Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Broadband Rights & the Killer App of 1900

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the same-song-different-name dept.

Government 565

newscloud writes "Tech writer Glenn Fleishman compares the arguments against affordable, high speed, broadband Internet access in each home to arguments made against providing for common access to electricity in 1900 e.g. '...electric light is not a necessity for every member of the community. It is not the business of any one to see that I use electricity, or gas, or oil in my house, or even that I use any form of artificial light at all.' Says Fleishman, 'Electricity should go to people who had money, not hooked up willy-nilly to everyone ... Like electricity, the notion of whether broadband is an inherent right and necessity of every citizen is up for grabs in the US. Sweden and Finland have already answered the question: It's a birthright.'"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Bah! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30430378)

The killer app was stereoscopic pictures of women showing their ankles.

Re:Bah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30430554)

Ha, you laugh. This was 1993 [youtube.com] , but to me it's infinitely more hot then porn in 2003 or even 2009.

Same Arguments, So Simply Discredit Them (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430408)

The thing about electricity is that people couldn't see that it would service more than just lights. But there were a few people out there (like Edison's lab and Tesla) that could see innumerable uses awaiting. The people just couldn't comprehend it or were rightfully dubious. I mean, traveling scam artists were well known to people at the time (probably even far before) just look at what Mark Twain was writing a decade before [pbs.org] .

If we follow through with this analogy the solution is simple, you merely need to tell us about and convince us that the "inalienable right to broadband" will indeed herald a new era of empowerment--or at least will be easily worth the cost it's going to take getting an infrastructure up that will cover the nation. Unless you have some WAN technology I don't know about or are accepting the issues of broadband over power, I think it's hard to convince someone that a traditional infrastructure covering--say--all of the Ozarks is going to be worth a whole lot more than the few towns and cities in it that are already covered. And you'd be out of your mind to ask a taxpayer in the farmlands to subsidize via tax dollars some infrastructure their not going to gain anything from.

Re:Same Arguments, So Simply Discredit Them (4, Insightful)

lannocc (568669) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430702)

But there were a few people out there (like Edison's lab and Tesla) that could see and profit from innumerable uses awaiting.

There, as is the custom on /., I fixed that for you. It's worth paying attention to who will profit from a massive rollout of new infrastructure. Your main point still remains valid, that the masses need to be convinced of all the new empowerment (pun intended?) they'll receive from the new technology, and I would simply add that part of that convincing needs to show how everyone can profit. If not everyone can profit, it might be socialism!

Re:Same Arguments, So Simply Discredit Them (5, Funny)

minsk (805035) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430872)

"I mean, traveling scam artists were well known to people at the time"

Little did they know that electricity, and the ensuing advances in technology, would remove the need for scam artists to travel :)

If you want broadband, live where it's available. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30430410)

Let market forces decide who gets it. Forcing buildouts to the far corners of rural America will just inflate everyone else's prices.

In Soviet Russia, broadband comes to you ...but this is not Soviet Russia.

Re:If you want broadband, live where it's availabl (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430448)

Forcing buildouts to the far corners of rural America will just inflate everyone else's prices.

Sadly you are doubtless going to be modded troll, but really, what's wrong with this? If you want to live out in the rural sticks then you should be prepared to pay the cost of doing so. It will cost you more money in taxes, more money for running water (pump and septic system upkeep), your roads will be less maintained, you may not have access to cable and will have to rely on satellite, you'll pay more for energy (having oil or propane delivered vs. natural gas out of a permanent connection), more in gas money to get places, blah, blah, blah.

This notion of subsidizing lifestyles is really annoying. If you want cheap fast broadband move to civilization. If you want clean air and open spaces move to the country.

Re:If you want broadband, live where it's availabl (5, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430630)

This notion of subsidizing lifestyles is really annoying. If you want cheap fast broadband move to civilization. If you want clean air and open spaces move to the country.

I'd expand on that and say that the notion of anti-subsidizing lifestyles is equally annoying. Adding taxes to 'unpopular' activities or products has the same effect of subsidizing the popular lifestyle.

If a tax were levied that placed a $1000 burdon on anyone who drives a red car, it is effectively a subsidy on the non-red car population. In this case, the non-red car population ends up $1000 ahead of the red car population.

Re:If you want broadband, live where it's availabl (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430756)

I'd expand on that and say that the notion of anti-subsidizing lifestyles is equally annoying. Adding taxes to 'unpopular' activities or products has the same effect of subsidizing the popular lifestyle.

I'd concur with that. Vice taxes in particular annoy the hell out of me.

That's a very US-centric view (3, Insightful)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430700)

In Europe this kind of thing is seen as helping the development of economically challenged regions. The EU has been spending lots of money on that kind of things for a while, and it started long before broadband. But BB is obviously now a part of the solution.

Re:That's a very US-centric view (3, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430742)

In Europe this kind of thing is seen as helping the development of economically challenged regions.

Just because a region is rural does not mean it's "economically challenged". Many of the households around here in the rural sticks are fairly well off -- they have to be in order to afford the insane property taxes levied in NYS. There are less well-to-do people in the rural sticks too but you can find them in the city just as easily.

In any case, what's the problem with having a "US-centric" view on an American political issue on an American website?

Re:That's a very US-centric view (2, Interesting)

StellarFury (1058280) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430828)

In Europe, your countries tend to be roughly the size of a larger state in the US. You simply don't have the same geographic and logistic issues of deploying infrastructure that exist in the US.

Re:If you want broadband, live where it's availabl (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430728)

I don't see broadband and clean air as mutually exclusive - at least in the city. As for open spaces, I expect there to be enough
of that within city limits, even if it's not right in my neighbourhood

Re:If you want broadband, live where it's availabl (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430472)

Yes and this actually mirrors the gradual rollout of electricity too. Remote areas obviously got connected to the electricity grid later than more populous towns and cities.

Re:If you want broadband, live where it's availabl (3, Insightful)

arpad1 (458649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430514)

I think we may need a new word because "rights", at least in my humble opinion, don't lay an obligation on anyone else or society in general, to fund. If you desire to express yourself by yodeling on a street corner you come fully equipped to do so and society has no obligation to buy you a megaphone or lessons.

If anything, this issue is more about those asserting the right; about their assumption of a right to impose their views on others or assuage guilt for being relatively wealthier, then about those who are supposed to enjoy the right to free internet access.

Re:If you want broadband, live where it's availabl (5, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430704)

If anything, this issue is more about those asserting the right; about their assumption of a right to impose their views on others or assuage guilt for being relatively wealthier, then about those who are supposed to enjoy the right to free internet access.

Who said it has to be free? In Finland, for example, you have the right to have access to an Internet connection in your home. No one said it needed to be free.

Re:If you want broadband, live where it's availabl (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30430752)

This is actually a big issue when talking about 'Rights' across national borders.

The US has historically stuck to negative rights (ie rights of non-interference). The virtue has been that the burden such rights impose upon others is limited (ie the government just has to not go out of its way to impinge upon your 1st amendment rights).

Internationally, a lot of 'rights' talk is based in some way on (or related to) the human rights movement and positive rights (the right to something which must be provided by someone). Such rights inherently impose an obligation upon some party which is far greater than an obligation to NOT do something. This works, to an extent, in European nations because they have 'big government' traditions.

If you are serious about bringing positive rights to the US, you need to have a serious plan for changing the consensus view in the US for the role of the state in the day to day lives of the citizenry.

Re:If you want broadband, live where it's availabl (2)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430790)

Mod parent up ... a rather nice summary of the difference between interpretations of the word 'right' in the US vs. elsewhere, and unfortunately doomed to be buried since it was posted as an AC...

Two miles out is too far A? (2)

bobs666 (146801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430534)

I live two miles from the city switch. and all I can get is a stink'in DSL.

I am sorry the FCC needs to rethink House top routers and put the "last mile providers" out on the street, unless the people with the wires can offer something better.

House top routers would for sure make your cell phone time charges obsolete. You would be better off paying up front for your hardware and not some inflated plan for air minutes.

Its time to enter the 21st century.

Re:If you want broadband, live where it's availabl (5, Insightful)

dkf (304284) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430556)

Let market forces decide who gets it. Forcing buildouts to the far corners of rural America will just inflate everyone else's prices.

Differentiate between the right to get broadband and the right to get broadband cheaply. The former makes sense, and the latter is just uneconomic; an unjustified subsidy of rural areas by urban citizens.

Re:If you want broadband, live where it's availabl (2, Insightful)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430688)

Well depends what you define as broadband I suppose.

It's quite easy to get guarantee that ~everyone~ can get ~some form~ of broadband. You just need a satellite or two. Two-way sat connections can provide pretty decent throughput to any spot in the country, which more than satisfies the definitions of 'broadband'. Expensive though ... and the latency is terrible which makes it impossible to use for many of the applications you'd traditionally think of when you thought of a broadband connection.

Sounds familiar (2, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430418)

Seems to be some folks attitude to universal healthcare too.

It's a good job that these people usually get overridden in the end.

Re:Sounds familiar (3, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430524)

Seems to be some folks attitude to universal healthcare too.

Except it's not universal healthcare. It's "universal what-uncle-sam-thinks-you-need care". The future of government run health care is the future of unelected bureaucrats deciding whether or not your treatment is "cost effective". Care that may have saved your life might not be covered if it doesn't meet the cost benefit analysis. The best and brightest will have less incentive to enter medicine when their salaries and reimbursements are slashed by Uncle Sam in an effort to rein in costs.

Your freedom of choice will be constrained by government laws and regulations that proscribe what kinds of insurance policies can be sold. Want a high-deductible policy with an HSA? Sorry, our "Health Insurance Choice Commissioner" isn't going to allow those types of policies to be sold. Here's a nice PPO policy that costs three times as much. Don't worry though, your $80 office visits will now only cost you $20. No, you can't refuse to buy it, else we'll tax you more. What, you make less than $250,000 and thought Obama wasn't going to raise your taxes? It's not a "tax" silly, it's just money collected by the IRS under penalty of law. Ante up or go to jail.

Maintain a healthy weight and abstain from tobacco use? Sorry, we can't offer you a cheaper policy, because everybody has to pay the same. Have fun subsidizing the people who live off beer, big macs and marlboros. Have only one kid? Sorry, we can't charge you any less. You'll be paying the same rate as octomom.

Re:Sounds familiar (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30430602)

[citation needed]

Re:Sounds familiar (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30430664)

Uhh, What you have described is exactly what we have now with private health insurance. Unelected officials determining what care you get (check). Freedom of choice constrained (try to go to an out of network doctor. Being forced to purchase insurance, the insurance is paid for by your employer whether you want it or not. Want to get out of it and take the extra cash? Sorry, the employer's rates are contingent upon all employees being enrolled. The same cost for one kid or eight? Once again we have that now.

I know your hatred for Obama is blinding you but could you please try to put some thought into what you write before you spew such easily refutable garbage.

Re:Sounds familiar (4, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430822)

Uhh, What you have described is exactly what we have now with private health insurance.

Not quite, as I currently have the choice to buy a high-deductible policy or even to go without insurance altogether. I won't have either of those choices under the bills currently under consideration in the Congress.

Want to get out of it and take the extra cash? Sorry, the employer's rates are contingent upon all employees being enrolled.

That's up to your employer, not the government. My employer will pay me the money they put into health insurance if I ask them to do so. Of course I'll then be paying taxes on it, but that's the government's fault, not theirs.

I know your hatred for Obama is blinding you

Who said anything about Obama? I don't hate him or anybody. I think he'll make an awesome President -- just as soon as we get rid of Nancy Pelosi.

Re:Sounds familiar (2, Insightful)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430882)

That's true. But insurance is only paid for by your employer because the government provides tax incentives to do so. Get rid of government interference in healthcare and those other things go away too. Choose your own health insurance free of government subsidies and market manipulation and you'll be able to get the options you want.

Very "good" points (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430718)

Very insightful objections you have here ...

Isn't it interesting, though, that *all* over developed nations don't seem to have those problems? How d'you explain that away, I wonder ...

Re:Sounds familiar (1, Insightful)

Eivind (15695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430722)

The curious thing is though, that the terrain fails to match your map. Usually, the terrain is right.

Fact is, US healthcare is more expensive than healthcare just about anywhere else on the planet, including countries where doctors-salaries are higher than they are in the USA. Fact is, despite this you score badly, not only on longevity, but also on stuff like 5-year survival-rate of various cancers, risk of dying in labour, etc.

Demonstrably, mind you, not according to some theory. You -actually- end up paying more, and getting less.

Yes, I realize this doesn't match your map, so thus, "can't be". But as I said, when the terrain and the map don't match, usually, the terrain is correct.

Re:Sounds familiar (5, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430902)

Fact is, US healthcare is more expensive than healthcare just about anywhere else on the planet, including countries where doctors-salaries are higher than they are in the USA. Fact is, despite this you score badly, not only on longevity, but also on stuff like 5-year survival-rate of various cancers, risk of dying in labour, etc.

And how is that relevant to the bills currently pending before Congress? They do nothing to address the underlying structure of our health care system. In fact they take everything that's wrong with it and codify it into law.

Demonstrably, mind you, not according to some theory. You -actually- end up paying more, and getting less.

Again, how is that relevant to the bills currently pending before Congress? They do nothing to address costs.

Yes, I realize this doesn't match your map, so thus

You didn't answer a single one of my points. Will I lose the choice I currently have to purchase a high-deductible policy or go without health insurance? Yes, I will. Will my insurance company be forced to charge me the same rate as they charge a chain smoker? Yes, they will.

Pointing out that the current system sucks != justification for why I should support the current legislative proposals. When will you people understand that?

There is already a bureaucrat between you and .. (5, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430738)

There is already a bureaucrat between you and your doctor. Yes, a nameless, faceless bureaucrat. But this guy works for the private health insurance company. He knows you get your insurance from your employer and you don't have the freedom to dump him and his company and switch your providers, without also ditching your job. You don't know what his pay, compensation and incentive plans are. How much he will make if he denies you coverage for this procedure or that medication.

The reason why the health reform as proposed by the Dems lacks popular is because, it does not go far enough. No chance to escape from whatever your employer dishes out in the name of health care. No recourse if your employer decides suddenly to drop health coverage from the compensation. Have to just bear it if your "contribution" is increased, your copay is increase and your doctor is dropped from the list of preferred providers.

No relief to the employers either. They are competing with Europe and Japan and their competitors do not have to pay for health care. If GM did not have to pay 2000$ per vehicle to provide for health care for its 1 million employees and retirees between 1990 and 2004, it could have competed effectively with the imports.

Already there is public option in so many areas where the private sector refuses to serve. National Flood Insurance Program to insure homes that can not get private insurance. Postal service to serve mail and parcels to places where FedEx and UPS wont go. The examples are endless.

Re:There is already a bureaucrat between you and . (4, Informative)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430942)

Funny you should mention the competitive disadvantage US companies have because they have to pay American employees' healthcare, because it's actually even worse than that! Many US companies pay for all their employees' healthcare regardless of where they live.

I live in Australia but work for a major US software company, which laughably gives me the best of both worlds but must be a tremendous drain on my company's bottom line. Here's the situation...

Australia has universal healthcare. The system works like this:

- Healthcare is free or very cheap via the universal public healthcare system.

- This universal system is funded by a surcharge on top of your standard income tax, but only if you make a moderate to high amount of money. Poorer people don't pay a cent, and still benefit from the system. Wealthy people pay essentially 1 or 1.5% extra income tax which isn't a huge deal in the scheme of things.

- However, you can avoid some or all of the surcharge if you take out private health insurance. The existence of a public/universal health care system does not mean there is no private option, and indeed Australia has a thriving private health insurance industry. Thus, those that can afford private healthcare are encouraged to purchase it, because it reduces the drain on government money, and also means you don't have to pay the healthcare-related surcharge on your taxes.

Australian employers therefore do not, and have never, paid for healthcare. Healthcare is NOT tied to your employer, even if you have private insurance (you pick a company and buy that insurance yourself, just like car insurance or house insurance). And if you don't have private insurance ... the public system will still cover you.

However, the American company I work for, apparently because it is too complicated to set up different HR regimes for each country, pays for private health insurance for me and my whole family, even though that is virtually unheard of for companies in Australia to do. So basically - my company pays for a (expensive high level) health plan for me, I enjoy the coverage of that plan ... AND I make a saving in my taxes because I'm avoiding the surcharge for the public system (because I am covered by a private fund and not draining the public one).

Great for me! But wow, that must cost my company a lot to do that everywhere in the world, when really they only need to do it for their American employees ... lol.

Re:Sounds familiar (1)

boxxertrumps (1124859) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430776)

You should watch "Sicko"

Universal healthcare works for the UK and Canada, if it fails in the US it's the implementation that's the problem not the idea.

Re:Sounds familiar (2, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430850)

Yes, because no one would pay for their own treatment if they were wealthy enough and didn't like what the public system offered them. And hence there'd be no money in medicine at all...

The *entire* idea of universal health care is to provide a bare minimum level of health care to *everyone*. A level which should be minimum enough that those with the resources will go elsewhere.

Just like the "universal school system" in which public schools are for everyone but those with the resources tend to send their kids to private schools.

Restrictions on what insurance companies can and can not offer as health insurance has *nothing* to do with universal healthcare. Sure the idiots in the US only kjnow how to fuck things up, so they'll find a way - but that's not due to anything fundamental with universal healthcare itself.

Re:Sounds familiar (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430546)

Seems to be some folks attitude to universal healthcare too.

It's a good job that these people usually get overridden in the end.

The key difference between broadband and health care being that with health care, some people absolutely need it to continue to live. I know this is going to be a very unpopular statement on Slashdot but you can live without broadband. It's possible. Some of us old timers did it for many years back in the day. I'm all for my taxpayers helping out people to an extent but there's a line that will be crossed sometime. Your sentiment could be expanded to everyone needing a car so let's setup a plan to make sure everyone has a car via our tax dollars. I mean, we're all buying one anyway, right?

Re:Sounds familiar (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430572)

some people absolutely need it to continue to live

Only some?

Re:Sounds familiar (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430906)

Yes. Lots of people live just fine with no healthcare at all. All they do is get routine checks done which come back as "all is well" and hence could have not been done and they would have been fine. They take no prescription drugs, and so on.

Sure one day they'll likely need it, but doctors could have not existed for the last 10 years and they'd be in exactly the same state of health.

Re:Sounds familiar (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430744)

>> Seems to be some folks attitude to universal healthcare too.

>The key difference between broadband and health care being that with health care, some people absolutely need it to continue to live. I know this is going to be a very unpopular statement on Slashdot but you can live without broadband. It's possible

It's possible to live without universal healthcare, as millions of americans prove every day.

Re:Sounds familiar (1, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430878)

I completely agree with you, and thank you for saying what we're all thinking: now that I've got broadband - and health cover - screw everyone else. Filthy penniless scrounging hillbilly hippies; if they're going to die, they had better do it now, and decrease the surplus contention.

because no one wants to define the right (2, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430558)

one person's right to health care is not the same as another.

I prefer the right to access to health care, however the one item left out of most every discussion I see is the requirement to actually lead a healthy life. Sorry, but why should the majority of people pay for other people's health problems caused by known bad habits, like smoking, drinking, and over eating?

The real problem with health care is that too many people willingly take on a car payment and exorbitant cell plan yet are offended they have to pay to take care of themselves. Too many put more effort in taking care of their cars than their own health.

Once someone can define universal health care in appropriate terms instead of just being a buzz word maybe those of us who don't favor the idea will think twice. Until then, try spending some of your own money on your health and quit expecting me to cover it while you eat out.

(and yes I know there are hardship cases, but this isn't what the current debates are turning into)

Broadband is for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30430434)

Broadband is for the people that will make the Bells Rich. the Bells will let the rest of us rot.

And its the FCC's Call.

Birthright? (2, Insightful)

megaskins (199874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430440)

Birthright? WTF? Don't call it that, you dumbass - next thing you know the Government pricks will be confiscating more of our earnings to provide our "birhtright". Jesus, you people...

Re:Birthright? (-1, Troll)

durrr (1316311) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430616)

So it's better that a private company claims a couple kidneys and some few limbs from your household every month to provide "super luxury deluxe rich-people-only _limited_ edition broadband" that sucks ass compared to the goverment skimming a few cents off everyone and provides "ordinary unmetered 500mbps birthright-broadband".

It's certainly was not private efforts that allowed ordinary swedes to have 100mbps broadband a decade ago; it may not have paid off in pure cash, as most other things the goverment does, but it certainly did something not only for the swedes using the net but for the rest of the internet too.

But sure, go ahead and enjoy your pixelated redtube with your metered and throttled, protocol limited glorified 56k dial up while i stream native resolution porn to my 6x30" eyefinity setup.

Re:Birthright? (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430886)

Yeah I don't think people get how things have to be payed for. Either you pay for it willingly by purchasing it or you are taxed for it without a choice in the matter. Over and over I hear that the second "choice" is the best, that the government should handle everything and I should just be okay with it.

Some things are needed. Some things are not "needs" and broadband is one of them. If you want it then go purchase it. What exactly is broken with the current system? Does everything need to be socialized? Don't people understand that you are paying for it either way? Nothing is free. Pay for it via the government or pay for it via a corporation. Your choice. But stop pretending the socialized way is always better. The shit doesn't compute.

Gov't money to private corporations. (5, Insightful)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430444)

I have a serious problem with the government spending my tax dollars on rural broadband lines, and then still enabling the dumb cable companies to monopolize and charge whatever they want for internet service.

If we are paying for the infrastructure, we should own it, and we should be able to share it. Sure, there will be costs. But let's share the costs then, not pretend some capitalist market magic will make us all happy with great service, healthy competition, and constant innovation. I have horrible service, only one company to choose from, and my DVR is a piece of shit. It freezes for 5 seconds then goes through every button I pressed all at once.

Man, am I proud to be an American.

Re:Gov't money to private corporations. (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430532)

Indeed. Infrastructure paid for by the public purse should remain publicly owned, or at the very least, owned by companies with strict legal separation from companies that provide services over that infrastructure. Many countries have learnt this lesson the hard way - speaking as an Australian, much of the reason broadband here is so expensive is due to the fact that the owner of virtually all the infrastructure (the ex-Government monopoly Telstra) obviously has the ability to control the market in retail broadband provided over that infrastructure.

The new National Broadband Network infrastructure being rolled out over the next 5-10 years however (a fibre-to-the-premises GPON providing 100mbit to 90% of the population and 12mbit to the remainder) will be owned and managed independently of any people providing services (Internet, VoIP, IPTV) over that network. I agree with you that this is a much smarter way to do it and you definitely don't want to end up with the 'only one company to choose from' situation that you have now (and many other countries have had in the past).

Re:Gov't money to private corporations. (1, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430562)

I have a serious problem with the government spending my tax dollars on rural broadband lines, and then still enabling the dumb cable companies to monopolize and charge whatever they want for internet service.

This makes me think the government works with the policy "built by the government, screwed by the corporations, but at least its not socialism". The thing is that getting a country working for its people may sound like a socialist approach, but heck isn't that the purpose of government? Corporations should be forced to compete with government. If the corporations don't like it, then f*** off, or offer a better service and "let the market decide" - you can't have it both ways (though apparently they can thanks to screwed up policies and lobby groups).

Re:Gov't money to private corporations. (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430730)

Corporations should be forced to compete with government.

In the USA, they've merged. So, how is "competition" going to occur?

Re:Gov't money to private corporations. (3, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430570)

I have horrible service, only one company to choose from, and my DVR is a piece of shit.

The market already provided a solution [tivo.com] to this particular problem. Yes, it'll cost you more, but most things worth having do. If you buy cheap (cable company DVR) you get what you pay for......

Re:Gov't money to private corporations. (1)

Walterk (124748) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430622)

I have a serious problem with the government spending my tax dollars on rural electricity lines, and then still enabling the dumb electricity companies to monopolize and charge whatever they want for electric.

If we are paying for the infrastructure, we should own it, and we should be able to share it. Sure, there will be costs. But let's share the costs then, not pretend some capitalist market magic will make us all happy with great service, healthy competition, and constant innovation. I have horrible service, only one company to choose from, and my electricity is a piece of shit. It blackouts for 5 seconds then goes destroys my equipment with surges.

Man, am I proud to be an American.

And water, and health care, and ... ?

Re:Gov't money to private corporations. (1)

bobs666 (146801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430740)

If you want TV I am thinking Broadcast, Think public satellite, not the local ground obstructed trash the FCC left us with. And Perhaps MythTV.

If you want Internet and phone think house top radio routers. We are talking 300 megabit channels, in the GigH. frequency ranges. How many places do you go where there is not a house with in 5 miles. And even then the frequencies like the old VHF TV bands for people way out

This would give ISP's a level playing field And There could then be 100s not 1 or 2 ISP's to provide backbone connections. It might even be better if the backbone was public as well. Its infrastructure like the Highways. It can make or break this country.

One step. (5, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430454)

A step in the right direction.

1 - Right to broadband.
2 - Human right to broadband.
3 - Human right to porn.
4 - Human right to 3D multi-sensorial porn.
5 - Ascension of mankind to a new state of consciousness and peace with the universe.

Re:One step. (1, Flamebait)

HanzoSpam (713251) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430564)

Indeed. Provide a socialist with a service, and in a week he'll be calling it a human right.

Re:One step. (2, Insightful)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430958)

Indubitably. Provide a capitalist with a public service that benefits everyone, and in a week he'll have shouted for deregulation and the free market, taken over said service, and then charged the public for the privilege of using his exclusive private service.

--

Social Justice: When a conservative gets robbed

(come on now, blind party loyalty isn't getting us anywhere. Put down the froth and let's work solutions.)

Re:One step. (1)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430680)

Somewhere between 3 and 4, I'm sure sex will become an Olympics sport.

Re:One step. (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430870)

Somewhere between 3 and 4, I'm sure sex will become an Olympics sport.

And the real question arises.

Will it be a pairs performance discipline, like synchronized swimming? Or a one on one competition, like wrestling.
 

Re:One step. (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430874)

I'd buy that for a dollar!

Re:One step. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30430910)

and somewhere between 4 and 5 is a calamitous drop in the human birth rate...

Re:One step. (0, Redundant)

AtomicSnarl (549626) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430956)

You forgot:

6 - Profit!

Electricity isn't a right in the USA (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30430456)

Electricity isn't a right in the USA. There are plenty of places without electricity that people still live. There are even more places without safe, drinking water and indoor plumbing.

Universal access for telephones is the law, but it doesn't apply to everyone either.

When you don't have safe running water, internet service is really, really low on the desired rights list.

Pull your heads out from where ever you've had them shoved please.

Re:Electricity isn't a right in the USA (5, Informative)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430642)

Yep. Wasn't that long ago one of my uncle's decided to give in to my aunt's request that he arrange for their house to have electricity, so he paid the electric company to run copper from the valley all the way up to the top of the mountain on which he lived --- and immediately after that, all the land along that lonely mountain road was bought up by people who promptly hooked into the wire which he had paid for --- didn't get a kickback from the electric company or anything (it wasn't even a co-operative unfortunately), just lots of neighbors which he didn't really want.

William

Re:Electricity isn't a right in the USA (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430652)

I certainly wouldn't mind being able to google "DIY safe running water" if I had none.

We should have listened to this wisdom (4, Funny)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430458)

If electricity hadn't become ubiquitous, we'd have a lot less carbon being emitted today from power plants.

Re:We should have listened to this wisdom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30430512)

Not really, we would have run out of fuel 20 years ago and the Iraq thing would have been something worldwide.

Re:We should have listened to this wisdom (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430544)

The CO2's a side-effect of energy production, which is a consequence of our energy consumption. Remove electricity, and you impose a bottleneck on our ability to consume, and as with other energy-rationing measures, you reduce CO2 output at the cost of giving up your way of life. Choose wisely!

Re:We should have listened to this wisdom (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430818)

The CO2's a side-effect of energy production, which is a consequence of our energy consumption. Remove electricity, and you impose a bottleneck on our ability to consume, and as with other energy-rationing measures, you reduce CO2 output at the cost of giving up your way of life.

Note the original poster didn't say "less carbon emitted" but "less carbon emitted from power plants".

In the third world, without big plants and universal distribution systems, they have stinking polluting noisy small generators everywhere... Overall, much more pollution.

Re:We should have listened to this wisdom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30430566)

Wow...being modded "insightful" when going for "funny" sure is a bitch, isn't it.

Re:We should have listened to this wisdom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30430778)

And, we wouldn't have to have this stupid debate either!

Such a strained argument is hardly necessary (5, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430474)

You need not go back to electricity; phones will do. We have already decided that communications are something we need to deliver to everyone, and the internet is the new communications medium.

Arguably, the government should stop promoting television and radio, and should put the effort into figuring out how to make the emergency notification network work on the internet... railroading connections and returning "DISASTER IN PROGRESS" errors, whatever. Then we could [eventually] reclaim all spectrum used by broadcast media for a more noble use: bidirectional communications permitting collaboration between humans. It's not like the shitty ol' push media can't be distributed via internet.

Re:Such a strained argument is hardly necessary (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430548)

Except you'll get all your internet traffic hijacked every time a little blonde girl goes missing, or when $Celebrity farts, or when $Escort speaks up to say she and Tiger did the dirty, because to most idiots, those are emergencies that EVERYONE needs to know about RIGHT AWAY.

And what happens when you're trying to get to a site hosted elsewhere, but the country controlling the lines has one of those emergencies?

Re:Such a strained argument is hardly necessary (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430892)

Oh God! Don't leave us like this!

Which $Celebrity?

Re:Such a strained argument is hardly necessary (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430596)

Surely broadcasting technology (one sender, many receivers) like TV and radio is inherently better suited to one-way communication, and the Internet, due to its point-to-point nature, is inherently much more flexible and able to do the whole collaboration thing though?

Suddenly, everything is a right (4, Insightful)

KalvinB (205500) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430484)

Electricity is not a right. It will get cut off if you don't pay the bill.

If electricity is a right like free speech then at some point maybe we'll get to cut off free speech because it's a right just like electricity. Forget to pay your free speech bill and off it goes.

We have inalienable rights endowed by a creator. In other words, not given to us by men and as such cannot be taken away by men.

We must be pretty well off in this country when we can start calling commodities and the inventions of men "rights."

"Materialism" is not a right. You do not have a right to stuff. Free speech, the right to bear arms, a common trait of all things that are actually rights is that they do not cost money. They are intangible.

You do not have a right to tangible things. They cost money. All you can do is help lower costs so you can afford them.

Re:Suddenly, everything is a right (5, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430612)

"Right of access" is the issue here. There were communities who would've paid for electricity if the power company had been willing to run a line to them, much like there were people who would've paid for sewerage or clean water if the infrastructure had been provided, and much like there are people who would pay for internet access if the lines were laid out. They still have to pay for the service.

Re:Suddenly, everything is a right (1)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430706)

Running lines is part of the service. If it's cost-effective, someone will run a line.

Re:Suddenly, everything is a right (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430816)

Exactly the issue: does one's right to access extend to forcing them to run an unprofitable line, or having it subsidised by the taxpayer? I just wanted this to be made clear.

Thinking the same thing, electricity is not free (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430614)

I was thinking the same thing, since when did we have the "right" to electricity? As you said if you don't pay you are out.

They may really be arguing that everyone should have the opportunity to pay and buy from a state regulated agency - but didn't we learn that electricity is also better when individuals can produce their own and also sell it back to the utility? In that same way broadband is better off if everyone can compete for customers.

Sure perhaps the government can help bring broadband to truly rural areas, but the best thing they can do for broadband for the rest of us is regulate there can be no regulation - to let providers spring up where there is a need, like a single cable company that does not serve a region well.

Re:Thinking the same thing, electricity is not fre (1)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430844)

There's a difference between having a right to "access" a service and having a right to a "free service". It's not the same thing at all. Any properly-zoned residential area must have electricity and running water. If you don't want to pay for them, you won't get them, but they must be *available*.

It's the same argument with broadband going around. We propose that everyone has access to a fast, affordable high-speed internet connection. No one here (other than detractors using logical fallacies to present strawman arguments) is saying that everyone should have free access to broadband internet.

What people like you also don't seem to understand about capitalism, is that it's a chaotic system with a very powerful strange attractor: monopoly. Left by themselves, our economic system will tend toward monopolies which is definitely NOT a good thing to have if it's not controlled by the public in case of a basic modern requirement like internet access. Think how it would be if only the very rich had access to phones or electricity...

Re:Suddenly, everything is a right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30430650)

You're forgetting that man created God. Those inalienable rights, endowed by a creator, are like any other rights that we're talking about.

The only difference is that the religious wars over them will be between geeks instead of soldiers.

Re:Suddenly, everything is a right (4, Informative)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430698)

Electricity is not a right. It will get cut off if you don't pay the bill.
We must be pretty well off in this country when we can start calling commodities and the inventions of men "rights."

You may have not thought to consider what We gave the power companies. The People, in granting right-of-ways and providing a limited monopoly for the product gave up some of their tangible wealth in the form of unencumbered land and pseudotangible rights in the form of our right to associate with a different company.

The trade-off for ceding these collective assets/rights is something that we negotiated in the form of universal access.

Re:Suddenly, everything is a right (4, Insightful)

Shawn Parr (712602) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430754)

"Materialism" is not a right. You do not have a right to stuff. Free speech, the right to bear arms, a common trait of all things that are actually rights is that they do not cost money. They are intangible.

You do not have a right to tangible things. They cost money. All you can do is help lower costs so you can afford them.

Wow, contradictory much? Arms are tangible items. I have to buy I gun one isn't guaranteed to be given to me at birth.

This is actually a great example of the 'rights' to electricity and to broadband. The right doesn't mean you will get it, it means you will be able to get it. Just like your right to bear arms doesn't mean you will at all time walk around with weapons, it means that you have the right to purchase, own, and use weapons within the law.

Re:Suddenly, everything is a right (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430770)

Freedom of Speech is a negative right - congress can't restrict it. But they're not obliged to give you a tongue if you were born without on. They don't need to give you a podium either or force private 3rd parties to do so. FoS merely prohibits the government taking unreasonable actions against you.

A freedom like (access to) electricity is more like granting monopoly rights to a company in exchange for universal service. It's not a right to free electricity, merely access to electricity. Companies often have rights of way and such things, and it wouldn't do to have them monopolize an area and then decide to service only the more profitable half but block any competors from coming in. The common good - which is in the Constitution.

Re:Suddenly, everything is a right (3, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430780)

Free speech, the right to bear arms, a common trait of all things that are actually rights is that they do not cost money. They are intangible.

You do not have a right to tangible things. They cost money. All you can do is help lower costs so you can afford them.

So I can have guns even if have no money? Hurray? Where do I collect my Beretta? I am going to call it Sweetness. You can't copyright that name, Steven Colbert!

Re:Suddenly, everything is a right (2, Informative)

Peregr1n (904456) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430782)

This is what amuses me about America. In one post, you argue without a hint of irony that a) rights are endowed by a creator, and not inventions of man; and b) you have the right to bear arms.

But more seriously, I would take exception to your argument that rights are not given by man. It is only by becoming civilised that we can share equal rights. No matter how loudly you shout about your rights, they only exist if others recognise and respect them.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has not only rights to free speech, but rights to housing, food, clothing and clean water. These are commodities. The right to express yourself politically (vote) is also critical; as is the right of equal access to public service in your country. These require a communications network. This means broadband to me. Sure, you don't have to FORCE broadband on somebody; plenty of people don't invoke their right to free speech, but are very glad they have the right should they want to. In the same way, I'm fine with the fact that my parents live in the back of beyond and don't want broadband, but I'm glad that they COULD get it if they need it.

Re:Suddenly, everything is a right (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430812)

That doesn't follow. Plenty of things are rights, but you may nevertheless lose them under certain circumstances. You have a right to freedom, but you forfeit it if you break the law in a serious manner.

Similarily, in most countries you -do- have the right to get electricity installed, typically for a standard price. Whoever runs the net in your area are typically NOT free to say: "sorry, but your house is a little too far from the neighbour, so it'd be a loss for us to install it at that price, we won't."

Yes, you can lose the right; if you fail to pay for the electricity you consume, the power can be cut. In most jurisdictions though, even this is something the electricity-company can only do under certain fairly strict rules. (no "3 days late -- you're OFF mister!")

Bah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30430836)

> We have inalienable rights endowed by a creator.

[citation needed] :P

Re:Suddenly, everything is a right (2, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430908)

Free speech, the right to bear arms, a common trait of all things that are actually rights is that they do not cost money.

Ok, I'll preface this with noting that, yes, I'm Canadian so feel free to dismiss my thoughts as those of a (as an American friend likes to joke) "tree-hugging Commie". You put free speech along side the right to bear arms as inalienable and "intangible" rights that do not cost money. The right to bear arms? Are you kidding me? You want the government to start handing out guns for free because it is a right that you were given by birth?

Look, I don't give a rats ass about the arguments for or against the right to bear arms but to imply that those rights and the right to free speech are somehow similar rights - rights that one possesses simply by the virtue of being born - is laughable.

Like I said, I'm a tree-hugging Commie so feel free to ignore, as you desire.

Re:Suddenly, everything is a right (0)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430944)

You want the government to start handing out guns for free because it is a right that you were given by birth?

It works in Switzerland.

Re:Suddenly, everything is a right (2, Insightful)

KevinIsOwn (618900) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430920)

"Materialism" is not a right. You do not have a right to stuff. Free speech, the right to bear arms, a common trait of all things that are actually rights is that they do not cost money. They are intangible.

If the common trait of all things that are actually rights is that they do not cost money, then why do you include the right to have weapons on your list? Last time I checked, they were far from free, and shouldn't be on your list at all. Furthermore, I'm going to ignore all of your god talk, because these rights were indeed invented by men. The idea of free speech is a concept dreamed up by man. It isn't tangible, so obviously man did not build it or make it, but I do not require God to have the right to free speech, life, etc.

I agree that materialism is not a right, but lumping electricity in with the right to buy stuff is a stretch. I have never seen an electric bill that doesn't include provisions for people who do not have to pay it under certain circumstances. For example, families with small children in the house, the elderly, (there are more exceptions) can request to not have their electricity cut off even if they can't pay the bill.

That example demonstrates that as a society we value electricity as something more than just a materialistic indulgence, and that's how it should be viewed. Electricity is necessary in the modern world to survive, and if we value some other rights such as the right to continue living, it is easy to extend a right to electricity to certain people in dire need of it to survive.

To bring this back onto the topic of broadband, in many ways it should be viewed as a right, but not in that everyone deserves to have access to it in their home. Internet access is an important and enriching aspect of our lives, and denying it to someone just because they are poor will simply create a knowledge gap between those who can afford internet and those who can't. But, as I said earlier, this doesn't mean everyone necessarily has a right to free internet in their home. We can satisfy the right to free internet by providing access in public libraries and schools, and ensuring that all communities and people have access to these resources.

Ultimately my argument comes down to one of a right to knowledge. Whether it is from books, classrooms, or the internet, this is an undeniable human right. And if the internet is the primary way to gain knowledge in our times, then we should ensure that people have access to it.

Re:Suddenly, everything is a right (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430926)

You can have a right to something, and still pay for it.

Example:

the right to bear arms

You have the right to bear arms. You don't have the right to free arms, but you do have the implicit right to buy arms, or the right to bear them would be denied. Just like you can have the right to have electricity (or internet) served to your house at a reasonable price, which was what the Finnish have done. It's exactly the same thing.

We have inalienable rights endowed by a creator. In other words, not given to us by men and as such cannot be taken away by men.

In your opinion.

It will happen (1)

gwn (594936) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430498)

because it provides a far more intelligent and useful way to interact and be part of society. However, it will more likely happen because it will give those folks who want to control us a better way to do just that. Of course as long as you can turn the devices off then you have some control.

Same arguments have been made about many things (2, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430522)

Advocates for public education once had to deal with basically the same arguments. And, it's certainly true that a free basic education is not a necessity in the same way that food, water, and shelter are--but very few today would dispute that it's a necessity in the sense that, without it, an individual is at a serious disadvantage in life. It's the same with the internet. Sure, you don't NEED it, but it's going to be very hard to live a normal life in an industrialized country in the future WITHOUT at least basic access to it.

So while we're comparing internet to electricity (3, Interesting)

Nautical Insanity (1190003) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430526)

let's compare when we threw money at corporations to upgrade our infrastructure to when we did it ourselves. [wikipedia.org]

The Internet is different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30430598)

Internet access gives people freedom of information and freedom of speech.

You don't want criminals to have freedom of speech, you know. What if one of those child molesters spoke to your children!

If everybody is given an Internet, our next generation will all become pirates and move to Somali!

Think of the children!

Thank god broadband at least won't fry an elefant (1)

yogibaer (757010) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430606)

Like Edison did in 1903 to prove that alternating current was a bad idea (http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/01/dayintech_0104) So we more enlightened folks can stick to posters and foul language...

"Right" is the wrong term. (4, Interesting)

Fished (574624) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430620)

Part of the problem here is that the language of "right" doesn't really capture what we ought to be capturing here. Webster's defines a right as "something to which one has a just claim." And that is the right way to look at things like employment discrimination, etc.

But when we start talking about universal access to services like broadband, healthcare, electric, I think it's much better to speak of it in terms of what's best for society. Simply put, our society as a whole is better off with a healthy work-force. Businesses will have more predictable costs, and the playing field between large and small companies, as well as government, will be leveled substantially, promoting innovation. Likewise, it promotes economic development for everyone to have electricity, not to mention public health--it's no accident that regular bathing became much more popular once everyone had a water heater. And, in a democracy, isn't the publics access to information equally vital? Isn't the ability for all members of society to communicate on a somewhat equal footing a useful social function? In other words, let's not talk about this as a moral question, but as a pragmatic one.

High speed Internet is infrastructure. Maybe it's not a "right". But if you don't have it available to all of our population and all of your competitors do, then watch out!

Birthright ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30430708)

I think sex is a birth-right too. Where are my willing, attractive and faithful women?

(I think "pick two out of three" applies here too.)

Maybe the telco's are right. (3, Interesting)

FriendlyPrimate (461389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430912)

The libertarian side of me says that maybe providing broadband to all isn't necessarily a good thing. Likewise, maybe providing electricity to all back in 1900 wasn't necessarily good either. In the end, we didn't just provide poor people in the country with power. Instead, we provided an incentive for people to move out into the country, leading to sprawl, demand for more roads, foreign dependence on oil, etc... From a pure efficiency point-of-view, living in the city is much more efficient than living in the country. So providing all these services to the country leads to a very inefficient system. One of the reasons why infrastructure in cities is falling apart is because we use all of our resources building infrastructure out to every rural corner of the country, when really we should be concentrating on putting our resources where it affects the most people...in the cities.

Just let the government take over everything (1, Troll)

tomhath (637240) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430916)

Of course broadband should be owned/operated by the government. And electricity, along with other sources of energy like oil and natural gas. Without question health care should be owned and run by the government. Food production too, we need to nationalize all farms and agribusiness companies immediately. Other natural resources like forests and minerals obviously belong to The People so the government should take them over. And you can't trust things as important as banking, insurance, journalism, or manufacturing to private industry. Did I forget anything? Oh yea, porn, the government also has to provide that according to our needs.

Thing is, it wasn't necessary. (1)

daemonenwind (178848) | more than 4 years ago | (#30430962)

This was 1900, people.

Electricity was limited in its uses to lighting and some minor household gadgets.

People mostly heated their homes with wood, coal, or some petroleum product. Usually coal.

Today, no, it would be unthinkable to not have electricity. But that's mostly because people rely on it for heat, hot water and cooking. (modern furnances almost never have a pilot light). But back then it was a nicety. Much like broadband is today.

Which isn't to say there isn't a place for municipal broadband. I consider an internet connection, today, to be as important as a library.

However, we're getting to used to the notion that things are rights. Here's a simple test: if you can buy it, it's not a right.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?