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Obama's Goal: 98% of US Covered By 4G

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the can-you-hear-me-now dept.

Wireless Networking 324

alphadogg writes "Ninety-eight percent of US residents would have access to high-speed mobile broadband service within five years under a plan that President Barack Obama detailed Thursday. Obama's proposal, which he alluded to in his State of the Union speech last month, would free up 500MHz of wireless spectrum over a decade by offering to share spectrum auction proceeds with current spectrum holders, including television stations, that have unused airwaves. The cost of the proposal is likely to raise questions from lawmakers, and some backers of government broadband spending have already raised concerns that the plan would give money and spectrum to large mobile carriers."

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Great for middle-class employed people. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35174430)

Not so great for the increasing percentage of poor and unemployed people.

Re:Great for middle-class employed people. (2)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174582)

Great for middle-class employed people

Why? To the extent that the government makes anything happen in this regard, that's exactly who gets to pay for it (well, their grandhildren do, actually). What does this have to do with unemployed people, other than the indirect prospect of it involving a few more jobs?

Re:Great for middle-class employed people. (3, Interesting)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174596)

Not necessarily true. Unless you are at the very bottom of society you still have a phone. For people in these areas they can replace their landlines with smartphones that also provide them with internet access they wouldn't otherwise have. The overall cost to have a smartphone vs having a landline, internet access and a home PC is far less.

Head over to India and go through the country-side. You will see cell towers everywhere and even goatherders with cell phones. Honestly when I was there I had better reception that some places in the suburbs of NY.

Re:Great for middle-class employed people. (4, Insightful)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174904)

You're either not familiar with smartphones and the costs associated with internet access (here's a clue - that landline you propose people replace with a smartphone is mucn MUCH cheaper than the wireless data plan) or you are one of the middle-class employed people that doesn't really understand how expensive this stuff actually is, and how unaffordable for the poor. If you do the math, you might find that a landline + an old modem (remember those?) is still more cost effective for internet access. Yeah, you don't get to stream 1080p video over a modem, but the expensive smartphone data plan can barely manage that either. You'd still be able to access essential services, though (if they haven't succumbed to bandwidth-consuming web 2.0 b.s.)

Your experience in India may be relevant, but you probably missed the part where the goatherders weren't being bent over a barrel by domestic telecoms to satisfy "maximizing shareholder value". I bet their costs were a fraction of what they would be in the U.S. In other words, your experience in foreign lands was largely irrelevant to the reality that people have to face in the country that the original post was referring to.

Re:Great for middle-class employed people. (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175012)

And that landline and old modem is being connected to what? Any how many job search sites really work that well over dial up?

And it is you who seems to be out of touch with how much it actually does cost to have a landline and even dial up internet access. It's not as cheap as you think.

Re:Great for middle-class employed people. (2)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175230)

Back before I gave up the land line, it always cost around $60/month and dialup internet was another $20/month. And that would go WAY up if I actually called anyone outside of my rural county - like $.15 - $.35 a minute. Also remember that rural dialup doesn't happen at 56kbps. More like 22kbps. Couple that with today's fat bloated web sites and it'd be hopeless to do anything useful.

$65/month for a smartphone with unlimited data, unlimited nights and weekends, and free long distance is a fantastic deal compared to a land line monopoly.

Let's not let broadband history repeat itself... (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174482)

So I have to wonder if this will be very similar to the wired broadband initiatives done years ago which have only started to provide benefits to the people many years later and at a much higher cost than our tax dollars should have required?

And what is '4G'? Is this wireless broadband definition going to be rooted in 2011 or will it be an ever increasing amount which will be viable in 2025 or 2050?

The spectrum is owned by the PEOPLE Mr. President, not you, not the government, and certainly not those you license it to. If they are not performing up to the very flexible definition I am sure you won't create because it wouldn't be at all advantageous to the wireless carriers, can we remove that license from them immediately?

Yeah, I didn't think so. Let's rethink this before you do something insanely stupid and let 'broadband' history repeat itself.

Re:Let's not let broadband history repeat itself.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35174750)

a) 4G "speed" doesn't even exist yet, so it won't be rooted in 2011., it certainly won't be increasing speed 10-fold and capping out anytime soon. b) FCC regulates the spectrum. Just look how hard it was for them to let go of the "white noise" and you'll know why someone needs to force companies to give up their padded wireless spectrums. Companies are squatting on extra spectrum space because they "may need it later" and this needs to be stopped.

Re:Let's not let broadband history repeat itself.. (0)

garcia (6573) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174768)

'4G' networks do exist and are already being speed tested with T-mobile leading the way. So yeah, I don't want them to be rooted in those definitions.

Re:Let's not let broadband history repeat itself.. (3, Informative)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175088)

I believe those "4G" are meant to denote the 4th generation network; and not actual 4G the standard since it's not been finalized/implemented yet. That's why like every carrier has a 4G network, but use different technologies; there is no standard for them to actually adhere to.

3G and CDMA are actual standards and for a carrier to use that title it has to adhere to those standards and use certain technologies.

4G at this time is just a marketing term meant to capitalize on the fact that everyone was touting their 3G networks, and T-Mobile decided to one up the others.

Re:Let's not let broadband history repeat itself.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35174780)

The spectrum is owned by the PEOPLE Mr. President, not you, not the government, and certainly not those you license it to.

Um. What this means is basically there's going to be a subsidy for private companies to expand their coverage, thus providing more people with the ability to buy internet access from private companies. The government doesn't own the internet now, and will not own the internet in the future.

This sounds just like the rhetoric during the healthcare debate: "government takeover of healthcare", "socialized medicine", etc. when what the bill did was provide an incredible amount of new business for the existing players.

Is this really how far to the right the US has gone? Even giving more business to private companies in an effort to improve our collective quality of life while doing no harm, financial or otherwise, to the corporations that currently run the show is somehow "too far to the left"?

Re:Let's not let broadband history repeat itself.. (0)

Zantac69 (1331461) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174830)

More people need to read Atlas Shrugged to see where this boat is heading...

Remember - Vote early, vote often, vote Democrat.

Re:Let's not let broadband history repeat itself.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35175200)

Lol Ive read Atlas Shrugged. Your an idiot for thinking it has any resemblance to the real world. You would never find a single one of those ultra rich millionaires striking it out on their own. Lets see Steve Jobs building a railroad (by hand), lets see Ruepert Murdoch running a printing press. It will never happen. Your Dagny Taggert does not exist. There is no Rearden metal. You act like the poor are oppressing the rich, it is in fact the other way around.

Re:Let's not let broadband history repeat itself.. (5, Informative)

cforciea (1926392) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175298)

More people need to read Atlas Shrugged.

No. No no no. No no no no no no no. Nononononononononononononnonononono.

Ayn Rand was a decent novelist, and a travesty of an economist and philosopher.

Re:Let's not let broadband history repeat itself.. (2)

Beefslaya (832030) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174862)

What's a Bieber?

Re:Let's not let broadband history repeat itself.. (2, Funny)

Zantac69 (1331461) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174918)

I dunno - kind of looks like a girl!

Re:Let's not let broadband history repeat itself.. (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175036)

My god you're right! [tumblr.com]

Re:Let's not let broadband history repeat itself.. (0)

Sharp Rulez (799059) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174980)

4G definition is quite precise (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4G [wikipedia.org] ) Following the ITU recommandation, a 4G wireless broadband network has to deliver a data rate between 100 Mbps to 1 GHz, depending if you are mobile (read: moving) or stationary.

More Bread & Circuses (0, Flamebait)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174492)

"More Chains We Can Believe In" as I'm sure the few people still working will be forced to subsidize it for the less fortunate.

Re:More Bread & Circuses (1, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174580)

After all, internet access is A HUMAN RIGHT! [ahumanright.org]

Does that mean if there's a power outage people's rights are being violated by the power company?

Re:More Bread & Circuses (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174724)

Does that mean if there's a power outage people's rights are being violated by the power company?

Yes, yes it does. Which means that the person who has lost internet access should be able to sue the person who swerved to avoid a cow in the road and hit the utility pole that was carrying the lines that provide the power. Also, good health is a human right, and you can't be healthy without food, which is why the constitution involves itself in the important enumerated government power of forcing once citizen to provide food for other citizens. And 4G service, of course. And a nice house.

Re:More Bread & Circuses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35175198)

Then its time for war [youtube.com] . This is how conflicts are resolved. It hasn't changed much over the centuries. Obama also has to use the military with care to bring about change around the world.

Re:More Bread & Circuses (4, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174856)

You've got the wrong Roman reference, actually. Communications access is economic infrastructure, like roads and aqueducts. Economic infrastructure pays for itself and increases the wealth of the nation.

Re:More Bread & Circuses (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35174956)

Why is it that every time an initiative is launched to modernize the country and bring us up to speed with the other countries that have far surpassed the US, people cry foul? Why do they never do that when, oh I don't know, a WAR is about to be launched on a country that has nothing to do with anything?

Yes, these things cost money. And yes, that money is probably going to come from the people who pay taxes. But as far as subsidized plans go, this is a good one. This will actually help people. Not like subsidies for oil companies to drill up our oil and then sell it back to us at a massive profit. Or subsidies to private armies to fight our wars for us without those nasty checks and balances. Or subsidies to Israel that go straight into their oppression efforts.

I can totally get your reluctance to pay for things like this but it just strikes me as rather awful that we can spend THAT much money on right-wing causes and nothing on good initiatives like this.

Re:More Bread & Circuses (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175110)

I am actually surprised, too, that a site like this would be full of people who are so against this. Is this a tech site or Fox News forums?

Re:More Bread & Circuses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35175318)

/. has been taking more and more of a swerve to the right as, i'm guessing, its readers age and get bogged down in middle-management.

Re:More Bread & Circuses (2)

crudd (1893782) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175418)

Im surprised that everyone isnt angry. Government stealing our money to fund private business (and ensure no new competition comes along) in the guise of 'bettering the country' should outrage every citizen of any country. And the fact the government (who is pushing for an internet kill switch) wants to be involved with it should sound deafening alarms.

Re:More Bread & Circuses (1, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175440)

I am actually surprised, too, that a site like this would be full of people who are so against this. Is this a tech site or Fox News forums?

I'm sure most everyone here would like to see ubiquitous high-speed wireless internet access for everyone. What some of us don't want is ubiquitous high-speed wireless internet access that's given to some people at a cost to other people. Others may be concerned about government control over the network. Now that it's ubiquitous and government controlled, little 10 year old Johnny who just got his new iPod touch can look at porn whenever he wants, and the government can't have that, because the children are our future! I know there are a lot of leftist here on Slashdot, but usually, when the government gets more involved in any venture, it involves a lot of bureaucracy, inefficiency & negative unintended consequences.

A Better Goal (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35174530)

100% of US having no poverty.

Re:A Better Goal (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174690)

100% of US having no poverty.

Considering that poverty generally seems to be defined as having less than X% of the average income, that's easy: just pass a law requiring that everyone is paid the same amount.

Of course the economy will collapse, but at least no-one will 'have poverty' anymore.

Mobile... what about wired? (5, Interesting)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174576)

How about taking that money, building out the fattest/fastest fiber network you can and then turn around and let any carrier/company lease it to resell. I'm not sure why you are trying to make "mobile" broadband the thing to invest in, when wired broadband options suck just as much.

Re:Mobile... what about wired? (2, Insightful)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174636)

Because building a wired infrastructure is a lot more expensive unless somebody creates a viable, cost effective network over power cables.

Not to mention that you don't even need a permanent home to have mobile broadband.

Re:Mobile... what about wired? (1)

willda (1369247) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174650)

Yeah I could go for that! I'm the tech for a county library in SE Ohio & guess what... we can't get fiber and we are less than a block from the phone company!

Re:Mobile... what about wired? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35175258)

A sufficient wired network is necessary to provide bandwidth to all those 4G towers. Unless you believe that 4G speeds can be met with a saturated mesh network?

4G (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174578)

How appropriate to hold down the shift key when typing that: $G

Looks like he wants to make sure that net usage can be easily metered and controlled. Just more pandering to BigCo.

Simple answer (0)

kwishot (453761) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174628)

This is not the job or purpose of the federal government.

Re:Simple answer (4, Insightful)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174686)

Actually it is - just like federal highway administration. There are certain things that just can't be done on the small scale local government level. I am curious what you think the federal government's purpose IS if it isn't to take on national scale projects.

Re:Simple answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35174788)

Since corporations are already handling this pretty well?

This would be different if this wasn't a proven technology with real market value but that's not the case here. Otherwise you could consider just about anything to be a key to interstate commerce.

Re:Simple answer (2)

Symbha (679466) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174868)

Market Value is exactly the problem.
Covering 98% would mean covering an awful lot of territory that doesn't have enough customers to make it worthwhile.

Re:Simple answer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35174820)

Actually it is - just like federal highway administration. There are certain things that just can't be done on the small scale local government level. I am curious what you think the federal government's purpose IS if it isn't to take on national scale projects.

Article I, section 8 of the US Constitution

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imports and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; [Altered by Amendment XVI "Income tax".]
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

You will note that Post Roads are mentioned but oddly nothing about Internet access.

Re:Simple answer (1)

jebrew (1101907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175228)

But how come for the founding fathers didn't remember the internets?!?!

Seriously though, that shows initiative to maintain communications infrastructure. I'm pretty sure they'd be in favor of a government controlled base medium (i.e. open wireless channels) that can be leased and operated by private companies. If another company can come in and offer the same services for less money, then you'll have competition. The current state of affairs is a small group of monopolies (no, not an oligopoly, in my area, as in many, there is only one provider allowed) colluding to pretty much screw everyone. It's a broken system and it's why we're so far behind other developed nations.

Re:Simple answer (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175368)

Hmm your point would be relevant if the founders had known what the internet was and decided not to address it. Do to the fact that they did not know, your point means nothing.

Re:Simple answer (1, Informative)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174922)

So where in the constitution does it grant that to the Federal Government?

Federal highways come under "To establish Post Offices and post Roads;" one of the enumerated powers in Article 1, Section 8, for example.

Re:Simple answer (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175054)

You do understand that the Constitution was written over 200 years ago, right? Not everything that happens is going to be spelled out word for word there. That's why we still have a legislative branch.

And you can extrapolate from Post Offices and Post roads VERY easily to email and internet access. One's kinda superseded the other.

Re:Simple answer (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175392)

You do realize, that there is the process of "amending" the Constitution - so that if you want to do something it falls in line with the provisions of the document. You know, they did build that process into the document, right? I know, silly founders - how dare they have the foresight to envision they couldn't cover everything and gave us the means to fix it!

Re:Simple answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35175090)

So where in the constitution does it grant that to the Federal Government?

Federal highways come under "To establish Post Offices and post Roads;" one of the enumerated powers in Article 1, Section 8, for example.

Thats the one - To establish communication

Re:Simple answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35175126)

Where in the constitution does it say government should protect monopolies? Answer: no one cares. Just stay in line.

Re:Simple answer (2)

Nailer235 (1822054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175134)

The answer to the question, "Where does Congress get that authority?" is always the "Commerce Clause," which grants Congress the power "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States..." While the Commerce Clause has been used excessively broadly (the Supreme Court interpreted it to allow the federal criminalization of marijuana, for example), this actually seems like a case where there is a genuine (and massive) effect on interstate commerce. Just look at how much shopping is done over the internet nowadays, almost always delivering goods to someone outside of the state.

Re:Simple answer (2, Informative)

thynk (653762) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175150)

Actually it is - just like federal highway administration. There are certain things that just can't be done on the small scale local government level. I am curious what you think the federal government's purpose IS if it isn't to take on national scale projects.

I'd say that's pretty well spelled out in Article 1, section 8 of the constitution. It's unfortunate that the general welfare clause and regulating trade among the states clause have been so badly abused. They were never intended to give the federal government unlimited power.

Re:Simple answer (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35175422)

Who care what they were intended for. When this country was founded there was no national identity. People feared and distrusted people from other states. The world was bigger back then as well. Today you can drive across the entire country in a few days. When the country was founded you could mabye travel to the capital of your local state in that time. Federalism hasn't been as strong in this country since the civil war and for good reason.

Re:Simple answer (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175242)

I am curious what you think the federal government's purpose IS if it isn't to take on national scale projects.

Protecting business interests. In fact that's what all governments are for. Government is a function of business. To enforce contracts. To "open" markets.

Re:Simple answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35175332)

Actually it is - just like federal highway administration. There are certain things that just can't be done on the small scale local government level. I am curious what you think the federal government's purpose IS if it isn't to take on national scale projects.

So wait, why is any government (local or federal) invovled again? This seems to be something that really should not concern any government.

Re:Simple answer (5, Funny)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174808)

This is not the job or purpose of the federal government.

And I suppose the next thing you're going to say is something crazy like it's also not the federal government's job to use the IRS to sieze your wages because you haven't paid the penalties you've racked up for refusing to buy the insurance that you will now be required to buy so that you can use that to get your constitutionally enshrined human right to services from a podiatrist because your feet hurt from standing in line for your new iPhone.

Re:Simple answer (1)

vvaduva (859950) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174848)

Comment ftw! Too bad I used up my blessings dude :)

Re:Simple answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35174846)

My goal: 98% of US workers employed within 5 years

Re:Simple answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35174866)

Why not?

Re:Simple answer (1)

vvaduva (859950) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174882)

No, it is not - the market should decide who needs what coverage, and where. If you made the choice to live in the middle of a 100,000 acre range in Montana, don't bitch about lack of coverage and expect me to pay to make it happen.

Re:Simple answer (2, Informative)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174964)

That's a very simplistic view of the situation. I am not sure why people think this only benefits people who choose to live in the middle of nowhere for the fun of it. First, high speed mobile broadband is not available in a lot more areas than just rural Montana. Second, people live far from cities because they just can't afford to live anywhere closer. As I mentioned above, these people probably can't afford a landline, internet access, and a home PC but they probably can afford an internet ready smartphone to replace all three. That then gives them the ability to perhaps find a new job and improve their life.

Re:Simple answer (-1, Flamebait)

vvaduva (859950) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175132)

Dude, WTF! Why do I care? Call me a selfish asshole all you want, but if you want to build towers for broadband, do it with your own money. Did I say anywhere that you cannot help these people if you want to help them? Just don't come and rob me in order to do your charitable, feel-good work, and then call it "taxation."

For all practical purposes, Obama, Bush or whatever other asshole happens to be in charge at the time doesn't have a single dollar that belongs to him legitimately. Instead they steal money from average folks, they call it taxation, setup crony relationships with telcos and other monopolies they helped put in place, and then award them huge contracts in order to get their donations when the next election comes around.

wtf is wrong with you guys that fall for this kind of crap day after day?

Re:Simple answer (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175188)

Well you are getting into a whole other discussion about government vs anarchy. This is not the place to discuss whether we should have a federal government that taxes its citizens in order to create a military, provide support for the needy, and take on national level projects.

Unless you plan on staging a revolution, though, I guess you'll just have to leave with the way things were started 200+ years ago.

Re:Simple answer (1)

cforciea (1926392) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175448)

Dude, why do I care if your house burns down, whether the road to your house is maintained, and whether you are protected from foreign invasion? The next time you or one of your family members starts a cooking fire in your kitchen, I expect you to pay for a private company to come put it out. (After all, you live outside city limits to avoid paying property taxes, right? That way other people can pay the fire fighters to protect you?) Or maybe your neighbor's house will catch fire, but he won't be able to afford to pay somebody to put it out, so it will burn until your property lights up, as well!

We wouldn't want the government to pay for those things with stolen money after all.

Re:Simple answer (2)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175378)

Second, people live far from cities because they just can't afford to live anywhere closer.

While cost of living is definitely better outside of the cities, a lot of us choose to reside out here for other reasons. Peace, privacy, low pollution, low crime rates, no stupid city ordinances, etc. The only good thing to come from living within a city is convenience.

Re:Simple answer (1)

brainboyz (114458) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174972)

Agreed, and I DEFINITELY don't want cell phones all over the place in our national parks. People are bad enough in the city, can you imagine taking in a great scene while hiking and here comes someone blabing loudly into their cellphone. No thanks.

Re:Simple answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35175430)

How about this..you are hiking in a national park and come across someone unconscious or badly injured. For that matter, you are by yourself and get hurt and can't walk back to a place with a signal. At the very least 911 is handy to have cover 98% of the land.

Re:Simple answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35175094)

This is not the job or purpose of US's federal government.

98% (5, Insightful)

jonpublic (676412) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174698)

Coverage for 98% of the US is different than coverage for 98% of Americans.

A Waste, Nannyism and Not a Priority. (0)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174704)

would about sum this latest boondoggle up. $5B we all pay to bring broadband to the people who chose, knowing the limitations, to live in the sticks? Outside of that, are there any areas that don't have broadband sufficient to watch at least 480p video? And of course, Government, Inc. knows best what you want, need and is good for you. I'm sure 'creating jobs' will be part of the sell but what jobs are those - telecommuters? And exactly how much are we spending per job created? Meanwhile the budget deficit is on its way to $1.5T for 2011, we are still in Afghanistan and the eekonomy is still a piece of crap. But yeah, lets waste our time and resources on 4g broadband for everyone! As is always the case - left on its own the market will provide products and services more efficiently and at fair price. End the regulation and the subsidies so we can have a real market and not some hybrid corpratism.

Re:A Waste, Nannyism and Not a Priority. (0)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174752)

Obama's campaigning for re-election already. Not only will this not happen (sort of like Gitmo), it's a stupid idea that we don't have the money to pay for even if we wanted it. But if he promises them 4G coverage and a pony, I guess he figures someone somewhere will vote for him.

Re:A Waste, Nannyism and Not a Priority. (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175166)

bread and circuses [wikipedia.org]

If you can burn through 13 trillion dollars in two years and end up with higher unemployment, a continued credit crunch, and devaluation of the national currency, what better way is there to seek reelection than to distract the people?

Re:A Waste, Nannyism and Not a Priority. (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174756)

You do realize that many people can only afford to live out in the "sticks", right? Living in or even near a big city is very expensive.

And read my post above about why this is more important for the poor and lower middle class than you think.

Re:A Waste, Nannyism and Not a Priority. (2)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175024)

would about sum this latest boondoggle up. $5B we all pay to bring broadband to the people who chose, knowing the limitations, to live in the sticks?

Riiight, so everyone ought to move into the cities, driving up housing costs even higher than the already unreasonable rate.

Also, you do realize that agriculture and mining is nearly always done "in the sticks" as you put it. Show me where you can fit a 6,000 acre farm, or even a 60 acre farmette within your average city. Even if there were room, complaints about noise, smell and dust would cause the farm to close, and property tax rates would bankrupt the farm.

Around agricultural and mining industries you need infrastructure, farmers need stores to buy clothes and foods they don't produce (and off season), they need cars and trucks and tractors.

Not only that, but living in an urban area results in much higher stress, which can have an impact on one's health.

To suggest that everyone congregate in cities is ridiculous.

Re:A Waste, Nannyism and Not a Priority. (1)

AntEater (16627) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175170)

would about sum this latest boondoggle up. $5B we all pay to bring broadband to the people who chose, knowing the limitations, to live in the sticks? Outside of that, are there any areas that don't have broadband sufficient to watch at least 480p video?

Some of us are living in rural areas for many reasons and that choice sometimes comes with major factors that far outweigh broadband availability. Yes, there are many areas that don't have any broadband access at all. None. I don't think you can fairly consider satellite internet "service" to be broadband. Overpriced and slow with massive latency. You should try viewing even a 320p video over satellite connection sometime - it isn't very pretty.

That said, this sounds like another instance where the government take a public resource, pays a private industry to develop it and then allows them to screw over the consumer with the very infrastructure we paid to build for them. Either make internet access a national infrastructure, like the roads, or get out of the way.

You pay twice for it (4, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174726)

  • The government pays the phone companies to build it. With your tax money.
  • You pay the phone companies exorbitant fees to use it.
  • Profit! For everyone, except you.

Re:You pay twice for it (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174842)

  • The government pays the phone companies to build it. With your tax money.
  • You pay the phone companies exorbitant fees to use it.
  • Profit! For everyone, except you.

That's like complaining that you have to pay money to buy a car, and also pay for the gas to put in it. You are paying for 2 different things.

Re:You pay twice for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35175124)

  • The government pays the phone companies to build it. With your tax money.
  • You pay the phone companies exorbitant fees to use it.
  • Profit! For everyone, except you.

That's like complaining that you have to pay money to buy a car, and also pay for the gas to put in it. You are paying for 2 different things.

No that's like complaining that your tax dollars are used to build roads that are then turned in to toll roads. It is a valid argument.

Re:You pay twice for it (1)

SoTerrified (660807) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175140)

  • The government pays the phone companies to build it. With your tax money.
  • You pay the phone companies exorbitant fees to use it.
  • Profit! For everyone, except you.

That's like complaining that you have to pay money to buy a car, and also pay for the gas to put in it. You are paying for 2 different things.

No, he's not. If you're comparing it to a car and gas, that would be the internet (car) and content (gas). The phone company doesn't pay for content. They don't create anything useful. They just control the means to access anything useful. So, as per the OP comment, it is like paying the phone company to build a car, then paying the phone company to actually use the car.

Re:You pay twice for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35175238)

  • The government pays the phone companies to build it. With your tax money.
  • You pay the phone companies exorbitant fees to use it.
  • Profit! For everyone, except you.

That's like complaining that you have to pay money to buy a car, and also pay for the gas to put in it. You are paying for 2 different things.

  • The government pays the phone companies to build it. With your tax money.
  • You pay the phone companies exorbitant fees to use it.
  • Profit! For everyone, except you.

That's like complaining that you have to pay money to buy a car, and also pay for the gas to put in it. You are paying for 2 different things.

You missed his point... tax payers don't pay Honda to build cars and sell them back to you. Whenever you see the phrase "government spending" think "american tax payer spending". That will help you understand these situations a little better.

Free markets don't exist because governments usually don't want them to exist. They don't create jobs as fast as subsidies.

Obama's "infrastructure" plans are straight from the Chinese handbook.
the American economist visiting Mao’s China taken on a tour of a construction site where 100 workers were using shovels to build an earthen dam. "Why don't you just use one man and a bulldozer to build the dam?” asked the economist. The guide responded, "If we did that, then we'd have 99 men out of work." To which the economist replied, "Oh, I thought you were building a dam. If your goal is to make jobs, why don't you take their shovels away and replace them with spoons?"

Re:You pay twice for it (2)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174914)

In a non corrupt country would be like that:

  - The government pays a company to build the 4G stations. With your tax money.

  - The government owns the 4G stations and lease them for a fixed price to anyone willing to play.

- End user profits because you can have a true free market where you can choose your provider.

Re:You pay twice for it (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175410)

non corrupt country

Well, you could have stopped there.

Taxpayer money to build out Big Business Backbone (2)

spacepimp (664856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174738)

Is anyone else angered at the prospect of using US taxpayer monies to build out a backbone to be given to, and then resold to us by the big carriers at rates that the rest of the world finds laughable? One day maybe you can post your discontent on your FaceBook phone at 4g speeds though.

Re:Taxpayer money to build out Big Business Backbo (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174796)

Is anyone else angered at the prospect of using US taxpayer monies to build out a backbone to be given to, and then resold to us by the big carriers at rates that the rest of the world finds laughable?

No. But then I'm not American.

Re:Taxpayer money to build out Big Business Backbo (1)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174920)

Well, seeing as I work on the chips that go into the base stations, at least I and my coworkers benefit from this. And then there's all the people actually installing and maintaining the towers, etc. Not all of the money gets used like this. [spatula-city.org]

Of course, I haven't seen a good argument for what the economic benefits of widely deployed broadband might be. Sure, everyone can now stream YouTube videos at higher definition. But in terms of basic economic benefit, even if you have fairly slow (by today's standards) Internet access, you still can access online retailers, news, government web sites, etc. You just don't get all the shiny baubles.

I surfed the web over a shared 14.4kbps dialup link once upon a time. It wasn't great, and would be unbearable with many of today's ad-laden websites. But, with AdBlock and FlashBlock, 56kbps modems are at least workable, if not great.

Re:Taxpayer money to build out Big Business Backbo (1)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175072)

Hmmm... the new Slashdot theme eats italics. Does it eat bold? It looks like it lets bold through. I had meant to emphasize "broadband" in this statement:

Of course, I haven't seen a good argument for what the economic benefits of widely deployed broadband might be.

Basically, the gist of my thought is that, yes, broadband is nice and shiny, but what great innovation are we enabling by bathing the vast plains of Wyoming and Nebraska and Montana with it? I can see the argument that more and more basic services are moving on line, but the baseline level of service you need to access these looks more like a 56kbps modem than broadband. Universal access could mean requiring certain sorts of websites to include a low bandwidth version, rather than building out higher bandwidth to everyone.

Broadband everywhere just makes it easier for ad networks to shovel more crap into each page.

"4G" OR "Wireless broadband" (2)

prtsoft (702850) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174794)

4G technically refers to networks that have "peak download speed at 100 Mbit/s for high mobility communication (such as from trains and cars) and 1 Gbit/s for low mobility communication (such as pedestrians and stationary users)" http://www.itu.int/ITU-R/index.asp?category=information&rlink=imt-advanced&lang=en [itu.int] Wireless broadband services offering WiMAX (clearewire, DBC) are not technically 4G (unless implementing 802.16m), but are still "mobile broadband" as of 802.16e. Which does he mean?

Hey great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35174798)

Now pass a law that forces everyone to buy it.

I don't get it... (2, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35174916)

Where are these jobs going to come from, aside from the telecoms building out the infrastructure? Does anyone other than politicians actually believe that if you give everyone broadband internet access, we'll suddenly have this cool new economy where every unemployed worker can start retraining for a STEM job?

Andy Grove (fairly) recently made a sobering speech about how naive the US is about the role startups play. I think the broadband argument plays into his point. You can't rely on just startups to rebuild the US economy. Every would-be Apple that starts in a future Steve Jobs' garage must eventually reach the ability to employ hundreds or even thousands of employees and handle unsexy work like running factories.

No amount of broadband penetration or legions of startups will change the fact that the US regulatory system makes it very difficult for the US to have a robust, diverse and productive economy. The people who advocate broadband as a key recovery point are also the same sorts who often throw out soundbites on this issue. "Yeah, regulations suck, but having dirty water sucks harder, stupid libertarian." Gee, you fucking moron, you notice what the state of the environment in China looks like today, you know China, where your iToy was fabricated? Like a lot of what's wrong with America, this is more duct tape and chewing gum used to hold together a system that is collapsing under the weight of its contradictions and kludgish design and all people want to do is throw out snarky comments instead of getting into the trenches and restructuring things.

If Obama want's it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35174968)

it MUST BE BAD!

there, said it for you right wing nuts.

So is this going to destroy GPS locally? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35174978)

There was a report lately that FCC approved a wide area wireless company for this purpose. Problem is they are putting high power L band (as I recall) transmitters all over the country. The band is adjacent to the GPS band and jams GPS for some miles from each transmitter. The FCC appears not to have considered this. The company involved (name something like lightsquare as I recall) says it will work with GPS vendors to make sure their stuff works. However the deal is a dinky satellite transmitter's power is going to be easy to overwhelm with sidebands and noise from a ground transmitter - several orders of magnitude more power - and while the central frequencies of wideband internet may be off from the central frequencies of GPS, they are both modulated and filters at the edges are not step functions, and cannot be made step functions consistent with the physics.
So is this wonderful plan just another political vote grab idea without taking into account what it's side effects will be? Avoiding this kind of interference was supposed to be the reason for having an FCC in the first place. Maybe we'd be better off without it.

profits (1)

AntEater (16627) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175006)

...some backers of government broadband spending have already raised concerns that the plan would give money and spectrum to large mobile carriers

Someone hasn't been paying attention very well over the past decade or so. Giving money to the large mobile carriers is likely the entire the point.

It's each individuals RIGHT...... (1)

m509272 (1286764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175018)

It's each individuals RIGHT to pay higher taxes so we can have $100+ bills every month from corporations! Glad to see everyone else gets it too!

But will it have a kill switch? (2, Insightful)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175076)

If you have been following Egypt even a little bit then you should be worried about any U.S. plan to implement an internet kill switch. So the question is: who is going to administer this nationwide 4G and will it have a kill switch built into it? Will there be market competition in the form of multiple carriers or will you only be able to get it in one place and therefore be subject to whatever useless rules they come up with? Law enforcement can already triangulate your cellphone's position with little effort.

I love this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35175162)

I love the fact that we are reserving 2% of the US for those folks who believe they are being harmed by electromagnetic "radiation". After all, we need to give them someplace to live because they don't want to live like a bubble-boy (Faraday cage boy?) just to keep away from that harmful radiation. Perhaps eventually the government will announce where the 2% is exactly and provide government assistance for these people to move there?

Bandwidth (1)

bloobamator (939353) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175236)

I live in an affluent neighborhood in NYC, and I am currently testing two different mobile carrier's latest 4G wifi hotspot phones. Sprint's is really fast one minute, and then horribly slow the next minute. Overall it's very unstable, even when I'm getting a decent 4G signal. T-Mobile's is much more stable and lower latency, but only gives me around 1Mbps. I wonder how much bandwidth and reliability we'll have when 98% of America is using mobile broadband.

Coverage != Usefulness (2)

HalfOfOne (738150) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175278)

Most of Chicago is covered with 3G. I currently use AT&T but have tested devices from other mobile carriers as well. Coverage isn't the biggest issue. It's the fact that when you do have 3G, so do more than 1 million other people. They've oversold and underprovisioned their network in dense population areas, which means that while I've got a full signal, I can't really do anything with it since there's no bandwidth left at the tower. If there's only a T1 going to the cell tower, and 100 people are connected to that cell, coverage doesn't really mean jack.

Covering most of rural America is great, it'll (debateably) make education/communication easier in a lot of places. But for the big cities, network capacity is the bottleneck.

Also, didn't we give AT&T a bunch of government/taxpayer money in the 80's to expand it's network? How'd that work out? They're fleecing everyone to pay for yachts and laughing all the way to the bank.

With schools no longer having text books (3, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175286)

This seems pretty critical. I don't know how my kid would do their homework without the Internet. And don't say, "Go to the library". That's fine if you can spend 4 hours researching, but the teacher's assignments are built around the idea that you've got a text book with all the answers in one chapter...

Unicorns and Magic Fairy Dust (1, Funny)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175302)

I want to feed and cloth 98% of Americans and I will use Magic Fairy Dust and the sale of Unicorns to pay for it. Logistics...Aint it a b!tch?

Yet it won't be used. (2)

Blnky (35330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35175402)

And then, 94% of the US won't use it because they will face large overage charges if they use over 3 Kilobytes per month.

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