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WSJ's Mossberg Calls For a Tougher Broadband Plan

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the top-down-dispensary dept.

Democrats 332

GovTechGuy writes "Wall Street Journal tech columnist Walt Mossberg thinks the FCC's national broadband plan is long overdue, but he criticized it for being vague on the details and too focused on expanding access into rural areas. Mossberg pointed out that what passes for broadband in the US wouldn't even qualify as such in many other developed countries. He also noted that Americans pay more per unit of broadband speed than our competitors. He called on the government to devote time and resources to making sure Americans have the broadband access they need to stay competitive in the 21st century global economy."

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Right on (2, Insightful)

PrecambrianRabbit (1834412) | more than 4 years ago | (#32945814)

I like this quote regarding expanding access to rural areas:

"That's like motherhood, everyone wants to vote for that and I certainly support that," Mossberg said. But there are two other issues that he said don't receive enough attention: speed and cost.

Rural access is definitely important, but the United States is predominantly urban and suburban these days, and we should be leading in broadband speeds, not following.

Re:Right on (3, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32945828)

>>>we should be leading in broadband speeds, not following.

We're not leading but we're not exactly falling behind either, when compared to other continent-spanning federations. #2 isn't a bad place to be:

Russian Federation 8.3 Mbit/s
U.S. 7.0
E.U. 6.6
Canada 5.7
Australia 5.1
China 3.0
Brazil 2.1
Mexico 1.1 Mbit/s

And if you prefer to look on a state-by-state basis of the EU, US, and Canada then you get:
1 Sweden 13 Mbit/s
2 Delaware, Romania,Netherlands,Bulgaria 12
3 Washington,Rhode Island 11
4 Massachusetts 10
5 New Jersey,Virginia,New Hampshire,New York
9
6 British Columbia,Colorado,Connecticut,Arizona, Slovakia 8 Mbit/s

We need faster interbutts (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32945860)

So that we can load goatse [goatse.fr] quicker.

Re:Right on (4, Informative)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#32945920)

Not sure where you'd have to live in Washington to get 11 megabits - when I lived in Seattle (Queen Anne) the only two providers were Comcast and Qwest - and with Qwest it was DSL 3 megabits (and a slow DSL at that - I never saw that kind of performance).

Now that I live in Oregon - 3 megabits is par for the course unless you want to spent a lot more money :( - and again - it rarely ever goes that fast.

However when my parents were living in Scotland (South Gyle Wynd to be specfic) they got 30 megabits/cable tv/phone for about 100 dollars a month - and it was very fast.

Yeah everywhere I've been to visit and stay with friends (mostly Europe) they have it much much better and are paying far less for more service.

Re:Right on (-1, Redundant)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32945984)

>>>Not sure where you'd have to live in Washington to get 11 megabits -

It's an AVERAGE people. I know you understand what that word means. Some people get less while others (like Redmond Washington residents) get more. It averages out to 11 Mbit/s overall.

>>>11 megabits

That's approximately how large Final Fantasy 4 was when released for the Super Nintendo/Famicom. The FF6 cartridge was 64 megabits.

Re:Right on (4, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946100)

It's an AVERAGE people.

It's a gimmick. Like saying Las Vegas slot machines are advertised to pay out 98% of what they take in.

Re:Right on (0, Offtopic)

WEqR0lDRR6I (1452367) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946104)

32 megabits, not 64, for Final Fantasy 6.

Re:Right on (2, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946396)

It's an AVERAGE people. I know you understand what that word means.

It can refer to a mean, a median, or a mode. It is equally valid to use the word "average" to describe all three.

It would seem that you are referring to the arithmetic mean. The GP may have been referring to the mode. That doesn't mean he's stupid or doesn't understand a widely-understood word.

Just something to think about the next time you feel irritated over a word that has multiple concurrent meanings.

Re:Right on (5, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946432)

It's an AVERAGE people.

No, it's not. It's an average of the maximum speed. It's as misleading as saying that the average American car speed is 150 mph.

To make it worse, that's only download speed. I hate to tell you, but if you have an asymmetric line like most Americans, the upload speed will only be a fraction of that.

Re:Right on (1, Informative)

JumperCable (673155) | more than 4 years ago | (#32945926)

Since when did the European Union become it's own country?

And now Sweden is comparable to a US state like Delaware? These are entire countries, not states or provinces.

Re:Right on (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946004)

>>>Since when did the European Union become it's own country?

Where did I say it was? Congrats on making a Strawman argument. The word I used was "federation" which is what the EU is. A federal union of 25 member states, just as the US is a federal union of 50 member states, or Canada is federal union of 15(?) member provinces.

Oh and yes "state" to describe Sweden is appropriate.
It's exactly the same word used on the EU website.
Check it out.

Re:Right on (3, Informative)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946156)

The term "member state" when used in the context of the EU refers to so-called "nation states" as opposed to US states. There are serious cultural differences between the different nations that make up the EU, not to mention that most countries have their own language and a long history of fighting with each other (not like US states who, with a few notable exceptions, have a history of pissing contests over random border lakes and the like).

Yes, there are forces in the EU who want to turn it into a country like the US but it's going kind of slow since even among politicians this is opposed by a lot of people.

Also, the population density of Delaware (top US state in that list) is 170.87/km^2, the population density of Sweden is on average 20.6/km^2 (the region I live in has a population density of 2.2/km^2). Sure, a large number of swedes live in the south but I personally live in the northern half of the country, I have a beautiful view of the mountains and a lake from my living room window and I have a 100/100 Mbps FTTH connection. The vast majority of swedes have access to faster connections than 13 Mbps, it's just that the "average joe" of the older generation generally goes with a dirt-cheap low-speed connection in the 1-8 Mbps range.

Re:Right on (-1, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946330)

>>>The term "member state" when used in the context of the EU refers to so-called "nation states" as opposed to US states.

Ditto the US Constitution. Read it sometime. Carefully. It gives the nation-states of the US the power to completely abolish the US, and go off on their separate routes. You are trying to make a difference where none exists.

The US and EU are more alike than different. Consider that 75% of laws are now passed, not by state parliaments, but by the central EU. We have a near-identical arrangement in the US.

Re:Right on (4, Interesting)

AigariusDebian (721386) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946392)

Ditto the US Constitution. Read it sometime. Carefully. It gives the nation-states of the US the power to completely abolish the US, and go off on their separate routes. You are trying to make a difference where none exists.

That would be false. Read up on the Civil War. All the Southern states wanted was to secede from the Union. Only Texas has that 'right' due to the peculiar way it joined the US.

The US and EU are more alike than different. Consider that 75% of laws are now passed, not by state parliaments, but by the central EU. We have a near-identical arrangement in the US.

All laws in Europe are written and passed by state parliaments. Some parts of some of the laws are written to satisfy the recommendations of the EU (issued as EU Directives), however there is a huge degree of variance between the laws that is allowed in the directives and sometimes the laws are written outside the specification of the directive and then the country and EU negotiate - EU could fine the country some amount of money or just forget the infraction if the country offers something else in return.

So before you go off and compare US and EU, better learn something about both.

Re:Right on (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946452)

You are cherry-picking your facts.

While most laws in the various nations that make up the EU originate from the EU the actual laws are written specifically for the individual countries by the respective countries' governments and a lot of times the EU only dictates that a law be made but keeps it fuzzy enough that laws can differ significantly between countries.

Also, once again, if you pick two random EU member states and compare them they differ a whole lot more than two US states. If you told a spaniard and a finn that they both lived in the same country they'd think you were nuts but you'd probably not get much of protest from a texan and a new yorker. Also, how many US states have hundreds of years of conflicts, alliances, entirely different cultural legacies, different languages (no, not "there are like, lots of them there mexican folk who don't speak english in California")?

Imagine if people in Ohio spoke Ohioan which belonged to a completely different family of languages than the Pennsylvanian spoken in Pennsylvania and the Indianian spoken in Indiana, that Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana had invaded, pillaged, betrayed and generally fought and hated each other for the last 500+ years and had their last war which killed millions only 60 or so years ago. The political and cultural situation is completely different, AT&T and Comcast aren't limited by the border between Florida and Georgia, sure the rules might be slightly different but they're both US companies. While a company like TeliaSonera does business in many countries both inside and outside of the EU they are still considered a swedish-finnish company (created through the merger of swedish Telia and finnish Sonera).

Re:Right on (-1, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946358)

P.S.

And yeah there are cultural differences, but I suspect they will all but disappear by 2050. And by 2100 people will identify themselves as Europeans without even mentioning where they came from.

If you don't believe me, consider that in my own state the common language was German. Everyone spoke it. It set us apart from the other US states but that difference gradually disappeared. The same process will happen within the EU

No, you're just full of shit. (1)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946282)

You just wanted to cherry pick your data.

The EU has recently accepted what are considered second and third world countries, many within the last 10 years [wikipedia.org] , including Bulgaria, Romania, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, etc. Just let me know - and provide some data, if you don't mind - exactly which US states have that level of GDP, poverty, and infrastructure.

You might as well throw in Iraq and Afghanistan into the US numbers and see how the averages work out then. We haven't added a state to our union since 1959.

Re:No, you're just full of shit. (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946482)

You just wanted to cherry pick your data.

The EU has recently accepted what are considered second and third world countries, many within the last 10 years [wikipedia.org] , including Bulgaria, Romania, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, etc.

Yeah, and we've got the Southeastern states. Pretty much makes us even.

Re:Right on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32946184)

Sorry, you are kinda wrong...

When they signed the Lisbon Treaty EU practically became one country.
Own currency.
There is an own President and Foreign Minister.
Sweden is comparable to just some state in the US nowadays.

Re:Right on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32946244)

Sweden decided not to use the euro, they still have their own currency, their own king, their own prime minister, their own foreign minister and so on.

Re:Right on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32946246)

Since when did the European Union become it's own country?

Sometimes.

Negotiate a trade deal? One big country.

Vote in the UN? Lots of separate countries.

Re:Right on (2, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32945982)

You're comparing US states to EU nations. If you break out the EU into it's member nations, the US drops to much lower than no 2 in broadband.

Re:Right on (1)

hawk16zz (960734) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946168)

... continent-spanning federations.

Learn to read and see where he's going with his post. He makes a very good point.

Re:Right on (2, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946412)

No he doesn't. For one thing, the 11mbps for WA is wrong. I live in Seattle, and I don't have access to a connection that fast. I'm not sure where the people are that get a connection that fast, but if I in the middle of the most populous city in the region can't get it at any price, then I think it's fair to say that it isn't the average.

Secondly, it's an abuse of the term average, as while it is an average, it doesn't indicate that in Sweden there's access to a much higher connection speed than here. It also doesn't indicate the cost or the reasons why people choose not to. Around here, you can't get that kind of speed without paying for leased lines, typical home owners can't have it.

Re:Right on (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946270)

>>>You're comparing US states to EU [states]

I suggest you stop being an idiot and read what the EU website says. It uses the word "states" and the EU is a far higher authority in the matter than either of us. I will defer to their expertise and their language.

Re:Right on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32946320)

please see mikael_j's post which deals with the different meanings of the word "state".

Re:Right on (3, Informative)

PrecambrianRabbit (1834412) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946084)

This list seems like cherry-picking. How do you define a "continent-spanning federation"? Not to mention, the United States is a much more coherent entity than the EU. Breaking out the individual US states in the second list is somewhat reasonable since there's obviously a good bit of regional variation, but you're leaving Asia out of the comparison there.

I wasn't trying to say (above) that US speeds suck, but for a nation that I thought prided itself on technical leadership, it should strive to do better.

Re:Right on (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946152)

I don't really think it is cherry-picking because those countries are in the main categories of the US, large countries with variation between tightly packed metropolitan areas and some areas with only a few human beings within a square mile. Of course countries like Japan and Korea are going to be ahead of the US because they have high population densities. Just look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population_density [wikipedia.org] for an example. For every mile of fiber you lay in Japan, many, many more people can use it than in the US where not even a single person might be able to use it. Take a drive through the midwest, there are many areas where you won't see hardly a single sign of humanity other than the roadsigns and the occasional billboard. For an added bonus try driving in the Dakotas or Wyoming. The USA is ranked 178th in population density, now compare that to 36th for Japan, and 22ndfor South Korea. The higher the population density the easier it is to justify the laying of cables because more and more people can use it for the amount you lay. At the moment, there is little benefit to laying 5 miles of fiber to reach a little town that has a population of 300. The density of some Asian countries mean that there rarely is that situation.

Re:Right on (1)

PrecambrianRabbit (1834412) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946308)

I understand the population density argument, but there are problems with it. Sweden, for example, has a lower population density than the US, but higher average speeds. Now, perhaps in Sweden everyone lives in a small metro area and there is a lot of land that is completely vacant. But, the US is quite similar. There's no reason to provide fast access to the vacant areas, because they're vacant. The one dude living in a shack in the middle of the Mojave desert is not really driving down the US average national broadband speed. By contrast, folks in dense metro areas in the US should be able to get speeds comparable to dense, urban nations. That doesn't seem to be happening, or at least there is much less high-end than what I hear of other nations.

Re:Right on (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946404)

>>>For every mile of fiber you lay in Japan

Japan mostly use 50 or 100 Mbit/s DSL. And yes it's because they are tightly packed with short phonelines. That's an advantage that would not have if they were huge in size like China or the US

Re:Right on (2, Insightful)

AigariusDebian (721386) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946414)

Cool, so how are the FTTH projects doing in New York? Chicago? LA? Other top 100 cities in the USA? They must have much higher population densities than Sweeden or Finland as a whole, so surely every larger USA city must have fiber to every home. Right?

Re:Right on (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946464)

Well, as far as I know, pretty well. Myself I live in a rural area so I get VDSL at about 24 Mbits/Sec but according to various sites, Verizon ViOS is doing pretty well in getting it to the coasts.

Re:Right on (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946388)

>>>you're leaving Asia out of the comparison there.

No I didn't. I included both China and Russia. I disqualified Japan because in scale its no bigger than Cuba. It's silly to compare a country that is only ~5 hours wide versus a federation like the US that takes 40-50 hours to drive across (and also has to deal with annoyances like mountains, deserts, and no easy access to ocean-going trunklines).

Re:Right on (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32946228)

I do believe you are confused my friend, I've lived in seven different locations throughout Massachusetts in the last two years, in a variety of situations. I've subscribed to the top-tier plans of Comcast and Verizon (both DSL and Fios) and I've never seen anything like 10mbit speeds. No, my best speed tests were on Fios, and it was between 3 and 4. What's the source for your information? Maybe, if nothing else, my friends and I (who also can't find speeds like that in Massachusetts where they live) will be able to see where exactly one of us should be moving towards, as we always use the place with the fastest internet connection for our gamer gatherings.

Re:Right on (4, Insightful)

coaxial (28297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946328)

Where are you getting these numbers? Where is Japan and Korea on this chart? Because they always top the other charts

Anyway, average total bandwidth is wrong metric to be using. What you want is average home bandwidth available, and average home bandwidth per dollar, or some other way of measuring how evenly distributed the bandwidth is among the population. Average is astupid because it makes no distinction between the apartment complex in Seoul, and the bums sleeping in Akamai's dumpster, since both groups have an average bandwidth of 45 Mb/s [worldpoliticsreview.com] . So what if in one case it's 10 people each with 45 Mb/s and in the other it's 1 person with 450 Mb/s and 9 people with 0 Mb/s?

It's transparent that average bandwidth is being used to whitewash over the inefficiencies in the American market when every other study places the oh about 33rd [dslreports.com] in the world, and all the ads are touting "super fast" 3 Mb/s links that rarely reach 2.5 Mb/s in practice.

It certainly appears that the free market has failed America once again. (And no one even start with rant that problem is too much regulation, when "socialist" Scandinavia kicks your ass, it ain't that.)

Re:Right on (1)

valnar (914809) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946350)

To be fair, most of the Eastern US states you specified are in Verizon territory and I would suspect FIOS territory which skews the results. FIOS speeds are an anomaly anywhere else in the USA. I'm in Ohio and I'm jealous.

Re:Right on (5, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946386)

The devil is in the details. The US numbers aren't for guaranteed speed, but for maximum speed, and only for download at that.

No, a 0-10 Mbps down / 0-768 kbps up line is NOT comparable to a 10 Mbps up+down line. But according to your above creative "statistics", it's the same.

Guaranteed speed is what you need to satisfy the "broadband" or "high speed" definitions in many countries; video streaming, for example, doesn't work too well unless you can guarantee a bit-rate. Which you can't with typical ADSL and cable lines.

The arguments for why the US can't provide the same speeds for the same price as European countries have been retold so many times that many Americans believe them. No, it's not because the US has such a low population density, or rural areas are so hard to reach. The Scandinavian countries have a by far lower population density, and more difficult terrain (only 2% of Norway is arable land, for example. Mountains and fjords don't make cable stretching easy, but they manage.)

The real reason is that here in the US, we are allergic to government regulations, and (incorrectly) believe that corporations do a better job. So we allow de-facto monopolies and duopolies to choose their own price and level of service, and the consumer has to take it or leave it. This is called freedom of choice.

In contrast, in socialist Norway, the typical customer can choose between several broadband providers, and owns the last few metres themselves. A cable or phone company can't claim that they own the wires and refuse others to use them. So you get real competition, higher service levels, and lower prices.
And I haven't read that any phone or cable providers over there have gone bankrupt over that either. Which means that ours are lying. Which shouldn't come as a big surprise.

It's time that we demanded something back for the $2 billion or so that was paid to the telcos at the end of the Clinton administration era, which supposedly should go to ensure broadband access to every American.
Instead, they fattened the wallets of stock holders and board members, cause there is no incentive for the telcos to increase their service as long as they don't have to compete.

Re:Right on (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946032)

but the United States is predominantly urban and suburban these days, and we should be leading in broadband speeds, not following.

Not really, and a few extra megabits don't make a huge difference. The entire point of having a national broadband system would be to make sure that the areas in the middle of nowhere get fast access because some don't think that the private enterprise can do it (which I disagree, which is a subject of an entirely different post why nationalized anything will harm economic development and jeopardize liberties...).

No one can efficiently run an internet-based company on dial-up (in 2010 anyways...). This ends up crippling economic development for that area. And in a lot of areas that can't get broadband, you either have spotty or no cell-phone coverage meaning that 3/4G Modems aren't an option.

When you are going from 54KB/sec to 1 Mbit/sec that is a huge leap forward. Going from 7 Mbit/sec to 14 Mbit/sec isn't too much of a real increase in noticeable speeds. There are few applications that need top-of-the-line internet access, on the other hand there are many applications where having latency-encumbered and capped satellite internet or slow dial-up is going to be a huge problem.

Re:Right on (1)

PrecambrianRabbit (1834412) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946140)

but the United States is predominantly urban and suburban these days, and we should be leading in broadband speeds, not following.

Not really,

Eh? Are you saying the US is not predominantly urban/suburban? Or were you contradicting some other part of the statement? The 2000 census breaks down the population as 80% urban, 20% rural. "Predominant" is subjective, but 80% seems so to me.

Re:Right on (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946234)

What I was meaning is that the greatest growth has to come from the rural area because the people there have fewer options and thus we should concentrate almost exclusively on the rural area because even a doubling of broadband speeds would result in an insignificant amount of output when compared with going from dial-up to broadband. I mean, there are few applications that you -can't- do with 7 Mbits/sec that you can do with 14 Mbits/sec, on the other hand 56 KB/sec speeds are pretty much unacceptable for anything other than light text-based reading and really unacceptable for any type of "e-commerce".

Re:Right on (1)

PrecambrianRabbit (1834412) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946352)

Ah, gotcha. I agree, there is some sense to that. Boosting the extremely low rural access speeds, even if that's a minority of the population, could be quite beneficial to the average. I still think the high-end needs work though; I hear of much higher speeds in other countries (a poster above mentioned 100 Mbps in Scotland) than anything I can get here.

Re:Right on (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946430)

>>>Are you saying the US is not predominantly urban/suburban?

Not according to the US FCC. They picked VSB for the digital television standard, instead of Europe's COFDM, specifically because they said the US is more rural than Europe, and VSB is better suited to that environment.

Re:Right on (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946440)

Are you saying the US is not predominantly urban/suburban? Or were you contradicting some other part of the statement? The 2000 census breaks down the population as 80% urban, 20% rural. "Predominant" is subjective, but 80% seems so to me.

That's some mighty fuzzy language there. One could as easily claim that the US is 90% rural and 10% urban/suburban. That is, if I were to drop you down at a random place in the US, chances are around 90% that you wouldn't see another human from where you were standing. There's a chance of about 1 in 4 that you wouldn't even see any signs of human habitation or construction.

Of course, you were probably talking about the population, not the area. But even there, you have to be a bit careful with your language. There are a lot of very densely populated central cities in which most of the population has either no Internet access past dialup, or can only get fast access via a local monopoly whose prices are far too high for much of the impoverished part of the population.

Of course, to much of the US's middle- and upper-class, educated population, and to most of the corporate world, the poor urban and rural areas don't exist and aren't worth noticing. There's not enough profit there to bother with.

Re:Right on (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946428)

Um, we can already do that, Hughesnet for instance can reach pretty much anybody in the US, provided they have a view of the southern sky. Not sure about the quality, but it's definitely broadband. Even if it's not top rate broad band or suitable for gaming.

Re:Right on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32946188)

Do rural areas really need broadband that bad? Surely we could edge-cache Faux News and those stupid-ass "Obama is teh DEVIL" forwards. Whole counties could get by on a 28.8 modem after that.

Re:Right on (1)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946494)

Mossberg isn't in a rural area so he doesn't know what he's missing. He's in a densely populated area. He's simply focusing on what will give him the most benefit. He disregards everyone else not in his same position.

Anything faster than Dialup is an improvement (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32945816)

1000 kbit/s is 40 times faster than what some rural residents currently have (28k or 33k analog). And it would be extremely easy to implement - just use the already-existing phone lines that lead in 99.9% of homes. All that's needed is to install the DSLAM and it's done. The entire US could be finished by 1/1/2012.

I've spoken to two people, who formerly had 26k and 33k respectively, and they love the new DSL. They jumped from those slow speed to 1500 and 3000 kbit/s respectively.

Re:Anything faster than Dialup is an improvement (1)

drachenstern (160456) | more than 4 years ago | (#32945832)

1000kbits is crap. Give me 4000kbits, PLEASE!

The problem is the telcos have no competition to spur innovation. As you said, the copper is already there...

Re:Anything faster than Dialup is an improvement (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32945866)

>>>1000kbits is crap.

That's just the proposed legal minimum. If you bothered to read my *whole* post, you'd see I talked about Rural people who had been upgraded to 1500 and 3000, which are the usual standards. That's a huge jump (100 times) compared to the Dialup speeds they used to have.

Oh and just for full disclosure: I have 700k. By choice. I could go higher, but don't think I need anything faster. Just like I don't think I need "a shiny red car. Shaped like a penis." (quoting Spike the vampire)

Re:Anything faster than Dialup is an improvement (1)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32945896)

If you can get a bit-directional 1Mbps line... that's darn close to a 1.5Mbps T1, which companies pay hundreds of dollars a month to get! A T1 is plenty for most small Internet business-related traffic, unless there's hosting going on locally or remote backups happening of multi-gigbytes of data.

Personally, I'd love an unfettered 1.5Mbps uplink, though I'd miss some of my 7Mbps down, I only get 768k up. That makes my local FTP server a little sluggish for remote file retrieval, especially if I'm steaming something from my home server to my phone.

Re:Anything faster than Dialup is an improvement (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32945946)

>>>768k up. That makes my local FTP server a little sluggish

Bah. When I ran my own BBS the upload speed was only 9 kbit/s (premium subscription; non-subscribers only got the standard 2k speed). I would have thought I had died and angels were sucking my ____ if I had a 768k uploading capability for my bulletin board

Re:Anything faster than Dialup is an improvement (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946300)

>>>768k up. That makes my local FTP server a little sluggish

Bah. When I ran my own BBS the upload speed was only 9 kbit/s (premium subscription; non-subscribers only got the standard 2k speed). I would have thought I had died and angels were sucking my ____ if I had a 768k uploading capability for my bulletin board

Too bad he's not running technology that's older than half the computer-using population.

Re:Anything faster than Dialup is an improvement (1)

AigariusDebian (721386) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946138)

Geez, you guys are slowpokes. I am downloading at 1 MB and uploading at 2 MB (bytes, not bits) right now and I consider that being slow and that's why when I move into a new apartment next week I'll have a fiber optic cable to my computer with 500 Mb (bit) connection for 100$ (price includes: premium VIP service, full cable TV package, phone with a VIP number and unlimited national calls, a security camera with off-site backup of motion detected security captures) that is available to a large (200k) and rapidly growing number of homes. Oh, that's in Latvia in Eastern Europe. The one that had the deepest economic crisis of the EU countries last year (thanks for that transatlantic goose egg).

So really, the fact that mighty USA can't get even 1 Mbit to every and each household in the nation, possibly even for free ... it is laughable.

Re:Anything faster than Dialup is an improvement (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946284)

pffffft. The American Free Market(tm) will take care of it, surely.

Who do I have to kill for a 2MB upload around here?

Re:Anything faster than Dialup is an improvement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32946418)

So really, the fact that mighty USA can't get even 1 Mbit to every and each household in the nation, possibly even for free ... it is laughable.

Not a good comaparison.

latvia: 65,589 sq km stlightly larger then West Virgina: 62,755 sq km
US (states): 9,826,675 sq km.

:

Re:Anything faster than Dialup is an improvement (1)

AigariusDebian (721386) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946466)

You wanna bet which of those two will be first to have 100% coverage of 100Mbit FTTH or even 50%? Size is not an argument when even the largest and densest US cities have crappy Internet by the world standards.

Re:Anything faster than Dialup is an improvement (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946014)

>>>use the already-existing phone lines

P.S. And wouldn't have to decapitate Free TV or Free Tadio to do it, as the current FCC plan would do.

Re:Anything faster than Dialup is an improvement (1)

tirefire (724526) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946078)

P.S. And wouldn't have to decapitate Free TV or Free Tadio to do it, as the current FCC plan would do.

Uh, what? I'm not disagreeing with you, although this makes no sense to me without details.

Re:Anything faster than Dialup is an improvement (2, Informative)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946162)

Do you live in a rural area?

I have many relatives who do and 1Mbps is insufficient for at least one major reason - movies.

Blockbuster put all of the local video stores out of business, and now that they are circling the drain, they are closing all of their non-profitable stores (which apparently includes most of the ones in rural areas). Because of this, a lot of people in rural areas are starting to rely on streaming for their VOD rentals.

Unfortunately, 1Mbps is pretty much the minimum for watchable SD video, and 4-6Mbps is required for decent HD.

Then again, we are not talking about Bobby Joe who lives out on his 40 acre ranch in Idaho and chases off people who stray onto his proppity. We are talking the millions of people in the US who live in towns of 500-5000 people are often as computer literate as the rest of the country, and just want the same basic utilities. The telcos and cable companies got their franchises promising that, and even if it will not be as profitable to deliver their promises, they should be required to do it.

Re:Anything faster than Dialup is an improvement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32946504)

The telcos and cable companies got their franchises promising that, and even if it will not be as profitable to deliver their promises, they should be required to do it.

Wait, what? They promised to support movies on demand over the internet? Citation needed.

do7l (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32945918)

ROI in rural areas; low density = high overhead (3, Interesting)

lullabud (679893) | more than 4 years ago | (#32945938)

I think the ROI in rural areas is going to be pretty slim, and won't help the cause much. Places like Korea and Japan have a much higher overall population density, so when fiber gets laid there it ends up being used by more people, helping their numbers compete against our rural and suburban areas where population density is low. I think the geography of the USA is set up to fall behind in this regard.

Re:ROI in rural areas; low density = high overhead (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946026)

This will probably surprise you (it did me), but Japan's broadband network is almost nothing but DSL. It's because their phone lines are extremely short that they can offer 100 Mbit/s DSL plans. So I say we should just mimic what Japan did.

Re:ROI in rural areas; low density = high overhead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32946176)

So I say we should just mimic what Japan did.

Squeeze too many people in not enough space?

Re:ROI in rural areas; low density = high overhead (4, Informative)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946218)

This will probably surprise you (it did me), but Japan's broadband network is almost nothing but DSL. It's because their phone lines are extremely short that they can offer 100 Mbit/s DSL plans. So I say we should just mimic what Japan did.

The reason it won't work for the rural US is because you can go for miles between homes, so it doesn't make sense to slap those DSLAMs (or whatever they're called) in for one or two homes. Just run fiber and be done with it - you can still go to copper just outside the house and save money there. Investing in fiber now is just like investing in electrification in the early 20th Century. If you don't have a fiber network in 2050, you're not going to have an economy worth speaking of either.

Re:ROI in rural areas; low density = high overhead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32946186)

I think the ROI in rural areas is going to be pretty slim, and won't help the cause much. Places like Korea and Japan have a much higher overall population density, so when fiber gets laid there it ends up being used by more people, helping their numbers compete against our rural and suburban areas where population density is low. I think the geography of the USA is set up to fall behind in this regard.

Great once again I get to have my paycheck raped to pay for some hayseed in the middle of nowhere to have access. If they want it they can pay for it!!!!!!

No government subsidies, no government interference, just the let market decide how much we pay for how much we get.

So tired of lazy freakin' irrational liberals. ... . . . . . .

Re:ROI in rural areas; low density = high overhead (1)

mirix (1649853) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946340)

I keep hearing stuff like this, but it doesn't explain while rural broadband availability is higher, and prices are lower, in Finland, Sweden, et al; Nor does it explain why Russia is beating out the US & Canada at speed (presumably price too, but I'm not certain).

Size (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32945948)

In before people saying that we're so much bigger than other countries, therefore we can't get broadband to everyone.

Let's ignore how our high population density cities lack broadband equivalent to other top tier countries amirite.

We pay a lot more (5, Informative)

Onomang (1822906) | more than 4 years ago | (#32945954)

I've been looking at internet rates because I'm planning to move very soon. Where I'm moving (Irvine, CA) there is only ONE internet provider (Cox).
It's $32/mo. for 3 mbps, $47 for 12.5 (10 with a 2.5 boost) or $62 for 25 (20 with a 5 boost)
Compare that to France's 28 mbps for ~$38 US, 50 mpbs for ~$65 or even 2.5 down/1.2 up gbps in Paris for ~$90
or how about Germany: 6 mbps for ~$26 or 32 mbps for ~$38.
Why are we paying nearly double the cost as other countries? Irvine is in Orange Country ("The OC") and is less than an hour from Los Angeles, so there shouldn't be any complaints that it is too rural for fast, affordable internet.

Re:We pay a lot more (1)

bigkahunah (1093791) | more than 4 years ago | (#32945976)

I have cox as well. Tell them you went online and found a $45/mo for the premier service (20Mb). I found the deal online awhile back and it has worked for me three times in the past three years (I have moved each year and changed the plan between roommates for various reasons). Not to the point of TFA, but hopefully helpful for you.

Re:We pay a lot more (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946114)

I have Cox internet and live in the next town over from Irvine. It is expensive but its very reliable and fast. I have the mid tier plan and have no problem pulling in 2 HD netflix streams. Powerboost is noticeable and does get you watching movies very fast. Their premium cable service is terrible though, extremely overpriced for what you get. I only get basic cable 2,4,7,11,13, WGN, PBS and minor locals in HD for $20/month, its cheaper/easier then trying to get an antenna put up on my condo.

Re:We pay a lot more (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946164)

Why are we paying nearly double the cost as other countries?

Because people will pay for it. Prices are based on "what the market will bear", not necessarily the cost of production.

Re:We pay a lot more (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946326)

The obvious question is why France or Germany has better value. Do they simply not value broadband as much as we do? If that were so, they wouldn't have the faster speeds.

If you didn't already know the answer, it's because they have placed a higher value on network infrastructure than we have. Socialism won this round.

Re:We pay a lot more (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946486)

Or maybe their consumers are a tiny bit more critical and don't take whatever is dictated to them at face value. For example, I doubt they would accept a phone service that charges them to receive calls either. Americans will believe anything that's printed on a company letterhead. All they see is "shiny". All the marketing and advertising reflect this. A Mac mini is sold as "cute".

Re:We pay a lot more (2, Interesting)

AigariusDebian (721386) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946190)

That's exactly because US has no government regulation. In UK for example, the phone company is required to lease the copper lines that go into your house (and backbone) for a fixed , government regulated rate to any ISP in the country that wants to connect to you. Bring this concept to USA and even if you only apply it state by state, you'd have a skyrocketing of competition, because any small ISP in any part of the state would be able to connect and service any person in the whole state (provided that there is copper or fiber going into their home).

Re:We pay a lot more (1)

valnar (914809) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946380)

"Why are we paying nearly double the cost as other countries?"

Because we're filthy rich Americans that can afford it? :) And per the thousand other posts saying the same thing... because we have to pay for the larger fiber footprint of the whole Internet in the USA.

True, but.... (3, Insightful)

Totenglocke (1291680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32945956)

He called on the government to devote time and resources to making sure Americans have the broadband access they need to stay competitive in the 21st century global economy.

That's true, but many (possibly all?) of those countries subsidize their ISP through tax dollars to get lower rates - so you're still paying for it, it's just that the monthly bill the ISP sends you is lower but the amount the government takes out of your paycheck is higher.

Has anyone ever done a study of the real cost of internet in countries where it's partially funded by taxes? Then you'd have more accurate numbers for a comparison.

Re:True, but.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32946022)

What did you expect from a jew?

Re:True, but.... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946062)

Exactly, I'd rather have money in my pocket to spend on whatever I wish than to have a tax system like in Europe. Yes, I might have to pay a bit more for internet, but at least I choose to spend it on that rather than to have VAT or other hideous taxation systems to fund whatever.

Re:True, but.... (2, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946150)

You're assuming that once taxes are included the European service costs more. This may be the case; it may not.

Re:True, but.... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946210)

Yes, but I still enjoy the freedom to spend my money how I feel like it. While I might enjoy cheaper internet access, it is still a loss of economic freedom unacceptable in a free society because there may be those who don't wish to "purchase" internet but are forced to because it is in a tax. That is the fundamental flaw of taxation-based services is that in general there is no distinction made between those who wish to use the service and those who do not, thus taking out any choice of what to spend your money on. And generally, with the increase of tax-subsidized services, private competitors get pushed out of business because you -have- to pay for the "free" service even if you want to or not, meaning that the tax-subsidized service can become more and more abusive to customers because there are no real other options. You can already see this happening in public schools around the US where sub-par public schools are the norm because people still have to pay taxes to fund public schools meaning that private, better schools generally are restricted to niches.

Re:True, but.... (1)

AigariusDebian (721386) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946292)

So, you'll better spend several times more for a crappier Internet connection and be locked into a monopoly or a duopoly for the majority of your territory (and only be offered dial-up or sub1Mbps connections for crazy money in a lot of places) and also deal with actually having to fill your super complicated tax forms every year than have a few more percent of your paycheck withheld?

Oh and please tell me the next time you go and choose to spend some of your money building a transatlantic fiber cable. I'll go and watch.

Re:True, but.... (-1, Offtopic)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946364)

Ok, so I save some money on internet access, but how much more of my taxes will be wasted on other things that I don't use? Things like welfare, college assistance for minorities (which I'm not a member of), social "security" which will most likely be bankrupt by the time I'm of retiring age, etc.

If you see beyond the small benefits that you might get, you see that taxation usually is a net loss for the majority and a net gain for the minority. All taxation can do is redistribute wealth, yeah, I might get lucky and win a few times, but its like playing the slot machine, its designed to give money to the house (government).

And really, when you eliminate all trade barriers which are government imposed such as laws forbidding competition in ISPs in order to get the town some crap connection for cheap, you end up with multiple options in time.

Re:True, but.... (1)

packman (156280) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946360)

I can assure you, none of my tax-money goes to subsidizing internet providers. Governments supporting private companies is extremely regulated in the EU, and mostly forbidden by anti-competitive laws. There was quite a bit of noise here in Europe when countries wanted to support the car-manufacturers financially for exactly this reason.

And I pay 55Eur/month for phone + cable-tv + 20mbit down/1mbit up cable internet. I do have a 50gb/month limit, but for 99eur, I can have 100mbit down / 5mbit up with no limits with the same company. Compared to what they offer in the surrounding countries here, that's both actually pretty expensive...

I hate it when uninformed Americans think "their system" is better when they have absolutely no clue about the "other systems". For me as a European citizen, it almost seems like "freedom" has become a marketing term for US companies as a scapegoat for higher prices. I don't think my freedom is in any way limited by our expensive taxation systems, and seeing what this system gives back to me, I pay them with a smile, knowing that I live in a relatively peaceful country which won't spend my tax-money on mind-bogglingly expensive wars abroad, and that our army will mostly be used for humanitarian and (mine) cleanup missions.

Re:True, but.... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946442)

I can assure you, none of my tax-money goes to subsidizing internet providers. Governments supporting private companies is extremely regulated in the EU, and mostly forbidden by anti-competitive laws.

So your tax money instead goes to the government effectively masquerading as a private company. Same thing only less freedom (with a corporation you can choose to explicitly -not- support them, yet you can't legally stop paying taxes).

And I pay 55Eur/month for phone + cable-tv + 20mbit down/1mbit up cable internet. I do have a 50gb/month limit, but for 99eur, I can have 100mbit down / 5mbit up with no limits with the same company. Compared to what they offer in the surrounding countries here, that's both actually pretty expensive...

Look at your population density though, you don't -have- miles and miles between towns with only a few thousand people. In the US its pretty easy to drive for an hour out west and not see a single reminder of human civilization except for a few road signs and if your lucky a few people in a car.

Of course increased population densities are going to give you better service for cheap.

I hate it when uninformed Americans think "their system" is better when they have absolutely no clue about the "other systems". For me as a European citizen, it almost seems like "freedom" has become a marketing term for US companies as a scapegoat for higher prices. I don't think my freedom is in any way limited by our expensive taxation systems, and seeing what this system gives back to me, I pay them with a smile, knowing that I live in a relatively peaceful country which won't spend my tax-money on mind-bogglingly expensive wars abroad, and that our army will mostly be used for humanitarian and (mine) cleanup missions.

I don't really care about higher prices as long as I get to spend -my- money how I feel like. Freedom doesn't mean that everything gets handed to you on a plate and everything is happy. Freedom is being able to choose. While yes, our government has decided to fuck us over with expensive, pointless wars, it doesn't mean that we are all in favor of it. However I do have some constitutional rights that you lack, namely the right to bear arms and the right to -full- freedom of speech and increased freedom of trade. Want to deny the holocaust (not that I'm advocating it, I'm just saying its a possible viewpoint) you can't do that legally in most of Europe. Want to display a swastika (again, not that I'm defending the Nazis or anything, its just an example), you can't do that. Whenever you allow a government to restrict basic, human rights such as freedom of expression and the freedom to oppose a government using armed force if needed, you are inviting tyranny. Any time you cherry pick rights to keep, you end up with an oppressive government in time.

Re:True, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32946506)

> Look at your population density though, you don't -have- miles and miles between towns with only a few thousand people

Not this tired thing again. Areas in Europe such as Finland places which have same or lower population density than USA still have better broadband service and cheaper compared to USA. In actual fact, the system *works better* in Europe. The measurable fact. Your system is a full decade behind first world countries.

> you are inviting tyranny

That's rich coming from the county that pushes its laws down the throat of people who don't want them, and that started several wars of aggression in just the past 10 years. Please listen to the rest of the world, who considers the USA one of the top few tyrannical countries in the world based on its behaviour.

Please open your eyes. There is a world beyond your own borders.

Re:True, but.... (1)

MtHuurne (602934) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946222)

I get 60 mbps down / 6 mbps up for 35 euros a month ($45) in an urban part of the Netherlands. No tax money is involved at all.

I think one key difference is that while I have only 1 option for cable, I have a dozen options for ADSL, meaning different companies to choose from. The government decided that since the copper network was built with public money, the privatized telecoms company maintaining it (KPN) would have to allow competing companies to rent the copper at a reasonable rate. This created a lot of competition on ADSL and drove down prices quickly. Today, several companies offer 20 mbps ADSL at 20 euros a month ($26).

Encouraging competition is more likely to result in affordable broadband than throwing money at near-monopolies. And it's cheaper too.

Re:True, but.... (3, Interesting)

AigariusDebian (721386) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946248)

Internet is not funded by taxes in most of these countries, the government only sets up the rules so that there is more competition on the market, for example by forcing companies that own copper going into homes or fiber going between cities to sell access to these services for the same price to all competitors (including internal buyers). So the big players can't buy out all ISPs in town, take control of all backbones going out of town and of all the copper going into people homes and then raise prices tenfold (over 5 years) while not investing a single penny in infrastructure development.

Also government can setup rules like, if you have 100k urban customers, you must also have 10k rural customers. Or a rule like - if you want access to this government owned and operated hyperspeed backbone, then you must offer same connection price to all people in this area (which includes both profitable urban locations and unprofitable rural locations).

And in some places where actual municipal networks do exist and thus is very cheap or free for people to connect to and is funded by public funds, such network is usually pretty slow, boring and cheap as hell to maintain.

Government is not bad - it is there to force companies to do unprofitable things that benefit the people.

Re:True, but.... (1)

Fjan11 (649654) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946490)

Actually an important reason for the much higher speeds where I live (the Netherlands) is because there is a lot more competition between ISPs, no government subsidies at all (on the contrary, you pay sales tax on your connection fee).

Here's a thought... (1, Flamebait)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#32945960)

Just pass a federal law stating that it is an illegal restraint of interstate trade for a state or municipality to restrict the ability of new service providers to enter their markets. The only regulations they should be able to impose are civil and criminal penalties for damaging infrastructure.

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

kabdib (81955) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946020)

RIght -- San Jose didn't have cable modems for /years/ after they were available to the surrounding cities (this is in the heart of f--king Silicon Valley, mind you; High Tech central) because the city wanted perks and freebies from Comcast.

I suffered on dial-up, ISDN and Metricom wireless modems while my friends had megabit plus.

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

mssymrvn (15684) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946102)

What's really required is a provider that just gives customers a link - a DWDM fiber connection (which can handle a theoretical 160 10Gbps signals). You now have the ability to provide up to 160 different services to each customer. Voice gets wavelength 1, CATV: wavelength 2, Intertubes: wavelength 3, etc. Now the service providers pay the link provider and the customers pay the individual service providers, rather than pay directly for the link and then the services. Problem is, providing a fiber connection to each household is prohibitively expensive now. But if I could get my grubby hands on a few (dozen) billion, I'd start laying some fiber to homes and businesses. The payoff is that I would then have a potential wealth of providers who would want access to my fiber to each home. This could also fuel a whole new set of providers for phone, internet, video conference, MMORPG-specific connections, phone, etc.

It's just a thought. It's been in my head for years. Somebody else has probably also thought of it and come to the same conclusion: Verizon will then temporarily unbundle connection and services to allow others access to the fiber - just long enough to put this new fiber connection company out of business; then they'll lock up their network again, tight as a drum. You can do that when you pay enough politicians.

nick

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946450)

You've hit on something very important there -- the idea of decoupling infrastructure with service.

It's really the only way to get data services to respond to the market model. Such decoupling would make net neutrality a moot point because someone, somewhere would give you exactly the service you wanted. Whomever owned the infrastructure wouldn't care because they're not in the business of selling service. Bits are bits to them.

Re:Here's a thought... (1)

coaxial (28297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946198)

Just pass a federal law stating that it is an illegal restraint of interstate trade for a state or municipality to restrict the ability of new service providers to enter their markets. The only regulations they should be able to impose are civil and criminal penalties for damaging infrastructure.

And when trade comes to a halt because all the streets and sidewalks are torn up?

Re:Here's a thought... (2, Insightful)

AigariusDebian (721386) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946342)

You apparently don't know bureaucrats - damaging infrastructure is a huge one. Have you tried bringing an Internet connection cable into a house without 'damaging infrastructure'? Like digging up roads or putting up cables on masts or even connecting to pre-existing copper in a house?

It would be much more effective to use the UK model - split up physical and logical providers: the cables must be owned by one company and the service must be provided by another, separate company. And the company that owns the cables must provide access to those cables at the same price to all companies that ask for it. Add a few provisions for switching service providers and about mandatory access to backbone channels for a fixed, government regulated rate and you're golden: every ISP in the whole country can compete in all markets at once.

Re:Here's a thought... (2, Informative)

stinerman (812158) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946408)

This is already the case in many places in the country. The cable company doesn't have a statutory monopoly, yet there is only one cable company serving a city. There is most often a natural monopoly in the case of Internet access. Let's put it this way: my grandparents don't have cable. They can't get it even if they want it. Is that because the county passed a law stating that no one may have cable in rural areas or is it because no cable company thinks that they could ever profit by building infrastructure out that far?

There is this idea out here that Comcast is begging to be allowed to build infrastructure where Time Warner has lines and vice versa. Nothing could be further from the truth. Why would Comcast bother? They'd be spending tons of money up front to wire up the city and then they'd have to poach customers from Time Warner. When do you think they'd break even? A few years? A decade? Ever? I'd think they're pretty happy with their current arrangement.

We're number one (1)

tchdab1 (164848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946236)

It may be true that "Americans pay more per unit of broadband speed than our competitors", but our ISP's make more money than their ISP's.
Or maybe they waste more money, I forget.

you can't fix a problem by making it bigger (1)

viridari (1138635) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946310)

Government approved monopolies are the problem. Getting the government more entrenched in broadband is not going to make it any better. Also get the ISP's out of the business of owning the last mile network and you'll see things improve dramatically.

Lawrence Lessig (4, Informative)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946362)

See Lawrence Lessig on why we failed in broadband compared to other highly developed nations:
http://lessig.blip.tv/file/3485790/ [lessig.blip.tv]

It's not that we over or under-regulated, it's that we got the regulation wrong.

Perhaps a biased source? (0, Troll)

klubar (591384) | more than 4 years ago | (#32946468)

We need to remember that Walt works for the Wall Street Journal, which is owned by Fox News. It's strongly to Fox's advantage to have consumers with cheap, high-speed broadband as it lowers Fox's distribution cost. It's like Walt arguing that printing and paper prices should be controlled so everyone can get the newspaper at a cheaper rate. As much as I'd like cheaper internet rates, the argument that he makes might be just be employer speak.
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