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FCC Wants More Time To Craft Broadband Plan

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the we'll-be-right-with-you dept.

The Internet 140

adeelarshad82 writes "Julius Genachowski, Federal Communications Commission Chairman, has sent out a letter to Congress requesting more time for the commission to deliver its national broadband plan. According to the stimulus bill passed in early 2009, the FCC was to come up with a plan to provide all citizens with access to broadband services and deliver it to the committee by February 17, 2010. Even though an outline of the plan was released last month, FCC is requesting till March 17, 2010 to finalize the plan."

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I want more time to craft a big fat dump! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30690212)

...but I'm running late and I have to get to work :-(

Why they need the time (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30690228)

The FCC is still using a 56k modem and it will take them a month to upload the plan.

Re:Why they need the time (1)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690286)

They are still working on the back doors.

No they hit there download / upload cap and need t (5, Funny)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690504)

No they hit there download / upload cap and need to wait for next month.

Re:Why they need the time (2, Interesting)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30691894)

I think they should just create a policy that says you can only refer to internet connections slower than 10Mbps as "dial up" or "Low-Speed Broadband" with those words no less prominently displayed than any other text in any advertising. Then regularly, every 5 years, re-evaluate the "minimum" level for this distinction.

Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690242)

It's a lot easier to come up with a plan to serve 99.9+% of the population than 100%.

If 300,000 Americans can't get broadband due to location, those 300,000 people are probably also lacking access to other very important things like emergency rooms and the like.

300,000 is too many to be without Internet, maybe 3,000 or 3,000 is more acceptable.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (3, Funny)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690262)

This is the government. They will start shooting for 100%, budget cuts will cut it to 85%, lobbyists will cut it to 80%, and by the end of the program only 65% will be helped.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (1)

Meshach (578918) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690312)

This is the government. They will start shooting for 100%, budget cuts will cut it to 85%, lobbyists will cut it to 80%, and by the end of the program only 65% will be helped.

And then 10% will not qualify because of some technicality.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (1)

rastilin (752802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690316)

It's funny because it's true.

I think it IS possible to get 100%. Go with a plan that helps 99.9% and then have a location-independent plan, something like a portable satellite modem, subsidized by the state, for the remainder. Some people do live in exceptionally remote areas; if the state has problems supplying you with electricity, internet will also prove to be problematic.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (4, Insightful)

Burdell (228580) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690336)

Why should the government subsidize Internet access for somebody that lives an an "exceptionally remote area"? When I bought my house, I checked first to make sure the Internet access I wanted was available. If you choose to live in an area that doesn't have certain services available, why should you be able to demand taxpayers provide it to you later?

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30690356)

because paying people to occupied remote territory is cheaper than setting up a military patrol

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (1)

rastilin (752802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690400)

because paying people to occupied remote territory is cheaper than setting up a military patrol

That too, especially if they're farming or something. The issue isn't completely academic either, I remember friends discussing problems our government has had with actual bandits in the more remote areas. Simply because there was too much empty space to keep track of them until the army could arrive. I also remember them saying the army dealt with that problem.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690536)

...But if no one is living there, do the "crimes" committed there really harm anyone? Really, if someone was, say, 5 miles from anyone and it was all their own property and they got high, publicly drunk, did every type of drug imaginable, discharged low-power rifles with a range of less than 5 miles, set off fireworks, played music cursing at a very high volume, and did just about every type of crime able to be committed in that time, would it harm anyone other than themselves? No.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (3, Insightful)

rastilin (752802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690770)

...But if no one is living there, do the "crimes" committed there really harm anyone? Really, if someone was, say, 5 miles from anyone and it was all their own property and they got high, publicly drunk, did every type of drug imaginable, discharged low-power rifles with a range of less than 5 miles, set off fireworks, played music cursing at a very high volume, and did just about every type of crime able to be committed in that time, would it harm anyone other than themselves? No.

Slave Trading, Drug Smuggling, Drug Manufacture, Terrorist Training Facilities, Anti-Government Organization Headquarters; these are actual examples of things going on in otherwise developed countries that can't patrol their entire area.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (1)

rastilin (752802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690360)

Well I'd say that it depends on the degree of remoteness. I live in Australia, and most of it is pretty empty. People live pretty close to the center anyway and not necessarily in towns or villages. I mean by themselves. The government makes an effort to help them anyway.

If you've bought a house halfway up a mountain, it would probably cost several million to run a line up to your place. But compared to the cost of debating the issue endlessly in court and the news, satellite internet is cheaper.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (4, Insightful)

Narpak (961733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30691036)

And, as far as I am given to understand, one reason for this initiative is because of problems such as when The City of Wilson [wikipedia.org] , North Carolina, decided it was tired of the large ISP denying them broadband access and took matters into their own hands; creating Greenlight [greenlightnc.com] .
As debated in this slashdot thread. [slashdot.org]

The good people of Wilson, NC pay $99/month for 10/10 Mbps internet service, 81 TV channels and telephone service. How'd they manage that, you ask? Well, the city-owned and operated cable service called Greenlight came into being when the City of Wilson approached TWC and local DSL provider Embarq and requested faster service for the area. 'TWC refused the request. And so Greenlight was born,' says blogger Peter Smith. 'Now Time Warner Cable and Embarq are upset that they've got competition, and rather than try to go head to head with Greenlight on price and service, they've instead been lobbying the state government of NC to pass laws to put Greenlight out of business.

As I have read about this case local businesses and private citizens lobbied and organized and eventually got the project financed by the issuing of bonds. Quote from their FAQ "The funds for constructing the fiber network come from bonds issued by the City of Wilson. Tax revenues are not being used to fund this project in any way."

With large ISP's fighting local democracy I can understand why public pressure for better broadband infrastructure arises.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30691170)

Bonds issued by the city leave the tax payer responsible.

Some small ISP's don't have the monies to upgrade their entire infrastructure, while a city can just charge it to the future (bonds against itself).

I am not coming down on one side or the other here, i haven't seen the financial plan. I am just saying that if it isn't profitable for whatever reason, taxes WILL have to be used to pay off the city bonds.

Public actitivities need to break even, not profit (1)

emes (240193) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692724)

Unfortunately, due to the corruption of the public sense and understanding by an MBA-dominated concept of service, many people are under the misunderstanding that the fiscal goal of public service or nonprofit organizations is to fiscally produce excess revenue over expenses, otherwise known as profit. The pre-MBA-dominated understanding of the fiscal goal of public service and nonprofit organizations is that they are to produce the maximum utilization by the public of their programs and services at a balanced budget where revenue and expenses are equal.

Why do we let idiots with MBA degrees tell people in government and public service how to manage their finances and operations using fiscal principles that don't apply?

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (2, Funny)

jimmy_dean (463322) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693716)

"With large ISP's fighting local democracy I can understand why public pressure for better broadband infrastructure arises."

You meant fighting local socialism.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (1)

bsane (148894) | more than 4 years ago | (#30694106)

Satellite internet isn't broadband.

Its a marginal upgrade from 56k for _some_ downloads. You can't stream, voip or game, and browsing is generally better over a modem.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (2, Insightful)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690444)

Right on! And all those major cities that can't supply their own food, water, power and waste management locally shouldn't see one dime from anyone outside of the city nor should they get any sort of discounts or subsidies!

Just because something doesn't benefit you directly doesn't mean that it isn't benefitting society as a whole.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30690582)

These places do pay for it. Kinda dumb about how the system works, aren't you?

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690988)

These places do pay for it. Kinda dumb about how the system works, aren't you?

As the poster you are trying to bash already refereed to, agriculture (most notably corn production) is subsidised, and heavily so, by the federal government. In other words taxes ensures large quantities of cheap corn, which is used for a wide range of products, and that, at least compared to decades before this program was instigated, food is relatively affordable and available.

So while "these places do pay for it" the reason they can, and at the price they do, is because of taxes and government subsidies. Probably there are other goods and services that benefit from state or federal discounts and subsidies.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (1)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690446)

To some extent, I agree with you. I do the same thing when choosing where to live. However, I also understand that getting remote areas beyond 20k dial-up (I know 10 people that have that right now), also helps me. They don't need 10mb even, just getting .5mb to 1mb allows a lot of basic service to happen. That saves me from driving to help work on a computer in a remote area, it gives me access to VPN when I'm on vacation in a remote area, etc...

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30690458)

It's not necisarilly the guys in the remote locations asking remember, it's all the freeloaders that believe the US government is there to feed them McChickens and change the babies diapers.

Now GET OFF MY LAWN

I agree (5, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690476)

I agree, it's a rip. And why should the government provide subsidized access to provide much cheaper food, water delivery, electricity delivery and natural gas deliveries to those remote densely packed areas where none of those valuable resources occur naturally in the quantities those densely packed areas demand and use now? Why should they be allowed to "vote" to take from other people far away in the rural areas, or to use any public tax monies collected to help provide these goods and services?

    Should go to a pure profit, supply and demand based model, no government interference? All private roads, no more government mandated free "right of ways" for pipelines or electrical towers. Let private corporations negotiate with each individual landowner for transit fees and access fees, etc. If they want to move products to these "broadband rich" densely populated areas, those people there should also pay what it is really worth. Then all of our goods and services will be more fairly priced.

Works both ways, man, so do you want that trade? That's what you indicate you want, so are you willing to pay the real free market no government interference/ no tax payer ripoff price of your existence, or do you want to keep the government tax payer help in setting some "commons" that you get now?

Re:I agree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30690600)

That has got to be the worst argument imaginable. 3000 people not having internet is a lot less of a concern than, say, 250,000,000 not having "cheaper food, water delivery, electricity delivery and natural gas deliveries." Yes, it works both ways, but this way you just sound like an ignorant asshole.

ha! (3, Interesting)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30695848)

You just don't like it when your little insular urban centric "oh so superior" bubble gets burst. You exist at cheap affordable rates for basic life necessities in the larger cities from the government using a LOT of eminent domain seizures and mandated "right of ways" and massive centralized infrastructure building using tax payer dollars over the generations and regulations to keep your costs down. And the government seems to not pay much to the actual rural owners for this transit action, as in zero. Pure taking.

    I bet you've never even thought before about how much your life is economically stealth subsidized because of that. Just imagine if all that "commons" action was gone and it was all private, your big city "wall street rules". All private roads, people charging whatever the market would bear, to get food to you..heh. Electric delivery companies having to negotiate transit fees. heh. Municipal water service and pipelines just taking water from the rural areas when this would be private water, where they could charge a sales fee per gallon before it even entered the pipeline, and then have to keep adding to the fees as the pipeline crossed a lot of private land and boundaries, heh. Tons of examples there.

You have no idea *at all* how cheap you have it from that "commons" and subsidized access. Just go back in US history and look what urban costs were before commons access. Every step of the way as the commons developed, starting with such things as the "post roads", your costs for food water and energy have dropped radically as a percentage of your income, and your comfort quality of life has gone up. But now that we would like a little more modern commons access to better communications, wow, what a reaction! See it all the time here. "Oh noes, string some better copper on already existing poles, OMGWTFBBQ, break the bank, we can't afford it, wah, no subsidies, how dare those people want modern communications, as if their chintzy water and food and power is so valuable!!"

Re:I agree (1)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692154)

Well, given the dramatic amounts of money that the government currently transfers from cities to remote areas, I'm not sure you'll like the outcome.

Cities pay for themselves, and then some.

Rural areas are a financial drain. Nevertheless we put up with them for sentimental reasons (and of course because the original compromise of the Senate gives them dramatically more legislating power per capita).

Re:I agree (1)

True Grit (739797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692836)

Cities pay for themselves, and then some.

Because of the higher population (more people == more taxes), sure, but can they *feed* themselves? Didn't think so.

Re:I agree (1)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693526)

They feed themselves by giving the country folk far more money than the country folk would be receiving in a system without massive subsidies.

debateable (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30695174)

Go to a system like I outlined, all private, a for-profit model, and see what your food and water and electricity and natural gas would cost. Government intervention and the creation of a commons for centralized delivery systems keep your prices really low in the cities. The rural areas would easily be able to afford a lot more things than just cheap broadband under that model. Just your water bill in some large cities would shoot through the roof, let alone all the other stuff.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690532)

Because too many people have a sense of entitlement. Just because they are taxpayers doesn't mean they deserve to have services available to them.

We're too busy paying for Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security to worry about making the rest of America happy.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30691822)

"Just because they are taxpayers doesn't mean they deserve to have services available to them."

I'm sorry, what? What the fuck do you think your taxes pay for, you dipshit? They pay for services. Roads, police, fire, etc. If people don't get these services then they shouldn't have to pay taxes. Of course these people have a sense of entitlement, they're paying the government money and they expect something back.

Contrary to popular belief, taxes do not exist simply to take away your money and leave you poor, they are what the government uses to help its citizens. You seem to be proposing that people should pay taxes and receive no benefit. I don't know what political system that is. It's not being conservative, it's not being liberal, it's not even communism, because in each one of these systems you either pay nothing to the government or you do receive a benefit.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692620)

"Roads, police, fire, etc. If people don't get these services then they shouldn't have to pay taxes."

Look, you seem like a reasonably bright fellow, I would hope my comment's opinion was clear enough but apparently it wasn't. What you're telling me is that the money I have paid in taxes has paid for roads, police, fire, etc. Maybe the "etc." is to mean education, health care, retirement, employment, unemployment, food, housing, transportation, commerce, technology, security, recreation, news, entertainment, religion, and (I'll throw it in as well, since it seems to make certain points that much more comprehensive) etc.

When does enough become enough? Last I saw the government pays ~40% of the federal budget to two programs (ok, three), Medicare/Medicaid, and Social Security. Throw in another ~35% for welfare and defense and you've got 3/4 of the budget marked for those programs alone. Think of all the people you have ever met in your life. Now pretend that every person in the country gave each other 15% of their earnings. Do you think We would have problems paying for our own groceries, rent, and prescriptions with all that extra cash?

OH! Wait!!! If we did that then a lot of people would actually lose money you say? Of course they would. If their 15% was larger than the mean 15% it's a bad deal. Is that fair? Sounds like forced charity, wealth redistribution, whatever... Which is why our method doesn't do that.

Instead we simply hand our money over to the government for "necessary" things. What are we, serfs? The ideal of our country is nearly gone. We have allowed others to do too much of our thinking. It's sad, but apparently, it's just the way we want it.

300 billion ALREADY spent for nothing (2, Informative)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690922)

The telcos have already been subsidized via tarrifs and tax breaks to the tune of 300 billion. The FCC has some control over what the telcos charge, even if they are a legislated monopoly. In exchange the telcos were supposed to rewire most of the country. This wasn't just large cities, this was rural, suburban and city. This used to be called the 200 billion broadband scandal. It's now up to 300 billion [newnetworks.com] .

This is a good read, a free ebook. The authors even sat on the FCC board. This is well worth sending an email to your congress critter. Sure most don't care or are in the pockets of lobbyists, but it can't hurt. (For example my rep Upton was the chair of the subcomittee on telecommunications. Biggest political donors were all telephone companies which he backed on everything - go figure)

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30691668)

Same reason the Feds subsidized the telephone in the 30's to the rural areas. Expansion, Security and farmers need porn too.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (2, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692384)

If you choose to live in an area that doesn't have certain services available, why should you be able to demand taxpayers provide it to you later?

It should be obvious: not everyone decides where they live, and those that do often have much more complicated factors than "will I have broadband." Farmer Bob's son may want to take online classes so he can do something besides farming, or even if he does, some business, ag, veterinary, or numerous other classes might help. Maybe there isn't a physical college for miles. Participating in online video conferences for classes would be something that you'd want broadband for. Downloading the video lectures on dialup might tie up the phone lines for a day.

Hell, it would be worth it in my book if those poor kids were able to get online gaming. I'd shoot myself if I had to live on a farm 3 hours from any real civilization and I wasn't able to game.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (1)

Jewfro_Macabbi (1000217) | more than 4 years ago | (#30694428)

I know right. These rural dwellers even demand access to public roads and electricity... The chutzpah! But seriously did it occur to you those of us residing in rural areas pay taxes also...

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (1)

mordred99 (895063) | more than 4 years ago | (#30695244)

Define "exceptionally remote". Do you mean someplace you cannot get a phone line to? My parents live on an island, in Michigan. They have a phone, they are within a few hundred yards of the CO, but cannot get broadband because they say it costs too much for them. According to AT&T they are "exceptionally remote". At the end of the day, they are going to have to define all this or it becomes bunk.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (2, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#30691324)

Please don't act like it is just those up on a mountain that can't get broadband. My mom is less than 3 minutes away from a town of 15,000, and can see both the cable and DSL junctions from her back door. Will they run it the block and a half to their house? Nope! In fact here in AR there are plenty of towns where the cable nor the DSL has not moved a single inch in close to a quarter century. Why? Because both Cox and AT&T has "cherry picked" all the nice neighborhoods and refuse to give a shit about anyone else, that's why. The black section of town? No cable, really shitty DSL. The lower end housing districts? No cable, no DSL.

So PLEASE don't act like it is just some poor bastard on a mountain in Montana that can't get broadband. Thanks to the duopolies and cherry picking last time I lived there there was parts of downtown Nashville that had no cable or DSL! The duopolies and allowing them to list a zip code as "covered" even if they only offer it to a single house have left many that are not in large cities with nothing but the short end of the stick. Came down to the south sometime, and see how many decently sized towns have jack squat thanks to the duopolies not caring past cherry picking.

We are gonna have to take back the last mile and open it up to competition if things are ever gonna change. Want a monopoly? We will give you x number of years in any area you run fiber to the neighborhood to, and will add x years for adding fiber to the door. After all we already paid [saschameinrath.com] for nationwide broadband once already, and all we got for that was the finger. Either they pay us back with interest or we take the whole thing. Otherwise I predict this will be another taxpayer handout to the megacorps, who will blow smoke and then not do jack shit.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30692100)

I'm just hoping that some LTE based system (T-Mobile/Verizon/AT&T), or Clear's WiMax (Sprint/Google) is able to give people who don't have the option for DSL some type of Internet bandwidth.

Only problem is that LTE is still not deployed anywhere but northern Europe, and Clear's service is only in some large cities as of now.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690468)

They want to wait more because in a few months there won't enough free IPv4 addresses left to give every citizen an IP address, then they'll have to wait for IPv6 before rolling out.

Re:Don't shoot for all, shoot for 3+ nines (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692084)

The reality here is the lobbyists will be trying to cut back competition and open access regulations to zero. The biggest problem for the FCC is the very same marketdroids that came up with death panels et al for public option health insurance will be attacking anything the FCC puts forward in order to maintain monopolies, duopolies or cartels.

In this case the incumbents and the lobbyists will be fighting for zero percent helped.

Don't forget the John McCain double speak Internet Freedom bill written for the incumbents by lobbyists and, to be paid for by average taxpayer. If you don't think the FCC is sweating over every possible point of attack, every conceivable distortion and defences against the most ludicrous out and out lies, you are unfortunately mistaken.

You know a month isnt that much time (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690304)

A month isnt that much time based on the subject matter. This is something that may stay around for as long as 50 years, so please take your time, and for fuck sake get it right.

Re:You know a month isnt that much time (2, Insightful)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690348)

You assume that there is some theoretical amount of time that will allow a government agency to "get it right". IMHO, the more time a government agency has to complete a task, the worse the result will be.

Re:You know a month isnt that much time (1)

castironpigeon (1056188) | more than 4 years ago | (#30694254)

You assume they actually plan on having something to show for their efforts besides a new high score in Minesweeper. Getting a one month extension makes it easier to get another month extension later and before you know it, it's time to pass the buck to the next administration.

My two cents (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690330)

Define broadband. Would one mbps down be sufficient enough?

Is their goal simply to make sure people have adequate bandwidth to reasonably surf the Internet? Not necessarily streaming TV shows, but perhaps when it comes to news clips (with a bit of buffering).

Also, VoIP comes to mind, but I'm unsure what my opinion is on that.

Re:My two cents (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690442)

They're currently working on defining it. They'll have the definition in a month.
Then they'll start working on the actual plan...

No doubt the definition will be whatever they can reasonably accomplish in the timeframe. If they can find a way to get 50Mbit to every single person, 30 will be the definition of broadband. More than likely, though, the definition will be something like 256k (5x dialup) just because it's "easier" to get that to everyone than an actual reasonable amount (like 2Mbit).

Re:My two cents (2, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30691814)

Read the Telecomunications act of 1996, and lo and behold, we're supposed to have had 45mbit symmetrical to every household already.

They have not delivered, I say the people should sue for failing to provide contractual obligations in a timely manner, and we file a lien on their entire infrastructure and provide everyone with free service until they deliver on their obligations?

Re:My two cents (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 4 years ago | (#30691954)

No, more likely it will be something not even close to that because it will be written by the telcos themselves. Their lobbyists draft legislation, hand it to a congressman, pay them fuckloads of money in legal bribes and all of a sudden you'll see documents stating that "broadband" is actually physically impossible to run to some areas and thus compliance with the law is "optional".

Re:My two cents (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30691946)

You can't define "Broadband" because they will advertise "Hi-Speed" or "Ludicrous Speed" internet... you need to define a term that anything slower than X should be called. I would suggest that any internet connections of less than 10 Mbps be referred to as "Low-Speed Broadband" or "Dial-Up Internet" and that those expressions must be in a font and size that matches any prominent text in the advertising. And that the minimum be reviewed (and can only go up) every 3-5 years.

Simplify (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690358)

With something this big why does it have to be such a concrete deadline. Couldn't they work it out into phases and release the phases. Its not like the town plan will benefit if their trunk has to be reworked.

Re:Simplify (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690378)

Because it's just a deadline for creating the plan. The plan itself might take many years or possibly decades to fully implement. The reason for the deadline is so that they can start in the foreseeable future rather than continuously crafting the plan. The congress was wanting the beginning of the implementation to help pull us out of the recession. Hopefully with the bonus of making the country more competitive in the long run.

Power and Frequency != INTERNET (1)

myspace-cn (1094627) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690370)

The reason it's taking so long is because the FCC is supposed to regulate power and frequency, not the INTERNET. So this will be a whole new bonanza to exploit. Oh and while your here, please make a note the FCC's original mission statement is missing. Could it be because they failed and the "public spectrum" is now "corporate owned?"

Re:Power and Frequency != INTERNET (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690414)

Could it be because they failed and the "public spectrum" is now "corporate owned?"

Failed to fulfil their stated purpose.. yes; failed to reward entities that have close ties to them.. no. There's only one outcome that should have been expected from auctioning off large chunks of bandwidth: whoever had the most cash wins and that's exactly what happened.

Re:Power and Frequency != INTERNET (1)

Jeian (409916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693290)

The reason it's taking so long is because the FCC is supposed to regulate power and frequency, not the INTERNET.

"For the purpose of regulating interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire and radio so as to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, a rapid, efficient, Nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges, for the purpose of the national defense, for the purpose of promoting safety of life and property through the use of wire and radio communications, and for the purpose of securing a more effective execution of this policy by centralizing authority heretofore granted by law to several agencies and by granting additional authority with respect to interstate and foreign commerce in wire and radio communication, there is created a commission to be known as the 'Federal Communications Commission', which shall be constituted as hereinafter provided, and which shall execute and enforce the provisions of this chapter." - 47 U.S.C. 151

Re:Power and Frequency != INTERNET (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30694562)

Ooh, I need to save this quote for later use. Or just the USC number and chapter.

What can they actually do? (2, Insightful)

Seor Jojoba (519752) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690398)

I'm asking this seriously, not rhetorically.

They have a budget of $7.2 billion for grants. It seems like they could wi-max a bunch of major cities, but not the whole US. Or maybe they just want to make the internet "affordable"--not necessarily free. Subsidize people's ISP service? Ugh. I don't want to pay for my neighbor to download Zombie Strippers off the internet.

I do like the emphasis on making things competitive. There are a lot of us that have just one practical choice for broadband, either the phone or cable company. And then there is maybe some not-really-high-speed 3G/GPRS solution available. But without knowing details, I don't see how they encourage competition when there is a monopoly on wired or wireless access.

Seriously, what useful thing can the FCC do here?

Here is my plan: Make sure all the schools and libraries have got broadband-equipped computers to match demand. Let people that can't afford home internet ride the bus down to the library or stay after school. This is probably 90% covered already. It's too boring and unambitious of a plan to be very interesting, but it would do just fine. You'd have plenty of change left over from that $7.2 billion--go stimulate something else more useful with it, i.e. education, mass transit. We don't need to make sure every person is connected to a high-speed multimedia wonderland all the time for free. The emphasis should be on education and basic needs like typing up resumes, checking your e-mail, etc.

Re:What can they actually do? (2, Interesting)

neokushan (932374) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690472)

Maybe I'm living in the clouds, but if I was the FCC, I'd build a massive fibre network then lease some of the connections wholesale to ISPs. Anyone with enough money can lease some connections/bandwidth and sell it on at whatever cost they want. The FCC would run the network, the ISPs would just fight tooth and nail for customers, forcing them to focus on things like customer service and price.

Re:What can they actually do? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30691094)

We have a massive fiber network. It's mostly dark to keep up the scarcity myth. They don't have broadband in Boise. Boise is on the Oregon Trail. The packets from Finland that come to my house at 50mbps flow through a fiber that goes right through the heart of downtown Boise. The only reason there could possibly be for this is that they make more money by not making the drops available.

Re:What can they actually do? (1)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693578)

You may be interested in the model used in Singapore. One company has been granted the contract to run a government-funded fibre network that covers basically every home in the country, and all ISPs can use it on equal terms. This means no duplication of infrastructure for which there is arguably a natural monopoly, yet everyone is on the same state-of-the-art playing field. The ISPs are free to compete on backhaul, value-added services, price, and so forth.

Re:What can they actually do? (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30694606)

Unfortunately, it didn't occur to the US Government that, when subsidizing the construction of the various copper/fiber/etc... lines, to keep ownership of said lines.

Re:What can they actually do? (0, Troll)

jimmy_dean (463322) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693616)

You are living in the clouds. Since when is anything that the government controls ever actually cheap. There might be the allusion that something is cheap, but no, that just means something is subsidized by taxpayer money and then labeled as "low-cost" or "free". Clearly nothing paid for by taxpayer money is either of these things and it only serves to hide the true and important price information necessary to truly drive down costs.

Re:What can they actually do? (2, Interesting)

rastilin (752802) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690488)

No one likes subsidizing "Zombie Strippers". But people don't like using library computers either, it's unpleasant and a hassle; which is the opposite of letting people have easy access to information. Also, there are things you can't look up while other people are around, politics, sex-ed, Iranian marches, etc... You can't do your banking, and it's embarrasing to talk to family and close acquaintances while on a big screen that everyone can see. Also, you can't run your own software like Linux updates, Freenet or yes, Gaming. I don't mind subsidizing people's online gaming either, it's not that expensive and people enjoy it a lot.

Having to share an internet kiosk an hour from your house isn't the same thing as having internet access when you want it. It's a pale imitation.

Re:What can they actually do? (1)

donaggie03 (769758) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690778)

To add to the problems you mention above: many libraries do not even allow some of the things you mentioned to happen on their computers. No social networking sites or instant messaging (which is how I communicate with most of my family), no streaming of anything, and no forums or chat rooms.

Re:What can they actually do? (4, Insightful)

k8to (9046) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690678)

Segment the data transport and data service industries?

A T1 is data transport. Cable is data transport. These things get bits from a to b.

TCP/IP, DNS, email, web hosting, etc etc .. these are all data services.
I'd simply declare you can't be both, or you can't be the data service if you're near-monopoly data transport, at least in that area/segment/etc.

This would foster .. competition.

It's so hard for the corporatists to grasp that regulation is often a positive economic force.

Re:What can they actually do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30690846)

Don't worry they'll just redefine "broadband" to include the high-latency, low upstream crap satellite ISPs have; and instantly every American will have broadband.

Re:What can they actually do? (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#30691214)

The #1 thing they can do is to seperate content from transport. Ban anyone from offering both internet access AND content (such as Cable TV).

Right now the Cable providers like Comcast and Warner have a vested interest in making sure people CANT get decent throughput and access to the increasing number of options for "TV" content online (legal and otherwise). Take away the conflict of interest where the cable companies deliberatly want to stop Hulu, BitTorrent, YouTube etc in order to prop up the business model of Cable (both the service and the channels) and things may improve.

Common carrier law needs to be enforced (1)

emes (240193) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692752)

It used to be that the conflict of interest was resolved by enabling those who agreed only to provide the pipe to be covered for liability by a concept known as 'common carrier'. If you were simply providing the pipe, and no content, you couldn't be held liable for what went through the pipe. Essentially through corruption and a lack of public awareness, we are not properly enforcing common carrier law through lawsuits against content providers who try to have their cake and eat it too.

Re:What can they actually do? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30691942)

Cover about 3,000,000 square miles. One WiMax AP per square mile. About $100 for the AP (they are higher now, but when you place an order for over 1,000,000, the price decreases. Put in a VSAT dish of about 1.2 meters, and the gear to run it. Steal power from the local municipality. And for under 3 billion dollars, you have the ability for broadband in all the US (I left out Alaska). If they use VSAT bandwidth that's "free" (meaning reserved for the feds), they could put up some satellites over existing blocked locations (it can cost millions just for a geostationary slot). Launch a satellite for the obscene price of $1 billion (that's way more than it would really cost, but I'm estimating everything high) and you'd have somewhere around 20kbps per person. At a 100:1 oversubscription (actually low for consumer grade satellite service) and you are at 2 Mbps per person.

So, for less than the $7.2 billion, they could cover everyone with 2 Mbps service via satellite delivered wireless. Screw paying providers to make a profit on Uncle Sam. Go direct and do the whole thing for less. And the upside is that the service is worse than terrestrial, so if you can do terrestrial, you do it and pay the private companies. It's just if there's nothing else, then the free nationwide wireless network will cover you.


I could come up with 1,000 more ideas in how to cover the US with free service for less than $7.2 billion. It's easy. The problem for the FCC is how to do it and make sure they pay private companies to do it in grossly inefficient ways so that the private companies can maintain absurd profit margins and still not provide the service they promised. But free broadband for the US for $7.2 billion? That's easy. The trick is how to spend $7.2 billion on it and still make it so that we are paying $100 a month on a 5 Mbps connection to a private company who had no costs putting in the network when they are done.

In the vein of one of your suggestions, they could wire every library and public school together with gigabit or faster connections, then have a few POPs around where they put that gigabit out over the Internet, or trade to have the schools carry Internet traffic and get their traffic carried as peers. That should cut costs for the backbone, as someone else dumped billions into the backbone, and if it doesn't cut prices, people can just go to their local library or school for gigabit speeds to the Internet.

Again, making free Internet available to all is easy, it's making sure the right people make massive profits off our tax money that's the trick.

Re:What can they actually do? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692416)

I don't want to pay for my neighbor to download Zombie Strippers off the internet

Yes you do. That website has costs. If the strippers aren't given enough -very expensive- artificial brain substitute, THEY WILL KILL US ALL.

Re:What can they actually do? (1)

fons (190526) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693614)

Here's what we have in Belgium:

- The government imposes every operator to have an affordable version of their broadband access. Mostly speed is limited to ADSL speeds of 5years ago and download caps only allow normal surfing/mailing. So most people can afford this.
- If you are unemployed or live on benefits you get this "light" broadband at cheaper prices.
- Once every few years the government will sponsor cheap PC/broadband bundles.

Off course these measures only work because every house is connected to a cable and/or ADSL network.

Government and technology... do they mix??? (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690564)

I think it's interesting to see play out how government will adapt to working with technology. The paces of the two, historically, do not match. By the time the FCC decides on standards, new standards are being developed and making their investment obsolete.

I think it's safe to say that Moore's Law and Bureaucratic Reality seem to be primed for a head-on collision. Unfortunately, I'd imagine that instead of becoming more efficient and punctual, the government will instead create artificial limitations on technological growth just so they can keep up.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30690584)

Can't wait until the same sorts of people are in charge of health care.

The internet does exist outside of the USA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30690588)

Nothing in the text of this item specifies the fact that it's related to the USA. Just saying "Federal", "Congress" or "national" doesn't imply it's American. Believe it or not folks, the internet does actually extend beyond Hawaii.

Re:The internet does exist outside of the USA. (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30694668)

Nothing in the text of this item specifies the fact that it's related to the USA. Just saying "Federal", "Congress" or "national" doesn't imply it's American. Believe it or not folks, the internet does actually extend beyond Hawaii.

While you're right the 3 words you mentioned don't, "Federal Communications Commission" or "FCC" is strictly American.

Why wait, we already know the answer (1, Troll)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690602)

It will be just like telephone and now health care. The people who want the service enough to buy it will be taxed to provide the service for people who don't care enough to buy it on their own.

Re:Why wait, we already know the answer (1)

colmore (56499) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690814)

I find this much inferior to just making things a public utility. If you want to have the government guarantee a public service, why pussyfoot around?

Re:Why wait, we already know the answer (1)

True Grit (739797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692930)

It will be just like telephone and now health care. The people who want the service enough to buy it will be taxed to provide the service for people who don't care enough to buy it

Wait, is there someplace thats getting free telephone service? Where? I wanna move there!

How typical.

Hint: the telephone subsidy is much like the expansion of the USPS back in the old days. It was not to make it free for anyone, but just to make it *available* to everyone.

And if you don't get why extending mail and telephone was considered so important, why not read some of the history of those times. A large country thats disconnected and out of touch with itself could never move beyond the 2nd-world stage... never become what we are now.

Re:Why wait, we already know the answer (1)

jimmy_dean (463322) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693650)

You're absolutely right. When will people wake up and realize that the government providing everything is no panacea. It takes from those who have some, to those who don't want to have (or some legitimately who do, but can't afford). This is evil and creates class warfare. In the meantime, we all give up more and more of our freedom and liberty all in the name of "fairness." Of course this is not fair at all, it's a manufactured wrong against the natural order.

I wonder how it will work. (1)

Vyse of Arcadia (1220278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690810)

That second link isn't exactly heavy on details. Cities and suburbs already have the infrastructure. And many semi-rural areas have cable or DSL. The rest could be covered by wimax. But what about the truly rural areas? Satellite as it is now shouldn't be considered broadband with the high lag and ridiculous bandwidth caps. (When I was on satellite it was 250 MB in a 24 hour period before dial-up like speeds were enforced for 24 hours.) Some sort of terrestrial wireless may be the only option for them too.

Where did all that spectrum they freed up from analog TV go anyway?

fiber, nothing else (1)

davygrvy (868500) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690834)

We want fiber. Shove the BPL and DSL up your a$..

Re:fiber, nothing else (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 4 years ago | (#30691424)

Fiber isn't "broadband". Of course the FCC probably defines "broadband" as any better than dialup.

Re:fiber, nothing else (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30691820)

last I checked broadband was considered anything over 256 kbit. Maybe they updated since my last check was a couple years ago.

Re:fiber, nothing else (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30691970)

Fiber isn't "broadband".

And here I thought DWDM was broadband.

Of course the FCC probably defines "broadband" as any better than dialup.

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=fcc+definition+broadband&l=1

Re:fiber, nothing else (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 4 years ago | (#30695010)

Broadband is supposed to mean across a wider frequency range. Typical fiber use is a single frequency/wavelength unless you're doing multiplexing. A modem could actually be considered broadband as is uses a spread of frequencies.

So wikipedia says broadband is better than dialup, but FCC says better than 768k. Why can't these folks simply use far more accurate term "high-speed"?

How can they do this on any timeline? (1)

swb (14022) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690874)

Doesn't serving "everyone" have daunting technical/physical challenges, if not financial ones at a minimum?

How does an extra month give you a good answer that's not completely unrealistic -- "just run fiber to everyone's house" -- and impossibly expensive?

That being said, I'm not against broadband/networking being invested in by the government, for the same reasons I'm not against the government building roads. It's a common thing we all need good, local access to. You benefit from roads, even if you don't personally drive -- it enables economic activity, enables things & people to move easily, etc. Municipal fiber infrastructure makes sense and can pay for itself.

I don't see how meeting everyone's needs can be done responsibly, though, and wouldn't want to see some of the excess paid for (eg, individual people living in remote areas requiring 10s of thouands of investment to get high speed internet access) at all.

Re:How can they do this on any timeline? (1)

jimmy_dean (463322) | more than 4 years ago | (#30693666)

Ahh, but does the government actually provide good roads? Sure, there are universal roads around America that you don't generally have to pay to use on-demand. But I think we've all gotten used to a universal crappy standard of excuses for roads. When was the last time roads were actually innovated on? Probably in the 1950s for most states.

Re:How can they do this on any timeline? (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30694742)

Ahh, but does the government actually provide good roads? Sure, there are universal roads around America that you don't generally have to pay to use on-demand. But I think we've all gotten used to a universal crappy standard of excuses for roads. When was the last time roads were actually innovated on? Probably in the 1950s for most states.

That's because the Federal govt made the mistake of having the states fund road upkeep.

I don't know about the state you live in, but the one I live in (Michigan) is required to have a balanced budget. They can't just spend fictional money like the Federal govt can.

Incidentally, road upkeep costs more in the northern states due to the freeze/thaw cycle and its effect on roads.

It's Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30690896)

You want an all encompassing plan, it's easy. Simply require all telecommunication companies be required to keep the promises they made in the 90's. It shouldn't cost the government anything, the telecommunication companies have already been paid for this.

What;'s next, Ponies? (1)

swb (14022) | more than 4 years ago | (#30690920)

After we first make sure that everyone has access to broadband, we can give them computers to use on it. Then software.

After a while, we can make sure everyone has a pony, too.

How many people want broadband that can't get it now? Move or pay the price. No one should pay so you can live in stumblefuck and get the benefits of urban living. Sorry, I'm not buying you a pony.

Yes, many places are stuck with shitty providers and no choice. That's a different issue, and I'd like to see something done about that.

Re:What;'s next, Ponies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30692108)

I hope you get all the food, water, wood and other resources from the urban environment.

Fuck off when trying to make me pay taxes too.

Re:What;'s next, Ponies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30692190)

A number of years ago, I'm sure the same things could have been said about sewage, running water, natural gas, and electricity.

Re:What;'s next, Ponies? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692432)

After we first make sure that everyone has access to broadband, we can give them computers to use on it. Then software.

After a while, we can make sure everyone has a pony, too.

No matter where you live you have a choice in computers, software, and...er... ponies, to fit your budget. The same is not true of broadband.

Re:What;'s next, Ponies? (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 4 years ago | (#30694888)

After we first make sure that everyone has access to broadband, we can give them computers to use on it. Then software.

After a while, we can make sure everyone has a pony, too.

How many people want broadband that can't get it now? Move or pay the price. No one should pay so you can live in stumblefuck and get the benefits of urban living. Sorry, I'm not buying you a pony.

Yes, many places are stuck with shitty providers and no choice. That's a different issue, and I'd like to see something done about that.

I've felt that way ever since I heard the government was delivering mail...The delivered the mail, put up police forces, fire departments, and even paid for a standing army, and I thought, "It's just a matter of time before they give everyone free ponies".

But seriously, slippery slop arguments aside, everybody benefits from an informed society. If we want to be able to compete with the rest of the industrialized world, then we need to have educated people with ambitions that extend beyond "factory moves to town. I get paid $10 an hour to load pallets".

Good Idea! (1)

crhylove (205956) | more than 4 years ago | (#30691988)

Let's provide tech support to the whole country on St. Patrick's Day. They'll be too drunk to notice that we screwed up!

I've always wondered why they can't do it this way (1)

loki.TJ (959555) | more than 4 years ago | (#30691992)

Why can't the Teleco's offload the cost of laying the lines to the consumers that want the lines.

Here's my idea. Lets say I live in a neighborhood that doesn't have fiber runs. I call up the teleco and get a quote to have them lay fiber to my house. Let's just say that cost is.........$8000 (just a random number).

I agree to pay $8000 for installation plus a monthly fee for the service. But, I own the fiber. The teleco can now buy back the fiber when other people call from my neighborhood and want to use the fiber lines that I paid to have run from the teleco to my house.

So say there are 40 houses between my house and the teleco box (the distance I paid to have the fiber run). The teleco could tell the first guy that wanted fiber besides me that it will cost him $4000 (half my costs) + the cost to lay fiber from my line to his house. Teleco gets none of the $4000, just the actual cost to lay the line and I get the $4000 back.

Now a third guy comes along. The teleco tells him it will cost $2000 to lay the line. I get $1000 back and so does the second guy.

Think pyramid scheme, but I will never make back 100% of my cost.

This is just a variation on municipal bonds. (1)

emes (240193) | more than 4 years ago | (#30692798)

You are essentially talking about what government does when they float a bond to create infrastructure, but instead your concept is a voluntary association of homeowners who agree to enter into an agreement to loan money to the phone company. You could more effectively do this by having the residents form a 501(c)(12) telecommunications cooperative and use that cooperative entity to negotiate with the phone company to fiber up your block, for example. You are still doing the finance, but you do it under a recognized legal entity.

Of course, the best thing would be for municipalities to take over telecommunications pipes to the home as a public service like water, sewers, and roads, but that would require us to remind ourselves of how government is not evil and exists to serve the people. In this kind of scenario, telecommunication companies could become hired help under contract to government to provide maintenance, content, and other things.

Re:This is just a variation on municipal bonds. (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#30694852)

Of course, the best thing would be for municipalities to take over telecommunications pipes to the home as a public service like water, sewers, and roads, but that would require us to remind ourselves of how government is not evil and exists to serve the people. In this kind of scenario, telecommunication companies could become hired help under contract to government to provide maintenance, content, and other things.

This is precisely the reason that the Telcos are suing to stop municipalities from making their own broadband companies... to stop municipalities from owning the lines, thus breaking the Telcos' monopoly/duopoly by introducing competition.

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