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FCC's Broadband Plan May Cost You Money

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the one-hand-giveth dept.

Communications 318

At ten minutes past midnight the FCC released their National Broadband Plan. Judging by the available coverage, few reporters spent the night poring over it. The BBC at least posted something in the morning hours, but it quotes Enderle, so that gives you some idea of its sourcing. Business Week notes the plan's cool (not to say frigid) reception among broadcasters. Dave Burstein of FastNet News did some real digging. His take as of 4:00 am Eastern time is that the plan will cost most Americans money, and won't provide much if any relief to the poor. We'll see many more details and nuances emerge over the day. Update: 03/16 19:53 GMT by KD : The FCC plan (PDF) is here.

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318 comments

it's red (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31493676)

why. why so red.

Wow, there's a shock! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31493684)

The government tries to "help" and only ends up costing taxpayers money without really solving the problem they don't have the business solving in the first place.

Re:Wow, there's a shock! (1)

jeillah (147690) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493716)

This appears to only help the Telcos... What a shock!!!

Re:Wow, there's a shock! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31493768)

In the business of government, as long as the money passes through your hands, you win. It doesn't matter where the money comes from or where it goes -- what matters is that it passes through your hands. The more money passing through your hands, the more you stand to exploit it for personal gain.

You're not in the business of government, are you?

Re:Wow, there's a shock! (2, Interesting)

dammy (131759) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493786)

In aviation, it's a well document phrase of, "I'm hear from the FAA, I'm hear to help" that send shivers down A&Ps and pilots spines alike. Tax and spend is not just a phrase in Washington, it's a way to grow one's empire.

Re:Wow, there's a shock! (1)

fucket (1256188) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494438)

I hear you.

Socialist internetz (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31493704)

Why spend so much money hooking up rednecks and bible thumpers?

It won't improve their lives one bit, and will just add more retards to the internuts causing retardedness to overflow, which will destroy the world, and probably the solar system.

Re:Socialist internetz (1)

conureman (748753) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493754)

Democracy has its drawbacks.

Re:Socialist internetz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31493826)

So does Communism (not the dictator crap), and it is still better.

Re:Socialist internetz (1)

Neuticle (255200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493974)

"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

Winston Churchhill

Re:Socialist internetz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31493760)

But you love big-government. Which will it be? Big-Gov, or retarded bible thumping rednecks? Decisions decisions....hmmmmm

Nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31493770)

...and will just add more retards to the internuts causing retardedness to overflow, which will destroy the world, and probably the solar system.

You mean Eternal September?

Re:Socialist internetz (4, Insightful)

rcoxdav (648172) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493778)

As an atheist who lives in rural Illinois, where there are plenty of bible thumpers, I would be happy to have a much faster internet connection. It would also hopefully educate the uneducated masses here about such evil sites like the pandas thumb [pandasthumb.org] which would help them become less thumperish.

Re:Socialist internetz (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493844)

Or, looking at it from the optimist point of view, they could discover that the country in fact doesn't revolve around them.

Re:Socialist internetz (5, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493980)

If there is one thing that the internet helps, its ensuring that no one ever has to find this out if they don't want to. If someone only watches Fox News, listens to talk radio and reads the WSJ in print, all they're likely to do is add foxnews.com, redstate.com and/or stormfront.org ("white nationalist" forum) to their reading list, group up with more and more people who agree with them, then eventually find Alex Jones and then its over. The same thing can be said of the person who doesn't watch anything but PBS news, listens to NPR and reads nothing but the New York Times... or the people reading Daily Worker or whatever.

The internet, for most people, really just helps to ensure that they never have to step outside of their comfort zone insofar as information is concerned. Once they've "discovered" so many comforting sources, then it'll just legitimize their entire world view, solidify everything in their mind, give them comfort in the virtual crowd and make them even more dangerous. I have first hand experience with this myself, and I had to drop off for a while and go read real books, multiple media sources, etc, to ensure that I gave myself a well-rounded view of things again and got back towards normal.

Don't get me wrong, I love the internet -- it makes my life a lot easier, provides the infrastructure within which I make my living, allows me to keep up with friends from high school and college, and get information from all over the world whenever I want it. But for a very large subset of the population on either side of an issue, all its going to do is help entrench their views and help them think "look at all these people who are saying what i've been saying for years! what's wrong with people who can't see what I see?! It's all right there, on the internet!" But, as a poster said above, Democracy has drawbacks. This is one of them.

Re:Socialist internetz (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493918)

Why spend so much money hooking up rednecks and bible thumpers?

It won't improve their lives one bit, and will just add more retards to the internuts causing retardedness to overflow, which will destroy the world, and probably the solar system.

Blast the outlying areas with our strongest wireless signals (WiFi, WiMax, cellular, etc, etc) and let them each buy the wireless receiver of their choice. It's cheaper to send a wireless signal farther out into these more remote areas than it is a land line.

Let technology and information rain down upon them from the skies.

Capped (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494572)

Why spend so much money hooking up rednecks and bible thumpers?

Because they grow the food that you eat.

Blast the outlying areas with our strongest wireless signals (WiFi, WiMax, cellular, etc, etc) and let them each buy the wireless receiver of their choice.

The monthly transfer caps on 4G probably won't be much better than what rural customers can already get on satellite. We're already seeing caps of 5 GB per month on MiFi 3G service from both Verizon Wireless and Sprint while city folk on Comcast get 250 GB per month.

Check your links (0, Offtopic)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493708)

kdawson, the google page link links to a blank google news page.

Governments never reduce costs (3, Insightful)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493774)

Of course it will cost us money. Any time the "government" says they can do something at zero net cost, you know they are either lying or unreasonably optimistic. That is one of the rules of government spending - it always costs more than stated. A $750 billion stimulus will not cost $750 billion, it will cost $1 trillion. A $3 million bridge will cost $4 million. A 'brief' war will cost 5X what you think it will.

You may or may not like big businesses but businesses are usually very good at reducing costs, governments are not (the reason that isn't true with ISPs or cable companies is because they don't have any competition - most people live where there is a de facto ISP monopoly). I don't know why so many people - Republicans and Democrats and Independents - want the government to do more and spend more for us.

Re:Governments never reduce costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31493866)

Someone missed out on hearing that in economics "cost" is in principle, not monetary. "Cost" includes, but is not solely monetary cost.

It is zero "net cost" from the government's POV since the total (economic) revenues at least cover the total (economic) costs.

Re:Governments never reduce costs (3, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494104)

Someone missed out on hearing that in economics "cost" is in principle, not monetary. "Cost" includes, but is not solely monetary cost.

It is zero "net cost" from the government's POV since the total (economic) revenues at least cover the total (economic) costs.

Except that isn't true. It is zero "net cost" from the government's POV since the "cost" of voter anger is less than the gain in power. When the government starts justifying some action on the basis of cost, you can be almost certain that it is something the government shouldn't be doing and that the taxpayer is going to get hosed.

Re:Governments never reduce costs (1, Interesting)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493884)

I don't know why so many people - Republicans and Democrats and Independents - want the government to do more and spend more for us.

I'd like for someone to do more for us, but I can't seem to get Google (or Apple, or Lenovo, or...) to give a shit about what I want. Since I'd rather have something done than nothing, the government - sucky as it is - is the remaining option, with the all the delightful garbage that accompanies.

Trolling? Good lord. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31493888)

I've seen WAY too many posts lately marked as "Troll" when it is obviously not a Troll comment - it's either a comment that is supposed to be funny (like the above) or a comment that is a discussion continuation with an opposing point. Looking through yesterday's main stories, almost every post I saw marked as troll was wrong. For example, this parent.

Troll means that the person is deliberately trying to be a jerk or derail the conversation, or is posting something off-topic and offensive. Typically before you mark the person as a Troll you want to look at their post history and see if they are a current troll, and if not you may want to consider if that person is really being a Troll or not (especially if their previous post history is quite good). If not, then consider "Flamebait", but only if it is a post that is specifically trying to fan the flames rather than make a point. Posts that are trying to make a point are neither Flamebait or Troll.

For that matter, the "Overrated" moderation is used when a post is moderated way up and the content is obviously not that great or wrong. It is not used to drop a "Score:1" down to 0. When I moderate I try not to drop Score:2's to 1 as well, as most people read so anything 3 and above displays, so they still wouldn't see that post.

I understand most stuff gets caught in M2 (meta-moderation for you new people), but it really screws up the conversation when you mod someone that is contributing in the wrong direction, especially to "Troll". It also makes another mod spend their points to correct you, and many mods either filter out 0's or steer clear of Troll comments and moderate good comments. Like the FAQ says, focus on the good, not the bad.

So let's do our homework and use our brains before we start marking everyone as Trolls, okay?

Re:Governments never reduce costs (3, Insightful)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493904)

Yes, except the entire purpose of a corporation is to turn a profit, social welfare be damned. If hooking up Internet to those 10 people living away from society isn't going to turn us a profit, then we'll be damned if we're going to hook them up! The Federal Government on the other hand has more at stake with regards to the welfare of society and making sure that interstate commerce is working smoothly.

There are certain jobs that only the government can do well, and there are many others that the government should have absolutely no role in. The problem with government spending is that everything goes by a middle of the road scenario when it comes to cost estimation, however these kinds of large scale projects always become more complicated then it initially seems and costs rise.

Re:Governments never reduce costs (4, Insightful)

Akido37 (1473009) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494150)

The Federal Government on the other hand has more at stake with regards to the welfare of society and making sure that interstate commerce is working smoothly. There are certain jobs that only the government can do well, and there are many others that the government should have absolutely no role in.

Amen. This is why the Federal Government is mandated to run the Post Office. At the dawn of the Republic, no intelligent businessman would operate such a money-losing enterprise. However, it is a necessary and needed service.

Rural electrification and rural broadband, in my opinion, also merit Government intervention.

Re:Governments never reduce costs (1, Informative)

HogGeek (456673) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494316)

"no intelligent businessman would operate such a money-losing enterprise"

I wouldn't call a $1 Billion profit [about.com] a loss...

Re:Governments never reduce costs (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494674)

I wouldn't call "the last five years" "the dawn of the republic".

Plan Will Signficantly Reduce Costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494386)

You make it sound as if corporate interests will somehow drive down the costs and that the current corporate-only approach is a great benefit to consumers through low costs. There needs to be a balance between government intervention and long-range planning and the corporate view of the next quarterly earnings report.

Yes the plan will cost money, but then so does the current system, which is greatly stacked against the consuming public. Presently, media companies use the airwaves as if they owned them. With this attitude one gets 38 minutes of commercials for 22 minutes of programming and news you can not differentiate from Comedy Central. If you buy cable then you pay $100-300/month to watch the 38 minutes of commercials and 22 minutes of programming. With the current system extraordinarily tilted to the benefit of media monopolies one gets limited choice and lot of pro-corporate propaganda and filtering for one's viewing dollar, with costs continuing to go up each year, like health-care premiums. With a shift to internet broadcasting, costs will go down dramatically over time and scarce spectral resources will be used more efficiently and cost effectively by providing additional wireless services. The wider the penetration of broadband the more variety of services can be provided that will promote much needed competition and greater programmatic and content diversity. This is especially important now that America is steadily abandoning its educational institutions from K-Post Graduate to the altar of tax-reduction for the wealthy. By forcing competition onto a relatively neutral transmission medium of the internet, we will likely see much greater competition that will over time GREATLY reduced costs. It is only when the consumer has tremendous choice will one see lower prices. This is the primary reason so many in the media-elite are eager to line up and argue against the proposal and ANY plan that threatens their cozy system. This plan will force greater competition and reduce the influence of the most dominant players in what have become a patch-work of segmented monopoly markets that have been created through thousands of quietly or in a few cases, not-so-quietly negotiated contracts among media companies at the expense of the consumer. Keep in mind that few of the existing media-telecommunications-technology companies are independent of one another. Rather they are interconnected via a network of negotiated arrangements that typically extract the maximum cash from the consumer. If the US is to retain a functioning, competitive system, it must insure that the overall result is at least in someway beneficial for the country as a whole, not just those best situated to profit from it.

Also, its time for the US to once again reclaim the lead in telecommunications and internet services. The current system is only seeing other nations vault ahead of what was once a US dominated industry. At least the Obama FCC has a plan that includes some role for the consumer, other than being at the wrong end of every corporate media-mogul's wish for personal enrichment and monopolization of markets. Hats off to Obama for grasping the importance of improving the underlying technological infrastructure of America. Its nice to see an FCC that at least can do something besides protect us from Janet Jackson's breasts.

Re:Governments never reduce costs (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494678)

It depends on the government and the business. In a free market, business almost always does save the customer money. In a natural monopoly like utilities, roads, bridges, etc, you're going to pay through the nose if privately owned.

An example is two electric companies, CWLP and Amerin here in Illinois. Amerin's rates are far higher than CWLP's, who provide the cheapest power in the state. Amerin's customer service is abysmal, CWLP's is excellent. When two F-2 (almost F-3) tornados tore through CWLP-served Springfield, we had power restored in our devastated neighborhood in a week; houses that had their roofs impaled by their neighbors' roofs had electricity back long before the roof was fixed, and the electrical infrastructure was completely destroyed, requiring replacement of every pole, wire, and transformer. When a weak F1 passed through Amerin-served Cahokia across the river from St Louis, my friend Jeff was without power for over a month. I visited him a week after his tornado, and the only evidence one had gone through was his lack of electricity.

To paraphrase Lilly Tomlin's "Ernestine", "We're the electric company. We don't HAVE to." Amerin is only beholden to its stockholders, since their customers have no other choice for electricity. OTOH if CWLP's service is bad, the Mayor loses his job; the customers/citizens own CWKP.

CWLP not only doesn't use tax money, it actually turns a profit for the city, keeping taxes lower. Since my experience with the tornados [slashdot.org] , I've advocated that all utilities be taken over by city and county governments. Keep government out of construction and fast food, but do away with private-owned utilities. A monopoly doesn't follow free market rules.

Government Services (4, Insightful)

Akido37 (1473009) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493780)

The Government provides a service - in this case, asking/forcing someone else to provide a service - and people are shocked that it will cost money? What kind of Communist paradise do these people live in where Government doesn't cost anything?


Everybody wants services (public schools, Medicare, military, etc), nobody wants to pay taxes.

Re:Government Services (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31493906)

no no no, you are missing the point. It isn't that there is a *cost* it is that we are being double billed that is the issue. We fund the broadband deployment with taxes and then pay for the "service" they give us.

Re:Government Services (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31493934)

All you need is an economic view on government services!

Military won't just liberate foreign countries, but loot them, too - that way, there's not just a cost center "US Army", but a profit center "US Army", too.
Medicare sells organs, and public schools start doing labor days: They provide the kids with some work experience, and at the same time bring in money!

Wait, not a good idea? Hm..

Re:Government Services (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31493962)

Not everybody. I don't want public schools or medicare.

Re:Government Services (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494080)

What kind of Communist paradise do these people live in where Government doesn't cost anything?

These people don't live in a 'Communist paradise' but they do call themselves "Democrats."

Re:Government Services (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494196)

No, when Democrats do something big, it might waste money, but at least part of the plan works. This is clearly a Republican idea since the money will be going to the broadband providers and no one will see an increase in speed.

Re:Government Services (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494136)

The Government provides a service - in this case, asking/forcing someone else to provide a service - and people are shocked that it will cost money? What kind of Communist paradise do these people live in where Government doesn't cost anything? Everybody wants services (public schools, Medicare, military, etc), nobody wants to pay taxes.

I have 20/20 MB optic line in my house for 26E a month.

My city has 10.000 inhabitants, so the price for fiber optic in a bigger environment should be even cheaper.

Re:Government Services (1)

colinRTM (1333069) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494300)

Where do you live? Here in the Netherlands my 16/1 MB DSL costs me 40 Euros a month :(

Re:Government Services (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494216)

Actually a communist paradise DOES cost money. You earn it - the government takes it and "serves" you with free grocery stores (with long lines), free housing (with 10 people squeezed inside), free apartments (the size of a dorm room), and on and on. Just see Soviet Union circa 1980.

As for this broaband plan:

I still don't see why it's my responsibility to fund a fiber optic hookup for some farmer living in the middle of noplace (the Wyoming/Idaho border for example). There's a much cheaper way to get broadband out there, and it will be done in typical free market efficiency (read: as cheap as possible), rather than through the corruption of government employees that spend most of their day surfing the net (see my job at the FAA):

- Congress mandates that Verizon/ATT/whoever must provide DSL to any customer that requests it.
- WAIT. If the farmer is happy with dialup, then he keep dialup, but if he requests highspeed then:
- Verizon installs a DSLAM. The phone lines are already there. so it should be a simple 1-2 day job. Like so: Fiber--> DSLAM--> serves neighborhood/rural district

If the local company balks at the expense, remind them they received billions from the 1996 Telecommunications Act, and suggest they use that money to buy those ~$1000 DSLAMs. I think that's a MUCH better solution than some Amtrak-style government program. I certainly can't afford to have my taxes raised (again). And my children/grandchildren can't afford to payoff the soon-to-be ~$200,000 per home government debt*. We need to spend LESS money, not more, else we'll soon endup like Greece or Iceland.
.

>>>Everybody wants services (public schools, Medicare, military, etc),

Not correct. I don't want a government-run school that teaches me kids to sing, "Barack Hussein Obama (or George Dubya Bush). He'll save our land. Mmmm mmmm mmmm". Neither do I want Medisuck or social insecurity that increases healthcare costs (paperwork and labor). In my opinion ALL of this should be eliminated and replaced with private, customer-run services with a "safety net" to help the bottom 2-3% that can't afford to pay the bill. So..... definitely not "everyone" as you claimed.

I'm pro-choice.
Government is anti-choice.
It's monopoly.
:-)

*
* Estimated debt per home in 2020 according to the CBO.

Re:Government Services (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494288)

>>>my job at the FAA

I thought maybe I should expand on this. I used to work for the FAA... part of a 4 man team. I received a year of pay, but did only 2 months of actual work. The rest of the time I and my colleagues surfed the net, or read magazines, or whatever. On top of that we got expensive boondoggle trips with $115 hotel rooms that had free room service, et cetera.

And as I looked around, I noticed that other FAA workers were doing the same thing: Surfing the net. When my one-year stint was up I asked my boss, "Why did you hire 4 guys when there was so little work?" and he replied, "I had a little over $1 million to spend and didn't want it to go back to Congress, so instead I spent it." I realized this is what a government job entails - waste.

That same kind of waste will be involved in this Uncle Sam-run broadband organization too. And it's inherent in nearly all government-run programs.

Re:Government Services (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494530)

Where could I get a job like that? I'd go to work, do the little real work, then work on things in my free time. There are plenty of open source apps I want to fix up. There's nothing like getting paid for what you want to do. If you wasted the money by surfing the net, it's your fault for not being more productive with it. I'm not saying one has to do open source stuff, but I'm sure one can figure out a productive, helpful use of one's time.

Re:Government Services (1)

dalesyk (302267) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494280)

Everybody wants services? Many people disagree. Many people want a very limited government the provides only the very basics (security, some infrastructure, etc).
Nobody wants to pay taxes? Many people will may reasonable taxes for basic items, but don't want to pay excessively to fund government handouts.

Re:Government Services (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494446)

"Many people will may reasonable taxes for basic items, but don't want to pay excessively to fund government handouts."

That strongly depends on whether the handouts are to them.

Re:Government Services (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494428)

What kind of Communist paradise do these people live in where Government doesn't cost anything?

California. Prop 13 [wikipedia.org] and St Reagan say so.

Re:Government Services (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494676)

The Government provides a service - in this case, asking/forcing someone else to provide a service - and people are shocked that it will cost money? What kind of Communist paradise do these people live in where Government doesn't cost anything?

Everybody wants services (public schools, Medicare, military, etc), nobody wants to pay taxes.

I find your ideas intriguing and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:Government Services (1)

Mostly Harmless (48610) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494728)

Personally, I have no problem paying for the services I use (and a little here and there to help those in need is ok, too). The problem is, I pay income tax. Some of that money is going to the ISPs, etc. Then I pay state/local taxes which also partially fund ISPs. Then I pay additional taxes attached to my broadband/cable/telephone bill. Then there's the broadband bill itself. Oh, and my cable/telephone/wireless bills are increased because carriers can't afford broadband on its own. So fine, I'm willing to pay extra taxes if it's going to significantly improve my broadband experience, but somewhere along the line I know I'm going to be [double | triple | quadruple | etc.] charged, and that's not right.

Re:Government Services (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494776)

If it just saves just one bureaucrat from having to change jobs to go to the private sector where pay and benefits are so much lower than from the government, then it's worth it! (Well to them, anyway.)

Rural areas (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31493792)

Consider that wiring urbanized areas is quite straightforward due to the availability of labour as well as the preexisting infrastructure. Wiring rural areas is a tough task, where often services are provided for an outright financial loss. Even in countries such as New Zealand where the enlongated geography and coastal towns mean that in principle there is only a short distance for cable to run, laying infrequently used cable in remote areas makes it unattractive.

In such cases broadcasters ought to accommodate wireless services, and probably a good argument can be made for compulsory acquisition of airwaves.

Death of broadcasting? (2, Insightful)

MacAndrew (463832) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493878)

When they talk about the warring parties, there doesn't seem to be enough discussion of the death of free (ad-driven or public, but no access fee) broadcasting. Much of the focus, with some lip service to expanding access to broadband, seems to be on wringing as much profit out of the limited spectrum as possible rather than the maximum benefit to all of us from what is basically a natural resource. I don't like the idea of private industry snapping up control and then renting it back to us. How long before the old rabbit ear antennas are quaint and $50/month service is required? The Internet is a vital alternative for many things, but it is far from cheap or independent itself. I for one am feeling more and more "owned" by the access providers and would like to hear a lot more about ubiquitous free Wifi -- in the cities and the boondocks -- and such, as common and cheap as electricity.

Re:Death of broadcasting? (2, Insightful)

Grygus (1143095) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493982)

When they talk about the warring parties, there doesn't seem to be enough discussion of the death of free (ad-driven or public, but no access fee) broadcasting. Much of the focus, with some lip service to expanding access to broadband, seems to be on wringing as much profit out of the limited spectrum as possible rather than the maximum benefit to all of us from what is basically a natural resource. I don't like the idea of private industry snapping up control and then renting it back to us. How long before the old rabbit ear antennas are quaint and $50/month service is required? The Internet is a vital alternative for many things, but it is far from cheap or independent itself. I for one am feeling more and more "owned" by the access providers and would like to hear a lot more about ubiquitous free Wifi -- in the cities and the boondocks -- and such, as common and cheap as electricity.

"Free" broadcast is alive and well - online. Rabbit ear antennas were quaint fifteen years ago. Internet access in many areas is already as common and nearly as cheap as electricity. Being owned by service providers has been happening your entire life; if the electric company suddenly tripled their rates, what would you do besides complain and pay it?

Re:Death of broadcasting? (1)

MacAndrew (463832) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494044)

Actually I have a generator. :) And the analogy is limited: Electricity is a commodity that you actually consume. The airwaves are more like free speech. Electricity is about quality of life, communication about quality of mind. As for rabbit ears (and rooftop antennas), currently MILLIONS of homes in the US get their signals that way, including HD. I use it here sometimes with an eyeTV adapter. (And millions still have dial-up. Honest.)

Re:Death of broadcasting? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494218)

If not for the clueless pretense of suburbanite conspicuous consumers and the
nonsense of their assocated HOAs, I could put up a nice rooftop antenna that
would yield me signal & image quality that blow away any other option.

The penny pinching mentality of corporations typically means that any local
signal carried by a cable provider is degraded considerably. What they try
to call HD is kind of sad when compared to the real thing.

When it comes to TV, an antenna is actually the more sophisticated option.

Re:Death of broadcasting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494276)

Check the laws--the HOAs (or local jurisdictions) can't prohibit you from putting up an antenna to pick up TV. They may scream, but they will lose in court.

Re:Death of broadcasting? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494464)

If not for the clueless pretense of suburbanite conspicuous consumers and the
nonsense of their assocated HOAs, I could put up a nice rooftop antenna that
would yield me signal & image quality that blow away any other option.

FCC regulations prevent a HOA from disallowing an exterior television antenna. They can write it into their contract if they like, but it still doesn't trump federal law.

Re:Death of broadcasting? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494580)

The 1996 Telecommunications Act nullified all housing contracts that ban antennas or satellite dishs. So you can erect either of those on your roof. More info can be found here: http://www.highdefforum.com/local-hdtv-info-reception/2922-discussion-hdtv-ota-reception.html [highdefforum.com]
.

>>>if the electric company suddenly tripled their rates, what would you do besides complain and pay it?

I'd turn off the heat in every room except my main living room and supplement it with portable heaters in the bath or bedroom that can be turned on/off as needed. - As a customer I have the power to control my spending and reduce costs. As a taxpayer that power is in the hands of the 535 men in D.C., and effectively makes me a serf to their whims.

Re:Death of broadcasting? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494458)

>>>"Free" broadcast is alive and well - online.

That's NOT free. You have to pay a monthly bill, and if you go over ~250 gigabytes per month (which would be easy to do if internet == television in your home), then you have to pay even more money.

In contrast my broadcast television has NO monthly free and I get all of these channels:
MAIN channels:
2 (BaltimoreTV)
3 (ion)
6 (news)
8 (NBC)
10 (Xena, Hercules, and other 90s classic)
11 (syndicated/independent shows)
12 (PhillyTV)
13 (baseball)
15 (CW)
17 (MyNetworkTV)
21 (ABC)
27 (CBS)
33 (PBS)
35 (MIND)
43 (fox)
45 (sports)
48 (tbn)
49 (family)
51 (ads)
57 (reruns)
61 (ion)
65 (univision)

SUBchannels (X-2, X-3, X-4, X-5)
Wellness
This movie channel
Weather
NBC Sports
PBSkids
PBSinfo
PBSarts
RetroTV
IndiaTV
WorldTV
Megahertz (world news)
FOX News (local 24 hour news)
Smile of a Child (SOAC)
JCTV (music vids)
TBN Spanish
Telemundo

So that's what? About 40 channels? And they are all free-of-charge and takeup very little space on the spectrum (about 0.4 gigahertz). I don't see any reason to kill off broadcast, free TV as some companies like Microsoft, Google, and Apple want to do.

Re:Death of broadcasting? (0)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494744)

If people weren't so selfish and would open their wifi networks (throttling when needed, or disconnecting those who abuse it), everyone in every metropolis could have free internet.

State run telecoms are AWESOME (4, Insightful)

Neuticle (255200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493898)

Having lived in and visited countries with largely state-run telecom industry and then come home to the USA, I think it should be painfully obvious to all that government does not do a good job at running telecommunications. I know this isn't an attempt at running a telecom, but it sounds like they are going to screw the pooch just by trying to influence the market. The power of the FCC to f-things up is just that immense.

And I'm going to punch the next person that tells me "Broadband is a right". The hell it is. It is a good, a service that must be paid for, same as healthcare. You can not have a right to something that is non-free. Now I'm open to discussion on whether the state should pay for people to have a certain good, but see the above on how well states run telecoms.

Re:State run telecoms are AWESOME (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31493994)

Having lived in and visited countries with largely state-run telecom industry and then come home to the USA, I think it should be painfully obvious to all that government does not do a good job at running telecommunications.

Think about what you've just said there. Based on your own personal experiences with something, it should be "painfully obvious" to everyone else (i.e., those who have not had your personal experiences) what some end result is. That's a MAJOR logical disconnect, which as far as I'm concerned, renders anything else you might say entirely moot.

Re:State run telecoms are AWESOME (1)

Neuticle (255200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494204)

Posting anon because you're new here? Here's a tip: If you're going to read Slashdot comments like it's a formal debate, you ought to just leave now.

My point still stands. The world is replete with examples of how state-run telecoms stagnate until private competition is allowed. Google is your friend.

Re:State run telecoms are AWESOME (0, Flamebait)

Akido37 (1473009) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494162)

You can not have a right to something that is non-free.

Tell that to the NRA.

Re:State run telecoms are AWESOME (1)

Neuticle (255200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494260)

I know this is probably a troll...

The right to bear arms is the right to be able to own a gun, which is a free thing. It is not the right to have a gun provided to you, in the same way the government doesn't owe you a printing press for your right to free speech.

Re:State run telecoms are AWESOME (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494404)

I've heard a lot of propaganda that private ownership of firearms is a bad idea because healthcare costs are higher, criminal activity involving guns is expensive, sort of an arms race with the local ss/cops. I'm not sure I believe any of it, but supposedly, the right to own guns results in a lot of money "wasted".

Personally I think gun registration and most of the nearly infinite collection of gun laws are unconstitutional, regardless, they exist, and if we banned ownership of guns we wouldn't have to waste money on those systems.

Our ancestors, and most of the current population, are willing to pay the money none the less. So his argument still stands.

Re:State run telecoms are AWESOME (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494738)

Yes let's Prohibit gun ownership.
It ought to work as well as the Prohibition
of marijuana and alcohol worked.

I think you've forgotten the prime reason to own guns is to scare politicians into submission. Imagine how Tiannemen Square might have ended differently if the Chinese citizens were armed and therefore had the power to topple the government. Read this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warsaw_Ghetto_Uprising [wikipedia.org] - You might say "They weren't successful" but I disagree. They killed a lot of valuable German soldiers.

While the government might have tanks, it cannot stand against millions of armed citizens.

Re:State run telecoms are AWESOME (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494174)

And I'm going to punch the next person that tells me "Broadband is a right". The hell it is. It is a good, a service that must be paid for, same as healthcare.

There are some regulatory hassles, but pretty much anyone can buy land and build a dr office on it.

On the other hand, I can't think of any broadband provider who does not have easements to steal the use of property, a government granted monopoly to sell in a market, or use the public's wireless spectrum for private profit, or simply sponge off/resell someone else whom does so.

That's the difference. Broadband is not a free market by any means so its pointless to pretend that it is. Take Take Take from the public, the least the public should ask for is universal service and a nicely regulated price. If the drooling masses want to dramatically simplify that to "broadband is a right" that's more or less close enough.

You can not have a right to something that is non-free.

Like free speech, or equal protection under the law, or not quartering soldiers in private homes without the owner's consent? That's expensive compared the alternatives, but our ancestors decided the costs were worth it. You can always move to Somalia if you think that would be a paradise on earth.

Re:State run telecoms are AWESOME (2, Insightful)

Neuticle (255200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494374)

I agree that sanctioned monopolies are bad, competition universally brings lower prices and better service. As for right of way access and easements, do you think that if we charged companies for that, they would not just pass the cost on to customers? Also, companies pay the government for spectrum, they don't get it free for commercial use.

Like free speech, or equal protection under the law, or not quartering soldiers in private homes without the owner's consent? That's expensive compared the alternatives, but our ancestors decided the costs were worth it. You can always move to Somalia if you think that would be a paradise on earth.

You do realize all those things you listed are perfectly free? As are the right to not be subject to unreasonable searches and the right not to incriminate yourself.

Re:State run telecoms are AWESOME (1)

DarkTempes (822722) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494684)

If we charged companies for those things they would not provide services in areas where it was not economical (which is what currently happens anyway). The only reason everyone has access to telephone lines is because the government decided that telephone service was a necessary utility like water or electricity and subsidized it with taxpayer dollars.

The FCC now considers broadband Internet to be a necessary utility. I think 'free' public Internet would probably be a bad idea but I understand where the FCC is coming from in the desire to make telecoms provide better broadband services to more citizens.

In reality we have a bunch of regional broadband monopolies or duopolies. Wishing that we didn't won't change that reality. Why should they want to upgrade infrastructure if it won't earn them more money?

Re:State run telecoms are AWESOME (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494730)

As for right of way access and easements, do you think that if we charged companies for that, they would not just pass the cost on to customers?

There are some fees already. The governments agreed upon dollar value probably has no relationship with my losses. Essentially the govt collects money and keeps it in the name of my hassles. I highly suspect the dollar value is mostly selected by corruption.

Also, companies pay the government for spectrum, they don't get it free for commercial use.

Its my spectrum the company is selling, and they're keeping the money. Slashdot car analogy is, I sell your car, and also keep all the money, and you get ... nothing. Its basically an automotive "chop shop" analogy. We're rapidly nearing the point where most money to run the govt comes from loans as opposed to taxes, so the old argument about saving tax money isn't very valid anymore. Besides, if the only argument you have is "saves tax money" then the govt should get (more) involved in the drug and human trafficking industries, since those seem pretty profitable.

You do realize all those things you listed are perfectly free? As are the right to not be subject to unreasonable searches and the right not to incriminate yourself.

Nope, not perfectly free at all, none of them.

Free speech is expensive because it prevents the govt from doing whatever it wants without at least trying to persuade the population, expensive cloak and dagger stuff, or expensive bread and circuses stuff.

Equal protection under the law results in a terribly expensive legal system complete with public defenders, vs the cheap solution of the king just saying "off with his head", or the cops just executing people on a whim.

If you think military bases are built for free, and/or troops living in your house would be no cost to you, then you're right, the 3rd amendment is zero cost.

Finally, most cop movies seem to make the point that following the rules and respecting criminals rights is slow and ineffective = costs money. Of course they always call it respecting "criminals rights" never "civil rights" because cops never make the mistake of going after a non-criminal civilian, right?

It would be pretty interesting to come up with a dollar cost for each amendment.

Re:State run telecoms are AWESOME (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494806)

>>>Broadband is not a free market by any means so its pointless to pretend that it is.

No it isn't but that could be easily fixed by allowing other companies access to the government-owned metal pipes under the street. Why should Comcast and Verizon be the only ones to run lines??? I say let other companies such as Cox, Cablevision, ATT, AppleTV, and so on run lines also.

Then each customer will have a choice of ~10 companies and there will be true competition instead of duopoly.

Re:State run telecoms are AWESOME (1)

eremos (526869) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494228)

Would you say electricity and water are rights? Waste disposal? You pay for those. Anyway, even if you don't consider access to good infrastructure a right, it's definitely still a Good Idea. Not having that access will hold a society back.

Re:State run telecoms are AWESOME (4, Informative)

Jawn98685 (687784) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494304)

Having lived in and visited countries with largely state-run telecom industry and then come home to the USA, I think it should be painfully obvious to all that government does not do a good job at running telecommunications. I know this isn't an attempt at running a telecom, but it sounds like they are going to screw the pooch just by trying to influence the market. The power of the FCC to f-things up is just that immense.

And I'm going to punch the next person that tells me "Broadband is a right". The hell it is. It is a good, a service that must be paid for, same as healthcare. You can not have a right to something that is non-free. Now I'm open to discussion on whether the state should pay for people to have a certain good, but see the above on how well states run telecoms.

Erm..., you've got it wrong. In parts of the U.S. the electrical (and other) utilities are operated by a government entity, a "public utility district" or P.U.D. In other places, the electrical utilities, at least, are run by profiteers. Guess which system works better? And by better, we mean cheaper, more reliable, and of higher quality. That's right, all of the above. The reason for this is simple - accountability. In a marketplace that defines a natural monopoly, the mythical "invisible hand" of market economics is, de facto, not in play. Consumers can't shop for a better deal and, not being share holders, have no other influence on the provider. The P.U.D. customer, on the other hand, has the equivalent of share holder status. He/she has a vote that will elect the officials who will run the "company". The officials' jobs are tied to the customers' satisfaction above all else. And guess what? It works.

So why should telecom be any different? Socialize the ownership and operation of the infrastructure, and let the market, now open to all via that infrastructure, determine what sells and what doesn't.

Re:State run telecoms are AWESOME (1, Informative)

Neuticle (255200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494594)

I wasn't talking about electrical or water utilities. Those do tend to be natural monopolies where competition is not feasible*, but telecommunications is most certainly NOT in that category. Competition is easily possible, and it works. There are towns near me that have multiple cable providers and they get lower prices than I do, because I'm stuck with a city-granted monopoly, or much slower DSL. Why cities keep up these agreements is beyond me.

*Although with electricity being all one grid, at my last place I had the option to buy my electricity from a "renewable energy" company. It cost more, but I'm guessing that had more to do with it's source than with any fee they paid to the owner of the powerlines.

Re:State run telecoms are AWESOME (2, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494476)

You can not have a right to something that is non-free.

Sure you can. Public defense attorneys, jury trials, and other requirements of the Constitution definitely aren't free.

Re:State run telecoms are AWESOME (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494560)

I do believe access to the internet is a right, same as you have the right move and buy pretty much what you choose. Transportation and goods cost money, however, so I don't know where you got the notion that everyone should get free broadband.

Why is it a right, then? Because nobody should be able to bar you from using the internet for your everyday stuff.

Re:State run telecoms are AWESOME (1)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494724)

I'm not entirely sure I agree with you.

To begin with, having lived in a country with an appalling semi-privatized used to be government run telecom(Australia and Telstra) and having lived in a country with an appalling fully privatized telecom(USA and SBC) I can't say I've noticed a huge amount of difference. Large telecom companies are pretty universally appalling in my experience be they state run, private run, or somewhere in between, apparently in order to run or work for a large telecom you have to sell your soul, at least for the duration of the working day. They're just not pleasant enterprises. I suppose you could argue that there's no such thing as a small government telecom whereas some small private telecoms do exist, but that's sort of thin.

Secondly, while governments do a pretty bloody awful job at running telecoms(like private industry), having anyone but governments pay for building telecom infrastructure ends up being a gigantic disaster with redundant infrastructure, high costs, and poor coverage. Infrastructure is expensive and private companies don't share voluntarily. That means no small telecoms and generally speaking two or three mediocre fibre roll outs instead of one good one.

As for the Broadband is a right thing, I don't think it is, however studies seem to indicate that it provides some rather amazing social and economic benefits and doing expensive things that have huge economic and social benefits over the long term, but which don't turn short term profits are kind of what we have governments for because lord knows no one else will do them.

Health Care on the other hand is a bit different. Without health care, people tend to die or become financially ruined and dependent on the state and/or charity for survival. Those are some pretty damned serious consequences and at least border on being basic rights. The above arguments regarding long term or intangible payoffs and the inability of private enterprise to adequately realize them also comes into play. Health Care would be a lot cheaper if we didn't have to try and turn it into a short term profit generator.

Re:State run telecoms are AWESOME (1)

flitty (981864) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494742)

"Broadband as a right" should be as much a right as guns are. If you want to buy a connection to the internet, you should be able to get one. If the government needs a $5 subsidy from all people connected to the internet to pay for such a right, it's about time. The internet is becoming such a backbone to society that we should view it like electricity or water or sewage.

Also, this isn't a "state run" plan. It's paying a tax to subsidize corporations to provide the service, much like landline phone companies are forced to provide cheap phone connections to those who can't pay.
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/lllu.html [fcc.gov]

Re:State run telecoms are AWESOME (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494796)

And I'm going to punch the next person that tells me "Broadband is a right".

I hope you're a kung-fu black belt, because since a recent survey said 80% do consider it a right (even though I don't), you're going to be vastly outnumbered.

Soshalism!!!! (1)

xigxag (167441) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493920)

I'm sorry, but do you mean to say that I may have to pay as much as $5-$10/month more in hard left socialist taxes for my broadband speed to increase by 1500%? Not gonna happen, America.

Re:Soshalism!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494064)

If you compare the cost and performance of broadband today to what it was 10 years ago, the $5 increase in price for a 1500% increase in speed is absurd. Let private industry compete, you'll get far more than a 1500% increase for a fraction of the price.

Re:Soshalism!!!! (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494240)

It's more like FORCE private industry to compete.

If you leave private industry alone they will just stay with the monopoly driven status quo.

Re:Soshalism!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494094)

As opposed to the corporate tax that you currently pay that goes into the corporate coffers...

What about the backbones and the servers? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493938)

"The FCC set a long-term goal of 100 million households with connections of 100 megabits per second"

I remember seeing that statement somewhere else (I think it was ArsTechnica.com [arstechnica.com] ), and I can't help but wonder how the FCC thinks that will help consumers if the Internet backbones and servers don't also get improved? Here's what I mean - my local Telco recently rolled out fiber to my apartment building, so I now have a 10Mbs/2Mbs Internet connection - not blazingly fast by any means, but a nice bump up from the 5M/768k connection I previously had with DSL. Anyhow, what I've noticed is that, sometimes I get faster download/upload speeds, but with a lot of servers, I'm not coming anywhere close to fully utilizing the available bandwidth on my connection, because somewhere in the connection (whether it's the server, or some link in-between, I really don't know for sure), something is bandwidth-limited.

It seems to me that any governmental push to increase the speed of service for 100 Million households requires that not only do you upgrade the 'last mile' connection, but there needs to be a focus on getting the backbones and servers on faster connections too. Without that, it's kind of pointless, isn't it? I don't think I'd have any *use* for a 100Mbps Internet connection since almost no servers anywhere are going to be able to consistently feed me data at even a significant fraction of that speed.

Also, since ISPs typically give you a very small fraction of the upload speed compared to your download speed (Coming Soon! 100Mbps Ultra-Broadband Internet!* [fine print: upload speeds of 6Mbps]), users can't really even provide content to *each other* at anywhere close to that rate. So, what am I supposed to do with 100Mbps? I suppose if you have 5 people using computers all at once in your home/apartment/small office, it might be nice that they each 'get their own' 20Mbps, but what is the drive for this particular number? What's so special about 100Mbps?

Re:What about the backbones and the servers? (1)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493988)

A couple years ago I had 6Mbs cable and I only ever reached top speed when I hit a local server. With no one else using the connection I could usually only hit around 4Mbs. I know what I could use 100Mbs for but that wouldn't last very long because my hard drive would fill up pretty quickly.

some servers are rate limited so 1 download can't (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494018)

some servers are rate limited so 1 download can't max it out and so others can get a good speed as well.

Re:What about the backbones and the servers? (1)

magamiako1 (1026318) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494182)

Keep in mind that this type of connection isn't necessarily for the current "client-server" model that we're used to today. Not to mention that not all data "requires" a 100Mbit connection.

Imagine having HD surveillance of your house at all times? Imagine being able to stream HD x264 encoded content across multiple TVs and devices in your house? Or being able to access your movie library while over a friend's house?

Instead of the hosted servers, you can run your own services and devices from your own home internet connection.

And there are a whole lot more things that we haven't even thought of yet that this could allow.

Re:What about the backbones and the servers? (2, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494330)

What's so special about 100Mbps?

Its "a couple TVs worth of Hi Def video" aka competition for the cable providers.

Its a nice simple power of ten of a number. You can get into long tedious arguments about specially recoding feeds into H.264 at this parameter and that parameter blah blah. However, 10 Mbps is pretty borderline, and 1G is way the heck more than necessary, the convenient power of 10 in the middle happens to be 100 Mbps.

Also the folks involved are all slow moving dinosaurs. You know that bit about hit the brontosaurus tail and it takes 5 seconds for the slow nerve response to go to the brain, or whatever it was we were taught as kids? Well, when these clowns got started fast ethernet was widespread and gig-E was too new to bother considering. So with the home computing infrastructure we had, it seemed pointless to request anything above 100M. Much like it would be silly to daydream of requesting 100-Gig for home use at this instant, since there is no 100-Gig gear marketed for home use (made in china for $5, sold at best buy and walmart for $50, drool proof configuration, zero maintenance, etc)

Re:What about the backbones and the servers? (3, Insightful)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494486)

The same argument was used when the US Interstate highway system was built decades ago. We already had highways linking the various major cities; why do we need these big limited access highways? Decades ago when the first bypass Interstate highways were built in the middle of open county around metro areas the discussions were equally argumentative -- who would ever need such a highway? Who would provide services for travelers on these roads?

Decades may be required before the average person needs 100Mbps. And some of the original architecture and 100Mbps equipment will fail to meet future needs [ analogy attempt: compare a cloverleaf intersection in Ohio with the newly built High Five intersection in Dallas]

One of the functions of government is to provide very long term goals and infrastructure measured in decades which private industry cannot meet -- and which most people cannot comprehend.

Sigh (2, Informative)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 4 years ago | (#31493942)

I've been following news and speculation surrounding the plan for the better part of a year now. There were numerous tell-tale signs that this was going to be a flop, like Blair Levin, the head of the NBP team, discounting the importance of line-sharing, despite it being touted as the single-most effective means of promoting competition in the ISP industry by a Harvard-Berkman study commissioned by the FCC.

Also, Dave Burstein is amazing. The guy knows more about telecom than anyone else in Washington. I highly recommend you read his website at DSLPrime.com

Re:Sigh (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494256)

I haven't been following this closely, but I could tell it was going to be a major loss for the American people. There are a couple of reasons. One, many of the people who do not have broadband connections to the Internet do not have them because they do not see them as being valuable enough to be worth the price. Two, this Administration has so far demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of how business works and therefore was likely to conclude that this could be implemented by government fiat without any consideration of what it would really cost. There are several other reasons, but after the way that last one came out I realized that they couldn't be posted in a short comment without sounding like a troll.

Why do poor people need broadband internet (2, Insightful)

airwedge1 (1768544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494024)

Since when is broadband internet a right, and the government has to intervene to make sure everyone has it. That is total crap. It's literally stealing my money, and giving it to someone else.

Re:Why do poor people need broadband internet (-1, Troll)

magamiako1 (1026318) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494206)

I hope you're being sarcastic given the fact that your word choice is very simplistic and direct. Most people who truly believe this aren't quite as blunt.

Re:Why do poor people need broadband internet (2, Insightful)

debrisslider (442639) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494642)

Access to information is vital for being an informed member of society, and the government long ago decided it is worth subsidizing its availability. Don't think of it merely as access to the internet. We have libraries for free access to books, newspapers and magazines, government pamphlets/official documents, educational programs, public speakers and presentations, community cultural and political events, and even just intellectual hangouts. The internet is merely the world's best library, alongside being an economic juggernaut that is only going to drive more commerce in the future, and good broadband internet is a steal compared to the cost of bringing even a fraction of a decent metropolitan library's capacities to rural areas and the poor. The possibilities for furthering education (both k-12 and adult) alone should be good enough, as surely the increased tax base from an educated populace should more than pay for the subsidies, plus sometimes the government just isn't afraid of spending public money to ensure that the public can be informed about the government's activities; think how much money can be saved from having to print pamphlets, fliers, and forms. The internet isn't just for trolling forums and watching Youtube.

Isn't this just a LITTLE premature? (5, Insightful)

debrisslider (442639) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494084)

So the text has been out for several hours and this guy flipped through it (you can't honestly read 357 pages of children's fiction in that time, let alone government policy) enough to find a few stated ideas for taxes, and all of a sudden it's a net loss for consumers? When are those taxes going to take effect, and what is the inflation-adjusted amount in today's dollars? It's a lot easier to suggest taxes than to try and tell congress how to budget or regulate companies, so this statement of policy cannot honestly take into account any kind of subsidy that might be dreamed up by congress (save your complaints about how taxes pay for that, that's not the kind of cost we're talking about), nor any kind of price regulations that would decrease charges. A substantial part of the plan is supposed to be paid for by auctioning another part of the broadcast spectrum, and there's no way of knowing anything other than a ballpark estimate for that amount. It's not like this is anything other than the first public rough draft; items will change and funding will be battled over every day until the relevant budgets are passed.

Re:Isn't this just a LITTLE premature? (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494518)

He read more of it than any other legislature will, at least he's raising some questions, whether they're educated or not.

Maybe I can get broadband now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31494158)

Some of the people on here are acting all high and mighty, like the only people that can't get broadband don't deserve it or are too poor to afford it. I would guess that these people live on the coasts and very densely populated areas. There are parts of the country where large portions of towns and their outlying areas can't get any service. Companies like Qwest do not care. Qwest wants to charge 12.95 per month (beginning rate) for DSL, when your community tells Qwest you would pay $50 or more per month forgoing the introductory rate they say "I don't want your money."

My last hope has been for the government to step in where all of the local companies (telephone, cable, wireless) have refused to.

Last Mile (3, Insightful)

rlp (11898) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494370)

Here's what I would do: cities and towns provide the infrastructure for the last mile. They connect fiber to homes, schools, and businesses and run it to a neighborhood hub. In rural areas, counties could build towers for 4G wireless. Then the big carriers would connect to the hubs (multiple carriers per hub for maximum competition) and charge for service. Local government would be responsible for deploying and maintaining last mile service, private carriers would compete to supply internet connections and other services (telecomm, video) at the best possible prices. Of course, I don't expect any of this to actually happen ...

Re:Last Mile (3, Insightful)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494764)

Exactly, it should be the LOCAL governments that do this. If the local city/county wanted to pass a bond or even a sales tax increase to pay for it, I would vote for it. Especially since it's a lot easier to vote that lot out of office if they don't deliver than it is the people inside the Beltway.

Other things that may cost you money (1)

hobbestcat (473268) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494584)

Buying video games may cost you money
Eating food may cost you money
Having indoor plumbing may cost you money
Riding a bike may cost you money
Upgrading your video card may cost you money
Using toilet paper may cost you money

Why am I not surprised... (2, Insightful)

dwiget001 (1073738) | more than 4 years ago | (#31494616)

"...that the plan will cost most Americans money, and won't provide much if any relief to the poor."

When does the U.S. government do something that doesn't match the above?

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