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U.S. broadband coverage (click to enlarge)  (Source: FCC)
Public sentiment is that its best to leave 80 million Americans unconnected to "high speed" broadband

While it's hard to put an exact number on how many Americans have no internet coverage, there are still some regions of the country in which less than 5 percent of the population has access to the internet.  Depending on how you define "high speed", over 80 million Americans, or about a quarter of the population, have no access to the high speed broadband that the modern web relies on so heavily.

Interestingly, a public poll from the Pew Institute indicates that the majority of Americans aren't very concerned with pushing better coverage for these individuals.  The phone survey (which would only be conducted via landline phones) asked 2,252 adults (aged 18 and older) whether expanding affordable broadband should be a top priority for the government and 53 percent of those polled responded "No".

In total, 26 percent said the government should play no part in pushing out high-speed internet; 27 percent indicated they didn't care if it did, but that it was "not too important"; 30 percent said it was important, and 11 percent said it should be a 
top priority. 

The poll, which can be found here, also offered other interesting results -- for example, growth in internet use among African Americans is outpacing that of white Americans.

Aaron Smith, author of the Pew Internet Project's report, comments, "A debate has arisen about the role of government in stepping in to ensure availability to high-speed Internet access for all Americans.  The majority think not, and the surprise is that non-users are the least inclined to think government has a role in the spread of broadband."

The Federal Communications Commission -- led by appointees of U.S. President Barack Obama -- has made it clear that it thinks that broadband access 
should be a top priority.  It's in the process of deploying a scheme to offer high-speed 100 Mbps internet to 100M U.S. homes and to extend cable coverage to areas that currently cost to much to deploy to (according to the telecommunication companies).

If the recent poll is any indication, the FCC's plan may prove unpopular. 

The debate over internet coverage isn't just a U.S. one, though.  Internationally, the level of coverage, freedom of information, and net neutrality are hotly debated issues.  Finland recently propelled the debate to the forefront when it legislated broadband internet as an essential human right.



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I don't get it...
By hsew on 8/12/2010 1:42:38 PM , Rating: -1
Why is it that some people think that high-speed internet access is their God-given Right? I reeeeally don't get that...

If this continues, soon, there is going to be a debate on whether or not all Americans should have broadband access, and then the Government is going to step in and offer us a seemingly brilliant plan to give High-Speed Internet to all Americans, and everyone is going to want that to happen, but in the end, it will just end up costing us more money, which we don't have if I might add, which will lead to more taxes, which is the last thing we need, and it will give the government the power to regulate the internet!

The sad part about this is that even though MORE THAN HALF of Americans do not see the issue of who has internet access and who doesn't as a significant issue, Congress will STILL find a way to push it through without our consent, just like they did with Obamacare.




RE: I don't get it...
By bupkus on 8/12/2010 1:49:18 PM , Rating: 2
I say, "Reject the stamp tax!"

Am I a little late to the party?


RE: I don't get it...
By hsew on 8/12/2010 1:53:09 PM , Rating: 2
Nope, you're one of the earlybirds.


RE: I don't get it...
By mcnabney on 8/12/2010 1:57:41 PM , Rating: 5
Please Google the Rural Electrification Act.

The reasoning behind this is that electrification drove the 20th century forward and the government believed that it was in the country's best interest to push power to everyone. The same is being considered for effective connectivity. Doing business offline, especially in more remote areas, is increasingly difficult. Newspapers are disappearing. Rural areas are already isolated from free TV in many areas.


RE: I don't get it...
By AEvangel on 8/12/10, Rating: -1
RE: I don't get it...
By eskimospy on 8/12/2010 2:20:29 PM , Rating: 2
Please provide objective sources that back up their claims which state the REA was a mistake to create.

I have seen arguments for the discontinuation of the REA in the 1990's (and that's what happened), but I have never seen a non-ideological case for the REA being a failure either on the whole or as implemented by FDR.


RE: I don't get it...
By tastyratz on 8/12/2010 4:20:49 PM , Rating: 1
I think the REA was great. We need internet access in some usable form in all areas of the country just as we need electricity. The problem is that the uneducated public could easily be swayed through presentation of this poll, especially could be based on location of residence.

Nobody considers the business requirements these days for online connectivity, and most people don't know just how neglected us coverage is compared to other countries. People take for granted their internet connections and the ones who don't? aren't online to bitch about it.

This poll just in! 92% of individuals in somalia believe food and water delivery should be top priority with the government. Individuals in california posted drastically different numbers. Researchers are still stumped.


RE: I don't get it...
By rcc on 8/13/2010 1:03:40 PM , Rating: 2
Don't be silly. Go run your poll in Hollywood. 92% of the population there probably agree that food and water in Somalia is a top priority. Even over correcting the problems we already have locally.

After all, it's all about image you know.


RE: I don't get it...
By tastyratz on 8/13/2010 1:51:35 PM , Rating: 3
thats just because in hollywood nobody eats. I just want to start whipping hamburgers every time a model yawns and hope for a direct hit before their ribcage tans like tiger stripes from the shadows in the depth.


RE: I don't get it...
By Ammohunt on 8/12/2010 2:22:37 PM , Rating: 2
hmm sounds alot like the stimulus creating or saving millions of governemnt jobs.


RE: I don't get it...
By HighWing on 8/12/2010 3:41:35 PM , Rating: 1
I would just like to point out that I know for a fact there "IS" a demand in many areas that do not have high-speed internet access, and there "IS" a profit to be made beyond one or two households. The problem is that there is usually stretch of no-profit zone that cable needs to be laid to reach those profit areas. Thus rising the cost of reaching certain areas.


RE: I don't get it...
By JediJeb on 8/12/2010 4:09:48 PM , Rating: 5
My parents live in a rural area of Ky, and they will soon have high speed internet there supplied by a local independent telephone company. This company has already laid fiber to most of the small towns in the area and is now running fiber out to the rest of its customers. If some small local phone company can do this without some government program, they why can't a big company like AT&T do it? This company is privately owned and has been for years. It supplied the rural areas there with phone service even before Bell came into the area to serve the larger towns back in the early 50s.

We don't need a government program to get high speed internet out to the rural areas, we just need to get the big companies like AT&T out of the way. The market is there, and in this case the company saw a way to make a profit from it and went for it.


RE: I don't get it...
By Lerianis on 8/13/2010 11:09:33 PM , Rating: 2
Good point. With the MASSIVE PROFITS that AT&T, Verizon, etc. post, they should be able to do 'last mile' stuff pretty damned much everywhere.

The only reason they moan and bitch about not being able to do it is because they are GREEDY to the extreme, and don't want to put out any money to improve their networks.


RE: I don't get it...
By HoosierEngineer5 on 8/14/2010 8:02:45 PM , Rating: 1
The real question remains - who 'owns' the last mile? If you pay for a gallon of milk, you own it. If you pay monthly charges for an Internet connection, why don't you own it?


RE: I don't get it...
By raumkrieger on 8/12/10, Rating: -1
RE: I don't get it...
By rcc on 8/13/10, Rating: 0
RE: I don't get it...
By knutjb on 8/12/2010 3:59:11 PM , Rating: 1
False analogy. I have a friend who works for a rural provider and they are running fiber out to the middle of nowhere because of market demands. In cases where a provider can't reasonably supply it they should go satellite.

In this case the government needs to stay out. They are pushing internet for all, to keep from oppressing those who are isolated because internet is a right, sniffle sniffle. They do so regardless that those who live in rural communities choose to live there.

While they are pushing the emotional need for a simple service, not a right, they are slipping in massive controls over the internet. That is something completely different designed to garner power and control.
quote:
Newspapers are disappearing. Rural areas are already isolated from free TV in many areas.
So, it still does not justify for me to pay excessive tax increases to run fiber when satellite is available for internet, phone, and TV at competitive rates.


RE: I don't get it...
By spamreader1 on 8/12/2010 4:14:26 PM , Rating: 2
Inexpensive broadband is one the problem for rural areas.

Example

Satelite internet is avialble damn near everywhere in the lower 48 stats. $99-$600 component and installation fees (depending on current promotions) with a 2 year contract of $79/mo. Many of these dish contracts however don't let you know upfront that if you go over your daily cap of ~100MB you will be throttled from 1.5mbps to 28kbps and in some cases charged additional fees.

I've met several people who consitantly have $300+ internet fees monthly. So it is readily available however not economically feasable. All that would need to be done is regulate the fees charged by rural high speed carriers. (cellular access is also often an available method,

I personnaly use an att aircard and just pay the $69.95/mo +$.05/MB fee over 5GB for ~$100-$200/mo internet access. I'm not 100% convinced it should be controlled by the government but I am not against pricing regulation.


RE: I don't get it...
By darkblade33 on 8/12/2010 4:16:27 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah you're right !

And the people who are online in these polls telling the govt not to worry ? Well sh*t they already have internet access! I guess they don't care about anyone else.


RE: I don't get it...
By darkblade33 on 8/12/2010 4:19:05 PM , Rating: 1
And further more, if they had spoken to people like my father who have no high speed access they would've gotten different answers. Problem is alot of these folks are in fact on 'calling list' because they are in big cities and/or have put themselves on these list via the internet marketing companies, and thus have high speed. SELFISH


RE: I don't get it...
By knutjb on 8/12/2010 4:32:02 PM , Rating: 3
And you live where... I know a number of people who live out in the middle of nowhere for a reason, nope getting the internet isn't one of them. For most they don't like, want or desire many of the "conveniences" that you deem mandatory.

So is it the selfish preventing them from getting it or is it elitist telling them they have to have it.


RE: I don't get it...
By eskimospy on 8/12/2010 2:02:42 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah man, I don't get it either.

I mean sure, the people we elected to run the government explicitly stated as part of their campaign plank that their goal was to enact a health care plan very similar to the one Obama signed. Then, Americans elected them to one of the most overwhelming majorities that America has seen in decades. Who thought they would do what they said they were going to do!?!

I think from now on government officials should take a public poll every day and follow what the American People (TM) tell them to do. Therefore we should immediately scrap Obamacare and implement a single payer socialized insurance system for all Americans:
http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/upload/7943.pdf
http://www.srbi.com/TimePoll4794_Final_%20Report.p...

Since I imagine you oppose this, wouldn't it be far more responsible of you to allow elected officials to exercise their own judgment when elected, as the Constitution intended, as opposed to a ham fisted attempt to supplant it with mob rule when it suits your policy purposes?


RE: I don't get it...
By hsew on 8/12/2010 2:39:56 PM , Rating: 1
Just leave it to the private sector. Boom.

Because most Americans understand politics? Please.
(Correction: because most Obamabots understand politics? Please.)

They pushed the socialized health care under the guise that it would be a cheaper, better option for all Americans. Sorry to burst anyone's bubble, but they LIED. Imagine that! A deceitful politician? Who would have thought?

The reason they lied is simple. Not only are you going to have to pay MORE for health insurance, but you are going to have to pay the same rate for it as the fat slob who smokes cigarettes daily by the pack, eats chicken fat off of the FLOOR, and drinks like tomorrow may never come. And if you DON'T want Obamacare? You can escape the plan, but you'll have to pay a fine. Last I checked the fine was over $700 a year (which is about $60 a month, which will afford one a decently fast internet connection, by the way) on top of your health plan. Yay for bigger government! Do you find it rather peculiar that 27 states are filing a lawsuit against the big nice feds JUST BECAUSE OF THIS BILL? I sure do! And surely unemployment will rise (again) due to the fact that less people are buying private sector health insurance, so Insurance Provider 123 will have to start laying off employees.

And Time Magizine? Please. Bad move. That right there pretty much invalidated your argument.


RE: I don't get it...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/12/2010 2:58:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Since I imagine you oppose this, wouldn't it be far more responsible of you to allow elected officials to exercise their own judgment when elected, as the Constitution intended, as opposed to a ham fisted attempt to supplant it with mob rule when it suits your policy purposes?


Are you a complete idiot? Obamacare is completely 100% unconstitutional. The federal government, especially now, is FAR outside the restraints of power placed on it by the Constitution. If this is how officials "exercise" their judgment, then it kind of makes you wonder why the Founders never built in checks and balances and separation of powers into the Constitution in the first place. Oh yeah, THEY DID!! For a reason, you moron!

Mob rule? The only mob rule going on right now is from the Democrats in office, all the way up the chain. It amazes me how you Liberals constantly create your own reality distortion field. Honestly, you're on your own little world. Come back to Earth.

The Constitution did not "intend" for the Federal government to consolidate all the power, in all the sectors, into itself. It prohibits it, in fact. Your argument is a complete straw man because you seem oblivious to this undeniable fact.


RE: I don't get it...
By eskimospy on 8/12/2010 3:15:14 PM , Rating: 1
Well the majority of legal experts disagree with you on whether it's unconstitutional or not. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how it comes out in the courts. I have a sneaking suspicion that the judiciary is going to disagree with you on that one.

Also, the system of checks and balances/separation of powers was created to prevent one particular branch from dominating the other two, not to limit the overall scope of government. You call me a moron while not even understanding the terms you're speaking of. Maybe you should spend more time taking a civics 101 class and less time ranting about Obama on the internet.

When the courts rule in favor of Obama on the health care issue, I don't want to see you here wringing your hands, shrieking about the conspiracy of the judges and the injustice of it all. If and when that time comes, do us all a favor and be a man about it, admit you were wrong. If I'm wrong, I'll do the same.


RE: I don't get it...
By eskimospy on 8/12/2010 3:22:53 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, in all fairness I think you could say that the states dealing with purely internal matters vs. the feds dealing with overarching matters would be a separation of powers of a sort.

That is not how the term is commonly used however, and it most certainly isn't related to 'checks and balances', as the only check the states have against the federal government is taking them to the federal government's own courts and asking the federal judicial branch to check the other two for them.


RE: I don't get it...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/12/2010 4:19:21 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Well the majority of legal experts disagree with you on whether it's unconstitutional or not.


I guess those 16 states challenging Obamacare didn't get the memo about this "majority". There is no such majority. And you seriously need to look up Article 1 limits on federal powers. Because if you think the Federal Government has the power to force you to buy health insurance, then we might as well throw Article 1 in the garbage.

Obviously the Framers thought Article 1 was pretty important. You know, it being number ONE and all? And don't give us that "Commerce Clause" bullcrap. All human activity arguably has some economic footprint. So if Congress can force Americans to buy a product, the question is what remains of the government of limited and enumerated powers, as provided in Article I. The only remaining restraint on federal power would be the Bill of Rights, though the Founders considered those 10 amendments to be an affirmation of the rights inherent in the rest of the Constitution, not the only restraint on government. If the insurance mandate stands, then why can't Congress insist that Americans buy GM cars, or that obese Americans eat their vegetables or pay a fat tax penalty?

I suppose you also think that Financial Reform bill is Constitutional too? Please show me where in the Constitution was the Federal Government granted the power to limit how much a company can pay it's employees. And where, if the Government decided it was "failing", it was granted the power to take that company over to save it from itself. Well, I'm waiting. Go find me that and get back to me.


RE: I don't get it...
By eskimospy on 8/12/2010 6:47:18 PM , Rating: 1
Interesting that you would attempt to refute my statement of a 'majority' of legal experts by citing the fact that a minority of states have challenged the health care law. Don't take my word for it, go read some legal analysis from objective sources. The majority, consensus opinion is that it is constitutional. Even if you don't agree with this opinion, any reasonably informed person would know that it is the case. (this will require you to go to sources that aren't Free Republic or Fox News however. If you feel uncomfortable, don't worry, that's natural)

As for your idea of what 'the founders' thought, such an opinion is nonsensical. 'The founders' didn't think much of anything, individual founders thought different things. The federalists believed as you said, that the bill of rights enumerated rights already in the constitution, but anti federalists such as Thomas Jefferson believed otherwise. That's why the bill of rights came into existence to begin with.

Other than that, you seem to lack a basic understanding of the US constitution. It is a general statement of principles, and there are loads of things it does not mention that are appropriate exertions of federal power. The argument that you are trying to make, that if it's not explicitly mentioned in the constitution that the fed can't control it, is an absurdity. The constitution never mentions an air force, only an army and a navy. Does that mean that the air force is unconstitutional? Of course not.

I'm not going to address your financial bill statement, because as usual you are attempting to veer the conversation off course into new territory that allows you to avoid addressing the substance of those arguing with you. You've repeatedly done this already with your poor attempts to rewrite US history and rewrite the constitution, but my patience with you is wearing thin.

You're more than welcome to believe whatever you want, but your positions don't appear to be based in the interpretation of the constitution of any legal authority that I am aware of. It's just extreme right wing politics attempting to masquerade as legal analysis. It might fly on right wing blogs, but in the real world where it counts you're going to be awfully disappointed.


RE: I don't get it...
By Reclaimer77 on 8/12/2010 7:11:39 PM , Rating: 2
You really are thick. First off Neither the House nor Senate Judiciary Committees held hearings on the law's constitutionality, and I'm are not aware of any Justice Department opinion on the matter. So given this, for you to claim a "majority" when the legality of this wasn't even debated is a lie of the worst kind. There IS NO MAJORITY.

I just showed you that it wasn't Constitutional. Are you seriously arguing against Article 1?

quote:
Other than that, you seem to lack a basic understanding of the US constitution. It is a general statement of principles, and there are loads of things it does not mention that are appropriate exertions of federal power. The argument that you are trying to make, that if it's not explicitly mentioned in the constitution that the fed can't control it, is an absurdity. The constitution never mentions an air force, only an army and a navy. Does that mean that the air force is unconstitutional? Of course not.


Ha, I should have known. Another Liberal "breathing document" idiot. You clearly don't understand that the Constitution doesn't need to say everything the Government CAN'T do. It states the things it CAN. And my god, of course the Constitution provides for a military. Are you being serious with that Air Force bit? You have GOT to be trolling me.

Why do you think the bothered to build the Amendments system into the Constitution? Of course they knew there would be things they didn't think of. According to you and most liberals though, we can just throw that away too. The Government apparently can do anything it needs to do, regardless if it's "mentioned" or not.

The single greatest document in our nations, perhaps the worlds, history. The document behind every right, freedom, and responsibility our country is build upon. And you have reduced it to an optional reference at best. A guideline perhaps, no more. To be tossed aside when convenient.

So by your definition the Government has NO limits to what it can do, well of course Obamacare is Constitutional if you believe that. Why are you even debating what's Constitutional or not if you believe it's irrelevant in the first place?

The states also have a strong case with their claim that ObamaCare upsets the Constitution's federalist framework by converting the states into arms of the federal government. The bill requires states to spend billions of dollars to rearrange their health-care markets and vastly expands who can enroll in Medicaid, whether or not states can afford it. But again, this apparently doesn't matter to you either.

quote:
(this will require you to go to sources that aren't Free Republic or Fox News however.


Translation: No such record of this "majority" exists, so I'll simply claim you aren't as "informed" as me.


RE: I don't get it...
By eskimospy on 8/12/2010 8:11:51 PM , Rating: 2
What the hell are you talking about? Why on earth would a legal consensus in the US require a finding by a congressional committee or the justice department? It might explain a lot that you search for partisan political bodies such as the committees for your legal advice. You can keep shrieking THERE IS NO MAJORITY all you want, but it won't change reality. Spend just a few minutes researching it on the internet, that's all it will take to educate yourself.

Seriously.

As to how the constitution works, you are simply wrong. There's really no other way to put it. The Constitution never mentions an air force; it explicitly mentions an army and a navy, but nothing else. You may THINK it means a military, but that's not what it says. So either we go strictly by the terms of it as you claim we should, or we don't. The constitution does not say that congress CAN make an air force, so how did we do it? I sure hope you aren't going to make the argument that the founders meant for congress to make whatever military was appropriate for the time, like one of those 'breathing constitution' commie 'libruls'. I am showing you this example to demonstrate to you the absurdity of your argument that if the constitution doesn't specifically authorize it, that it's not among the powers granted. Hopefully you understand how the constitution works better now.

Finally, I never said anything about the constitution needing to spell out what the fed can't do. It most certainly does spell out what it can, and that's my whole point. The courts determine what is permissible under the commerce clause, the power to tax, etc. I'm just telling you now that they are most likely going to disagree with you. Time to start facing up to the real world. Your pathetic attempt to strawman me by saying it can be tossed aside when convenient just shows how desperate you are.

This is my last post, because you aren't interested in actually debating the issue. You keep shrieking about the constitution and history and each time I shoot down a new falsehood you drop it, pretend it never happened, and then go make up another one. You're convinced that you're right, facts be damned. I can genuinely say that I've never had someone attempt to lecture me on the constitution who has gotten as many basic facts wrong as you have. Do you have ANY shame whatsoever? I already know that even when the courts rule against you, you won't think 'I guess I was wrong', you'll blame the judiciary for being part of the vast 'librul' conspiracy too. You are proudly ignorant and irrational, and you don't deserve any more of my time.


RE: I don't get it...
By knutjb on 8/13/2010 1:30:40 PM , Rating: 2
I think you have over-reached on the belief there is some sort of consensus, one way or the other. I have heard lawyers, both liberal and conservative, express for and against in about equal numbers.

The primary concern with the healthcare debacle and many other new programs is: are the legislative and executive branches exceeding their authority in regards to the commerce clause? That is no slam dunk.

I think they have exceeded their authority but that is merely an opinion until the Supreme Court says otherwise.
quote:
The Constitution never mentions an air force; it explicitly mentions an army and a navy, but nothing else. You may THINK it means a military, but that's not what it says.
quote:
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#A2Sec2
Care to rethink that comment? They had no idea that man could fly but they left room for areas they knew they could not know of and room to deal with such.

The left loves the "general Welfare" part but conveniently miss/ignore the preceding statement. I think the current regime is placing their own selfish political greed over their well stated obligation to our "common Defence."

Try reading the Federalist Papers to gain the context of what they were after, #10 is my favorite.


RE: I don't get it...
By eskimospy on 8/13/2010 4:59:53 PM , Rating: 2
Nice, now you're arguing against yourself. Obama's health care plan most certainly provides for the 'general welfare'. If you're going to accept the preceding clause, you have to accept the following one. I in no way wish to rethink it, because my point was exactly the one you're making. The founders left the constitution room to grow.

You're terrible at this, but thanks for helping my argument out anyway.


RE: I don't get it...
By knutjb on 8/14/2010 3:36:05 PM , Rating: 2
You are thicker than you think, I previously said that the government was over-stepping their role and in no way supports your assertion.

What I did imply is that the left is very selective on what they use, general Welfare, and your argument ignored the common defence part that allows for adding the Air Force, which was originally part of the Army, to the Army and Navy as equals. Over-stepping of common defence would be the Feds taking over local and state police functions. Like the Feds dictating healthcare is over-ridding states responsibilities.

We are United States made up of independent States not Federal States of submissive, dependent States.
quote:
Nice, now you're arguing against yourself. Obama's health care plan most certainly provides for the 'general welfare'.
Except that they are using the "Commerce" clause not the "general Welfare" clause as their reasoning. When they passed the bill they said it wasn't a "Tax" but now are using "Tax" to defend it in court under the "Commerce" clause.

Again, maybe you need to rethink your position...


RE: I don't get it...
By Donkey2008 on 8/12/2010 3:55:13 PM , Rating: 2
Just a tip for your public speaking skills - when you start any sentence off with "You're an idiot!" it pretty muchs ensures that your entire argument will be ignored.

Just sayin.


RE: I don't get it...
By Lerianis on 8/13/2010 11:11:22 PM , Rating: 2
Only for you. Personally, even if someone starts their sentence with that, I still read their posting because they could still have a very good point to PROVE that someone is being an idiot.... which, honestly, is usually the case!


RE: I don't get it...
By Donkey2008 on 8/12/10, Rating: -1
RE: I don't get it...
By knutjb on 8/12/2010 4:41:23 PM , Rating: 4
So how's the Kool-Aid taste? Go on and take a few crazies and use them as the example for an entire group, brilliant. You work for MSNBC?

You are right Obama did say what he was going to do and many thought he was just appeasing some far left crazies the way Clinton did just to get elected. Ooops.

While healthcare was his primary issue most of the rest of us would like to go back to work.


"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007














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