain you should have known full well ahead of time that you cant make any changes what so ever, regardless of internet needs.

low income? if they are soo poor that they are having to live in a rural setting and cannot afford monthly internet, then they most likely cannot afford the computers to use it either. and will have instead already been using their phones for such things, IF cell service is even available in their rural area.

That means unless you live in a fairly populated area you will NEVER get service.

and do tell me why i should be forced to pay for some ISP to run a cable many miles at massive cost to provide you with internet because you dont want to move to where it is?

how about you pay for it yourself? just like if you moved to somewhere they isnt a power line already, the power company would make you pay for the line extension. but you want ME to pay for your cable company to run a line to your house?

whats next, I have to pay walmarts costs to put a super center store where its convenient for you to shop at?

internet providers only deploy and upgrade in the most profitable of markets

those bastards! how dare a business run with the idea of making a profit for itself and its shareholders

listen.. i have lived for years numerous times in barely to very rural areas. living outside of major city areas has its bonuses and negatives. quit trying to get others to pay the costs to remove the negatives out of your life and do it yourself.

RE: another option
By FITCamaro on 2/8/2011 1:49:48 PM , Rating: 2
To be fair there are plenty of places you cannot get satellite. If you live on the wrong side of an apartment complex, you can't get signal from a dish mounted off your porch or out a window necessarily. And few places will let you put a dish out in the lawn area in front of your apartment to clear the trees. Granted most apartment complexes also offer cable services too. So while maybe you are locked into one particular service, you had the choice on whether to live there in the first place.

RE: another option
By tastyratz on 2/8/2011 2:24:32 PM , Rating: 1
And what about paving roads in rural areas? Should those perhaps stop receiving states subsidies? How dare they connect larger cities! Its only convenience, they clearly have the option to walk!

Holds Just as much water. We are not putting the "every American's right to porn" act in the forefront, it's basic commercialization and communication rights in the 21st century.
Just as you pay taxes to help keep roads other than the ones you drive on paved, you put a 15% portion of (what may have gotten you that phone line in the first place) your phone bill towards infrastructure development. Hell, this isn't even an income tax! It is a tax that you elect to pay with your so called "luxury". If you so despise to pay it, perhaps you should choose to boycott by canceling your internet?

The time for rural connectivity now is fairly critical if we want to keep our jobs in the usa... we have to be able to market them to the residents.

Also as to the basis of your entire argument about "me" trying to get you to pay for "my" internet... if you read my statement you would realize I explicitly stated I am not impacted by this. That is right - I am a city boy but I support developing our country. I might even like those rural areas to have other luxuries like public education and emergency services!

RE: another option
By FITCamaro on 2/8/2011 2:41:35 PM , Rating: 1
Most roads through rural areas are spawned off the interstate system. The interstates were formed as part of the national defense during World War 2.

If a state wants to subsidize roads in a rural area, that's the states choice. The federal government doesn't have that power. Or it shouldn't. The same should be for telephones, broadband, etc. States have any power not explicitly given to the federal government. The federal government only has the powers granted to it by the constitution.

Regardless of what liberal Democrats want people to believe, a lack of commerce does not fall under the commerce clause. The commerce clause was put in the constitution to prevent states for setting up barriers that would prevent commerce between the states. Not to give the federal government the power to regulate all commerce.

RE: another option
By smackababy on 2/8/2011 3:19:04 PM , Rating: 2
Sadly, cities cannot subsidize internet for its citizens. A city tired this and was sued by the cable companies because they were granted a monopoly for that area.

RE: another option
By FITCamaro on 2/8/2011 6:21:45 PM , Rating: 1
Another issue caused by the federal government.

RE: another option
By wookie1 on 2/8/2011 2:02:18 PM , Rating: 2
"Satellite is expensive..."

Does it cost less than $2000 per month? It appears that landlines are expensive. I guess landlines are cheap when everyone else is paying for them.

RE: another option
By omnicronx on 2/8/2011 12:28:01 PM , Rating: 1
I love how people like yourself don't realize that a certain portion of the population not having good internet access has implications on how city dwellars access the internet going forward..

Its one of the big reasons that North American internet access is lagging behind the rest of the world.

RE: another option
By kattanna on 2/8/2011 1:26:17 PM , Rating: 4
Its one of the big reasons that North American internet access is lagging behind the rest of the world.

maybe you should pick yourself up a map some day and give it a good look.

are you honestly going to compare places like south korea, japan or sweden etc, to the US? why dont you check those places over and look up land area vs population to get the density figures and come back and tell me why in many parts of rural america where livestock outnumbers people, WHY?!?! they dont have highspeed internet

america is HUGE

RE: another option
By Denigrate on 2/8/2011 12:34:59 PM , Rating: 1
Then we couldn't waste money needlessly. The government is built to keep waste at a high, not eliminate waste.

RE: another option
By DanNeely on 2/8/2011 1:17:59 PM , Rating: 2
$50/mo satellite internet (from wild blue) has a monthly download cap less half the size of a 56k line. Their $80/mo package is the only one that comes close to matching it. 17.5GB vs 18.1. Even factoring in the cost of a 2nd landline dialup is still cheaper. And at 1.5MB/sec down it's still too slow to do anything more intensive than stream audio or watch minimum quality online video.

The best I can say is that it's finally became less of a joke than cellular broadband on usage caps; even if it sucks more in every other way.

RE: another option
By mcnabney on 2/8/2011 1:52:06 PM , Rating: 2
You chose to live there, and surprise, there are tradeoffs.

Housing costs are really low.
Internet costs are higher.

You should be looking forward to Verizon's LTE service. I believe their plan is to cover massive swaths of rural America with it using the massive range that the 700mhz spectrum they bought (coast to coast). You might need to pay the extra for a top data package, but at least you will get speeds better than most cable connections and low-low latency.

RE: another option
By StevoLincolnite on 2/8/2011 8:58:37 PM , Rating: 2
Of course their are trade-offs, always is in life.

However, if Australia can provide 93% of it's population with 100mbps with capacity for even faster Fiber for a price tag of only 43 Billion dollars... With the rest filled in with high-speed Wireless and Satellite that achieves at a minimum 12mbps...

Couldn't the US do the same for the same price if not cheaper?
I mean you guys spent Trillions bailing out other companies during the financial crisis yet can't even provide decent broadband to less densely populated regions, clearly competition in the Telecommunications sector hasn't exactly been great.

And yet providing broadband to Regional areas has massive benefits to productivity and the economy.

* Like... Remote controlled tractors, saw one in action last year, amazing stuff, one farmer could control several Tractors in tandem to get the job done in less time.

* Cheap IPTV and VOIP.

* Providing broadband to regional areas also means that there needs to be more back-haul and redundancy improving reliability in city areas if a cable goes down.

* E-Health.

* Suddenly a small businesses customer base is no longer hampered by geography.

RE: another option
By Motoman on 2/9/2011 10:48:17 AM , Rating: 2
The population of Australia is ~22 million. Which is roughly 7% of the population of the USA.

Australia is a vast country in landmass, but there's no valid comparison to make when looking and the sheer numbers of Australian citizens in rural areas vs. the number of Americans in rural areas.

RE: another option
By silverblue on 2/11/2011 4:20:21 AM , Rating: 2
Most Australians live on the coast as the vast majority of their continent is semi-arid or desert. The same, of course cannot be said for the USA. Personally, I'll never get over why so many Americans live in areas prone to violent weather, but that's their choice really.

Had Australia more habitable land, I think it's safe to assume the population would be far higher than it is now.

RE: another option
By wookie1 on 2/9/2011 12:22:59 PM , Rating: 2
"Couldn't the US do the same for the same price if not cheaper?"

I think this is the wrong question. Why should we divert our scarce resources to this cause? Why should we forcibly take money out of other people's pockets to pay for this? We're out of money. We owe $14T to our creditors and run a structural deficit of $1.5T per year, not including off-the-books costs like medicare, social security, and defined-benefit pensions for government employees.

The question to ask for any of these broadband-for-all programs and their ilk are can't we do without them, rather than can we afford the extra monthly payment?

RE: another option
By mindless1 on 2/14/2011 6:36:53 AM , Rating: 2
The answer is that the government is going to take the money anyway, so it boils down to a choice of whether to waste it doing stupid things like burying CO2, or doing smart things like increasing value-added infrastructure.

I can understand the concept behind this...
By MrBlastman on 2/8/11, Rating: 0
RE: I can understand the concept behind this...
By DanNeely on 2/8/2011 2:10:40 PM , Rating: 2
If the telecom companies weren't aggressively buying our state/federal governments to forbid municipal broadband from being deployed in areas that they don't feel are worth providing service your argument might be more credible.

By MrBlastman on 2/8/2011 3:57:31 PM , Rating: 2
So you're saying we should line all the lobbyists up in front of a firing squad? :)

By ebakke on 2/8/2011 6:31:44 PM , Rating: 2
What good is municipal broadband in a city where 15 people live in the city limits, and everyone else live 15 miles from "downtown" (read: the one street that drives by city hall). We're talking about rural areas here.

RE: I can understand the concept behind this...
By ebakke on 2/8/2011 6:36:33 PM , Rating: 2
I'm fine with governments existing, and doing things. My beef is with the Federal government doing all of them. Why do I, in MN, care about the Hoover Dam? Or roads outside of MN? Even if I travel, if the roads suck in WI, I just won't go back. I'll give you the Panama Canal, but only because other sovereign nations are involved.

By supermitsuba on 2/9/2011 11:37:08 AM , Rating: 2
that is one opinion out of millions who would disagree otherwise. There are reasons people live in those places. Who actually export stuff from their small city to the larger cities. And if broadband provides more economic opportunities to be in the sticks, then isnt that worth it enough? Gee something the government can do to spark the economy.

By wookie1 on 2/9/2011 11:07:18 AM , Rating: 1
" i would rather pay for this than inner city welfare. "

Once you allow the gov't to take your money, its not your choice anymore how it is spent. Sure, you can vote for different representatives, but it's unlikely that their spending priorities will agree with yours.

Of course, most people don't want to live in a lawless land with no governmental structure that is vulnerable to takeover from hostile forces, and we don't want people who are befelled with unfortunate occurrences to simply die of starvation. So, a government structure is needed in order for us to live in a civilized environment, but the burden and scope of government should be minimized so that each person on their own can determine what to spend their precious resources on.

subsidy placement
By RedemptionAD on 2/8/2011 7:16:59 PM , Rating: 2
How about subsidize cell towers for the areas get both services covered in one shot and I would bet they could get more than one house for 20k a year. Have a "community" tower set up for both next gen tech LTE/WIMAX as well as current tech from the same tower if possible and boom problem solved gov pays for the tower assists for tech install and providers pay the upkeep from clients.

By thebest11778 on 2/8/2011 10:16:54 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know about you guys, but there certainly are days I wished I lived in a rural environment. I, personally, want to buy a farm in the middle of no where to avoid other people. I don't think these people that choose to live that life style care much about facebook. I have many customers currently that only have dial up because they're rural, and they just check their email once a day, and maybe check out a bit of news. People choose where they live according to their life style. If someone polled these people and asked "Hey would you like cheap/free high speed internet?" I bet most of them we say ok. Now if you asked them "Hey would you like cheap/free high speed internet, and we're going to bill your kids in NY for the differece?" They'd probably say what they have is fine.

Not to mention Verzion's on the ball, and will have the country covered within a few years anyway. Why take money away from many to give to a few? That never makes sense to me, but it's the government's favorite strategy.

Getting rid of landlines
By guzzisport on 2/9/2011 12:11:04 AM , Rating: 2
I live in the Digital Desert of rural America. I do have Hughesnet but it could only be laughingly called broadband. If the weather is bad, it is useless. The landline I have is the only fault free contact with medical and fire services. Calls to AT&T, Cox or any of the normal urban broadband carriers have made it abundantly clear that they will never expand services into the rural areas. I can't blame them, it doesn't make sense economically. Government has repeatedly demonstrated its inability to expand these kinds of technologies at affordable prices to rural areas so for the time being, it would better to at least let the landlines exist until such time as internet through powerline technology matures or some other technology becomes viable. That won't come soon either. Great Britain is having fairly good success with wideband and ultra-wideband deployment but lets face it, no European country encompasses the area that the USA does. Let sleeping dogs lie and leave my landline alone.

By Mathos on 2/9/2011 10:00:37 AM , Rating: 2
If only I could ever read a post about the government trying to do something without someone bringing entitlement into it in the comments.

Since Water and electricity aren't a right, then lets cut off all public water to those who live in cities, as well as, if they want electricity they have to pay for lines to be run to their homes. If they want water, they can pay to have a personal well drilled, or go to the local water well and wait in line. Let's forget about the increase in disease and parasite spreading that would happen from lack of running water for health and sanitation purposes. Granted this wouldn't be a problem out in rural area's since most people who live in those area's have paid to have water wells drilled, and pay the utilities to provide electricity to operate the pumps on those wells.

I've lived out in the country myself, currently do, and I've also lived in town or in cities before. I've known quite a few farmers, in fact there are even a few in the family. Do they absolutely need basic broadband as a right, no. But if they at least had the option to get access to dependable broadband, would they? Yes. It can be a very invaluable tool for doing business, keeping track of crop yields, keeping up info about new crop demands, or types of seed, cooperating with other nearby farmers to determine which crops to grow without stepping on each others feet, etc.

The problem isn't that people think its their right, since none of the people I know feel that way. It's the fact that the option simply isn't available in the first place. And the only reason it's not available is due to Greedy Telcoms/cable companies not wanting to invest in the infrastructure to make it possible. Which means either the local, state, or federal government is forced to step in to make it happen. We've seen what happens almost every time the local government tries to set up a local broadband service. They end up getting sued by the telco/cable companies for doing so, or those same companies try and push legislation through on a state or higher level to keep it from happening.

By p05esto on 2/8/11, Rating: -1
RE: Stupidity
By mindless1 on 2/8/2011 3:51:38 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, they are talking about doing away with rural phone service which is a basic need far more important than broadband. If they are that rural do you really think there is a cell phone tower a couple of miles away? Think again.

You wrote that with internet you get telephone service but have you seen some of these rural areas? They are too impoverished to pay for the broadband, let alone broadband PLUS telephone over broadband. Plus, it is a bit backwards thinking because with telephone service you bring the potential for DSL if it is affordable, and otherwise many of these people depend on satellite internet access which needs a phone line. I have to suspect you don't know anyone or their issues living in a rural area.

You are suggesting everyone in rural america would be cut off, but above I mentioned satellite internet access, there is nowhere a person is really cut off if they want access, but if they don't even have a phone line how the heck are they even going to order the service or report downtime? I guess they have to drive to the city to get cellphone acess and sit in their car waiting on hold for a half hour to talk to someone who can't help them because the tech is saying reboot the cable modem while they have to drive back home to do it then drive back to town to tell them they did it?

You haven't thought this through very well at all.

RE: Stupidity
By AntiM on 2/8/2011 4:00:56 PM , Rating: 2
Much of this money goes straight into the Telco's pockets, without contributing to anyone's benefit but their own. If every dollar of this fund could be accounted for, I would be more inclined to support it.

RE: Stupidity
By mindless1 on 2/10/2011 5:48:30 AM , Rating: 2
For now, yes, you have to give them incentives to build and maintain infrastructure that is otherwise seemingly unprofitable.

You might say "but why should my tax dollars go towards that?" when the real issue is, their tax dollars are going towards urban projects and other pork that they don't care much about if they can't even have phone service, so fair is fair, a minor cost to keep phone service AND broadband is prudent, but not taking away the former to get the latter.

Years from now, when everything is done wirelessly, I'll have a different perspective that there is no longer the need for Ma Bell's twisted copper lines but to take away one BEFORE you have the other 100% leaves a huge gap in service.

RE: Stupidity
By wookie1 on 2/9/2011 11:15:50 AM , Rating: 1
You don't think that there is any way for people that need or want broadband to get it without the government doing it for them? Do we force them to pay for it even if they don't even want to use it? I haven't heard of anything really blocking anyone in rural areas from getting access if they want it, as satellite service can pretty much cover anywhere. I hear about how hard or expensive it is right after the DT article mentions that in some cases taxpayers are paying $2000 per month to provide phone service to some individuals.

"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

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