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Telco Sues City For Plan To Roll Out Own Broadband

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the forcing-the-hand dept.

Networking 681

Syngularity writes 'MaximumPC is featuring an article about one broadband provider's decision to sue the city of Monticello, Minnesota after residents passed a referendum to roll out their own fiber optic system. TDS Telecommunications had earlier denied the city's request for the company to provide fiber optic service. During the ensuing legal battle, which prevented the citizens from following through with their plans, TDS Telecommunications took the opportunity to roll out a fiber system.'

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That'll learn 'em. (4, Insightful)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 4 years ago | (#29908827)

Next time the town should be more careful about granting exclusive contracts.

Re:That'll learn 'em. (5, Interesting)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909069)

Easier said then done..

Outside of large metro areas where we might be lucky if we have 2 options, most smaller areas are outright monopolies. I personally do not consider DSL broadband anymore, then again I have FIOS :) ....

I believe that the municipalities should put in the backbone connecting all the housing and business infrastructures of an area with their choice of networking, then lease that to the telcos and ISPs, that way, anyone who wants entry into the market just has to provide the infrastructure up to the municipal peering locations.

That would provide competition.. and easier entry for non incumbents...

raise taxes to pay for the fiber backbone install? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909309)

Not bloody likely. Counties and States (and Commonwealths :) are already unwilling to raise taxes to pay for the installation of toll roads -- so much so that they are selling private companies the right to operate and profit from new tool roads if the companies will pay for the installation.

So there's no way on Earth that Counties or Cities would raise taxes to pay for installing something like a fiber or copper telecommunications backbone.

Re:That'll learn 'em. (2, Interesting)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909433)

Even in major metro areas, good luck. It's usually between the local telco and cable operator. If you're really lucky there's a third game in town and hopefully at least two of them service you. I'm so fed up with AT&T that I canceled their DSL and Comcast doesn't service my block (in the middle of a metro neighborhood), so I'm basically fucked.

Re:That'll learn 'em. (2, Insightful)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909263)

Next time the town should be more careful about granting exclusive contracts.

What was given by the government, can be taken away by the government.

It is just sad they do not do so when the other side has so clearly violated the terms of the exclusive contract.

Not government's job (-1, Troll)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29908847)

There are a few roles that government must play. It must provide its citizens protection and a working legal framework. But when the government decides to dabble in providing other services, especially ones in which there already exists private enterprise, there is nothing gained but bureaucracy and government bloat.

Thomas Jefferson must be rolling over in his grave.

Re:Not government's job (5, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29908877)

So you're against public roads then.

Re:Not government's job (1, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29908981)

At least public roads are directly funded by those who use them (drivers). If you don't drive, then you don't pay the "use fee" collected at the pumps.

That should be true of all government-provided systems. You want to send a letter: you pay the cost of the stamp. You want to ride the subway or metro train: you pay the ticket. You want to build a house in Nowhere, Virginia: You pay the installation costs. There should not be any subsidization for these services by non-users. Not one single dime.

Re:Not government's job (4, Informative)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909035)

The problem with this is that gas taxes do not even come close to covering the costs of building and maintaining the road network. Public roads are heavily subsidized.

Re:Not government's job (0)

dkf (304284) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909081)

The problem with this is that gas taxes do not even come close to covering the costs of building and maintaining the road network. Public roads are heavily subsidized.

So you want higher gas taxes?

Re:Not government's job (1, Informative)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909097)

Gas taxes cover the costs on repairs, and the more expensive the fuel. The more expensive gas, the more the input revenue is. You know what the real problem is? All that money is put into general revenue, not for roads. So instead of paying directly for what it should be. That gas tax money is paying for in most cases education, or services.

Re:Not government's job (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909423)

Heaven forbid that tax money should be spent educating our youth!

Re:Not government's job (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909123)

False. The amount of money collected from gasoline/diesel taxes *far exceed* the amount spent on annual maintenance. Where does the excess go? I don't about your state, but in mine the gas taxes are used to subsizde the Light Rail trains. I've sat in the State House and seen the vote for myself - money taken from the road fund and used to build a new rail line from Tysons Corner to Towson.

The senior minority leader had a fit, saying it was a misappropriation of funds, but of course he was unable to stop it.

Re:Not government's job (2, Informative)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909379)

Annual maintenance is only part of the cost of public roads. There is also the cost of building the roads, and many other associated costs. Gas taxes alone do not cover all of these costs.

Re:Not government's job (4, Insightful)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909089)

If you don't drive, then you don't pay the "use fee" collected at the pumps.

Your kidding, right? Do you ride the bus? Buses run on Diesel (mostly.) which pays road tax. Do you purchase food at local stores? Guess how it got there.. You pay more as a driver, but everybody helps pay for it. But mostly, Look at water.

You know, other easy to make comments aside, you have no idea how much we take water for granted in the US. The vast majority of Americans are given very clean drinking water, and their waste is treated, by the government. We take that for granted, but many illnesses that used to be very common are exceedingly rare in the US. People talk about bottled water, and how much it makes for the companies, but its usage pales in comparison to a single days output from a municipal system. If you want to see the errors in your very conservative logic, go read about south America, where several nations (bolivia comes to mind) have "sold" the exclusive rights to make drinking water to a private, profit driven company. Make sure you read about the riots, protests, cost increases, and even how some protesters were killed. Meanwhile, we take it for granted here.

Re:Not government's job (2, Insightful)

Reece400 (584378) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909269)

That said, even getting food at your local store is indirectly using using the road (to get the food to you) which results indirectly in you paying the road tax which in my opinion is completely fair.

Re:Not government's job - call the wambalance (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909113)

what happnes when you dont drive - dont pay for the road and you have a heart attack does the ambalance have to drive cross country because YOU never contributed to a road in your life?

Should someone come and take all the pavement and street lighting etc up at your your house?

Re:Not government's job (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909133)

At least public roads are directly funded by those who use them (drivers). If you don't drive, then you don't pay the "use fee" collected at the pumps.

Unlike the telcos' infrastructure, which was entirely paid out of AT&T and Comcast's pockets without a dime of public money... oh, wait...

Re:Not government's job (5, Insightful)

Old97 (1341297) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909137)

Right and if your are not a victim of crime then you shouldn't pay for the police, courts or jails. If the polluted water or air isn't passing through your sources then you shouldn't have to clean it up or pay to enforce environmental laws to make the guilty parties pay - assuming they are still in business, that you can find them and that they have the means to pay for the damage. If thugs go after some ethnic group that isn't yours you should not have to pay for their protection. If some indigent gets sick or insured you shouldn't have to pay for their care. Let them die if they don't have the money. Children too. If children are stupid enough to have poor or dysfunctional parents, screw em. Let them all suffer and die. Maybe they can get jobs in the child porn industry. Yeah. My birth and education were paid for by the citizens of my parents generation but now that I'm an adult I can just walk away from it all. Who needs government to force us to help people. We can rely on the charity of all the suckers who are willing to pay and if that doesn't work then too bad - unless it's me that needs the help.

Re:Not government's job (1)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909413)

Good Idea.

So, I no longer wish to pay for lights in areas of town that I will never visit, refuse to pay for schools because I have no children, can see no purpose to having my tax dollars pay for the Interstate Highway system in New Hampshire as I will never go there, will not subsidize additions to my local airport as I do not fly and refuse to subsidize the building of fire houses except in the area that I live in.

Re:Not government's job (1)

remmelt (837671) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909435)

"What is a Social Contract?"

Correct! For $1000!

Re:Not government's job (0, Troll)

Afforess (1310263) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909103)

Yes. As long as Private roads don't have a monopoly on the Path from A to B, Public roads are unnecessary.

Re:Not government's job (5, Insightful)

gclef (96311) | more than 4 years ago | (#29908879)

Except in this case the citizens *asked* the government to perform this service (hence the part about the referendum). This isn't the government "dabbling" in other services. This is a government doing exactly what it's citizens are asking it to.

Re:Not government's job (-1, Troll)

twostix (1277166) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909025)

I assume you were against the Civil Rights movement and support the argument that if citizens in as state or town had a referendum on driving black people outout then that was peachy and ok as it was the government doing *exactly* what it's citizens had asked?

Because your argument was the exact same argument many people made in the early - mid 20th century. There's rules and laws preventing the government from acting in all sorts of ways for (generally) a very good reason.

Saying that the majority of people demanded it so all further discussion is over is nothing but tyranny.

Just sayin.

Re:Not government's job (4, Insightful)

Cemu (968469) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909143)

Huge difference in what you're trying to compare. One is the government providing a service, the other is denying human rights.

Re:Not government's job (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909165)

You have a valid point (it's called "tyranny of the majority" to squash the minority underfoot). But I can not lay my hand on any part of Monticello City's constitution that forbids them from creating a fiber-optic company. Can you?

Re:Not government's job (1)

Tisha_AH (600987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909533)

This is the same argument that the incumbent carriers used to fight the municipal fiber optic system in Chattanooga TN. The carriers lost that battle in the courts and Chattanooga is well on it's way with the deployment of fiber everywhere in the city.

The tactic used is to make the legal costs so high that the municipality or district will just give up (they have had some successes with that technique).

I am not against free enterprise, innovation and competition but the incumbent telephone and cable TV carriers are anti-competitive and usually hold exclusive control over their customers. They will fight to the death to keep a competing system from succeeding.

You're against the post office? (4, Insightful)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29908895)

Indeed Thomas Jefferson would roll over in his grave if he new we had public mail service. Oh wait... And of course our socialist fire department.

Re:You're against the post office? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909015)

From the U.S. Constitution (which T. J. had a hand in):

The Congress shall have power ... to establish post offices and post roads

Whether government runs the post office or just creates the rules, the constitution gives them direct permission to make sure that a post system exists.

Re:Not government's job (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29908915)

Did you READ the article, douchington, or do your Ayn Rand superpowers render that unnecessary? The private company refused to provide a service that the residents wanted, so said residents passed a referendum to do it themselves. The private company turned around and used the court system to hold up the process while it built a system, and is now butthurt because the city might offer competition.

And yes, TJ is rolling over in his grave - because idiots like you try to invoke his name.

Re:Not government's job (2, Insightful)

sim82 (836928) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909193)

Ironically, people investing their own money to solve their problems (because there is no one else who offers a cheaper solution) would not sound too much out of place in an Ayn Rand novel ...

Re:Not government's job (3, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#29908919)

These people wanted fat pipes, but private enterprise wasn't going to give it to them. So like any free group of people willing to pay the costs necessary to get what they wanted, they started gathering the money necessary to do it themselves.

This is capitalism at its finest.

Re:Not government's job (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909009)

That's fine. Their town; their decision.

But rather than have government do the job, I think I would simply called Verizon on the phone and said, "We want FiOS and and have the 70% of the population willing to buy it." Corporations have the expertise and experience to do the job, which politicians lack, so let corporations handle it.

Re:Not government's job (3, Insightful)

noundi (1044080) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909139)

That's fine. Their town; their decision.

But rather than have government do the job, I think I would simply called Verizon on the phone and said, "We want FiOS and and have the 70% of the population willing to buy it." Corporations have the expertise and experience to do the job, which politicians lack, so let corporations handle it.

Preventing the creation of a governmental company, no matter what line of business, is anti capitalistic. Sometimes something is of the collective interest of everybody, then, in general, there are no differences. When everbody agrees (more or less) is when you create a governmental postal system, fire dept., health care, roads, and in this case communication. There should always be private alternatives and they should never be banned, as that would be anti capitalistic as well. But adding the artificial constrain on a market which means prohibiting the formation of a governmental company does not foster sane capitalism. There should be fair grounds though, but that's easily arranged.

Re:Not government's job (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909217)

>>>Preventing the creation of a governmental company, no matter what line of business, is anti capitalistic

Yeah I agree.

So what's that have to do with my original statement, that I think a private corporation like Verizon FiOS would do a better job? This is no different than if the U.S. Army says "we need more tanks." They don't build the tanks themselves. They ring-up Lockheed or Northrop or some other corporation and have them build the tanks.

Also: I don't agree with your premise that a government monopoly is any better than a Comcast monopoly or Microsoft monopoly o ATT monopoly. We should steer clear of monopolies wherever we can, which is why I disagree with having a postal monopoly (which is deep in debt) or passenger rail monopoly (ditto).

I like choice. Monopolies take away that power.

Re:Not government's job (1)

mixmatch (957776) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909505)

How is desiring that the government only concern itself with governance anti-capitalistic? it seems that you are using the terms free enterprise and capitalism interchangeably. While free enterprise is definitely a major factor in capitalism, equally important factors are that capitalism is privately funded and the objective is generating capital (i.e. financial wealth). Publicly funded projects focussed on helping a community or the greater good are not in line with capitalism in any way. One distinct characteristic of laissez faire capitalism is that if it does not turn a profit it fails. Publicly funded projects often have no such limiting factor, which is one reason many people prefer to see projects that are not relevant to governance to be managed by the private sector.

Re:Not government's job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909207)

You realy think some nerd down the street will be asked to installed the fiber?
Ofcourse the city will turn to a "corporation" to perform the installation and maintenance.
It called a public offer and the best bider win the contract. This is how govement build road,
bridge and power plant! They call some construction corporation with the expertise and ask
them to make a offer.

Are you sure Verizon is best for the job?
Why should it favorize Verizon?
Do you own shares of Verizon?
Are you a corrupted politician on Verizon payroll?
Or just plain ignorent? maybe both...

Re:Not government's job (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909283)

Obviously you didn't read the article. They contacted the telecoms company, and they said that they were not willing to deploy fibre in that area for the foreseeable future. Then, once the referendum had passed, they turned up with teams of workers and started deploying fibre...

And the difference is... ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29908929)

Yeah, right. So, in government all people are injected with the evil serum, so they only make more useless jobs for themselves and plotting the end to all "free business" (R), and in the big corporations all workers are altruistical avatars of "the Free Spirit of Commerce" (TM), 24/7 caring for welfare of ordinary customer?

Ehhhmm... pass the joint, I want that shit too.

Re:And the difference is... ? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29908977)

Yeah, right. So, in government all people are injected with the evil serum, so they only make more useless jobs for themselves and plotting the end to all "free business" (R), and in the big corporations all workers are altruistical avatars of "the Free Spirit of Commerce" (TM), 24/7 caring for welfare of ordinary customer?

Ehhhmm... pass the joint, I want that shit too.

Oh, the irony. That joing can get you many years of prison time. But it's for your own good, right?

Re:Not government's job (5, Interesting)

MikePo (579147) | more than 4 years ago | (#29908947)

The Citizens of Monticello request several times to TDS Telecommunications that they upgrade the cities connection. They kept saying "Soon, we'll get to it" That is when the citizens, not the government, passed a referendum to install a city run fiber network.

It was only after the city started installing that TDS Telecommunications sued the city and tied them up in a prolong court battle, which prevented them from continuing their install. During that time they started laying fiber of their own, by the time the city won the law suit TDS Telecommunications had completed their project and now offer 50mb to every household there for about 50$ a month.

I guess this just shows if you want your ISP to upgrade your connection, pass a law to get the city to do it and force their hand.

The government runs pipes all the time! (4, Insightful)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#29908995)

Municipality can run water pipes, sewer pipes, and gas pipes.

Please tell me why the Internet pipe is any different from these other pipes.

Re:The government runs pipes all the time! (5, Funny)

Androclese (627848) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909129)

Sewers take the shit out and the Internet brings the shit in?

Re:Not government's job (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909157)

The best rail networks in the world are govt run systems. Why are they the best? Because they don't have to make a profit, but do have to come up to a very high standard for the millions of people that have to use them daily. Not everything needs to make a positive cashflow like the US military machine. You seem to be confused by government. It doesn't mean they phsyically run things themselves, it means they pay the bill to external companies. Again, see US military.

Re:Not government's job (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909251)

There are a few roles that government must play. It must provide its citizens protection and a working legal framework. But when the government decides to dabble in providing other services, especially ones in which there already exists private enterprise, there is nothing gained but bureaucracy and government bloat.

Thomas Jefferson must be rolling over in his grave.

You might want to study a little history, Thomas Jefferson's economic policy was a disaster which put the US deeply into debt.

Re:Not government's job (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909277)

I have no idea what Jefferson would have thought of municipal fiber(though he might have said something pro or con about the establishment of the post office, and you could probably draw cogent analogies from that). However, there is a more general point that deserves clarification.

Jefferson and his colleagues wrote the federal constitution, laying out the powers and operation of the federal government with other powers reserved to the people or the states. The constitution they wrote placed considerable limits on the scope of the federal government; but placed very few limits on the scope of state and local government(pretty much, "no foreign policy, no violations of citizens enumerated rights" and not a whole lot else). Had the constitution been written to create a libertarian government, rather than a limited federal government presiding over a collection of state governments, it would have looked hugely different.

Of course, just because state and local governments can doesn't necessarily mean that they should, so it is perfectly legitimate to advocate for state and local governments along libertarian lines; but the assertion that the legitimate scope of government is tightly limited simply because the legitimate scope of the federal government is tightly limited is silly.

Revoke TDS' exclusive license (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29908851)

Problem solved. Actually I bet just the threat alone would be enough to make TDS fall on its knees and obey the government.

Re:Revoke TDS' exclusive license (1, Funny)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909273)

Ya that is just what we need Gov't run backbones. That will solve ALL the problems, we would have to fear the big brother antics of major corporations or "father knows best" mentalities...

Sorry I am not a tinfoil hat person but even I think this asking for trouble.

Re:Revoke TDS' exclusive license (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909421)

I appreciate your fear and concern about government run communications networks, but there are constitutional and other laws in place to ensure that whatever the government does in terms of snooping or investigating is available to public scrutiny. One way the government uses to get around this is by asking non-government entities to do the spying for them.

I think the concerns are the same regardless of who is running the show. But in this case, especially, it was the community at large who pushed for the creation of a fiber infrastructure. I think there would be less to fear from this particular government body than from the typical self-appointed/self-anointed government players we typically see day-to-day.

Re:Revoke TDS' exclusive license (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909451)

I know I am going to get modded down, but... Where is this magic exclusive license? Last time I checked, the only exclusivity that TDS would hold would be their operations as an incumbent local exchange carrier, which is granted by the state's public services commision. That means that the own the twisted pair in the ground and have a requirement to provide pots access to everyone who lives in their exchange. There is no promise of broadband from the local ILEC, nor is their any exclusivity with providing the Internet access and/or video to the residents. Being the local ILEC means that TDS is already on their knees obeying government. I think the confusion here at Slashdot is that there are already a ton of laws on the books about the regulation of telephone system which means that TDS is already on their knees obeying government. The regulation is NOT for other services, such as Internet access and video. That means ANYONE could start up an ISP and provide non voice services charging whatever it wants for whatever price the market will pay. The problem with other companies or munis competing is the the expense of building a infrastructure to do so because fiber build outs cost big bucks. The way I read it, the municipality organized and petitioned the Minnesota PSC to be a competitive local exchange carrier. Everything I read, stated that TDS challenged that, but it was upheld by the courts that the municipal could do so based on current telecom deregulation laws. The new problem is that TDS rebuilds their network to become a better competitor with the municipality. Finally two fun facts: an ADSL2 modem with 4000-8000' loop lengths can easily provide up to 18 Mb of service. ADSL2+ can pair bond and provide up to 40 Mb of service. Almost every drop in the U.S. has more than two pairs in it.

Typical manipulation of the courts... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29908857)

...to further corporate greed. This is ridiculous, there should have been a "stay", "restraining order", or whatever, to stop either party from building infrastructure until a ruling could be made. At this point I almost hope the city will either reject using the network or sue to rip it up or to gain ownership.

Re:Typical manipulation of the courts... (1)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909067)

This is ridiculous, there should have been a "stay", "restraining order", or whatever, to stop either party from building infrastructure until a ruling could be made.

But preventing the Telco from doing it would be *gasp* SOCIALISM!!!!!11!1!1

I wish the system could do something good for once (1, Insightful)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 4 years ago | (#29908891)

...and have a judge who throws the suit out, on the grounds of it attempting to stifle competition.

Seriously, corporations shouldn't be allowed to do this sort of thing.

This is why I hate the legal system. Lawyers aren't the weak link.

Judges are.

We have 17 year olds, here in Australia, who can kill people, and get 2.5-3 years for it, in a youth training centre. The police do their job. The lawyers do theirs. Every other part of the system works; except the judges.

Unlike most people, I don't have such a big issue with lawyers; because I say to any judge who reads this, that I know where the fault with the system really is. It isn't with them, judges. It's with you.

Re:I wish the system could do something good for o (5, Insightful)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909023)

This doesn't relate to the article, but I can't not respond to the parent.

You're complaining about the youth offenders system in Australia? On /. ? People complaining about short jail sentences, particularly for young offenders was why I had to stop reading the forums on Canadian news sites. Canada and Australia both have extremely low crime rates because the criminal justice system has reasonable sentences, especially for young people. I'm tired of the "lock them up and throw away the key" mentality; it focuses on vengeance rather than prevention.

The role of the criminal justice system is to make streets a safer place, not to make you feel better after crimes have been committed. If you make it impossible for offenders to find jobs or otherwise become part of society again you limit their options and increase the likelihood of a re-offense. Certainly a strong punishment is necessary for the enforcement of laws but longer sentences are not the solution to crime; they're a simple campaign line for politicians because everyone loves to hear it. The only important factor is making sure that the fewest possible crimes occur.

I plan to move to Australia later this year. Don't fuck it up before I get there. (It already seems to be the only developed country with worse internet service than Canada, which makes me sad, although the weather looks better.)

Re:I wish the system could do something good for o (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909235)

Ah yes, the touchy-feely "pat them on the head and give them a cookie" approach, and everything will be all better. I've got a better idea: drag the little monsters out in the street and shot 'em. Now, you don't have to worry about the poor babies finding jobs when they get out.

Re:I wish the system could do something good for o (0, Troll)

ricklow (124377) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909355)

How does killing people who kill other people teach others that killing people is wrong?

Dupe (0, Redundant)

Renegade88 (874837) | more than 4 years ago | (#29908903)

This story has been on slashdot before.

Re:Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29908965)

This post has been on slashdot before.

Free market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29908921)

The free market works! The solution to all of the USA's problems!

Talk about putting the cart before the horse. (1)

Merakis (959028) | more than 4 years ago | (#29908923)

Is there such a thing as a 'local monopoly'? If there isn't, the gov. should just pass a city law against it, then counter-sue the company on those grounds - then give them a choice between shutting up or shipping out.

1 Million Strong Against our SOCIALIST Fire Depart (5, Funny)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29908933)

I think the best Facebook group ever is 1 Million Strong Against our SOCIALIST Fire Departments:

For too long now, fire departments across the United States have been SOCIALIST organizations, resulting in TAXES on the American people.

FACT: Most Americans never use the socialized services of the fire department. We have the best fire departments in the world in the US, but that doesn't mean that anyone (even non-US citizens) should be able to dial up and have fires put out, etc. There are private companies (Halliburtion, Etc.) who could step in tomorrow and take over every fire department in America and charge the consumer directly.

This is AMERICA. NO FREE FIRE SAFETY.

"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in asbestos and carrying a fire hose."

This is THE new political movement in America. The Birther movement and The Teabagger movement have FAILED. We are The Flamer movement, and we are succeeding at tearing down ALL forms Socialism - starting with our Fire Departments.

Please tell everyone you know about this group.

When it comes to ObamaFireCare, remember, we are: Taxed Enough Already For American Red Truck Socialism.

"This is America. Pay to Spray." - Member Susan Weinberg

Re:1 Million Strong Against our SOCIALIST Fire Dep (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29908961)

What. The. Fuck??????????

Dude, you've got issues.

Re:1 Million Strong Against our SOCIALIST Fire Dep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909041)

ever heard of satire? BTW: Whooossh!

Why is this offtopic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909033)

It's about the government providing public services. Do I have to draw you a diagram?

Sheeesh....

Re:Why is this offtopic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909213)

The fire department is a a public SAFETY service. By your logic food should be provided by the government.

Government should only provide services relating to community safety and in those areas where the private sector is unwilling or unable to provide services.

Why is that the distinction? (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909377)

By your logic, the government should never invade foreign countries, but should provide health care.

Are you against parks, roads, post office, etc.?

This public safety distinction is entirely your own. Adam Smith wouldn't support it, neither would the founding fathers.

Re:Why is this offtopic? (2, Informative)

pwfffff (1517213) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909507)

"By your logic food should be provided by the government."

Haha, wow bro, have I got some news for you...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_stamps [wikipedia.org]

Re:1 Million Strong Against our SOCIALIST Fire Dep (1)

TimeElf1 (781120) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909083)

I think I would rather have a fire department paid for by my taxes than having this sort of thing occur:
Nameless person: Help my house is burning down!
Fire department: We can help we take Visa or Mastercard.
Nameless person: Hands the fire department person a Visa.
Fire department: Sorry, that card was denied.
Nameless person: What about my house?
Fire department: Sorry, no pay no spray.
Nameless person watches their house burn down.

Re:1 Million Strong Against our SOCIALIST Fire Dep (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909321)

Way off topic here, but the reason that 'socialist' fire departments are common now is that the people who were paying for private fire protection saw things like the great fire of London. It's much cheaper to pay for someone at the other end of the street to have their house put out than it is to pay to fix the damage caused (by both the fire and the water) when the fire reaches your house.

Re:1 Million Strong Against our SOCIALIST Fire Dep (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909401)

The way it works out here is they bill you after.

Re:1 Million Strong Against our SOCIALIST Fire Dep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909205)

Yeah, and them free SOCIALIST liberries, to. Gotta get rid of them and get owr libertees back!

Re:1 Million Strong Against our SOCIALIST Fire Dep (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909221)

The problem with the analogy you imply (That people against federally funded socialist programs are hypocritical because they support the fire department) is a straw man because fire departments are typically funded almost entirely at the local level.

The state offers to pay my father his health insurance as part of his pension. If he takes social security, the federal government will not allow him to collect insurance from NYS that is already paid for. Instead, they will make him go on medicare/medicaid which will cost the federal govt money. In addition, to equal the already paid for services offered by the state, my father will have to pay additional money to buy "supplemental" insurance.

In short, you can be against overaching, terribly managed, short sighted, and rights stealing federal programs and still be in support of smaller, more locally managed programs.

I'm all for low level socialist programs because they are more controllable. I'm against large national/federal ones because they are blight against society where a very select few decide what is best for the whole.

You're argument is a strawman (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909319)

You are talking about federal programs and this story is about a town wanting to build its own fiber optic network. This story is about the local level.

Re:1 Million Strong Against our SOCIALIST Fire Dep (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909427)

This is the most funny post I have read about the wingnuts and their search for a cause. You win the internet ... oh wait, that might be anti-Flamer as the internet was built by the government

Revenge is a dish best served cold (0, Flamebait)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29908935)

It appears that TDS sells physical videos that we can buy. Also modems. Steal them. Working together and using our power as consumers we could kill this giant (i.e. bankrupt the corporation), same way we did to Circuit City.

Aside -

These TDS idiots charge $35/month for 750k DSL! Dang. I only pay $15 for mine. TDS is not only dishonest but also greedy.

I would have taken the lawsuit (4, Interesting)

dunezone (899268) | more than 4 years ago | (#29908985)

I used to live in a Tri-City area outside of Chicago. The three towns were going to go in on a municipal internet system that would have provided TV, Phone, Internet, over fiber-optic.

Comcast did a massive advertisement campaign against the system and how if it failed we would foot the bill. They also had techncians out for three weeks straight installing new lines across the town. When it came to vote in my city of the three city's it failed 6000 votes to like 7500 votes, the funny part is, if the 6000 people who voted yes bought into the system and the system lasted for 5 years it would have paid itself and would have become self-sustaining.

Re:I would have taken the lawsuit (1)

Merakis (959028) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909071)

I guess they just didn't get it. Maybe there's no such thing as a perpetual power supply because we don't believe in it enough.

Re:I would have taken the lawsuit (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909347)

So, rather than deploy it as a government system, why not deploy it as a non-profit cooperative?

Ha! (3, Informative)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909013)

My company actually did some of the design for this. Now I know why they wanted such a fast turn around time on it.

The People's Republic of Burlington, VT (3, Interesting)

figmagee (1183813) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909037)

has had a municipal fiber-to-the-premises system for the past two years. I doubt I would have been alive long enough to see FIOS rolled out, particularly since the outfit that Verizon dumped^H^H^H^H^H^H sold their landline infrastructure to, Fairpoint, has just filed bankruptcy. Comcast, the only other game in town, has been howling to the state regulators about the sheer UNFAIRNESS of a publically-owned body actually implementing something that they had no intention of providing (in their neverending quest at maximizing shareholder value). Most recently, certain parties (first two guesses don't count) have been agitating to have the city shut down Burlington Telecom over perceived financial malfeasance. After all, it's downright UN-AMERICAN to have such an important piece of infrastructure exist without money flowing into corporate coffers!

Re:The People's Republic of Burlington, VT (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909101)

has had a municipal fiber-to-the-premises system for the past two years. I doubt I would have been alive long enough to see FIOS rolled out, particularly since the outfit that Verizon dumped^H^H^H^H^H^H sold their landline infrastructure to, Fairpoint, has just filed bankruptcy. Comcast, the only other game in town, has been howling to the state regulators about the sheer UNFAIRNESS of a publically-owned body actually implementing something that they had no intention of providing (in their neverending quest at maximizing shareholder value).

Most recently, certain parties (first two guesses don't count) have been agitating to have the city shut down Burlington Telecom over perceived financial malfeasance. After all, it's downright UN-AMERICAN to have such an important piece of infrastructure exist without money flowing into corporate coffers!

Too bad Burlington telecom is $50million in debt and floundering so please don't point to it as a success agains the other bad guys. BT is as bad as they get. Bad as in "bad" not cool.

Re:The People's Republic of Burlington, VT (0)

figmagee (1183813) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909407)

$50 million in debt, no one disputes. The floundering part is where many might take issue. There's no such thing as a startup (civic or commercial) that is without debt. This was a large project with a long time-horizon to self-sufficiency and no one ever claimed otherwise. The attempts at sacking the city's chief administrator are self-serving and politically motivated in an effort at bringing down the mayor. It's interesting how the state official leveling charges at the city's handling of finances was the prime mover behind granting Fairpoint their approval to take over Verizon's landline operations in VT. This despite any number of well-reasoned warnings that they were simply not equal to the task, either in terms of experience or financial resources.

Re:The People's Republic of Burlington, VT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909503)

I'm hoping the Failpoint situation will increase the push to get the ECFiber [ecfiber.net] program rolled out. Comcast can suck it.

insult (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909043)

if the city and residents want to really make a point and add insult to financial injury, they should simply ignore TDS' offerings and go ahead and build their own system, making TDS suffer the embarrassment of being screwed over for not taking the town's needs/wishes seriously as well as throwing away however many millions of dollars due to nothing more than ego.

Privitization (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909047)

Can you imagine what this country would look like if we had treated paved roads like we have treated much of the rest of our infrastructure (i.e. only allowing private companies to build and maintain them). Does anyone honestly think we would have an interstate system today (or even standardized road signs) if we had followed that model?

Re:Privitization (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909247)

OMG! You have communist roads in America?

Re:Privitization (0, Troll)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909359)

Does anyone honestly think we would have an interstate system today (or even standardized road signs) if we had followed that model?

The only real reason we have an interstate system is because of the red scare.

Re:Privitization (3, Insightful)

daniel.b.douglas (1654503) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909383)

Actually, for a period of America's early history there were many privatized roads - the word turnpike actually comes from the idea of having a pointy gate (resembling a row of pikes) that is turned aside to let a horseman or wagon pass only after a toll is paid. I'm not sure if any toll roads today are privately operated, but it is the same idea.

End of Suburbia (1)

Conzar (1603461) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909405)

I wish this would have been so. The road system in the USA is a complete waste of money and resources. It is also unsustainable. When the oil production starts to decline, "trucking" in food and products from around the world to suburbia will drastically increase in price and eventually will stop in most parts of the country.. Please see "End of Suburbia" for more information.

Captialism and US at its finest (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909065)

This is not only the finest example of capitalism; it is the finest example of the US in action. Any intelligent person can see why the USians are just a bunch of illiterate lowlife rednecks and niggers(both are the same, just different skin colours), not enough is socialized in the US as the USians back good ol' capitalism, while every other nation other than nations like Somalia are embracing communism or at least socialism. Give the US time and they will fall, especially when petroleum is trading in Euros rather than USian dollars.

Signed,
The Rest of the World

Can someone explain... (4, Interesting)

Simulant (528590) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909119)

... on what grounds TDS sued the town? This is not explained in the article.

Re:Can someone explain... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909257)

I think it went something like waaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh we're mad waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh

This fiber must have been installed somewhere (1)

werfu (1487909) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909141)

This fiber must have been installed somewhere and it must be on public terrain, no? Than why in the world the city have granted the permission for that company to install the fiber? I mean, most telco cable runs in/on public utilities (sewer, terrain, phone pole). They are granted a permission to use it. Why can't it be revoked? Fiber pipe should be public utility. If a company would decide to run water to every house and sue the city for doing so too, would it be more capitalism-correct?

Wiring is infrastructure (2, Insightful)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909145)

I'm as free market as anybody, but wiring is infrastructure, and I don't have a problem with infrastructure being provided by the government. Let the local government, through the power utility, run fiber optic to everyplace that receives power, unless a private company provides a 100MB connection to the house for less than $20. That 100MB line should have low enough latency to provide live TV and VOIP phone connections. If the private companies won't build a better product than can be provided publicly, they shouldn't expect protection from competition.

last of our cash going away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909147)

as the FraUDulent money traders attempt to position themselves for any event, guess who gets left out of the calculations?

very similar to the last days of nazi germany.

no matter, the lights are coming up all over now, & despite all the plans of the corepirate nazi illuminati, there is no where left to hide.

Shooting themselves in the foot... (1)

PhysicsPhil (880677) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909189)

So what we've learned from this is that if a city wants to get fibre deployment in their area, all they have to do is threaten to do it themselves. Then private companies will fall all over themselves to provide the services immediately.

City Fiber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29909395)

I am actually the chairperson of a "Broadband committee" for a city fiber network within a small city in Wisconsin. Charter Communications and Verizon refused to increase services for the city. The city pushed forward with their Broadband initiative and ran a few miles of fiber and ever hooked up a wireless ISP. Before I give the downside, let me tell you the results as of today. Both Charter and Verizon lowered there basic internet speed - 768k/128k (shouldn't count, but its more than the 33.6k dial up available) and have kept the low rates of under $20 w/o contract. Charter upgraded their network and now provides up to 16m/2m options. Verizon tops out at 7m/1.5m. Both ISPs lowered their business rates and have done their best to compete with the city's solution. Now - the ISPs can offer rebates that the city cannot. They can absorb construction costs that the city cannot. They have faster response times than the city's fiber. The reality is city governments are NOT organized enough to competitively run a broadband solution. There is too much red tape (especially in Wisconsin) and decisions cannot be made on the fly. My committee would love to hire a full time ISP manager, but there isn't enough revenue - because the companies that promised to use the city solution, SOLD OUT to the local telco after they dropped the rates and locked them into long term contracts.

Talk about covering your Butt! (1)

kenbo0422 (1567789) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909429)

The get sued for not providing a fiberoptic system. The lawsuit prompts them to put one in to cover their butts, while not allowing the municipality to go forward with a publicly voted referendum to have a 'city system'. Sounds lop sided to me. THEN they have the cahunas to sue the city for trying to put in their own system? Bull! Sounds like a fair market competition to me. The city profits the same as a telcom would. Sounds also like the telcom is about to have a real rough time getting permits to do anything, much less put in fiberoptics. It'll make their costs go up and the city's alternative look better. Somebody here said something about 'shooting themselves in the foot'? Nailed it.

Monticello needs to talk to Bristol, Va Utilities (1)

backbyter (896397) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909453)

I live in Abingdon, VA. Recently, BVU extended their fiber to the house (FTTH) into my neighborhood. I was the first to have it installed on my street.

10MB service @ $55 monthly after all taxes have been applied. They are competing against Comcast & Embarq (two of my previous ISPs) and Charter & Verizon, and lastly the City of Abingdon itself (both paid fiber and free wireless).

Since I live on the edge of town, I am just outside the Abingdon Wireless Mesh reach, so technically it is not available to me, nor are there any plans to make the eva fiber available any time soon.

Additionally, 3g from Verizon & others are available in the area, depending on which side of which mountain you are in.

Links:
http://www.bbpmag.com/snapshot/snap1002.php [bbpmag.com]
http://www.bvu-optinet.com/templates/default.php [bvu-optinet.com]
http://www.eva.org/ [eva.org]
http://www.abingdon.com/wireless/ [abingdon.com]

free market (3, Interesting)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29909489)

So, they're not friends of competition, are they?

50-100 years ago we had this collective dream of free markets, capitalism, solving our problems.

Then, corporations found out that the actual free market is bad for profit margins. Once they grew powerful enough, they started changing the game.

Events like this should have the capitalists and free market supporters up in arms. But it doesn't. Why?

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