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National Broadband Map Shows Digital Divide

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the this-took-a-fifth-of-a-billion-dollars-to-determine? dept.

Government 182

Hugh Pickens writes writes "PC Magazine reports that the Commerce Department has unveiled a national broadband inventory map, which will allow the public to see where high-speed Internet is available throughout the country. Users can search by address, view data on a map, or use other interactive tools to compare broadband across various geographies, such as states, counties or congressional districts. Commerce officials say the information can help businesses decide if they want to move to a certain location, based on broadband availability. The map, costing about $200 million and financed through the 2009 Recovery Act, shows that 5-10 percent of Americans lack broadband access at speeds that support a basic set of applications. Another 36 percent lack access to wireless service. Community anchor institutions like schools and libraries are also 'largely underserved,' the data finds, and two-thirds of surveyed schools subscribe to speeds lower than 25 Mbps and only 4 percent of libraries subscribe to speeds greater than 25 Mbps. 'The National Broadband Map shows there are still too many people and community institutions lacking the level of broadband service needed to fully participate in the Internet economy,' says Larry Strickling, assistant secretary of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). 'We are pleased to see the increase in broadband adoption last year, particularly in light of the difficult economic environment, but a digital divide remains.'"

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$200 million? (2)

fish waffle (179067) | more than 3 years ago | (#35236880)

The map, costing about $200 million

Really? I'd of done it for a paltry $150 million.

Re:$200 million? (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35236942)

That's a steal at $0.50 cents per person. A fancy gold plated push pin on the map for every American!

Re:$200 million? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35236946)

Not to be a grammar nazi or anything, but have.

Re:$200 million? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35237046)

Not to be a grammar nazi or anything, but have.

At least he didn't paint a gigantic "I AM A GOD DAMNED IDIOT" sign on his forehead by confusing "were" and "where" like all the sheepish morons are doing lately. They all collectively stopped fucking up on "they're", "their" and "there" and embraced this new trendy form of stupidity. They are eager to self-identify themselves as not only unskilled idiots with their own native language, but mindless group-thinkers as well.

Re:$200 million? (1)

xerxesVII (707232) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237662)

Not to be a grammar nazi or anything, but have you finished that thought yet?

Re:$200 million? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35237026)

At least you're not claiming it's unconstitutional like some persons might.

Sure, the Founders didn't provide for it, but is there a serious argument that having a survey of the conditions in the country is not a valid function of government? Aside from the people who disbelieve in government entirely, I don't feel there is, as in my experience most of the anti-Census type rhetoric is based on principles of limitation and hamstringing the government out of spite, not because it's genuinely not a good idea to know these things, or because it's somehow a gross intrusion on the citizenry.

Feel free to make a bid on the next update for it though.

Re:$200 million? (5, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237440)

Aside from the people who disbelieve in government entirely, I don't feel there is, as in my experience most of the anti-Census type rhetoric is based on principles of limitation and hamstringing the government out of spite, not because it's genuinely not a good idea to know these things, or because it's somehow a gross intrusion on the citizenry.

The Census as spelled out in the Constitution (Article 1, Section 2) has two purposes: it determines the number of representatives each state gets to elect and send to the House of Representatives. Unlike the Senate wherein each state gets two representatives, the House is proportional to the population of each state. It also determines the number of electoral votes a state may cast during a Presidential election.

It's not unreasonable to want the government to stick to the actual limited purpose of this power, instead of finding clever ways to exceed the Constitutional mandate to go beyond the scope of what the Founders intended. If they really want to do that, there is a Constitutional amendment process that would make it legitimate and that's the part I think you fail to appreciate. Intrusive questions like those about your income and lifestyle have absolutely nothing to do with the requirement that the House and electoral votes are properly apportioned.

Otherwise, those who refuse to answer the Census with anything more than the Constitutionally-required data are implicitly recognizing one important fact: information is a form of power. There are many who quite rationally believe that the U.S. Federal Government is already too powerful. Just to make the point, there have already been abuses of this data. In fact, it greatly facilitated the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. This was made possible because the Second War Powers Act of 1941 repealed all of the legal confidentiality protections that would normally apply to the Census data, which were not restored until 1947.

If you know anything about the U.S. Federal Government and the kind of people who make its important decisions, then you have to wonder whom they will next target. Maybe it will be Muslims or people of Middle Eastern descent, since we are currently fighting them overseas. History does have this annoying way of repeating itself. Refusing to help that happen is not a matter of spiting the government or anyone else; it's a recognition that there is no dire need for them to know so much about you and that this information can be and has been abused. I don't question the reason of those who understand this; I question the naivete of those who don't.

Re:$200 million? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35237624)

I would be careful if I were you. Don't let them know that you have read the Constitution. They prefer ignorant drudges. Obama is hiding under your bed, and as soon as you fall asleep, he's going to sneak out and take all your guns. And your gold. You are hoarding gold, aren't you? After the collapse, all you will be able to buy with the fiat money will be Fiats, and everyone knows they are made in that soon-to-be-Muslim-Caliphate Italy.

Watch out!!

Re:$200 million? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237784)

I would be careful if I were you. Don't let them know that you have read the Constitution. They prefer ignorant drudges. Obama is hiding under your bed, and as soon as you fall asleep, he's going to sneak out and take all your guns. And your gold. You are hoarding gold, aren't you? After the collapse, all you will be able to buy with the fiat money will be Fiats, and everyone knows they are made in that soon-to-be-Muslim-Caliphate Italy.

Watch out!!

Is this mockery your way of saving face upon realizing that I have provided rational, non-paranoid reasoning for why limited government that does not try to exceed its enumerated powers is a Good Thing? I suppose it upsets you when it suddenly becomes difficult to portray everyone who disagrees with you as some kind of paranoid lunatic, like an unruly child who just had his toy taken away.

Hell, you're an AC, there's not much "face" to save really. Anyway if you're feeling low and in need of an echo chamber, you won't get that from me but that's alright. There are many who respond to reason as you just did so you have a lot of like-minded company.

Re:$200 million? (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237846)

The government your talking about though can't exist inside a captialist economy. Because captialism is all about exceeding your powers.

You are quite correct, however reality doesn't work that way, and humans aren't machines that always fall into nice places. some people will always believe they are better than others even if it isn't true.

Re:$200 million? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35238464)

Hell, you're an AC, there's not much "face" to save really. Anyway if you're feeling low and in need of an echo chamber, you won't get that from me but that's alright. There are many who respond to reason as you just did so you have a lot of like-minded company.

Just so you know, the above AC is not the AC you started the conversation with.

Re:$200 million? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35238386)

The Census as spelled out in the Constitution (Article 1, Section 2) has two purposes: it determines the number of representatives each state gets to elect and send to the House of Representatives. Unlike the Senate wherein each state gets two representatives, the House is proportional to the population of each state. It also determines the number of electoral votes a state may cast during a Presidential election.

It's not unreasonable to want the government to stick to the actual limited purpose of this power, instead of finding clever ways to exceed the Constitutional mandate to go beyond the scope of what the Founders intended.

Except the Founders did not provide for any such exclusive use of it, if they had wanted to do so, I agree they could have done so. They did not. And you are assuming that it is present without even the rigor of searching for some words you can construe to support your contention.

This is why I don't agree with the literalists, they seek to so narrowly shape everything that you get the feeling they would not be open to any new ideas at all.

If they really want to do that, there is a Constitutional amendment process that would make it legitimate and that's the part I think you fail to appreciate.

Well, at least you admit it could be amended. Many, if not most, of the folks I'm talking about would resist even that idea. Not that I think it's a good idea to demand every damn thing be the subject of an amendment unless it's done as part of an overall process. If you want to say every 20 or even 50 years we should set down and hold a convention to decide the scope of Government. That would help with my aforementioned problem earlier with the literalist mindset, because they could not be caught up in their refusal to adapt, to change. Stasis would actually be avoided.

Unfortunately, the Founding Fathers did not think of that in a sufficiently effective way, so we're left without it, even though I suspect many issues could be resolved better with it being a regular process. At the least it would force the discussion away from the useless pissing contest of what some dudes in the 18th Century wanted and into what we need today.

Intrusive questions like those about your income and lifestyle have absolutely nothing to do with the requirement that the House and electoral votes are properly apportioned.

Otherwise, those who refuse to answer the Census with anything more than the Constitutionally-required data are implicitly recognizing one important fact: information is a form of power. There are many who quite rationally believe that the U.S. Federal Government is already too powerful.

Yeah, keep telling yourself that. Certainly information is a form of power, and that's why it helps to have it, because it helps the rest of the country operate properly.

Are there things outside the scope of what I believe the government should ask? Certainly, but I do not take the absolutist position that the only thing they need to know is the number of warm bodies in the house. The polarity on your side of things prevents any consideration whatsoever of there being valid information worth knowing. You cannot even make the argument because the minds in opposition are closed. That is why I disbelieve in the value of the amendment process. It won't help, as no admission whatsoever of the viability of change will occur. Just stubborn refusal to do anything different, which will pay in the end.

Just to make the point, there have already been abuses of this data. In fact, it greatly facilitated the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. This was made possible because the Second War Powers Act of 1941 repealed all of the legal confidentiality protections that would normally apply to the Census data, which were not restored until 1947.

If you know anything about the U.S. Federal Government and the kind of people who make its important decisions, then you have to wonder whom they will next target. Maybe it will be Muslims or people of Middle Eastern descent, since we are currently fighting them overseas. History does have this annoying way of repeating itself. Refusing to help that happen is not a matter of spiting the government or anyone else; it's a recognition that there is no dire need for them to know so much about you and that this information can be and has been abused. I don't question the reason of those who understand this; I question the naivete of those who don't.

Ironically, IME, this is the same sort of thing that would appeal to many of the anti-Census people. So pardon me for not getting too upset over it. The real problem is not that there was Census Data. The problem was with the very idea that people should be confined in camps by virtue of their ethnicity. That is what you should focus on rejecting. The Census didn't cause the problem at all. It was not an abuse of the data that was an issue, it was an abuse of the principles of this country. Without the Census having the data it STILL would have happened.

And you can bet the Tea Party of today would have cheered it on. They don't even get what they would be doing.

Re:$200 million? (1, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237630)

most of the anti-Census type rhetoric is based on principles of limitation and hamstringing the government out of spite, not because it's genuinely not a good idea

"Spite" is what drives politics for a significant portion of the electorate and about half the political leadership. When you're morally bankrupt and intellectually suspect, spite is all that's left.

For the electorate, when you've been through thirty years of watching your income and lifestyle eroded while a small portion of the population gains enormous wealth, it's easy to become spiteful. People are too busy trying to survive to pay attention. And that makes them easy to manipulate. In this sense, the social and political strategy put in place back in the 1980s is now starting to bear fruit. When the TV tells you that your world is crumbling because school teachers and firefighters are getting pensions, and your employer tells you that they've decided it's not "cost-effective" to continue to provide your pension, "spite" is what happens.

Re:$200 million? (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35238074)

>>>is there a serious argument that having a survey of the conditions in the country is not a valid function of government?

I don't have a problem with a survey - it could be considered part of the annual state of the union report. I have a problem if they say I HAVE to answer it, or else face jail time, like they did with the census. Answering that 1 person lives at my house? Cool. Answering what color I am, how old, how much money I make, and other shit? No.

I also have a problem if Congress takes it upon itself to build High speed fiber (or whatever) to every home. It violates our 10th Amendment rights: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

The power to provide internet is reserved to the Member States. Or the people (i.e. entrepreneurs). If this is felt to be too restrictive, then amend the Constitution granting the Congress power to create an internet service, akin to how they were given power to create a postal service.

Re:$200 million? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35237048)

dslreports says it cost $293 million; $200 million is how much it will cost every 5 years.

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Meet-The-United-States-First-Ever-Broadband-Map-112787

Re:$200 million? (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237258)

dslreports says it cost $293 million; $200 million is how much it will cost every 5 years.

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Meet-The-United-States-First-Ever-Broadband-Map-112787

All that money and they couldn't make each connectivity technology uniquely color coded? That's a pretty rookie display.

Re:$200 million? (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237558)

ABC News said the total would be $200 million over 5 years, which sounds more plausible. I quote:

"The raw data for the map comes from roughly 1,650 Internet service providers — primarily phone, cable and wireless companies — across the country. The NTIA awarded grants to government agencies or non-profits in every state to collect, confirm and package the data to go into the nationwide map, which was then compiled by the NTIA and the FCC. The total price tag of the map, which will be updated twice a year, comes out to $200 million over five years."

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=12943817&page=3 [go.com]

Re:$200 million? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237430)

What I find amazing is that it cost $200m, doesn't state prices or actual speeds. And they're actually proud of that. Did common sense go out the window? Or is the majority of people these days skipping that trait during character creation?

Re:$200 million? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35237474)

Yeah, but they wanted someone who could spell.

I bet it would have worked on firefox 2.0.0.8, too (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237530)

Really? I'd of done it for a paltry $150 million.

I bet it would have worked on firefox 2.0.0.8, too.

Apparently $200,000,000 doesn't pay for testing on a range of browsers.

If I could display the government's map I'd take a look at how much stuff it downloaded. I bet it's so bloated it's only viewable over broadband.

Re:I bet it would have worked on firefox 2.0.0.8, (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237890)

Doesn't work on chrome....

Re:I bet it would have worked on firefox 2.0.0.8, (1)

jebrew (1101907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35238136)

I'm running Chrome and it appears to work fine...slow, but you can't blame the browser for that.

Re:$200 million? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35237542)

The actual site is 20 million (hey I can read the article right?) the rest was bribes uh... fees spilt between the 50 states or 3.6 million per state. Paid to telco companies and isps to give up the data.

Re:$200 million? (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237562)

Yes, this is why when people bitch and moan about cuts I have no sympathy whatsoever. There is no federal government agency that should not take a SEVERE budget cut no matter what it is the WASTE that goes on is simply mind blowing.

That said since the money is already spent and at least we do have a pretty map to show for it. I do find it interesting how well covered with wired broad band solutions places like Maine actually are. It looks like the midwest is actually well served as well. It seems to be only the Western United states that is problematic. Given the geography and the population density out there I am not to surprised.

Wireless broadband seems to be pretty available just about everywhere. Honestly I don't know what everyone is so worried about with the digital divide nonsense, its nonsense. They only places without good broad band plainly don't have the population to support them. That's not a question of fairness its just reality. The people there do have options like Satellite anyway. Listening to NPR I would have expected the problem to be much worse. In fact I don't think its a problem at all now!

Its like saying it was unreasonable that railroads did not stop in every small town at the turn of the previous century. There are good things and bad things about living in a rural area, deal with it or move.

/. News Networks (3, Insightful)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 3 years ago | (#35236884)

Today's top story is how prominent ISPs received government funding to extend broadband access to more of America and blew it on bonuses and advertisement. And possibly blow.

In related news, ISPs are complaining about how expensive people who use their entire bandwidth allotment are.

Re:/. News Networks (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237318)

What? no hookers and wiskey? They didn't get their monies worth.

Re:/. News Networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35238014)

Oh how nice it would be to have good service again. Already fussed over a period of a month with AT&T to get my service back up, but never better than balancing plates on sticks. DSL is crawling once more and the last tech didn't want to repair the line so said to not expect anything above 1.5 MBps (had solid 3.0 service for years before). My area is listed as 10-25MBps on this site. AT&T has sent out reps twice saying that the area is green lighted for the Uverse deal, but it isn't and aside from their trucks always parked on the side of the road (guess they are reading the paper or something), no work is apparently being done.

Makes me wonder how much of this is mis-information. Comcast looks like the better deal around here. Starting to think I maybe the only customer left in the area from the Bellsouth days.

Co-ops, or Gov't? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35236886)

So... How did the power companies handle this? As I recall, the investor-owned utilities didn't want to spend a lot of money for rural customers, such as farmers. As such, the farmers joined together and created "Co-ops".

Then there are places like ?Nebraska? where there is a publicly owned utility, but they will only exist until a privately owned company comes in and takes over a territory.

Will Co-ops spring up for internet? Or will we see more government spending?

Re:Co-ops, or Gov't? (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237654)

Naah. Co-ops are sued by incumbents [timesfreepress.com] that are too lazy to actually build out the infrastructure that they've been taking federal money to do. Welcome to the future.

Indiana (2)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 3 years ago | (#35236906)

Indiana seems to have remarkably high penetration of DSL compared to its neighbors. Three of its borders are clearly demarcated. Is there any explanation for this?

Re:Indiana (1)

CraftyJack (1031736) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237022)

I don't know, but Vermont has it too. Whatever it is, West Virginia should start taking notes.

Re:Indiana (1, Flamebait)

vawwyakr (1992390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237082)

As soon as they acquire the technology needed to begin taking notes they will begin taking them. Then sometime later begin working on this "broadband" stuff.

Re:Indiana (0)

Quill_28 (553921) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237394)

West Virginia is so sparsely populated, I think only wireless access would make sense for 90% of the state.

Re:Indiana (1)

adonoman (624929) | more than 3 years ago | (#35238044)

Yeah, I don't buy it. In Southern Manitoba - an area with half West Virginia's population, and four times the land area, there's nearly complete broadband penetration [ic.gc.ca] (pdf file).

Montana and Alaska are sparsely populated. The interior of Australia are sparsely populated, as is northern Canada. A good 2/3rds of West Virginia has > 10 people per sq. mile. That's practically jamming people in.

Re:Indiana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35237064)

I live in southern indiana. When the state deregulated ~three years ago, we had dsl up and running in my county and every county bordering us within a year. We had no broadband (outside of the satellite) before that.

Not commenting on the deregulation bit, just saying what happened.

Re:Indiana (1)

Tr3vin (1220548) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237312)

Verizon worked to set up quite a bit of DSL / FiOS in my area. As far as I know, we were one of the first areas to get FiOS. There was a bit of begging and probably some tax breaks involved. We also removed regulations to make it easier for companies to add service. Verizon's FiOS service has been amazing and I haven't had any trouble with it. Unfortunately, Verizon has sold all of their lines to Frontier. Since Frontier is smaller, they are having trouble negotiating TV prices, so there is going to be a ~$30 rate hike. Their internet services are still great, though. I've never hit a cap and have not once noticed any throttling.

Re:Indiana (3, Funny)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237374)

Indiana seems to have remarkably high penetration of DSL compared to its neighbors...

I hate to do it. But I just feel compelled. You walked right into this.

"Thats what she said"

Canadian Broadband (3, Informative)

KingPin27 (1290730) | more than 3 years ago | (#35236912)

For those of you interested in under served markets -- check out the Canadian set of broadband maps (current to 2010) Maps here [ic.gc.ca]

Just an FYI currently where I am at (southern Alberta, just outside of Lethbridge). I am maxed out at 3Mbps down on a good day when my DSL isn't bottlenecked from the DSLAM. On average I get about 1.7Mbps with 120ms Ping to most places.

Re:Canadian Broadband (1)

bazorg (911295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237792)

Blame Canada! Blame Canada!

Re:Canadian Broadband (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35238430)

You poor fellow. My connection at work is a T1 -- a symmetric 1.5Mbit connection shared by no less than 30 people, not to mention two externally accessible websites which are hosted on the same connection. And yes, it's absolutely the best connection available at that location. For anything over ~400MB in size, it's literally faster for me to remote into my home setup, start a download, drive home to pick it up, and drive back to work. And for what it's worth, this is less than 2 miles outside the border of a major metropolitan city (in the same state).

$200M? Should have spent more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35236950)

... ON the website. So gawdawful slow.

broadband.gov wants to access your location. Confirm or Deny.
I am usually against government spending, but I am paying all for faster speeds for everyone as I believe it will do more for U.S. and her people than just about any other government program would.

Re:$200M? Should have spent more (2)

Firehed (942385) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237398)

It's so slow to remind you what it's like for the underprivileged Americans without broadband access living in...well, I have no idea since the damn map won't load.

Really not that bad..... (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35236960)

According to DSLreports.com:

99% of the country is already connected to high speed internet via wireless 3G connections. That only leaves a few nomads living in deserts or montana ranches that can not get "broadband" internet.

*
* BTW what is broadband? 100 MHz width? 500 MHz? I've never seen it defined other than the loose "greater than a phoneline's 4 kHz" definition.

Re:Really not that bad..... (1)

NullProg (70833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237202)

* BTW what is broadband?

An upgrade from 300 baud to 14400 without any government assistance.

Enjoy,

Re:Really not that bad..... (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237330)

>According to DSLreports.com: >99% of the country is already connected to high speed internet via wireless 3G connections.

I just cannot believe this, unless they did a survey which only those with wireless 3G connections. Maybe if you simply lotsa $$$ you can get highspeed wireless internet anywhere, but I'm not stinking rich and there is no DSL in at my part of the city.

Re:Really not that bad..... (1)

mrdogi (82975) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237514)

Or in a valley that is poorly covered by cells. I have a co-worker who can't get anything beyond dial-up because she is too far out of town (2 miles, maybe) and is nowhere near cable. This is in Western Wisconsin, perhaps 30 miles from downtown St. Paul, MN.

Re:Really not that bad..... (2)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237534)

I don't think it should be a point of accomplishment that 99% of the country is connected to a low speed option. In most cases, our highest speed wired broadband connections are slower than the slowest wireless (4G) connections available in other countries. Especially since it's the result of us paying for the lines and then handing them over to monopolies for whom it is in their best interest to hold back and artificially restrict service capacities.

At the same time, the map shows (*shock*!) that the denser an area's population, the greater the broadband penetration (of course, you're still only left with ONE option, no matter how dense the population is in your area). If you're way out in the fucking middle of nowhere and you don't get broadband internet, you probably also may not get cable television. Or be connected to a city sewer line. Or have a robust library system. That's what you get when you live in the middle of nowhere and that's why people tend to congregate in bigger cities. You know, where you can get stuff.

Re:Really not that bad..... (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237548)

50 miles outside of Raleigh, NC and AT&T only just brought their 3G service to the area about 6 weeks ago. I don't believe 99% of the US has 3G, by area or by population.

Re:Really not that bad..... (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237658)

Broadband is the speed at which porn can be downloaded at an erotically acceptable pace to maintain en erection.

Re:Really not that bad..... (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237936)

3G qualifies as broadband? That's news to me. That 3G is the same 3G I use for a data plan on my phone right? The data plan that restricts me to less than 5 GB per month before I get throttled down to lower speeds? Sure, that 3G connection may work great for a smartphone, where I check my e-mail a few times a day and might even stream Pandora once or twice, but it's not going to work for general home use.

Anyone who routinely updates/downloads software over the internet will violate their cap. Anyone who wants to establish and maintain their own web server will violate a 3G cap. Anyone who wants to telecommute to work, and handle the large datasets/documentation material that they need to for their job is going to violate their 5 GB cap in a week, much less a month.

Don't kid yourself. 3G is about as broadband as a creek is a viable water supply for a city. It's inadequate for anything but semi-regular use on phones.

Re:Really not that bad..... (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35238388)

Here's the quote for those who are curious: "Granted, Obama did say "next-generation" wireless, but given the current debate around the definition of fourth generation (4G) wireless, that term now technically includes every variety of mobile broadband faster than 256kbps. It's certain a vast majority of the public will see "next generation" 4G wireless within the next five years without the government lifting a finger.

"That makes this promise much like the FCC's promise to bring 100 Mbps service to 100 Million households in twenty years, something also destined to happen organically (relatively inexpensive DOCSIS 3.0 cable upgrades) without Uncle Sam doing anything. In short, the 98% mark is another meaningless metric designed to impress people who don't pay attention."

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Why-Obamas-98-Wireless-Goal-Is-Empty-Rhetoric-112429 [dslreports.com]

Missing some data (3, Insightful)

mitler (1879900) | more than 3 years ago | (#35236972)

I hope they aren't factoring missing data into their statistics. I'm in York County PA, and the default map showing DSL service is mysteriously blank for the entire county. I think they have some holes in their data, or it's just not displaying it all properly.

Re:Missing some data (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35237092)

Yup. The town I live in has about 500 residents, and the map claims that we don't have broadband access, which is incorrect. There are two cable companies that provide access, and I'm connected to one of them.

I wonder what the accuracy of this map is? For the area I live in and several miles to the North and South it is completely inaccurate.

Re:Missing some data (1)

alta (1263) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237728)

You expect it to be perfect for $200 million? They passed up the perfect option, it was $200 billion. They would have gone for that option but the company was run by replicans and the dems just couldn't bring themselves to pay them.

Hey, at least you got a map. it's /.ed for me. Actually, it finally DID work. It shows I have broadband, however it is NOT available to me. I was talking to someone working with this on the state level, and they said the initiative says that if ONE person in a zipcode has access to broadband, they mark that entire zip code as 'yes'

That's BS. I'm .25 from someone with a 20MB connection to mediacom. They want $25k to put a 'tap' on my street.

What a waste of our money. How many people could this have fed?

200 million down the toilet (0)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 3 years ago | (#35236980)

What did this study prove that rural areas are undeserved, that was well worth 200 million that was supposed to be for helping the economy recover.

Re:200 million down the toilet (1)

Haven (34895) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237076)

This is a silly "either or" fallacy, both could be done.

The merits of this study let us know the scope, and exactly where the problem lies. Only then can we really begin to fix it.

Doesn't proove that (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237438)

Read the other responses here. What it proves is that the government cannot measure rural broadband access.

I wonder.. (1)

aBaldrich (1692238) | more than 3 years ago | (#35236998)

I wonder why is this map so similar to the united states population density [mapofusa.net] .

Re:I wonder.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35237142)

I wonder why is this map so similar to the united states population density [mapofusa.net] .

Except for the black hole known as West Virginia.

Re:I wonder.. (2)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237346)

It isn't really. Make sure you select Cable DOCSIS 3.0 and Fiber to the End User in order to compare broadband as broadband is defined in other countries (Europe, Asia). I don't consider my copper DSL (2Mbps/256k) or Cable (10/1Mbps offered, 3Mbps/512k actual) options here to be very broadband. The only places I do get 10Mbps is against benchmarking sites (very suspiciously it actually goes to 15/3Mbps sometimes on those sites even though the company says it can't go faster than 10).

Re:I wonder.. (1)

Jenming (37265) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237546)

My 10/1 Mbs Cable in Maine is consistently above 8 Mbps even at peak times. The upload does leave something to be desired, maybe somewhere around 512k.

Re:I wonder.. (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237714)

Suspicious? It means they're giving you more than you pay for. The speeds they advertise are maximum speeds... there are many servers on the Internet that can't sustain 10Mbps downloads, and there are many reasons why it may be slow getting all the way to you. Benchmarking sites are selected because they have excess bandwidth that they can play with. What about something like Netflix... does that go fast for you?

Really, 10Mbps may not be blow your hair back fast, but it's most certainly "broadband" as far as application use is concerned.

It's not that similar (1)

RatherBeAnonymous (1812866) | more than 3 years ago | (#35238312)

Look at the map and highlight all of the wired connections technologies, then look at the state of Indiana. The reported consistency of broadband coverage is amazing. Indiana is not that well populated. California, The San Francisco area in particular, looks dramatically under-served for the population density. The Flagstaff, Arizona area looks pretty well over-served for the population.

You could include wireless connection technologies, but the cost for wireless data service is so much greater than wired that I don't consider it a viable option.

Nice job, Feds. (3, Insightful)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237038)

Would have been nice to have put this map showing where the good connections are on a good connection so that more than 10 people can use it at once.

Re:Nice job, Feds. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35237112)

Would have been nice to have put this map showing where the good connections are on a good connection so that more than 10 people can use it at once.

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing ... Obviously, this server is hosted in East Nowhere....

Re:Nice job, Feds. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35237222)

Would have been nice to have put this map showing where the good connections are on a good connection so that more than 10 people can use it at once.

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing ... Obviously, this server is hosted in East Nowhere....

Obviously we need to throw another 200 million at it.

Re:Nice job, Feds. (1)

alienzed (732782) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237388)

I disagree for two reasons, one, a bad connection to the map really drives the point home and secondly, for those who simply can't access it, the problem is out of sight and so out of mind. Ignorance is bliss after all! Besides, we all know that those 10 people are probably responsible for 99% of the internet's traffic so they don't deserve to see the map.

Inadvertently hilarious title (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237096)

"Are you being served?" turns out to be a funny question to ask when www.broadbandmap.gov [broadbandmap.gov] is incapable of doing so.

No Chrome? (1, Offtopic)

sockonafish (228678) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237120)

Is it just me, or does this not work on Chrome?

Re:No Chrome? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35237140)

Not just you, I see nothing.

Re:No Chrome? (1)

AgentSmith (69695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237232)

Rainier Wolfcastle: Ah! My eyes! The website . . .it does nothing!

Re:No Chrome? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35237178)

Ditto.

Re:No Chrome? (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237282)

I don't get it on Chrome or Firefox. Methinks they need a faster broadband connection . . .

Re:No Chrome? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35237320)

It works fine for me on Firefox.

Re:No Chrome? (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237414)

Yep. For $200,000,000, you'd think it could at least work on something other than MSIE. Enormous government waste to document enormous government waste. Go figure.

Re:No Chrome? (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237564)

I had to refresh a couple of times, but it worked on Firefox for me, even with Ghostery, ABP and NoScript enabled.

Re:No Chrome? (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237426)

It worked after I disabled Flashblock.

Re:No Chrome? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35238308)

$200M and it does not load the actual map in Safari or Chrome on Mac. Firefox seems to work ok, but slow like dial up slow.

FCC, not Commerce Dept. Released Broadband.gov (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35237146)

The original article incorrectly states that the Commerce Dept. is responsible for the map, when in fact it was released by the FCC.

The goverment built a POS? How is it possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35237190)

You mean their broadband map isn't capable of getting /.'d? Did anyone notice for the half second it does show up the thing is written in ASP? They paid 200,000,000 for this thing...

Re:The goverment built a POS? How is it possible (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237442)

What are you viewing it in? I don't think it's slashdotted. It just doesn't work in Firefox or Chrome (it'll load the header and then all you'll get is a blank page with a single horizontal rule at the top).

Re:The goverment built a POS? How is it possible (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237540)

ASP Fail.

200 million bucks and they can't even support standard browser.

God, it's a barren, featureless desert out there, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35237228)

isn't it? I can't see a thing, they must be showing the other side of the map.

Probably bunk (2)

MetricT (128876) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237276)

Tennessee has maintained a online map of broadband availability for some time. Except that it shows theoretical broadband availability instead of actual broadband availability. The federal map seems to be Slashdotted, but I'm betting it pulls from the same data sources and has the same problems.

The Tennessee map tracks cable, DSL, and cellular wireless/WiMAX. According to the map, my parents are serviced by both cable and cellular wireless.

Except that my parents live at the bottom of a valley and can't get any cell phone signal where they live. And since they live a mile off the main road, the cable company wants $4k to pull cable down to their house.

So my parents have no broadband. There's a BellSouth DSLAM a mile from their house, but no DSL.

BellSouth promised to roll out DSL several years ago, purely coincidentally about the time that the local electric co-op was making noises about providing broadband. BellSouth/Charter/Comcast increased their political donations that year by a factor of 100, and again purely by coincidence the republican party passed a law to prevent public co-ops from getting into the internet business. Since the law was passed 3 years ago, BellSouth has been promising us DSL "within 6 months". I expect broadband to arrive in our neighborhood in the "Half-Life 23" timeframe.

Re:Probably bunk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35238096)

BellSouth promised to roll out DSL several years ago, purely coincidentally about the time that the local electric co-op was making noises about providing broadband. BellSouth/Charter/Comcast increased their political donations that year by a factor of 100, and again purely by coincidence the republican party passed a law to prevent public co-ops from getting into the internet business. Since the law was passed 3 years ago, BellSouth has been promising us DSL "within 6 months". I expect broadband to arrive in our neighborhood in the "Half-Life 23" timeframe.

I live in Tennessee myself. I don't know about this law, but my electric co-op, EPB IS providing Fibre Internet/Phone/Television to everybody in its customer area. You should get your co-op to do the same thing. EPB has made their customers very happy, and made Comcast and AT&T very nervous and forced them to invest into their own provisions.

Not saying it's without problems, I had to work on one location they didn't think they served, but that was a database problem caused by an irregular address. But if EBP can do it, so can your parent's provider.

.gov fail (1)

Chaseshaw (1486811) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237338)

whelp doesn't work on my chrome or ie on win 7 64 ultimate. typical .gov. -- I'll bet even the javascript programmers needed security clearance to work on it.

Re:.gov fail (1)

watermark (913726) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237692)

whelp doesn't work on my chrome or ie on win 7 64 ultimate. typical .gov.

I have same config, works fine.

Color me unimpressed w/ the map itself. (1)

yoder (178161) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237362)

Usability = 5 out of 10
Speed = 4
Design = 6

5-10 percent? Not bad (1)

thule (9041) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237372)

That doesn't sound that bad to me. One of the most rural areas I have recently visited has fiber to the house. The service is provided by the telephone co-op. The co-op claims they can provide 100mbit service if you want it. This is a farm area and the population density is very, very low, but they have fiber!

Re:5-10 percent? Not bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35237880)

Must be because its a co-op.

View Source ... bloody incompetence (1)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237484)

on home page. It begins:

[html comment code here]

[insert ascii art that /. won't let me use because o fthe 'junk characters' filter]

[//end html comment code]

And gets worse. Good bloody grief. Who the hell built this and who gave them the time machine from 1995 and no wonder it cost $200M, they evidently had to contribute to the time machine project.

Oh crap. Now /. (-- junk characters) wants me to use fewer 'junk characters.' Great. Let's just cut&paste from the OP:

[snip. didn't work.]

airports? WTF (1)

alta (1263) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237826)

What's the point in marking every little airport on the map? What does this have to do at ALL with airports. Let me show you ow rediculous this is. 1 mile from my house, there's a grass landing strip. The wealthy owner of a local company wanted his spoiled grown kid to learn how to fly. He was too rich to bother driving the 10 miles to the local airport, so he got the field behind his house designated as a landing strip for small aircraft. They came out and put the orange balls on the high tension power lines. After the brat (25ish) got about 20 hours in, he quit. This was 20 years ago. AND RICHARDSON FIELD IS ON THIS MAP? WTF? For shits and giggles did they import every site the FAA ever had since the beginning of time?

To back up my story a bit...
http://www.airport-data.com/airport/26AL/ [airport-data.com]

Still shows airport as operational. Apparently no one checks this crap. Last time I drove by the pine trees had grown up to about 12 feet in 'richardson field airport' Geeze

Amazing! (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237898)

Gasp! It looks eerily like a population map of the United States! Amazing!

Advertised rates are lies (1)

RatherBeAnonymous (1812866) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237918)

This map is reporting the ISPs' advertised rates. I eventually got the site to load up my address. It is a load of baloney. Time Warner is claiming 10 to 25 MB, which may be accurate. But I tried their service for a month last Fall and the service was frequently down for hours or days at a time. Windstream is claiming 6 to 10Mb for my address, and I use theme currently. I was signed up for 3Mb from them, but it turns out I am too far from the CO to support that speed. I had to reduce to 1.5Mb for reliability.

I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that I'm not the only one living in an area where these claimed data rates are marketing fabrications.

The Data Is Wrong (1)

krgallagher (743575) | more than 3 years ago | (#35237940)

I typed in my Mother's address. She lives 40 miles outside of Dallas, and can only get 3G wireless from a couple of providers. Even then she rarely gets faster than 720 Kbps. It listed two "Fixed Wireless" providers with speeds up to 6 Mbps. I went to their web sites and typed in her address. They say, correctly, that she is outside their coverage area.

Re:The Data Is Wrong (1)

Rob Riggs (6418) | more than 3 years ago | (#35238408)

This map is a joke. Wishful thinking at best. Qwest is shown in my neighborhood as providing 3-6Mbps down. Go to their site and type in the exact same address that I did and you'll find they offer up to 768Kbps down. My wireless broadband carrier is showing the same thing (3-6Mbps). Yet they only offer up to 2.5Mbps in my neighborhood, and you'll only get 500kbps during prime time (making Netflix unwatchable).

Here's why the map is really a joke. It asks for feedback -- "crowd-sourcing" they say. However, you can only provide feedback as to whether the provider actually serves the area, not whether the bandwidth numbers are accurate. It seems they do not want all of the facts, just some of them.

detailed map, already available (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35238006)

Why don't they use that map that every Verizon commercial shows, about how good their coverage is? Then we could have taken that 0.2 $G and hand out a million bucks to everyone in this thread, like Oprah: "You get a million! You get a million! You get a million! You get a million! You get a million! You get a million! You get a million! You get a million! You get a million! " x 200 people. The quality of the information would be the same, plus, instead of one agency cashing in on free tax money, we could share it. Government is not in the business of providing broadband access to anyone. RTFM [archives.gov] .

What a piece of garbage! (1)

swilly (24960) | more than 3 years ago | (#35238260)

I tried going to my town, and didn't see our largest (and best) ISP listed. Then I noticed that the map was way, way outside of town.

I tried putting in my street address, still putting me outside of town.

So, I go to Google maps and get my lat/lon to 4 decimal places. I put my lat/lon in, and it returns nothing. I notice that the URL had a positive longitude, despite my putting a negative into the text field. I edit the URL to have a - in front of the longitude. Now I have data. Way, way outside of town.

None of the download options work, they all give me an error.

I'm going to stop playing with the site. It is useless.

Please tell me the 5 years, 200 million dollars is a joke.

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