Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Why Is US Broadband So Slow?

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the midichlorion-concentrations-vary-by-continent dept.

The Internet 513

phantomfive writes "Verizon has said they will not be digging new lines any time soon. Time-Warner's cash flow goes towards paying down debt, not laying down fiber. AT&T is doing everything they can to slow deployment of Google fiber. How can the situation be improved? Mainly by expediting right-of-way access, permits, and inspections, according to Andy Kessler. That is how Google was able to afford to lay down fiber in Austin, and how VTel was able to do it in Vermont (gigabit connections for $35 a month)."

cancel ×

513 comments

How can the situation be improved? (5, Interesting)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 5 months ago | (#46320325)

Competition... From the government, if necessary. Let's put our tax dollars to work for us for a change.

Re:How can the situation be improved? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320349)

It's not competition, it's service. The government is meant to serve the people, and sometimes that means providing utilities for the public, with the public's input and desires accommodated.

As long as we keep private enterprise from buying up the regulations anyway.

Re:How can the situation be improved? (5, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 5 months ago | (#46320403)

It's not competition, it's service

Say what ??

Back in the late 1980's and early 1990's, US used to be the top country in the world in term of broadband competition.

I was one of the many thousands who were pulling cables in order to hook up the communities - and then the government stepped in, and gave the telco / cable operator the rights over others - which leads to what we have today, a scene where competition has been artificially choked off, and the country has suffered for it !

Re:How can the situation be improved? (5, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about 5 months ago | (#46320449)

You've just noted that there is an existing infrastructure, and it is common to live off of existing infrastructure until forced to move off it. To that I will add that if I recall correctly, 10 years ago 90% of the optical fiber that existed was dark - there wasn't enough demand for it due to overbuilding in previous years. I wouldn't be surprised if that had something to do with the leisurely pace in adding both capacity and speed.

Re:How can the situation be improved? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320535)

Ok, Mr. Roboto.

Re:How can the situation be improved? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320675)

You've just noted that there is an existing infrastructure, and it is common to live off of existing infrastructure until forced to move off it. To that I will add that if I recall correctly, 10 years ago 90% of the optical fiber that existed was dark - there wasn't enough demand for it due to overbuilding in previous years. I wouldn't be surprised if that had something to do with the leisurely pace in adding both capacity and speed.

Bingo. The ISP I work for isn't looking at laying new fiber in trenches, what we're looking at is upgrading the equipment on either end. There are plenty of situations where an existing fiber pair can carry 10x or 100x more data simply by putting better optics on it, but that shit isn't cheap. Then you have to figure that Carrier-grade routers and switches also need to be upgraded, and those things can get really fucking expensive. And all the internal bandwidth in the world won't do your customer jack shit if you can't find peering/transit partners who are willing to increase the capacity at the handoff points without charging a shitload of money.

Sure, more fiber is better, but it's only a small part of the overall picture.

Re:How can the situation be improved? (4, Funny)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#46320689)

yeah, but if pay $20 a month for internet you should upgrade all that like yesterday so netflix can send 50mbps blu ray quality streams to me

Re: How can the situation be improved? (5, Insightful)

AudioEfex (637163) | about 5 months ago | (#46320883)

Cute. Who the hell gets high speed Internet for $20/mo? Most of us are stuck with cable, which costs far more than that. Even though I don't live in the sticks, DSL is not an option available to me because I'm between two stations. And even where DSL is an option, it's speed is unreliable and not great to begin with. So I have two choices - Time Warner, or EarthLink - which just resells...Time Warner. The problem is the cable companies being in control of the majority of the broadband services in the country. They want to keep up the status quo and everyone in the dark ages as long as possible. The entire industry is anti-competitive to begin with, we should have a slew of cable providers to choose from, but we don't because they grease so many palms in Washington. They get to be anti-competitive like a utility (I can't change water or sewer companies, either) but don't have the same restrictions and other controls to keep them from overcharging for their services.

Re: How can the situation be improved? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320899)

Precisely when the corporation loby rules

Re:How can the situation be improved? (4, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 5 months ago | (#46320431)

Yup, the government should step in when private industry is either unwilling or unable to provide essential services at a reasonable cost, the keywords being essential and reasonable. Case in point roads.

The macroeconomic costs of having all roads be private would be huge. There would be a lot of lost productivity(not to mention fuel wastage) just on the collection of tolls. And of course anyone who owns property anywhere could find themselves at the mercy of a private interest who can essentially blackmail them by cutting off access to their home or business. Another example of an essential service where the government should, and in most rich places in the world, has intervened is insurance. The fact that the US pays so much more for getting so much less than countries with private health care systems has shown that private industry is either unwilling or unable to provide insurance at reasonable cost, and thus it must be taken away from them. Same with broadband, if US providers don't prove they are capable of *gasp* actually providing a decent service at a decent price then the government should step in. Broadband is in the new economy an "essential service", essentially the "roads" of the internet.

The classic straw man argument is of course "well then why doesn't the government run food stores? Everyone needs food!". While this is true, food retailing(not really going to go into production, which is a separate story) is actually one of the most competitive industries in the US. Competition forces companies to provide decent service at very low margins(1-2% in some cases). If the broadband industry were more like the food distribution industry then we wouldn't even have to discuss a government take-over.

Re:How can the situation be improved? (4, Insightful)

Camael (1048726) | about 5 months ago | (#46320635)

Yup, the government should step in when private industry is either unwilling or unable to provide essential services at a reasonable cost, the keywords being essential and reasonable.

The reverse sadly is true today. Local governments, likely under the influence of paid lobbyists working for existing corporate/telco interests, are actively writing laws to block the spread of broadband. Read for yourself the story of how the Kansas Legislature is trying to stop Google Fiber from expanding in Kansas [consumerist.com] .

Best part is: the Senate bill [kslegislature.org] states that the goal [muninetworks.org] is to

"encourage the development and widespread use of technological advances in providing video, telecommunications and broadband services at competitive rates; and ensure that video, telecommunications and broadband services are each provided within a consistent, comprehensive and nondiscriminatory federal, state and local government framework."

Re:How can the situation be improved? (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 5 months ago | (#46320515)

Mmm.. no. it's not that simple. When you give ANY entity dominating control, it gets lazy. The government is a prime example of this, not an exception. They're no better than a corporate oligarchy cornering the market. The only way for private enterprise to buy up regulations is if the government offers them for sale in the first place.

Re:How can the situation be improved? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 5 months ago | (#46320629)

You appear to ignore human nature completely in your rather convoluted spin.

Reality is, if any entity has enough money to influence people in key positions, and have enough interest in doing so, they will. That is why all functioning entities ran by humans have bureaucracy and internal policing. It's to reduce the impact of corruption's pressure on key positions.

Re:How can the situation be improved? (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 5 months ago | (#46320735)

and you appear to fail reading comprehension. If anything, you support my position. It's true, any group of humans with sufficient power is subject to excessive bouts of self-interest. If you read the anon I responded to, you'll see that it is him who is biased. I was pointing that out to him.

Re:How can the situation be improved? (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#46320583)

It's not competition, it's service. The government is meant to serve the people, and sometimes that means providing utilities for the public, with the public's input and desires accommodated.

As long as we keep private enterprise from buying up the regulations anyway.

Arguably, 'internet access' can be broken down into two (broad) components, one a fairly natural 'utility' and one much easier to build a functional marketplace for.

The last-mile bit pipe between your house and whatever the local aggregation point is is, like most 'utilities' strongly inclined toward being a natural monopoly. Not as bad as something like roads(where running multiple competing roads simply wouldn't fit, in most cases); but between the cost and the disruption of laying additional runs, there is very, very strong pressure toward a sharply limited number of, typically incumbent, wireline players, with maybe a feeble wireless competitor that is compelling if you use under 5GB a month.

Once you hit the aggregation point, though, anything that flows over IP can, relatively easily, be offered for hookup to your pipe. Cheap residential ISPs, fancier offerings with loads of static IPs and symmetric bandwidth, assorted VOIP and video offerings, anything you can shove down a pipe.

Keeping the connection between me and the aggregation point installed, maintained, and lit seems like a perfectly sensible function for either the local municipality, or a suitably-tamed contract operator(It's a matter of pragmatism and local choice whether the work be done by municipal employees or an outside firm; but natural monopolies are to be kept on very short leashes). Once you hit the aggregation point, though, the more the merrier. Subscribing or unsubscribing is just a few ruleset changes, so can be fairly frictionless, and this avoids any...potentially unseemly....favor or disfavor by the municipal government toward specific content or services. They just keep the lights on, you buy what you want, or nothing at all(though, even if you buy nothing, it might well be cost-effective for the municipality itself to still offer access to its own site, emergency services contacts, etc. to residents, since traffic on the LAN costs near zero.

Re: How can the situation be improved? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320373)

Yeah, government competition, because it worked so well with Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac. 5000 dollar toilets anyone?

Re:How can the situation be improved? (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#46320415)

it will never improve and here is why. if an area has a choice of cable/internet providers they will always be running marketing promotions to steal each other's customers. a person can simply move back and forth since the product is the same and a commodity. at some point one of them will go under. happened in every previous situation like this

RCN tried to compete in the northeast and failed. its expensive to build out a network. the content people want a lot of money for the content. Comcast pays 1/3 of revenues to buy the content for their TV service. its the internet and upselling fast access that is making their profits. and in the end people have no reason to move unless the price is cheaper. and there is no way you can make a profit in this business if you are spending 1/3 of your revenues trying to attract customers

Re:How can the situation be improved? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320477)

When ISPs were required to share wires, there was lots of competition.

Re:How can the situation be improved? (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#46320505)

really? time warner cable has to share wires due to a merger years ago and earthlink is more expensive than going straight through TWC

with DSL it was artificially low prices to grab customers

Re: How can the situation be improved? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320519)

No reason to move unless the price is lower?
Wrong. If you ever used Comcast, there are plenty of reasons to leave. Like dial up speed over cable. Fuck Comcast, half the month it just doesn't work.
I had to move to another city to get away from Comcast and their packet dropping hell, and now they get to buy my new town too? Where does this shit end?

Re: How can the situation be improved? (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#46320651)

i have family on comcast and they never complained
i've had problems on time warner. get a new dociss 3 modem for the better error correction for old wiring. get all your stuff off wifi and onto cat 5. especially if your neighbors have wifi. i used to get disconnected from netflix and xbox live all the time on wifi. switched to cat5 and it's like night and day

govt enforces the monopoly. Want govt monopoly? (1, Insightful)

raymorris (2726007) | about 5 months ago | (#46320417)

It's governments that enforce the current monopolies and dualopies, what they call a "franchise".

Do you really want government "competing", keeping ie Google fiber out while they offer up government service that works as well as Congress does, with DMV style customer service, and healthcare.gov quality? The way government would "compete" would be to simply deny permits to any company offering a better service that what government bureaucrats and theirlobbyist friends throw together.

The only large-scale success of modern broadband in the US lately has been Google Fiber. They go where local governments have decided to get the heck out of the way, often after wasting huge amounts of taxpayer money on failed attempts to have an ISP run by politicians.

Re:govt enforces the monopoly. Want govt monopoly? (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#46320443)

NYC there are no franchises and the two cable companies have different areas carved out. with FIOS in parts as well. no one will build in the other's area because by the time you lay the wire and run the marketing promotion, you won't make any money

NYC govt web site says otherwise, maps franchise (2)

raymorris (2726007) | about 5 months ago | (#46320709)

The New York City web site says that's incorrect. According to the city government, they grant franchises to specific companies to serve specific parts of the city. Here's the map of authorized service areas:

  http://www.nyc.gov/html/doitt/... [nyc.gov]

Re:govt enforces the monopoly. Want govt monopoly? (5, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 5 months ago | (#46320469)

you seem to have a chip on your shoulder about Government.

I have issues with them, too; but I'd rather a non-corporate entity build out and even own our infrastructure than profitmongers!

roads, water, electricity, bridges: all were started by government and that was the major funder. we would not have postal system and roads 'to everywhere' if the decision was left to the profiteering ones.

infrastructure is one of the things goverments do best.

as for your bullshit distraction about how well congress works, that's neither here nor there nor part of any thread on this topic. sheesh.

Re:govt enforces the monopoly. Want govt monopoly? (-1, Troll)

0123456 (636235) | about 5 months ago | (#46320705)

roads, water, electricity, bridges: all were started by government and that was the major funder.

Do you actually, really believe there were no roads and bridges before government built them? No-one anywhere thought 'hey, we could put some logs over that river and build a bridge and then we could get to the other side without wading through the water' until a government bureaucrat came along and suggested it to them?

You really believe that?

No wonder the world is in such a mess.

Re:govt enforces the monopoly. Want govt monopoly? (2)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 5 months ago | (#46320781)

To get from where I live to Chicago I'd take I-80 to I-90.

Massive infrastructure with no obvious monetization plans?

Yes. Government.

There were many years between when we had cars and when we had a major national highway system. Plenty of time to let a private enterprise get in that space.

Re:govt enforces the monopoly. Want govt monopoly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320907)

roads, water, electricity, bridges: all were started by government and that was the major funder.

Do you actually, really believe there were no roads and bridges before government built them? No-one anywhere thought 'hey, we could put some logs over that river and build a bridge and then we could get to the other side without wading through the water' until a government bureaucrat came along and suggested it to them?

You really believe that?

No wonder the world is in such a mess.

Yes there were bridges, but only to serve individuals/communities/business -- with inordinate tolls being charged. Google it.

If you are a slashdotter under age 30 you probably don't remember that your *parents* paid TAXES for the cable to be laid. The promise was "Better service in all weather" compared to over-the-air (dual, loop or rabbit ear antennae).

Any 45+ year old who wasn't sleeping during the '70s/'80s (hint: they used Apple ][, C=64, Atari 400/600/800, Atari ST, Macintosh (68000), DOS 1,2,3.11, 4, 4.02, 5, Win 3.1, Win 95 & OS/2) -- wow.

They pulled that shit on our parents. Your grandparents paid to establish the cable, NOT the companies. Then they turned the commons into a $$ monopoly. They got laws passed so anyone tapping into cable was a felony. Then they scrambled channels and VHS (macrovision). And so on.

There were .avi files before .mpg or .qt or .qt4; you know what? I need to go deal with my girlfriend...

Re:govt enforces the monopoly. Want govt monopoly? (2, Insightful)

mc6809e (214243) | about 5 months ago | (#46320717)

I have issues with them, too; but I'd rather a non-corporate entity build out and even own our infrastructure than profitmongers!

I have news for you: local governments are incorporated, too.

And don't think for a second that the people involved in local government aren't interested in making decisions that personally profit themselves and their friends.

historically inaccurate (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 5 months ago | (#46320795)

You're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. Electricity, for example. Started by government? No, governments were fairly late entrants. The first electric utility was and Calder and Barnet, in Godalming. Several of the earliest electric networks were run by Edison.

Roads are most often built by governments these days, at a cost of about $1 million / mile. I get to see them allot, sitting in gridlock we paid millions for. Eventually I get home and turn on my lights, powered by cheap, reliable power provided by a corporation. I walk over to my computer and get on the internet. My internet is never gridlocked like the government roads are.

Re:historically inaccurate (1)

besalope (1186101) | about 5 months ago | (#46320909)

My internet is never gridlocked like the government roads are.

Really? My internet through Comcast is great and I get the speeds I pay for, but only during non-peak times much like non-rush hour traffic on the roads. However, the speeds are abysmal on nights and weekends much like rush hour traffic to and from work.

We can add as many lanes as we would like to the expressways (internet backbones, e.g. cogent) to try and ease congestion, but at the end of the day it is the exit ramps (ATT/Verizon/Comcast/TWC/etc cross-carrier connections) and the local "last mile" roads (ISP to home) that still trigger contention within the system. Unless we improve the infrastructure at all levels, we will always encounter a bottleneck.

Re:How can the situation be improved? (1)

khasim (1285) | about 5 months ago | (#46320419)

I would pay taxes for the local government to lay fiber to each house. And terminate them at a government owned facility.

Then, let the various ISP's compete on price / service / etc for who will get my fees for Internet connectivity.

The government then charges a co-location fee from the ISP's who want to participate. To cover the heating / AC / physical security / etc costs of that facility. With a very slight (5%?) overage to cover updates/upgrades.

Re:How can the situation be improved? (5, Informative)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 5 months ago | (#46320427)

Agreed - more competition is needed.

I moved here to the US from Australia last year. While speeds in Australia are nothing spectacular, we did have a LOT of choice when it came to ISPs. In Australia, in a mid-sized city (~350,000 people), there was a choice of 20-30 ISPs (ADSL2+, VDSL2 or in some areas, fibre). Here in the US, in a similarly-sized city, I have a choice of precisely one provider (the local cable monopoly).

Ok that's not entirely true - I also have AT&T DSL as a choice, at a whopping maximum speed of 6 Mbps down / 512 kbps up. But really, that's a non-option - it costs roughly the same and is 10 times slower than cable. (That upstream speed in particular is ridiculous in the year 2014 ... no idea why they don't use ADSL2+ with Annex M or similar tech to boost that up to 1-2 Mbps at least ... but I digress)

Having at least just a couple more options for ISPs would help, you'd think. With the vast majority of people in the US having only one or two choices of provider, what incentive do those providers have to improve their product? They have a captive customer base who literally have nowhere else to turn.

Re:How can the situation be improved? (1)

Espectr0 (577637) | about 5 months ago | (#46320741)

I would love to get your local cable monopoly, or 6 Mbps choice.

In Venezuela, we get 1.5 Mbps on average.

You guys aren't that bad, you just can't compete with Europe or Asia (how should you? the US is quite bigger and harder to lay down fiber)

Re:How can the situation be improved? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320447)

As an Australian I can say that this doesn't work. Even assuming that a suitable solution [wikipedia.org] gets off the ground (which it wont [wikipedia.org] ), eventually you will get a government coming along who will blame that service for all their financial incompetence and come up with the "solution" to privatise the service. The result: one company with almost total control of a nation's infrastructure and stupidly expensive prices. [telstra.com.au]

Re:How can the situation be improved? (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 5 months ago | (#46320497)

Its not entirely clear that that situation is going to play out yet. The Tasmanian phone pole fibre trials would seem to point to anyone they hire looking at the books and saying "look, at worst you'll pay the same money for doing absolutely nothing over the next 5 years, only people will notice".

I'm still half-expecting it to be "discovered" how to do FTTH cheaply by them.

And then we get to focus on digging in to save Medicare...

Re:How can the situation be improved? (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 5 months ago | (#46320557)

Yeah agreed. I think the rollout will continue in many areas as originally planned. Scope of fibre might be cut back a bit, and it might take longer than Labor's (probably overambitious) schedule, but I don't think the NBN is completely a lost cause.

At least that's what I hope. Maybe I'm just clutching at straws hoping to get some sweet sweet fibre. My parents are lucky enough to be on the NBN already, before it got halted ... they opted for the 50/20 speed tier (rather than 100/40), but even that is very, very nice. The upload speeds in particular are fantastic.

Re:How can the situation be improved? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320713)

True that the Nbn is still up in the air, but our current situation with Telstra is very real.

Re:How can the situation be improved? (0)

epyT-R (613989) | about 5 months ago | (#46320503)

No thanks. I want a choice in paying for it, and I don't want the government to have any more reason/opportunity to sniff packets than they already have.

Re:How can the situation be improved? (3, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | about 5 months ago | (#46320537)

It wont stop the incumbents from plotting and scheming to fuck it up. Look at Australia's experience, designed and underway and national NBN fibre to the home network. A change of government blatantly sponsored by the News Corporation the owners of Fox not-News and it gets scrapped with nothing but bullshit and PR=B$ left over about vague promises and a scam to sell the taxpayers the worthless rotting copper left in the ground for billions of dollars. Now matter what get's done, they will plot and scheme and lobby to undo it. They want their 1980s media model back where they had total control and you had to pay to be heard.

Re:How can the situation be improved? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320693)

We don't need the government to compete. We need the government to own the last-mile infrastructure. Once we have municipally-owned FTTH, we can have open competition for broadband connections without the massive barrier to entry of laying last-mile infrastructure. And it solves the problem of limiting the amount that the streets need to be dug up without granting monopolies to only 1-2 providers.

Obviously (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320333)

Because we aren't praying to jesus hard enough.

Praise Jebus!

Why Is US Broadband So Slow? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320339)

Answer: corporate greed.

Lets go Google Fiber (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320359)

Comcast does everything it can to charge more for less service. Why does Comcast want to give less service when through periodic updates that it could give faster service? Well Comcast also wants to sell television packages, and people can stream movies and television on their computers easily if the rates are high enough. Comcast just successfully extorted Netflix. It doesn't do a lot, but tweet support for Google Fiber, and tell your elected representative you want it in your area.

Re:Lets go Google Fiber (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320439)

NSA fiber is the answer? I don't fucking understand how anyone can even think of getting broadband via Google. Were you born with a brain damage or haven't you been paying attention to what's happened recently?

Re:Lets go Google Fiber (2)

Camael (1048726) | about 5 months ago | (#46320485)

And the other cable companies are free from NSA surveillance, is that what you're saying? Don't be naive. NSA has its fingers in ALL of them.

Heck, they're not even bothering with individual companies and are plugged right into the main trunk [thehindu.com] .
 

Re:Lets go Google Fiber (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320701)

yea cause ma bell and the cable monopolies are totally not doing the same thing you ignorant fuck dribble

Re:Lets go Google Fiber (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about 5 months ago | (#46320559)

Comcast does everything it can to charge more for less service.

I'm no fan of Comcast, but, really, this is exactly what every for-profit business does. If you can get people to pay you $10 for a widget instead of $5 then you charge them $10.

1 Mbps in Seattle (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320363)

Comcast doesn't cover all of the city, Frontier only offers service in a few tiny areas far away from the city, and CenturyLink suffers with mostly 40+ year-old wiring and equipment in most of the city, so those of us that can get 1 Mbps reliably here are better off than many. I'm right at the edge of service, so some of my neighbors down the street can't even get DSL. Dial-up is their only option. Because the city government is anti-Internet, they will not allow competition or even easy upgrade permits for even the Comcast or CenturyLink monopolies. Comcast has been blocked for years from burying new cabling on my street. As long as you have obstructionist city governments, you'll never have good Internet access. The situation was made worse recently when we elected a socialist that is very anti-Internet.

Big picture remedy (5, Insightful)

oldhack (1037484) | about 5 months ago | (#46320375)

Cut down the biggest branch of our government - the lobbying industry.

national franchise rights and debt (3, Interesting)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#46320381)

as it is now, you have to ask every hick town for permission to lay cable and allow them to extort you via yarn museums and other costs
george bush tried to pass national franchise rights but it was fought by all the hick towns who keep taxes artificially low and leech off everyone else. and when telecoms refuse to pay, people there whine how they are underserved

and contrary to populist belief, the telecoms spend billions of $$$ every year in capital expenses. and they borrow to do so. comcast is $44 billion in debt. Time warner is $25 billion in debt. AT&T is also carrying some insane debt from its idiotic shopping spree almost 15 years ago to become a cable company. back then it cost almost $100 billion. its all in the public financial statements they file. they might not have FTTH, but cable and telecoms have spent tens of billions if not hundreds of billions of $$$ over the last 20 years building out their networks and the bill is now due. meanwhile newcomers like google have no debt and lots of cash and can invest a lot of money into FTTH and other ventures.

not being evil, just a fact of life. it has happened before and it will happen again. wintel beat IBM. and now IOS/Android/ARM/Qualcomm is beating wintel. AT&T and then the baby bells built out an amazing PSTN network and the cable companies came in with unlimited local and long distance calling to steal the customers. railroads built out a national rail network and the airlines and cars came in to steal their profits as well

Re:national franchise rights and debt (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320495)

and contrary to populist belief, the telecoms spend billions of $$$ every year in capital expenses. and they borrow to do so. comcast is $44 billion in debt. Time warner is $25 billion in debt. AT&T is also carrying some insane debt from its idiotic shopping spree almost 15 years ago to become a cable company. back then it cost almost $100 billion. its all in the public financial statements they file. they might not have FTTH, but cable and telecoms have spent tens of billions if not hundreds of billions of $$$ over the last 20 years building out their networks and the bill is now due. meanwhile newcomers like google have no debt and lots of cash and can invest a lot of money into FTTH and other ventures.

not being evil, just a fact of life. it has happened before and it will happen again. wintel beat IBM. and now IOS/Android/ARM/Qualcomm is beating wintel. AT&T and then the baby bells built out an amazing PSTN network and the cable companies came in with unlimited local and long distance calling to steal the customers. railroads built out a national rail network and the airlines and cars came in to steal their profits as well

And they've gotten billions in tax breaks, and the government ignoring monopoly laws for them in exchange for building out those networks. Which they still own, and get to charge any third party who tries to "compete" with them for the privileged of using. They decided to pocket the extras as profit instead of using it for what it was supposed to be for, that's their greed and poor planning and their problem.

The government paid them to build out their networks for better service, and they spent the money on shareholder payouts and padding quarterly statements instead of investing. I have no bleeding heart for a multi-billion dollar industry.

We know they've squandered the chance, and mismanaged everything while charging us out outrageous prices for crappy service, because almost any other nation that has enough infrastructure to have internet does better than North America. Some of them by huge margins. Not a little bit, we're talking orders of magnitude in some cases.

This time last year Comcast was looking at about 2 billion profit. Profit, not revenue.

Tell me again how huge monopolies are going broke by failing to provide us with anything approaching reasonable service and rates?

Re:national franchise rights and debt (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#46320525)

and last year comcast spent $7 billion on capital upgrades
what's your point? they spent almost $20 billion to pay for all the TV shows on their service. they spent $2.5 billion paying debt they took on to build out their network

when cable internet first started it was less than 1mbps. now its 100mbps over the same wires.

Re:national franchise rights and debt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320645)

You realize the things you are talking about get to come out of their budget before profit, right?

Spending 20 billion on programming is entirely their problem, if they are paying too much for shows that nobody watches its a business problem. Why do I give a shit how much they spend on TV I don't watch? I have internet. I haven't had cable TV since I was a child.

Speaking of business problems, TV and internet, (and cell phones, and regular phones) are differing products that should be competing with each other, yet one company owns all of them. A cable company might be more interested in improving its internet service if it didn't mean effectively sabatoging its Cable TV service. But were stuck with that too.

Re:national franchise rights and debt (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#46320793)

$2 billion profit on $64 billion of revenue is not greed, its average profit margins

and i watch TV. i'd rather pay for slower internet and have better content on TV and better ways to access it like live tv on mobile devices and computers. my wife can watch reality tv and i'll watch a game on the ipad in the kitchen

it's not that slow (0)

stenvar (2789879) | about 5 months ago | (#46320391)

The reason the US seems "slow" in statistics is simple: we have a lot of users and we've had Internet for a long time. Many users are in difficult to reach areas, and many others have never bothered upgrading to faster Internet because they don't actually need it. In addition, bandwidth is a limited commodity, and people are actually using the Internet for lots of things in the US.

Small countries, countries that only recently adopted the Internet, countries in which the Internet isn't utilized much for streaming, or countries in which only a smaller fraction of the population have Internet access will look better on speed statistics, but they won't necessarily be better off.

Re:it's not that slow (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#46320475)

i'm 40 and have seen the internet grow up and settle for the cheaper plans. i'm at 20/2 now

why do i need to pay for super fast internet?
its an upselling scam since the peering pipes can't support all the traffic
there is nothing out there that needs 100mbps access. netflix is like 5-10mbps. same with itunes. HBO Go looks awesome on my connection. most websites are on AWS oversubscribed cloud virtualized servers and circuits
i still buy blu rays because they look better
buying cheap access from an ISP that allows the content to install CDN's on their network will be a lot faster than being upsold to some crazy speed you only see on a speedtest

what exactly am i missing without fast internet?

Re:it's not that slow (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 5 months ago | (#46320529)

i still buy blu rays because they look better

Sounds like you could benefit from faster Internet then. I'm not saying you should pay more for one of the faster options available to you now, I'm saying you would benefit if you got faster service for the same or less money.

Re:it's not that slow (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#46320589)

why pay for faster internet when i can just buy more blu rays? or pay for cable TV to watch the same shows?

that's like paying for gas for a SUV when i can just buy a more efficient car

Re:it's not that slow (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 5 months ago | (#46320551)

+1 truth. there's no super fast broadband because there's no pressing need for super fast broadband. I pay $30/mo for 30 up/30 down. Can't think of a reason why I would want anything more, and I'm certainly not willing to pay for it.

Re:it's not that slow (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 5 months ago | (#46320719)

dunno where your getting that deal, cause it sure isnt in the USA, 30 bucks, phht thats 3 down 768k up

Multiple streams from Netflix (0)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#46320595)

there is nothing out there that needs 100mbps access. netflix is like 5-10mbps.

How many simultaneous streams fit into the 5 to 10 Mbps that you mention? Or do you live alone?

Re:Multiple streams from Netflix (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#46320621)

i don't live in a house of couch potatoes
i take my kids outside
i like to read a lot of books. last year i read about 10,000 pages worth
my wife only watches a few reality shows on TV
i mostly watch sports and my kids will watch a few hours of TV max. mostly in the morning while i still sleep and at night when i want to sit and relax

if you have 5 netflix streams at one time maybe you are watching too much TV? its like the "advanced" smartphone users who use 10GB a month and think they are geniuses. all they do is stream video/music and are nothing more than digital couch potatoes

Stranger danger hysteria (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#46320859)

i take my kids outside

The practicality of that depends on the weather, whether the streets between where you live and the nearest public park have sidewalks, and crime levels in your neighborhood. A lot of parents are unwilling to let their kids play outside due to stranger danger hysteria [wikipedia.org] .

i like to read a lot of books. last year i read about 10,000 pages worth

The practicality of that depends on whether you happen to live within walking distance of a public library branch.

my wife only watches a few reality shows on TV
i mostly watch sports

Netflix, Amazon, and similar VOD providers specialize in scripted programming. People who primarily use TV to keep up with time-sensitive events, such as sports or game shows (your wife's so-called "reality shows"), would be better served by cable or satellite television than by Netflix.

In order to determine in which direction to take my next post, I'd like to know this: Do you consider people who play video games likewise "couch potatoes"? A game download can be several GB.

Re:it's not that slow (4, Insightful)

RR (64484) | about 5 months ago | (#46320757)

i'm 40 and have seen the internet grow up and settle for the cheaper plans. i'm at 20/2 now

why do i need to pay for super fast internet?

The point is that the super fast Internet is way too expensive. You're fine with 20/2 now, but if you could have 100/100 for the same price, would you stick with 20/2?

Not everything is publish-subscribe. I want to be able to set up storage boxes in friends' houses or the cloud or whatever, so I can have off-site backups of my data. I want to be able to play with various decentralized communications programs. Some people your age are starting to have grandkids. It would be nice to talk to them in HD, like those science fictions of the 21st Century were saying we would be able to do.

Don't worry about what you'd use the bandwidth for. If you have bandwidth, eventually you'll find a use for it.

Re:it's not that slow (0)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#46320825)

i'm sure you and your precious data have a special relationship. other than some photos, and some documents in dropbox, i don't have any data to back up
i'm sure your porn and torrents you rarely watch are precious to you, but you are probably a digital hoarder that just collects this stuff just to have it. porn is free in the cloud and its all the same. wipe it and just watch it from the cloud

Re:it's not that slow (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320799)

"there is nothing out there that needs 100mbps access."

If you build it, they will come. Youtube only came around 2003 and 2004 when there was a decent amount of broadband penetration. If everything being delayed like this, there would have been no reason for bringing DSL or Cable internet connections back in the late 90s.

This is basically the internet equivalent of "nobody needs more than 640k of memory", or "nobody needs 32-bit flat addressing capabilities."

So your comment is really short sighted.

Re:it's not that slow (0)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#46320851)

in the 90s i could see the need for video on the internet
its here, been here. i use youtube and netflix on my 20/2 connection
what do i need 100 or 1000 for? better video quality? you can do that if netflix pays to install CDN's like every other CDN network does. in theory netflix can set up a home CDN box for people to cache content to use the wires efficiently.

this is the way intel has done it. we had 5GHz CPU's in the 90's. now intel can get more power from half the clock speed by making the architecture more efficient. same with internet, there are lots of ways to make it efficient at current speeds without simply streaming data on demand with no caching

Re:it's not that slow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320855)

there is nothing out there that needs 100mbps access yet.

FTFY. We've consistently seen that when we increase the speed of our internet connections, services/uses show up that utilize the bandwidth. The fact that there currently isn't a compelling reason to have gigabit connections doesn't mean that there won't be once a majority of US internet users have gigabit connections.

Streaming video is currently the reason to have a high-speed connection, but it's incredibly naive to believe that this will always be the case. The next generation of internet connections will have their own class of bandwidth hog. We'll know what it is once we have those faster connections.

Re:it's not that slow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320641)

Just because we have existing infrastructure shouldn't stop us from building new infrastructure at the same price that a country with new broadband would pay to build their new infrastructure (or lesser possibly).

The exclusive rights of way exist for good reason, because if they didn't exist then competitors would enter the market. If this isn't true then there is no point in having exclusive rights of ways and there is no reason for existing companies to lobby for them and we won't have them. They lobby for them because they get something in return, less competition at consumer expense.

Re:it's not that slow (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#46320681)

in theory towns can give up exclusive rights but then comcast gets to rip out the internet from the local government offices and schools and the towns will have to pay for access since part of the contract is comcast gives them free internet. republicans hate high taxes. they want others to pay for it

Re:it's not that slow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320895)

Having lived in Japan, they are indeed better off. Internet there costs much less and you get consistently faster speeds and more reliable service.

WSJ article (1, Informative)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 5 months ago | (#46320405)

This article is in the Wall Street journal. That's suspicious right there. Of course they'd find a way to blame government regulation and interference for the problem, rather than abuse of government power to form and support monopolies.

I'm not saying their point is completely without merit. But I tend to think other factors exert more influence over why we have such relatively slow Internet service.

Regulatory capture (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#46320807)

Of course they'd find a way to blame government regulation and interference for the problem, rather than abuse of government power to form and support monopolies.

They're two words for the same thing: government failure [wikipedia.org] in the form of regulatory capture [wikipedia.org] . Granting a monopoly privilege certainly qualifies as "regulation and interference".

lack of local government oversight is the cause (1)

pikine (771084) | about 5 months ago | (#46320881)

The article's assessment is mostly correct. It even correctly mentioned that the previous net neutrality rules were unconstitutional. Except the article neglected the fact that new rules forcing local municipality to open up rights of way would also be unconstitutional because Federal agency has no power over local jurisdiction.

Forget about the federal or even the state government for a moment. The problem is that most people don't even know how to keep their local government in check. They increase local sales and property tax rates and/or tax assessment at will. They are behind in repairing public roads and other infrastructures, and even so they are mostly funded by Federal grants. The teachers are paid poorly, but the local officials are paid handsomely.

This is all caused by the lack of local government oversight. All governments are pests, be it federal, state, or local, but the local government is usually overlooked. We pay too much attention to federal and state. Better show up at your local town hall meeting next time, or they will slowly erode away your rights and property.

Wow (0)

gmhowell (26755) | about 5 months ago | (#46320413)

Troll post much? Wasn't there a way you could work in an Apple vs. Android angle?

I could be wrong, but... (5, Informative)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 5 months ago | (#46320433)

Didn't we give the telecoms a shitload of money during the Clinton years to build out high speed internet?

Competition (1)

CheezburgerBrown . (3417019) | about 5 months ago | (#46320461)

I'd like to see my town purchase, Own and operate the hardware for each taxpaying household to have a cheap ISP. More incentive to upgrade if we own the infrastructure. Not sure how this would work in reality though

Why do we keep asking this question? (4, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | about 5 months ago | (#46320511)

This has been covered 2-3 times in the last year already, and the answers aren't going to change.
Corporate greed is the overwhelming reason.
Lack of necessary infrastructure is the other. But then that's because there is no system upgrading being done because of -- corporate greed.

Instead of having the same discussions about the problem, a more productive discussion would be about how to solve the issue and steps people can take to actually realize those solutions.

Re:Why do we keep asking this question? (4, Insightful)

buddyglass (925859) | about 5 months ago | (#46320579)

Corporate greed is the overwhelming reason.

This doesn't work as an explanation because corporations in countries other than the U.S. (with faster speeds) are also greedy. So corporate greed isn't the cause per se. It may be necessary, but its not sufficient.

Re:Why do we keep asking this question? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 5 months ago | (#46320739)

Their governments are not corrupt like ours, or the they are government owned.

Re:Why do we keep asking this question? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320779)

Corporate greed in the U.S. means getting as much money as possible in the current fiscal quarter, and let's worry about next quarter when we're in the next quarter.

Corporate greed anywhere else in the world means getting as much money as possible long-term, even if it means investing today to realize profits tomorrow.

THAT is the difference.

Who's getting slow internet? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 5 months ago | (#46320555)

Just curious. I'd assume it's the same rural folks who are against the high taxes that would widen pipes to their houses. I get 24/24 in suburban KC and I figure most similar communities are the same.

Re:Who's getting slow internet? (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#46320601)

or they live a person per mile and it would cost tens of thousands of $$$ just to wire their one home.

Re:Who's getting slow internet? (2)

Sardak (773761) | about 5 months ago | (#46320657)

Where I live is in the midst of a moderately dense residential area a few miles from downtown. We have a single high speed provider available, and our current plan is about $65/month for "up to 12/2 Mbps". And, indeed, on speed tests and the occasional Linux ISO torrent, I actually see those kinds of speeds. However, for practical applications, such as streaming videos on Hulu, we're lucky to have things play smoothly at the 0.5 Mbps resolution even at off-peak hours.

I don't think we necessarily need faster rated connections, but ones that can actually perform to their specifications under average usage conditions.

Re:Who's getting slow internet? (2)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#46320755)

that's about average. nyc i was paying time warner cable $65 for 20/1 for a while. 15 years ago internet only for 1mbps cable would cost you close to $100

and i really can't believe tech people can be so dense. the internet is not your ISP. its not some magical one entity. its hundreds of networks connected together via different business agreements. just because you pay for 12/2 doesn't mean the server or network your linux iso sits on can support that for all their users at once. if you do a traceroute and your linux iso is a dozen hops away across 5 different networks it's not your ISP's fault that its slow.

the concept of CDN's has been around for almost 20 years. positioning content close to the users, and the content people have to pay for it. otherwise having hulu transit over different backbone networks you will never see 20/2. that's the internet. just because you pay 20/2 to comcast or someone else doesn't mean cogent or level 3 can support that for everyone at the same time. and hulu is owned by every big media corporation there is so they should have enough money to buy CDN access. this is why my apple TV rentals look blu ray quality and play without a hiccup on time warner cable. Apple is a huge akamai CDN customer and the content is already on time warner's network for me.

Re:Who's getting slow internet? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 5 months ago | (#46320729)

KC has google fiber thus competition genius, the rest of us are paying out the ass for 20mb service that is down half the time

Re:Who's getting slow internet? (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#46320767)

and give google a few years
prices will go up as the media companies raise them
i'll take it as well if i could but google has no debt unlike every cable company in the USA with tens of billions in debt from past investments

Re:Who's getting slow internet? (1)

RR (64484) | about 5 months ago | (#46320873)

Well, lucky you, living in a city blessed by Google Fiber.

In the rest of the country, the Internet is generally slow. It doesn't matter if it's liberal or conservative. The government isn't forcing competition, and the government isn't taking the lead on building infrastructure, so the cable and phone companies invest way less on fast Internet than in almost every other industrial country.

Even in Silicon Valley, with its dense urbanization, left-leaning politics, and large population of knowledge workers, most of Silicon Valley has pathetic options for broadband. It's either AT&T, slow and expensive DSL, or Comcast, fast and very expensive cable.

Though, Kessler has a bit of a point with regulations. As you would expect, some of the knowledge workers in Silicon Valley have been trying to get fast and affordable Internet into the area. My current favorite is Sonic.net, [sonic.net] but I'm keeping Monkeybrains [monkeybrains.net] in mind in case I move into range. It's been extremely slow going. Even AT&T is having problems, getting the permits necessary for their faster-but-still-slow U-verse upgrades.

How quickly we have forgoten.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320599)

Maybe it is just me be but it was not that long ago I was dialing up with a my first 14.4 kbps modem. That was the early 90's... probably about 92-93. There was no "internet" and the phrase "Dot Com" did not yet exist. 20 years later and people are whining about broadband being too slow!!!

I live in to woods 40 miles S.E. of Seattle (I saw a post above about Seattle) and get 53.5Mbps Down and 11.5 Up.... http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/3327574950
I could even get faster if I wanted to pay more.

I feel this is more about the fact that people have to pay for the service and it is expensive. Not the fact that it is slow. I see a lot of post about how the government should get involved to make it faster and cheaper. Yet I see none offering a solution to the problems with laying thousands of miles of cables (fiber, copper, coax, etc) with all the associated hardware that makes it all work and cost and manpower to maintain that equipment while also serving the customers needs at a better price than what is currently offered. It all has to be paid for......

Municipal Fiber (4, Interesting)

worldthinker (536300) | about 5 months ago | (#46320631)

The best way is to allow cities and counties to create municipal fiber utilities that provide uniform and universal access of its citizens to ISP's. Municipalities can require multiple ISP's to service the city providing service level and price competition. The capital outlay for the fiber infrastructure is born by the city/county and is capitalized in use fees. Cities would set SLA standards for customer service response and repair times. Penalties for non-compliance and the right to replace ISP's that don't perform.

We would get the fastest and most robust internet connections available on the planet. We would get TV and phone service bundled on one wire. We would get lower monthly bills.

Re:Municipal Fiber (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 5 months ago | (#46320723)

We would get the fastest and most robust internet connections available on the planet. We would get TV and phone service bundled on one wire. We would get lower monthly bills.

And unicorns would fly out of your butt.

Hey, I know what the problem is... (1)

consumer_whore (652448) | about 5 months ago | (#46320703)

It's too much freedom. That's why there's no competition, high unemployment, and a poorly performing economy. If only we had more regulation everything would be better.

It's not the download, it's the upload (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320727)

I'm quite happy with 15-20mbps down. What really grinds my gears is 1mbps up. What if I want to upload to youtube every day? Can't do it on many internet plans today.

An Australian logs in to ask why US internet is sl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320871)

ow.

This is like someone moving from Antarctica to Tasmania and asking why it's so co

ld.

No profit in Residential (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | about 5 months ago | (#46320901)

At our office we have fiber from XO, TWTelecom, Abovenet, and a few other smaller players. Time Warner is spending ungodly sums to bring fiber down the corridor to serve ~5MM square feet of offices.

But, ATT only offers "up to 6mbit" DSL. Pricing is comparable for value, but the offering is simply not up to snuff.

Simple: LACK OF COMPETITION (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 5 months ago | (#46320903)

When there is little or no choice, the price rises. What is so difficult about that?

Why does Slashdot keep asking rhetorical questions (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about 5 months ago | (#46320913)

Because you damn well know the answer, you're just trying to hold onto a shred of hope that it's not something so nefarious.

Same reason we don't have chip & pin debit car (1)

willoughby (1367773) | about 5 months ago | (#46320917)

Money

Everyone wants improvement & no-one is willing to pay for it.

Really Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46320921)

Ok. Fine.

It's so slow, because ISPs have very little incentive to upgrade infrastructure and bring very high end bandwidth to customers en masse. You can see this where Google is putting fiber. Only then, do companies actively compete. If no one is coming into threaten them, ISPs will sit on their hands until they're forced to improve things, and offer better service. By doing this, they're also milking customers for as much and as long as possible.

It isn't a race to the top. It's a race to see how long they can drag their feet before someone better threatens their local monopoly. This is a self-created problem from the FCC, and entrenched corporate ideology that greed is best.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...