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Telcos Want Big Subsidies, Not Line-Sharing

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the give-us-money-and-leave-us-alone dept.

Communications 340

It seems that a recent survey of global broadband practices by Harvard's Berkman Center at the behest of the FCC has stirred the telecommunications hornet's nest. Both AT&T and Verizon are up in arms about some of the conclusions (except the ones that suggest offering large direct public subsidies). "Harvard's Berkman Center study of global broadband practices, produced at the FCC's request, is an 'embarrassingly slanted econometric analysis that violates professional statistical standards and is insufficiently reliable to provide meaningful guidance,' declares AT&T. The study does nothing but promote the lead author's 'own extreme views,' warns a response from Verizon Wireless. Most importantly, it 'should not be relied upon by the FCC in formulating a National Broadband Plan,' concludes the United States Telecom Association. Reviewing the slew of criticisms, Berkman's blog wryly notes that the report seems to have been 'a mini stimulus act for telecommunications lawyers and consultants.'"

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I see what they did there... (4, Interesting)

EndlessNameless (673105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30203668)

Free money, no mandates. This sounds like the initial Bush stimulus package, so it's entirely without precedent.

If their development is going to be subsidized with federal funds, they damn well better open those lines. And they should be required to meet coverage quotas if they want any of those rural development funds.

Re:I see what they did there... (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30203696)

I assume you mean "so it's not entirely without precedent".

Re:I see what they did there... (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204430)

I read it more as "so it's entirely without precedent"... with a sarcastic voice...

I'm also wondering where the "wellduh" tag is on this article... they want to maintain their government-sanctionned monopolies, and oh, by the way, they want more money, too. How is this news?

Re:I see what they did there... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30203704)

Honestly, how can you even consider associating this with G.W. Bush? Have you been under a rock for an entire year now? Or was it just so much a habit of always saying "Bush" when you disagreed with something and actually meant Obama?

Re:I see what they did there... (0, Troll)

Icegryphon (715550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30203780)

Honestly, how can you even consider associating this with G.W. Bush? Have you been under a rock for an entire year now? Or was it just so much a habit of always saying "Bush" when you disagreed with something and actually meant Obama?

It is BDS [wikipedia.org]
But there might soon be an app for that.

Re:I see what they did there... (4, Informative)

Rycross (836649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204248)

No, he was referring to the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 [wikipedia.org] , totaling $700 billion in "stimulus," signed into law by President Bush.

Re:I see what they did there... (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204322)

The Bush administration gave this welfare to the telcos, not the Obama administration. The telcos are trying to get more corporate welfare from Obama. Blame Obama for giving my tax money to the telcos when he actually does it, not when the telcos are standing on the corner with a cardboard sign that reads "will lobby for cash".

For Christ's sake, man, open your eyes. Bush was a disaster for this country; indeed, for the entire world -- for everyone but the corporates and the uber-rich.

Re:I see what they did there... (0)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204522)

>>>The [Bush] administration gave this welfare to the telcos

Don't you mean Clinton? Also I'd like to see a citation of all these funds the telcos supposedly received. i.e. FACTS not some blogger's opinion.

Re:I see what they did there... (1, Funny)

fl!ptop (902193) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204572)

Bush was a disaster for this country; indeed, for the entire world -- for everyone but the corporates and the uber-rich.

fortunately, the 'corporates and uber-rich' are the ones who sign paychecks, so what's good for them winds up being good for everyone else too.

Re:I see what they did there... (1)

uuddlrlrab (1617237) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204402)

Paranoia much? [wikipedia.org]

Re:I see what they did there... (5, Informative)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30203828)

The internet industry was already given tax money to implement infrastructure once. That money was distributed to shareholders as profit. And since there was no punishment clause, they never had to implement the infrastructure that they agreed to.

Re:I see what they did there... (4, Informative)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204258)

Actually, the "telephone industry" was given money, not the "(I)nternet industry".

So that would be..? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30204294)

So that would be AT&T, Comcast and Verizon as opposed to AT&T. Comcast and Verizon, then.

Re:I see what they did there... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204286)

Meaning, of course, that they want more.

The study does does nothing but promote the lead author's 'own extreme views,' warns a response from Verizon Wireless.

I'd say Verison's greedy views are the extremist views. Why is it that so-called "conservatives" are against welfare, unless it's the rich that are on the recievinig end of the welfare? Isn't this what they call "communism"?

Hypocrisy reigns supreme.

Re:I see what they did there... (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204400)

You misspoke. I'm a conservative. I'm against all forms of welfare for all people, except as a last-ditch safety net (i.e. you lose your job; you get unemployment funds).

You know a lot of the problems with our internet would be solved simply by revoking ALL monopolies that Comcast, Cox, Time-warner, et cetera hold over local neighborhoods. If you allow competition, then the People will be empowered to avoid the shitty companies and chose alternatives (like Apple TV or Linux ISP). We don't need a top-down approach. We need a bottom-up approach where we free the locals from the shackles that currently chain them to Comcast (Cox, TW, etc).

Re:I see what they did there... (5, Insightful)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204556)

What we need is a publicly owned infrastructure and privately run services.

Re:I see what they did there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30204608)

I suspect it's because many of them lay awake at night, touching themselves and dreaming that it's them running the big corporation or whatever...

Re:I see what they did there... (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204570)

Can we see some citation please?

And I don't mean providing a link to some blogger's opinion (which is the typical response), but some actual FACTS that trace the money flowing into telephone companies coffers, and money flowing out to rich person's pockets. From my reading of the 1996 Telecom Act, the money was earmarked for laying digital phonelines, not internet. i.e. Blame Congress for poor planning

Re:I see what they did there... (5, Interesting)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#30203922)

We already did that once and I've got relatives that still only get 9600 on dialup, no chance at DSL, and they live in a town with 1200+ people/sq mi, if only 10,000 or so people.

They'll take the money, kick out a fat dividend, and then spin off a paper company with the responsibilities, destined to fold.

Re:I see what they did there... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204470)

>>>I've got relatives that still only get 9600 on dialup

Are you sure? I've encountered some crappy lines in my travels, and the noisest/slowest line still provided 21,000 bit/s. As for higher speeds, couldn't your relatives get cable internet or cellphone internet? I do think the government should mandate DSL for anyone who asks for it, but that's not a job to be performed by the FCC. That's a job for the State governments. i.e. -

Dear Bell:

If you want to continue holding your monopoly, you will provide DSL to everyone who demand it. Else we'll take-away your monopoly and give it someone else, like Google or Apple.

Sincerely,
Virginia Legislature

Re:I see what they did there... (2, Interesting)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204526)

Or sell the division to a sucker who can't figure out that they will fail, like the recent sale of the landlines in New England to FairPoint.

Though, in this case, FairPoint was so obviously unprepared, it showed in their business plan as submitted to the PUC (fuel and labor costs won't go up for 5 years, yet you haven't prepurchased fuel nor have you finished negotiations with the Union. They won't go up. Really?).

But, point taken. Verizon got a LOT of money to put better phone lines and Internet access in to rural areas. None of it ever happened. FairPoint walks in, agrees to all of the conditions Verizon was paid for, submits a business plan based on some alternate reality where money is free and Internet connections grow like marshmallows on magical faerie trees, and declares Chap 11 within a year. Wow, surprise surprise!

The subsidies should be paid after the services are available, not before, and should be paid to the people who managed to turn it on. Once subsidies are involved then everyone should be able to use the connection, with the telco allowed to reclaim their costs and make a reasonable profit on those portions of the infrastructure that were not covered under subsidy (company can accept a 50% subsidy, for example, and is allowed to charge competitors a higher rate based on the fact that the company paid for half of the wiring, but once you accept subsidies you must also accept competition).

Or we need a "public option" for Internet access. Instead of the government paying private companies to put in lines then forcing those private companies to allow access to the wires, simply have the government put in the wires and charge anyone who wants to use them. Then if a company thinks they can put in their own wires more cheaply, let 'em, and the company can do with those wires as they wish since no government money went into them. As long as the government has wires everywhere, competition will be available and no one can declare a monopoly, but if a company can do it cheaper than the government they are free to do so.

I for one, (4, Insightful)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#30203670)

have not read TFA but anything the teleco's HATE must not be all that bad...

Re:I for one, (5, Interesting)

PizzaAnalogyGuy (1684610) | more than 4 years ago | (#30203784)

There are, however, several things to consider especially when it's about telco's.

Lets say you've ordered a pizza delivery guy to bring you a big fat pizza with some coca cola, because frankly you've a little bit hungry. But what will the pizza delivery guy do if you're mean to him? That's correct, he will not give you the pizza. You might try calling a different pizza place, but you're out of luck if your area doesn't have one or they're already closed after 9pm.

It's basically the same thing with telco's. Only way to change that is to get government to do something about it.

Re:I for one, (2, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204032)

Pizza with the government cheese!

Re:I for one, (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30204066)

I guess it's easy to be a rich white prick.

Re:I for one, (2, Insightful)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204222)

You might try calling a different pizza place, but you're out of luck if your area doesn't have one or they're already closed after 9pm.

It's basically the same thing with telco's. Only way to change that is to get government to do something about it.

But not by creating pizza's with government cheese. You change things by opening your own pizza shop. (the way I do it is to make my own pizza) The governments job is to make the playing field level, not by providing all services.

It seems that more and more, government un-levels the playing field, by design. It natural when you think about it. We'll put you in charge of pizza shop licensing. Who are you going to lunch with, the sharp dressed person from the pizza lobby, or the wild haired, crazy guy that wants to "revolutionize" the pizza business and stick it to the man. (in this scenario, you are the man.) Since you hang with the PIAA goons, and they offer to do most of you job for you by writing the pizza legislation, what group is going to have the laws in their favor?

Re:I for one, (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204538)

It seems that more and more, government un-levels the playing field, by design. It natural when you think about it. We'll put you in charge of pizza shop licensing. Who are you going to lunch with, the sharp dressed person from the pizza lobby, or the wild haired, crazy guy that wants to "revolutionize" the pizza business and stick it to the man. (in this scenario, you are the man.) Since you hang with the PIAA goons, and they offer to do most of you job for you by writing the pizza legislation, what group is going to have the laws in their favor?

You're forgetting that the telco industry only exists today because of the billions of dollars that the government has poured into the initial development of the infrastructure. The government is generally anti-monopoly, but in some cases they sanction a monopoly and give federal funding to that organization, particularly when it's something that'll be useful to people at large, but has a huge up front cost and isn't likely to be running in the black for decades.

Re:I for one, (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204604)

You're 100% correct that when government regulates, they favor the well-dressed Pizza Hut spokesman with deep pockets, rather than the $5/hour Walmart employee who wants to better him or herself by opening a small shop.

This kind of government-private corruption dates back to the Roman Republic, which eventually devolved into Democracy, then Oligarchy, then Dictatorship.

Re:I for one, (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204466)

But he won't charge you for not giving you your pizza. Or have you sign a contract (as a condition of ordering the pizza in the first place) that says that if you decide to not pay him and call up a different pizza place instead, you owe him $300.

AT&T and Verizon do both.

Re:I for one, (1)

Krahar (1655029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204566)

If you are mean to the pizza delivery guy then obviously you don't deserve any pizza. Your analogy would be much better if the pizza delivery guy brings you 3 coconuts instead of the pizza you ordered, and then when you refuse to pay he makes sure you can never buy a pizza again.

Re:I for one, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30204386)

Of course they want free money with no strings attached. Of course they want a wall of regulations to keep out the little guy who only wants to compete on fair grounds. Nothing is new here.

Big business and big government have always been partners, and no matter what you'd like to believe, history shows that they both are motivated entirely by self-interest.

Re:I for one, (1)

zookie (136959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204520)

have not read TFA but anything the teleco's HATE must not be all that bad...

Hmmm... commenter doesn't RTFA and makes judgment based on previous bias, and gets moderated +5 Insightful? Wow.

Re:I for one, (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204622)

have not read TFA but anything the teleco's HATE must not be all that bad...
Hmmm... commenter doesn't RTFA and makes judgment based on previous bias, and gets moderated +5 Insightful? Wow.

Take heart friend. I have since read TFA and found my theory to still be holding ture..

We paid for the lines. Share them or get off. (5, Informative)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30203708)

In most cases, the "lines" (optical etc) are paid for with tax payer dollars. If the telecos cant play nice, we're just going to have to take our toys and go home.

Re:We paid for the lines. Share them or get off. (3, Insightful)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30203786)

Better than that - the letters patent are meant to protect and aid business ventures in order to promote the interests of society. If any company is unwilling to do that, we should revoke it and dissolve them.

Re:We paid for the lines. Share them or get off. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30204188)

Who decides what the interests of society are? Who decides if they are being promoted?

Re:We paid for the lines. Share them or get off. (3, Informative)

anagama (611277) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204296)

The small minority of mega-wealthy organizations obviously. It is a well known fact that people are too stupid and will think crazy thoughts like "cheaper and faster" is better than "slower and pricey". With enough lobbyists and indirect bribery, AT&T, Verizon, and its ilk are able to make sure we don't harm ourselves by getting better service for lower costs.

Re:We paid for the lines. Share them or get off. (2, Informative)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204304)

Society through their representatives and the courts.

Re:We paid for the lines. Share them or get off. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30203792)

Better hurry,
Sarah will give them the network as a present.
If they own the pipes, they will take much better care of them and have much more incentiv to invest in upgrades!1!1

Re:We paid for the lines. Share them or get off. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30204030)

You are really misinformed. Optical lines are not mostly paid for with tax payer dolars. Fiber is mostly used to carry bulk traffic. Most long hall is paid for my the companies that had them put in the ground. Tax payer dollars are for residental lines, etc. Once again here we have the socialist thinking everything should be government owned and operated, like they want health care. Yet you don't have a clue on how much it costs to build the infrastructure & maintain it. FYI fiber does decay and have to be replaced. Equipment that was state of the art 7 years ago needs to be upgraded and replaced. But it is easier to just calm "Big bad companies"

Re:We paid for the lines. Share them or get off. (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204324)

Guess where the right of way comes from to bury that fiber?

Re:We paid for the lines. Share them or get off. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30204224)

Verizon is one to talk. When I live they don't even have the infastructure to support broad band. They have said in prepared statements for the last 10 years they were going to expand broadband in my area. Instead I have Comcast as that is the only player I have. All the lines in my area are copper based and they have no desire to change that. They are waiting for the government to pay for it a second time. Don't get me started with their wireless company. Their billing is a joke. You don't max your minutes or use any features not in the plan yet each month the price is different. No explanation from them when pressed either. I will never go back even if they were the only wireless carrier in town.

Fascism, DUH (5, Insightful)

czarangelus (805501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30203714)

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power."

America is, and pretty much always has been, a fascist nation. I think the recent bailouts of the banking giants and car manufacturers should prove that it is fascist now; Andrew Jackson himself was fighting fascism when it came to central banking back in the 1830's. War and weapons define the American economy. Boeing and Raytheon and Xi could be considered the ultimate achievement of which a fascist society is capable.

Lew Rockwell [lewrockwell.com] is fond of referring to the central government as the Welfare-Warfare state. Our country has always defined itself through these two socialist conspiracies against mankind - welfare both corporate and personal, which stunts economic growth and creates a class of victims wholly dependent on the largess of their tormentor - and warfare, which is the extension of corporate power through the state in order to secure resources overseas. We should abandon this socialism, this corporatism, this fascism - and create a government that exists only within strict Constitutional boundaries. Nothing else will do for the good of mankind.

Re:Fascism, DUH (4, Insightful)

Delwin (599872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30203774)

It's also called 'bread and circuses' and it's been around a lot longer than Lew Rockwell - by a few thousand years.

Isn't bread and circuses (3, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#30203936)

Walmart and Fox?

 

Re:Isn't bread and circuses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30204340)

or Obama, as the blackface clown?

Re:Fascism, DUH (1, Insightful)

czarangelus (805501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30203884)

The Welfare-Warfare state creates several social classes which are entirely repugnant to the free man. The first class is, of course, the welfare class. America is awfully egalitarian when it comes to putting down social discontent with money - ghetto blacks and rural trailer trash whites share a common "benefactor" in the central government which does not discriminate racially like so many others. Our government funds its most likely opposition, and the same inner city blacks that suffer under the jackboot of ghetto "justice" fail to realize it is tied to the monthly handouts they receive.

Another repulsive class is the corporate parasite. Worse than the welfare bums, the corporate bums leverage the power of the state to protect their marketshare, patent basic inventions to stifle competition, and use lawyers to crush competitors even when they are in the right. This class is worse in many ways, as it is full of rabid conformist, pseudo-intellectuals who suckle on the teet of the state secondhand.

Then there is the intelligentsia that it installs in state-funded institution and rewards with state-funded grants for as long as the perpetrator blindly supports the state in all its doings. Paul Krugman, wrong about everything so far, is that you? Victor Davis Hanson? The big names of stupid and wrong congregate there.

Then there's the people freedom-lovers should despise the most: the yes men, the intellectual conformists, the button-smashing neanderthals who don't even benefit from the state they blindly support. They are in evidence everywhere in Slashdot, and they are set off most by new ideas. If these conformist robo-drones don't have a ready-made script for something you say, they become immediately hostile as thinking is totally anathema to them. They are generally well educated, or at least, good at repeating things they hear on the idiot box or at school or the inane ramblings of their elected officials. They can seem deceptively intelligent, but don't be fooled - is a router a sophisticated processor just because it transmits processed bits? Certainly not. They hear, repeat, and smash down anything they haven't heard and repeated before.

And the Corporate State produces (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30204350)

And the Corporate State produces serfs and masters, where the only free men are the masters. Since they are the only free men, they hate anyone else getting freedom since it impinges on their rights to abuse the serf classes.

So while technically true, your "free man" isn't the "cosmopolitan man" or the "rational man" or indeed "human". And for this reason they hate the welfare state, it removes their power over the serf whom they care not a jot for except how much can be bled from him.

Re:And the Corporate State produces (1)

czarangelus (805501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204408)

All freedom is intertwined. The freedom of speech, the freedom of trade, the freedom of contracts! Economic freedom and the right to self-defense are codependent. Spiritual freedom requires political freedom, and vice versa. Without the freedom to choose between employers, the freedom to hire people at will, the freedom to buy and sell goods at market value - the anarchy of statism takes control.

People like you do not trust human beings, you think they need to be directed by authorities. I contend against that; I think people are at their best when they are free. People form the best societies when they are organized at grassroots level and not by a Supreme Soviet in Moscow or Washington. Freedom is virtue. Freedom is prosperity. Freedom is peace.

Re:Fascism, DUH (3, Interesting)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#30203912)

If we've always been a fascist nation, and we're the sole remaining superpower, the whole welfare-welfare state thing has a pretty good track record, huh?

The only quibble I have is that corporate welfare really only came into vogue with Reagan after our ideological rival, the soviet union's fate was pretty much sealed. We should probably try to figure out if corporate pandering is good for an economy, like social safety nets are. Personally, I'm putting my money on bad - and think we should return to a single welfare state.

Re:Fascism, DUH (5, Funny)

czarangelus (805501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30203980)

I can't find it, but the old Italian's speech in Catch-22 sums it up best; what good is it being a superpower if you are always caught in a state of conflict and you're always in economic turmoil as a consequence? Nobody ever bothers Lichtenstein.

Re:Fascism, DUH (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204320)

I guess the other option is to be like Italy, and always win by always losing.

Re:Fascism, DUH (2, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204196)

If we've always been a fascist nation, and we're the sole remaining superpower, the whole welfare-welfare state thing has a pretty good track record, huh?

Speaking as a member of a welfare state that didn't have a massive economic meltdown and continues to tick along while the US flounders, I'd say yeah, it does have a pretty good track record:

Hint: An idea isn't bad just because the American government is too fundamentally fucked up to implement it properly.

Bah, mod me down, I just can't read. (4, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204502)

This isn't insightful, mod me down. I totally misread the GP and thought his first sentence was sarcastic. It wasn't. His point was that, despite being a "welfare state", the US has clearly done alright, and that corporate welfare is the big problem, something which we both agree on.

Re:Fascism, DUH (2, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204004)

By this measure, aren't all governments, throughout time, fascist?

Describing fascism as a government with business interests makes the definition far too broad to be useful, the only possible reason to do so is to invoke an emotional response at the very word fascist.

Re:Fascism, DUH (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204266)

By this measure, aren't all governments, throughout time, fascist?

Most governments (perhaps not quite all of them) have included at least some degree of fascism. It only makes sense to label them fascist, however, when these elements—business and politics—are unified to a significant degree. If politics are not dominated by business interests (and visa-versa) then the government in question may have traces of fascism without being a fascist government in any meaningful sense. The GP is making the argument that the U.S. government is, in fact, dominated by business interests, and thus fascist. I would tend to agree.

you're a middling propagandist (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204198)

you have the emotional appeal down solid, its pretty good chest thumping stuff

but you're underpinning your inflammatory rhetoric with poor a set of facts

good propaganda never lies, it traffics in half truths. so, for example, you don't want to say the usa has ALWAYS been a fascist state. not mainly because thats a lie, but also because you undermine your final appeal for a return to constitutional roots... well, if those roots are so strong, how come the usa has "always" been a fascist state? its a contradiction. you can't refer to a strong set of principles that never actually worked

no, you need a sympathetic narrative, a demagogue's best friend: its better to refer a mythological past where everything was perfect, the founding fathers reigned supreme. then evil influences crept in. in your particular fantasy, that would be corporations, and they subverted and ruined the garden of eden

so instead you want to say the usa WAS ONCE a solid strong democracy. instill chest thumping patriotism here with strong quasihistoric visions, you know the drill. then change the tone and talk about how money was thrown around and morals and integrity were corrupted, the founding fathers betrayed... good hollywood stuff

good luck to you sir, you're well on your way to being a solid propagandizing demagogue. you have the emotional appeals down solid. now just hone up on the half-truths and you'll be a rabble rouser supreme!

Re:you're a middling propagandist (1)

czarangelus (805501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204280)

Maybe it was always fascist, after all. Even our Founding Fathers kept slaves (disenfranchised class) and committed endless massacres against native peoples. I was just hoping someone could point out a two year period somewhere for me when America was not: 1) at war 2) disenfranchising some of its adult population 3) having made certain consumables illegal. I do not think there has ever been a two year period in which the Constitution was followed in any sense. I certainly do not idealize any period of American history, though I'm partial to Jefferson's struggle to keep the bankers out and Andrew Jackson sending them packing. But that's only a small good in a great evil.

no, no, don't refute your detractors (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204362)

it's the job of your inflamed followers to attack your detractors, you want to stay above the fray

for attacking you, i'm a tool of the corporate overlords, a slavemaster in the mold of jefferson, etc.

but you don't have to make those accusations, only your followers do

on the plus side, you didn't waver in your mask of the passionate demagogue. you stuck right with the script and didn't at all slide into sarcasm or give any grounds to my alternate views. you hewed straight to your particular peculiar solipsism, good for you

or... horrors of horrors, don't tell me you actually believe the bullshit you're writing

no, no, that will never do. that makes you a crackpot, not a demagogue

oh dear

Re:you're a middling propagandist (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204590)

you have the emotional appeal down solid, its pretty good chest thumping stuff
but you're underpinning your inflammatory rhetoric with poor a set of facts

This reminded me of that old black and white episode of the Twilight Zone where the ghost of Hitler helps a guy learn to be a better public hate speaker.

Re:Fascism, DUH (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204404)

War and weapons define the American economy. Boeing and Raytheon and Xi could be considered the ultimate achievement of which a fascist society is capable.

I've heard people say this kind of thing, but I don't think they've actually checked the numbers. Even if you use the highest estimate for US military spending possible, as you can see from this article [wikipedia.org] , you're still only getting $1.1 trillion, which include pensions and interest on past wars. Even then, it's less than 10% of the entire US economy.....so what is the rest of the economy doing? How can you call it a welfare-warfare state when more than 90% of what goes on isn't part of that welfare-warfare sector? It's too sensationalistic.

Re:Fascism, DUH (4, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204616)

War and weapons define the American economy. Boeing and Raytheon and Xi could be considered the ultimate achievement of which a fascist society is capable.

When I was a child, President Eisenhower warned of the "Military Industrial Complex". Apparently we didn't heed his warning.

We should abandon this socialism

Corporatism is NOT socialism. Socialism is the polar opposite; socialism tries to make a better society (usually failing, however). It is facism, though. What kind of people rail against giving welfare to the poor but have no problem giving it to the rich?

I have no idea what's in the report (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30203730)

But since both AT&T and Verizon object to its conclusions I don't need to read about it. Now I know the report must be right.

Good (4, Funny)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 4 years ago | (#30203738)

I'm glad something finally brought AT&T and Verizon together, I hate it when big corporations get in fights. Also, fuck you both for calling the U.S. innovators in wireless broadband, we are in the middle of the pack at best in broadband services.

Re:Good (1)

Sinning (1433953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204206)

Just because we're in the middle of the pack in broadband service doesn't mean that we didn't develop (i.e. innovate) most of the technologies used in implementing broadband in the rest of the world.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30204516)

Which is why its so disheartening to realize that we are middle of the pack. Given that we created it, we should be one of the best at it.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30204532)

So the U.S. was an innovator. That doesn't mean it is now.

Must be doing something right (5, Funny)

deprecated (86120) | more than 4 years ago | (#30203748)

If the big telcos hate it, I like it.

I wonder who wrote that criticism... (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30203758)

Was it Cato? It's sometimes hard to tell the difference between the big businesses that want freedom from any laws that they find inconvenient and the "philosophers" who have what amounts to be almost the same thing.

here is a nice little quote (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30203810)

"...direct government encouragement can facilitate deployment and drive penetration."

 

...that's what she said.

Re:here is a nice little quote (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204226)

Kinda brings a whole new meaning to the 'stimulus package' eh?

Re:here is a nice little quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30204438)

That sounds a little bit like "now bend over and take it like a man" to me.

More competition needed (5, Interesting)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 4 years ago | (#30203840)

Verizon notes, open access and unbundling would be a bad policy for the United States, largely because of the rural nature of much of the country. "The problem in these rural and low-density areas is that they have been unable to attract even a single entrant," the telco argues. "Imposing unbundling will not only fail to solve this problem, but will only make things worse: if the economics do not currently support a single provider, they are even less likely to support multiple(and potentially an unlimited number of) providers."

I'm not sure that you can have worse service than no service. There are many areas that only allow one (or a few) providers. If that one provider chooses not to give service to a part of it's service area, those people are screwed. Maximum innovation will come from maximum competition. It's called capitalism, but it always seemed to me that capitalists usually want the least amount of competition possible.

Re:More competition needed (5, Insightful)

portnux (630256) | more than 4 years ago | (#30203896)

And the broadband companies take legal action to prevent private citizens and communities from creating their own broadband systems why?

Re:More competition needed (1)

ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204154)

And the broadband companies take legal action to prevent private citizens and communities from creating their own broadband systems why?

Because we were just about to do that. Besides, you guys shouldn't be worrying your pretty little heads about this network stuff, you know how confused you get when you get emotional.

Now where's my dinner.

Re:More competition needed (5, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204406)

Why not more regulation?

Telecom is by all appearances a natural monopoly, like other utilities. If you take AT&T and Verizon and break them up into little pieces, in about 15 years you'll be right back to where we are now in this market. We know this because we tried breaking up Ma Bell, and within about 15 years we were back to an oligopoly (and probably would have been back to a monopoly had the FCC and FTC allowed it).

The ways to handle utilities, in order of my preference at least, based on the experiences of residents where each of these are applied:
1. Publicly owned and operated: This isn't perfect, but by all appearances can do a really good job. When was the last time you thought about your municipal water and sewer service? That's the sign of a well-run utility.
2. Heavily regulated monopoly: This is the electricity market in a lot of places. Again, far from perfect, but customers generally aren't bilked and service is usually pretty decent.
3. Less regulated oligopoly: This can be decidedly unpleasant if the various players realize that they can earn more by both of them bilking their customers rather than trying to take market share away from each other. The regulations can help prevent problems, but are generally less extensive than the regulated monopoly.
4. "Free-market" free-for-all: Think California during the electric deregulation. This typically is really an unregulated oligopoly.
5. Unregulated monopoly: Standard Oil et al. Typically, the monopoly makes a huge bundle of cash while all the customers (who often have little choice but to pay) get bilked.

Right now, telecommunications is sitting at option 3. AT&T and Verizon would both love option 4, and whichever one is capable of buying out the other would really really like option 5, but for the purposes of serving customers you're typically better off with option 1 or 2.

Re:More competition needed (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204454)

I'm not sure that you can have worse service than no service. There are many areas that only allow one (or a few) providers. If that one provider chooses not to give service to a part of it's service area, those people are screwed.

They're not saying that there will be fewer providers; the number of providers can't become negative, after all. Rather, they're saying that forced line-sharing would increase the minimum price at which any provider would be willing to operate in that area, since they must anticipate an even lower profit-margin than they would currently receive without the line-sharing requirement.

Maximum innovation will come from maximum competition. It's called capitalism, but it always seemed to me that capitalists usually want the least amount of competition possible.

Find me anyone who likes dealing with competition—regardless of their ideology—and you might begin to have a point. High prices are just as much a product of competition (on the buyer's side) as low prices are a product of competition among sellers. What is important is the balance between supply and demand, a balance which is distorted whenever coercion is brought to bear on either side. It is just as harmful to manufacture competition through coercive regulations, subsidies, etc. as it is to inhibit competition through coercive monopolies. Moreover, the negative effects are cumulative; one does not cancel out the other.

Re:More competition needed (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204460)

Capitalism is an economy driven by the non-Governmental ownership of property. I am not sure what Competition has to do with it.

If we're looking at economics... (1)

weston (16146) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204476)

if the economics do not currently support a single provider, they are even less likely to support multiple providers.

Invoking economic arguments may not be the most self-interested thing for Verizon to do, because if we're doing that, we may as well admit telecom tends towards natural monopoly [wikipedia.org] and network effects [wikipedia.org] , and that having telecom infrastructure managed by self-interested private parties isn't ever going to produce the same kind of yields that markets do by competition in other sectors.

The fact that the Verizon argument quoted above is correct doesn't even help their case. It's another brick in the wall: in contrast to areas where they tend towards anticompetitive, it's hard for private telecom to serve some markets profitably at all. We and they have sortof accepted this as a balance, and that's one way to do it, but there's always this level of finagling discussed in the post. It might be better to just stop messing around and move to private service over public infrastructure common carriage if we really think of telecom as a utility or public good.

No problem, give them all the subsidies they want (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30203860)

Just require companies taking subsidies to cap wages including top executives at 100K a year and bonuses at 5K a year. They'll squeal like pigs and no one will touch the subsidies. Something similar happened with the bailout money. When there were no strings attached everyone wanted their share. Once they started insisting on wage caps suddenly no one needed the money.

Re:No problem, give them all the subsidies they wa (4, Informative)

Big Boss (7354) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204112)

Yup. Plenty of small companies would be willing to do it though. Hell, if the govt wants to pay for the fiber and install, I'll start a small company to manage it and happily take $105K/year to do so. And I'll run it with an open access policy.

Re:No problem, give them all the subsidies they wa (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30204162)

By law, nobody employed by the federal government is allowed to pull in a higher salary than the President (currentky 400K/yr). This includes bonuses. I see no reason why corporations accepting bailout money should be treated differently.

Linesharing (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30203894)

At least here in Finland line-sharing did wonders to consumers. It lowered prices and allowed small companies the possibility to offer broadband with completely different business models. Competition also forced the big ones to improve customer service quality. I can't think of any downsides for the customer.

Re:Linesharing (4, Insightful)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204292)

There isn't one. But that doesn't mean the monopoly telecoms won't play make-believe (eg OMG customers will have to choose between 'all these confusing options', as opposed to having only one choice, made for them by the single telecom serving their area)

Attn: Telcos (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30203902)

Ahem.. (clears throat). FUCK YOU!

The taxpayer gave you Millions if not Billions back in the 90's for infrastructure upgrades. And now, a decade later, with YOU posting record profits, and infrastructure being upgraded at a rate comparable to snails pace, you have the gall to ask for more money from the taxpayers, i.e. your CUSTOMERS?

Pardon me Big Telco, but FUCK YOU!

Re:Attn: Telcos (5, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204092)

"We can't hear you now"
-Verizon

Re:Attn: Telcos (5, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204150)

The taxpayer gave you Millions if not Billions back in the 90's for infrastructure upgrades

That's over 200 billion [newnetworks.com] .

Re:Attn: Telcos (1)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204530)

Yeah that link looks really unbiased. Investigative journalism in the finest tradition of timecube.com

Re:Attn: Telcos (1)

Compholio (770966) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204436)

Ahem.. (clears throat). FUCK YOU!

The taxpayer gave you Millions if not Billions back in the 90's for infrastructure upgrades. And now, a decade later, with YOU posting record profits, and infrastructure being upgraded at a rate comparable to snails pace, you have the gall to ask for more money from the taxpayers, i.e. your CUSTOMERS?

Pardon me Big Telco, but FUCK YOU!

That is because they have a legal obligation to their shareholders, not their customers. Since the taxpayers did not become shareholders in this process they have no legal obligation to do anything except increase the return for their shareholders. Since they received 200B USD in the 90s the only way they can do that (besides asking for more money) is to try and be as ruthless as possible.

Subsidies are bad, even for the recipient (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204120)

From Snatch - "You got to deal with him. You just got to make sure you don't end up owing him. Cause then you're in his debt. Which means, your in his pocket. And once you're in that, you ain't ever coming out."

It applies to mobsters and the government.

Simple way to end their lust for govt. handouts... (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204204)

End the FCC.

Actually, I agree mostly with the telco (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204282)

The real problem is the system is gamed heavily in their favor. We should make ALL monopoly connections be discontinued. Here in Denver region, Colorado, QWest has the monopoly on twisted pair, and Comcast has the monopoly on cable/fiber. If we remove these monopolies and regulations, it will allow real competition to come in.

Separate ISP's businesses (5, Insightful)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204284)

1. Separate the ISPs into separate entities. Phone service in one company, internet service in another, television in a third.
2. Separate the ownership of the infrastructure into another company
3. Make the three companies from part 1 pay company from part 2 for access
4. allow any other company access to part 2's lines for the same fee as it charges part 1 companies
5. don't EVER allow them to merge again

Re:Separate ISP's businesses (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30204444)

That's a pretty dumb idea all round.

They've already got hundreds of billions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30204434)

in subsidies.

Why the fuck after no major infrastructure upgrade and no national fibre wiring upgrade are they asking for more?

Sickening.

For those of you interested.. (1)

hiimhoit (1195485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204458)

This is the bill the telco's are strongly opposed to, the one we need to pass:
h3458 [opencongress.org]

sure, you can have your subsidies (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204480)

and thanks for the free service

wait... you mean you want charge us for what we paid for already?

Not hard to predict (1)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204562)

I knew that Verizon and at&t would come out against this. They've been taking additional revenues from the various fees like FUSF, et al and just plowing it right back into the revenue and dividend stream.

You think for a moment they're actually going to do something like build out broadband? Not on your life, unless of course the FCC mandates it. Then it'll be tied up in the courts for a decade or so. By the time a decision favoring the FCC ruling is made, there will already be an upstart and disruptive technology that fills the void, or do I need to remind everyone of the origins of MCI and Sprint.

Just make the lines government controlled already (3, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30204580)

I've got a wonderful idea - instead of giving telco's tons of cash to build infrastructure, why doesn't the government build the infrastructure itself (much like the highway system) and then simply lease bandwidth on those lines at a set rate to any company who wants it?

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