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  (Source: Comsoff)

Barack Obama has finally unveiled hard numbers and a plan of action for his call to expand wireless and broadband access to Americans who don't currently have it.  (Source: Majordomo)

Among the targets of increased broadband coverage will be poor rural farming regions across the country. Many of these regions currently have no broadband or 3G cell phone service.  (Source: Timberside Farms)
Inside Uncle Sam's magical self-funding internet dream

After much talk, U.S. President Barack Obama has finally delivered a concrete plan for how he will fund his plan for government-funded internet expansion.  The only thing is the published details [press release] concerning the plan jump all over the place.  But never fear, we're here to break it down for you, exactly where the Obama administration (claims) the money for Nation wireless and broadband is coming from and where it's supposed to be going to (and when).

I. Time Frame

First the time frame -- according to the release, the National broadband plan will be executed over the next 10 years, with much of its success criteria targeting improvements at the five year mark.

II. Funding

(This gets rather long... there's a quick cheat sheet at the end)

Funding for the initiative begins with the auction of 500 MHz of wireless spectrum over the next decade.  That measure is supposed to raise $27.8B USD in today's money.  Presumably this figure is after broadcasters' cut from incentives auctions (more on that in a bit), but the release wasn't exactly clear in this regard.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has already found 115 MHz of unused government spectrum to put towards the auction (hopefully this isn't a case like when the U.S. accidentally sold the spectrum it used for B-2 Stealth Bomber communications).  The NTIA is currently evaluating another possibly auctionable 95 MHz of spectrum.  That would bump the total to 210 MHz.  And the NTIA thinks it may be able to squeeze out a few more small chunks of spectrum by having government networks make more efficient and full use of their allotted spectrum.

President Obama hopes to get the remaining 250 to 300 MHz of spectrum via incentive auctions for broadcast TV companies who are sitting on unused spectrum.  The U.S. Federal Communications Commission does not have the power to hold these auctions.  In order to hold the divided Congress will have to approve of the plan.  

Under the plan, most of the collected spectrum would be sold to companies like Verizon Wireless or AT&T, while a small amount would be reserved for unlicensed use. To "spur innovation" $3B USD of the auction proceeds would be funneled to research grants for "emerging wireless technologies and applications".  This fund would be dubbed the Wireless Innovation (WIN).

The next source of funding would come via a revamping of the Universal Services Fund (USF).  That fund currently pours $4.3B USD into the landlines.  Under the President's plan, that funding would be phased out and replaced with support for funding broadband expansion and services in rural and low-income areas.  That funding could provide as much as $30-40B USD over the next decade, depending on how fast landline subsidies are turned off. 

Under the proposal a "one-time investment" of $5B USD would also be added to the pool.  This investment would go towards expanding rural 4G wireless coverage.

President Obama is also calling for $10.7B USD, including $500M USD from the WIN fund, to develop a modern public safety network to inform the public in the event of a terrorist attack, national disaster, etc.  Of that funding $3.2B USD would go towards reallocating the D-Block of spectrum, which is currently reserved for emergency communications.  Under the plan their might be auctions to telecoms, if those telecoms are willing to work to fund and support coexisting emergency broadcast systems on their chunk of purchased D-Block spectrum.  

In total $7B USD would go towards directly deploying the network.  And the $500M USD from the WIN fund would go towards research and development of new public safety broadcast technologies.

In short, this aspect of the funding would necessitate $10.2B USD on top of the previous funding.

The remaining $9.6B USD from the auction would be put to use cutting a chunk out of the growing deficit.

The follow "cheat sheet" sums up the plan:

+/- $25-30B USD
 (USF transfer -- no more or less funding than current)
+$27.8B USD (auction proceeds, after partners' "cut")
- $ 5.0B USD (4G deployment one time expense)
- $ 3.0B USD (WIN fund)
- $10.2B USD (Public safety network)
$9.6B USD (leftover funding; used to cut deficit)

III. What America Gets Out of the Plan

According to President Obama, $5B USD of the funding will be used to expand wireless coverage from 95 percent of Americans to 98 percent of Americans.  Most of these 3 percent live in impoverished or remote areas that don't make sense for the profit-driven telecoms to come to.  That said, these regions often perform vital functions to our nation's economy like food-growing.

The additional 3 percent of Americans equates to roughly 9.2 million people.  That figure is substantially more sedate than the previous promise by the FCC and Obama administration to cover 100 million people with 100 Mbps internet.  The additional coverage will all be high-quality 4G networks. (e.g. LTE/WiMAX).

The benefits of the public safety network are obvious.  The government will be able to prevent some of the loss of life and property that occurred in events like Hurricane Katrina.  And the public will be less likely to endure the fear and uncertainty that it did on the infamous 9/11 attacks in 2001.

The transferred $4.3B USD a year in USF funding will help deploy broadband to many other rural Americans, without further expanding the budget.

And the WIN fund will likely go a long ways to support research at universities and wireless startups across the country.

A final upside that must be considered is the positive effects of auction off the 4G spectrum.  While 500 MHz isn't going to radical alter how we consume wireless data, it will go a long way towards relieving congestion and delivering faster service.  In fact, that much spectrum would nearly double the amount currently available to the wireless industry.

The Obama administration claims that, at the end of the day, broadband and high-speed wireless access will spur new business development in rural areas and help Americans enjoy a better standard of living.  These seem like good things and could lead to an increase in the GDP and, in turn, government tax revenues.

IV. Analysis -- Super-Star or Fantastic Flop?  The Outlook for the Plan

So what's the verdict on the plan as a whole?

Probably the best aspect of it is that if it sticks to its promises, it will actually cut federal spending, rather than increase it.  And the key parts of the plan will largely be executed by private sector, which will please proponents of the free market.

Also, it's hard to argue that the government should take no action to try to expand wireless and broadband availability.  Much like high-speed rail, the U.S.'s competitors are spending to expand this infrastructure, and if the U.S. doesn't keep up, it risks becoming a second-class power.  And the private sector, due its focus on profits, has expressed little interest in preventing this from happening.  So at the end of the day the government has to step in, but the questions are "in what way?" and "how much?"

The big problem with the plan is that it is perhaps overly optimistic.  The $10B USD could cover 9.2 million Americans with 4G, if it was applied very efficiently.  However, government efforts, including those of the Obama administration (and its predecessor the Bush administration) seldom showcase such fiscal responsibility.  

In all likelihood the plan will end up either costing more than the Obama administration's optimistic figure, or it will deliver less results.  Either way, people won't be happy.

In other words, this plan is good, but it's not great.  It's a concrete vision, but if we've learned anything from history it's an overly optimistic one.  In the end "yes we can" will likely become, "well we did -- sort of".  The effort will help the U.S. keep from falling behind in the world tech race, but will it be enough?  It's hard to say.  And it is equally hard to predict what the reaction across the political spectrum will be to Obama's vision.

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That Pesky Constitution
By DaveLessnau on 2/10/2011 5:13:44 PM , Rating: 4
Also, it's hard to argue that the government should take no action to try to expand wireless and broadband availability.

It's not hard at all: show me where the United States Constitution authorizes any part of the Federal government to meddle with anything remotely like this. In case you can't find your copy of the Constitution at home, here's a link:

And, in case you've forgotten that the Constitution holds the entirety of everything the Federal government can do, here's the 10th Amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By ICBM on 2/10/2011 5:29:25 PM , Rating: 4
Aren't Interstates a federal project? I would think this would fall under the same rules.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By Cakemeister on 2/10/2011 5:34:19 PM , Rating: 1
The Commerce Clause covers situations like this.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By JBird7986 on 2/10/11, Rating: 0
RE: That Pesky Constitution
By The Raven on 2/10/2011 6:29:45 PM , Rating: 5
The commerce clause was abused with the Interstate system and it was abused with the health care act. Can we stop abusing this?

But at least Ike had a pretty good reason for it.
From Wikipedia:
Eisenhower gained an appreciation of the German Autobahn network as a necessary component of a national defense system while he was serving as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe during World War II. He recognized that the proposed system would also provide key ground transport routes for military supplies and troop deployments in case of an emergency or foreign invasion.
Sounds pretty important compared to Obama's plan. I mean who is saying, "If we don't have the gov't step in and do something about the Internet, there will be no stopping the Germans?!"
And also the Internet is already here. We already have a 'highway' when it comes to the Internet. In fact it is an 'information superhighway'.

It would be like if the gov't built the Interstate when we already had an Interstate. It would just had more bells and whistles that would've eventually come along anyway given a free market.

And I don't mean to sound down on the Interstate since that is in the past and I don't have to vote one way or another regarding that, but I do know that this Internet proposal (and the health care one while we are at it) certainly isn't needed as much as the Interstate.

The point of Obama's plan is to reach out to farmers and such. I got news for y'all...the Interstate doesn't go to farmers either.

This is clearly the feds trying to cross the line. And President Obama is a habitual line stepper.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By Iaiken on 2/10/11, Rating: -1
RE: That Pesky Constitution
By Nfarce on 2/10/2011 8:04:26 PM , Rating: 2
Instead of calling someone else a troll, why don't you just pick his post apart piece by piece and counter it like an adult? Oh. I guess calling someone else a troll is a lot easier to manage.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By bug77 on 2/10/2011 7:15:26 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds pretty important compared to Obama's plan.

Dude, are you insane? Do you really want to see the US invaded by <insert foreign country here> while 3% of the population can't tweet about it or update their facebook page? How was Eisenhower's motives more important?

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By Nfarce on 2/10/2011 8:27:44 PM , Rating: 3
What's missing here is that Eisenhower during WWII saw the US road infrastructure as a hindrance in logistics getting troops, supplies, and equipment from one end of nation to the other rapidly and in large scale. Rail wasn't fast enough and there weren't many transport aircraft available, and the transport aircraft that were available didn't carry much relatively speaking (DC-3 for example).

Web access for everyone is an entirely different theory and has nothing to do with national security and US military logistics which is definitely more important that BillyBob in DeMoines, IA checking out fat chick p0rn on his mobile phone.

And then there's the prospect of the Obama administration implementing an internet "kill" switch in the event of a so-called national emergency (like the Egyptian government shutting down web).

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By The Raven on 2/11/2011 11:40:57 AM , Rating: 2
You know on second thought I think I once heard that although Ike was all for this Interstate system he feared the precedent it would set.

But I don't want to spread rumors. Please note that this is just me trying to remember something I once heard. Please let me know if any of you have heard of this. I tried to Google it, but to no avail.

Also it may have been some other proponent of the system other than Ike. But it was a proponent.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By Wererat on 2/10/2011 6:20:05 PM , Rating: 5
The Commerce Clause is so badly abused as to be meaningless; all it says in practice is "the Feds want to, they will."

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By Nfarce on 2/10/2011 8:43:13 PM , Rating: 3
It's not so much that it's abused, it's just very vague and good lawyers - and politicians with lawyer backgrounds - can successfully navigate through the gray areas for the outcome they want.

The Commerce Clause is routinely cited as the validation for Obamacare mandating someone to buy into the program by law - and threaten those who do not with fines and possibly even worse. Normally it is unconstitutional for a government entity to force someone to buy a legally binding contract which is why so many states are rejecting Obamacare and intend on suing the federal government over it.

But the bottom line here is that the federal government - and politicians both Democrat and Republican - will do whatever they damn well please if they want it bad enough. And that includes confiscating your home through Eminent Domain.

Elections have consequences.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By BansheeX on 2/11/2011 5:59:41 AM , Rating: 3
Not buying something = not engaging in commerce. If not buying something is commerce, then what isn't commerce? There's nothing gray about it, we just have a buttload of political activist judges who don't do their job.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By The Raven on 2/11/2011 12:03:35 PM , Rating: 3
Oh snap! I like that one. Prove us wrong judges!

I'd also like to know how the courts are always split (depending on size) 4/3 or 5/4 or whatever on decisions. I mean really? Half of the super educated people interperet a constitution one way and the other half interperet it completely the opposite regarding our basic rights? How is this not explained by judges being bought off?

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By zixin on 2/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: That Pesky Constitution
By Ammohunt on 2/11/2011 2:19:06 PM , Rating: 2
Becasue driving in a state is a privilege not a right..know the difference?

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By eggman on 2/11/2011 3:52:39 PM , Rating: 2
Health care is not a right, is it?

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By SlyNine on 2/12/2011 8:24:06 PM , Rating: 1
No, it is not. I believe it should be, Everyone here spends more money on healthcare than they know.

1. Most bankruptcy filed for medical reasons the people had health insurance when they started accumulating debt, guess who foots those bills, You do.

2. When someone waits until a situation is grave to go to the doctor ( which happens A LOT with people without medical insurance) The bills become astronomical and they never pay. Guess who pays the bill. YOU DO.

3. Health insurance isn't something that the free market should have anything to do with. There isn't a product that can be improved. They don't make anything, all you have is greedy people trying to get your money and give you as little in return for it as they can. Tell me how this is any better than government run health.

4. We pay MORE per person in this country because of how we handle health care. You would SAVE money with socialized health care. Do you honestly think you're getting a good deal from your health care provider? Even if you are getting it from work, that money still comes from somewhere. You would probably pay less in the tax increase than the money your employer could give you. And lets not forget

Most bankruptcy for filed for medical reasons is filed from people that had insurance when they started accumulating medical debt.

ya ya I get it, you guys think the government shouldn't do anything and have a huge bias against anything socialized. While I agree with that in many ways, something should be socialized.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By diggernash on 2/13/2011 9:29:30 AM , Rating: 3
You want more socialization to treat the symptoms of socialization. Another option is to treat the disease. You remove indigent care from the system and your argument is gone. Freely donated monies could be used to treat those who can not pay. If that money runs out before everyone is treated, then they don't get treated. Why should someone get the latest treatment to prolong their life for six months if they can't pay for it? Because the medical community gets to suck more money out of us. It is that simple. If the country as a whole truly cares about them, the money will be their from private sources. End of story.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By SlyNine on 2/14/2011 8:01:09 AM , Rating: 2
You're baseing your whole argument on an assumption. In fact, The Idea that "Donated money" would pay for people who can not afford it is LAUGHABLE. I know people who could not get the care they needed and are filing bankruptcy.

What I think is funny is you do not understand that your HEALTH INSURANCE would not cover you in full, and that you would be reliant on this donated money as much as the next guy.

"You want more socialization to treat the symptoms of socialization" What a bunch of BS designed to be nothing more then an emotional appeal.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By SPOOFE on 2/13/2011 10:46:23 PM , Rating: 2
Guess who pays the bill.

Cry me a river; the taxpayer pays the bill because the populace recognizes how ugly the world would be if hospitals plain refused treatment if they didn't think you could pay. That's why there's a Federal law requiring them to provide treatment. But it's pretty dishonest to insist we need a law to mitigate the negative, inherent consequences of another law.

If you live where there's avalanches, you take measures to protect yourself from avalanches. But if someone's CAUSING avalanches, you take steps to stop him from causing avalanches. Why should everyone else suffer because of a handful of deadbeats?

Tell me how this is any better than government run health.

Choice. People tend to prefer it.

We pay MORE per person in this country because of how we handle health care

We also don't have people waiting ten months for necessary surgery, nor are they banned from paying for such surgeries out of their own pocket. For every lousy thing you can say about privatized health care, there's a lousy thing to say about government-run health care.

You would SAVE money with socialized health care.

Just as McDonald's SAVES money by using crappy ingredients.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By SlyNine on 2/14/2011 8:06:00 AM , Rating: 1
Nice second guy to start out with an emotion appeal.

Are you suggesting that the hospitals refuse treatment? Is that your answer??

Ok I just want to be clear that this is the answer, we just send people that cannot take care of themselves out to die.

And seriously, These walk in clinics do not take more then 30min to treat people, and they are FREE. So don't try and lie and say they wait for 10 months, THEY DO NOT. On average people in this country wait longer for health care.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By eggman on 2/14/2011 3:40:51 PM , Rating: 2
Do you have first hand experience of government run health care?

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By Parhel on 2/11/2011 4:34:52 PM , Rating: 2
In the context of this discussion, the difference is that of a Federal government mandate versus a State government mandate, and which level of government has the right to control what.

On one side, you have a federal government who is indeed slowly grabbing more and more power. But, on the other the hand you have States' Rights fundamentalists who want to pretend the Civil War never happened and refuse to acknowledge that it's 2011.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By KCjoker on 2/11/2011 6:59:04 PM , Rating: 3
Because you don't have to drive a car which means you don't have to buy auto insurance. You have a choice whether to own a car or not. Obamacare gives you no choice.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By JediJeb on 2/12/2011 6:25:48 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly! You can decide not to buy a car and not have to buy insurance. With the mandated health insurance you have to decide not to live to not have to buy insurance. Therefore the exact analogy would not be states requiring you to buy car insurance but states requiring you go buy a car.

If the precedent of the insurance mandate stands then it opens the door for the Federal Government to require all citizens to buy a car, or to buy a house, or to buy pink hot pants, whatever you want to throw in there.

The commerce clause is there to regulate buying and selling across state lines or the procedures to do so, not to mandate any such purchases.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By RedemptionAD on 2/10/2011 7:25:48 PM , Rating: 5
If politicians have "hoes in different area codes" is that covered under the commerce clause as that would be interstate commerce? J/k....kinda

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By shin0bi272 on 2/13/2011 12:17:24 PM , Rating: 2
actually if you read federalist papers #41 or 42 I think it was Hamilton describes that the commerce clause is there to allow the federal government to put a TAX on goods traded between the states and not to deem how those goods are used or how many you have to purchase or any other tenuous association with the word REGULATE you wanna come up with. The clause is there to ensure free trade between the states themselves (meaning ny cant put a tax on something going to a slave state just because ny is opposed to slavery) and the indian nations but the federal government CAN tax it. Thats it.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By MozeeToby on 2/10/2011 5:44:29 PM , Rating: 1
The Federal government (through the FCC) has been doing the same thing for phone and radio service since 1934, this is simply expanding a nearly 80 year old piece of legislation to include modern technologies.

As to where in the constitution they are given this power, I would look under the Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3), which gives the federal government the power "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States...". Communications in general and the internet in particular are essential to modern commerce. No one has ever managed to get a major US court to even take seriously a constitutional argument against the 1934 Communications Act which was passed along these same lines so it would appear the legal experts disagree with you.

Of course, you could easily argue it just from the preamble's "promote the general Welfare" which is exactly what managing the spectrum in general does, since without this management many services would be difficult or impossible to implement. Setting a portion of this spectrum aside supports the general welfare by providing emergency channels and communication access for as many people as possible.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By The Raven on 2/10/2011 6:36:58 PM , Rating: 3
Of course, you could easily argue it just from the preamble's "promote the general Welfare" which is exactly what managing the spectrum in general does, since without this management many services would be difficult or impossible to implement.

Well let's also make everyone drive the same car, which the gov't determines as the safest while we are at it. And let's ban all unhealthy foods, and let's...
That will all promote the general welfare. I think we have to look at the big picture here.

At any rate, it is not so easily argued.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By rdawise on 2/10/2011 7:50:39 PM , Rating: 2
Well let's also make everyone drive the same car, which the gov't determines as the safest while we are at it.

Doesn't the government set safety regulations on cars now?

And let's ban all unhealthy foods, and let's... That will all promote the general welfare

How does this promote general welfare of "state's"?

What the previous poster is saying that "general Welfare" is a vague term which (unfortunately) can umbrella a lot of things.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By The Raven on 2/11/2011 11:53:33 AM , Rating: 2
"State's?" What about states? State like the US, or state like Missouri, or state like Billy Joel?

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare , and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

No... MY point is that "general welfare" can be vague.
They were saying that it specifically gives this broadband plan a pass. I was saying that you could give a lot of things a pass with that thinking. And I don't want to give anything a pass if it is not doing this part of the preamble...
secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By The Raven on 2/11/2011 12:13:27 PM , Rating: 2
I forgot to reply to your 2 counters.
Doesn't the government set safety regulations on cars now?

Yes they do, and no they shouldn't. Or at least as much as they do. Like the Toyota snafu for example. I am also anti-helmet laws and anti-seatbelt/carseat laws and anti-speeding laws, but I am for some control on the road regarding driver behavior like reckless driving (which can consist of speeding among other things).
How does this promote general welfare of "state's"?

A healthy diet reduces costs to a family greatly compared to the average American's current diet. So it would help financially right there. (They could then afford broadband ;-) Then there is the more subjective "they will feel better about themselves and more energetic" factor that is less easily measured.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By Nfarce on 2/10/2011 8:50:17 PM , Rating: 2
Well let's also make everyone drive the same car, which the gov't determines as the safest while we are at it. And let's ban all unhealthy foods, and let's... That will all promote the general welfare.

What do you mean, "while we're at it." Hell just look at how the current administration mandating smaller and smaller cars and wishing to kill off SUVs through CAFE. And in the case of food, just look at Michelle Obama trying to get into our pantries and into the kitchens of American restaurants telling us all what we should eat and serve.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By kc77 on 2/10/2011 5:47:34 PM , Rating: 2
Article 1 Section 8 makes mention of the general welfare of the country.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By etekberg on 2/10/2011 8:19:16 PM , Rating: 4
From a recent article by one of the great men of our time, Walter Williams:

Here's what Thomas Jefferson said: "Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated."
Madison added, "With respect to the two words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators."

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By DNAgent on 2/10/11, Rating: 0
RE: That Pesky Constitution
By SPOOFE on 2/13/2011 11:57:22 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, a "great man of our time" who is a secessionist, loves to brag about the number of times he's read Common Sense, and spouts Constitutional analysis on the level of what is taught to law students across this country in the first two weeks of classes. Forgive me for not being impressed.

Good job shooting the messenger. What say you to his message?

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By Nfarce on 2/10/2011 8:45:30 PM , Rating: 2
Please define "general welfare" as our Founding Fathers referenced it.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By gamerk2 on 2/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: That Pesky Constitution
By SPOOFE on 2/14/2011 12:08:13 AM , Rating: 2
. As such, any law which can be shown to be a net positive is, provided it doesn't conflict with any other part of the constitution, constitutional.

Interesting take. Going by your explanation, it stands implicitly that any law which can be shown to be a net negative is unconstitutional. Federal Assault Weapon Ban, anyone?

Heck, this opens up all kinds of doors: If you don't like a law, riot a lot and make a lot of noise about how you don't like the law. If the costs of the riots outweigh any benefit from the law, the law has a net negative and is thus made unconstitutional. Sounds like a rip-roarin' good time to me.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By gamerk2 on 2/11/2011 7:46:10 AM , Rating: 2
Spending clause + General Welfare clause. Even members of the Supreme Court, such as Alito and Roberts openly admit these two clauses essentially make it possible for the Federal Government to spend taxpayer money, frankly, however they want.

As such, the 10th ammendment has no legal standing whatsoever, as since Congress has the power to spend money however it wants, there is very little power NOT implicity given to congress. And before you complain, thats how the 10th ammendment has been interpreted for over 250 years now.

RE: That Pesky Constitution
By Ammohunt on 2/11/2011 2:22:18 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't worry to much who wants use Internet ran with all the efficiencies of serving #5

By invidious on 2/10/2011 4:26:17 PM , Rating: 5
Probably the best aspect of it is that if it sticks to its promises, it will actually cut federal spending, rather than increase it
This is not a cut in spending. This is selling off of government resources and spending only some of it instead of all of it. If we are selling off $25billion of property and only putting $10billion towards the deficit then this plan is costing taxpaters $15billion . Opportunity cost is still cost.

So the real question is if you wanted the government to spend $15billion of your money, is this what you would want them to do with it? I think the 97% of americans who this does not affect would say no.

RE: bookkeeping
By Wererat on 2/10/2011 6:16:38 PM , Rating: 5
This of course somehow presumes that a given radio spectrum properly belongs to the government. The archaic telecom laws say so, but think about it de novo and it'll make as much sense as auctioning off the color blue.

RE: bookkeeping
By joex444 on 2/10/2011 9:02:09 PM , Rating: 1
Native Americans thought you couldn't buy or sell land because it can't be owned. How'd that work out?

RE: bookkeeping
By Nfarce on 2/10/11, Rating: 0
RE: bookkeeping
By Klinky1984 on 2/10/2011 9:56:34 PM , Rating: 2
When the name "America" was applied to America, the Native Americans were indeed the natives of America. How they got there doesn't detract from the phrase "Native Americans".

RE: bookkeeping
By overlandpark4me on 2/10/2011 11:40:06 PM , Rating: 5
We should have a pow wow to discuss it.

RE: bookkeeping
By sgw2n5 on 2/10/2011 10:11:59 PM , Rating: 1
So what? If you go back far enough we all came from Africa anyway. Not sure what you were getting at there

RE: bookkeeping
By Queonda on 2/10/2011 11:00:42 PM , Rating: 1
If you've ever read the Book of Mormon you'd know that Native Americans are all descendants of the lost 10 tribes of Israel. And there were horses before Columbus, and Jesus before Mayans!

RE: bookkeeping
By SPOOFE on 2/14/2011 12:23:35 AM , Rating: 2
The Book of Alma is the best part. It's like Joe Smith was predicting the movie 300.

RE: bookkeeping
By Amiga500 on 2/11/2011 5:05:01 AM , Rating: 2
Works grand if your hunter/gatherers.

Not so good if you start to farm the land.

RE: bookkeeping
By NullSubroutine on 2/10/2011 7:24:00 PM , Rating: 5
This is still better than many of the alternatives. It is a win/win situation. The .gov isn't gaining anything by holding onto the 500mhz spectrum, the US infrastructure is horrible right now, and ISP's have monopolies over the internet, in addition to the deficit.

This solution helps reduce the deficit, sells off unneeded assets, provides an upgrade to the internet with tangible and positive effects, while bypassing politicians that protect the ISP monopolies, AND not spending additional taxpayer's money.

That isn't even discussing that this still falls within the purview of the powers granted to the, unlike hundreds of other programs the .gov is into (like education/entitlements/etc).

It may not be the complete answer, but it is at least a move in the right direction. If we could just get the to start selling the hoarded land out west...

RE: bookkeeping
By RjBass on 2/10/11, Rating: 0
RE: bookkeeping
By SPOOFE on 2/14/2011 12:34:02 AM , Rating: 2
How dare we not assist 3% of the population to play Farmville. What a wicked, wicked country we are.

RE: bookkeeping
By omnicronx on 2/11/2011 12:53:18 AM , Rating: 3
You do realize why the original land line fund was created?

If you don't expand rural infrastructure, what incentive is there for people to stay there, especially as generations go by?

Its nice that 97% of Americans *think* this does not affect them, but will you be singing the same tune when you have no food to eat because nobody wants to farm anymore?

RE: bookkeeping
By SPOOFE on 2/14/2011 12:35:23 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah, because farming is only profitable with Internet access. That's why farms didn't exist before the Internet.

RE: bookkeeping
By Chillin1248 on 2/11/2011 2:44:39 AM , Rating: 2
Just doing some quick math here:

U.S. Population: 310,797,594
3% of that: 9323927.82
$15 Billion divided by the 3% population: $1608.76 per each.
Average broadband bill in the U.S. in 2009: $39
Average household size in the U.S.: 2.59
Households to Benefit: 3,599,972.13
$15 Billion divided by number of benefactors (houses): $4166.69 each
Months of average cost broadband each: 106.83

Something just doesn't add up here.


RE: bookkeeping
By Uncle on 2/11/2011 2:01:34 PM , Rating: 1
We need proper Accountability. When they dole out the money, send in the IRS to make sure it was spent where it should and not funneled to executives and shareholders of the companies. Reminds me of when the Senate was asking Fed Reserve Chairman Bernacky who recieved a trillion dollars of US taxpayers money and his answer was, "well you know other banks, I just don't know which ones." All this money continually being handed out to your supporters and no one in government making sure where it went.

By espaghetti on 2/10/2011 8:07:17 PM , Rating: 4
3%? Do you think getting a cell phone or a laptop to connect to the internet out in the boon docks is going to put people to work? Answer.

RE: ????????????????????????
By Nfarce on 2/10/2011 8:44:25 PM , Rating: 2
I'm still waiting on all those "shovel ready jobs" that $860 billion stimulus bill passed two years ago was supposed to provide.

RE: ????????????????????????
By kivnul on 2/10/2011 11:46:01 PM , Rating: 4
I work for the Washington State Dept. of Transportation

We routinely have kept several projects worth of plans/designs all worked up for when funding arrives. When the stimulus passed, we got several billion $ in TIGER grants to spend on those projects. These projects were put to bid and most of the money has now been spent. Some is left over in my region and we are reapplying with the feds to keep it and spend it on other projects (bid climate is great right now and we are getting great prices) These projects would still be on the shelf without those stimulus funds. Pretty certain they helped keep some construction workers with jobs and out of the unemployment line.

RE: ????????????????????????
By bobsmith1492 on 2/11/2011 12:32:12 PM , Rating: 2
On the other hand, my city purposely avoided receiving ANYTHING from the Feds because of all the strings attached. We can take care of our roads just fine, thanks.

A boost of extra work to the construction workers is only temporary and won't result in new hires, anyway. When it runs out, too, all the roads are fixed, and then what're people to do? When you start paying out money like that it needs to keep coming permanently or it just messes up the established systems.

RE: ????????????????????????
By bigdawg1988 on 2/12/2011 4:48:36 AM , Rating: 2
One of the main points of the stimulus was to help out the states temporarily and to keep some people employed (the job creation thing was just to sell it). Also, our infrastructure is crumbling, so it was better to spend money to build infrastructure and keep some jobs than paying unemployment or welfare. Obama knew the economy would come back eventually, that's why it was just temporary. They put so many restrictions on the money to try to keep it from being wasted. If people weren't always trying to run scams all these stupid regs wouldn't be necessary.

RE: ????????????????????????
By SPOOFE on 2/14/2011 12:48:24 AM , Rating: 2
If people weren't always trying to run scams all these stupid regs wouldn't be necessary.

If government weren't always throwing money around like it's confetti, people wouldn't be trying to run scams.

RE: ????????????????????????
By espaghetti on 2/12/2011 12:26:44 AM , Rating: 2
AGAIN, Do you think getting a cell phone or a laptop to connect to the internet out in the boon docks is going to put people to work? Answer.

RE: ????????????????????????
By bigdawg1988 on 2/12/2011 4:58:03 AM , Rating: 2
Well, it might help that a company would be more willing to move to a rural area if they know that they can actually get connected to the real world, assuming there are also decent roads. Land, labor, and other costs should be much cheaper. I'm a little surprised that only 5% of people are without good internet access. I live near an area that is not that rural, but there is no broadband access. One of our IT employees lived there and couldn't log-in remotely without having to go to McDonalds or somewhere. That community will NEVER get any business without some sort of broadband access. Imagine kids in those communities without access to the internet, except through dial-up?

And a lot of you must have forgotten about the efforts to bring electricity to Appalachia and other poor areas. Imagine those areas now if the federal government had decided that they had no authority to do so.

RE: ????????????????????????
By c1979h on 2/12/2011 6:44:31 PM , Rating: 2
Ask your state's government where the money is going. If you live in an Rep. state, your reps say they are not taking the money. (even though their pictures are all over the web shaking hands and taking pictures accepting the money)., The are all in fear of being labeled as Obama lovers. Tea party advocates will oust them come election time.

Why 4G?
By bug77 on 2/10/2011 4:36:16 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if it's feasible to offer satellite coverage to remote areas. As in use one giant dish in the sky instead of a legion of towers on the ground.
I know Iridium tanked, but the government already has satellites in the sky. Instead of spending all those money on 4G, maybe diverting some bandwidth is cheaper overall?

RE: Why 4G?
By Expunged on 2/10/2011 11:33:20 PM , Rating: 2
Satellites will never be the answer, the latency is too great. In geosync orbit it takes almost 400 ms just to traverse the space so unless some of the billions we're going to devote to the WIN project somehow change the speed of light satellites are useless for latency sensitive two way communications. Low earth orbit is mostly out of the question as well because you would be required to have a massive number of satellites blanket the sky so as one passed out of coverage there was another one already in range.

Satellite coverage is already offered in most remote areas, something like 99% of the US can get satellite internet. Those who have it hate it if they have experienced anything else except for dial-up. The latency doesn't just destroy online gaming and VoIP but also slows the internet connection considerably. Plus due to the limitations of ACK you are limited by the latency as to the throughput.

RE: Why 4G?
By bug77 on 2/11/2011 4:07:45 AM , Rating: 2
Geosync orbit is just 36km above ground. That's a quarter of a millisecond roundtrip (!). So the limitation is definitely not the speed of light, but the sender/receiver themselves.
Maybe with all that money it is possible to improve on that.

I realize this is no new idea, so somebody has probably looked at it already and tossed it away, but I never saw any discussion about it.

RE: Why 4G?
By elFarto on 2/11/2011 7:26:08 AM , Rating: 3
Geosync orbit is 35,786km not 36km. 36km isn't even in space. 35,786km gives about 250ms latency one way.

RE: Why 4G?
By bug77 on 2/11/2011 8:07:29 AM , Rating: 2
Damned comma! Then again, I should have seen 36km is way too low...

RE: Why 4G?
By Uncle on 2/11/2011 2:44:26 PM , Rating: 2
The speed would be to slow, and no way to increase it down the road.

Private Sector Now?
By ICBM on 2/10/2011 5:27:38 PM , Rating: 2
One problem right now is the telecoms aren't interested in these rural areas. Why should these telecoms care when they have essentially monopolized local phone service with government approval?

I am not a big wireless fan, and I will take a wired connection any day of the week. In these small rural towns, why would AT&T or Verizon have the slightest interest in upgrading their services when they have been granted a monopoly. Town A is AT&T, town B is Verizon, etc. There are no choices, which is what lets the telecoms sit back and do nothing. If you put a little pressure by removing these local monopolies(or threatening to unless they start offering more services), I think we would start to see a lot of these rural towns and rural areas start to get broadband.

RE: Private Sector Now?
By mcnabney on 2/10/2011 6:15:28 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, Verizon is VERY much interested in the rural areas.

That 700mhz spectrum they just bought has amazing range, but not massive capacity. Each tower can support just under 400Mbs, which makes it ideal for rural deployment. They would be the ideal choice for broadband in non-urban environments. That market isn't small and has always been underserved. They could price themselves similarly to satelite data and provide low latency and much higher speeds. Should be able to make a ton of money.

RE: Private Sector Now?
By thurston on 2/10/2011 10:21:36 PM , Rating: 1
Actually, Verizon is VERY much interested in the rural areas.


Verizon recently sold assets in 14 states to Frontier, making Frontier the nations largest rural telecommunications provider.

RE: Private Sector Now?
By omnicronx on 2/11/2011 12:57:50 AM , Rating: 2
Verizon Completes Landline Spinoff To Frontier
We are talking wireless here, and he is correct. In fact your article shows me that they are trying to get out of the landline business in rural areas, and perhaps replace it with something else.. *hint*

RE: Private Sector Now?
By thurston on 2/11/2011 9:14:29 PM , Rating: 2
Please provide evidence that he is correct.

RE: Private Sector Now?
By thurston on 2/11/2011 9:23:11 PM , Rating: 2
Never mind I found it myself.

My apologizes to the OP I was just going by my own experience with Verizon in a rural location. They left their land lines in shambles when they sold out to Frontier where I live. Frontier has been doing a very nice job though and I expect to have access to DSL in a few months.

Doesn't sound like "WiFi" to me
By CZroe on 2/10/2011 6:36:28 PM , Rating: 2
WiMax? LTE? Doesn't sound like "WiFi" to me. Even so, where does it say that this will be "free access?"

And I consider a deficit cut something that reduces the deficit now and in future years, not a one-time profit that is pitted against a much larger and continuing deficit.

RE: Doesn't sound like "WiFi" to me
By Expunged on 2/10/2011 11:23:02 PM , Rating: 2
By the time we hire all the engineers, new people at the FCC, bean counters, do some advertising of how wonderful this is, debate it in congress, amend the bill with a few hundred ear marks, etc there will be no deficit reduction. There is only one way to reduce the deficit, spend LESS than we generate in revenue, it's that simple. Saying that this program will reduce the deficit only holds true if the rest of the government runs at net $0.

The deficit portion of this plan is unfathomable. Even if it does magically reduce the deficit somehow after all the waste it doesn't really matter. That's like overdrawing your bank account by $14 trillion, that's $14,000,000,000,000. Count up all those zeros. Now we bring a check into the bank a deposit it for $9,600,000,000 and expect a major change. Even at 1% interest the national debt accrues $140,000,000,000 in interest. So the money we're taking about here is less than 7% of the interest on the national debt if the debt was at 1% interest. Here's an idea, STOP SPENDING, PERIOD! How much was wasted coming up with this plan and the associated press release?

RE: Doesn't sound like "WiFi" to me
By Conficio on 2/11/2011 9:13:14 AM , Rating: 1
There is only one way to reduce the deficit, spend LESS than we generate in revenue, it's that simple.

Hmm, selling something for $25 B is $25 B in revenue, correct? Spending $15 B of that revenue, is less then $25 B revenue made. So we are reducing the deficit by $10B exactly as in the fashion you suggested (and I agree that there is no other way of reducing a deficit short of defaulting on your dept and obligations).

By Expunged on 2/11/2011 10:17:34 AM , Rating: 2
My point was that the "plan" might call for $25B in revenue and $15B in spending but there was a little part that said:

"The U.S. Federal Communications Commission does not have the power to hold these auctions. In order to hold the divided Congress will have to approve of the plan."

That means that congress will be involved, which is where I got into the earmarks. As I already said as well, we are going to spend some money promoting this, just like the "shovel ready projects" where we made signs to put all over the place saying "A project of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act". That will waste some more money. Then we will have to hire some people to administer this whole thing, creating more federal government jobs that won't go away after the program ends. On and on it goes.....

The plan might be a reduction but by the time it is implemented it will be so bloated and full of waste that it likely won't reduce anything. Just like the BTOP program, it will be months before they even start having hearings on it, then another several months before funding starts to roll out and all along the way they will be dipping into the cookie jar to fund the "project" before anything is even released for funding. I hate to be so skeptical but the best way to ruin the efficiency of anything is to involve the government.

By overlandpark4me on 2/10/2011 11:38:31 PM , Rating: 2
dollars in spending would decrease the deficit too, along with creating 10 jobs. This "citizen" is a genius.

By FastEddieLB on 2/11/2011 12:13:28 AM , Rating: 1
Current deficit: Over $3 Trillion (let's round off)
Proposed money saved by this: $10 Billion
1 Trillion = 1,000 Billion
So 3 Trillion = 3,000 Billion
Divide by 100
30 billion = 1% of deficit
10 billion = 1/3 of 1%

By callmeroy on 2/11/2011 9:08:27 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah but so? What's your point?

Using your logic is the same logic Americans have been using for at least the last decade or so with their personal spending habits -- largely contributing to financial meltdown and the housing crash of '08!

By FastEddieLB on 2/11/2011 5:22:05 PM , Rating: 2
See, this is why everyone is in bad shape. They see a bunch of numbers and instantly freak out. Oh my god, that person used a >! RUN AND HIDE!

By GatoRat on 2/10/2011 10:01:58 PM , Rating: 2
The benefits of the public safety network are obvious.

No they aren't.

If you move where there is no broadband, don't freaking whine about it and rob my pocket for your stupidity.

RE: Benefits?
By diggernash on 2/12/2011 3:47:43 PM , Rating: 2
I would argue that reducing the loss of life during Katrina will result in a long term cost, using tax dollars collected from the individuals that died versus tax dollars handed out to the same. I can not provide any numerical support to this statement, but I firmly believe it.

RE: Benefits?
By diggernash on 2/12/2011 3:49:14 PM , Rating: 2
Change that "will result" to "would have resulted".

Back on this topic again?
By Expunged on 2/10/2011 11:09:07 PM , Rating: 5
Wow, apparently nobody in the federal government understands that this is absurd in a multitude of ways. Every time this comes up I bring up these points, a new post emerges and I feel I have to cover it again to inform people..

The spectrum they are selling is absolutely crap for broadband. Wideband antennas at these frequencies aren't practical, they have far too much reflected power when you deviate more than 10 MHz from the designed frequency. This means you have a 20 MHz window MAXIMUM, at the LTE theoretical 16.32 bits per Hz that's 320 Mbits MAX THEORETICAL. Now we start doing time division and etc and we're down to a considerably lower number. Not to mention an antenna with any kind of gain at these frequencies is massive. So you either have a massive antenna or a high powered transmitter because to maintain the signal to noise ratios required to get even close to the practical, not the theoretical, throughput you won't reach very far from the tower.

Let's talk practical now, you'll see more like 1 bit per Hz on broadcast systems after time division, low signal levels, interference, etc. Most licensed microwave backhauls don't have more than 300 Mbits throughput utilizing a totally clear channel in a point to point situation, 40 MHz of spectrum, 6'+ dishes and 128 or 256 QAM modulation. So the technology isn't there to even backhaul the data much less broadcast it at the rates advertised, and they aren't going to put fiber to towers in the middle of nowhere. Unless the FCC is going to magically manufacture more 6 and 11 GHz spectrum so you can run quad backhauls from cell tower to cell tower until you can reach a point that has fiber this is all meaningless. In rural areas it may be 3-4 hops via microwave backhaul before you reach a site that even has copper, much less fiber, and BTW, the channelized T1's that are carrying voice get priority over data. Now lets compound that with the fact that AT&T, Verizon, and the works oversell their network astronomically and do you really think they are going to deliver 100 Mbits to the middle of nowhere when they can't deliver 10 Mbits to NYC?

We're also back to the concept that the government somehow owns the spectrum. The FCC was charged with administering spectrum, not selling it, they were to license it on a non-interfering basis, not sell it, then ask for it back, and then sell it again. The FCC will sell this spectrum to AT&T and Verizon since they are the two big boys that can bid the most, then when they don't use it as the FCC had in mind they will want it back or cry about it. How about you LICENSE it to them and require that they maintain utilization and good standing. Just like IP addresses, you have to demonstrate usage of them or ARIN won't give you more.

Next we come out with this edict today that they will use LTE or WiMax when both technologies will soon be antiquated. 100 Mbits today will be nothing in 2021 when this is supposedly completed and by that time LTE and WiMax will be like analog bag phones. It was less than 10 years ago that the Nokia 6160 was state of the art, I mean you had a cell phone that actually when in your pocket instead of the seat of your car. Instead of actually helping out the private sector where very mom and pop can start an ISP and drive competition (unlicensed), we sell spectrum to a few massive companies and save a little bit of the spectrum for unlicensed use.

Small ISP's either deliver speed, reliability and a fair price or they are out of business. On the other hand large ISP's can step into an area and become exclusive, deliver whatever they feel like and the people get screwed. There are plenty of WISPs out there right now trying to scrap for customers in rural areas, the largest town around here is 5000 people and there are four WISPs all delivering speeds better than the local telco's DSL. Of course the telco has a lock on the market whereas the WISPs are privately owned and have to compete against each other and the big phone company.

Next let's address the cost of this whole deal, if we believe the numbers thrown around here, we the people are going to drop a "one time" investment of $5B for these 9.2 million Americans. Wait, that works out to $543 and some change per person. I live rural, I am 30 miles from town, last telephone on the exchange, last meter on the power company but I don't expect anyone to step in and spend $550 of their hard earned cash in taxes to give me internet. Next we are going to "modernize" our public safety network, but wait, we spent how many billion dollars to do that less than 10 years ago with 9/11, homeland security, etc where we went to all 800 MHz radios for local police, fire, etc. That was all federal funding to bring our public safety systems up to what was at that time "state of the art".

So is this really one time spending or are we going to do this again in 10 years when we need some more "modernized" equipment? What about the poor saps that get their 100 Mbits of LTE (which won't deliver that by the way) in 2021 when gigabit is the standard. That's like giving someone a 512K DSL today and saying we brought you into the modern age with "broadband". Once again, a small privately owned company will mature as fast as the customers demand or it will be out of business whereas a large company or the government move at a snail's pace wasting money all the way to the end product.

The one part of this entire thing I can get on board with is the USF portion. The problem is they aren't doing away with the USF, they are just reallocating it. The USF program is such a joke it isn't even funny, the abuse of the E-Rates portion is absurd and the funding for rural telephones has long since outlived it's usefulness. Even if 98% of America doesn't have broadband 98% does have cell phones so why are we still spending $1000's per year to support land lines like the one I have that is over 50 miles of copper from the CO and has three people on the last 25 miles of the line. We all only pay our phone bill and keep the service because we know if we dropped off they would abandon the line and it would never be usable again within a year. If I were paying the full cost of the line though it would be gone in a heart beat, get rid of the USF and get rid of land lines like this one, it rarely works for voice anyway and won't even run 9600 baud on a modem. Nobody should be required to take money out of their pocket to deliver a phone line to my house in the middle of nowhere when there are other options.

I'll sum this up in one paragraph. The spectrum will be very poor for broadband applications so quit pushing it so hard. Restructure the FCC to do what it was charged with doing, administer wired and wireless communications, not buy, sell, and trade spectrum. Quit setting standards today that are target for 10 years in the future when you're talking about technology, I mean 640K was good enough for everyone right? The money being spent on this could go to people living in holes without cell coverage to put up a tower or a repeater to get service to them. Give small WISPs an incentive to put up microsites that cover 5-10 houses that are otherwise unserviced instead of dumping billions into government bureaucracy and huge companies. Now for the one sentence summary version: Government isn't the answer.

By shin0bi272 on 2/13/2011 12:20:58 PM , Rating: 3
This is also the man that says that spending 1.1 trillion dollars on health care will bring the cost of health care down and reduce the deficit. He also says that you have to be careful where you cut spending in the budget but he's overspent 1.5 trillion dollars THIS YEAR alone (not to mention the previous two years standing around 1.4 trillion over budget... EACH). Redistributionist socialist is redistributionist...

Not exactly on the public network...
By torpor on 2/10/2011 4:24:04 PM , Rating: 2
The benefits of the public safety network are obvious. The government will be able to prevent some of the loss of life and property that occurred in events like Hurricane Katrina. And the public will be less likely to endure the fear and uncertainty that it did on the infamous 9/11 attacks in 2001.

Actually both of those things had, near their root, an overreaction by people far away and an underreaction by people nearby. A "public safety network" doesn't make a mayor work with a governor instead of blasting someone else for not doing their job for them. Neither does it make people on airplanes realize that they're not hostages, but ammo.

I would like to hope these problems are both fixed now - without a nationally-subsidized network.

As an additional point, if you stop subsidizing rural phone altogether, you will have the collapse of any lines which are not profitable. So you can't fully stop, unless you're willing to endure the news stories of how Grandma Mable's kitchen telephone (installed in 1937) out on the farm stopped working because the line 20 miles down the road got broken in a storm and won't be fixed. And since no politican wants run into the classic problem of subsidies. Once you start, you can never stop.

sounds ignorant to me
By AssBall on 2/10/2011 4:49:41 PM , Rating: 2
So we are going to spend HOW much, again, to cut our deficit by by 5% many percent for what, like 3 years? Spending is a foolproof and tried and true way to get us out of debt.... not.

Why can't these administrations figure out that it is the administrations causing the record deficit?

Cut every state to 1 senator and reps to 2+ 1*2 billion. Axe all of the stupid press liasions, overpaid Washington entourages, and pitifully useless federal agencies.

By JediJeb on 2/10/2011 6:29:28 PM , Rating: 2
In the past the telecoms were given a large amount of money to roll out broadband internet and all we can even claim to have gotten from it is a little fiber optic cabling used to interconnect some wired sections of the copper phone grid. We should already have an internet infrastructure covering at least the major metropolitan areas that rivals what South Korea has, but the money given to the telecoms pretty much disappeared as soon as it was given out. What is to say it won't happen just like that again.

What will we do when we spend all this money, split out all the wireless spectrum and end up with pretty much the same service we have now and the telecoms just say they didn't have enough money to do the project? Will the government come in and shut down the companies that waste all the money and sell them off to recover it? Probably not. I imagine it will just end up like it is now, crappy service, wasted public money, disregard for the consumers and telecom execs taking nice vacations while laughing all the way to the bank. Heck the government even broke up AT&T once to stop the monopoly from taking advantage of consumers and now they are allowing AT&T to buy back all the split off companies and more. How does that make sense? Well I guess if you are the government it makes perfect sense.

By FastEddieLB on 2/10/2011 11:46:40 PM , Rating: 2

monopoly (plural monopolies)

1. A situation, by legal privilege or other agreement, in which solely one party (company, cartel etc.) exclusively provides a particular product or service, dominating that market and generally exerting powerful control over it.
2. An exclusive control over the trade or production of a commodity or service through exclusive possession.

A land monopoly renders its holder(s) nearly almighty in an agricultural society

3. The privilege granting the exclusive right to exert such control

Granting monopolies in concession constitutes a market-conform alternative to taxation for the state, while the crown sometimes bestowed a monopoly as an outrageous gift

AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Virgin, Comcast, I'm sorry but are they all actually the same company? People need to know what a word means before they start slinging it around, otherwise they look like idiots and their entire argument falls apart.

True improvement?
By Raiders12 on 2/11/2011 6:40:47 AM , Rating: 2
Why arent they including expanding fiber optic networks? That would be be a great investment as well, as the bandwidth potential is much greater than simply expanding the wireless coverage. Or am I missing something?

saving you money
By mattclary on 2/11/2011 9:21:36 AM , Rating: 2
And the NTIA thinks it may be able to squeeze out a few more small chunks of spectrum by having government networks make more efficient and full use of their allotted spectrum.

Which will cost money to re-jigger infrastructure.

Good plan
By DallasTexas on 2/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: Good plan
By diggernash on 2/12/2011 3:41:13 PM , Rating: 2
The military does not have to be a cost. It could be an investment, but we have become a feminine nation unable to use what we have built.

On the other hand, redistributing resources to societal failures is and will always be a cost, not an investment. If private holders of resources choose to do this freely that is an admirable act. Forcing me to do so is theft. No one DESERVES what the products of their personal labors or the labors of previous generations does not allow. Food, shelter, medical care, and on and on are not rights which the general populace is obligated to provide.

By KrayLoN on 2/14/2011 4:51:38 PM , Rating: 2
To me this is terrible news. This is as bad as the government starting their own newspaper and offering it for people who don't get the newspaper. Seriously...why would you want the government to provide and control something as powerful as the internet? It is the one freedom that we haven't had to compromise yet. We start using their network, then they will have the right to dictate to us what is communicated through it.

Here is an idea...
By rpierce on 2/16/2011 12:55:31 PM , Rating: 2
+$27.8B USD (auction proceeds, after partners' "cut")
+$27.8B USD (leftover funding; used to cut deficit)

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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