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US Considers Some Free Wireless Broadband Service

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the get-what-you-don't-pay-for dept.

Communications 111

gollum123 writes "US regulators may dedicate spectrum to free wireless Internet service for some Americans to increase affordable broadband service nationwide, the Federal Communications Commission said on Tuesday. The FCC provided few details about how it would carry out such a plan and who would qualify, but will make a recommendation under the National Broadband Plan set for release next week. The agency will determine details later. One way of making broadband more affordable is to 'consider use of spectrum for a free or a very low-cost wireless broadband service,' the FCC said in a statement." Nobody has more than a couple of paragraphs on this story. None of the press coverage mentions the obvious likelihood that any such free network would be heavily filtered, censored, and monitored.

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heh (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423014)

First comes government cheese. Then comes government health care. Now comes government internet connections. Next comes government monitoring and censorship of said inter- *NO CARRIER*

Re:heh (4, Funny)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423020)

Well it's obvious the whole purpose of this is to ga*NO CARRIER*

Re:heh (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423288)

Though you know this is government we're talking about. That NO CARRIER will not be due to filtering and regulations, but simply to shoddy, half-baked and simply not working connections.

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423534)

Ah so you mean it will be a significant improvement over Charter/Cox/Verizon's internet service

Re:heh (2, Interesting)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 4 years ago | (#31427564)

They may be shoddy. They most certainly will be overloaded. I know someone whose municipality gives "free" broadband, and in the evenings, it's next to useless. They still subscribe to the, fortunately, still available private service in order to play games or surf at a decent rate.

No "single payer" there, yet.

Re:heh (2, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31427296)

Fuck YOU and fuck the people that modded you up.

I am so sick of people saying that. The government does tens of thousands of projects every year, within budget and of incredibly high quality.

Re:heh (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31427500)

Name one.

Re:heh (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#31428234)

Roads in most states. Now in the long term, they fall apart because they fail to budget for required long-term maintenance, but when they first pave the things, most of the time, they're well built. :-)

Re:heh (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423308)

At least the government won't grab you as soon as you do something unlike Candlejack. Wait, oh shi*NO CARR

Re:heh (4, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423066)

It's not necessarily a bad thing if the scope is narrowed to emergency services or official business(state and local government agencies, in short) like filing tax paperwork, renewing vehicle registration or paying off tickets, and applying for and managing benefits(which would be facilitated by ubiquitous debit cards). It would eliminate a lot of paperwork and expensive face-time for the agencies involved as well as lower-class and/or rural citizens.

But for regular browsing news and Facebook-type stuff? Yeah, bet on monitoring...though the data collected won't be representitive of all demographics because the middle-class and wealthy will still have the "full-featured" broadband from cable providers...which are kinda monitored anyway, but that's beside the point.

Since the service must be allocated among a list of open frequencies, it's also possible that people subscribing to the service would need new gadgets to access the pipes. There's a lot of possibility for abuse if, say, the extra communication logic is subseqently required for "emergency" purposes in all gadgets.

Re:heh (3, Interesting)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423118)

...though the data collected won't be representative of all demographics because the middle-class and wealthy will still have the "full-featured" broadband from cable providers...

At first. Eventually the only people that won't use it will be the security-conscious, the torrenter, and the government conspiracy theorist.

Re:heh (3, Insightful)

jketch (1485815) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423500)

It seems more likely we'll end up with the majority of people purchasing faster service through a wired provider just like most people pay for cable/satelitte now. Besides, there's only a limited amount of spectrum available. That may be fine for some place out in rural Montana, but can you imagine trying to provide the entire Internet bandwidth of a place like New York City with wireless alone?

Re:heh (1)

SunTzuWarmaster (930093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31424404)

And then they get to pay for both, one with paycheck, one with taxes. Who doesn't win?

Re:heh (4, Insightful)

skids (119237) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423128)

I see nothing in the liked article that says the "free or low cost service" would be run by the government, just that they'd consider allowing companies, localities, and nonprofits to use these frequencies if that's what they do with it.

As always, you put a lot of your trust in your ISP, so choose carefully.

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423576)

meh. unless they ban vpn I have no beef

Re:heh (1)

the_denman (800425) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423210)

and yet another step closer to the Romans and having our Bread and Circuses [wikipedia.org]

Re:heh (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31427312)

" Yeah, bet on monitoring.."
that would be a loosing bet.

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423092)

this leaves me with only one conclusion! President Obama is really candlejack! We have to....*no carrier*

Re:heh (3, Funny)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423140)

First comes government cheese.

Yeah really. I'd much prefer government Twinkies.

Re:heh (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31426200)

First comes government cheese.
Yeah really. I'd much prefer government Twinkies.

The cheese was surplus that would have gone to a landfill. My grandmother got some of that cheese, and it was the best damned cheese I ever ate! Government twinkies, otoh, would only line the pockets of whatever multinational corporation manufactures twinkies.

Don't woosh me, bro.

Re:heh (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423158)

I'm less worried about the government blocking sites than I am about them recording my usage "for law-enforcement purposes"

Re:heh (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423186)

First comes government cheese. Then comes government health care. Now comes government internet connections. Next comes government monitoring and censorship of said inter- *NO CARRIER*

If you hadn't noticed, Government has been monitoring communications since they set up ECHELON in the 60s.

If you really want to talk about goverment cheese, let's discuss the billions in subsidies/tax cuts/etc that have been given to telecom companies.
Anyone with two eyeballs can look at the market for certain services (including healthcare) and see that the market is broken.

Re:heh (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423898)

There actually has to be a market to even talk about the market. For health insurance and telecomms there simply is none.... Too few players all in quiet agreement; and when the product is a NEED instead of a WANT there really is no 'market'.

Re: Government Cheese (1)

Xaduurv (1685700) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423224)

The cheese is a lie.

Re:heh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423444)

Just FYI, the gvernment has every possibility of monitoring and censorship on commercial connections too, they can just use the very suspect antiterror laws.

Re:heh (1)

Spewns (1599743) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423546)

First comes government cheese. Then comes government health care. Now comes government internet connections. Next comes government monitoring and censorship of said inter- *NO CARRIER*

Because government cheese and internet connections are the same as government monitoring and censorship. You're a genius.

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31424736)

"None of the press coverage mentions the obvious likelihood that any such free network would be heavily filtered, censored, and monitored."

Yes, by the JEWS...

Who are currently running the U.S. into the ground...

Re: Free Government Broadband?? (1)

gink1 (1654993) | more than 4 years ago | (#31424784)

The US is first and foremost a Capitalist nation. As such, giving citizens anything they could be made to pay for is completely alien.
(Just consider the "Healthcare Reform" Bill.)

Unless of course a major Corporation was to pay Congress to do this - but why would that ever happen?

Standing tall in the land of the rich and the poor

Re: Free Government Broadband?? (1)

LlamaZorz (1717784) | more than 4 years ago | (#31425074)

The US hasn't been a capitalist nation in over 100 years. We are a social market economy.

Re: Social Market Economy? (1)

gink1 (1654993) | more than 4 years ago | (#31427624)

Interesting. I had to look that one up and I don't remember the term from college economics.

From what I read a social market economy is merely regulated capitalism in which regulation works to achieve various desirable goals. And we do have a lot a regulation in places. Some of this is designed to achieve goals too. However, it does not seem we are making the coordinated effort we required by the definition and we are arguably failing to regulate entire segments of the economy properly. I think that definition is a partial fit at best.

As for capitalism, this too requires regulation due to the tendency for various industries to produce harmful results. But in that case the regulation shows up when there is a clear need - not before. I believe this characterizes a lot of what occurs in the US.

Re:heh (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31425772)

I'm all for the long-gone government cheese; it was surplus anyway, and hungry people need food. Better to give it to the poor than to pour it into a landfill. "There but for the grace of God go I". I have a decent job, but lots of folks aren't so fortunate. I don't mind some of my tax money going to feed the hungry, but I do object to it going to a senseless war like Vietnam or Iraq, or pork projects that serve no purpose other than to get Senators re-elected, or grants to IBM and Kodak that are bigger than these billion dollar net profit multinational corporations pay in taxes. The biggest welfare queens in the US are billionaire corporations.

IMO the current health care legislation is a clusterfuck that's nothing but a gift to the insurance companies, but I've had friends die because they couldn't afford health insurance. I have good insurance, but many don't. I'd like to see a system like they have in Europe and Canada; we have the most expensive health care in the world, but by no metric do we have the best health care. I'm ashamed of my country's health care system.

I'd like to see LOCAL governments provide wifi. Ours almost did, but apparently somebody from Comcast gave a big campaign contribution to some politicians. It wouldn't be secessary if people weren't so God Damned stingy; there are three hotspots at my house*, four when I'm at Felber's. It's rare in even a small city like mine to not have a hotspot and there's no reason you can't open your connection. You can throttle or shut down users who abuse it.

As to government monitoring and censorship, they don't have to supply the connection to monitor and censor it, and I see no difference between Uncle Sam censoring and Comcast censoring. Considering the legal bribery in the form of campaign contributions, there's no difference. Corporations ARE the government.

* one of the hotspots at my house has a computer name of "hack me and I'll find you", and it's damned hard not to rise to the (probably almost nonexistant) challenge.

Re:heh (1)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 4 years ago | (#31426428)

>First comes government cheese. Then comes government health care. Now comes government internet connections. Next comes government monitoring and censorship of said inter[net.]

I *know* ... it's ridiculous!

All those things should be the preserve of private corporations!

Re:heh (1)

gink1 (1654993) | more than 4 years ago | (#31427734)

First comes government cheese. Then comes government health care.

Then comes the giant Bill for government health care.

Don't worry, if you don't like it you can always go live free in government prison.

You will not like that though!

--

Standing tall in the land of the poor and the rich

Re:heh (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 4 years ago | (#31433022)

First comes government cheese.

But I am lactose intolerant, you insensitive clods.

F.P. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423016)

Free. Porn.

But will it be monitored? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423018)

This is all well and good but will I be allowed to use encryption, host services, will I be monitored?

Seems like this could end up making wired service (a more privelaged internet connection, if you will) more expensive and inaccessible to the common user.

Then we'll just be where we started. With the broadcasters and the consumers (of information).

Re:But will it be monitored? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423048)

Shut the fuck up, please.

quit worrying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423050)

Yes, the gummint is going to follow you around and spy on you. Welcome to the nanny state. Quit worrying about it. If you know they're watching you then you know to behave like you're being watched. Get used to the feeling because it's not going to stop with the internet. You can pretty much figure that any communication you have over public airwaves or utilities is monitored. I'm constantly amazed by the idiots that talk about illegal activity over the phone. Just assume you're being monitored and quit worrying about it.

Re:quit worrying (3, Insightful)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423106)

I'm not worried about it, i'm worried that there are too many stupid people willing to change their behavior when they should be changing their government.

In other news ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423054)

Xbox live subscriptions have hit an all time high

It's been done before... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423076)

Go here [jarsquatter.com] for more info.

Re:It's been done before... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423198)

that will never stop being hilarious!

Re:It's been done before... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423254)

lol, what the fuck was cmdrtaco thinking? "Hmm, I'll shove this glass jar up my ass. And make a video of it. And put it up on the internet after it goes horribly wrong."

Re:It's been done before... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423338)

Dude, I don't think that's cmdrtaco.

The guy in the video isn't hung like a 2-year-old in a snowstorm.

Given by the FCC, regulated by the FCC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423100)

See title

Yep, that's about the size of it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423102)

Give the corporations something free, so they can sell it to the poor.

This isn't new (4, Insightful)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423116)

I don't remember the name of the company but suffice it to say, there is a company who has been riding the back of the FCC for years, trying to get them to approve some kind of free wireless broadband plan just like is being described here.

The old plan was to have the government collect some revenue from the company in exchange for offering exclusive use of the spectrum. The company was planning to filter the connection, specifically to block porn, because they had some significant ties to the moral morons in the "family" groups.

I don't recall how they were planning to pay for the whole thing, but i seem to remember they had for-pay plans that might have subsidized the free (censored) plans.

Re:This isn't new (4, Informative)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423160)

Here is the company http://www.m2znetworks.com/ [m2znetworks.com]

They originally wanted a 15 year exclusive spectrum license, and as you can see from their website, even now after their original plan was totally rejected, they're entirely committed to filtering things to make it "family friendly" if they get approval as a licensee.

TANSTAAFL (2, Insightful)

AlexLibman (785653) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423154)

There ain't no such thing as a free lunch!

Taxation, inflation, and other forms of THEFT will be used to pay for this involuntary "service" to the detriment of the voluntary (aka private) sector, and it will further empower the government to control the Internet.

I'm a big fan of free broadband WiFi provided by neighborhood associations, local business alliances, charities, etc, etc, etc - but not by an overgrown mafia organization with a monopoly on violent force!

Re:TANSTAAFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423170)

You are welcome to have lunch at my house any time for free, friend.

Re:TANSTAAFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423502)

That would benefit your reputation, and you'd be able to turn your house into a museum or something. It's not every house that can claim a world-famous tax resister stopped there for a free lunch. ;-)

Never leave the basement (3, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423382)

I'm a big fan of free broadband WiFi provided by neighborhood associations, local business alliances, charities, etc, etc, etc - but not by an overgrown mafia organization with a monopoly on violent force!

The geek out-of-doors is truly a babe in the woods.

The neighborhood association can be far tougher and more relentless in its demands for conformity than any governmental agency you are ever likely to encounter.

The real Mafias of this world begin with control of the street.

They see themselves - and want to be seen by others - as an extended family or clan. More Russian than Russia. That gives them legitimacy and power a gun cannot buy.
   

Re:Never leave the basement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423470)

The neighborhood association can be far tougher and more relentless in its demands for conformity than any governmental agency you are ever likely to encounter.

A neighborhood association is an explicit voluntary contract between legitimate individual property owners - don't like it, don't buy a house there. No one is born a "citizen" of a neighborhood association!

You show me a neighborhood association that can deflate the value of the money in your wallet (and use violence to prevent alternative currencies [wikipedia.org] ), spread itself by the sword from sea to shining sea (and a thousand military bases beyond), brainwash your children through involuntary indoctrination (aka "public school"), etc, etc, etc... and I'll show that it is a government instead.

The use of force is the only thing that separates a government from a non-governmental organization like a business, a charity, a club, a church, a Web-site, and so on. If a petty criminal hold you at gun point and asks for your wallet then for that brief moment in time he is your government - his claim to power is as legitimate as any politician's!

(Yes, I'm Alex Libman's sockpuppet. The two posts in 24 hours limit is ridiculous. But I wanna rant now!)

Re:Never leave the basement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423574)

A neighborhood association is an explicit voluntary contract between legitimate individual property owners - don't like it, don't buy a house there. No one is born a "citizen" of a neighborhood association!

the choice isn't really a choice when more and more neighborhoods enact these stupid things. The net result is the same kind of least common demoninator expectation that the socialism you're complaining about brings. I take it you've never lived in a neighborhood with one of these things? the stuff that gets put in them is outright insane. if you care about property rights, you shouldnt' hold up associations as good examples. they're basically mini socialist states. saying I can just move to another street is like saying I could just move out of the country. sorry but 'like it or leave it' is not a choice at all and pointing to some place else and screaming 'well it's WORSE there' does not justify a better status quo here.

Re:Never leave the basement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31427458)

the choice isn't really a choice when more and more neighborhoods enact these stupid things. The net result is the same kind of least common demoninator expectation that the socialism you're complaining about brings.

There is a very important difference, and that difference is individual consent. It makes the difference between acceptable human relationships and tyranny, as it does between lovemaking and rape!

A homeowners' association exists on the basis of a contract - you explicitly promised to abide by its rules (including procedures for how new rules get established), which was probably a part of your choice to buy a specific piece of property, because its previous owner was contractually obligated to only sell to people who accept the same neighborhood rules s\he accepted. That is the only level on which democracy can be the least bit functional - widening the boat even to the level of a small New England town-hall meeting makes it less consensual, and calling a homogenizing empire of 300+ million a "democracy" is a complete and total joke. No one can be a "representative" for someone without individual consent, and it's pretty darn hard to accurately represent the interests of even 2 people at the same time!

A world ruled by neighborhood associations and other voluntary institutions (an Anarcho-Capitalist [wikipedia.org] idea of an ideal society) is a world where if you don't like the local rules you can simply move elsewhere, or even start your own principality if you so choose. (The fundamental Natural Laws based on the Non-Aggression Principle [wikipedia.org] of course being the only universal.) A world ruled by government is a tyranny from which there is no escape! Governments have spread themselves by force over every square inch of land on this planet, and even the hopes of building libertarian nations on open sea [seasteading.org] or even outer space are not credible only because everyone knows the U.S. / U.N. Navy will blow us to smithereens before we ever become a legitimate competitor!

Centralized government stifles the very forces of emergence [wikipedia.org] / social evolution that have created the human civilization, just as biological evolution created us as a species! Competition for brains and investment capital is what keeps government power in check - the more competition, the more freedom and economic growth. As technology inevitably continues to progress, humanity faces a fork in its potential destiny - it will either exit the 21st century in full embrace of free market capitalism, or under a tyrannical world government monopoly from which there is no escape!

Re:Never leave the basement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31425924)

this man is wise beyond his years, mod this up

Re:TANSTAAFL (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31427406)

You are an idiot.

You have far more control over what happens with government provided access then you do with private organizations.

Here is a clue, moron: the government DOES control the internet. It created it, and it controls right away for the pipes. Contrary to what myopic morons like yourself seem to believe, against all evidence, you DO have a voice in the government. you do NOT have a voice with a private company, unless you own a significant portion of said corporation.

Re:TANSTAAFL (1)

TheSync (5291) | more than 4 years ago | (#31429028)

you DO have a voice in the government

More like a 1/100 millionth of a voice.

you do NOT have a voice with a private company

Yes, I can say "no, I won't buy your product" to them. I can't say "no" to the government.

You have far more control over what happens with government provided access then you do with private organizations

Honestly, have YOU ever controlled something that government has done? Just you.

I have regularly told cable companies and DSL providers, on my own, that I don't want their service. And I now have AT&T Uverse and 5Mbps down, and I am basically happy :)

Re:TANSTAAFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31429120)

You have far more control over what happens with government provided access then you do with private organizations.

I have zero control over government and pretty much zero hope of ever escaping it without being thrown in jail or killed for tax resistance, which is my most likely fate.

With private organizations there's always a choice. No one is forcing me to use Slashdot, for example, it is a voluntary interaction between myself and whoever runs this site. I can even start my own site and compete with this one, and that would be much easier than fighting a revolutionary war against a nuclear superpower that spends over a trillion stolen dollars a year on "defense"!

Here is a clue, moron: the government DOES control the internet.

Unfortunately, which is why freedom fighters like myself are creating alternative Internets based on 100% privately-owned telecommunications infrastructure (ex. P2P wireless mesh networking) instead.

It created it, and it controls right away for the pipes.

The government didn't create the Internet, the private sector did. The government merely jumped in front of that parade and made itself the boss through violence and theft.

The money governments spend on R&D are always just a few crumbs compared to what they steal from the private sector, and their R&D funding is always mis-allocated and corrupt.

Contrary to what myopic morons like yourself seem to believe, against all evidence, you DO have a voice in the government.

What evidence are you talking about? No politician I ever voted for has ever been elected, and I don't plan on voting ever again. I receive zero benefit and tremendous harm from government, and I have no way of opting out.

Furthermore, just having "a voice" in something is meaningless. As a hypothetical thought experiment - if me and a few dozen of my armed friends were to come to your house and we vote on whether to kill you, does that make it all nice and fair? After all, we did give you a vote, you just happened to be in minority!

See also: The Slave Test [anarchyinyourhead.com] .

you do NOT have a voice with a private company, unless you own a significant portion of said corporation.

Yes I do. I decide whether I want to do business with a private company or I don't, and to what degree. No corporation can force me to buy its goods and services against my will, draft me into in its army against my will, make me use their currency monopoly that they can inflate against my will, force my children to attend their indoctrination center (aka public school) against my will [edu-lu-tion.com] , etc, etc, etc. If a corporation does any of those things, then it is a government instead!

Furthermore, I myself am a private corporation, of which I am in 100% control. A marriage is a corporation of which the partners share an agreed-upon degree of control. Etc.

Corporations are not just the big businesses that you're thinking of, it is any legal entity, and the main reason why corporations get so big and powerful nowadays are the liability protections and other unearned privileges that your beloved Mommy Government gives them!

Better than nothing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423196)

I live in a pretty low income neighborhood and there are many people who do not have internet because of the relatively high costs usually associated with it. Censored internet might be better that nothing in this case, specially since it seems to me that it really helps keep children out of trouble and encourages them to learn about technology and then study other things. Also, such competition might encourage traditional carriers to lower pirces.

Community fiber (4, Interesting)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423248)

I have heard it would cost $1,500 per home to run fiber to every home in the nation. That's $225 billion. If you want better and more affordable communications install fiber co-ops throughout the nation that do nothing but the physical installation from the home to a neighborhood hub. From the hub, any ISP that chooses can compete for your business.

Re:Community fiber (1)

bcn17 (1390121) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423640)

Sounds like a great idea.

We've already paid for it, but will never get it (3, Insightful)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423682)

We've already paid 320 billion [teletruth.org] to get fiber to the home that never got installed. If the FCC and state utilities would simply hold the telcos to the existing contracts it'd be a done deal. But we'd have to have politicians not beholden to the industry. My local House rep Fred Upton was previously chair of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet. Not surprising to see SBC, Verizon, and other telcos giving upwards of 100K a year (according to opensecrets.org). Corporatism at its finest.

Re:We've already paid for it, but will never get i (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31424226)

Where does this lie keep on coming from? Nothing was paid to the telecoms. Nothing at all.

That whole "320 billion" figure basically counts profits made by the telecoms since some date against them, as if any profit made somehow counts as "paying the telecom for fiber to the home" which is ridiculous.

When it comes to actual fund received from the government, the telecoms got squat.

Re:We've already paid for it, but will never get i (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31425012)

When it comes to actual fund received from the government, the telecoms got squat.

[citation needed]

$182 million [tmcnet.com]
The first broadband stimulus grants and loans – about $182 million worth – finally have been awarded

There, 10 seconds on google.
Your turn.

Re:We've already paid for it, but will never get i (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31427600)

That was informative, except he is talking about funds that have been given and never used, considering they just got this money a few months ago its hard to complain that it hasn't been used yet (it's also a couple significant figures off from 320 billion).

Re:Community fiber (2, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31424272)

Or just start getting the municipalities to run a pipe from the homes to a central hub. Yes I mean a pipe as in a cylinder of metal, plastic, or concrete. It would only have to be the size of your sewer line to allow for a dozen different providers. Municipalities are already experienced in the low tech job os running pipes to people's homes, and around cities. I know that my home has three different pipes running into it now. A forth pipe wouldn't be a big deal.

You can bet if all a startup had to do was pull a wire through a pipe to hook up new customers, we would see a lot more competition.

Re:Community fiber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31425148)

Every now and then somebody on slashdot posts a really great sounding but abhorrently naieve suggestion to deal with some giant problem. Can someone please explain to me what is wrong with this suggestion?

Re:Community fiber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31427804)

"I have heard it would cost $1,500 per home"

I know I offered Verizon more than 6x that to get fiber to my home. They even had unused ISDN fiber connected to the telephone hub (we have underground wires to the residential area, not telephone poles, so whatever that little green tower is where they connect the twisted pair prior to the run that goes to the grey box attached to the residence is called).

They wouldn't do it. Then again, 6 years back, the CO here only offers T1 lines, although they supposedly offered 7mbit DSL if you had direct copper. Most of the area, however, was served by pair gain crap. Today, you can't get FiOS, probably because Comcast became so dominant (and then shitty because of the lack of competition).

Another important question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423324)

Who will pay for it?

redefining 'free' (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423334)

unless nobody gets paid for providing that, and nobody gets charged to make up for the free stuff, the word you're looking for is not "free", it's subsidized. Not that I'm against it, I really have no opinion right now, but I'm tired of people thinking stuff is free because others pay for it.

Re:redefining 'free' (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423942)

The "public" air waves, which insofar as they can be "owned", are owned by the people of the United States (in this case), have been leased out for a fraction of their value for decades by the US government. There's your subsidy. Where is it written that corporations which have been getting an (almost) free ride virtually since the dawn of broadcasting are entitled to expect it in perpetuity? The people own that bandwidth, and if representatives chosen by the people to deal with these matters decide that access to the internet has changed from a curious obsession to a requirement for full participation in society, then too bad for the companies who thought a free ride was their perpetual right.

Re:redefining 'free' (1)

TheSync (5291) | more than 4 years ago | (#31428916)

Where is it written that corporations which have been getting an (almost) free ride virtually since the dawn of broadcasting are entitled to expect it in perpetuity?

"Free ride" is a bit of a misnomer. Broadcasters will be pretty upset that the $20 billion they just spent on the FCC mandated transition to digital television is to be thrown away (not to mention the >$1 billion taxpayer dollars spent for DTV converter box coupons, and the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars spent on Public Television's DTV transition).

Why not just (1)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423340)

Setup our own MESH type networks? I was thinking about this. I know there are ports of OpenWRT that let you mod a Linksys WRT54G to do bridging. That would do the trick.

Re:Why not just (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423412)

Security issues.

Re:Why not just (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31424604)

And speed issues. And the fact that as more people can just mesh in fewer will actually pay for internet service meaning it may be 10 or 20 hops through the mesh (which has a reliability entirely based on each person along the path's individual router being up, running and interference free) before hitting an actual modem.

Spare us the editorializing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423410)

Get the fuck off of your high horse for a minute, why don't you? Public libraries provide this service, and while yes, they're filtered, they're not censored or monitored.

Re:Spare us the editorializing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423688)

It's kdawson. Do you REALLY expect otherwise?

Her actual comments are less tech-oriented (3, Informative)

davide marney (231845) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423418)

The actual remarks [fcc.gov] by Commissioner Clyburn are a lot less technical than the SL summary implies. What she wants doesn't have so much to do with the physical deployment of broadband (the "last mile"), as it does with actually adopting the broadband that's available (what she called the last "half-mile".)

Apparently, 93 million Americans don't use broadband, even though they could. Why? The Commish says its because 1) broadband costs too much, 2) non-users lack "digital literacy", and 3) non-users just don't see the benefit. Her proposed fixes have a lot more in common with the Peace Corps than with the White Spaces Coalition: provide free broadband to the poor, and form a National Digital Literacy Corps to deliver a National Digital Literacy Program while going home-to-home to help set up broadband. Her model is the recent national switch-over to digital TV, where hundreds of thousands of volunteers went around and hooked people's TVs up.

Re:Her actual comments are less tech-oriented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31423478)

Which is totally cool. Our geeky rage probably isn't the big issue, here.

Re:Her actual comments are less tech-oriented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31425226)

I always love when people give a handful of reasons, and it is supposed to be one of those. How about we add some other possibilities shall we?

4. You don't like the business practices of the few or one company in your area, and would rather do without rather than lining their pocket. Dial-up definitely sucks, but there was a lot more to choose from then.

5. You don't have any need. Not every person on this planet needs broadband. They talk about not being able to look for jobs. Well, unless the place you are applying to requires you to upload a massive video file for an interview I think normal internet access would be sufficient.

What I would love to see is the service to be free. Companies exist to sell hardware to allow you to connect, and others can exist to help install or service the actual hardware. This allows for more competition, and since the service is free it allows people the opportunity to be more self sufficient if they wish.

Re:Her actual comments are less tech-oriented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31428910)

Actually, the Social Science Research Council (whoever they are) found [arstechnica.com] that non-users DO see the benefit. It's a matter of cost and availability (even in some major cities in the US, access sucks).

more likely motivation (3, Interesting)

stephencrane (771345) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423434)

Isn't it more likely, whatever are the specifics, that this kind of announcement, coming from the Feds, is an attempt at creating competitive pressure on the current ISPs to expand their network and/or keep prices stable or lower?

Re:more likely motivation (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31425308)

Can't the "Feds" simply say "Right, you have a monopoly on local broadband which you're exploiting to the detriment of the people. You've been at this for a while, but that time has gone. Sort it out with some reasonable pricing and fair contract terms, or we're going to subsidise your opposition so you can't compete except by losing money hand over fist until an equilibrium is reached."

Re:more likely motivation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31425802)

No, because then the hardcore free-market wingnuts and batshit libertarians come out of the woodwork and decry government interference in an industry that CLEARLY would be providing us almost-free world class service hand over fist if we would just leave the poor telcos alone and let the invisible hand do its job.

Re:more likely motivation (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31426588)

Isn't that "invisible hand" the action of the informed individual? Market forces driven by the consumer, and whatnot.

Ah, yes... I see the problem now.

Re:more likely motivation (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#31426880)

Don't be ridiculous. This is a story posted by kdawson. If it doesn't involve some maniacal government conspiracy to rape the public it's not worth posting.

[insert you must be new joke here]

Here's what I'd do if I was a government official (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423524)

Allow people to complain that they don't have broadband online(they can use dialup or someone else's service). Then the biggest clusters of people complaining get targetted first.

Re:Here's what I'd do if I was a government offici (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31423594)

Allow people to complain that they don't have broadband online(they can use dialup or someone else's service). Then the biggest clusters of people complaining get targetted first.

Targeted how exactly, and for what? "Take off and nuke the site from orbit, it's the only way to be sure" type targeting, or something slightly more benign? Could you mean targeted as in for putting every man, woman, and child, as well as their children and grandchildren into virtual economic servitude to pay for their own enslavement at the hands of a government grown out of control?

Although I suppose the answer to those questions depends on which "government official" you ask on a given day, and how far up or down his numbers are with his constituents if an elected official and/or as in the case of the government hallway-rat, whatever will both secure his position and advance it and his overall wealth & power. And, of course, how honest said official feels he/she can be without worry of ending up at the end of a rope.

Strat

lacking broadband penetration ? (1)

johncandale (1430587) | more than 4 years ago | (#31424068)

I really don't see a lacking of broadband penetration any more, this isn't 1999. Maybe about the working poor not affording/knowing how to use computersm but if they actullly get a computer, they get brondband if they need it. Why not give away free telephone service too? It's alot more importantand VOIP makes it dirt cheap, or free water, etc. The market place is working just fine for broadband, no need to make it a government utility. Same for cell phones

Re:lacking broadband penetration ? (2, Informative)

TaggartAleslayer (840739) | more than 4 years ago | (#31424866)

You've never visited a rural area, have you? Draw a circle even 50 miles around a major population center and I guarantee there are pockets where people live and can't get broadband.

Just because cities are covered, it doesn't mean everyone is. I do admit that it is becoming less of an issue even in small towns, but any time I go back to Willis Texas, I am reminded that "DSL doesn't cover it and the cable company won't go there". Once again, just because you look around and find it to be quite available, it doesn't mean everyone does. We're a really big country.

Re:lacking broadband penetration ? (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31426674)

Yeah, I live inside the DC beltway & have FIOS; one of my coworkers lives about 35 miles away, and can only get dial up. It's pretty patchy coverage, considering that she's basically between DC, Baltimore & Frederick, all of which have decent broadband. She ended up getting a Sprint MiFi, which is actually becoming a viable alternative in a lot of places & will get more so as they expand their 4G/WiMax coverage.

CCC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31424398)

Civilian Commmunications Corp will install fiber because it is good for you.

Pipe Dream (1)

Sparkle (131911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31424782)

Seems to me the target for this stuff would be the un-served rural population. There are millions of us out here who will be dead and gone long before we get even DSL service. You are looking at huge areas with insufficient population to support any "for profit" service except possibly wireless.

That brings us to the infrastructure needed. You have to have towers, power, radios, antennas, and back haul. Just because you make the spectrum "free" and declare service free does not put the necessary equipment in place.

Maybe they will pay for it with the surplus funds they make from 0bama health care.

I understand it's a new concept to some of you... (3, Insightful)

TaggartAleslayer (840739) | more than 4 years ago | (#31424850)

Have any of you tuned in to over-the-air television recently? Imagine that, but with the internet.

The FCC would be doing it's job properly to open a range in the spectrum to public internet, license it to qualified providers, and then play watch dog over it.

If you're worried about internet wardrobe malfunctions being banned, and you should be, then you should stop with the grumbling and get behind this movement while promoting freedom of speech and expression on the internet as it always has been.

Just because Cable TV has more channels, that doesn't mean it's the only way to tune in. Trust me, I know. I grew up in an area that you couldn't actually get cable. Which also means I couldn't get broadband.

Eventually we will all have to get used to the idea that the internet is a utility in the sense that it drives commerce and carries public concern. It's our modern electricity. It has to be made available to everyone for us to continue as an equal society. The government will become involved. It's up to us to determine whether that's in a fashion like our current electric and telecom monopolies or in a more acceptable manner.

Government BAD! BAD BAD BAD! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31426260)

Government is BAD. The government does nothing good, just BAD! Bad Bad Bad! Government BAD! Companies good! I speak english good! Once, I loosed my car keys, and my boat sails need tightening because they are lose. Anyway, back to the topic: government BAD! Not-government GOOD! Bad Bad Bad! Not government Good!

Is that clear enough for you?

Slasdot is truly a site full of wise peeple.

Never happen (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 4 years ago | (#31424944)

The devout village elders with buckles on their hats and scarlett letters at the ready will prevent the free distribution of anything relating to (shudder) sexuality.

In a sense, it doesn't matter (2, Insightful)

smchris (464899) | more than 4 years ago | (#31424948)

The media people receive in sparsely populated areas is already "heavily filtered, censored, and monitored." Just drive across Wyoming some time and see what the radio offers.

free broadband (1)

fatbuckel (1714764) | more than 4 years ago | (#31426138)

It`ll never happen...if it does,they`ll find some way to charge for it.

Obamanet? (1)

GottMitUns (1012191) | more than 4 years ago | (#31428012)

There is already a US Gov't supported program [safelinkwireless.com] (aka Obamaphone) for "low income" population. What is going on with America!!!!
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