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Major Carriers Shun Broadband Stimulus

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the why-risk-their-monopolies dept.

Networking 190

jmcharry sends word that as the deadline looms for requesting broadband grants from the $4.7 billion available in stimulus funding, Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T are conspicuously absent from the list of applicants. Quoting the Washington Post: "Their reasons are varied. All three say they are flush with cash, enough to upgrade and expand their broadband networks on their own. Some say taking money could draw unwanted scrutiny of business practices and compensation, as seen with automakers and banks that have taken government bailouts. And privately, some companies are griping about conditions attached to the money, including a net-neutrality rule that they say would prevent them from managing traffic on their networks in the way they want. ... Yet those firms might be the best positioned to achieve the goal of spreading Internet access to underserved areas, some experts say." Reader Michael_Curator notes that while the major carriers may be holding back, there were still enough applications to slow government servers to a crawl, resulting in a deadline extension.

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The Real Reason.... (1, Interesting)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072177)

They're holding out for more cash later on.

Re:The Real Reason.... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29072225)

No. Among other things they don't like the idea of Net Neutrality which is one stipulation of taking the money.

Re:The Real Reason.... (5, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072357)

They just working out a plan for converting the money into bonuses. It's hard work!

Re:The Real Reason.... (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072359)

I'm not sure they're seeing this through. They can take the cash with a contractual obligation for net neutrality (which may be renegotiated with lower-level bureaucrats later). Or they can gamble, lose, and have net neutrality enshrined in law later, where no lawmaker will touch it again, and forever lose the ability to "[manage] traffic on their networks in the way they want" never to regain it.

I dunno - free cash and a negotiation away from what one wants in a year or two vs no money and a crap-shoot on losing what one wants irretrievably. Seems like a simple choice to me. Perhaps the C*Os that came up with this plan can't see past their out-stretched arms.

Re:The Real Reason.... (5, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072597)

They looked at what happened to the banks that took money and wanted no parts of it. Taking the money won't protect them against net neutrality being enshrined into law. This Administration has shown a tendency to spring new conditions on recipients of government largess after they have it (not that this is an unusual tendency for politicians, just that most are more subtle).

Re:The Real Reason.... (2, Informative)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072593)

No. Among other things they don't like the idea of Net Neutrality which is one stipulation of taking the money.

If ONLY there had been some reference to that in TFA. Or, dare I say it, the summary. I'm imagining a fictional world in which this story had been posted to /. and it had mentioned the net neutrality hangup somewhere in the 6th line of the summary.

Ah... so beautiful it brings a tear to my eye that it can never be...

Re:The Real Reason.... (5, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072877)

Perhaps we have a communication problem here. From TFA, "And privately, some companies are griping about conditions attached to the money, including a net-neutrality rule " From the summar, "And privately, some companies are griping about conditions attached to the money, including a net-neutrality rule "

It seems pretty clear, from that, as well as a myriad other articles on the intartubez, the monopolies aren't even slightly interested in implementing net neutrality. They want one thing only, and that is as much money as possible for the use of the tubez, on top of extravagant rates attached to the infrastructure underlying the tubez. (cable, telephone, satellite, fiber - you name it, they want us to pay for it a few hundred times over)

Re:The Real Reason.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29073047)

Perhaps we have a WHOOSH problem here.

Re:The Real Reason.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29073053)

Holy shit...this is the biggest whoosh in the history of /.

 

 

 
In fact, it is the fabled.......MEGA-WHOOSH

Re:The Real Reason.... (4, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073079)

Perhaps we have a communication problem here. From TFA, "And privately, some companies are griping about conditions attached to the money, including a net-neutrality rule " From the summar, "And privately, some companies are griping about conditions attached to the money, including a net-neutrality rule "

I would say we do have a communication problem. I think. Either you're being sarcastic or I am, I sincerely thought it was me.

Re:The Real Reason.... (1)

danwesnor (896499) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073441)

I was going to post "There's probably a 'Don't screw your customers' clause", which a superset of your post, but since you were first and have actually function_read(the_rules), so I concede to your posting greatness.

void function_read(char *whats_been_read)
{
        if (actually_read(whats_been_read) != FALSE)
                return;
        function_read(whats_been_read);
}

Re:The Real Reason.... (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072763)

I think the main reason is that they don't want to be de facto nationalized, like the auto industry.

Re:The Real Reason.... (2, Informative)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073365)

The people at the Ford Motor Company would love to know what on earth you're talking about.

No way (5, Insightful)

courseofhumanevents (1168415) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072207)

"All three say they are flush with cash, enough to upgrade and expand their broadband networks on their own."

I don't know what their real reasoning is, but you can be assured that it is not because they want to be responsible and expand with their own money.

Re:No way (4, Interesting)

Starteck81 (917280) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072279)

I second that. I know in my area Verizon's roll out of FIOS was delayed by two or three years because they wanted Washington state to subsidize something like 70% of the infrastructure upgrade cost.

Re:No way (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073283)

You may be going Evil Verizon corporation. But remember most of the current infrastructure is from good old Ma'Bell days (A phone monopoly who had massive government funding). Infrastructure is one of those things we all know we need but no one want to flip the bill for. Do you want to pay $2000 for a line to you home so your neighbors will only need to pay $50 because you paid for the infrastructure to you neighbors or the reverse a neighbor paid $2000 for the line and wants you to pay part of the bill even if you don't want the service.
So you are verizon do you want to pay the full bill for an infrastructure that most likely you competitors will use anyways in time to areas that don't have much potential for sales.

Re:No way (5, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073515)

Yeah, try $200K and they will STILL fuck your neighbors for the "cost". How do I know? Because they had been telling my folks that they would run the two block to the house since they built in in 1982. Guess how far away they are now? That's right-two blocks. They haven't run any line anywhere in my area in decades.

So, since I had some cash from a settlement in the mid 90s, and there were several SOHOs down that round, that was only a quarter mile from end to end. I had a friend that worked at the cableco figure our roughly the cost of the line, he figured at the time $12k. We got together and offered them 15K PLUS guaranteed 5 year full package sales from the entire route. We figured it as over $230K over the 5 year contract. Do you know what their answer was?

They wanted $75000! PLUS FIVE years PLUS a 'fee for the cost of the line! That's right, they wanted a good $70k in profit (since the line layers here were on salary at the time) before they ever layed a fucking inch! And THAT is why we will end up having to seize the last mile, because we have PAID [newnetworks.com] once already, and all we got in return was the finger. We should give them 90 days to repay that money PLUS interest, or we take it. if they want a monopoly? Get off their asses and run to the millions that aren't getting dick from them now! And we'll be nice and give them double time if they run fiber to the neighborhood, and add another five to ten for fiber to the door. Because otherwise we will NEVER get nationwide broadband, and will fall farther and farther behind the rest of the world. Monopolies are NOT capitalism, and as we have seen all we get from the teleco/cableco duopoly is a rotting infrastructure.

Re:No way (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073503)

I second that. I know in my area Verizon's roll out of FIOS was delayed by two or three years because they wanted Washington state to subsidize something like 70% of the infrastructure upgrade cost.

I hope the state did not cave. Verizon has or is in the process of pulling out of the state, leaving the infrastructure in the hands of a local company. The cynic in me says that if they took state money for the build-out then this little manoeuvre has caused any stipulations to be shed.

Re:No way (2, Insightful)

oracleguy01 (1381327) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072285)

Agreed. I think it is more that they don't want the increased scrutiny or the net neutrality restrictions. Since both of them could affect their bottom line.

The "Real Reason" (5, Interesting)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072345)

I don't know what their real reasoning is, but you can be assured that it is not because they want to be responsible and expand with their own money.

The real reason is because these grants are a Faustian Bargain: there are never-ending strings attached to government money. And it's not just the net neutrality issue. If you take that money, there's a whole host of demands the government can make. I work in aviation, and have seen some of this stuff in action with FAA grants, where you accept money for a project, and then there are costly consequences years down the road.

Re:The "Real Reason" (3, Funny)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072413)

> there are never-ending strings attached to government money.

Yes, but that money must be spent! I quote our vice president: "You're telling me we have to go spend money to keep from going bankrupt? The answer is yes, that's what I'm telling you." [joebidensaidthat.com] Classic stuff!

Re:The "Real Reason" (5, Informative)

Atario (673917) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072765)

How soon we forget. The government has already given loads of money for broadband to get caught up with other countries, and the recipients have just taken the money and not done a thing. Wow, some "strings" there, huh?

Re:The "Real Reason" (2, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073337)

Honestly, from an ethical standpoint, the Federal Government (that is, We the People) would be fully justified in telling them "net neutrality or give us our 500 billion back now".

As an example in the air business (2, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073009)

Look up the Civil Reserve Air Fleet. More or less what happens is you sign an agreement with the government. For their part, they give you money in the form of business contracts, and sometimes loans for planes and such. Your part? Oh nothing much, just that if the government needs your planes for military transport, they can call them up.

Now, for many companies, it is worth it. The government doesn't use the ability often, and you get good financial benefits from doing it. However it is for sure money with strings attached. If the government decides it needs your planes and crews, they can call them up in a day or two and use them for as long as they need.

That is often how these things go. The government is willing to give you money on favorable terms, financially speakings, but they want something for it. Now sometimes that is worth it. However, sometimes it isn't. Individual companies need to decide if the strings attached to a particular set of money is worth it or not.

An analog in your life might be say you need $1000 to get your car fixed. You bank will make you an unsecured loan at 12%. I offer to make you a loan at 3%, however if you want that I say you have to spend it all on car repair and are going to have to let me borrow your car whenever I want. Which do you take? There isn't a simple answer. The bank's money costs a lot more, but there are no strings attached, you do what you want with it, even if that isn't spend it on the car. My money is cheap, but has provisions. It is really up to you if my provisions are worth the money you'd save.

Re:The "Real Reason" (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073491)

Funny, the last time the government paid a lot of money to the telcoms in order to make broadband more readily available there wern't too many conditions, not even that they had to make broadband more readily available.

Re:No way (2, Interesting)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072525)

Look at the negative reaction to the money given to the banking and auto industries. Most telco's reputations are shitty enough, imagine adding the hate of stimulus spending to that.

Re:No way (2, Insightful)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072705)

Give me fiber to my doorstep and network neutrality (and no forwarding my traffic to NSA), and you will find I have very, very little hate for you!

Re:No way (0, Flamebait)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073395)

Give me a free pony and I'll have little hate for you!
Oh wait.. you mean that the fiber doesn't grow up to my door all by itself?

"You dont get something for nothing
You dont get freedom for free"
            -- Rush

Re:No way (2, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072767)

Maybe that did factor into their decision, but I have to think that while there's plenty of hate for telecos among certain dark corners of the internets, like here, it's not going to resonate with the unwashed masses like the auto or bank bailouts did. Maybe I'm wrong, never looked at any polling data on it. My impression though is that net neutrality is fairly low to under the radar for most people.

Re:No way (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073253)

Government money comes with strings. Sometimes it is just better to say no and deal with having less money.

The government says gives you a million dollars to to put broadband in rural areas. To fully do what the government wants costs you 2 million dollars. Even if you are planning to expand in that area it is not a good situation to be in and it better to pay the 2 million out of your own pocket then take the government, who will in turn watch you like a hawk and make sure it goes where they want it not where you want it. Needless to say even with the best intentions with government involvement priorities wont go where it is most needed but to where it makes the most political sense.
Lets skip middle class areas, and put it in the poor areas where people cannot afford computers so it looks real good for photo opps showing how you are helping the poor. Or put it to the rich who are you big fundraisers and they have a new new faster internet connection to remember you by. The Working Lower Middle Class will probably be skipped as they are not a political problem to busy to speak up and not enough money to have any force.
Now if you used your own money sure the Poorest areas will not get internet connection first. Yes the rich will probably still win, but the middle class who will have the most to gain will probably be next on the list.

Thanks but no thanks? (3, Insightful)

soconn (1466967) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072229)

I think they meant to say "we already scam consumers enough to not need the cash" . I hope to see some disruptive technology to circumvent the stranglehold these dinosaurs have.

they don't want real broadband... (3, Insightful)

markringen (1501853) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072245)

they don't want real broadband... they only want to offer crappy 256kbps, and pander it off as broadband. which btw isn't broadband anywhere outside the US. time for the US government to start their own broadband service.

Re:they don't want real broadband... (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072283)

time for the US government to start their own broadband service.

Oh yes, because I want my internet connection tapped 24/7 and all my comments that criticize the US government to be flagged (or did you forget flag@whitehouse.gov?). And just look at the crappy service you get from other government agencies like medicare, the lackluster performance of veterans hospitals, the annoyances of the post office, the general greed of the IRS, and the pain of it all. Yah, I really want the US government to provide broadband.

Comcast/AT&T/Time Warner suck, but you can bet that the US government will suck even worse. Or are you forgetting all the times they've screwed up technology (BBS raids, DMCA, etc)

Re:they don't want real broadband... (0, Troll)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072365)

> Comcast/AT&T/Time Warner suck, but you can bet
> that the US government will suck even worse.

Yup. That's how I feel about healthcare, too. It's a dog's breakfast now, but having the government take over won't help [classicalideals.com] .

Re:they don't want real broadband... (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072391)

What's wrong with the postal service? They're in a sort-term downturn of a long-term declining industry, but they seem to be making cutbacks to cope. More to the point, I don't think my mail is any more likely to be snooped on than my phone is to being tapped or my computer monitored, and those are run by private companies.

As for medicare service being worse than private insurers, is it? Medicare has far lower administration and advertising costs. They're not perfect, but most of the people I know with complaints about denied coverage have been from private insurers. (Although I was never creative enough to call them "death panels," ha ha).

So, I will agree private industry beats government when there is good competition - look at fast food, it's amazingly efficient. But compared to monopolies or duopolies, I'm more please with govt services.

Re:they don't want real broadband... (0, Offtopic)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072495)

What's wrong with the postal service? They're in a sort-term downturn of a long-term declining industry, but they seem to be making cutbacks to cope.

The postal service never seems to get anything right, at least in my experience. In the 5 years I have lived in this house, they first wouldn't ever deliver my mail because they said it was the wrong address, then they decided to change my address, then obviously not content with that they decided to change yet one more time. Then one winter it snowed a lot and so my city decided to plow the streets and plowed a pile of snow close to (not blocking or otherwise obstructing) my mailbox, the mailman then decided to yell at me because I obviously control all the city's snowplows and deliberately plowed it close to my mailbox and how he had to drive closer then he normally has to (he didn't even have to get out of his truck!) and how it was all my fault. So I called the local post office and complained to them and then they complained back to me because the city plowed snow close to my mailbox. Then the next snowstorm came and the exact same thing happened. The post office would never call the city, so I ended up having to and explained it to them, they then didn't plow so close to the mailbox.

More to the point, I don't think my mail is any more likely to be snooped on than my phone is to being tapped or my computer monitored, and those are run by private companies.

Only because mail is much older and those who were fighting the American Revolution helped shape the laws and practices of the USPS so that wouldn't happen. However, lawmakers think that only criminals communicate using computers and phones so they can tap them without a warrant (even though judges basically hand them out like they were nothing).

As for medicare service being worse than private insurers, is it? Medicare has far lower administration and advertising costs. They're not perfect, but most of the people I know with complaints about denied coverage have been from private insurers. (Although I was never creative enough to call them "death panels," ha ha).

Well of course, because medicare basically will take -anyone- because they don't have to have a balanced budget.

In general, individuals are eligible for Medicare if: * They are 65 years or older and U.S. citizens or have been permanent legal residents for 5 continuous years, and they or their spouse has paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. or * They are under 65, disabled, and have been receiving either Social Security benefits or the Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for at least 24 months from date of entitlement (first disability payment). or * They get continuing dialysis for end stage renal disease or need a kidney transplant. or * They are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance and have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease).

That basically means that anyone older than 65 will qualify for it, so of course people qualify and won't get rejected. The fact that they are taxpayer funded and don't have to make a balanced budget basically means they can take anyone with little to no consequences. A private insurer has much higher costs and has to have a balanced budget and make a profit. Medicare basically can spend all they want, lobby congress to increase taxes and has more money disproportionate to the service. Its a bit like taking a 15 year old kid giving him $1,000 and telling him to spend it, he will generally spend it on short-term things that benefit him (video games, food, etc) while an adult who gets a $1,000 in a bonus is more apt to spend it on things that will matter or for other people.

Re:they don't want real broadband... (-1, Troll)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072627)

Of course medicare is not -at all- sustainable. That's the little devil under the sheets.

Of course democrats do the same to every non-working "social" program : expand it. Not even democrats themselves dare to suggest it's working right - which is presumably why they want to expand it and force it on every American.

Btw : it's not a death panel if you can choose your own panel. Only forced government coverage which outlawed or sabotaged private insurers (e.g. "single payer") would have death panels. The difference is that you know in advance what a private insurer's panel is going to say, so the decision (cost and benefit) is basically your own. You don't know in advance what a government panel is going to say, and you don't get to select another one. Therefore if a government panel like Obama suggests would come into existence, it's refusal to cover some life-saving treatment is a de-facto death sentence.

The Dutch actually do this. If you're over 65 most care is actually denied. They may refrain from directly executing you for being old, but if you have even minor kidney or liver problems ... forget living another year. Nearly all of those problems are perfectly and safely treatable, and no obstacle to living to see a century, but the government decided it's too expensive to pay to fix old geezers.

Obviously the dutch government is in the process of expanding this downward. Recent casualties are pain treatments for pregnant women (epidurals are de-facto outlawed in Holland). Also some treatments for young children are being denied more often - like leukemia treatment. The problem is that if the government denies care you have 2 choices : die or emigrate. Needless to say, massive numbers of Dutch people seek medical care outside of Holland, like Canadians do.

Of course politically expedient "treatments" like euthanasia or abortion are paid back 150%. They are actually talking about involuntary euthanasia on healthy people (right now you have to explicitly state you don't want to be euthanized, or ... ). One can only wonder what the next round of cost-cutting will bring in Holland, and how many more Dutchies will run away.

http://www.brooklaw.edu/students/journals/bjil/bjil31ii_allen.pdf [brooklaw.edu]

This is what Obama wants to introduce to America. This is where it leads.

Re:they don't want real broadband... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29073143)

You are entirely off topic.

You also don't know what you are talking about, or you don't care, or you are a political troll.

Re:they don't want real broadband... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073455)

Btw : it's not a death panel if you can choose your own panel.

Once you are in a position to care what a panel says, you can't switch to another, you have a "pre-existing condition". Even if they change their policies for maximum evil you have to keep paying them, again because you can't switch.

Re:they don't want real broadband... (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073473)

Of course medicare is not -at all- sustainable. That's the little devil under the sheets.

Unreformed medicare is exactly as sustainable as unreformed private health care insurance in the US - which is to say, not at all. The era of stratospheric health care inflation is about to end no matter what we do, because we can't afford it any more.

Btw : it's not a death panel if you can choose your own panel. Only forced government coverage which outlawed or sabotaged private insurers (e.g. "single payer") would have death panels.

Most people already have no control over who their insurer is - your boss decides for you, or for an increasing number of people, you have no coverage at all.

The difference is that you know in advance what a private insurer's panel is going to say, so the decision (cost and benefit) is basically your own. You don't know in advance what a government panel is going to say, and you don't get to select another one.

That's nonsense, private insurers surprise people by denying coverage all the time. For that matter, even if your condition IS covered, they can still deny it; they'll go back through their records to find any excuse to retroactively cancel your insurance, like you saw a doctor for a hangnail 10 years ago and didn't state it as a pre-existing condition on your application.

Anyways, all the options that exist today will still exist, unless (I suppose) they run themselves out of business with ridiculous overhead, high advertising costs, and inflated executive pay. And if that's what you meant by "sabotaged" private insurers, I'd call that self-sabotage.

Therefore if a government panel like Obama suggests would come into existence, it's refusal to cover some life-saving treatment is a de-facto death sentence.

Certainly no more than what insurance companies do today. By the time you deny your claim, it's far too late to choose another insurer, since you obviously have a pre-existing condition.

Besides, doesn't it offend your sensibilities to accuse the government of pinching pennies?

The Dutch actually do this. If you're over 65 most care is actually denied.

Wow, that's quite a scary story, but at least some kid believed it enough to turn it in as a homework assignment. Hey, did you ever notice how the Dutch live longer than Americans [wikipedia.org] on average? Pretty good for being routinely denied life-saving medical care. I wonder if the teeming droves of Dutch people fleeing their land for the American medical paradise are counted in those longevity stats? Which reminds me, I sure wish we Ameicans were allowed to buy medicine from Canada, but I guess it's too cheap to be good anyways, right?

Do you see anything odd about scare-mongering that people might be denied coverage while defending a system under which 1 in 6 people have no coverage at all [news-medical.net] ?

And then you go on about euthanasia, as if elderly Americans weren't already under a government plan. It's called Medicare. Try putting the elimination of Medicare on the ballot sometime and see how that flies with the 65+ crowd. The truth is nothing could be more empowering for old people than government run health care. Under private insurance, they're just a liability, they produce little and cost a fortune - but they do vote in droves. We can't muster the political will to make them stop driving after they lose their sight but now you think we're one step away from sending them to the glue factory? Oh yeah, I'd love to see somebody run for re-election on that platform.

Re:they don't want real broadband... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29073523)

I live in Canada, and I have never met anyone who had ever left the country to seek medical treatment.

I do, however, have an uncle who made a mad rush to the Canadian border after being injured in the US so that he could seek treatment here.

Certainly one person's experiences don't count as irrefutable data, but I find it hard to believe that there are "massive numbers" of Canadians seeking treatment outside of the country.

Captcha: baffled

Re:they don't want real broadband... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29072395)

You obviously missed the memo. Your connection is already tapped.

Its pretty damn hard to suck as bad as Comcast/AT&T/Time Warner and the other cable co's/telco's for consumer retail service.

Re:they don't want real broadband... (4, Insightful)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072611)

time for the US government to start their own broadband service.

Oh yes, because I want my internet connection tapped 24/7 and all my comments that criticize the US government to be flagged (or did you forget flag@whitehouse.gov?). And just look at the crappy service you get from other government agencies like medicare, the lackluster performance of veterans hospitals, the annoyances of the post office, the general greed of the IRS, and the pain of it all. Yah, I really want the US government to provide broadband. Comcast/AT&T/Time Warner suck, but you can bet that the US government will suck even worse. Or are you forgetting all the times they've screwed up technology (BBS raids, DMCA, etc)

Yet people are perfectly willing to let the government fund, control and direct the military, some even might say we have the best military in the world; but when it comes to healthcare they become a pack of morons who couldn't find their own ass with two hands and a flashlight.

Re:they don't want real broadband... (0, Offtopic)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072673)

There are a few differences. For one the entire point of a government in the first place is to keep order. In a lot of situations, having a military (or for some smaller countries a national police force) is essential for keeping order. Healthcare is no prerequisite in government and doesn't help keep order. There are a lot of people (including me) who would be willing to downsize -all- parts of government including the military, however the military isn't in my daily life. However the military has one key role, to keep the government in check similar in spirit to the second amendment. If the government becomes so corrupt, the military could stage a forceful removal of power from the government, and its pretty easy to get into the military.

But the military also has lots of national and international regulation, even though we might have the best military in the world, we could be destroyed if Europe banded together against us, or if Asia did, heck, back in the glory days of the Soviet Union they could destroy us (and did in a few proxy wars). The military can't go around firing nukes left and right because of regulations.

Military is well-controlled and essential. Healthcare is not essential, lacks a viable plan, requires either sky-high taxes or a climbing birthrate to work, and most plans kill competition leading to a bad government monopoly.

Re:they don't want real broadband... (1)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072885)

Let me try and explain my reasoning from a different angle then. The U.S. military is a large beast with many branches, regulations and logistics. Soldiers are trained, commanders are made and weapons are bought by the military with tax monies. There is even research and development, DARPA, and room for private corporations, though some argue these increase the cost, like Raytheon to supply their own materials or research. With all those properties plus the size of the military alone how is it that the same principals cannot be applied to healthcare to keep people healthy?

Re:they don't want real broadband... (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072799)

I spent 15 of the first 18 years of my life going to military doctors. Consequently, I'm not terribly optimistic about the service government run health care will provide. However, I agree whole heartedly with your description of our fighting troops.

So why the discrepancy between the fighting military and military doctors? Those who are on the front lines have a real incentive to get very, very good at their jobs. Those who aren't...well, the military doctors get a chance to practice on them.

Re:they don't want real broadband... (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072857)

Funny enough, I spent the first 18 years of my life going to military doctors and have the exact opposite opinion.

Re:they don't want real broadband... (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073041)

I had my arm set wrong after I broke it when I was four; they had to break it again and reset it. I had another doctor blow me off when I told him I was sick and it wasn't the flu; I now have my brother's kidney because both of mine had quit. I don't know that getting a correct diagnosis earlier would have made any difference, but I can't help but think that putting off treatment for another week didn't help any. Military phlebotomists consistently had trouble getting my veins to bleed when doing lab work; civilian phlebotomists almost always get a vein the first time -- second, tops.

YMMV. I will admit that I did see some really, really good doctors who seemed to believe that the military was a calling for them. Unfortunately, IME, they seemed to be in the minority.

Re:they don't want real broadband... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072879)

You need to look at what the military does. It demands strict discipline at mediocre pay and is designed to inflict serious harm on others should the need arise.

That's some things the health care or social security just can't operate like. Also, there are stories all the time about waste and the uselessness of military projects and the costs of supplies. Look at the amount of money that is thrown at the military, the constant race (generally using private companies) to build the better killing machines and more ways to dominate an opponent.

Besides, the military is the only thing in which you mentioned that is constitutionally permissible. The federal government has no authority to control and provide health care unless you either ignore the constitution, stretch some clause well beyond it's intent, or ignore the entire structure and limitations plus role the federal government is constitutionally allowed.

So you are saying the military is efficient? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072915)

Yet people are perfectly willing to let the government fund, control and direct the military

Because we have to have one and it has to be centralized.

The side effect is that we have $600 toliet seats.

You are so eager to let something that does not by nature have to be centrally controlled, and coordinated - so the next time you go to a hospital your posterior is on a $600 bed pan?

It's not like when I go to an ER they have to synchronize operations with a team in another state, or even the next county...

Re:So you are saying the military is efficient? (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073185)

You are so eager to let something that does not by nature have to be centrally controlled, and coordinated - so the next time you go to a hospital your posterior is on a $600 bed pan?

You mean like the current examples in the health industry like $100 aspirin?

Re:they don't want real broadband... (4, Insightful)

Atario (673917) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072733)

Oh yes, because I want my internet connection tapped 24/7

As others have pointed out, they already did this with a more-than-willing corporate helping hand.

and all my comments that criticize the US government to be flagged (or did you forget flag@whitehouse.gov?).

Spreading FUD is not the same thing as criticizing. And it's the content of the FUD they're asking for. (And speaking of spreading FUD, your post seems a shining example...)

And just look at the crappy service you get from other government agencies like medicare

You ask anyone who's on Medicare if they want it abolished. Go on, ask. Your odds are about 50/50 between being looked at like you have three heads and being called an idiot.

the lackluster performance of veterans hospitals

How Veterans' Hospitals Became the Best in Health Care [time.com]

the annoyances of the post office

Annoyances like being able to send a letter for a negligible amount of money?

the general greed of the IRS

Greed?? The IRS collects and passes on the money they're told to collect and pass on. It's not like they get to keep it.

Yah, I really want the US government to provide broadband.

Yah, fer sher, y'betcha. I do. I want as many players in the market as I can get, public, private, or otherwise. It'd be a damn sight better than the local monopolies we're screwed with now.

Re:they don't want real broadband... (4, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072745)

Oh yes, because I want my internet connection tapped 24/7 and all my comments that criticize the US government to be flagged

Why would you think this isn't happening now anyway? Except now the government isn't the only one who can tap into your connection, private corporations get to do so as well.

And just look at the crappy service you get from other government agencies like medicare, the lackluster performance of veterans hospitals, the annoyances of the post office, the general greed of the IRS, and the pain of it all.

Government run markets can and do suck in many instances, but privately run markets can and do suck as well. You list three government organizations. Of them, VA hospitals are currently among the best in the nation according to patients (although they were bad 20 years ago). The post Office does a pretty good job in my book compared to UPS and FedEx. The IRS is a lousy example since it isn't something private industry can do, collect taxes.

Yah, I really want the US government to provide broadband.

Broadband is a utility these days and should be treated as such. I happen to live in one of the best cities in the country for internet access because it has one of the largest wireless co-ops around. You can get free internet access anywhere in the city and much of the surrounding area, provided by local businesses and individuals who share part of their home connections. It sure beats all the privately run broadband options. I would like to see government step up and subsidize the creation of fast internet backbones with real competition for service across them, as other countries have done. We've already given more money to private corporations, per citizen, than many other countries, we just didn't attach strings to the money so nothing resulted. Right now the big providers aren't touching this money because they're counting on waiting for more later, without strings. The last thing they want is actual competition within a geographical area.

but you can bet that the US government will suck even worse. Or are you forgetting all the times they've screwed up technology (BBS raids, DMCA, etc)

Yeah, and there's also DARPA net, breaking up Bell, and several other things they've done that greatly benefited telecom technology. What's your point?

Re:they don't want real broadband... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29073349)

The really funny thing is, most of the people who are screaming the loudest wouldn't get ANY mail if it wasn't for the Post Office. There's not enough profit in delivering mail to the middle of nowhere. Similarly, they wouldn't have any power, water, or other utilities.

Re:they don't want real broadband... (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072299)

hey don't want real broadband... they only want to offer crappy 256kbps

I know of no major broadband provider in my area that offers 256, believe me I've looked for my girlfriends parents. It's ridiculous here in southwestern Idaho, you simply cannot find anything at the 20 dollar point, Qwest comes close. if you have a qualifying home phone plan, but after 12 months it reverts to I think 35, cable is the same 20+6 for modem lease, and it's a 1Gb cap. I just can't understand why they are so reluctant to take over that sweet spot from the dial up days. It's not like they haven't been able to pay for their initial roll outs many times over after this many years.

Re:they don't want real broadband... (1)

Jared555 (874152) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072427)

Sometimes you can renew the cheap DSL rates if you agree to another 12 month contract, it just depends on the company

Re:they don't want real broadband... (1)

Jared555 (874152) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072417)

Unless you are talking about upload rates, ISDN, connections through cell towers, fractional t1 lines, etc. are the only things I have seen even close to that rate in a LONG time.

Oh, and dedicated server providers for servers that only need internet access for management, etc.

Re:they don't want real broadband... (2, Insightful)

TRRosen (720617) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072467)

they don't really care about the speed. 256k of 3 meg cost them the about same. They only care about the price.
256 is great when priced accordingly (same as dialup). Its ideal for those who only use it for email (grandma)

real problem is ISPs want to use obsolete equipment they pulled from bigger markets and soak rural areas with substandard service at high rates with no cost to themselves while they take the money to upgrade bigger markets. eventually sending that equipment to the rural area once its obsolete.

Re:they don't want real broadband... (1)

SkyDude (919251) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072955)

Well, if you like the US Postal Service, you'll LOVE USG Broadband!

Re:they don't want real broadband... (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073231)

Well, if you like the US Postal Service, you'll LOVE USG Broadband!

All of my mail has reached it's destination.

Can't say the same for UPS or FedEx.

Re:they don't want real broadband... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073465)

You mean the only parcel service that has never destroyed a package I've trusted them with? Where do I sign?

The Explaination (5, Insightful)

Sasayaki (1096761) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072317)

This has a simple explaination.

Money is power; simple as that. If you have money, you can get people to do things- it's power. There are other forms of power but money's the most common (and, in many but not all cases, the most powerful).

Restrictions on how you can spend your money devales that money. $1,000 is a nice sum of money for (almost) anyone to receive, but if it can only be spent on peanuts only you can eat? Can you eat a grand's worth of peanuts? What if you're allergic? In this case the money is basically worthless, because it has no power.

Almost all ISPs want the power to restrict the usage of their clientbase. In some cases this is benign- stopping spammers from throwing out millions of spam e-mails a day, for example. In other cases, not so (blocking/disconnecting high usage users then dramatically overselling their network). But want of power isn't a problem; everyone wants power. Everyone. Every individual, every corporation... everyone. So that's okay.

The reason why they are rejecting the money is because it has external factors. It has a stigma of being 'government bailout money'. It can only be used for certain things, and it has strings (a'la net neutrality). The ISPs have evaluated their money, decided that the restrictions limit its power too greatly and that it would be a net power loss for them.

It's as simple as that.

Re:The Explaination (1)

ATestR (1060586) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072587)

everyone wants power. Everyone. Every individual, every corporation... everyone.

True. This includes the Government. Maybe especially the Government, as evidenced by their recent takeovers of huge chunks of the banking industry [cnn.com] and auto industry [cnn.com] , and their current forays into the energy industry [wsj.com] and health care [cnn.com] .

Re:The Explaination (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072679)

They do not think it's a net power loss. They think it's a net money loss, generally referred to as "net loss".

I also fail to see what the problem with overselling is. You can easily get a non-oversubscribed connection, with of course the attached cost. Nearly all ISP's do not oversubscribe business connections - or very little (2:1 to 10:1 versus consumer connections where 70:1 is not that bad an oversubscription ratio for the lex connection alone). So just get a "professional" connection, and pay the price for it ?

Why complain about the price versus performance of normal connections ? Suppose you win, and isp's have to modify their behavior. That will simply mean the cheapest adsl connection available will be the same price as the 28 mbit business connection, in most cases several thousand dollars per month. Most people are perfectly happy and well-served with those massively oversubscribed connections, why do they have to be forced into higher costs for what they will consider equal value ?

Furthermore it is impossible to build a non-oversubscribed network except in trivial cases. Take a normal office building. All pc's have 100 mbit ports (if not gigabit). And the network works great. But in my experience, they use a 10 mbit internet to service about 1000 100 mbit internet connections in those buildings. Do you think it would be reasonable to not oversubscribe such a network ?

Re:The Explaination (1)

Sasayaki (1096761) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073091)

I have no problem with overselling. It's necessary and efficient. I have problems with [b]dramatic[/b] overselling, particularly when coupled with a 'we can disconnect you for no reason' clause. Which means ISPs can sell a substancially defective product to people who'll significantly undersell it, while cutting off anyone who uses even close to their allotment.

Reductio ad car analogy, would you buy a car which shut down after being driven 40miles in a day, despite being told that the car had a 400 mile range? (it does, but only 40 miles per day... what- you want to drive MOOOORE? EXCESSIVE USAGE, BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, YOUR CAR SHUTS DOWN!)

This is a good thing, yes? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29072319)

How can not taking taxpayer money be chalked up to greed?

Re:This is a good thing, yes? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072565)

Because one byproduct of the taxpayer money was presumably used to allow for taxpayer input on the business methods used by the companies (which, honestly should have happened ages ago when they took startup taxpayer money for broadband, but that is beside the point).

Re:This is a good thing, yes? (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072687)

You see communism depends on class wars. So not letting the government interfere is obviously only motivated by greed.

Business as usual (5, Insightful)

TRRosen (720617) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072355)

The big carriers will ignore the stimulus.
Small Start-ups will take the money and build into new markets.
the start-ups will then sell out to the big ISP's
the start ups get rich from tax money
the big ISP get expansion paid for by the government with no regulations attached.

We get screwed and pay for the privilege

Re:Business as usual (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072567)

I believe that there are restrictions built into the stimulus package that prohibit doing exactly that. I haven't read it myself, but my boss has been assigned the task of deciphering the fine print in order to decide whether we wanted to go after money or not and he mentioned this to me.

FWIW, we're applying. (Small-ish regional cable company)

Re:Business as usual (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072635)

the big ISP get expansion paid for by the government with no regulations attached.

Considering the cost of the broadband stimulus ($6B) and the cost of the 90s previous efforts ($200B) which resulted in fuck-all for expansion, I'd say if it works, then it is a goddamned good deal.

Regulations will be pushed through later.

Regulated monopolies? (3, Insightful)

gar_man (556291) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072385)

Telecom companies are regulated monopolies. Regulations can changed with a change in law. You don't need to entice them to change with a big gob of money as a carrot. The truth of the matter is that it is easier politically and procedurally to do these changes with telecom cooperation.

Re:Regulated monopolies? (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072825)

Telecom companies are regulated monopolies.

Not always. I work for a regulated Telecom company. We were bought last year by an unregulated Telecom company that is doing everything in its power to absorb all of our unregulated services while keeping the regulated side as distant as a parent company possibly can.

Re:Regulated monopolies? (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072899)

No one wants to comply with mostly irrelevant 100 year old laws, and regulation of pricing down to the stupidly detailed level (government dictating how much caller ID should cost, etc).

Regional Monopolies (5, Insightful)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072407)

It's all about the regional monopolies. With regional monopolies, they are able to control prices within certain regions since there are no other options. Why would they want to spend money expanding/improving service in regional markets where they have no competition?

Those net neutrality rules would possibly threaten those regional monopolies... so they're like "F THAT! I want my control!"

For example, consider the recent obscenely low bandwidth caps in rural areas where there is no other option. That's a prime example of the power regional monopoly gives these companies.

Also as a side note, I find it hilarious that they think they can justify instating bandwidth caps when they apparently have more then enough capital. Wow, where did the argument that they were losing money due to excessive users go?

Squeal like a pig (4, Interesting)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072419)

Some say taking money could draw unwanted scrutiny of business practices and compensation, as seen with automakers and banks that have taken government bailouts.

Ha! You mean like finding out how profitable broadband really is and how that caps and traffic shaping would be largely unnecessary if the carriers spent the money doing the upgrade? Money we all know they have. Or would that be finding out how a few people at the top of the corporate pile are enriching themselves at the expense of everyone else? Extracting revenue without adding any real value and justifying it by saying their compensation packages are "in line" with industry norms?

Hard to figure out which one of those topics they're not interested in having become public knowledge. It would probably be wise to select "All of the above". And probably a couple more we don't know about.

Maybe we need a public broadband option? The our Congresscritters could start raking in millions of lobbyist money from the major carriers. It would give those hordes of fat, old people screaming at public health care meetings a new opportunity to get free bus rides and box lunches. And then they could accuse Obama of trying to take over the internets.

Re:Squeal like a pig (0, Troll)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072701)

Aren't you afraid that ... you know ... at some point you will run out of other people's money to spend ?

Obviously if I were to spend your money (like you want to spend other's money) you'd call that theft. So do you consider yourself a thief ?

Re:Squeal like a pig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29072993)

Yeah, like Bush was such a thrifty spender.

As someone else in this discussion already said, money is power, and power has become much more focused in Federal government, especially with the ludicrous powers attained by the Bush administration. No future administration will ever let those powers go (no matter what they say). So if you think the government isn't going to use that power (money), you're gravely mistaken.

Doesn't matter if Palin wins in 2012, you will see the exact same patterns as have been established since 2000. We're on the road to a very, very powerful centralized government. Who we elect just determines how slow or fast we get there.

Re:Squeal like a pig (1)

internettoughguy (1478741) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073323)

oh, and you only ever drive on toll roads aye ? cos otherwise that would be theft...

Re:Squeal like a pig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29073505)

Quit saying "congresscritters" - it sounds really stupid. Really.

The old anti-neutrality arguments don't work (5, Insightful)

ZuchinniOne (1617763) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072481)

Remember when the telcos claimed that net-neutrality would harm the industry by preventing them from collecting enough money to upgrade the infrastructure in the US?

This proves their previous anti-net-neutrality arguments were BS.

From http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9588_22-148385.html [zdnet.com]

"Republican backers, along with broadband providers such as Verizon and AT&T, say it has sufficient Net neutrality protections for consumers, and more extensive rules would discourage investment in wiring American homes with higher-speed connections."

From http://www.freedomworks.org/publications/the-problem-with-network-neutrality [freedomworks.org]

"By contrast, mandatory network neutrality is bad for business. Unlike the narrowband phone lines of the twentieth century, broadband pipes are being built with billions of dollars of unsubsidized investment in a competitive environment. ISPs make this investment on the assumption they can recover the costs and profit. As such, broadband lines are not the "public resource" that monopoly networks were in the past. Companies that own high-speed lines have a right to recover the costs that other parties impose when they wish to use those lines to transmit high-bandwidth, revenue-rich services of their own. If network neutrality is enacted, ISPs will have no incentive to build new pipes. Consumers will therefore get less choice."

Net-neutrality is Gov regulation of Speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29073553)

Net-neutrality is Gov regulation of Speech
It is as simple as that. The government is regulating what an ISP can and cannot say.

Net-neutrality, while it sounds great, is an attempt by the government to impose government regulation on the Internet and therefore take away the 1st Amendment on the Internet. Just look at the censorship ideas floated by European governments and the UN. Look at the way the Fairness Doctrine was used in this country.

It's a brilliant tactic by the Left. Why exert all your energy attempting to reimpose "fairness" mandates on broadcasters alone when you can capture them, and much more, by regulating the entire Internet? After all, in a world of media convergence and abundance, bright lines dividing distinct media sectors or their products have vanished. Everything from TV shows to text messages run on multiple networks, making the old, broadcast-oriented Fairness Doctrine a less effective means of reestablishing a liberal media monopoly. So the liberals got smart and came up with the perfect solution: use net neutrality as a backdoor way to reimpose the Fairness Doctrine on the entire media marketplace.

That liberals would support such a Fairness Doctrine for the Internet is no surprise--they have long favored government regulation of media and communications markets.

When government censors, it does so in a sweeping and coercive fashion, prohibiting the public, at least in theory, from seeing or hearing what it disapproves of and punishing those who evade the restrictions with fines, penalties, or even jail time. Not so for Verizon or any other private carrier, which have no power to censor sweepingly or coercively. A world of difference exists between a private company's exercising editorial discretion to transmit--or not transmit--certain messages or types of content and government efforts to censor.

Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe made this point eloquently at a recent Progress & Freedom Foundation event [pff.org] . In his view, those who would impose net-neutrality regulations on First Amendment grounds fail to appreciate "the fundamental right of editorial discretion. For the government to tell that entity that it cannot exercise that right in a certain way, that it must allow the projection of what it doesn't want to include, is a violation of its First Amendment rights." The principle that Tribe articulated would apply equally to the New York Times's editors if they decided, say, not to run an advertisement from the Ku Klux Klan. That's why it's particularly puzzling that the Times ended its editorial about the Verizon incident by arguing that "freedom of speech must be guaranteed, right now, in a digital world just as it has been protected in a world of paper and ink." Does the editorialist believe, then, that government should regulate what ads the Times may run in its own pages?

This twisted theory of the First Amendment cannot support net-neutrality regulation. The First Amendment was intended to protect us from tyrannical, coercive government power, not the silly mistakes of private companies. And a new Fairness Doctrine for the Internet would have the same chilling effect on the vibrant exchange of ideas--especially conservative ones--that the old Fairness Doctrine for broadcast TV and radio did.

Their motivations (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29072549)

These companies don't want to take the stimulus money because it has strings attached to it and also they don't want to be on the hook for what they did in the 90s. They know that when given the money, they will not do anything substantial with it, and it can potentially look for them. Besides they have invested the hundreds of millions we had given them and made a wild amount of profit off of it. Taking government money again will mean actually treating the customers and citizens fairly and with respect and they are not about to budge and inch on that. Since most of these companies also have cell network departments, they would do the same exactly thing if cell carriers were given the money. They hate the idea of a free and unregulated internet and are doing everything in their power as gate keepers for customers to keep it a walled garden with a toll booth to get over the wall. I swear the rules change when you become a multi-billion dollar conglomerate...

Does it matter why? (4, Interesting)

yamfry (1533879) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072603)

Does it even matter why they aren't taking the money? If the application system is being flooded, that means that the market will potentially be flooded with companies that are required to respect net neutrality. Since they will by default provide a service that is better than the incumbent monopoly, then assuming that it is not a true natural monopoly the market place will become competitive. That can only be good news for consumers and companies that rely on ubiquitous broadband.

Re:Does it matter why? (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073013)

Does it even matter why they aren't taking the money?

I fear it might.

If the application system is being flooded, that means that the market will potentially be flooded with companies that are required to respect net neutrality. Since they will by default provide a service that is better than the incumbent monopoly, then assuming that it is not a true natural monopoly the market place will become competitive.

There are two types of companies taking this money. The first are companies trying to compete in municipal areas where there is already competition. These companies, however, are still dependent upon the big boys who are not participating for backbone. That means the net neutrality can be castrated by those few. The second type of companies are trying to expand into unserved, rural areas. They are, again, wholly dependent upon one large company per area for access to the backbone. This provides the same problem as before. Anytime the big companies want they can move into these areas and undercut the little company that did all the hard work and all that government stimulus goes away, providing only the advantage that they sped up getting broadband to an area, not in making it any cheaper or more competitive in the long run.

Theoretically, small companies taking this money could grow and build their own backbone and compete with the big ones, but realistically we gave the big companies so many billions in subsidies in the first place that the playing field could only be leveled by addition monies given for this purpose as at a later date. Basically, we dug ourselves into an uncompetitive hole with government money and it will take either more money or serious legislation to undo the damage. Given how much the incumbents have to lobby with, it seems unlikely.

Mod parent up (1)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073467)

This is a really good summary of where we are now with this whole mess.

Now if only we could find somebody willing to grow a spine and slap those big ISPs around to remind them how they got to be where they are! (Like you said: They didn't get here with only their own capital)

Good. (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072649)

Let the small players have a chance to provide what the big ones won't.

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29073437)

You don't seem to understand that a large tel-co CANNOT come into a region that has a smaller one in it. The inverse is not true, of cour

You cant blame at&t & comcast for not providing internet to rural areas when they legally cannot do so.
Before you jump on the "large tel-co bad, small tel-co good" bandwagon, learn just a little about it.

Rock Carriers Hard Place (2, Insightful)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072717)

so either they need this money to finally upgrade their networks or they have plenty of money so they should already be upgrading their networks.

What i would like to see is a commitment that a Minimum bandwidth be available per account. Having "Up To 70megabits per second" speed is all well and good but what good does that do you if 99.99999 percent of the time
you are stuck at 0.7 megabits per second because they have 400% of the pipe allocated.

Also it should be forbidden for a carrier to cut off a connection because the user is running %protocol
(unless of course actual "court of law" evidence exists that something illegal is happening)

we require more pylons (1)

beckett (27524) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072801)

The Carriers just need more Vespene Gas.

Re:we require more pylons (1)

kinthalas (102827) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072985)

Comment to hopefully undue me clicking too fast on the moderation list.

It should be "funny," not flamebait.

Remember Video Dialtone? Fiber To The Curb? (1)

Wikipedia (928774) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072855)

To quote http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2007/pulpit_20070810_002683.html [pbs.org]

This is part three of my explanation of how America went from having the fastest and cheapest Internet service in the world to what we have today -- not very fast, not very cheap Internet service that is hurting our ability to compete economically with the rest of the world. Part one detailed expected improvements in U.S. broadband based on emerging competitive factors, yet decried that it was too little too late. Part two explained how U.S. broadband ISPs are different from most overseas ISPs and how those differences make it unlikely that we'll ever regain leadership in this space. And this week's final part explains that this all came about because Americans were deceived and defrauded by many of their telephone companies to the tune of $200 billion -- money that was supposed to have gone to pay for a broadband future we don't -- and never will -- have.

They might actually have to upgrade (2, Insightful)

Judinous (1093945) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072895)

If the telecoms take this money, they will most likely be required to actually upgrade their infrastructure. The telecoms do not want to upgrade their infrastructure, as this would allow their competitors to eat away at their marketshare. What's the easiest way to stop people from using Skype, Netflix, Hulu, etc? Give them shitty internet speeds with low bandwidth caps.

If the buggy whip companies had owned the roads, they wouldn't take a government bailout to pave them for cars, either.

Yeah Smallbies! (2, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#29072947)

Yet those firms might be the best positioned to achieve the goal of spreading Internet access to underserved areas

Let smaller companies have it. We have too many big oligopolies (the cousin of monopolies). Big companies tend to "win" by playing games using their shear size instead of outright compete. And they are more likely to bribe congress than smaller ones per portion.
             

My hope is (3, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073021)

that all of that stimulus money goes to local governments, and small companies. (not necessarily "small business" per se, but small companies) The government shouldn't be rewarding monopolies. Let's see real competition for a change.

I hated to see multi-billion dollar banks being bailed out, I hated seeing the big 3 automakers being bailed out - but I will actually LIKE seeing 20 million homes in America finally getting that "last mile" of real broadband. My 256k for $75/month sucks almost as much as 56k did. Latency is just as bad as 56k, and, of course, I seldom actually SEE 256k - generally, it's somewhere between 170 and 230.

Broadband? God, I'd LOVE to be able to watch a Youtube video about a new Linux operating system, and not hear the son yealling "LAG!" at the top of his lungs!

Stimulate me, Congress!!

They want to monopolize THEIR way (3, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073083)

By taking government money, they will have less control over what they do. There are contentions about net neutrality, about uneven deployments of broadband and all manner of things. However, the various states are the government entities that should be writing more mandates related to uneven deployments while the federal government should be mandating network neutrality.

Seriously, the problem of "cherry picking" the broadband deployments was really bad 10 years ago. It is beyond that now. They don't want to build infrastructure that doesn't yield really good returns. That makes perfect sense for them. But it doesn't make sense for the public, however. It is the public utilities commissions that set the standards for deployments of the infrastructure, however, and they have been bought off pretty well so far and haven't been requiring broadband everywhere as they should have been. I hope no one is confused about the role and responsibility of the public utilities commissions. It is precisely the unwillingness of the PUCs and the utilities themselves that have led to municipalities deploying broadband themselves. Some serious reforms need to get put into place and most of it should be in the form of cleaning up the corruption in the PUCs and to put people in place with some backbone.

Either give us municipal broadband (not my preference) or give us wider deployments from the cherry-picking utilities.

Oh yeah, and lest I forget, we need ISPs to be officially considered to be "common carriers" as other communications providers are. The fact that they aren't is a huge part of the problem with enforcement and regulation.

I remember the last time we gave tax payer money (1)

rhook (943951) | more than 5 years ago | (#29073095)

And we still don't have the promised speeds or nationwide fiber network.

I always wonder about the difference... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29073157)

between those who say stuff like "wow, those guys make a lot of money, I should buy their stock", and those who say "wow, those guys make a lot of money, the government should come in and put them in their place..."
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