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Content Filtering Pulled From Free Broadband Proposal

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the blocked-no-more dept.

Government 111

huzur79 writes "Electronista is reporting that Kevin Martin, Chairman of the FCC, has dropped the content filtering provisions from the proposal for free wireless broadband service, according to an interview with Ars Technica. Previous drafts of the plan required protection methods to prevent users from accessing objectionable content, such as pornography. 'I'm saying if this is a problem for people, let's take it away,' Martin said. The proposal has received criticism and opposition from a variety of groups including the Bush administration, wireless companies, and consumer interest organizations. T-Mobile has argued that communicating data on the allocated frequency bands will cause interference and quality degradation. Civil liberties groups argue that the FCC would overstep its authority and violate the Constitution."

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The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (5, Funny)

Bobnova (1435535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26276793)

Inconceivable!

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (2, Informative)

luvirini (753157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26276875)

Not really, it is still only a proposal, meaning there is still time to modify it to be stupid before it becomes official policy.

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (4, Insightful)

Darundal (891860) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277025)

Actually, I would be willing to bet that the proposal won't be modified to include filtering. That will come afterward, when the entire thing is up and running and they could wait for moral "advocacy" groups to complain continually and run campaigns to persuade people that unfiltered internet access is the worst thing in the world for the children and everything else. Then, they can proceed with whatever filtering, moral policing and otherwise they want to, and (they hope) lots of vague legislation letting them monitor and limit the people even more.

I would absolutely love to be called a conspiracy theorist, and have that supported by a complete lack of the above happening.

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (2, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277111)

Nah, if you were a real conspiracy theorist(or sane human being) then you'd know that they will still monitor and data-mine the fuck out of it and give the data to advertising and anti-dissident goverment agencies. This half-assed display of "we're fighting for your privacy" is utter bullshit, just like every other human-run outfit which seeks to alter your perception of reality.

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (2, Informative)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277161)

Sure, watch where I tunnel my SSH traffic and the rates I send it at. I don't care. You're providing me free internet.

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (1)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277991)

That will come afterward, when the entire thing is up and running

Yes... Not entirely unlike the speed limits [wikipedia.org] put in place on national highways after the Interstate grid was built.

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26278779)

A more basic question comes to mind to me....on what Constitutional basis does the FCC exist anyway?

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (1)

Hairy Heron (1296923) | more than 5 years ago | (#26279123)

The authority of Congress to regulate interstate commerce and in fullfilling those duties the FCC was created. That was hard.

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26279171)

"The authority of Congress to regulate interstate commerce and in fullfilling those duties the FCC was created. That was hard."

Regulating interstate commerce? That seems a stretch...where is the interstate commerce in regulating airwaves or content on tv?

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (1)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26279441)

I can watch TV stations from ohio and pennsylvania with rabbit ears...

Likewise, most shows are filmed in other states anyways...

Same for radio.

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (1)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#26279507)

I can watch TV stations from ohio and pennsylvania with rabbit ears... Likewise, most shows are filmed in other states anyways...

By this logic every product/service is within the federal government's reach — because if something still was not, they would just need one person to drive across a State's border and buy it.

Fortunately, this logic is not applied to much — but it is already applied to radio and TV. Which is an outrage.

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (2, Informative)

Agripa (139780) | more than 5 years ago | (#26280307)

By this logic every product/service is within the federal government's reach -- because if something still was not, they would just need one person to drive across a State's border and buy it.

Fortunately, this logic is not applied to much -- but it is already applied to radio and TV. Which is an outrage.

Unfortunately, that ship sailed long ago:

Wickard thus establishes that Congress can regulate purely intrastate activity that is not itself "commercial," in that it is not produced for sale, if it concludes that failure to regulate that class of activity would undercut the regulation of the interstate market in that commodity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wickard_v._Filburn [wikipedia.org]

The government also contended that consuming one's locally grown marijuana for medical purposes affects the interstate market of marijuana, and hence that the federal government may regulate--and prohibit--such consumption.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gonzales_v._Raich [wikipedia.org]

Justice Thomas' dissent from Gonzales vs. Raich:

If the Federal Government can regulate growing a half-dozen cannabis plants for personal consumption (not because it is interstate commerce, but because it is inextricably bound up with interstate commerce), then Congress' Article I powers -- as expanded by the Necessary and Proper Clause -- have no meaningful limits. Whether Congress aims at the possession of drugs, guns, or any number of other items, it may continue to "appropriate state police powers under the guise of regulating commerce."

. . .

If the majority is to be taken seriously, the Federal Government may now regulate quilting bees, clothes drives, and potluck suppers throughout the 50 States. This makes a mockery of Madison's assurance to the people of New York that the "powers delegated" to the Federal Government are "few and defined", while those of the States are "numerous and indefinite."

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (1)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26280513)

Actually, since I don't have to cross state lines to get an ohio station, it's more along the lines of a product that is shipped across state lines as opposed to something that I crossed state lines to purchase.

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (1)

tabrisnet (722816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26279823)

Radio waves naturally cross state lines. QED.

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (1)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26280041)

which is why I proposed the interstate faraday cage program. Blocks interstate radio transmissions, and also has the added bonus of preventing the loss of important birds due to migration.

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (1)

rastilin (752802) | more than 5 years ago | (#26280901)

With a free internet pipe I can easily see people making heavier use of Freenet. Here in Australia where high speed internet is paid for by the GB; it's hard to run a node 24/7. However if you're getting internet through a pipe that's unlimited, but of limited usefulness and possibly tracked then it's easier to justify doing more of your stuff on Freenet. It already supports sites, P2P and usenet style message boards the last time I checked, which was a few years back.

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (1)

basicio (1316109) | more than 5 years ago | (#26283153)

That's a much better thing than having the filtering tied directly to the proposal.

I am reasonably confidant the supreme court will shoot down anything involving content filtering. If free broadband and content filtering are separate, we don't need to lose one along with the other.

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (2, Funny)

NeuroManson (214835) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277125)

Yeah, but the problem is, the US Gov't excells at doing senseless, stupid things in record time. Logical, intelligent things, that takes decades to accomplish.

Don't worry, they'll make it even dumber in no time.

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (1)

dwpro (520418) | more than 5 years ago | (#26279073)

Just remember, whenever the government does something stupid, you are part of the stupidity as their employer (assuming you're American.)

You use that word a lot... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277279)

... I no think it means what you think it means.



"They were both poisoned. I have spent the last several years developing an immunity..."

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26277583)

Holy shit i didn't know you could post without logging in

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277609)

Another historical discovery for mankind no doubt.

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26279613)

*jumps up and down*

It's just like Web 2.0, i can now tag my pictures! (like i couldn't do that years ago -.-)

Re:The FCC doing something vaguely intelligent? (1)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26279415)

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

yes, but... (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26276795)

>Civil liberties groups argue that the FCC would overstep its authority and violate the Constitution.

The FCC is on the way into history - don't these groups read the papers...?

FC Isn't Evil (5, Insightful)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277085)

Come on, the FCC is not an evil agency by any stretch. It does have a legitimate role in issues like frequency allocations - there is only so much spectrum to go around.

It also has a great role in the enforcement of technical standards like those that prevent one user from interfering with another's use of the airwaves.

Only if the FCC interferes in the actual content of the communications can it be considered to be entering the category of "evil". Or if they mandate the use of a patented "standard" as a condition of use of the public airwaves, they are certainly at least in bed with "evil".

That said, I actually applaud the dropping of a well-meaning but ill-concieved idea.

It looks like the Chairman haas understood that what he originally wanted was impractical, infeasible, and really a bad idea.

It's okay to propose something stupid, so long as one listens to the reasons for those who object to it and doesn't respond by a "digg in the heels, fight, and whine" attitude when the suggestion and it's rationale is challenged.

But wait a minute... (2, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277329)

you say yourself that interfering with content is "evil", then you say that the concept was well-intentioned.

Aside from the contradiction (which I do not think you intended), I say that the idea that it was well-intentioned is giving Martin and friends far too much benefit of doubt. On the contrary, it was a political move, for the blatantly obvious purpose of sucking up to a certain group of voters and businesspeople.

Martin has been called out before for doing exactly the same kind of thing... and didn't another certain female FCC commissioner give a speech recently that was a downright gross example of exactly the same kind of ass-kissing? (Answer: yes, without any doubt whatever.)

Once might be an accident. Two might be a coincidence. But three and more... ??? Give me a fucking break.

Re:But wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26277515)

I think that the concept was well-intentioned EXCEPT that it interfered with (good) content, which the OP states simply, is evil. (the subject of porn, it seems, tends to cause this kind of confusion in people.) However, given what the FCC commissioner's inbox must look like it's probably not as easy for him to "just listen to reason" as the OP may have alluded to.

Re:But wait a minute... (1)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277521)

you say yourself that interfering with content is "evil", then you say that the concept was well-intentioned.

Aside from the contradiction (which I do not think you intended)

You might have heard the saying "The road to hell is paved with good intentions"

Good intentions and evil are not mutually exclusive. There is no contradiction there.

Re:But wait a minute... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277589)

I think you missed my point. The whole intent of the saying "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" is to illustrate the evil that can be done by people who intend good but are ignorant of the possible negative consequences.

If you want to pretend that Martin is "ignorant" of the possible negative consequences, then I have a bridge I would like to sell that you might be interested in buying. It's a good investment. Really.

Re:But wait a minute... (1)

rohan972 (880586) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277747)

I think you missed my point. The whole intent of the saying "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" is to illustrate the evil that can be done by people who intend good but are ignorant of the possible negative consequences.

If you want to pretend that Martin is "ignorant" of the possible negative consequences,

I didn't miss your point, neither do I think his intentions are good. However I point out your use of the word "aside":
"Aside from the contradiction (which I do not think you intended), I say that the idea that it was well-intentioned is giving Martin and friends far too much benefit of doubt."
I don't think I was unreasonable to take the "contradiction" statement as a separate point to the goodness or otherwise of Martin and friends intentions. To clarify, it is my opinion that (1) there is no contradiction between having good intentions and doing evil and (2) there is no evidence of good intentions in this case.

then I have a bridge I would like to sell that you might be interested in buying. It's a good investment. Really.

I'm only in the market for bridges that repel vampires. How many vampires are on your bridge?

Re:But wait a minute... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26279741)

It *IS* a contradiction if you did not believe it was well-intentioned but called it well-intentioned anyway.

In any case, it sounds like a misunderstanding to me.

I warrant my bridge to be free of vampires. However, I make no promises about how many there may be under it.

Re:FC Isn't Evil (1)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 5 years ago | (#26278491)

I'd argue state-sponsored free wireless broadband is also "well-meaning but ill-conceived".

Re:FC Isn't Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26279647)

Isn't the modo for the FCC "do no evil"? ... err wait

Aus to follow? (1)

Kinky Bass Junk (880011) | more than 5 years ago | (#26276817)

Interesting that the FCC makes this move before the Australian Government on their respective filtering proposals.

Degradation (0)

exabrial (818005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26276819)

The only thing degrading will be T-mobiles profit on .50cents/text message.

Re:Degradation (3, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277317)

which is why the telecom industry tried to dissuade the government from pursuing plans for a free public wireless network. first they claimed that public wireless wasn't viable, and that all attempts to create such networks by governments have been huge failures. and now they're changing the reason for their opposition to claims of "interference and quality degradation."

it's ridiculous that they're even given a voice on this issue when they have such a conflict of interest. the only people whose opinions should be solicited is the public. just hold a nationwide referendum. if people want a public national wireless infrastructure, then it should be created. the technology has been available for a while and has been proven to be sound. San Francisco and many other smaller cities here in California already have open wireless networks, and there's no evidence that it has any impact on cellphone networks or any other communication systems.

Re:Degradation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26277417)

Yes. We may also hold a referendum on whether "the public" wants free food and beer vending machines in each corner.

Overstepping? (4, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | more than 5 years ago | (#26276845)

The FCC has been overstepping it's authority for a LONG time.
 
The FCC exists to dole out a limited public resource, content (and esp obscenity) has never been part of it's mandate and represents little more then a moral power grab.

Re:Overstepping? (4, Informative)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 5 years ago | (#26278651)

Check out Section 5, item (D), bullet (d) of the Radio Act of 1927, which created the Federal Radio Commission. The FRC morphed into the FCC in 1934. Specifically, the Secretary of Commerce is given the right to terminate the license of operators who transmit "profane or obscene words of language". You can view the text of the act here [netins.net]

This has been part of the FCC's mandate from the very beginning. It has been upheld by the courts, for instance in "FCC vs. Pacifica Foundation".

How do they make money? (1)

luvirini (753157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26276851)

The whole free wireless internet access is not going to be all that cheap to build to the requirements of 95% of the population in 10 years.

If you give free 768k access, it is going to be enough for quite a lot of people. For people who need more, you are normally competing with existing solutions in the market, thus you will have hard time selling them.

Maybe FCC hopes for someone to be stupid enough to build it and go bankrupt and then someone else to buy it for a small fraction of the building cost. In such scenario that followup company might make enough money to cover the operating costs and make some profit as they do not have to pay for the infrastructure.

Re:How do they make money? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26276887)

they don't, the tax payer foots the bill for all unprofitable ventures like always.

Re:How do they make money? (5, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277037)

Knowing that I'll be able to get online when I'm on the road (even with a low-quality-but-better-than-dialup connection) is worth a minuscule portion of my tax dollars. Government ventures aren't supposed to be profitable, they're supposed to be beneficial. Not paying ten bucks a day for net access at a hotel definitely falls under 'beneficial' in my books.

Re:How do they make money? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277059)

I'll agree. Heck my home connection is only 1Mbps and while I wouldn't mind some extra speed, it suffices for me just fine. 768Kbps would probably work just as well for me on a permanent basis - having it available on the road would be just awesome.

Re:How do they make money? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277347)

"Government ventures aren't supposed to be profitable, they're supposed to be beneficial."

Mod up.

Re:How do they make money? (1)

MPAB (1074440) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277351)

What people don't seem to notice is that many times "a minuscle portion of my tax dollars" ends up in working up to (or over) 6 mo/yr just to pay taxes.
This means half of a citizen's income goes to keep universal services that aren't free as in freedom nor as in beer. Just think of tolls, entry fees at museums, public transportation fees, the cost of snail mail ... also come to mind those "universal services" that work like cr*p.
And, no, rich people DON'T pay a bigger percentage of taxes. They pay accountants (or politicians, if they're big enough) to cut their taxes in half or even get subsides (out of the middle man's taxes, of course).
It's funny that people don't trust the politicians a little bit, but are willing to give them full control of their lives, privacy, money, etc.
Corruption happens when it takes a writing from single person or a small group of people to turn a lot of people's life (and money) around. That's why the most power a government has, the most prone to corruption it is.
Most people I've known that prefer government management in everything because "you can vote them away" are the same people that's 100% sure Bush won because of a fraud in Florida. And, yes, most people firmly believe in democracy as long as "those traitor pinkos don't vote" or "those ignorant bible-thumpers don't vote".

If a huge service such as free internet for all comes up, it may come out of the "tax surplus" for a time so that people don't get upset. Once the numbers don't add up they will raise taxes as a whole or even set up an internet tax while keeping an straight face. (Just see the plan in Oregon to impose a mileage tax because gas doesn't yield what it used to). And, yes, they'll be able to set up any censorship they want once the system is widespread. Pr0n, "fascism", "communism", "terrorism", "how to make thermite" ... you name it and it may be censored.

Re:How do they make money? (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26282763)

And, no, rich people DON'T pay a bigger percentage of taxes. They pay accountants (or politicians, if they're big enough) to cut their taxes in half or even get subsidies (out of the middle man's taxes, of course).

Then, isn't that sort of the fault of us "middle people" for allowing the rich to squirm out of paying their fair share for the common resources that they consume?

Re:How do they make money? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277495)

Knowing that I'll be able to get online when I'm on the road (even with a low-quality-but-better-than-dialup connection)

If anybody can use it the connection will be much slower than dialup. Blocking porn would have done a bit to cut down on demand. It would be nice to have a pervasive network for embedded systems deployed city wide.

Re:How do they make money? (2, Interesting)

Jorophose (1062218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277021)

From what I can understand they're hoping to dish out 10-100mbps speeds on the same bands as analog TV were once on.

For once, I'd say the tax payers on both sides of the border should help pay for this, but that it remains government-managed (or whatever is best for a public service).

Re:How do they make money? (1)

Anthony_Cargile (1336739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277243)

I'm more worried the other ISPs will notice a (slight) drop in their sales because of this and maybe start pulling strings. You most likely can't get good xbox live speed on 768k, but that won't stop some of the "strictly surf" or dial-up users from saying (in this tight economy) "well, it is free..." after viewing their $ISP bill and lowered paycheck/termination letter back to back.

I would think dial-up companies would be hurt the most, then DSL users, and maybe some small businesses and a few comcast users. That said, I don't even know if routing several machines through one connection is possible with this, but be sure I'll be trying. Whenever comcast goes down again in the businesses I administer, I'll use the free access to complain, or just setup a secure parallel backbone to the internet with automatic failover just in case...

Re:How do they make money? (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 5 years ago | (#26280315)

Use NAT. Or is it possible to configure some router to somehow detect NAT and deny service for its users?

Re:How do they make money? (1)

anyGould (1295481) | more than 5 years ago | (#26282069)

I can't bring myself to cry too much for dial-up companies - they're the VHS of the internet: fantastic in their day, but completely overshadowed by current tech.

Plus, they'll have more than enough warning to transition to whatever else they're going to do. (For starters, people will still need email addresses, webspace, and all the other whizbangs that go along with the 'net)

Re:How do they make money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26277271)

Yea but it's gonna boost the economy by making people more productive so more tax revenues.

Re:How do they make money? (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26278747)

As it has been stated before, the reason Internet Service Providerss were willing to sell high bandwidth is because it was so unlikely anybody would ever be able to use it because very few sites can upload data to people that fast. And, this all changed when BitTorrent came along because people actually were able to use all available bandwidth. Then the ISP's started capping people's bandwidth to some very low amount rather than the several megabits they marketed. So, if the government provides unfiltered 768k access, it will probably be exactly the same as the "up to" 11 megabit connections for regular users and maybe even better for BitTorrent users. And it will cost less than $50 per month.

This Kevin Martin, (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 5 years ago | (#26276855)

does he want a job as a communications minister? seems Australia needs a competent one. He wont have high expectations going into the job given what his predecessors were like.

Re:This Kevin Martin, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26277551)

Consultant perhaps, minister no. As a member of parliament he'd have to be chosen at an election.

And besides, we already have a 'communications expert' from the US running Telstra, Señor Trujillo.

Re:This Kevin Martin, (1)

Mr. Bad Example (31092) | more than 5 years ago | (#26279217)

> does he want a job as a communications minister? seems Australia needs a competent one.

It'd be a pretty easy job, wouldn't it? From what I understand, most communications in Australia are variations on "Oh sweet Jesus, there's a spider the size of a dinner plate on my leg, but at least it's killing the poisonous octopus that's eating the incredibly toxic jellyfish that was stinging me to death".

Re:This Kevin Martin, (1)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26280209)

You forgot about beer commercials and the All Paul Hogan channel.

Everything else is transmitted via wallaby...

It's still a dumb idea (5, Informative)

DrBuzzo (913503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277075)

Not that I am opposed to getting something for free, but the bandwidth on the proposed free wireless band represents less than five megahertz of spectrum. That's simply not enough to provide a significant number of people with broadband internet, at least not with the kind of network topography this band is proposed for.

How much throughput that could equal is going to depend on the way that the system is set up, how much noise there is on a given frequency, dopler shift and what kind of spectrum management is used, but no matter how you cut it it won't be much. Assuming only one to one overlapping of cells (which is very generous) and very low noise you might get a total of 4 megabits combined up and downstream to be shared by all users in a given area.

By comparison, wifi uses about 80 mhz of total space on the spectrum with up to 20 mhz assignable to a single channel connection.

If the FCC wants to give away free wireless internet they need to find a bigger block of spectrum for it.

Re:It's still a dumb idea (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277133)

I think "broadband" in most politician's minds is ``has access to email''---I doubt they're intending for customers to view youtube or download stuff (or play WoW :-)

Re:It's still a dumb idea (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277197)

That's simply not enough to provide a significant number of people with broadband internet, at least not with the kind of network topography this band is proposed for.

I bet it will kill the market for text messages with 1000x markups though.

Re:It's still a dumb idea (1)

hax0r_this (1073148) | more than 5 years ago | (#26278207)

I bet not.

I don't quite understand how any of it works, but I don't think its all that simple to run a good push service over a shitty public IP network.

Not to mention that you would need some sort of good 2 way gateway in order for it to see any sort of wide adoption. Look at all of people with iPhones that come with "unlimited" data, but some tiny limit on text messages. You don't see too many of them using email to SMS gateways to get out of paying for texts do you?

The fact that people still use SMS in an era of ubiquitous mobile IP is undeniably stupid, but its up to the telecoms to change that.

Re:It's still a dumb idea (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26278751)

You don't see too many of them using email to SMS gateways to get out of paying for texts do you?

I dunno anyone with an iphone. But I know a few non-tech girls who have regular phones with basic internet functionality who have practically stopped texting in favor of IMing each other.

Re:It's still a dumb idea (1)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26279743)

which, depending on carrier/application, may still use sms to transport the messages...

Re:It's still a dumb idea (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26282567)

which, depending on carrier/application, may still use sms to transport the messages...

It's quite possible, but their carriers don't charge them same as regular sms, which is why they go to the effort.

Re:It's still a dumb idea (1)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26282631)

Ummm...

Not always correct...

Verizon Wireless charges the same for SMS whether it's to a phone or using an IM service

Re:It's still a dumb idea (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26282849)

Nice to know, but irrelevant to the topic of "do people use alternate means to communicate when cheaper options are available?"

Re:It's still a dumb idea (1)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26282955)

it is if the example of a cheaper option, isn't...

Re:It's still a dumb idea (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26283235)

Right, because people who are looking for a cheaper option are not smart enough to figure out if the choices available to them really are cheaper.

Re:It's still a dumb idea (1)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26279753)

Email on my device syncs every 15 minutes, txt is immediate

Re:It's still a dumb idea (1)

charlesnw (843045) | more than 5 years ago | (#26281365)

I'm guessing it's not a blackberry? If so then the reconcile now option is very useful. I'm on t-mobile with a pearl and personal IMAP server.

Re:It's still a dumb idea (1)

Xaoswolf (524554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26282223)

HTC Touch Pro, so I can hit Send/receive on it if I'm expeciting something, normally hitting it several times until the mail arrives. Or if I'm not expecting something, it may take up to fifteen minutes to receive with my sync settings. So if it's something that someone needs an answer to quickly, SMS will always be faster and simplier.

Re:It's still a dumb idea (1)

SuperAndy (1414157) | more than 5 years ago | (#26278333)

How much throughput that could equal is going to depend on the way that the system is set up, how much noise there is on a given frequency, dopler shift and what kind of spectrum management is used, but no matter how you cut it it won't be much. Assuming only one to one overlapping of cells (which is very generous) and very low noise you might get a total of 4 megabits combined up and downstream to be shared by all users in a given area.

You mention doppler shift, despite the fact these are electromagnetic waves, and you have to be in something moving very very fast to observe this effect. Anything land based won't get near those speeds

Re:It's still a dumb idea (1)

Agripa (139780) | more than 5 years ago | (#26279677)

You mention doppler shift, despite the fact these are electromagnetic waves, and you have to be in something moving very very fast to observe this effect. Anything land based won't get near those speeds

Going from fast to slow effects measured terrestrially: You can hear the doppler shift of a carrier transmitted by LEO satalite using a SSB receiver and it is significant enough to require continuous tuning. GPS receivers correct for doppler shift from the 12 hour orbit GPS satalites. A common police radar gun design uses doppler shift by mixing the reflected wave with the transmitted one and measuring the frequency difference. Weather radar often uses doppler shift to measure cloud velocities and look for tornado formation. Roanoke style doppler direction finding equipment measures doppler shift using a standard FM receiver by measuring phase differences in the recovered audio.

The FCC and the constituion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26277109)

"Civil liberties groups argue that the FCC would overstep its authority and violate the Constitution."

By its existance alone the FCC is a violation of the constituion according to the ninth and tenth amendments.

Re:The FCC and the constituion (2, Insightful)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277807)

I am about as anti-government as one will come across, but I'm pretty sure that the FCC's technical regulation of the broadcast spectrum falls within Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce. It's the content restrictions that are questionable on 1st Amendment grounds.

low bandwidth only (2, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277175)

In the long ago, one reason to restrict p0rn and other questionable content was simply to limit the bandwidth of the user or the disk space used at the service. This is one reason why some many services did not carry the alt.* groups. Sure this is where all the real ware p0rn was and still is, but that was secondary to the issue of the cost of hosting.

But now lots of legitimate services need high bandwidth, netflix, iTunes, even youtube, and most kids are used high speed connections that let them play games and watch videos. They need the bandwidth. So many would say we can no longer use bandwidth as a proxy, and need filtering. I disagree.

To me the best way to make sure that the most people can use this, and not just for play, is to limit the speed to .5 Mb/sec. Those who need the service will appreciate it, and those who can afford something faster will buy it. I would love to have free, reliable internet access even at 300 kb/sec. It might be a bummer for people who just want to play, but for most work it is fast enough.

Re:low bandwidth only (1)

Larryish (1215510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277259)

Man, if CableOne would raise my upstream cap from 32k to something toward 100k I would have no complaints.

It sucks trying to restore a decent sized hosting service using Virtualmin after a server upgrade with only 32kps (max, not constant).

Is sucks big time.

Your problems of low bandwidth (2, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277399)

are not caused by those with high bandwidth. Your problems are because of your communications supplier(s). And perhaps your geographic location.

Blocking the bandwidth of others (except in your own small local area) will not make your own performance better.



"You cannot embiggen the small by shortening the tall. You cannot enrich the poor by impoverishing the rich." - Abraham Lincoln

Last mile connection and "internet access"... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277209)

A great deal of the difficulty in the various internet regulatory issues seems, to me, to arise from the fact that the provider of the last mile connection and the provider of the internet access are almost always one and the same(and, worse, even reform proposals tend to assume that they will always be so, without even cursory examination). This is tricky because the two things really exhibit rather different behavior.

Last mile network connections, wired or wireless, are pretty close to natural monopolies. On the wireless side, there is only so much spectrum, and it isn't exactly a fluid market, and there are only so many locations where you can get zoning permission and whatnot for a tower. On the wired side, legacy environments are duopolies at best, phone company and cable company; while any new deployments run into the fact that(considering the pull itself, plus right-of-way hassles and all the rest) the fixed cost of doing a pull of any bandwidth capacity is huge, while the cost of pulling a high bandwidth line as opposed to a low bandwidth line is much smaller. It isn't quite as bad as roads, where multiple runs are generally not even physically possible; but still an oligopoly at best, monopoly at worst.

Internet access, on the other hand, has the potential to be a properly competitive market, once enough end users are aggregated at a central point. If all relevant structures in a town or geographic region are connected to a peering point, choosing any service from any provider who reaches that point is literally a matter of switch configuration, and could be largely automated.

The trouble is, as long as the two distinct services are provided by the same entity, you have massive incentives for the people who own the last mile connection to mess with the internet access, hence all the net neutrality issues, and this content filtering stuff. We need to separate the two: treat the network link between you and the peering point as a natural monopoly similar to water mains, roads, or electrical lines(whether this means regulated private monopoly, public utility administered by private contractors, or public utility administered by public employees is a matter of implementation). This portion would be simple: dumb pipe of X speed between you and the peering point. Anything from the peering point to the internet at large would be pure free market, internet access at higher or lower speeds, quotas or no, filtering or not, various numbers of static IPs, access to various other things over IP, etc.

Re:Last mile connection and "internet access"... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277881)

Last mile is not even close to a natural monopoly. All it would take is running conduit to the house and larger conduit to your central point. Cities already run sewer lines and storm drains. A 4 inch pipe like that used for sewage could handle more lines than any one house would likely ever need for the foreseeable future with no problem. 4 foot pipes could easily carry hundreds of data lines. Cities are already experienced with running these kinds of pipes, and once installed right of ways become a non-issue.

Re:Last mile connection and "internet access"... (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26278821)

You presume the copper/fibre and labour to lay that cable is cheap, not to mention right-of-ways, head-end equipment, etc.

You propose that having to build all that infrastructure from scratch, you would be able to effectively compete with someone who already has all that in place (and got tax breaks, etc. while doing so over a span of decades), and thus is able to undercut you severely while still turning a profit.

Re:Last mile connection and "internet access"... (1)

pin0chet (963774) | more than 5 years ago | (#26280141)

The fact that running a new cable isn't cheap does not mean that the enterprise of running cable is a natural monopoly.

You think building a nationwide wireless network, with backhaul and everything, is cheap? No, it's actually extremely expensive, yet we have at least 4 separate nationwide cellular networks. The strangest part: they all make a decent profit, at least for the most part.

In the current climate, with greedy and corrupt city councils that make it prohibitively expensive for all but the most deep-pocketed companies to lay wire to homes and businesses, it's no surprise why many simply assume that last-mile service must be a natural monopoly. Except we still have overbuilders, like RCN, who still manage to pony up the capital.

I say we make it easy for overbuilders and the competitive entrepreneurs who want to lay wire to homes and compete with incumbents. The FCC should make nationwide rules that pre-empt local franchise authorities who exist only to serve a vocal minority of citizens who want their favorite objectives forced upon would-be competitors at the expense of everyone else. Then we might actually have 5 or 10 choices, not just 1 or 2 like most of us have today.

Take it away (3, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277265)

'I'm saying if this is a problem for people, let's take it away.'

Translation: We can always put it back in later.

Re:Take it away (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277415)

But make sure not to do it in a theater. You wouldn't want all those innocent people getting arrested.

Do I Have To? (4, Insightful)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277403)

The government wants to gives us free wireless broadband, now without content restriction.

This is the same government that conducted warrantless wiretapping. If they own the bitwaves, there's less barrier to the same occurring.

If there's restrictions, people wanting privacy will go elsewhere. If the restrictions are lifted, people will be more likely to feel safe using it for more sensitive matters. The government will be more able to catch more people.

Can anyone conceive of a better way for the government to maximize its chances of catching people doing things they find undesirable while minimizing its chances of getting in trouble and so having to stop?

Re:Do I Have To? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#26279105)

No, it's not the same government. This is a bureaucrat who realises he is going to have a new boss in around 20 days, and wants to have a chance at keeping his job.

wiow gold (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26277493)

For any of you out there who haven't yet picked up Magical Starsign, what are you waiting for? I'll admit that I'm still a bit miffed over the US not getting the first Magical Vacation game on the Gameboy Advance, maple story mesos [cheapmesos.com] but I guess I can forgive and forget since we did at least get the sequel in Magical Starsign. On the other hand, playing Magical Starsign and seeing how fantastic it is just makes me now want Magical Vacation even more. dofus kamas [dofuskamas.fr] So there, now I'm mad again. Seriously, if you're looking for an outstanding old-school RPG experience with one of the coolest art styles ever seen in an RPG, check out Magical Starsign. It's everything a great RPG should be. The only gripe I have is that the experience ended too quickly. So now I either want Magical Vacation for the Gameboy Advance, or another sequel. One or the other! NOW!

wow gold (0, Offtopic)

freya369 (1442009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277539)

Just look at websites like Facebook and Myspace. You are basically telling those companies, through their website, who you are, who your friends are, maple story mesos [cheapmesos.com] where you like to hang out, etc. There is a rapidly decreasing margin of privacy for the government to encroach on; just quickly looking through someone's Facebook profile tells you who their friends are, and which of those friends they hang out withdofus kamas [dofuskamas.fr]

How Bad is Filtering? - Very Bad... (1)

Teratogen2k (1329481) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277683)

I try to look at both sides of every situation, so please forgive me.

I am very much so against any form of filtering on the internet. However, given that porn and (illegal) torrenting currently make up the majority of internet traffic, won't filtering objectionable content allow for better speeds for everyone else?

For people who do want to download porn or torrent, that should remain on a personal connection paid for by the user (tax money doesn't count). The plan is to accommodate nearly 300 million people in ten years, and whether that many people use it or not is not the point. If the majority of those are using it for unintended purposes (porn), that leaves little left for the rest of us. Leave the public wifi for public use, similar to how one should act in public versus how one may act at home. To stretch out a poor car analogy: you're allowed to masturbate at home, but not in your car in public.

However, doing so would set a precedent that may allow for ISPs to do more or less the same thing, going against net neutrality. Another issue is whether or not the FCC even holds the right to filter content.

Overall, I would say because of that last point, I agree that public wifi should not be filtered. Though, the idea of a bunch of 13-15 year olds downloading all of their torrents online who don't even pay for the public wifi is disturbing.

I am curious though, will so many more people going wireless in the cities leave more unsecure connections for wardrivers and others to have fun with? Or am I overestimating the amount of people that will even be using the this new service?

Re:How Bad is Filtering? - Very Bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26277803)

To stretch out a poor car analogy: you're allowed to masturbate at home, but not in your car in public.

Never been married, eh?

Re:How Bad is Filtering? - Very Bad... (1)

Teratogen2k (1329481) | more than 5 years ago | (#26278079)

Actually, my girlfriend goes to a private catholic school. Only a few months ago a professor (or may have been some administrator, can't recall) was arrested for masturbating in the front seat of his car outside of a church and was caught by a couple of young girls walking home on the sidewalk from school

Re:How Bad is Filtering? - Very Bad... (5, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26277953)

Actually, it is likely that these "bandwidth hogs" are INCREASING your available bandwidth. How fast of a connection do you think you would have if no one ever maxed out their 56k modems. We certainly wouldn't be seeing 6mbps connections being rolled out. We wouldn't likely even see 256kbps lines. It is the guys that are watching HD movies off of netflix and running bittorrent 24/7 that are creating the expectation that we need faster internet. They are the ones that are fighting the good fight so that you and I can get good speeds tomorrow.

Re:How Bad is Filtering? - Very Bad... (1)

Teratogen2k (1329481) | more than 5 years ago | (#26278107)

I hope that you are modded +5 insightful. I had never previously thought about it that way before.

We should each do our part. Let the downloading commence!

not the first time we had free internet. (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 5 years ago | (#26278363)

rember back before the 2k bubble burst. there was a tone of isps offering free service some with ads some without. back then dial up was usable as well. in fact thers only 2 isps i kone of that offer it without having a broadband offering as well. aol and netzero. i think even netzero is starting to offer dsl now to. now we live in the brodband era where no free offering are around. dialup is dead its abought as useful as not having internet. many new pcs don't even have dial modems anymore. so i for 1 think this is a good idea. it might not be nowhere near as fast as a paid service but tossing something free into the brodband mix will force prices down. kinda like how dialup got dirt cheap.

Re:not the first time we had free internet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26278493)

Without the free internet service that Netzero provided I doubt I would have ever been the nerd I am today. My parents were far to cheap to actually pay for internet service. After all, modifying their client to hide the ads and not keep track of my online times really got me interested in computers.

Credit where credit is due (1)

vyrus128 (747164) | more than 5 years ago | (#26278767)

Before the bile starts pouring in, let's take a moment to thank the FCC for having a suddenoutbreakofcommonsense. That they listened is nothing short of incredible, and we should savor this moment and reward them for it, before we start tearing down the proposal for everything _else_ we each think is wrong with it. :-)

It's FREE! It's FREE! (1)

need4mospd (1146215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26278987)

For the last frickin time, can we stop saying things provided by the government are "free"? It's not free if I'm paying for it, no matter how many politicians my money is used to bribe before getting spent on my "free" services.

Gov't content regulation wouldn't end well. (1)

Iowan41 (1139959) | more than 5 years ago | (#26281851)

I do not think that in the present climate of competing belief systems, that there is a way to regulate content that would not end up infringing on political, religious, or scientific speech. Therefore, content regulation has to be done by the individual, and the individual sets of parents.

violate the Constitution -Oh My (1)

I_Voter (987579) | more than 5 years ago | (#26282239)

From Summary
"Civil liberties groups argue that the FCC would overstep its authority and violate the Constitution."
----
Hey, everybody violates the U.S. Constitution. Even SCOTUS. I say go for it!

A little polemical documentation
The Constitutional Relationship Between the People and the Law
http://tinyurl.com/3du9ec [tinyurl.com]

I_Voter

My New Web Site:
(Under Construction)
Political Power in the U.S.
http://tinyurl.com/2sdtvk [tinyurl.com]
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