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FCC Gets Go-Ahead For Plan To Expand Rural Internet Access

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the we-call-them-the-hinterlands dept.

The Internet 156

The FCC's plan to use fees collected from big telecom companies to expand Internet infrastructure in rural parts of the U.S. was given a green light yesterday in Denver, by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Those telecoms maintained that the FCC's mandate did not extend to using the money to pay for Internet service, but a three-judge panel dismissed their challenge. From The Verge: "The FCC originally pitched the program as part of the Universal Service Fund in 2011, noting in a report a year earlier that approximately 14 million people did not have access to broadband. The Connect America Fund aimed to use a portion of customer bills in other areas of the country to build out broadband infrastructure, including cellular data networks in those areas. That would begin with $300 million at the start, and up to $500 million as part of an annual budget."

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Ick. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47084873)

Who on Earth would live there?

Re:Ick. (2)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 3 months ago | (#47085167)

v

The people that feed you

Re:Ick. (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about 3 months ago | (#47085231)

v
The people that feed you

Sir, we do NOT grow Cheetos! If someone want to do unnatural things with corn, well, as long as it's off the farm first then that's their lookout... Everyone knows trolls are covered in Cheetos dust and Doritos crumbs, but they didn't get it from us!

Re:Ick. (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 3 months ago | (#47085697)

v The people that feed you

Sir, we do NOT grow Cheetos! If someone want to do unnatural things with corn, well, as long as it's off the farm first then that's their lookout... Everyone knows trolls are covered in Cheetos dust and Doritos crumbs, but they didn't get it from us!

I'm pretty sure Monsanto was involved in some way.

Re:Ick. (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about 3 months ago | (#47085773)

I'm pretty sure Monsanto was involved in some way.

That's why the dust won't stick to the Cheetos... non-stick corn.

You forgot to add: (1)

YoureGoingToHell (3452735) | about 3 months ago | (#47085271)

The people who feed you...dumb ass.

FTFY

Yes! (5, Funny)

jest3r (458429) | about 3 months ago | (#47084875)

The FCC is soooo awesome for doing this!

Finally they stood up to the telecoms and now I trust them completely to ensure that the Internet will be free, open and available to everyone.

I've never understood the hate as of late.

Re:Yes! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47084945)

yeah, the tea baggers are creaming their shorts. talking about how the government sucks and sucking at their teat at the same time

Re:Yes! (-1, Troll)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47084951)

The FCC is soooo awesome for doing this!

Indeed. I am so grateful that the FCC required me to pay more in order to subsidize the lifestyle choices of other people.

I've never understood the hate as of late.

Me neither. This is such a wonderful country. It would be so unfair if people were expected to deal with the consequences of their own decisions without coerced assistance from people that made more sensible choices.

Re:Yes! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085063)

Indeed. I am so grateful that the FCC required me to pay more in order to subsidize the lifestyle choices of other people.

Because property taxes on rural land doesn't subsidize services for people that live in the city, amirite?

Or are you that much of a fucking dumbass?

Agricultural Property tax breaks! (2)

thrich81 (1357561) | about 3 months ago | (#47085189)

Given the enormous tax breaks given to "agricultural property" in Texas, I doubt there is any subsidizing at all going from rural to urban in this state. This is from 2005 (http://www.chron.com/news/article/Legislature-to-rethink-farmland-tax-breaks-1563193.php), but I don't think it has changed much since, "In suburban Austin, a 1,757-acre ranch owned by Michael Dell has what Travis County appraisers call a "well-managed deer herd" that reduces the ranch's market value of $74.8 million to an agriculture value of $290,000. "

Re:Yes! (4, Informative)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 3 months ago | (#47085215)

Because property taxes on rural land doesn't subsidize services for people that live in the city, amirite?

I work for a local government and am heavily involved in the property tax process. I'm sure like all things it varies by state, but here (South Carolina) I'd say that the urban subsidizes the rural even on property taxes.

For one, there's the plain and simple situation that large tracts of rural land are worth much less per acre than land in the cities. A 0.25 acre lot in town might be $30k whilst land out in the woods is less than $10k per acre.

Secondly, large tracts of agricultural land used for crops or timber are given an EXTREME tax break. Most of them pay taxes on less than 5% of the actual value of the land.

And last, serious tax breaks are given to "owner occupied" residential properties. Owner occupied properties are far more common in rural areas. Its not uncommon in the urban/suburban areas, but there are far more rental properties and such that end up paying nearly twice as much in property taxes.

I know in our specific locale its been an area of concern lately that a small urban area that is less than 10% of the size of the county generates more than 25% of the property tax revenue.

Re:Yes! (1)

YoureGoingToHell (3452735) | about 3 months ago | (#47085301)

I work for a local government and am heavily involved in the property tax process. I'm sure like all things it varies by state, but here (South Carolina) I'd say that the urban subsidizes the rural even on property taxes.

You keep using this word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Taxation is theft.

Addendum: and Slashdot is a fucking pile of shit.

That means some theft is justifiable (2)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47085569)

If you define "theft" to include tax, most adults would agree with the statement "some theft is justifiable".

Re:That means some theft is justifiable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085787)

Too easy.

Theft to protect the country. Theft to fund a courts system. Theft to help protect our rights. Absolutely.

Theft to ensure Jim Bob can watch Netflix? Not so justifiable.

Re:That means some theft is justifiable (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47086301)

https://help.netflix.com/en/node/306
"0.5 Megabits per second - Required broadband connection speed"

While I would say that 256kbps would be good enough for what determines "broadband", maybe I can concede with 512kbps. However, I think one problem with the modern web is the lack of efficacy toward low-end computers being able to load the modern web, let alone the issue with websites needing lots of bandwidth to load a page in reasonable time.

What would be a reasonable time to buffer a video one wants to watch on Netflix? Assuming it works that way.

(I have reservations regarding property taxes where I live, and the lack of homestead exemptions. Namely, the plight low-income homeowners have with being able to afford their property. I so wish my state had an income tax to help relieve this burden in some form...enshrined in the state constitution to prevent abuse.)

Buffering the whole thing in the early morning (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47087247)

What would be a reasonable time to buffer a video one wants to watch on Netflix? Assuming it works that way.

If worse comes to worst, reasonable would be ordering the movie one night, waiting for it to buffer during the unmetered 12 AM to 5 AM period that some satellite ISPs offer, and then watching it the next night. But Netflix has shown itself unwilling to allow an entire movie to buffer.

Re:That means some theft is justifiable (1)

rally2xs (1093023) | about 3 months ago | (#47086549)

Theft is wrong, and never justified. Income taxes are theft. Property taxes are arguably theft, although most things that are property taxed are not really necessary to own, as you can rent and avoid property taxes of the land, and you can simply not drive and avoid the property taxes on cars, and so forth.

Fix this one big injustice / sin of theft from the people by repealing the 16th Amendment and abolishing the Federal income taxes. These taxes were described by JFK as:

"The largest single barrier to full employment of our manpower and resources and to a higher rate of economic growth is the unrealistically heavy drag of federal income taxes on private purchasing power, initiative and incentive.” John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963 "

Not only is abolishing the income taxes the right and moral thing to do, it would supercharge the economy.

Re:That means some theft is justifiable (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47086655)

Theft is wrong, and never justified. Income taxes are theft. Property taxes are arguably theft, although most things that are property taxed are not really necessary to own, as you can rent and avoid property taxes of the land, and you can simply not drive and avoid the property taxes on cars, and so forth.

Fix this one big injustice / sin of theft from the people by repealing the 16th Amendment and abolishing the Federal income taxes. These taxes were described by JFK as:

"The largest single barrier to full employment of our manpower and resources and to a higher rate of economic growth is the unrealistically heavy drag of federal income taxes on private purchasing power, initiative and incentive.” John F. Kennedy, Jan. 24, 1963 "

Not only is abolishing the income taxes the right and moral thing to do, it would supercharge the economy.

I agree.
1. Abolish all taxes.
2. Shutdown the unfunded government.
3. Wait for Putin to arrive.
4. Profit!

Oh, BTW, Putin has some taxes for your to pay him.

Lowering taxes didn't supercharge the economy in the year 2000, now. Did it?

Whoops. Gotta go. Your mom's calling from upstairs and want to know if you need a snack.

Re:That means some theft is justifiable (1)

rally2xs (1093023) | about 3 months ago | (#47086893)

Every time a politician wants to help the economy, they find a way to lower taxes, so _they_ know it works even if you don't.

No, don't abolish all taxes, just abolish all income taxes.

Lowering the taxes in 2000 did help the economy, although it was hard to tell after we were attacked in 2001 and had to spend huge amounts of money to ensure it didn't happen again (We had to kick the sh** out of our enemies.) Eliminating Federal income taxes _would_ supercharge the economy, as all those jobs that left our shores for overseas would come back. Hell, they LEFT to get out from under the US corporate taxes, and NO, it was not because of cheap foreign labor, that was a (another) lie (gasp) by American politicians to distract us from the fact that the income taxes are what is killing our economy. JFK knew it and said it, but the A-holes that just want to grow gov't to give themselves more power want you to believe otherwise.

Re:That means some theft is justifiable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47087065)

Every time a politician wants to buy votes, they promise to lower taxes, so they know it works to get voters.

No, not all taxes, just the ones the people buying their elections want.

Lowering taxes doesn't help the economy, it doesn't help the government, and the excuse of the 9-11 spending was just used to enrich corporate oligarchs and remove freedoms even more. The goal is to starve the beast so they can do like they did when moving shores overseas. Have a free hand to exploit labor which they disguise under the lies of excessive regulation, union corruption and overpaid laziness, with the progressive taxation system being the only thing keeping them barely in check. The A-holes that just want to give themselves more power to exploit people just want you to believe otherwise.

Re:That means some theft is justifiable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47087017)

Taxes pay for all the common good that everyone benefits from. Infrastructure like roads and bridges. A common set of laws so you don't have to worry about being assaulted in your home or walking down the street. Schools that you or your fellow citizens send your children to so they can learn to read, write and carry on the next generation. These educated persons then become the citizens of tomorrow, so a firm investment in their education is an investment in our future.

If you are so very concerned about taxes being a form of theft, why not become involved in your local, state and federal government and change the future? You will get an education on just how bad it can be for the ordinary citizen, but worse, just how little the ordinary citizen worries about things that don't happen in their backyard.

What will destroy this country faster than anything else is apathy. Those who feel disenfranchised, unempowered and unable to make their voices heard. These are the people who need to find their voice and take back their power. If you feel your taxes are too burdensome, then fight to have them lowered and find better ways for government to spend the money it does have.

Renting doubles property tax (1)

tepples (727027) | about 3 months ago | (#47087265)

most things that are property taxed are not really necessary to own, as you can rent and avoid property taxes of the land

When you rent, you likely pay double property tax because you have to compensate a landlord who cannot take advantage of the deduction for owner-occupied property that many localities provide.

you can simply not drive and avoid the property taxes on cars

To not drive, you have to live within reasonable cycling distance of your job, and that means higher property values, which means higher property tax folded into your rent.

Re:Yes! (3, Insightful)

whistlingtony (691548) | about 3 months ago | (#47085927)

Then go to some country where there are no taxes.

Assuming you can find this mythical make believe country, it would be a shithole with no public infrastructure.

you take for granted what your taxes buy you. ingrate.

Re:Yes! (1)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 3 months ago | (#47086559)

It is sad to confront the fact that we consider it normal to tax people for owning a home or land. Things are so over the edge that when a family member dies we must pay $15. per death certificate and many people will need several as copies are not always acceptable. Now there is some real evidence that traffic tickets are a serious form of taxation which we pay on top of the sales tax on the car, the taxes on gasoline, as well as taxes on tires and repairs, with toll roads gobbling up even more. It begins to look more and more reasonable to live outside the system.

Re:Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47086901)

We don't tax people for owning a home or land. We tax them for the services provided. Sometimes, yes, it is simply possible to charge for the service at the point of rendering as in the case of a death certificate, and sometimes, there can be excessive examples, as may be the case with speed traps.

But ok, what do you want to do about the people who provide the services you use right now? Make them work for free?

Good luck living outside the system.

Re:Yes! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085077)

Indeed. I am so grateful that the FCC required me to pay more in order to subsidize the lifestyle choices of other people

It would be so unfair if people were expected to deal with the consequences of their own decisions without coerced assistance from people that made more sensible choices.

Hi! Welcome to 2014 where humans live together in these things called 'societies'. Good thing for you, your opinion is in the minority otherwise social services that benefit us all like open internet, interstate roads, guaranteed postal services, unemployment benefits, socialized emergency services (fire, police, ambulance), etc wouldn't be possible.

There is plenty of reading to learn about societies so you better get started [google.com]

Re:Yes! (0)

rubycodez (864176) | about 3 months ago | (#47085187)

you're somewhat confused, the fire and police are done by local taxes. the ambulances are private except for the fire departments.

the internet is censored, monitored, and not distributed evenly nor even accessible in all places. it is made up of telco equipment of private companies that charge money to their customers. what's "open internet" mean?

postal service is in constitution but it is not absolutely needed anymore in this era of email and alternative private carriers. those out in the sticks with no internet might need it but the rest of us not so much.

unemployment benefits are insurance by taxation that people pay into to get benefits, not really socialism

we have a society but that doesn't mean we need socialism.

Re:Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085609)

Lol!!! Don't let facts and rationality ruin their circle-jerk bro

Re:Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47086975)

you're somewhat confused, the fire and police are done by local taxes.

Check their budgets. See how much federal and state money they're getting. Heck, just ask them how much federal assistance they get when needed for things like fingerprints and firearms testing. Not every police department is the NYPD.

the ambulances are private except for the fire departments.

And they drive on public roads.

the internet is censored, monitored, and not distributed evenly nor even accessible in all places. it is made up of telco equipment of private companies that charge money to their customers. what's "open internet" mean?

Goodness me, if only there had been umpteen thousand discussions on that.

postal service is in constitution but it is not absolutely needed anymore in this era of email and alternative private carriers. those out in the sticks with no internet might need it but the rest of us not so much.

You take that argument up at the next Constitutional Convention then.

unemployment benefits are insurance by taxation that people pay into to get benefits, not really socialism

No, they are within the definition of socialism.

we have a society but that doesn't mean we need socialism.

Assertion without substance.

Re:Yes! (2)

Bengie (1121981) | about 3 months ago | (#47085101)

Yeah, screw those farmers! I say we just ban farming in general. Just grow your own food.

Re:Yes! (1)

thrich81 (1357561) | about 3 months ago | (#47085289)

How many of those farmers are struggling "family farms" and how many are big agribusinesses or rich "gentleman farmers" reinvesting their millions? And while I'm at it, what about those ethanol mandates which are forcing the rest of us to buy their alcohol instead of food, and the subsidized water they all get out west? There was perhaps a time in the early 20th century where "rural electrification" and "universal phone service" may have made sense -- not any more. Sorry, the "noble farmer, man of the land" is a fiction of the 18th century. Now it's just another business. Farm land has had a nice run up in value lately so somebody wants it.

Re:Yes! (4, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 3 months ago | (#47085427)

Oh horseshit. Do your research. 97 percent of farms in the US are family owned and operated. 2.2 million of them. Average farm family income is about 70K

http://www.fb.org/index.php?fu... [fb.org]

Re:Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085527)

97% of farms are family owned. Cool. That does not mean 97% of the land is owned by family farmers.

Re:Yes! (3, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 3 months ago | (#47085597)

97 percent of farms in the US are family owned and operated. 2.2 million of them.

[Citation Needed]
Your link just goes to an agricultural interest organization that doesn't cite anything.

I found another random agricultural interest group that claims 60% of family farms are "hobby" farms that don't contribute meaningfully to the market.
But you know what, it doesn't cite its sources either [thehandthatfeedsus.org] (PDF), beyond "USDA"

Either way, my understanding is that family farms are increasingly shifting towards contract farming, which effectively makes the "family" aspect a meaningless distinction.

How to Lie with Statistics (4, Interesting)

oneiros27 (46144) | about 3 months ago | (#47085871)

... the important part is to pick the metric that you like:

First, we have our possible definitions of 'family farm' :

1. Farms operated by indvidual families
2. Farms owned by individual families
3. Farms owned or operated by individual families that produce agricultural products for sale
4. Farms owned or operated by individual families that aren't incorporated. (might be a death tax dodge, might be a huge corporatation that's tightly held)
5. Farms owned an operated by individual families that qualify as a 'small business'.
6. Farms under a given acerage.

And we can further modify what we're analyzing:

a. ...only those farms that produce agricultural products for sale.
b. ...only those farms that produce food.
c. ...only those farms that produce food intended for human consumption. (no sod or flower farms, feedstock for biodiesel)
d. ...only those farms that produce food that contributes to the human food chain. (so allow hay, alfalfa and animal feed if grown for cows, but if the cows are to be dog food).
e. ...only those farms that 'contribute meaningfully to the market'.

Then, we have our metric, selecting the definiton of 'family farm' that's most advantageous of what we're trying to show, comparing "family farms" to either "corporate farms" or to "all farms":

1. Percentage of the count "family farms"
2. Percentage of the acerage of "family farms" 3. Percentage of the acerage used for farming in a given year.
4. Percentage of the products produced by "family farms" (in tons)
5. Percentage of the products produced by "family farms" (in dollars)
6&7. Percentage of the food produced by "family farms" (tons / dollars)
8&9. Percentage of the food sold by "family farms" (tons/dollars)

Some of these, I'm not even sure which way the selection bias will be. (family farms might sell at farmer's markets and get a better price per pound ... or they might focus on herbs and things typically sold at higher margins that don't tend to be grown on a massive scale).

But like anything, you run all of the different combinations, and pick the one that gives you the answer to support whatever argument you're trying to make.

Re:Yes! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 months ago | (#47085833)

Oh horseshit. Do your research. 97 percent of farms in the US are family owned and operated.

Please give your figures in tonnage, or acreage, if you expect us to give one tenth of one shit. Thanks.

Re:Yes! (1, Troll)

Shakrai (717556) | about 3 months ago | (#47085161)

I am so grateful that the FCC required me to pay more in order to subsidize the lifestyle choices of other people.

I love how people expect us to subsidize their internet access but nobody (sane) argues in favor of subsidies for wells and septic tanks, both of which are more costly than municipal water service. Access to clean water is actually essential to life, unlike internet access, or even electricity for that matter, but nobody expects suburban/urban people to subsidize water for rural folks, why should we have to subsidize their internet connectivity?

Re:Yes! (4, Informative)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47085293)

Probably because people actually can dig a well and a septic tank on their own and it works fine while internet is all or nothing unless you expect each individual to run a separate fiber to the nearest city.

Re:Yes! (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 3 months ago | (#47086979)

No, I expect people to pay the actual cost to receive service at their location, not to treat the internet like the USPS that charges me the same to deliver a letter from PO Box 1 to PO Box 2 as it does to deliver it from New York to Hawaii.

Re:Yes! (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47086993)

Then you can expect the cost of food to go up.

Re:Yes! (4, Interesting)

Strangely Familiar (1071648) | about 3 months ago | (#47085353)

You can't dig a hole in the ground to provide an internet connection, the same way you can with water and septic. For electricity, you could always buy a generator, although that is a much inferior solution than a grid connection. But you can't buy an Internet. The nature of a "net" is that it is cooperative and shared. It makes sense that millions of people would collaborate to connect themselves to the Internet, rather than taking an every man for himself approach.

The telecoms lack even one electron volt of shame. Don't you think the main issue is that these telecoms filed a lawsuit to prevent millions from getting broadband connections? That their image is already so blackened, they don't worry how this might appear? How did rural folks become the bad guys for you in this story?

Re:Yes! (1)

fizzer06 (1500649) | about 3 months ago | (#47085691)

I wonder how many on /. have ever used an outhouse or pulled water from a well in a bucket. Any stories (said the thread-jacker)?

Re:Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085803)

That's a valid point. Only a homosexual would mod that "troll".

I'm quite serious about that. The homos are out of control.

Re:Yes! (4, Insightful)

satsuke (263225) | about 3 months ago | (#47085173)

With that mentality, the US would never have completed rural electrification nor rural telephone service .. with a net effect of some parts of the US having never gotten out of third world nation conditions.

Re:Yes! (2)

nadaou (535365) | about 3 months ago | (#47086157)

some parts of the US *never have* gotten out of third world nation conditions.

http://www.economist.com/news/... [economist.com]

Re:Yes! (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47085251)

So when everyone gives up farming and moves to the city where they can get internet, you'll be coll with that?

That would be so much better than an extra $2/year for internet.

Re:Yes! (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47085257)

The FCC is soooo awesome for doing this!

Indeed. I am so grateful that the FCC required me to pay more in order to subsidize the lifestyle choices of other people.

I've never understood the hate as of late.

Me neither. This is such a wonderful country. It would be so unfair if people were expected to deal with the consequences of their own decisions without coerced assistance from people that made more sensible choices.

Those "other people" are generally poor, and didn't chose to live where they do. We're not talking about the dude that lives in the estate outside of town... he'd just get a cellular modem. Most of the people without internet service today are in the rural south, appalachia, the rocky mountains, Indian reservations (the ones that didn't sell out to the casino gods), the dakotas, etc...

I understand that slahdotters are generally "me me me" but give me a fucking break. The small increase you'll see on your phone bill will pale in comparison to the increase later in your income taxes as all "those other people" go on welfare because they can't even access their local jobs website and there's no such thing as newspapers anymore. Crawl out of your miopic hole and view the world from somewhere more than 50ft from your doorstep.

Re:Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085369)

Funny thing, he voted for Obama.

Have you checked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085665)

Have you checked to see that the money that was paid into the system already for rural telephone build-out was allocated and spent effectively? Last I heard, the phone companies were trying to keep that money on the basis that the rural customers could just use cell phone service. They don't want to pay the money they collected back to the customers. And cell phone service is much more expensive than landline service. Cell phones are very profitable.
Before you say "Hey, you wont even notice the charge", please check to see whether you notice how corrupt the system is already.

Check your history (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085741)

Let's check some RECENT history on something similar. The federal government over the last 30 years or so has tacked on an additional fee to your power bill to pay for a nuclear waste disposal site. Total collected to date? $31 Billion. Yes, that is $31 Billion EXTRA paid by citizens for a specific purpose promised by the government. Where is the site? It doesn't exist. You have been fleeced by the government on a lie. It wasn't until just recently that they are no longer allowed to collect that fee despite the site missing its opening date by 20 years.

So, sorry if I consider the federal government tacking on a "small fee" for something promised to be absolute bullshit. Its just another way they can take money from us and have shills like you cheering for it.

Re:Check your history (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47087115)

The good new here is that the interest earned on this money is about a billion dollars a year, so when they do decide where they want to dispose this nuclear waste, the money will most likely be there with change. Unless dirty politicians or greedy corporations find some way to raid this warchest and spend the money on something other than its intended purpose.

Re:Yes! (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47085765)

Those "other people" are generally poor

No they aren't. Median household income for farmers was $87, 289 in 2011 [rt.com] and has gone up more since then. That is far higher than than the American overall median household income. This is NOT a case of the rich subsidizing the poor, it is the other way around.

Re:Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47086853)

How many combine harvesters did you buy last year? Was that median income, or median profit? Farming's capital intensive on the low end. Further the median income may be modified by gas leases, which are essentially a one-time payoff.

Re:Yes! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085401)

I get the worst of both worlds. I live in a rural area (average one house per 10 acres) on the very edge of a county that is considered part of the DC Metro area. I pay the relatively higher property taxes, gas taxes, sales taxes, have to get emissions tests on my car, pay high property tax rate on my cars etc. AND I have one cell tower in the area that gets me about 1 bar of signal, well and septic systems, my own propane tanks, power that is a single set of lines for miles that just ends at the last house with no redundancy. I couldn't get DSL because of the distance. I did finally get access to Comcast internet and I average over 100 down even at 8pm. I guess the node or whatever they are are not being shared with many people. If I lived 1 mile further down the road (same zip code still), I would be in a rural county and pay about 1/2 the amount in taxes. My own fault.

Re:Yes! (5, Insightful)

whistlingtony (691548) | about 3 months ago | (#47085905)

I take offense at that "sensible choices" crack. It's a really !@#$ing annoying myth that poor people are poor due to their own choices. I know a lot of poor people that work WAY harder than you ever will. I grew up dirt poor. I got help from the government with food, education, etc. I got lucky, and made it, and I've payed back what I took in help, and then some...

You're basically just putting other people down, and doing so against people you don't like. It's a sterotype, and a myth, and your attitude says more about your lack of empathy than it does about those non existant people that "didn't make sensible choices and don't want to deal with the consequences".

I'm old enough to see that a VAST majority of people make pretty shitty decisions all the time, and that pretty much everyone has no idea how to live their lives. Everyone's making it up as they go along. Naturally, all of YOUR decisions are excellent ones, I'm sure. You've never had help from anyone in your whole life when things didn't work out.

It's always "those people" over there that are ruining everything.

Re:Yes! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 3 months ago | (#47085103)

The FCC is soooo awesome for doing this!

To date, "Connect Americs" - type government programs managed to bring broadband Internet service to quite a few (though nowhere near a million) rural households... for an average of nearly $100,000 per household.

Your tax $ at work.

The intent may be good, but as usual, the government has fumble-fingered the whole operation, and made it cost somewhere around 20 times what it should have.

Re:Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47086921)

The intent may be good, but as usual, the government has fumble-fingered the whole operation, and made it cost somewhere around 20 times what it should have.

Ask yourself this: Who was doing the work, was it government employees and workers, through some particular government agency, or was it private contractors?

Perhaps, as usual, private enterprise, has managed to greasy-finger the whole operation, and made it enrich them somewhere around 20 times what it should have.

Re:Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085135)

Where's that astroturfer Charliemopps when you need him? The poor innocent cable and telco companies need their stellar business practices and bare-bones profits defended...get spinning charlie!

Re:Yes! (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about 3 months ago | (#47085327)

I've been waiting for 5 years for the rural broadband initiative to reach me in my rural area. As far as I can tell, it didn't really help anyone and Barack Obama basically just gifted 4 billion in taxpayer money to the Telecommunications corporations.

Re:Yes! (1)

antdude (79039) | about 3 months ago | (#47085669)

They will have to prove it!

Ahh the real reason Net Neutrality is built (5, Funny)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 3 months ago | (#47084889)

Fed: Here is some tax payer money. Now promise you will use it for rural Iowa where people pay $300 a month for a 640kb connection.

ISP: Oh yeah we promise. Thanks Uncle Sam!

Fed: Uh 3 years has happened where is the new infrastructure that the hard working tax payers paid for?

ISP: NO! We do not want to spend it. Screw you! We gave it to the CEO and shareholders so we could keep our bonuses.

Fed: What?! We had a deal. Why aren't you ...

ISP: Oh look at that ... big Ku CLUNG and a huge bag of money lands ... I was wondering what happened with that money that the tax payers gave us. It appears to be on your desk sir

FED: Oh then I see. Hmm perhaps we need a real expert to hear your case then. Someone with close ties and is on your payroll to tell us you need to steal more tax payer money?

ISP: Ahh good idea. Hire me. I work as a lobbyest and as you know I am quite clumsy and keep dropping these bags of free speech everywhere I go too. Oh boy got to watch that.

Fed: LOL. Ok we can't keep giving you money though. So what can we do

ISP: I know lets rip off other people then. You see we charge too much as it is and we also charge people who want to host and stream. What if we tripple charge all over the place. Then more bags of free speech might just keep falling out if I am not careful.

Fed: Praise Obama and worship Henry Reid so I can keep my job after 2014 and you have a deal!

ISP: Got it ... shakes hands

Re:Ahh the real reason Net Neutrality is built (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085807)

That is the gayest post I have read all day here. And that is quite and accomplishment.

BTW, the word is "triple" not "tripple". All modern browsers have spell check. Not sure why you did not partake of the opportunity, other than it would have taken time from your daily cock sucking duties.

But but but (1)

guygo (894298) | about 3 months ago | (#47084917)

"Well, we said it, but we didn't really MEAN it! I mean - come on, just think of the incredible 0.0001% loss of profits! How can I justify that to my stock holders?"

BRAVO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47084919)

If Ben Franklin had had the vocabulary, I'm sure he would have included more than just the then existing Post Office as equally necessary to provide the information and conversation and access that citizens need to hang on to "a republic, if you can keep it" --
POTS should cover everything -- call it

Post Office Telecommunication Service

Re:BRAVO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085041)

"a republic, if you can keep it"
And the rich gun running , slave owning , tax evading , smuggling and landed white gentlemen couldn't even manage that from day one

Re:BRAVO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47087343)

nor did they ever intend to.

But That is (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47084921)

Socialism !! Wont any one think of the capitalists! Isnt being able to read the bible every night by whale oil lantern enough?

... Nope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47084927)

You just know they will do what AT&T planned on doing... Just installing cellphone towers and use "wireless" internet instead of upgrading the actual copper pipes.
Of course, charge ridiculous rates for it with a very low cap as well.

Re:... Nope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47084973)

Of course, charge ridiculous rates for it with a very low cap as well.

Hey, Amazon has a patent on that!

Re:... Nope... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085023)

so?

raise those evil taxes in your county with 5 people and pay for it yourself

So much competition the government has to build it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47084967)

The lawless market has spoken!

Just nationalize it already (0)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 3 months ago | (#47084975)

Why be hypocritical? We have a government that regulates every aspect of it, and occasionally is itself in the business of providing the same service that companies are. It's a fascist wet dream; just call it what it is and be done with it.

Re:Just nationalize it already (3, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 3 months ago | (#47085131)

When our telecommunications WERE "nationalized" (i.e., when Ma Bell was a regulated "natural monopoly"), we got very good service as a whole, with reasonable rates. When it was all land lines, that is.

That was anything but a "fascist wet dream". Today's pretense of a market is, though. Obviously I prefer an open, competitive market but that's not what we have.

Re:Just nationalize it already (4, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | about 3 months ago | (#47085217)

we got very good service as a whole, with reasonable rates

How old are you? Are you old enough to remember the concept of "long distance"? Of paying $0.10/min - $0.25/min for the privilege of calling your friends and family across the country? Rounded up of course. Don't tell me Ma Bell had "reasonable rates". Their rates were highway robbery even with the technological limitations of those days.

Innovation and regulated monopolies don't go hand in hand either. The theoretical underpinnings of what we now call DSL were well known in the 50s and workable technology was field tested by the 80s. It went nowhere because AT&T saw it as a threat, we can't sell dedicated data lines if we bring data and voice in on the same pair. That technology was left to collect dust on the shelf until DOCSIS was on the horizon and they realized they had a competitor.

Re:Just nationalize it already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085675)

$1 /min LD and you have to pay for each phone jack. Plus had to lease your phone. And the service sucked. I mean who else would you pick? That ole boy is smoking crack. The simple FCC solution is to liberalize some of the unlicensed 900, 2.4 and 5.1 - 5.8 rules and make it where WISPs can transmit further in rural environments. It would be less expensive for everyone.

Re:Just nationalize it already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085921)

$1 /min LD and you have to pay for each phone jack. Plus had to lease your phone. And the service sucked. I mean who else would you pick? That ole boy is smoking crack. The simple FCC solution is to liberalize some of the unlicensed 900, 2.4 and 5.1 - 5.8 rules and make it where WISPs can transmit further in rural environments. It would be less expensive for everyone.

Wait... Are you describing the past or today's wireless market? If this applies to wireless, it sure sounds cheap.

1. multi-year leases/contracts
2. token competition
3. high per minute pay-as-you-go "options"
4. is it still $1 or so per MB overage charge on that data plan?

Re:Just nationalize it already (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 3 months ago | (#47085893)

How old are you? Are you old enough to remember the concept of "long distance"? Of paying $0.10/min - $0.25/min for the privilege of calling your friends and family across the country?

Yep. I sure do.

At the time, did YOU bother to check what the rates were in other countries where there was "competition" in the landline phone markets? It cost 3 times as much, and sometimes you couldn't even call your neighbor because they were using a competing service that wasn't electrically compatible.

Re:Just nationalize it already (3, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | about 3 months ago | (#47085229)

When our telecommunications WERE "nationalized" (i.e., when Ma Bell was a regulated "natural monopoly"), we got very good service as a whole, with reasonable rates. When it was all land lines, that is.

Memory is often viewed through rose-tinted spectacles. Do you remember that SNL sketch, with the line "We're the phone company and we don't care"? Today, we have crony-capitalism, which isn't any better than fully regulated. The FCC rolled over when incumbents made it impossible for CLECs to compete. If the FCC had had some backbone then, there might be a competitive landscape now.

On a related note, I don't understand why the broadcasters (NBC excepted, of course) are not up in arms about the proposed Comcast/Time Warner merger. The merger will give the combined entity more negotiation power against the broadcasters.

Re:Just nationalize it already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085731)

Worse than that, look at the stations already owned by both Time Warner and Comcast.

It isn't just a case of them having more power over the stations, it is a case that they flat out OWN a good portion of them already between the 2 of them. This gives them more power against people trying to get into both the ISP and TV market. They become the lords of the domain in the US on the overall.

Re:Just nationalize it already (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 3 months ago | (#47085909)

Memory is often viewed through rose-tinted spectacles. Do you remember that SNL sketch, with the line "We're the phone company and we don't care"?

Yes, I certainly do. But what my memory is "viewed through" is University economics courses back when landlines were still the norm.

I studied the economics of our "natural monopoly" phone system vs. other countries where they had "competition" in the landline phone business. And in comparison, ours kicked ass. (Nobody is claiming it was perfect. But relatively speaking, it was very damned good.)

Then, later, in business law, one of our case studies was the breakup of Ma Bell. The whys and wherefores, and the eventual results.

So, yeah. I do not claim to be an expert on the subject, but I do know a bit about it. More than most.

Today, we have crony-capitalism, which isn't any better than fully regulated. The FCC rolled over when incumbents made it impossible for CLECs to compete. If the FCC had had some backbone then, there might be a competitive landscape now.

I would say that "isn't any better" is a gross understatement. We went from a situation in which our telecommunication services were world-class and (relative to others at the time), very cheap. Now, due to lack of real competition in what passes for the "market", were trailing the pack when it comes to the Western world. Higher prices for far less service and capability.

So I think if you really take a look at it, yes, we were far better off then. FCC should have made ISPs Title II Common Carriers from the very beginning.

Re:Just nationalize it already (1)

thejynxed (831517) | about 3 months ago | (#47086457)

They were that way, until telecoms lobbyists had it their way and got telecom providers/ISPs (who are often one and the same) delegated as "information services" with all of the accompanying lack of regulation forthwith.

Re:Just nationalize it already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085965)

Most of the broadcasters are invested in the cable TV system (either owning networks or producing content for them). Internet streaming of television threatens to lower prices and margins. (And Time Warner is the same company that owns Warner Brothers and various TV networks as well as Time Warner Cable.) And Comcast owns NBC/Universal which sells shows and movies to cable companies and networks...

It's sort of like radio stations lobbying to require FM receivers in all electronics, but that hardly costs anything and is barely intrusive. A company like Apple has high margins, but no one is forced to buy its products (there is competition with Windows, Android, and other devices). The Cable TV industry is determined to keep its margins high. Actual competition is a big no-no.

At one point, the courts broke up studio-owned movie theaters. This seems similar. Media companies own the distribution networks.

Cable TV will probably end up in the same situation as newspapers once their influence over the internet comes to an end.

Re:Just nationalize it already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47086265)

Could you elaborate more on "Cable TV will probably end up in the same situation as newspapers once their influence over the internet comes to an end." please?

How would cable TV die off if they influence over the Internet comes to an end?

Re:Just nationalize it already (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 3 months ago | (#47085955)

Why be hypocritical? We have a government that regulates every aspect of it, and occasionally is itself in the business of providing the same service that companies are. It's a fascist wet dream; just call it what it is and be done with it.

That sir is socialism! We in America prefer freedom thank you very much!

Sincerely,

Verizon CEO

So they admit that it should be run as a utility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085139)

It sounds to me like they're finally admitting that this is a basic service that everyone should be provided with.
I wonder how much longer it will take before they regulate it as such (as a utility).

Re:So they admit that it should be run as a utilit (2)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about 3 months ago | (#47085201)

It sounds to me like they're finally admitting that this is a basic service that everyone should be provided with.
I wonder how much longer it will take before they regulate it as such (as a utility).

The thing is that the FCC (US government agency that regulates telecoms) can do that. It's what the whole Title II reclassification thing is all about. http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com] Which is why the lobbyists and congress are freaking out. https://www.techdirt.com/artic... [techdirt.com]

Cellular wireless - really? (1)

aggles (775392) | about 3 months ago | (#47085213)

The comment "build out broadband infrastructure, including cellular data networks in those areas." seems like a waste of money. Metered bandwidth is good for mobile applications but a home needs unlimited data volumes. While today, 30 gig a month is fine for most and 100 gig /month should suffice for the next few years, the concept of caps will be a bucket of cold water on continued innovation. Wireless is not in itself a bad technology for the rural build-out, but it is unlikely that Verizon and AT&T will change their ways. Cellular wireless is lifeline quality only for the home.

Re:Cellular wireless - really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085783)

30 or 100 gig a month? Maybe for mobile, but I used 10 gig in a day downloading a steam game. My relatives are already considering dropping cable for internet only. Streaming video is rather bandwidth intensive and could easily exceed 10 gigs a day. Hell, a 100 gig cap ten years ago was a nightmare. But that's the point of all these restrictions: to protect the existing cable TV market. Prioritizing some websites over others is one way to hurt internet streaming. Data caps are another.

Metered bandwidth isn't a bad concept if the bandwidth is cheap. (I'm talking $1 a terabyte here.) But the ISPs/telcos want punishing data prices to pad their bottom lines.

What the industry needs is vertical separation. Physical lines should be separate from services. Unrelated companies sell actual internet and TV packages.

Federal Aid Road Act of 1916 (3, Insightful)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 3 months ago | (#47085421)

We understood that the Commerce Clause [wikipedia.org] authorized Congress to construct interstate highways. The web is the interstate highway of the 21st century and the Commerce Clause authorizes Congress to invest in a functioning web for all U.S citizens just as much as it did for highways. The FCC doesn't have a vote.

It is of the most fundamental importance that the United States should think in big pieces, should think together, should think ultimately as a whole. [dot.gov]

Re:Federal Aid Road Act of 1916 (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 3 months ago | (#47085677)

Great read, thank you. Also, yes.

Re:Federal Aid Road Act of 1916 (2)

Kjella (173770) | about 3 months ago | (#47086939)

What you said was totally correct but almost entirely irrelevant, the question here was the scope of FCC's mandate. Just because people start using email instead of snail mail doesn't mean the USPS's mandate changes. The ones who build interstates and manage cars don't automatically become the federal aviation administration when people started flying. I'm not in the US but the work I do is narrowly mandated by our parliament, sure they could change the law - actually it's an administrative provision pointed to by law - but until then we don't do anything that's outside our mandate, even when it seems like a logical extension to what we're already doing.

Who builds it ... (4, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | about 3 months ago | (#47085471)

... and what do they build (and run)?

Back when the Universal Sevice Fund was created for rural POTS, that was a heavly regulated and well defined service. So when the government mandated redistribution of funds for the telecoms (actually only the one back then) to build rural systems, they knew what they'd be getting.

Broadband Internet service is poorly defined. Lacking any sort of network neutrality (and other common carrier regulations), there is no telling what exactly will get built and once built, what people in rural communities will be able to do with it.

They should name this the Take The Money and Run Plan.

Cabin Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085515)

Sweet internet at my cabin! Thanks tax payers.

Rural Areas (0)

Frankie70 (803801) | about 3 months ago | (#47085727)

Some people save money by moving to remote areas. Then others have to subsidise them by paying all kinds of fees to that they get access to stuff in their cheap, remote areas.

Re:Rural Areas (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 3 months ago | (#47085845)

You can thank the Electoral College which gives rural states more relative power than populated states. Plus, rural areas tend to have older voters, who are more likely to show up at the polls because many are retired and have time.

Only 14 million? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47085743)

That is complete and utter bullshit, and Obama knows it. I know he has lied and claimed over and over again that most Americans have access to it, but if you define it was being a fast 4 Mbps, then that is a lie. I live in the second most tech area in the world in Seattle, and many of my friends are still on dial-up. I have less than 1 Mbps DSL due to 50+ year-old phone wiring. Comcast has a government-granted monopoly, but doesn't offer service to much of the city. If Seattle can't get what the FCC defines as broadband, then most of the country certainly can't. We lead the country in technology.

We keep reading of these (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | about 3 months ago | (#47086317)

plans to bring broadband to everyone years after years. You'd think it'd be finished by now. What happened to all the money ?

Re:We keep reading of these (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47086933)

I don't know, but I bet if you give the telecom companies 100 million more dollars, they'll be able to audit themselves and find out.

Rural Bandwith (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 3 months ago | (#47086913)

Is this the slow lane?

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