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FCC Cancels Free Internet Vote

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the pipe-dream-or-a-tube-dream? dept.

Communications 257

Earlier this year we discussed a proposal from the FCC which would have required winning bidders for a portion of the wireless spectrum to use some of that bandwidth for free internet access. A vote for the plan was scheduled for next Thursday, but now the FCC has canceled those plans, facing "opposition from several top officials, wireless providers, and even civil rights groups." The internet access would have had some level of filtering, to which privacy groups took exception, and the Bush administration objected to forcing requirements on the winners of the spectrum auction. Others simply asked the FCC not to take on such a major project as the transition between analog and digital television transmissions looms.

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Its important to remember (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26111855)

that the FCC is corrupt. Colin Powell's son was the head of it for a while, only because of his Dad's connections.

Re:Its important to remember (4, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112047)

that the FCC is corrupt. Colin Powell's son was the head of it for a while, only because of his Dad's connections.

Okay. Do you have any evidence or reason to think Michael Powell was corrupt? The way you just stated that, it makes it sound like you think he's corrupt for no other reason than who his relatives are, which is just plain stupid...

Re:Its important to remember (4, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112331)

No, it's just, that it our experience, the likeliness for corruption in such a case is so near to 100%, that it is basically more efficient to expect it from the beginning.

Re:Its important to remember (1)

BigGerman (541312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112507)

how can this post possibly be a troll? Mob-mods.

Re:Its important to remember (0, Flamebait)

yndrd1984 (730475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112701)

Do you have any evidence or reason to think Michael Powell was corrupt?

Prosecution: Yes, I do. Your honor, the defendant is a politician.
Judge: Guilty! The prisoner is sentenced to copy the entire IRS code by hand. Next case.

The way you just stated that, it makes it sound like you think he's corrupt for no other reason than who his relatives are, which is just plain stupid...

All of his relatives are known humans, and humans are political animals. The conclusion is inescapable.

ha! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26111895)

first

Re:ha! (0, Offtopic)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112161)

Sorry friend, your first post was canceled.

State monopoly. Good only at first. (5, Insightful)

MPAB (1074440) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111905)

Free nationwide internet access would be just like what happens with free nationwide health service.
At first it works fine and takes only a tiny bit of our taxes, then it grows in size (and squares in budget) as more and more people leave their paid service for the free one: after all, they're paying for it as well.
Then comes the time when almost the whole service is in the hands of the state. It takes up a huge budget and a proportionate bite of our taxes. It works so that nobody is left unconnected, but not much more. The state mandates what can it be used for and what not. It sets up any filter it likes (of course, filters will only grow). Privacy is nixed.
But, hey, almost everybody is hooked up to STATENET because nobody can compete with it. Only those that can afford paying double get a quality (and expensive) internet service.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26111937)

Free nationwide internet access would be just like what happens with free nationwide health service.

All the knee grows line up to collect their checks?

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26112171)

Free nationwide internet access would be just like what happens with free nationwide health service.

Excellent, we should get on that immediately then.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (1, Informative)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112007)

I agree 100% with your reasoning. But it's still flawed. Why? Because free internet occupying former channels 51 to 69 were to be paid by the *corporations* not the government. Just like free radio and free tv today.

Although given that internet is dirt cheap ($15 for DSL, and $7 for Dialup), I do question whether it's really necessary to make free service. Who cannot afford to pay either $15 or $7 for internet access?

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (4, Insightful)

gb506 (738638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112087)

"Because free internet occupying former channels 51 to 69 were to be paid by the *corporations* not the government. Just like free radio and free tv today."

But "free" radio and tv are not free, they are supported by ad revenue. There is little if any opportunity for the "free" internet provider to recoup the costs of providing the "free" internet service, it would essentially be a tax imposed on the provider by the government. Besides, 768k service will soon be of negligible value beyond simple text, IM or email, and the people the government thinks they're going to serve by offering this "service" will again be relegated to inferior connection speeds.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (3, Insightful)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112189)

>>>"free" radio and tv are not free, they are supported by ad revenue

i.e. Paid by corporations.

>>>There is little if any opportunity for the "free" internet provider to recoup the costs

Sure there is! You've never used NetZero or Juno I assume? They provide free internet through advertising along the top 20% of your screen. There's also the example of TV websites which provide free access to 24, CSI, Heroes, et cetera but pay for that cost through 30 second ads every ten minutes. The "free" internet would be paid in a similar fashion.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112227)

So in your scenario it would be free as in free advertising, and free unsolicited email. Sometimes there's too much freedom.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112373)

I never said anything about Email. I discussed a banner ad that sits at the top of your screen while you're browsing. I've used Netzero and that's not onerous at all. If those ads bother you, don't take the free service. It's simple. (Did I really need to explain that? It seems so obvious.)

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112643)

I'm not arguing against you; just elaborating on some concepts.

Best regards,

UTW

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (2, Interesting)

syntek (1265716) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112733)

I have always said I would pay double or triple my current cable bill if I could watch without commercials or dvr/tivo. Many people on the other hand feel the opposite. I myself are willing to pay higher service cost for better quality service, but by allowing the people who aren't in my group to switch over to the free internet and free up current networks, I'm all for it.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (1)

gb506 (738638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112857)

The service provider using the wireless spectrum to offer commercial services to paying customers will have to offer less quality of service to those paying customers than they would have otherwise due to the fact that they have to spend (a lot of) money and time to develop, support and maintain the "free" network, along side their commercial offering. The Mandate calls for free wireless 768kbps service to 95% of the US. That's a gigantic undertaking, and a massive financial burden YOU would be supporting through your commercial service subscription. As a paying customer, how much service degradation are you willing to accept in order to subsidize the mandated "free" network?

The more likely scenario is that, should the "free" mandate remain in place, the wireless services company will decide not to roll their commercial products out at all due to the realization that the mandated "free" services would make the whole enterprise an unprofitable folly. And that, in a nutshell, is likely the real reason the Bush admin is pulling the "free" mandate.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (4, Informative)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112187)

I pay my government $15 for 20/20 (reliable) FTTH. I think you're getting ripped off by those large corporations.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (4, Insightful)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112391)

You mean you pay $15 a month direct-billed, and another $50 or $60 a month in paycheck taxes to support the initial installation & ongoing administration. That's a total of around $70 a month in *real* cost to your wallet.

Governments love to hide the real costs.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26112709)

Although given that internet is dirt cheap ($15 for DSL, and $7 for Dialup), I do question whether it's really necessary to make free service. Who cannot afford to pay either $15 or $7 for internet access?

Because dialup is painfully slow, and not everyone is in a broadband region? Broadband penetration in the US isn't all that great believe it or not. Though something like 72% of the US has internet access, only about 22% (of the total population) has some kind of broadband service. That's a lot of people on dialup.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (1)

syntek (1265716) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112723)

It was for people in rural areas where the lines are already setup for other services. Also the people who pay 15/7 wouldn't care about the filters. Also I myself pay 75/m for 16mb connection and a service that I could purchase for 15/month would not meet my needs as I'm sure the same goes for a lot of people on /. This connection would be for the non-technophiles. I'm all for it. Get grandma off my current node so it frees up more of the bandwidth.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (3, Insightful)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112029)

Free nationwide internet access would be just like what happens with free nationwide health service.

Coverage for people who don't currently have any?

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (1)

MPAB (1074440) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112279)

Did ADHD keep you from reading what happens next, once the "free" system gets a critical mass and everyone that currently has internet goes the "free" way?

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (1)

syntek (1265716) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112765)

First all, the people who use the most bandwidth won't be the ones using the free service. They will be the ones paying for their connection. Secondly, I'm willing to bet the majority of people on the free service would not be constantly using their bandwidth like I thought a lot of us /.ers do. I really don't see a huge problem with this.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (2, Insightful)

docgiggles (1425995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112063)

There is a good reason why the broadband companies are opposed this. It will bankrupt them. Once everybody had free internet, the only people wh will want it to be faster are the torrenters, and so the ISPs will have to spend more and more money trying to compete with each other. I currently have high speed, and this would not help me in the slightest. If this was introduced, it would have to be censored, That makes sense, so the U.S. would have to try, and would fail to secure the internet. All in all, it is a bad idea, one which had no chance of actually being implemented withiin our lifetimes

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (4, Insightful)

Ardeaem (625311) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112143)

There is a good reason why the broadband companies are opposed this. It will bankrupt them. Once everybody had free internet, the only people wh will want it to be faster are the torrenters...

...and anyone who wants to stream decent quality video, and anyone who wants unfiltered access, and anyone who wants to use decent quality VOIP applications, and anyone who wants to game with decent latencies, and anyone who wants good USENET access (yeah, all three of them)...

The point is that there are many reasons why you would want to pay for extra bandwidth. The point of the service is to offer basic service. There's no reason for it to grow beyond that. If you think it necessarily MUST grow beyond that, I have to ask why aren't food stamp programs paying for EVERYONE'S food now?

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (2, Interesting)

syntek (1265716) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112795)

There is a good reason why the broadband companies are opposed this. It will bankrupt them. Once everybody had free internet, the only people wh will want it to be faster are the torrenters,

... Gamers and people would stream media would be paying to. And that's just residential customers. You are forgetting all the businesses who are not ISP but require broadband internet connection. Your commercial lines aren't always being run by Comcast or Timewarner or anything, but they certainly aren't going to use the free service and they also use the most bandwidth. So no, not everyone is going to hop onto the free network. I certainly would not use it, but I'm all for it for people who would be willing to use it.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (0, Troll)

EsJay (879629) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112117)

Yeah, it's a shame the rest of the First World foolishly chooses higher life expectancy and lower infant mortality over FREEDOM!!

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (2, Interesting)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112413)

Would you rather live to 120 as a plantation slave in the south, or 70 as a freeman in the north?

I'd choose the latter.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (5, Insightful)

TX_Sparky (1431459) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112145)

Right. And our current health care system, where 50% of all personal bankruptcies are directly traceable to health care costs, half of the kids in the country have no health insurance, and more retired people all the time face the unenviable choice of buying either food or their meds, works really great. No system designed and implemented by humans is perfect. But have you ever seen the health care systems in the EU up close? Have you ever had occasional to receive health care over there? I have, and those systems make ours look exactly like what it is, a soul-less meat grinder designed to make health "care" corporations a huge amount of profit on the backs of people who pay more for health care than any other industrialized country *on the planet*, but whose *quality* of care is ranked #37 by the WHO. But no matter. The unregulated so-called "free market" will take care of everything, right? Just look at what great shape our economy is in...

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (0)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112223)

The unregulated so-called "free market" will take care of everything, right? Just look at what great shape our economy is in...

Very little of our economy, or our health care system, can be described by "free market." Bonus points if you can identify which parts, if any, most resemble one.

It's also nice to know that, even in rough economic times, that the vast majority of Americans only go bankrupt because of catastrophic illness. It would suck if this were a normal occurrence, wouldn't it?

And, if your hospital or clinic looks like a "meat grinder," I think you have the wrong building. I'm guessing it's not really a hospital.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (5, Insightful)

TX_Sparky (1431459) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112393)

RE the "free market", that's exactly why I proceeded the phrase by "so-called". Just like "clean coal" and "jumbo shrimp", it flat doesn't exist. And as far an people going bankrupt because they can't afford to stay alive any other way, I for one see absolutely NOTHING "nice to know" surrounding that sad state of affairs. In 2008, in the wealthiest country on the planet, when people get vetted at an intake station at a hospital as to whether or not they have any health insurance, which literally determines what level of care they get, I call that a meat grinder.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (2, Informative)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112465)

There are two paths a person may take on the way to death:

- spend hundreds of thousands trying to gain a few extra pointless months & bankrupt the family in the process
- accept death and pass away quietly

I choose the latter. As did Pope John Paul who set an excellent example (imho). By the way, there is a free market in the health system - it involves paying CASH for all your expenses, same as you do when you buy a car or buy a TV. The problem is that most people will happily laydown $30,000 for an SUV, but when they need a heart transplant, suddenly they think that's wrong. How very odd.

Why do people think $30,000 is too much to pay for a heart, but reasonable for a car and gladly lay down the money for a shiny piece of metal? Talk about messed-up priorities.

IMHO healthcare should be more like food stamps - you get help if you need help - if you don't need help, you don't get the stamps.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (3, Interesting)

MPAB (1074440) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112269)

As a matter of fact, I'm a doctor in Spain. And the system is just like what I've described in the GP.
Most of the population, as well as foreigners, use the system because it's "free for all". The word free means nothing when I come to think of the kind of insurance plans I could pay with the money they eat from my payroll each month.
It's true you won't be left for dead if you cannot pay, but for those that aren't in risk of death the waiting lists become longer and longer as everyone wants to enjoy his share of healthcare and the system collapses.
For many illnesses people cannot afford private practice (because it's scarce enough and has good paying customers) but cannot wait forever either. I see that drama every day. And what does the state do? Easy: throw it on our backs.
And to top it off, the now leftist government is pushing a really agressive agenda on euthanasia-no-questions-asked that most people fear will not be aimed at the wishes of the patients but the budget of the system. The draconian tobacco laws in Europe (I don't smoke, BTW) were put in place only to spare on social healthcare costs. Not to talk about countries like Cuba (been there, also) where every citizen can be a guinea pig.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112901)

The unregulated so-called "free market" will take care of everything, right?

A working free market requires a number of assumptions, such as that people know what they're buying [wikipedia.org] , that nobody has too much market power [wikipedia.org] , and that efficient matching of buyers and sellers is actually the desired outcome [lwn.net] . This last item especially doesn't hold for (at least basic) health care, where being universal is probably more important than being economically efficient.

Just look at what great shape our economy is in...

That's partly a case of people (well, banks) not understanding what they were buying, and I think partly a case of the nation approaching its collective credit limit. Different (not more, different) regulations would have helped with the former, and the government not price-fixing the credit markets would probably have helped with the latter.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (4, Insightful)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112173)

To be more accurate, I reworded your anti-UHC Troll:

Free nationwide internet access would be just like what happens with the current insurance industry health service.
At first it works fine and takes only a tiny bit of our pay cheques, then it grows in size (and squares in budget) as more and more people can't afford their current paid service: after all, they're paying for it as well.
Then comes the time when almost the whole service is in the hands of the financial conglomerates. It takes up a huge budget and a proportionate bite of our pay cheques. It works so that many people are left unconnected, but not much more. The insurance conglomerates mandate what can it be used for and what not. It sets up any filter it likes (of course, filters will only grow). Privacy is nixed.
But, hey, almost everybody is hooked up to an HMO because nobody can afford anything else. Only those that can afford paying double get a quality (and expensive) health insurance plan.

There; fixed that anti-UHC Troll for you.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (1, Insightful)

MPAB (1074440) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112377)

Yes. That happens when mandatory car/house/health insurance is imposed upon the citizens by the government. The insurance industry has a monopoly enforced by the government. Nothing new or free here.
Have a cold? Forget Excedrin, go to a doctor because it goes on the insurer (and back to you).
Also in the US health prices skyrocket because doctors ask for lots of things in order to cover their backs against (most times absurd) litigation. And, yes, 30% or more of their (huge) earnings go to litigation insurance.

Faulty logic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26112485)

Of course you can substitute anything for anything (try "our alien overlords" or "Sauron"), but you lost the logic. In doing so, it is you, Sir, who are a troll.

The original idea was that government HS would be a MONOPOLY, with NO COMPETITION and no incentive to IMPROVE or INNOVATE.

Sure enough "conglomerates" can try to establish an oligopoly, which is only marginally better than a monopoly. In that case it should be the government task to BREAK UP the oligopoly (that's what the anti-trust law is about), not establish its own monopoly.

Where I grew up (there was this country called USSR), government had a "UHS". Everyone was "entitled" to the best health care, but when you needed it it turned out the hospitals were all filled up and could not take you just now (well, maybe in a year), medicines were not available, etc. You had to "know people" to get in.

It's hard for me to forget my first comprehensive blood test there. I was in a "good" hospital (which took some "tokens of gratitude"). The nurse could not hit my vein and kept berating me for being difficult. The needle was maybe twice the diameter they use here in the States. It took her about 15 minutes of poking my arm and yelling at me to collect all samples.

Need I explain how happy I am to use the "overpriced" US systems with all of its evil "conglomerates"?

Re:Faulty logic. (0, Troll)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112579)

The Troll is basically diverting the argument to health care. Your reply seems to insinuate its success. My original response was merely to counteract the +5 moderation of the original post (which I deemed inappropriate).

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (1)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112563)

I love how people knock current government health solutions by pointing out all the problems with it and then say the only answer is an even bigger government health solution.

And I love how any criticism of government market interventionism is dismissed as a troll rather than responded to logically.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (1)

laddiebuck (868690) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112611)

Thanks for the good post. Are the radical-anti-government trolls on the rise again? I was replying to one just yesterday -- an AC no less. I think they weren't so frequent just half a year ago.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (1)

kohaku (797652) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112245)

The best way forward, in my eyes, is something similar to the BBC. An optional yearly subscription in exchange for a connection, where the supplier is neither a private corporation nor a government department [londonfreelance.org] , eliminating both the privacy issue, and the budget issues (the company has to remain profitable, and yet cannot overcharge due to effective control by the people). I really disagree with privatization of infrastructure, since it can't fulfill free market criteria such as low barriers to entry [wikipedia.org] . I include roads, medical care, telecoms in that category: these are things that simply aren't effective in a free-market economy.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112495)

I didn't realize the BBC was optional. I thought the "license" aka Tax was mandatory. Also the BBC tends to be... um, sensationalist. And biased. Read here:

http://www.aim.org/guest-column/media-bias-at-the-bbc/ [aim.org]

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (1)

brainiac ghost1991 (853936) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112719)

The license fee is optional, if you don't want to pay it you don't have to... you just can't have a device that receives television signals and not pay it.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (1)

GodWasAnAlien (206300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112325)

For some services, it makes sense to have a base infrastructure that is owned and operated by the government, which private companies share.

Imagine if several power companies competed by each hanging their own wires,
or if phone companies also each had separate wires.
Such a setup would direct competition of service and would be ugly.

The same is true for wireless cell networks. It is far from ideal to have every cell company operating there own independent cell towers. This limits direct competition of service, limits network availability, and generates extra RF radiation. Unfortunately, this is the US cell phone system.

The same is true for wireless internet, though probably much worse. How many Wifi signals can you detect?
It would make sense to provide a single WiFi infastructure, on top of which both private companies and the government could offer service. For example, a telephone poll Wifi router mesh network would be owned by the government, perhaps offering bandwidth limited free connections, then private companies could use the network in a few ways:
  - Provide a wired route to the Wifi network in exchange for compensation.
  - Lease a segment of the WiFi network and offer additional service on top of the WiFi network. Perhaps faster service, ...

If we treat a WiFi network the same as a wired network, then the result is an efficient network.

The potential privacy issue exists with a centralized wire phone network as well. But the sky has not fallen yet because of it.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26112411)

Fuck you you ass hole!

Free nation wide health care is more efficient than what we have right now.Medicare has a fucking 3% overhead, compared to private insurance that has upwards of 30% overhead.

Asshats like yourself are what drove this country into the economic hole we are in.

Conspiracy theory. Good only for laughs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26112433)

Privacy is nixed.

The telecoms were more than happy to nix your privacy. If the evil government really wanted to filter and wiretap the internet then they could just cajole the ISPs into doing it for them. No "free internet" conspiracy theory required. Your beloved corporations are poor defenders of our freedoms.

The domestic spying scandal is a *real* example of a government bait-and-switch. People were attracted by "small government" ideals, but what they got were government abuses outsourced to unaccountable companies. As a result, I will never support a "small government" candidate.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (1)

laddiebuck (868690) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112577)

Because that's what examples have shown happens to free nationwide health services, right? Oh, couldn't be that you're merely engaging in some good old right-wing scaremongering? (At least you're not an AC like I responded to yesterday.)

I would suggest that you, especially as an American, don't loudly proclaim opinions on things of which you have no direct experience and probably little more historical research than what you read in your daily newspaper.

The British NHS is probably the example closest to the straw man you are trying to put up -- it is a "nationwide health service", "free" at the point of care. Its administration costs are astronomically low, less than ten percent last I checked. You can compare this to the private model in the US, where administration costs are 35-45%, or nearly half of the cost of the service. The NHS delivers better care on a fifth of the per-capita budget that is poured into the US health system, i.e. on even less than the United States Government spends on its health service. Why? At a guess because it's mostly state run. Most expenditure rises have been due to dabblings with interaction with the private sector. But Spain is a good example of how to integrate well with the private sector, if that's your fancy. And before you ask, I do have first-hand experience of national and private health systems: it's an easy choice for me.

Not that the main point you're setting up can't be just as easily shot down with examples. Sweden, for instance, although I have no first-hand experience of it.

Please try spending the time you invest being cynical about government being unfixable on an internet forum in doing something constructive to address its real shortcomings, such as grassroots efforst, campaigns, activism, etc.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (1)

MPAB (1074440) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112691)

As I stated above: I'm a doctor in the spanish health system. Thanks.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112597)

I don't see how it'd be any worse than the current corporate monopolies. The inefficiency would be equivalent to what we'd lose to profit anyway.

What we really need is /competition/. But until we transition away from a government controlled by the corporations that's sadly quite unlikely.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (1)

Omestes (471991) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112647)

Free nationwide internet access would be just like what happens with free nationwide health service.

Good troll, but... We can definitely compare it to free nationwide health service, since NEITHER EXIST. But being that neither exist, we must then put your comparison firmly into the land of fantasy.

I like the government competing with business. I don't see a problem with it. I would like the government providing some minimum of heath care to those who need it (most people not pulling in 6 figures) at some basic level. Those who want higher level services can then use private resources. I also oddly like the government providing basic net access, perhaps at dial-up speeds. People who want decent connections will pay their local monopoly, while the poor won't be completely disenfranchised from something that is rapidly becoming a necessity.

It also would be nice to check my email on the go, for free, without worrying about legal repercussions.

I'm getting sick of people who view property as a right OVER the well being of others. Why the hell isn't health considered a right? It seems much more important to me than your money. I know the answer boils down to some ad-hoc justification of pure greed.

To actually address your creeping crud example; I don't see any country with national healthcare that doesn't have private practice doctors, insurance companies, HMOs, and such. You name one country where there is nationalized health, and no private doctors. Generally nationalized health takes care of the poor, and the people that our beloved insurance companies would have screwed to death because of their bottom line, and people who can't get insurance because their employers are greedy, the middle class and privileged portions of society who can afford better healthcare, get it.

My State is one of the few states with a state wide free healthcare system (mostly for the poor), and I haven't seen a huge decline in nasty insurance companies, or private doctors.

bullshit of the first order (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112771)

excuse me, but the time of church of holistic economy ended around 1.5 months ago. i think you missed what happened by then, and what is happening now, and what really unregulated 'free' market in which everything is miraculously run by 'private' enterprise runs 'more efficient' ... just 6 of those 'private enterprises' have dragged ENTIRE WORLD into a mega crisis, because there were idiots who subscribed heavily to the church of holistic economy, which is little different than believing that there is an almighty paternalistic god which will 'save' his believers. 'market delivers' 'market will handle all' 'market this, market that'. in the end we are all biting dirt. unfortunately not only you americans, but each and every individual on the face of this planet is getting blasted.

im also appalled at how you americans somehow think that you're paying less for stuff, because they are not DIRECTLY taken out of your pocket in the form of taxes. its really stupefying, a total case of sociology study.

you people dont pay for nationalized, CONTROLLABLE healthcare. but pay for 'efficient' companies that are private. but then again, those companies do everything in their power to NOT pay for your healthcare, or increase your premiums, and when any politican tries to reform it, they spend hundreds of million dollars for lobbying and get any kind of reform scuttled. what's more, they also buy out laws that will benefit them, even at the cost of your own life, risking it, just to make more easy cash out of you.

and what's worse, you CANT control them, because they are private. you CANT sue them, because they have more money, and they can find ways to scuttle any of your chances of getting your right through an army of lawyers, which you cant afford. you would be probably dead by the time that lawsuit comes to a close anyway, or your relative.

it is absolutely stupid to be able to believe in such a system. DESPITE getting continually and incessantly screwed, sometimes openly, mercilessly. the only reason i can think of, that someone can defend such a system, would be that s/he is a mazoschist. really, to be exploited and risked your life in the same time, willingly, cant be explained by anything else.

and what is more appalling is that, despite there ARE many countries in the world which are pulling nationalized, nationwide healthcare VERY well, VERY efficiently, there are still people who are WANKING the stupidity that is 'nationwide nationalized healthcare system is inefficient and expensive'. well. if you country is/was not able to pull it off, seek the fault in YOUR country, not the system. after all, democracy is the best invented governance method in this civilization, but there are still countries that are not able to pull it off correctly. therefore its YOUR fault, not the system's, if you are unable to make it work right.

now let me break something to you : nationalized healthcare is something that is under YOUR control. there is only one government, and you are one of its OWNERS, and you, as people, can hold any kind of sway over it, and get your rights much more easier than you can take from a private company. hell, government even has to supply any kind of information to you, unless they are military secrets, if you just request them. you cant even ask those for a private company - because that information even, is private property. if they screw you, any information regarding that is private. if they cook the books, any information regarding that is private, until shit hits the fan and there is no chance of fixing it. if they intentionally drive some segment of the society to death, just because they are more risky for profits, you wont know that, because those statistics are private information. any attempt you or your politicians try to change those will be met with shitface "private rights ! property rights ! HANDS OFF" wanking.

there are some functions of the society that CANT be risked in private hands. those include defense, police, justice, public infrastructure. ONE OF THEM IS HEALTHCARE. LIFE is one of the most important facets of life. its not something you can take any risks with, just like justice or army.

can you imagine private armies 'contracting' for the defense of your country ? dont imagine. let me tell you how it will be - the last time it happened was in roman empire period, consuls were allowed to keep and pay armies, 'saving' the state and 'taxpayers' a lot of money. and in just 30-40 years' time this practice had caused the fall of the republic and created an empire under the strongest 'private contractor', after dodging that fate for 50 years. then what happened, you should research yourself.

bottom line is, if you cant stomach armies being run by private companies, judiciary being run by private companies, police being privatized, then SHUT THE HELL UP about private healthcare. they are basically in the same classification - of strategical importance to a nation.

...........

no really, i really am thinking, and not being able to find ANY reason to get screwed over like this. if you have any solid reasons for it, APART from the ones i ALREADY mentioned before, please, tell me.

Re:State monopoly. Good only at first. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26112875)

I totally agree with you! The points you make about increased government controls are strong & very serious threats to our future. I'd rather pay $X.XX/month to keep them AWAY!

The test of good leadership (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26111929)

Is when lots of people are telling you that you can't or that you shouldn't, you decide to say "fuck y'all" and do what you and your people think is best.

Re:The test of good leadership (1)

pin0chet (963774) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112055)

Except, of course, when you and your people are appealing to irrational fears for personal political gain and not actually representing the very consumers you're supposed to look out for. Which clearly was the case with the censored free wireless plan.

Re:The test of good leadership (1)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112267)

Too many leaders know one or two things about leadership, but fail miserably with all the other requirements. A better test for leadership is knowing when to say, "fuck you all" and when to say, "I hear you. We'll do it your way."

Another test is knowing how to word your thoughts and ideas appropriately. For example, instead of saying, "fuck you all", try saying "no".

The last leadership qualities I will bring up are respect and logic. Censorship betrays both.

Re:The test of good leadership (1)

Larryish (1215510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112295)

Hell yeah.

The FCC needs to butt out.

Web 3.0 - Government owned and sponsored, with (shoddy) filtered service provided by private companies. They could call it "Minimum Internet".

Not I, said the sane man.

Would much rather pay out the ass for private service.

Invalid arguments (imho) (5, Insightful)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111935)

>>>Others simply asked the FCC not to take on such a major project as the transition between analog and digital television transmissions looms.

The DTV transition is almost complete. It will be a done deal on February 18 with a few minor issues to work-out during March, and then the FCC will be free to regulate the free internet service in channels 52-69 (the sold off spectrum).

>>>The internet access would have had some level of filtering, to which privacy groups took exception

So what? Free broadcast television has filtering as well, to bring it down to "PG" level, so I don't see what the issue is here. If you want raunchy stuff, you upgrade to pay TV or pay internet that is not censored.

>>>Bush administration objected to forcing requirements on the winners of the spectrum auction

I don't know why. We already force requirements onto other lessees of the PUBLIC spectrum, such as forcing tv stations to air educational programs, or cellphone operators to provide 911 tracing. The Corporations don't own the airwaves; they are merely leasing them from the People of the United States. If the collective "landlords" want to impose certain requirements for use of their property, so be it.

Re:Invalid arguments (imho) (2, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111975)

> If the collective "landlords" want to impose certain requirements for use of their property, so be it.

I agree, though it's not clear that we landlords actually do want filtering. It is the cause of a vocal minority, one which happens to have the ear of the current President (who has considerable authority over the FCC). But we're getting a new President soon who may be less censorious.

Re:Invalid arguments (imho) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26112107)

>> Bush administration objected to forcing requirements on the winners of the spectrum auction

> If the collective "landlords" want to impose certain requirements for use of their property, so be it.

I agree, though it's not clear that we landlords actually do want filtering. It is the cause of a vocal minority, one which happens to have the ear of the current President (who has considerable authority over the FCC). But we're getting a new President soon who may be less censorious.

I don't think the current president is against filtering so much as he is against free internet. Because free internet is socialism, just like universal health care, and spending billions bailing out businesses that are "too big to fail"... wait... is that the burning stench of hypocrisy I smell?

Re:Invalid arguments (imho) (2, Insightful)

77Punker (673758) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111981)

It seems to be that a major difference between TV and internet is that there's no good way to tell what "raunchy" means. At least with TV the set of content is so small that censorship can work somehow.

Also, using public airwaves to broadcast infomercials or Jerry Springer is as bad to me as clicking a goatse link. Such a waste!

On a semi-related note, I'll use this space to mention that I enjoy using my antenna more than extended cable because I get 3 channels of PBS instead of one. Those 3 channels of free television are far more interesting than the shit that was on cable, and they don't cost me an extra $60 per month, either.

Re:Invalid arguments (imho) (1)

pin0chet (963774) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112015)

If consumers desire a filtered wireless network, then shouldn't it emerge even without the federal government forcing it upon us?

Even without rigid spectrum rules, there is nothing stopping a company from buying up spectrum rights and using it for family-friendly wireless broadband. But what if users with alternative preferences--say, parents who are capable of protecting their kids online without centralized censorship and nipple slip fines--outnumber those who want government nanny-state rules? The FCC's proposed conditions that would have mandated filtering mean that companies couldn't compete to deliver what people really want.

Any way you look at this, the plan was a perfect example of the FCC pretending it knows best what the People of the United States deserve.

Re:Invalid arguments (imho) (2, Informative)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112149)

You are correct! Look at this list of Christian ISPs. They have names like Integrity, Internet Safety, Safeplace.net. The only question is: Are they widely available, or am I still stuck with the Verizon/Comcast duopoly?

http://christianity.about.com/od/practicaltools/tp/christianisps.htm [about.com]

Re:Invalid arguments (imho) (1)

pin0chet (963774) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112241)

Small niche ISPs like these don't get a fair shake in the current market because spectrum is tightly controlled by pandering bureaucrats and local franchise rights are impossible to obtain unless you sell your soul to Satan (buildout rules, 5% gross revenue taxes).

And shouldn't Comcast and Verizon offer the same services as Christian ISPs as an option for subscribers? They haven't, probably because most people actually don't really want centralized filtering--even parents themselves.

Re:Invalid arguments (imho) (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112307)

Perhaps THAT'S what the FCC should be mandating. They already mandate that Comcast and other cable companies must provide "limited" cable television. Perhaps the FCC should also mandate "family friendly" tiers to these monopolies.

Also I don't agree that people don't want the filtering. It just never occurred to them that it was possible, due to technological ignorance about filters. (It's hard to ask for something you did not know exists.)

Re:Invalid arguments (imho) (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112527)

Filtering is something you can, and should, provide yourself - it should not be the providers responsibility to cater to your individual whim (because that is what censorship is - highly individual).

Re:Invalid arguments (imho) (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112661)

>>>it should not be the providers responsibility to cater to your individual whim

Why not? *Other* providers cater to my whim. My car provider lets me add or subtract features. My cellphone provider lets me choose $5 a month, $100 a month, or multiple levels in between. My kitchen provider lets me choose a $300 basic refrigerator or a $3000 deluxe refrigerator. And on and on and on.

Why shouldn't my internet provider act exactly the same way?

Re:Invalid arguments (imho) (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112739)

Your car provider doesn't let you, on your own request, limit what you or your family can do or say in the vehicle, nor where you can travel or how they drive while travelling there.

Your cellphone provider doesn't allow you to tell them what you can and cannot say during a conversation, nor who you can or cannot call (they may block premium rate numbers, but I've yet to see a provider that blocks sex lines but allows gaming lines).

Your kitchen provider doesn't cater for preventing you or your family members from buying fatty foods and storing them in your brand new refrigerator, or deciding what you can and cannot eat.

So your ISP should not be required to cater to what you should and should not be able to download - especially as 'censorship' is a highly individual 'want'. One persons opinion on what is acceptable is almost never in line with someone elses - you are never going to be able to cater to everyone, and the moment the ISP makes a mistake and either allows something through or blocks something they shouldn't, there will be heavy criticism from those very same people demanding the impossible.

That is why filtering should be done at your own end, its your personal choice and the ISP should not be responsible for limiting content to your own, personal demands.

Re:Invalid arguments (imho) (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112815)

I'm sorry but I'm not convinced. I don't see any reason why Comcast can not provide two options: Internet Uncensored for most people. And Internet Filtered for those who are religious or who have children surfing, and want a safe environment.

Re:Invalid arguments (imho) (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112501)

If the collective "landlords" want to impose certain requirements for use of their property, so be it.

I'll first point out that a Slippery Slope isn't always a logical fallacy. That being said I can see undo amounts of bureaucracy and political and economic quarrels over this.

If it is a government mandate, then at the very least there should be as little government regulation and influence as possible. I don't think the US would want something like Canada has were they require a certain proportion of Canadian content to be broadcast over their television sets and radio's, and were there is excessive amounts of arbitrary censorship. The US is already too over-burdened with censorship issues as it is with TV and radio. I would not wish the Canadian example imposed on any other country. I can envision huge swaths of time and money and energy spent dealing with the "controversy" of an accidental nipple slipped through any Internet filters the government may impose.

Re:Invalid arguments (imho) (1)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112595)

Why should I have to pay more for things the government doesn't want me to see than I do for things the government does want me to see? Or, put another way, why should my tax dollars be used to subsidize the dissemination of information the government wants me to see while I must shell out extra money to see information the government does not want me to see?

> If the collective "landlords" want to impose certain requirements for use
> of their property, so be it.

Fine, but just because we "can" doesn't mean we should. And it doesn't mean we shouldn't pause to decide whether such regulations are positive or negative in the long run, or if we cannot tell whether they would be positive or negative in the long run.

I hate to agree with the Bush administration on almost anything, but I have to give them a head-nod on this one.

Re:Invalid arguments (imho) (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112683)

So what? Free broadcast television has filtering as well, to bring it down to "PG" level, so I don't see what the issue is here. If you want raunchy stuff, you upgrade to pay TV or pay internet that is not censored.

You don't see a problem because you are only looking at the results of the rules rather than the reasons for the rules.

FCC "decency" standards were created because television and radio are passive services - you turn the knob to a channel and then sit back and listen/watch to whatever is broadcast on that channel. It was decided that knowing the programming schedule - after all it is transmitted "out of band" so you can't rely on anyone to have it - was not sufficient to inform users of what kind of programming to expect. So they regulated it, and because television and radio are so passive, it was easy to regulate - just a handful of broadcasters to keep in line.

None of that applies to an internet connection - no one is going to be "surprised" by "raunchy stuff" - if they see it, chances are they were looking for it in the first place. Furthermore, filtering is always going to be ineffective with very high numbers of both false positives and false negatives - none of the current commercially available filtering systems has been able to avoid that.

So, on one hand you have a very narrowly focused and effective "filter" on broadcast radio and television and on the other you have an extremely broad and unnecessary filter on internet usage. The two are alike in name only.

My, what a shocking development! (5, Interesting)

D_Blackthorne (1412855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111945)

...not! I'm not in the least bit surprised, considering that every time someone tries to spearhead any type of free broadband internet access for the American public, it gets shouted down by corporate types from all four corners of the country. After all, we can't have Big Telecom's strangle-hold monopoly on broadband broken by even our puny government, now can we? Wasn't there a U.S. city that recently was sued by a telecom because they had the unmitigated gall to actually make plans to build their own fiber network for use by their residents, because that telecom didn't want to be bothered to build the infrastructure themselves? If you think things are strange now, just wait: I see very stormy times ahead; the War for the Internet is just beginning.

Re:My, what a shocking development! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26112199)

> Wasn't there a U.S. city that recently was sued by a telecom because they had the unmitigated gall to actually make plans to build their own fiber network for use by their residents, because that telecom didn't want to be bothered to build the infrastructure themselves?

There are many. Here's a few:

Utah's Utopia project vs. Qwest: http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/99301 [dslreports.com] and http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/97502 [dslreports.com]

Utah's iProvo deployment (which is weird because a company, Broadweave, bought the entire muni deployment): http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/94208 [dslreports.com]

Powell, WY vs. Qwest and Bresnan Comm.: http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/94814 [dslreports.com]

Monticello, MN vs. TDS Telecom: http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/98320 [dslreports.com]

Vermont vs. ...themselves: http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/94893 [dslreports.com]

There's also the fibre ownership ordeal in Ottawa, but that's a little different (no lawsuits): http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/96618 [dslreports.com]

Re:My, what a shocking development! (1)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112619)

You complain about the "corporate monopolies", but do you just want to replace it with a government monopoly? How is that any better? The only difference is that you'll have completely inept and/or corrupt people running the monopoly, with little or no check on their powers or budget.

This is good news (3, Interesting)

pin0chet (963774) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111961)

It's good to hear this plan is dead. Kevin Martin backed this network so he'd look like a "family-values man" and score some points with cultural conservatives in North Carolina, where Martin has long been planning a bid for Congress.

This 25mhz of spectrum in the AWS3 band could go toward a lot of very cool services--LTE, for instance. Martin's plan--to earmark the 25mhz for 768kbps of censored wireless broadband that wouldn't even be widely deployed for a decade--is clearly not the smartest way to put these frequencies to use.

The FCC should do one of two things with this spectrum--a)auction it off with no strings attached and allow the winning firm to sell or rent the spectrum as if it were property, or b)set the band free as unlicensed flexible use spectrum subject only to basic EIRP and non-interference requirements and nothing more.

What a load of old FUD (4, Insightful)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26111969)

'Others simply asked the FCC not to take on such a major project as the transition between analog and digital television transmissions looms.'

Why is this a 'major project'? And just what the heck has digital TV got to do with free wifi?

Also, from one of the links.

'Cell phone companies, in particular Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile, oppose the proposal, saying it will create interference, among other concerns. T-Mobile paid about $4.2 billion for an adjacent piece of spectrum.

The FCC has said its engineers examined the issue and found no technical interference issues.'

I suggest that the 'interference' that T-Mobile and others are worried about is the interference that this would create in them charging shitloads of money for internet access via their existing mobile networks.

Shame - apart from perhaps boosting the USA's dismal record in internet access, just image what widely available free Internet access could do. Think what GPS did...

I'm sure that ways could be found to ensure that network builders and operators could still get a decent ROI. Business users, for example, would still be prepared to pay extra for guaranteed voice/data coverage and added-value services.

Re:What a load of old FUD (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112119)

>>>apart from perhaps boosting the USA's dismal record in internet access,

The USA is no worse-off (approximately 6 Mbit/s) than the EU (same) or the Russian Federation (7 Mbit/s, and a lot better than Canada, Australia, or China (4, 4, and 2 Mbit/s).

Re:What a load of old FUD (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112185)

The USA has the largest number of internet-connected people, but is #16 in per-capita.

See

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/int_bro_acc_percap-internet-broadband-access-per-capita [nationmaster.com]

Re:What a load of old FUD (2, Informative)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112273)

When I look at this I see:

(0) A tiny country the size of Rhode Island, and not worthy of comparison to the USA, EU, Russia, or any other continent spanning federations.
(0) A city; cities shouldn't be listed.
(1) CANADA - 1.93
(2) UNITED STATES/ EUROPEAN UNION (virtual tie) - 1.38 and 1.31 respectively
(3) AUSTRALIA - 1.18
(4) CHINA - 0.27
(5) RUSSIA - 0.10

There. The USA is not doing bad at all once you compare it to other federations the same freakin' size as the 2500-mile-wide USA. That's playing fair. ----- P.S. I apologize if I offended anyone. That's not my intent. But I think comparing pumpkins (continental federations) to peas (city-states) is silly. We should compare like-to-like (pumpkins to pumpkins) which means one continent-sized federation versus other continent-sized federations.

Re:What a load of old FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26112427)

Really? When I look at it, I see no cities above us, but 15 countries. You sure you took your pumpkin to a pumpkin patch in the first place for comparison?

Re:What a load of old FUD (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112593)

>>>When I look at it, I see no cities above us,

You see "no" cities? Not even one? Pu-leeze. Hong Kong is a city, approximately the same size as New York. Why on earth should a place the size of NYC be compared to the 2500-mile-wide federations Canada, Australia, Russia, or USA? That's what I meant when I said comparing a pumpkin to a pea.

Although if you want a truly accurate scale, it's more akin to Disney's Epcot Center versus the period at the end of this sentence. Illogical.

You should compare regions that are the same in size.

Re:What a load of old FUD (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112257)

That's for people that can actually get it. My parents live in a semi-rural area and 56k is the only option. It's faster to send them DVDs of what I'm doing than to try and send them a Gallery link. 756k would be just fast enough to get them what they need.

Re:What a load of old FUD (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112339)

I know it's a pain to be stuck behind 56k. It's only been 11 months since I abandoned 56k and upgraded to 750k DSL, but new technologies take time to propagate across the continent - 30 years for telephone and about 50 years for electricity. It's only been about 9 years since broadband first started being offered to residential consumer, so please be patient.

Also, the U.S. is not doing badly when compared to other continental federations. You could be a lot worse off; you could be in Australia or Russia:

(1) CANADA - 1.93
(2) UNITED STATES/ EUROPEAN UNION (virtual tie) - 1.38 and 1.31 respectively
(3) AUSTRALIA - 1.18
(4) CHINA - 0.27
(5) RUSSIA - 0.10

The real fix for the filtering problem... (5, Insightful)

Rahga (13479) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112001)

The real fix for the filtering problem is not to filter, but to license access to the internet. To be completely honest, just about everything done on any public utility has rules and regulations and forces people to obtain licenses to use them. Want to drive on the road? Get a license. Want to be an electrician? Get a license. Want to check out library books? Get a license. If you abuse the public's trust, you get your license revoked. Unlike, say, blocking IPs of the RBN, content filtering will never work, socially or technically, so waste our time trying.

Re:The real fix for the filtering problem... (2, Insightful)

Rahga (13479) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112035)

I just wanted to ammend my post by saying that none of this is a good idea, but if the government was in the business of good ideas, it would be better to license rather than filter. The former at least has a shot of succeeding to some degree.

Re:The real fix for the filtering problem... (2, Interesting)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112165)

Disagree strongly. Licensing means I have to ask permission to post my "Nudist Beach" website featuring naked people from age 1 to age 99, and the answer from politicians will be no; no; no.

Filtering is better because it still allows to publish my website, and if you don't want to see it, you can turn on the filter while not blocking my (or my users) free speech/expression.

Re:The real fix for the filtering problem... (0, Flamebait)

pin0chet (963774) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112137)

Unlike roads and electricity grids, the Internet isn't a public utility. Right now about 4 in 5 Americans can select from three residential-grade broadband services: cable, DSL and 3G, all of which offer enough throughput and usage for plenty of everyday Web browsing, emailing, and streaming YouTube vids. And once LTE and Wi-Max are built out, 3mbps symmetric for $30 a month (which you can now get in much of Baltimore) will be the norm in urban and suburban areas.

Besides, public utilities are not that great. They don't really advance much over time, mainly because they're insulated from competition and have a guaranteed profit margin. Water, roads, electricity utilities have all provided us pretty much the same service at the same price for decades. Don't we want something more from our ISPs? Say, companies taking big gambles on next-gen services that might fail or might become the next big thing?

I certainly won't argue that public utility-style regulation of the Internet might cut out some of the occasional asshat tactics of some big ISPs, but is turning Internet access into a stagnant-but-consistent service really worth it?

I've thought of that, too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26112477)

But you still have people taking over other people's computers (license or no) and being without an internet license would be even less manageable than being without a driver's license as time goes on.

In other words, I don't think it would actually work and it would give the government too much control over us all.

Re:The real fix for the filtering problem... (2)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112639)

This already happens in the private system with terms of use. What value add would a government licensing bureaucracy provide, except money lost to administrative overhead?

Great job, guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26112027)

What would have been better for civil rights: Free evernet with filtering that has a snowballs chance in hell of actually censoring anything, or an oligopoly of commercial networks?

Filtered isn't Free (2, Interesting)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112053)

Having a government mandated filter would set a dangerous precedent. Free is fine, but caveats aren't free. Or do they mean free as in repressed?

The FCC can't multitask? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26112103)

'Others simply asked the FCC not to take on such a major project as the transition between analog and digital television transmissions looms.'

Future FCC employees will be tested to see if they can pat the top of their head whilst rubbing their tummy. If they fail the test, they get the job.

Business as usual (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26112191)

Don't read too much into this. The whole auction was set up to benefit ONE COMPANY.

The FCCs requirements for the use of the spectrum matched this company's business plan and nobody elses. So the cancellation of the auction isn't the bad thing you're making it out to be. It's a good thing, because all it would have done would have been to create another monopoly. Free web access? Nothing paid for with taxes is free. Get over it. I'd rather everyone pay for their own internet and keep my taxes low. I pay way too much as it is.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122895503515596485.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Odd (1)

Omestes (471991) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112519)

I don't understand the civil rights group's position. I can understand being against censorship, but this seems rather moronic. Being totally against free internet access because of censorship seems like a "biting off your nose" moment.

I'd rather have free wifi with censorship, than no free wifi at all. It isn't like this is going to replace home connection, or completely censor the full internet. It just sounds like another case of blind idealism leading to absurd consequences, once again. If anyone is a member of these groups, please stop funding them, they are harmful to the common good.

It has to be my way, or no one can play.

Oh well, I thought it was an awesome idea. It would have been nice to check my email on the run, without having to pay a wifi company huge amounts of money, using an uber expensive wireless internet service, or worrying about the legality of the signals I grab. That is special interests for you.

Can the government really change the contract after the fact? Wouldn't there be some legal issue involved in this?

But first ... (2, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112581)

... lets define exactly what "Internet service" is. Most people seem to think its the capability to access remote services of your choosing at your convenience. It turns out that, absent some sort of 'Net neutrality' regulations (or even a definition), this is only a temporary condition, thanks to the benevolence of the monopoly telecoms. At any time, they reserve the right to filter or impose pricing structures so as to direct customers to their preferred partners.

I fear that the 'free service' will suffer from the same lack of understanding. Only PG content, services that have been blessed as 'approved' by the RIAA and MPAA and content deemed not to be politically incorrect will make it through the filters. The approval process to be placed on some white list (or get removed from a black list) will be every bit as onerous as having to pay kickbacks to be carried on the for-profit telecoms systems.

IMO, the Internet is a series of networks, routing nodes and name services needed to create connections between two points or broadcast packets from one to many. Anything more restrictive than this should not legally be advertised as 'Internet Service'.

Around these parts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26112613)

>facing "opposition from several top officials, wireless providers, and even civil rights groups."

In Soviet Russia, corporations regulate the government. Oh, wait...

Corporate Monopolists. Gov is better at broadband (1)

zymano (581466) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112649)

We have been waiting and waiting on the cable and phone company lies. No price reductions for cable tv or broadband. EVER. There are only 2 cable companies in my area. I have no doubt that they conspire on prices. The 2nd new company,everest, has higher prices than Time Warner. Does that make sense? Not a free market.

We need government run utilities and broadband is one of those necessities.

For the Adam Smith Capitalists here, there should be rules in place to allow ISP's to charge whatever they want for a certain income bracket.

Re:Corporate Monopolists. Gov is better at broadba (1)

El Yanqui (1111145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26112785)

Sure, some corporate practices suck. But putting the government in charge of disseminating speech is not something I want to see in any society. The answer isn't putting government in charge but rather in allowing more people to provide more services. That's a free market.

Do you really want politicians in charge of what people say over the internet? Give me a capitalist: or more realistically, a dozen companies forced to provide the service that the customer want.

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