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19 Million Americans Cannot Get Broadband Access

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the move-to-the-city dept.

The Internet 279

First time accepted submitter paullopez writes "The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced during its eighth annual broadband progress report on the state of broadband/Internet access in America, that 19 million Americans still do not have access to high-speed broadband above the 3Mbps threshold. However, the report also detailed the advances the progress that is being made, including 'LTE deployment by mobile networks.'" Also at SlashCloud.

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LTE (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093069)

LTE isn't exactly what most would consider "broadband" due to the incredibly low caps and high price. If you only get 5 GB per month (or less) you aren't going to be using it for streaming movies or anything.

Re:LTE (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41093147)

But it is a relatively cheap way to 'fulfill' any rural telco obligations you happened to pick up from the FCC in exchange for lucrative spectrum concessions or whatever else it is you actually wanted...

Re:LTE (1)

takshaka (15297) | about 2 years ago | (#41093151)

I wish I could get LTE. The best I can do is 3G, even though I am 200 yards from houses with cable.

Even so, 3G is a great improvement over dialup.

Re:LTE (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41093465)

Why not just run cable the 200 yards?

You can rent a ditchwitch and have it done in short order.

Re:LTE (3, Informative)

Rei (128717) | about 2 years ago | (#41093533)

Lol, how can you suck that bad in America? Here in Iceland we're approaching 80% of the population with 50-100mb *fiber*, despite having 1/10th the population density as the US. Even the capitol region's population density is only about the average population density of America, and that's only about 70% of the population; the largest city outside the capitol region is six hours drive away and has only 17k people. They're currently stringing connections in Vestfirðir, a large, sparsely populated, mountainous region where the largest "city" is just over 3k people. This here is all just counting fiber connections, let alone DSL. And people generally get excellent net service through their cell phones as well (2g map [siminn.is] , 3g map [siminn.is] for one provider). I've used Facebook on hikes, from the top of mountains before. And it's all cheap, too.

What's up with that, America? Why do you neglect your infrastructure like that? Here we've got multi-kilometer mountain tunnels leading to towns of around 1000 people, and you can't even make it possible for 6% of your population to have 3Mbps *dsl*? Over your existing phone lines?

Re:LTE (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093563)

... and isn't your country even more bankrupt than ours?

Re:LTE (3, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41093591)

The USAs population density is highly misleading on one hand.

I have lived in places with my nearest neighbor sharing a wall at one extreme, and in another location where the nearest neighbor was 3 miles away.

On the other the USAs phone lines are also crap. Very few here want to pay the taxes or any other of that "evil socialist" stuff like that required to have modern infrastructure.

Re:LTE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093753)

Simple. There is nothing in it for the rich. In the US, if the rich don't get richer, then the project won't get approved. Unless one of those 19 million is related to the Koch brothers (they aren't), then there is zero incentive for some rich corporation to lay down the cable to provide high speed to those users. In Iceland, you are socialist, meaning projects are undertaken for the betterment of all Icelanders. In the US, it is the opposite, projects are only undertaken if the rich get richer.

Re:LTE (4, Insightful)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | about 2 years ago | (#41093785)

Perhaps it has something to do with Iceland's ~100km^2 land area as opposed to the US's ~10m km^2 land area...

Re:LTE (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41093885)

Land area does not matter one bit. Population density is it. You could have a country like Canada 9m km^2 and since the people are all basically in a 20 mile strip along the US border providing them with internet service is not as much of an issue.

Re:LTE (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41093911)

100 mile strip I mean. Either way it means the vast majority of the population is in a small area.

Re:LTE (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 2 years ago | (#41094251)

Well, then the US is covered.

19M people is less than 10% of the nation.

Re:LTE (3, Interesting)

Troyusrex (2446430) | about 2 years ago | (#41094259)

Had you followed the links you would have seen that the US has "networks technically capable of 100 megabit-plus speeds to over 80 percent of the population through cable’s DOCSIS 3.0 rollout" which exactly matches your claims of what Iceland has. A surprising amount of those without broadband access are on tribal lands which are governed by different laws.

Not to say that the US couldn't do better on this front but the idea that Iceland is wonderful and the US "Suck(s) that bad" is hyperbole and ignores the facts.

Re:LTE (0)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 2 years ago | (#41094383)

You're a pretty tiny little country, true? Do you have an area comparable to say Oklahoma to Dakota that you fulfilled the promise of high speed to, or are you just conveniently forgetting that your entire country's population/economics/difficulties amount to that of one of our bigger cities?

Re:LTE (4, Insightful)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 2 years ago | (#41093457)

Absolutely. They should (also) be reporting on the number of Americans without access to affordable high speed access. And breaking down what all of the caps are both wireless caps and also caps that have been imposed on previously uncapped "land line" services. It is absurd how, while other countries continue to move forward, the US grants monopolies or near monopolies to Internet providers yet lets them chip away at the "service" imposing restrictions designed only to aid their business model and keep them from building out their equipment.

I was also surprised to see the standard stated as above 3Mbs. By that standard I don't even have the Internet, nor do some of my friends who live in very well served cities (although we might both be considered to have access to LTE). Actually AT&T does offer me a higher priced 6Mbs service where I live, but I stopped buying that when it was determined that they were not really providing more than I am getting with the 3Mbs service and they just laughed and said the service never promised 6Mps, only "up to" 6Mbs.

Re:LTE (2)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | about 2 years ago | (#41093637)

LTE is not a high speed internet connection. not in any way that truly matters. Not while the standard cap is 1-2GB/month. yes you can buy more, have you seen the price on that? 5GB/month (which is still an absurdly low cap) contracts end up about the same as my CAR payment, several times higher than my landline internet.

LTE is a top fuel dragster. it's really impressive for a quarter mile. then you have to take it apart and rebuild it for a month.

"look how fast I can download over my phone!"
"yeah. that's great. you've already hit your cap for the month. it took 13 and half minutes."

what is the point of "high speed" internet that you can't use?

Re:LTE (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41093827)

1. T-mobile is again offering unlimited, not sure how far there LTE rollout is.

2. same as car payment is very vague. Mine is 0, and has never been higher. So all my internet service bills exceed that. I know that a car payment on some cars exceeds $1000/month.

3. Some of us still have unlimited plans, and it looks like they might be coming back based on what sprint and tmobile are doing.

there's always a bottom 5% (3, Insightful)

Jerry Smith (806480) | about 2 years ago | (#41093115)

Especially the rural area are a bit difficult to service (yes I read part of the article). On the other hand: people that choose to live there, do they nééd fixed-line access?

Re:there's always a bottom 5% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093145)

They need to have the option to pay the telco for the lines - even if it's in the $100,000 price range to run fiber. Communities band together to get stuff like that done.

Re:there's always a bottom 5% (3, Interesting)

KillaBeave (1037250) | about 2 years ago | (#41093329)

The problem generally isn't the communities of more than 1000, it's all the dispersed "neighborhoods" in the rural parts. Back in my hometown there's multiple rural parts that probably have around 500 or so people living in them, but they're all on between 5-20 acres ... with tracts of farmland thrown in for good measure. The houses will generally cluster in groups of 5 or 6 along a stretch of road, each one on multiple acres and these clusters will be a mile or two apart form each other. Thus far it hasn't been feasible (read profitable) to run cable lines out there between these dispersed clusters of houses and this is only a few miles (about 3-5) out of town where broadband is available. It's not like they are in the middle of nowhere, but they aren't organized into communities either.

If I still lived there I would want a house out there. It's a really good life, quiet, peaceful plenty of room for the kids and dogs to play. But in reality I would have to buy a house in town because of lack of broadband. My brother that still lives back home is currently in the same situation ... and he's buying in town.

Re:there's always a bottom 5% (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093417)

Access to broadband (much like access to cable TV) is a cultural polluting factor. Access to it turns otherwise well-adjusted people into dick-kneading, unhygienic public grunters walking around with chub-rub spending their workday waiting to get home so they can get their next porn fix.

City folk are obnoxious enough without broadband, just imagine the ideas that broadband access will give the fuckin' hicks / they'll be comin' into town with livestock stuck to they dicks!

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:there's always a bottom 5% (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41093509)

Good life?
If you like having no cultural events, no museums, nothing to do at all. I grew up in that environment and I much rather drive 4 hours to hunt than every time I need groceries.

My current home is 10 minutes to the grocery store, in a quite neighborhood, with a pool and lots of place to play for kids and animals.

Re:there's always a bottom 5% (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093567)

You think that's bad, try building your house in a swamp.

Re:there's always a bottom 5% (1)

Troyusrex (2446430) | about 2 years ago | (#41094317)

Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up.

Re:there's always a bottom 5% (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41093253)

I cannot get the speeds now defined as broadband where I live. The fastest thing I can buy is 2Mbps for over $100/mo. For $50/mo I get 768k bursting to 1.5Mbps delivered from the top of my local volcano and bounced in from four mountaintops away. AT&T owns literally every fiber link into my county. It's cheaper for them to do this than to buy it from the one AT&T reseller who operates here, or god forbid, directly from AT&T. And the line going up the volcano used to fail all the time, in spite of it not being in a particularly challenging location to maintain (it runs through scrub, not a forest, and there are access roads.)

You can get cable internet or DSL within a bowshot. I'm just getting fucked over.

Re:there's always a bottom 5% (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#41093501)

and add to the fact that the small towns hate big companies and make them fund yarn museums for the privilege of running their lines

Re:there's always a bottom 5% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093539)

On the other hand: people that choose to live there, do they nééd fixed-line access?

Your argument about "choosing" to live there is flawed. This assumes that broadband was even publicly available when people moved to a rural area. Many people, including my parents, lived in the country before dial-up was even common place. And they "choose" to stay because they can't afford to move into an area with broadband. Besides, its hard to justify moving just because you want to get high-speed internet.

Re:there's always a bottom 5% (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41093615)

I disagree on the last point. I bought a house recently and would not even consider one without FIOS anymore than I would consider one without running water and electricity.

Re:there's always a bottom 5% (2)

the plant doctor (842044) | about 2 years ago | (#41093611)

On the other hand: people that choose to live there, do they nééd fixed-line access?

Except we didn't have this attitude toward electricity and telephone. We made sure that everyone was brought up to par with everyone else in rural areas.

I'm sorry to see that we have this attitude toward Internet connections now. What has happened since the Rural Electrification Act that we find it acceptable to say "they chose to live there, therefore should go without"?

Re:there's always a bottom 5% (2, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41093683)

A massive political shift to the right is what happened.
Just 20 some years ago conservatives were the ones who were pushing for everyone to be required to be insured for their health as they were for their cars. Today that is seen as almost socialism.

Rural folk (1)

skipkent (1510) | about 2 years ago | (#41093119)

There are about 48 millions Americans in rural areas, so about half of them can't get high speed access. I'd say that isn't a huge deal, I'm guessing most of these people are either too poor to get it, or wouldn't care about faster speeds in the first place. Which is probably why no one has bothered to bring the link to them.

Re:Rural folk (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093191)

Errr...no.

Speaking as one who just moved away from a rural area, a decent broadband connection would have been highly desirable for both work and personal reasons, and I would have (and could've afforded to have) paid out the nose for it.

The lack of broadband access in rural areas has nothing whatsoever to do with whether the rural community wants / needs / can afford access; rather, it is a function of whether the telecoms can be bothered (they cannot.)

Re:Rural folk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093199)

Bullshit - you live in the city don't you? The problem is that it isn't profitable for an ISP to run physical lines when it's a couple miles between customers. It takes an awful long time to recoup installation costs of $2500+ per customer. If offered 20Mbit internet, most would jump at the opportunity. Would you rather drive 15 miles round trip to rent a Redbox movie, drive 60 miles round trip to a theater, or stream Netflix? On top of that, these people likely drive a pickup or SUV that gets no more than 20mpg - $50/mo is pocket change compared to the monthly fuel bill.

Re:Rural folk (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41093557)

20Mb internet is available, and offered. It just costs tens of thousands to setup and several hundreds to a few thousands a month.

Just like the cost to put in your own well, septic, and everything else you need when you live in the country that you don't in the city, it is expensive.

Re:Rural folk (2)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#41093467)

Personally, I would place access to decent internet one of the #1 priorities if you want to get industry and business into a certain area. In those areas it is already a necessity. That's why comments like this one (as well as the belief in some circles that money put into broadband development is wasted) baffle me. If you want quality of life to improve in these areas you need to get them the basics. Decent internet access is now one of those basics.

Because we're a sub-species? (1)

Loughla (2531696) | about 2 years ago | (#41093791)

That is easily the most ignorant statement I've seen on this site in quite some time.

We're not all locals that fuck our sister and sit around swilling moonshine. We have jobs. We run businesses. We communicate with the outside world. Some of us hold advanced degrees. Some of us, and this may be hard for you to understand, live out here because we enjoy peace and quiet. The stereotype of the no-shirt, no-shoes, bib-overall wearing banjo playing tobacco chewing yocal has been dead since the 50's. Please travel outside of your circle-jerk of friends every now and then.

It is inconvenient to have to pay out the teeth for anything close to high-speed, but that comes with the territory. Is it a shame that our 'high-speed' is just a basic lip-service given to us to grease wheels for whatever lucrative deal major telecommunications companies have attached to it? Absolutely, and we lose every time (unless we care to run $1.5Mil in fiber for a community of 50 people. . . ). Is it bullshit that vast swaths of the country are left behind technologically simply because of our location? My opinion is yes, but I've didn't live in the big ol' city too gosh-darn long, so maybe I just needs me some more of that there fancy book learnin'.

We have a use for high-speed internet. It's called commerce and communication. In other words, I'm not sure if you're a troll, or just ignorant.

So there are two groups ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093125)

There are those who are stuck on a reservation, and those who chose to live where they do. The first group has a legitimate beef. Why should I have to pay to support the second group's lifestyle choice. By the way, it's mine, and dial up is still completely adequate for SMTP, though harder to get. In the sticks is a lifestyle choice, that half a billion people worldwide have chosen to flee.

Re:So there are two groups ... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#41093165)

Have you seen modern spam and mailing lists? Two k of text, and a couple of meg of embedded graphics. Broadband is so common now, people are forgetting to conserve.

Re:So there are two groups ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093169)

There are those who are stuck on a reservation, and those who chose to live where they do.

Ever considered that there are people living in rural areas who:

1. aren't living on a reservation but are unable to move due to financial constraints, caring for family etc?
2. that have chosen to live in a rural area but would still like/benefit from broadband access.

Re:So there are two groups ... (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#41093495)

There are well-to-do persons living in some of these non-broadband areas. Here in Indiana here quite a number of people what WANT broadband but their only choice is extremely poor satellite connections. The problem is that this is still, to a corporation like AT&T, small demand.

If Internet access isn't on the level of utility now then it will be within five years. This is one of those problems the market can not solve... so it's something we need to push on the outside. I don't mean just government, I mean some local geek co-ops and the like too.

Re:So there are two groups ... (1)

Loughla (2531696) | about 2 years ago | (#41093967)

My local "geek co-op" looked at the plausibility of running fiber and hooking into the local fiber channel. (Super-extra-megawatt highspeed fiber connecting two of the nearest massive metropolitan areas runs through our community). Total bill? Just this side of 1.5Mil. For a community of 50 people. And that's almost entirely the man-hours, equipment needed, and BASIC fees to the telco that owns it. We didn't even factor in any permits or any other pop-up, bullshit permissions that the company could come up with.

The icing on the cake was that when we wanted to run water lines to a new house, we had to have a representative from the company that owns the fiber present while we unearthed it. His mere presence was so valuable to our job-site that we had the privilege of paying ~$5,000. I was pretty fucking excited about that.

Re:So there are two groups ... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41094145)

Why run all fiber?
What distances are we dealing with here?

Is there a demarc, or does the fiber just go right on by?

What is the phone company using? What can they provide? Never underestimate the bandwidth of a shitload of twisted pair.

Re:So there are two groups ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093505)

Point 1, fine.
Point 2 is completely moot. I want a 7000 square foot home on an island on a lake with electricity, water, sewage and broadband Internet, and I want it for less than $100k, and it's totally the government's fault that I can't have that.

Re:So there are two groups ... (1)

ad454 (325846) | about 2 years ago | (#41093239)

Agreed. I am willing to pay more in taxes to subsidise equivalent infastructure services to those who choose to live in rural areas, once those in rural areas pay to subsidise us in urban areas with similar air quality, space, crime rates, etc.

Re:So there are two groups ... (1)

Thorodin (1999352) | about 2 years ago | (#41093281)

Stuck on a reservation? Can you elaborate? I do not know of anywhere in the US where you are forced to live in one place.

Re:So there are two groups ... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#41093283)

I'd argue that it is in society's interests to have well-educated, content farmers - even if that means we pay a little extra for things.

Those stuck with a farmer head of household (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41093297)

There are those who are stuck on a reservation, and those who chose to live where they do. The first group has a legitimate beef. Why should I have to pay to support the second group's lifestyle choice.

For one thing, not everybody who lives in a rural area chooses to live in a rural area. Some of them might be members of a household whose head has chosen to live in a rural area. Why must, for example, the daughter of a farmer miss out on being able to participate in online communication with her peers?

For another, why must someone's participation in mainstream culture be incompatible with growing the food that you will end up eating?

Re:Those stuck with a farmer head of household (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41094083)

Because for some strange reason Americans no longer see any value in enriching the lives of anyone but themselves. We no longer value having an educated society, nor a a well connected one.

Enlightened self interest is dead. The "I got mine, fuck you" mentality killed it.

This is what happens when you have the kind of political shift to the right we had over the last 20 years.

FFS (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41093131)

Can we stop fretting about the fact that there isn't a hard link run to every last spot in the boonies and start fretting about why access is so damn slow, and so damn expensive, even in the parts of the US where the economics of deployment are most favorable?

Re:FFS (2)

second_coming (2014346) | about 2 years ago | (#41093273)

While people are "happy" to pay high prices for capped and low speed / unreliable services there is no incentive for the internet providers to spend vast amounts upgrading the infrastructure.

You either need a government backed incentive to roll out high speed internet country wide (meaning to everyone not just people in cities) or you need some foreign companies to start moving into the US market to introduce some competition that will force the existing companies to become more competitive in the price and quality of what they offer.

An epiphany! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093139)

Make them run with USB sticks, solve two problems.

Only 19 million? (0, Flamebait)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | about 2 years ago | (#41093141)

So, what you're telling me is that there are more Americans with broadband access than with health insurance [wikipedia.org] ?

And to think that we actually have legislators who are actively trying to block UHC legislation! Man, that is messed up!

Re:Only 19 million? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093229)

I have a high school diploma, no college experience, make 14.65 an hour, a wife and two kids, one car, no cable TV service, one cell phone, no landline, 12mbps net connection. But I do elect for the insurance and we are covered. So find a way to do it, stop bitching about whats fair and what's not, and just do the best you can.

Re:Only 19 million? (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#41093517)

How is this insightful? The guy is lucky enough that he doesn't have a medical condition that qualified as "pre existing".

Re:Only 19 million? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41093947)

He "elected" to take coverage. That means his employer is paying for most of it. Even a pre-existing condition would be covered by a group policy.

What he is ignoring or ignorant of is that the amount he is paying is very little compared to what his employer pays for coverage for 4 people.

Re:Only 19 million? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41093651)

I sure hope your wife works.

The fact that your employer offers coverage is great, not everyone making under $15/hour has that option.

Re:Only 19 million? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#41093323)

So will the Americans collecting charity in the form of Medicare suddenly count as having "insurance"?

Re:Only 19 million? (1)

necro81 (917438) | about 2 years ago | (#41093339)

So, what you're telling me is that there are more Americans with broadband access than with health insurance?

I think you are conflating "broadband access" with "actually being online at broadband speeds." There are huge numbers of people, tens of millions, who live in an area where broadband is a readily available service, but who choose not to have it. The 19 million figure is the population who live in an area where broadband simply isn't available, owing largely to geography and sparse infrastructure. I couldn't tell you how those numbers compare to the number of people who could have insurance but choose not to have it, or to the number of people who want to have health insurance but can't get it. What makes the statistics even more difficult is that "can't get it" can mean several things: (1) have a pre-existing condition that no insurance company will take on, (2) could get insurance but simply can't afford the price, (3) choose not to get it, because having it would disqualify them from some other, more valuable benefit.

And although I think the structure of the American health care system is crap, it isn't like broadband access and health insurnace are equivalent services whose numbers are worth comparison. Broadband costs tens of dollars a month in most areas; health insurance costs hundreds or thousands (either to the user, their employer, the state, or some combination of those). Broadband is a service that people utilize daily; health insurance is something you don't need at all...until the moment you do.

Re:Only 19 million? (1)

necro81 (917438) | about 2 years ago | (#41093369)

And to think that we actually have legislators who are actively trying to block UHC legislation! Man, that is messed up!

Oh well, many of those same legislators are actively blocking efforts at universal broadband access, too. Ever hear the story of the small rural community that formed a co-op, installed fiber, then got stomped on by the regional telco that never offered broadband to that community, all with the full backing of the "private enterprise can never do wrong" politicians?

Re:Only 19 million? (1)

Bigby (659157) | about 2 years ago | (#41093397)

(1) 19 million have no access to a broadband internet connection where they live at 3 Mbps or higher; that doesn't mean they actually paid to use that access yet
(2) This isn't about broadband, but broadband at 3 Mbps or higher. They had to put a limit to make it more dramatic. I would assume that only a couple million, if that, are still have non-broadband accessibility (dial-up only).

Re:Only 19 million? (1)

Bigby (659157) | about 2 years ago | (#41093437)

(3) And I forgot about your health insurance comment. 100% of people are able to receive at least some health care. Again, it is where the threshold is set. We can all play with statistics all day.

Re:Only 19 million? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41094191)

You mean in the ER?
Where they will not give you any healthcare of value if you have a chronic condition?

You know what a cancer patient gets in the ER? Told to go home to die.

Re:Only 19 million? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41093767)

Less than 3Mbps might as well be dialup.

You can't really stream much video over it, video conferencing is probably right out and I doubt that slow a link is very reliable. They had to put a limit on it, or people would assume like you that even ISDN should be considered broadband.

Mind you much of what you are considering broadband is actually baseband. So they might as well keep redefining broadband over and over since they already destroyed the term.

Re:Only 19 million? (1)

jimbouse (2425428) | about 2 years ago | (#41094325)

Less than 3Mbps might as well be dialup.

You can't really stream much video over it, video conferencing is probably right out and I doubt that slow a link is very reliable. They had to put a limit on it, or people would assume like you that even ISDN should be considered broadband.

Mind you much of what you are considering broadband is actually baseband. So they might as well keep redefining broadband over and over since they already destroyed the term.

A stable 1Mbit connection is plenty fast to stream from any provider.

The problem is that ISP's oversubscribe so your 3Mbit connection is really like 512kbps.

Source: I own a small ISP.

Comparisons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093159)

In rural areas, almost one-fourth of the population (in rural areas) – which is 14.5 million Americans – lack access to fixed broadband.

And many lack medical care - and it's a problem throughout the lower classes of society, too.

With this annual report, it’s good to remember that the U.S. is far much better off than the U.K. when it comes to LTE deployment with respect to carrier networks.

But the UK kicks our ass when it comes to access to healthcare.

It's nice to know we got our priorities in order here!

USA! USA! USA!

.

.

Why is this a dire situation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093197)

46 million Americans live below the poverty line ($23,000/yr income for a family of four). Aren't food and shelter more important than being able to stream "American Idol" to a mobile device?

Even if broadband is "available", it might not be reasonably priced given the network infrastructure monopolies/oligopoly.

Why is 3 Mbps the threshold? My DSL service is below 2 Mbps and it seems fine.

Re:Why is this a dire situation? (1)

kenh (9056) | about 2 years ago | (#41093475)

The report is about access, not adoption rates. The point is they can't get service over 3 Mbs where they live, regardless of cost.

Poor people have cable TV, they likely have a big TV, and it makes economic sense, because that is a huge part of their entertainment. The profoundly poor will not have cable - in my mind poop is 1x to 2x the poverty level, profoundly poor is below the poverty line.

Re:Why is this a dire situation? (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#41093635)

I don't think that people without decent internet access (not talking broadband necessarily) have the same business opportunity as those with it. Small cities and areas without decent access are not going to get businesses to set up there and it's harder to create a business without it.

Sounds good. (1)

Ecuador (740021) | about 2 years ago | (#41093203)

Sounds good, since until 3 years ago when I lived in NYC, you could not get over 3Mbps almost anywhere in the city (I had asked for a house in Queens, a house in Brooklyn and two office locations in Manhattan one in Chelsea and one in Upper West side).
Unless nothing has changed and they consider TWC's 5Mbit to be "over 3Mbps". I had tried that service and due to the fact that the upstream was 384Kbps it was actually slower than Verizon's 3/768 even when downloading. Also a bit before I left, Speakeasy was offering ADSL2 service to one of our Manhattan locations, but that was $160/month. I still would not consider that >3Mbps, because it is not cheaper than combining 3-4 3Mbps connections.

Don't worry... (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | about 2 years ago | (#41093361)

The politicians are working hard to ensure we all get our much-needed soma... I mean, broadband access.

Good enough (1)

Kurast (1662819) | about 2 years ago | (#41093363)

TFA cites the 3Mbs mithical barrier.
For me, this is good enough, as I don't use streaming or am a heavy downloader.

Just ten years ago, my broadband was 512kbps, and it was damn fast.

Wrong Metric (1)

diagonti (456119) | about 2 years ago | (#41093409)

So this metric needs to be changed to unmetered broadband access. There is no point in having lots of bandwidth if you don't have the allowed bits to use it. The speed metric should be allowed_bits/time.

Re:Wrong Metric (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#41093549)

You get what you pay for. Want unmetered? Buy unmetered.

Small WISP do more (2)

pcjunky (517872) | about 2 years ago | (#41093423)

Small WISPs do more to service rural areas than all the big cellular carriers combined. If the FCC wants these folks to have access to high speed Internet then quit selling all the spectrum to the highest bidder and make some of that "white Space" spectrum free and un-licensed.

Thee Megabit? (2)

kenh (9056) | about 2 years ago | (#41093427)

Are we seriously calling anything under three megabit unacceptable?

The 19 million people mentioned in the above write-up are not without any means of Internet access, they are without Internet access in excess of 3 megabits - they could have 2 or 2.5 megabit access and fall into the 19 million Americans the article discusses.

What would the number be if we ratcheted back the cutoff from the three megabits in the report to say one megabit? How about if we made it 768K?

There are honestly tens of millions of Americans that care very little about either Internet access generally or high-speed Internet access specifically.

Re:Thee Megabit? (3, Informative)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#41093649)

Not too long ago, there was talk about providing high speed internet to every household through the power grid. Even several test cities tried it with very good results. However, the major telecommunication companies lobbied to kill it. Go figure.

Re:Thee Megabit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093813)

If by good results you mean caused tons of interference and was killed before it could destroy HAM radio, sure.

Re:Thee Megabit? (1)

necro81 (917438) | about 2 years ago | (#41094063)

I don't think that it's a matter of less-than-3mbps being unacceptable, just deficient. Like it or not, access to a high-speed connection to the larger world, for each home and community that wants it, is a requisite for economic development, just like telegraph and railroad access was in the late-19th century, and electricity and telephony was by the mid-20th century. Just having an internet connection is not sufficient; having a connection that can support bi-directional streaming video is what one should be aiming for,* and a connection rated for 3 mbps (peak) is about what it takes to do that. A connection rated at 768kbps might be able to handle it, but at low, varying, and unreliable quality.

* Why is bi-directional video (e.g., good quality Skype) such an important functional metric? It's not, in and of itself, although there are lots of good uses for that. But if your connection can do that, you can do any number of other useful things.

First World Problems (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 years ago | (#41093439)

Twice as many people live below the poverty line, and even more don't have access to affordable health care, and we're pitching a fit about having fast access to a global computer network.

In the last 3 years, the number of people on food stamps has more than doubled, and the number of people with health insurance has declined in spite of the new health care law.

Our education system is also falling apart at the seams as our young people become less and less competitive, and less and less able to earn a living as a result, due to that failure.

If we're going to treat the speed of our internet connections as a national crisis, in spite of all these other substantial problems, I would propose we stop right now and re-examine our priorities.

Re:First World Problems (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#41093621)

Twice as many people live below the poverty line, and even more don't have access to affordable health care, and we're pitching a fit about having fast access to a global computer network.

In the last 3 years, the number of people on food stamps has more than doubled, and the number of people with health insurance has declined in spite of the new health care law.

Our education system is also falling apart at the seams as our young people become less and less competitive, and less and less able to earn a living as a result, due to that failure.

If we're going to treat the speed of our internet connections as a national crisis, in spite of all these other substantial problems, I would propose we stop right now and re-examine our priorities.

You don't think that maybe the worst recession in history outside the Great Depression has something to do with those numbers?

education system needs to drop college for all and (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#41094381)

education system needs to drop college for all and we need more tech / trade / apprenticeships.

The tech / IT field can use a good trade / apprenticeships system not the old college system.

Access (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093449)

I find it more important that 100 million can't afford broadband.

Not Just Rural (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093453)

I live in a Boston suburb - 3 miles as the crow flies. DSL at 1.5mbps is the best I can get. So its not just rural areas that are having coverage issues.

There is highspeed metered wireless available - but I live on the wrong side of a hill from the tower to get access to it.

so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093493)

There are billions across the world who don't have any form of internet. So whats the big deal with America?

90% of Cities Lack Access to Wilderness (1)

retroworks (652802) | about 2 years ago | (#41093537)

I grew up in northwest Arkansas, around mostly conservative religious anti-government hard working self-sufficient type (moved to the East Coast for Univ). Maybe the USA needs to just stop subsidizing post offices and forcing airlines to fly to small cities, and stop letting septic tanks make suburban homes cheaper than people paying for city sewer because water treatment is too expensive, etc.. There should be advantages to the people who live in / near cities (just as there are advantages to rural living we cannot guarantee city folk). Trying to bring every city advantage to every corner of the country isn't wanted by the original inhabitants, at least not at the cost demanded (or the free market would have done it). Maybe they will discover that broadband doesn't belong in every single niche. Or maybe someone will figure out a cheaper way to bring broadband to the country.

Re:90% of Cities Lack Access to Wilderness (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#41093605)

I grew up in northwest Arkansas, around mostly conservative religious anti-government hard working self-sufficient type (moved to the East Coast for Univ). Maybe the USA needs to just stop subsidizing post offices and forcing airlines to fly to small cities, and stop letting septic tanks make suburban homes cheaper than people paying for city sewer because water treatment is too expensive, etc.. There should be advantages to the people who live in / near cities (just as there are advantages to rural living we cannot guarantee city folk). Trying to bring every city advantage to every corner of the country isn't wanted by the original inhabitants, at least not at the cost demanded (or the free market would have done it). Maybe they will discover that broadband doesn't belong in every single niche. Or maybe someone will figure out a cheaper way to bring broadband to the country.

I agree 100%! Since most power plants are built out in the country instead of the city, the city folk shouldn't get the benefit of that electricity. Same with natural gas. Last time I was in a major city, I didn't see one natural gas well or nuclear plant. Then, too, let the city folk grow their own food. So yes, let the country folk quit subsidizing the city folk.

Re:90% of Cities Lack Access to Wilderness (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41094353)

Gas wells exist in cities they cover them with fake houses and such. Sometimes they don't even do that.

http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/operating/list-power-reactor-units.html [nrc.gov]
This shows just how close many are to cities. In some cases this puts them right in the suburbs.

The reality is rural areas are poorer. They are subsidized by cities. Farming subsidies are some of the biggest subsidies in our country. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT!

We should subsidize farmers to prevent another dustbowl. We should provide internet connections to rural areas so our society can be connected. We cannot and should not live as two people separated only by population density.

That's not all (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#41093569)

19 million don't have access to broadband and another 26 million can't afford it.

So that's approximately 500,000... (1)

dohzer (867770) | about 2 years ago | (#41093573)

... hick families.

Blocked by the competition. (5, Informative)

Nodar (821035) | about 2 years ago | (#41093581)

I work for a small rural (very rural) telco that is laying fiber to our customers, and supplying them with up to 100mbps speeds. Then the big guys come in, block our access to polls and such in attempts to service remote customers, but then, themselves, refuse to service them. We think it has something to do with hoarding funds that are available for servicing rural customers. Also, our customers, a large majority of them, can't get anything close to dependable cellular data, heck, most of them can't even get enough signal for cellular voice. Our voice will never get heard, because we are too small, but doing the best we can to service these people.

Re:Blocked by the competition. (1)

taoboy (118003) | about 2 years ago | (#41094265)

Thank you, Nodar, for the only really insightful post of this whole discussion.

Whats worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093599)

is that in many eaeas there is only one broadband ISP, so they can price gouge their customers! There needs to be a price cap of $29.95 on 12Mbps internet. Anyone paying more is getting ripped off!

Easy ultimatium (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#41093671)

Currently we grant the telecommunications giants regional monopolies. There is only one cable company serving you. There is only one local phone company serving you.

Tell the company that they have to make high speed internet available at a reasonable price to everyone within their region OR alternative companies will be granted a license within that zone to lay their own wire in direct competition.

Really, they should be able to do this regardless. However, many people are attached to the notion that allowing multiple companies to run wire would just be too messy. It wouldn't and it would solve our bandwidth issues in about six seconds flat. But this seems like a reasonable compromise.

Several small communities in rural states have tried to set up a local ISP just for themselves and have been shut down by court order. The big telecommunications companies claimed it violated their monopoly rights.

Well there you go... that's why the internet is slow there. Not lack of subsidies but excessive regulations that do little beyond promoting the status quo.

This IS the problem (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#41093691)

If you wonder why everyone's capping service, The FCC is why.
The Feds come in and pay you to offer "broadband" in an area. So you install T1's, put in some DSL cards, etc...
Then the feds are gone. Never to return.
Meanwhile you have about 12 people fed by a single remote that has 3 T1s
All 12 of them turn on netflix on Friday night and... now you have problems
It's not profitable or cost effective to give those 12 people service that fast for the price the feds want you to charge. The only answer is capping their service.

Re:This IS the problem (1)

Hunter Shoptaw (2655515) | about 2 years ago | (#41094013)

Ummm, if you're an ISP and your installing T1's, I'd say the problem is right abouuuuuuuut there.

The FCC is wrong (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 2 years ago | (#41093829)

Lots of rural access is served by small ISPs as the big guys won't touch those markets with a 10ft pole. None of these outfits have full time legal/process teams. Most have never even heard of FCC form 477 or simply incapable or unwilling to fill it out. The FCC for the most part lacks the will to enforce/care. Virtually all of the FCC data is coming from mid-sized to large providers only.

The FCCs definitions and inconsistancies still crack me up.

On pg 7 "In this report, we assess our nationâ(TM)s progress to date using the existing speed benchmark of 4 Mbps/1 Mbps."

Yet the map and summary are drawing conclusions based on 3mbit/768kbps. Why?

Yet still if you read the text of 477 "broadband" is considered to be "transfer rates
exceeding 200 kbps in at least one direction"

Some consistancy would be nice rather than playing games with the word "broadband" to be assured a desired outcome in a given context.

so am I reading this right? 19mil out of 314mil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41093919)

So all this crap is about 6% of the population? and we've got Iceland in the house talking sheot and trying to brag about how 80% of their population has access?
what...ever. Put into context, that's about the same number of people wearing diapers in the US!!!

WISP Operator Here (1)

jimbouse (2425428) | about 2 years ago | (#41094159)

I own a small WISP (fixed Wireless ISP). I report my customers to the FCC via Form 477.

I have plans up-to 10 Mbit (if the customer is willing to pay for it). When you are serving customers with a density of 5 houses per sq mile, the infrastructure cost to deliver that speed is pretty high. My ISP provides service at $36/Mbit. Buy as much speed as you want. 10Mbit = $360/mo.

Once you realize that speeds being sold "in town" are "up to" speeds, you realize that a 12Mbit cable connection provides a consistent 2Mbit connection. My bandwidth prices are competitive. You can run NetFlix, Hulu, YouTube, etc over a 1Mbit connection without buffering (as long as it is a stable 1Mbit). Anything over 2 Mbit is rarely noticed if you are not downloading or running multiple streams.

Suspicious !!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41094209)

Not having Internet is like not having Facebook suspicious they must be all spy on doh but they don't have internet hmmm lucky them.

not my fault... (1)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | about 2 years ago | (#41094329)

...that 19mil of our population live out in the middle of nowheresville.
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