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What's Holding Up Broadband in the U.S.?

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the compulsory-licensing dept.

The Internet 548

ProfBooty writes "A recent opinion piece in the Washington Post discloses that the broadband could potentially aid in the economy's recovery (and that Canadians are 2x as likely to have it, South Koreans 4x), but it's not regulation that is the hold up, it's *surprise* content holders' fears of 'piracy' as well as unwillingness to adapt to new markets. Also discusses the governments of Canada and South Korea and how they were involved in bringing broadband to the people. In additon discusses how in the past, Congress would pass laws as to protect innovators as well as the old guard." The article's by Lawrence Lessig.

cancel ×

548 comments

MY PENIS (-1)

CmderTaco (533794) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805505)

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My ass (-1)

Tasty Beef Jerky (543576) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805507)

My gigantic ass [slashdot.org] is holding up broadband!

glad to see slashcode coming along (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805511)

must be pretty tough fixing these page lengthening posts. I thought the big advantage of open sores was the speed they could do fixes to it.

Re:glad to see slashcode coming along (-1)

DivineOb (256115) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805584)

badda bing

Re:glad to see slashcode coming along (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2805752)

They're not going to fix it. Taco wants reading at -1 to be as unpleasant as possible. That way you'll give up and read at +1 and be assimilated by the slashbots.

Whats holding Mac Os X from Linux's marketshare... (-1)

Trolligula (527461) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805522)

Mac OS X vs. Linux: Could Apple Take a Bite Out of the Penguin?

Is Mac OS X a Threat to Linux?

In short, yes! On March 24, Apple Computer, Inc. [apple.com] released its next-generation operating system, Mac OS X [apple.com] (the "X" is pronounced as "ten," for the version number of the operating system) to Macintosh addicts around the world. While this isn't such a big deal to some, others view it as a new beginning that could squash all thoughts of a desktop Linux [linux.org] for the general public.

What's this, "Apple out-maneuvering Linux?" you say? Well, maybe not as a server platform for the immediate future, but just think about this for a second: Would it be possible for Apple to deflate the hopes and dreams of developers worldwide of bringing Linux to the desktop? The short answer to this is yes, but it's more complicated than that.

Comparing Apples with Penguins

Aside from the fact that an apple is a fruit and a penguin is a flightless waterfowl, there used to be a big difference between the Apple Macintosh operating system and Linux. Apple had a nice GUI; Linux did not. Linux had a command line; Mac OS did not. Linux is a multitasking OS that supports multiple processors; Mac OS is not. Linux runs on just about anything these days; the Mac OS runs on, well, Apple equipment. Linux is free (well, sort of, depending on your method of install); Mac OS X will set you back $129.

So, the lines were pretty clear about the differences between Linux and Mac OS. But lately, that clarity has been blurred as Apple rolls out Mac OS X to the public. The new Mac OS now has preemptive multitasking and support for up to two processors, which is still a far cry from Linux's support for up to 16 processors, but it's a move in the right direction.

Traditionally, the only control Apple users had over their system was via the Control Panels and scripting system functions with AppleScript [apple.com] , MacPerl [macperl.com] , or ResEdit [resexcellence.com] . However, with Mac OS X's BSD base [apple.com] , Apple users were given something they've always wanted: a latch to take a peek into Apple's core.

At the core of Mac OS X is a kernel built on the Mach 3.0 kernel [cmu.edu] , BSD 4.4 [bsd.org] , and Darwin [darwin.org] (Apple's open source kernel project), giving network and system administrators the ability to use Unix programs and add them to their Macintoshes. When combined, these components offer a rock-solid operating system that's hard to beat. (OK, I know that Mac OS X has its fair share of bugs, so no flames, please.)

One of the advantages of Mac OS X is that it now offers Macintosh users with a command line on top of a slick, stable GUI, known as Aqua [apple.com] . With OS X's BSD core, Macintosh users will now be able to use GNU [gnu.org] software. This means they will be able to run tools like Emacs, vi, Apache, and even XFree86 and the GIMP [gimp.org] (something that Adobe Systems [adobe.com] should fear). If you're looking for a place to download ports of GNU tools that run under Mac OS X, you should visit the GNU-Darwin Project on SourceForge [sourceforge.net] .

One of the downsides of OS X is that it requires you to have a native G3 or G4 processor. This means you have to be running a G3 Mac, an iMac or iBook, a PowerBook G3 or better, or any of the G4 models and above. So, if you have an older 604 PowerPC-based Mac, you can't run OS X (that is, unless upgrade manufacturers, such as Sonnet Technologies [sonnettech.com] release updates to their processor software). For now, though, if you want to run OS X your best bet is to run it on native hardware.

One group that stands to lose a chunk of the market is the Mac-based Linux distributions, such as MkLinux [mklinux.org] , LinuxPPC [linuxppc.org] , or Yellow Dog Linux [yellowdoglinux.com] (YDL) from Terra Soft Solutions [terrasoftsolutions.com] . Up to now, these were your best options for running Linux on the Mac, with LinuxPPC and YDL leading the pack. But OS X changes this landscape significantly. The downside to running Linux on your Mac in a dual-boot configuration (as with Windows) is that if you want to access any of your Mac apps, you had to either reboot, or install and run Mac-On-Linux [maconlinux.com] . Neither option is ideal, but now OS X allows you to work in the command line, and run your Mac apps right along with them--no rebooting required.

Everyone loves long pages!!! (-1)

CmderTaco (533794) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805523)

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The Turd Report 01/08/2001 (-1)

The Turd Report (527733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805524)

I have been sick as all hell this past week. I had shrimp creole yesterday in the cafeteria, it was so-so. My turd this morning needed a long hard push to get it going. It was a very small turd. The turd was about the size of two golfballs. There was no smell and clean up was easy as can be. Not much else to say about it, so I rate it as a 5.

Some people have asked for a FAQ or a HOWTO on how I rate my turds and how they can rate their own. I would appreciate it if you would give me some suggestions or hints as to what you, my fans, would like to see. Thanks!

Re:The Turd Report 01/08/2001 (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805542)

glad to see the report back - we all know how busy you were with the Troll Awards!

A good rating system would help spread uniform reporting of turds and prevent government regulation from destroying what could be a great growth industry of the 00's - feces. The Japanese love feces - and look how well their economy has done. Wait - maybe that is a bad example.

FISH!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2805533)

I AM A FISH!

CmdrTaco = FAGGIT (-1)

KingAzzy (320268) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805534)

heeeee heeeee teeeee

Damn, copier is broke... (-1)

CmderTaco (533794) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805535)

Who will post the page lengthening post while I'm gone?
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It's Held Up? (0, Flamebait)

Quinn (4474) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805536)

There are half a dozen choices for broadband here in Rochester, NY. My brother, in a little town in my home state of West Virginia, has broadband. Nearly ever connected person to whom I speak has broadband /available/, if not at the price they want.

What's holding it up? Nothing, cheap-ass. Call up your phone or cable company and get it.

Re:It's Held Up? (2)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805561)

Unfortunately, your broadband providers seem to be restricting content related to statistics and geography. You may want to check into that.

Re:It's Held Up? (2, Interesting)

rmadmin (532701) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805573)

Try getting it someplace where bandwidth is mad expensive! Say.. Iowa? In a city of 30,000, we had 1 broadband provider, ATT@Home.. Mediacom bought them out... We really don't have much for broadband considering my dialup is faster than MediaCom is in this area.

Wrong (4, Interesting)

Kamel Jockey (409856) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805574)

In the Western suburbs of Philadelphia (mainly Chester County), unless you live near the center of town, DSL is nonexistant. As for cable modems, Comcast has been saying they will be ready "Real Soon Now" for the past 3 years.

As for the DSL, I claim that its mainly cheapness on the part of Verizon as for the reason we cannot get it. Verizon is a Fortune 10 company, and as a result, we could have DSL tomorrow if they were willing to set it up here. What surprises me is that this is a fairly rich part of Penna., meaning that any DSL upgrade for the phone company here would result in an immediate ROI. But oh well

As for the cable modems though, that is a different story, prior to Comcast's buying out of the previous mom and pop cable company, there was no hope of getting cable modems here (the original company was saying 2006). It seems though, based on more and more of my friends in the county who are getting cable modems, that their availability is slowly spreading. As for me, I am near the bottom of the list for it. Not much to complain about, just sitting here waiting for Comcast to get going and deliver it... real soon now... hehehe

Re:It's Held Up? (2, Informative)

JThaddeus (531998) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805609)

Yes, the is a hold up! I live about 40 miles WSW of Washington, DC in a largely rural county and growing bedroom community. Except for a small radius within the local town, there is no option for DSL or cable modem nor will the local phone or cable companies tells us when they will provide these services. My only option is to pay for ISDN--a setup charge of about $500 and a monthly fee of $240/month for unlimited use.

Even in Fairfax County, the nation's richest, broadband is not univerally available. A friend of mine lives within walking distance to the Metro and still can't get DSL or cable modem.

Yeah, for $200,000 (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805650)

Nearly ever connected person to whom I speak has broadband /available/, if not at the price they want.

Yeah, for $200,000 for moving to a different town or part of town [pineight.com] , or $1000+ per month for a T1. Hardly reasonable for all but the richest folk.

Re:It's Held Up? (4, Interesting)

peteshaw (99766) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805657)

I live less than 15 miles from AOL's Dulles VA headquarters. I am 1 mile from the telephone switch in the middle of town. I live in Northern Virginia, a hotbed of high-tech. I live less than 15 miles from Verisign, and 35 miles from Washington DC. I can't get a DSL line because in my new housing development Verizon saved a few bucks by "bundling" the phone lines on fiber. The cable provider has been promising high speed cable for three years with nothing yet. Because of the bundler I can get a limit 28K max connection, and the people on the phone company have told me repeatedly that 28K is all the bandwidth they are legally obligated to provide.

So, even though you and a friend have broadband, its not quite proof positive that universal access is here. Why do you think 802.11 NAN's are popping up all ovcer the place?

there's no holdup of broadband where I live (1, Interesting)

mrroot (543673) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805540)

Here in Cincinnati we've had several options for a couple years now:

1. Zoom Town (ADSL from Cincinnati Bell)

2. Road Runner from Time Warner

3. Whatever this new Delta-V thing is (can you really call that broadband?)

Thanks for the valuable insight, asshole. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2805622)

You're like some moron in Hawaii, who, upon hearing that the total U.S. rainfall was down for the year, announces to everyone that it rained a lot where you live. You're a friggin' genius.

Re:there's no holdup of broadband where I live (0, Redundant)

Laterite (522328) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805694)

Just because you have broadband options doesn't mean that everyone else in the country does.

-Mark

Re:there's no holdup of broadband where I live (1, Troll)

mrroot (543673) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805730)

You see, the argument that the content providers are preventing the rollout of broadband does not carry any weight. If it did, then why do we have Cities within the US who have an abundance of broadband options?

I speculate that the real holdup is that the infrastructure has to be laid out and that takes a big chunk of money UP FRONT. We were lucky in Cincinnati, that Time Warner and Cincinnati Bell chose to take that plunge and lay the infrastructure.

When you think about it, it is a very risky undertaking to provide broadband. You have to pony up alot of money without any guarantee that people will actually sign up for what some non-geek types refer to as a luxury item.

Re:there's no holdup of broadband where I live (1)

Livn4Golf (83604) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805739)

But when this happens in a city like Cincinnati it is somewhat significant.

This is a city where it took City Council 12 years to decide what to build to replace a parking lot in the city's center. I guess they could not decide between two department store chains to use the site.

Shouldn't the question be.... (4, Insightful)

bamberg29 (240460) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805541)

"What's holding up broadband in the world?"

Mostly last mile issues. Here in Germany DSL is available in larger cities, but little towns like mine will never get a taste for broadband since DSL is pretty much the only option for now.

Reasons for broadband slowdown (5, Interesting)

satsuke (263225) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805545)

Lets see ..

1. The Drought of VC money of late.
2. ILEC's / MSO cable operators not opening access lines easily
3. Cost - for smaller operators, the mantra of "stick new headends on either end of the fiber" is true, except those digipeaters are $$$$.
4. Incremental need, People are not making quantum shifts in usage, it grows over time .. that is unless some person finds usenet / IRC for software / MP3s / video / anime / P2P usage.
5. Virus threats are contained quickly anymore by most people, so the network crawling to a halt because of traffic is a temporal thing.

Here in Kansas city we actually have a company called everest-kc.com that has done a full overbuild of some of the cable infrastructure in the area. phone, Long distance, cable modem & television on a competing / seperate wire. Imagine that. .

Re:Reasons for broadband slowdown (5, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805670)

> 4 Incremental need, People are not making quantum shifts in usage, it grows over time .. that is unless some person finds usenet / IRC for software / MP3s / video / anime / P2P usage.

(Umm, you forgot pr0n ;-) And that is why there's a lack of demand.

While copyright infringement may be the "killer app" for broadband, it's not the content industry that's killing broadband. It's the fact that the ISPs can't profit from these users.

From the ISP's point of view, transiting hundreds gigabytes of data per month per user costs money. Your $50/month broadband connection doesn't cover the ISP's transit costs if you keep the pipe saturated. Until the ISP can find a way to make you pay for the transit cost of the data, the ISP will not want you to keep your pipe full.

(Side note: I believe this to be a defence of USENET -- it may well be cheaper for an ISP to transit in 300GB per day once, and then all your multimedia downloaders can l33ch from your NNTP server, which is on your local network, than to l33ch from P2P users that may not be on your local network.)

The original business plan ("Gee, our market research shows we have users interested in online music and video!") was for the ISP to sell you streaming audio/video subscription services. As we all know, the content offered was, and is, laughably inadequate, copy-controlled, and more than often, both. (No, Mr. Eisner, I don't want a copy-crippled .WMV or .RM stream of whatever ABC deems "must-see TV" this season. I just want my fscking DiVXs of Futurama and Babylon 5!)

Since there's no money in giving customers what they want, that leaves the not-for-pay "killer apps", for which the ISP receive no revenue.

None of this changes the fact that Messrs. Rosen and Valenti would love to kill broadband outright. I merely dispute that they're the ones at fault in this particular instance.

It blow my mind... (4, Interesting)

RareHeintz (244414) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805550)

It's just amazing to me that content control freaks can actually impede the progress of broadband network access in the U.S., yet people still oppose vigorous anti-trust enforcement (e.g., keeping the same people who collude to control content from colluding to control the pipes) and campaign finance reform (i.e., the outright purchase from legsliators of a desired regulatory environment).

BTW: I know the blurb above says that regulatory issues aren't the problem, but I don't buy it - not while content-control interests can buy something like the DMCA.

And of course, I can't get to the article at the post - likely because they can't get enough cheap, high-bandwidth connections. Who says irony is dead?

OK,
- B

lessig is evenhanded (1)

pulaski (80692) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805556)

Lessig is a very politic writer to give
Michael Powell the benefit of the
doubt by congratulating him for even thinking
about a "reexamination" of
copyright laws. It is in the hands of the
legislature. They should begin
by repealing Sony Bono's Copyright Extension
Act of 1998 then they should
move on to the DMCA but as lessig points out,
they have to somehow give a
nod to the old. Perhaps some new fangled sort
of license is called for.

At any rate the main point about government's
failure to participate in
the broadband arena is the exactly where the
finger should point. And it
should point there because they've been
accepting bribes from the
dinosaurs Lessig describes.

How about economics? (2)

s20451 (410424) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805558)

It doesn't help that AT&T gambled and lost hugely by jumping into cable broadband with both feet. As a result of that experience, most providers are probably wary of getting into the game, and most consumers probably think that broadband internet is slow and unreliable.

Re:How about economics? (3, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805655)

Yes, but did they loose because the market wasn't there, or because they placed unnecicary and unacceptable restrictions on their service. We will never know.

3 Year Waiting List (2, Interesting)

piecewise (169377) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805563)

I've been on waiting lists for DSL or cable service for about years now. First @HOME, then Earthlink, and now also Comcast Cable. I live in a relatively higher-income area and every neighbor I've spoken with says that he or she would be interested in this service too.

But it's useless. Despite repeated phone calls, Comcast and Earthlink still say service in my area is "a year or two out". This is pathetic, truly.

They say it's "too expensive" to branch out into new areas -- but surely it's less expensive then not reaching new customers! I wish there were a solution. Europe's way ahead in wireless technology, too.

I'm buying one of those new iMacs. They're amazing. But you know what? I'll still only have a 56k modem to use with it. Something's not right with that.

Re:3 Year Waiting List (2)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805642)

If you live in a wealthy enough neighborhood you could probably get everybody together and build your own mini-ISP. Somebody here I am sure has the link to how to do it. Something about ordering twisted pair from the phone company from a place that has high-speed to your house and then doling it out to you neighbors either wired or wireless.

Thank you deregulation (5, Insightful)

electroniceric (468976) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805564)

Can't help but think that part of this is due to the LACK of regulation rather than regulatory delays. Thanks to careless deregulation (read Reaganomics), the telcos have merged with the content providers, and as a consequence the new behemoths are hedging, looking to provide a utility service at luxury-good prices.

Long live the glorious revolution! (1)

s20451 (410424) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805586)

Do you actually think government-administered internet would be any more efficient? Or any more permissive as far as content protection goes?

Re:Long live the glorious revolution! (2)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805603)

Yes. Or do you think that the Internet was built by McDonald's?

Re:Thank you deregulation (2)

mtrupe (156137) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805587)

Careless deregulation? Don't you think deregulation is why we have low priced long distance, cable, and now broadband?

Re:Thank you deregulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2805691)

Deregulation is why we have crappy cell phone service many years after it first was developed. My father worked for AT&T and told me that cell technology was around back before the breakup. That's back in the days when Bell Labs were some of the top innovators.

Yes, telco market is a disaster (2, Insightful)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805606)

Through a strange series of events we have ended up with unregulated monopolies. SBC controls almost every aspect of telecommunications in California, for example, but there is almost no oversight or regulation of their activities.

Consumers have been the victims of this unfortunate series of events. I don't know when things will change - we are looking at three companies - Verizon, Qwest, SBC, carving up most of the markets in the country in the next few years, and it seems they will be content to simply milk money from the services they currently offer instead of innovating.

Re:Yes, telco market is a disaster (2)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805640)

Through a strange series of events we have ended up with unregulated monopolies.

For many observers, there's nothing strange about that at all. Many types of service favor a winner-take-all scenario in the market, and naturally tend towards monopoly. Operating systems are a good example: if you control 60 percent of the market, it is far easier to get the next 30 percent than it was to get the first thirty percent, because of network effects (networkability, standardization, etc.) Utilities, which usually have somewhere a bottleneck in distribution which can allow only one "gatekeeper," also fall into this category.

Re:Yes, telco market is a disaster (1)

electroniceric (468976) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805698)

Exactly, hence the need for regulation. The idea is - given that the market naturally falls into monopoly, do you prefer a regulated and sometimes less efficient (who can deny that companies have figured out inefficiency on their own) monopoly to an unregulated one?

Regulation can and often was carried too far. But the way Reagan, his brother Bush and his other brother Bush have deregulated throws out the baby with the bathwater. The dumbest thing to do when something isn't working right is to ignore what you've learned from your experience and charge full speed the other direction. Except if your interest is hooking your friends up with spoils.

There are still some hardware issues (5, Insightful)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805575)

Many telcos are still holding back updating signal repeaters until some of the fiber equipment becomes more advanced, and much cheaper. There is very little motivation for telcos to make investments in expensive first generation equipment- since they have tacit monpolies in their districts, they can simply wait for cheaper hardware to make its way on to the market.

That said, some telcos are making the investment, particularly in new neighborhoods.

Uhm..right (3, Insightful)

Enry (630) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805577)

Looks like it's already /.'ed, so I'll punt.

If what is described is the case, then why is AOLTW selling broadband? Why isn't TW's Road Runner shutting down instead of expanding?

The problem is that phone lines have never really been built to handle DSL and the phone companies don't want to spend a lot of money to upgrade (see Robert X. Cringley's comments). The cable companies have only so many houses hooked up, and satellite has too much lag and often requires a phone line anyway.

Re:Phone Lines Not Capable (1)

puppetman (131489) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805651)

Pretty sure our phone lines here are not that much better, and DSL is about a 2 hour operation to get installed (home installation and installation at the switch).

Broadband is exploding like crazy in Canada. I've had my DSL for almost 4 years now, and it's not the PPoE, and the cost is very cheap ($45 CDN, $25 US) and gives 1.5 megabits per second down, and 640 kilobits up.

Sounds more like a cop-out to say, "Phone lines are not up to it..." and that doesn't explain the death of @Home

Re:Phone Lines Not Capable (2)

Enry (630) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805716)

Sounds more like a cop-out to say, "Phone lines are not up to it..." and that doesn't explain the death of @Home

Not really. If you're more than 3 mi from the CO (or other box with DSL equipment in it) you're stuck. I'm 10 mi outside Boston, but 3.5 mi from the CO. Thus, the only option for me is cable modem, which is going through the whole @Home problems. Given that this area already has cable service, will the phone company upgrade their local service to offer DSL and offer competition? Doubt it.

Speaking of @Home, companies fail. It happens. The idea was pretty stupid to begin with.

Broadband Providers are holding up Broadband. (5, Insightful)

reaper20 (23396) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805579)

The demand is there, but I think there are people who would rather go through a root canal than put it with all the BS associated with getting DSL or cable installed.

DSL, with its ridiculously long install wait time, crappy PPPoE platform (In other words, shell out another $100 for a router that will do it for you so all your machines can have a 'normal' connection), and a general lack of value (+$15 for a static IP? Get real Ameritech)

On the other hand you have cable, which @home and all their partners managed to bumble enough to make people stay away from cable for a LONG time.

The content is THERE, these pundits are screaming that there is no killer app for broadband, as if having it will make things easier for users.

Re:Broadband Providers are holding up Broadband. (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805631)

I have to ask, is the whole PPPoE really that common in the US? because I don't know of any ISPs in here in Sweden who use it (Chello probably would probably use it if it helped them limit your bandwidth usage)

/Mikael

Re:Broadband Providers are holding up Broadband. (2)

rosewood (99925) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805750)

I know SWBELL which services central USA is only PPPoE ... and its ASS

Re:Broadband Providers are holding up Broadband. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2805708)

Try speakeasy for DSL. They have some great packages with static IP's. I've been hosting on them for 2 years now.

Only $15? Verizon wants $80 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2805741)

Verizon wants $80 or $85 for a static IP, per month. Wish I had another choice, but it's either Verizon, my previous ISP (Davesworld.net, now RMI.net, who continued to bill me for 9 months after I cancelled, and read my email, and all sorts of nonsense), or an ISP that's being sued by a local school district.

Datapoint: I have DSL in Allen, TX (4, Interesting)

renehollan (138013) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805589)

...and it is expensive and hard to get.

I pay around $80 a month for 768 kb/s downstream, 384 kb/s upstream to Internet America [airmail.net] . $15 of that is for a dedicated pair they lease from SW Bell because, at 15.6 kft from the CO, ADSL is not guaranteed to work piggybacked on a POTS line.

But even at $65 a month, that's way too expensive for most people.

Now, it is true, that I can get SW Bell's offering for around $50/month, but it is PPPoE hell with lousy TOS (in my opinion) -- my neighbor suffers with this.

Airmail.net (Internet America) has no problem with me running an "smtp" server to sink my email (of course, they appreciate that I do not relay) or any other server as long as I do not have "excessive" upstream bandwidth. Other ISPs freak at the mere suggestion of doing something like that. On the PPPoE issue, "we looked at that and held our noses" was their unoffocial comment. SOLD!

In short, I am a satisfied customer.

Broadband is a necessary service (2, Insightful)

Steev (5372) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805594)

I predict that in the not-too-distant future, broadband Internet access will be considered a utility like power and water, and will be treated by most governments as such. Hell, I *already* find it indispensible; there's no way I could go back to using a dial-up connection now. There's nothing better than an always-on, FAST cable modem :)

Man, I'm glad I'm Canadian :)

Unlikely (1)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805632)

The government isn't regulating the existing telco monopolies, so why would they regulate their broadband activities?

Americans simply need to realize that the telcos have gotten away with murder and they are going to get screwed for a very very long time.

Re:Broadband is a necessary service (1)

Kamel Jockey (409856) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805643)

When I left Penn State, that was already the case. Having either cable modem or DSL access has become an implicit requirement to rent an apartment there. Many apartment complexes which could not provide either (including my own, which was "served" by yet another worthless mom and pop cable company), were experiencing major losses in tenants because of the lack of broadband.

As I look for a new place in the Philadelphia area now, I am starting to see the beginnings of the same thing, many ads for real estate now include cable modem or DSL availability as features. If this trend continues, it will mean that buildings without broadband internet access may incur lower property values as a result.

Re:Broadband is a necessary service (1, Insightful)

Jarrod Pol (545289) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805660)

You have got to be fucking kidding me. You can't get along without broadband internet? You are truly fucking spoiled.

oh well. mod me down if you must.

Rural Canada (1, Informative)

getafix (2806) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805598)

I agree that in the Canadian cities, they have a good number of high speed internet providers, and at amazingly cheap rates too (compared to what I was paying in Atlanta before I headed north for the winter).

Out here in rural Canada (North Gower/Kemptville, south of Ottawa), there are few options. There was a company called Look Communications, but they are no longer installing new sites - just making the most of their existing customer base. It kinda sucks.

But the scenery is great, and the air is clean!!

Re:Rural Canada (1)

kawlyn (154590) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805636)

I live in Merrrickville (near the above guy), it is a village of about 2000 people in the middle of nowhere. In about 3 or 4 months I'll be able to pick between Wireless, Cable, or DSL. And the DSL will be available through at lease 3 different providers.

Oh, you mean *preventing*? (5, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805602)

Straight up, when I saw "holding up", I read it as meaning "propping up".

When you look at the beatings that broadband providers are taking, it seems like the only thing keeping the whole broadband "revolution" going is the mindless optimism of marketing droids, based on the mythical "average user" spending all of their time (and disposable income) sucking down advert laden pay-per-stream postage stamp sized Britney Spears videos from the provider's portal. It's insane (gee, do I pay-per-view for a postage stamp, or do I pay-per-view to the same provider down the same cable, but have it go to the big widescreen TV on the other side of the splitter?) but it seems to be the only thing keeping the rollouts going.

This is an interesting piece, but it doesn't address the basic problem of broadband. Those of us who already have it know exactly why we want it: we want a fat and unmetered pipe to go find and create our own content with. But the pricing is aimed at bringing in Ms Average User. Frankly, I just don't think that's going to happen, not until the price is way down (in which case you've got to gouge that bit deeper on the pay-pers), and sooner or later broadband providers are going to give up this nonsense about selling content, and are going to have to start charging a sustainable amount for a sustainable service. And those of us who have got used to (fairly) affordable broadband are going to catch it right in the shorts. Oops.

Canada and the US (5, Interesting)

puppetman (131489) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805612)

I've been thinking about broadband (here in Canada - I'm Canadian). What most Americans don't know is that Canada's Confederation (in 1867) was based on the promise of a coast to coast railroad (that is, the Atlantic and Pacific coast).

In a country as large, unpopulated, and diverse (geographically, lingusitically, and culturally) that connection is very important. Recently, the Canadian government started rolling out a very fast fibre optic network that was put in the ground along the (surprise surprise) railroad.

Broadband is a tool to further our national identity.

In addition, thanks to near monopolies in telephone and cable, we have homogenous suppliers of DSL and Cable broadband. And, despite what most people think about monopolies, my DSL costs $25 US a month for 1.5 megabits, and my phone line costs $30 US a month for basic access and voice mail.

It almost seems that the extra competition in the US has ultimately led to the failure of broadband.

Broadband in Canada (1)

jordan_a (139457) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805613)

Here in the little town of Lakeville I can't get broadband. Not because of content holders, but because cable companies have 'protected' markets here. Therefore nobody is allowed to offer cable service on my road except for "Cross Country Cable Ltd" a little mom and pop cable company that hasn't heard of "the internet" yet.

What's Holding Up Broadband? (1)

joebp (528430) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805614)

Well, we seem to be stuck in the post-dot-com-crash mindset, where investing in technology is seen as throwing your money away.

Those dumb dot-com's have done a lot more damage than you might think, especially when it comes to financing new infrastructure (i.e. broadband).

One thing is certain, though. Once broadband reaches a certain penetration, the internet will become a lot more interesting, not to mention dangerous.

Just think of all them massively open boxen!

Copier is fixed... back to page lengthening... (-1)

CmderTaco (533794) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805616)

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Obvious answer! (1)

martyb (196687) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805620)

What's Holding Up Broadband in the U.S.?

In my neighborhood, the cable and DSL broadband connections are held up by utility poles. :-)

Re:Obvious answer! (1)

FleshWound (320838) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805724)

Oh, man...I wish I had me some mod points left so I could mod that one up...

Hillarious! =)

Canada eh? (5, Funny)

sinistermidget (73363) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805621)

I hate to boast, but a broadband over cable only costs $CDN 29.95 per month up here in Frezzeyerassoffland. Since our dollar continues its slide against the mighty greenback, that works out to about $US 19.25 per month.

When you combine that with the fact that I don't have to put up with strip searches [detnews.com] when I fly off to Moosejaw, it just proves the point that Canada is the best country in the world for high speed internet users that like to keep their clothes on in public places.

Can't get to the article but.. (1)

f00zbll (526151) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805626)

When I was moving, I made sure the place had broadband. Not everyone can do this of course. But if enough people ask/tell the realtor they will only consider areas with broadband, cities will push the carriers/provider to offer it, even if it means subsidizing the cost. As broadband and internet usage becomes more prevalent, houses/apartments without broadband will be less desireable and economics will force a change. Or atleast it has in the past.

The reason is (2)

alen (225700) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805634)

that most of the average users don't care. They are happy with their dial up AOL and don't see a reason to pay another $20 a month for broadband.

Actually, it's usually only another $8/month (4, Interesting)

Da VinMan (7669) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805709)

Because many, many people who use AOL also have a second phone line to support their AOL connection so the phone doesn't get tied up. At something like $15/month (YMMV) for the phone line too, you're actually talking about $23/month for AOL (correct?) + $15/month for the phone line = $38/month for just AOL. If broadband is $46 month for them, like it is for me, then that's just another $8/month.

Hell, that $8 will be more than made up for in the sheer number of other things I *don't* spend money on because I'm too busy online.

Usability comes before purchase... (0)

Jarrod Pol (545289) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805635)

...and understanding comes before usability.
Most people really wouldn't know what to do
with broadband access once they have it.

Don't get me wrong. I love my cable modem. I use it to MUD, to e-mail, to browse, and the do the whole Evercrack thing every so often.(Not too often these days.) I consider myself an average user. No, I don't go crazy on the warez sites, and no, I don't frequent anything where the average download is on the order of meg's. Beyond bringing down large sites by being a zombie in a DDOS attack, the best thing about having cable modem is the quick download of high-content web sites.(flash, plug-in's, etc.)

Oh well. mod me down if you must.

Competition, CapEx, Telecom Act of '96 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2805637)

Cable companies (MSO's) are offering telephony service more and more. This cuts into the core revenue of RBOC's. Technology exists [nlc.com] that permits telephone companies to go after MSO's core revenue of video services. The Telecom Act of '96 required RBOC's to open their network to competition, ie lease rack space and outside plant to CLEC's. This is how Covad et al can operate. But, MSO's are subject to no such rules. This makes RBOC's reluctant [dslprime.com] (quoted text below for the lazy) to spend the $ on equipment with the possibility that others may come in and demand space in their cabinets. This is the argument RBOC's are making, that they aren't on a level playing field with MSO's. This is why the FCC is reevaluating unbundling rules.


Qwest's Nacchio: VDSL is ready to make money
"VDSL is the killer for anybody with our kind of network"
Nacchio told analysts, "The technology works, and it is available at the right price." Anton Wahlman reports Qwest has prepared detailed plans to roll out VDSL in as many as 10 cities in a short time frame. He sees the cost as low as under $1,000 per subscriber depending on what is included in the calculation. They would soon pass 3M homes, a network similar in size to Cablevision. Installing 50,000 lines in Phoenix taught them how to do the job inexpensively (technician training is crucial), but Nacchio told us last year he had decided to wait until the next generation of equipment brought the costs down.

The presumed reason Qwest is now holding off is their dramatic drop in capex of $2B, accompanied by layoffs - not the time to announce new initiatives. Nacchio was more politic, instead announcing the only remaining problem was regulatory. Phoenix is treated by regulators as a "Title 6" (unregulated cable) and Nacchio wants a clear ruling that expanded VDSL would not be instead considered "Title 2" (telephony, subject to competitive and unbundling rules.) His clear implication, Wahlman reports, is that Qwest will go ahead if they get clearance. Motorola's Galvin believes him, and invested $20M more in Next Level. I think it's a good bet, although DSL Prime urges investors to be very careful buying NLC shares. Only a minority of shares remain in public hands, and it's always risky for minority holders.

Bullshit bullshit bullshit bullshit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2805639)

Lessig is a brilliant guy, and compulsory licensing is probably a good idea, but this is crap. I sell DSL for a big ISP for a living, and "content control" has precisely NOTHING to do with the volume of broadband sales, or lack thereof. Customers most often can't get the service due to long loop lengths, or poor loop quality, or ILEC misbehavior, or other reasons like that.

There is plenty of content out there if you have broadband. Some of it is pirated, sure, but the fact that Napster is dead doesn't mean that we're all stuck in WMA-land. Last time I checked Gnutella worked just fine.

And don't forget that "content" doesn't mean jack shit to broadband users who use the internet for email, telecommuting, shopping, IRC, even fucking slashdot for god's sake - always-on, fast connections are always more useful than not.

And don't forget the cost. It costs money to provide this service, even in massive volume - as shown by the recent failure of Excite@Home, which simply spent too much and couldn't control its costs.

So though the RIAA and MPAA suck, and content control is evil, and all that, it's NOT why broadband isn't more widely available. Sorry Lawrence.

Economics (2, Insightful)

NiftyNews (537829) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805645)

The reason broadband isn't more widely accepted is simply supply and demand. Remind yourself that we all read /. and therefore are tech savvy. Tech savvy people crave bandwidth and will purchase it when available.

Sadly, the average person usually has to know a tech savvy person and hear the beenfits firsthand before honestly considering getting cable or DSL service. Sure the commercials are flashy, but consumers quickly do the math ($40 + 5 modem rental = $45 x 12 = too much $) and skip over it. They are paying AOL and they like it, and most don't know that AOL will still work over the cable modem.

It's too bad, really. Demand would be there if it was $20 a month, but until they get more subscribers there is little incentive to roll out the backbones quickly.

It will be a slow crawl until that magic $20 price point is hit and things start snowballing. Don't believe me? Think back to these devices and their magic price points. When these things got cheap enough, Joe Average ponyed up the cash:

CDR drives - $200

DVD Players - $125

Damn those evil pirates... (3, Funny)

mttlg (174815) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805649)

It's because of those horrible people who give away things that most people wouldn't pay for in the first place that we can't have nice things. Those pirates who "share" the quality musical works of "artists" like N(insert random punctuation here)Sync, Britney Spears, and whatever celebrity or his brother/sister/child/neighbor/dentist/etc. feels the need to shout at the general public... Pirates who have the nerve to try to watch movies from other parts of the world, use alternate DVD player software, or copy still images or audio or video clips from a movie... Pirates who can't be bothered to buy a new copy of a movie or audio CD in the event that the original is lost or damaged, or every time the version of the movie or CD won't work right with a player... Now it's their fault we can't get decent broadband access. The solution is clear - we can't allow the pirates to get access to this "broadband." We must thoroughly regulate it to make sure that no improper files are transferred and no protected materials are recorded, or even remembered. Only then will we be safe from overdue market corrections, um, I mean evil, naughty pirates.

The Colts just fired Jim Morra... who cares (-1)

CmderTaco (533794) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805654)

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How do we...? (1)

BMonger (68213) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805664)

It's not a problem of getting it right now. It seems to be a problem of getting ahold of the people that provide it. I've called @home from 4 different phone lines and I just get a prerecorded message saying @home isn't available at that location. Well I have it so it is granted it's no technically "@home" anymore. But my provider MediaComm I can't seem to reach either. So how can I get ahold of somebody to hook up new service or change my current service? Anybody?

The FCC is holding up Broadband. (2)

msolnik (536110) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805667)

They have far to many and too strict regulations. If they would loosen up a bit we all could have broadband.

Stupid question time: Is broadband profitable? (2)

Christopher Thomas (11717) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805672)

If I understand correctly, broadband service is now a "commodity" - a product sold with faily low mark-up over cost.

Given that offering broadband services requires fairly substantial infrastructure upgrades (costing a pretty penny), why would any provider in their right minds jump into the market now?

I was part of a hole-in-the-wall company that was looking at getting into the ISP market shortly after it stabilized as a commodity (back in the days of 33.6 modems). Our conclusions were that we'd make very little money from offering Internet service, and that we'd only make money at all if the service we offered was lousy. And that was with our upstream connection mostly paid for by other means.

Could it be that there is no conspiracy?

[Disclaimer: I am not intimately familiar with the economics of offering broadband. If you have more detailed information, by all means post it.]

Pies are not square (-1)

CmderTaco (533794) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805675)

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Full Text From Article (0, Redundant)

joshjs (533522) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805678)

Who's Holding Back Broadband?

By Lawrence Lessig
Tuesday, January 8, 2002; Page A17

As the American economy struggles to get out of recession, an important part of the recovery will be the revival of the country's technology sector.

Not long ago, in a speech at a summit on Internet development, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell gave the nation a glimpse of his vision of what might kindle such a revival. At least part of that vision was refreshingly new.

The key is "broadband." Broadband is the next generation of Internet service, and it could fuel the next great wave of Internet innovation. Broadband access is fast, and always on. It could deliver music or video content as well as applications that have not yet been imagined. It could offer innovators and creators a whole new platform on which to build.

Surprisingly, however, consumers in the United States have been slow to adopt broadband. South Koreans are four times more likely to have broadband Internet access than Americans, Canadians twice as likely. After five years of push, the market has failed to pull Americans along.

Why? That's a hard question to answer fully. Both the Korean and Canadian governments have played a significant role in pushing broadband access; our government has been much more laissez-faire. If that is the reason for the difference in deployment, then the future here promises to be much like the past. Powell signaled in his speech that laissez faire was his policy too.

But the chairman did identify a kind of regulation that may well explain the slow adoption of broadband technologies by consumers in the United States: copyright. Consumers are slow to adopt broadband because, while there may be an infinite number of channels, there is still nothing on. "Broadband-intensive content," the chairman said, "is in the hands of major copyright holders." These copyright holders have been hesitant to free their content to the net. Their slowness, in turn, has slowed broadband technologies in general.

In part, the reason for this slowness has to do with fear of piracy. Under existing technologies, digital content is easily copied; given technologies such as Napster, it is also easily shared. So copyright holders rightly fear that until they can protect themselves against piracy, their profits will slip through the net.

But piracy is not the most important reason copyright holders have been slow to embrace the net. A bigger reason is the threat the Internet presents to their relatively comfortable ways of doing business. "Major copyright holders" have enjoyed the benefits of a relatively concentrated industry. The Internet threatens this comfortable existence. The low cost of digital production and distribution could mean much greater competition in the production of content.

Online music is the best example of this potential. Five years ago the market saw online music as the next great Internet application. A dozen companies competed to find new and innovative ways to deliver and produce music using the technologies of the Internet. Napster was the most famous of these companies, but it was not the only or even the most important example. A company called MP3.COM, for example, had not only developed new ways to deliver content but had also enabled new artists to develop and distribute their content outside the control of the existing labels.

These experiments in innovation are now over. They have been stopped by lawyers working for the recording industry. Every form of innovation that they disapproved of they sued. And every suit they brought, they won. Innovation outside the control of the "majors" has stopped.

Whether or not these courts were right as a matter of substantive copyright law, what is important is the consequence of this regulation: innovation and growth in broadband have been stifled as courts have given control over the future to the creators of the past. The only architecture for distribution that these creators will allow is one that preserves their power within a highly concentrated market.

The answer to this problem is the same one that Congress has given to similar changes in the past. When a new technology radically changes the opportunity for creation and distribution of content, Congress has legislated to ensure that old technologies don't veto the new.

For example, when the player piano made it possible for "recordings" of music to be made without payment to sheet music publishers, Congress changed the law to require that subsequent recordings compensate the original artist. Likewise, when cable TV started "stealing" over-the-air broadcasts, Congress passed a law to require that cable companies pay for the content they used.

But in both cases, the law Congress passed was importantly balanced. Copyright owners had a right to compensation, but innovators also had a right to get access to content. In both cases, Congress established what lawyers call a "compulsory license," to ensure that the right to compensation did not become the power to control innovation.

The same sort of change could unleash extraordinary innovation in the context of broadband service now, as Chairman Powell expressly suggested. "Stimulating content creation might involve a re-examination of the copyright laws," Powell argued. For as we've learned from the past, innovation is often the enemy of the old, and the old will do what they can to ensure that innovation doesn't innovate away their power.

This administration has been keen to warn of the harm that overregulation imposes on innovation and growth. It is a refreshing and promising development to see the chairman of the FCC include the regulation of copyright within that concern. Copyright laws should of course give artists and creators an adequate return for their creativity; but they should not become a tool for dinosaurs to protect themselves against evolution. Broadband will come when content can roam more freely. Congress should act now to ensure that it can.

The writer is a law professor at Stanford and author of "The Future of Ideas."

© 2002 The Washington Post Company

Re:Full Text From Article (-1)

CmderTaco (533794) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805717)

I hope you get modded down you stupid karma whore.

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2805748)

post has been /.ed

Piracy on the net... (0)

icejai (214906) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805681)

... will always exist.
The problem is, big companies should accept this internet as a new form of distribution.

Look at Napster, they had ~60 million users before they tanked. Now assume that even 70% of these users cancelled their memberships when introduced with a $10/month fee, there sill leaves 18 million people paying 10 bucks a month.
Meaning 180 million usd a month... meaning over 2 billion usd gross revenue per year.
All this just by making sure their hundreds of indexing servers were online.

Royalties? Sure! Just divide the 2 billion up based on the percentage of total downloads!
More people like/trade your music? Get a bigger cut of 2 billion/year.
Gnutella? BearShare? WinMX? Comp Sci teaches that indexing saves an order of magnitude on searching/traversing.

I don't think there's any other business model that can compete with the one that could have been if the RIAA had an open mind.

Movies can be distributed the same way.
If the 50+ year old managers would just even hint at an open mind and experiment with providing a service to download mpg movies from their servers at $7/download, I bet they'd be totally content with using the internet as a distribution medium.

History has shown that they had the same reluctance when VHS tapes were available to the average joe shmoe. And look what happens, we pay $5 just to rent a freak'n movie for 24 hours! And yet they aren't so concerned with VHS pirating when it takes an equal amount of time to copy and distribute as a 650MB mpeg/divx movie.

This piracy excuse comes from older people who are panicking, the same ones who panicked about VHS. They won't see the potential for distribution until they start initiating some pilot projects using the net as a distribution channel.

Contrary to popular opinion (5, Informative)

Sunken Kursk (518450) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805687)

Broadband is not available everywhere in the US. I've noticed many people post stating that they have several broadband options available to them. I don't doubt that's the case, as where I currently live I have both cable and DSL options available for me. Of course, I also live in a major metropolitan area.

However, let's take the case of my parents that live in a small town in the Shenandoah Valley. They've been asking about broadband options for their house for several years now. They own a Bed and Breakfast, and a dedicated high-speed Internet connection would definitely be a benefit for them. Every time they inquire at the local Cable provider, they're told that "We're still testing it in the big town up north." Whenever they go to any DSL provider, they're told "We haven't upgraded the hardware in the area for that. However, we can offer this 64k ISDN line at 3x the going DSL price, or a fractional T-1 at 10x the going DSL price."

I doubt it has much to do with hardware or anything like that. It has more to do with the following lines of thought...

  • "Country Bumpkins" don't care enough about that fangled Internet thing to demand Broadband.
  • Even if they do care enough about it, they're not educated enough to know that a 128k ISDN line is not the same as a DSL line. We can get away with charging the uneducated heathens more for installing the line, more for delivering the service, and more for any support that needs to be provided.
  • Even if they are smart enough not to fall for our ISDN trap, they're in the major minority and we can simply blow them off. What are they going to do, take their business elsewhere?

So long as the major broadband providers can get away with pushing around the local carriers, nothing's going to change. Even when the major broadband providers are responsible for delivering the product direct to the consumer, there's not much difference. Verizon has long waiting lists to get DSL in their service area's (Oh, and they don't allow smaller local carriers to gain access to their DSL lines. They pay the minor fines and screw the competition until it dies and Tauzin-Dingle passes/goes into effect.) Cox Communication is the monopoly Cable Internet provider for Fairfax County, VA. Their Road Runner service is notorious for outtages, high latency, dropped packets, etc. Do they care very much? Not really. So long as customers are willing to pay them $50/m for crappy service, they will continue to provide it and stuff their wallets with their massive profits.

The Slow Elvis (1)

analemma (548936) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805688)

Fear of adapting to new markets is no surprise.

Ever been to Europe? Tele-text with flight times on television, radio clocks keep time without being manually set, car radio's provide all sorts of info.

Ever been to Japan? You can get a a full automated bath in a token operated walk in booth. (well, maybe some things. . .)

But it's the vacant want of hi-tech gadgetry that slows Aericans from all sorts of neat stuff.

And really, with thousands of square miles of rolling plain, in Wyoming, let's say, who needs a clock to update itself?

slow rollout is the problem (1)

Ween (13381) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805689)

at least where i live its impossible to get dsl or cable unless you are right in town. until they bring the high speed services to people who arent within city limits, they will not capture most of the us population.

Can you imagine a Beowulf cluster of Numbers? (-1)

CmderTaco (533794) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805695)

this should help
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Flaw in argument (1)

Brian_Ellenberger (308720) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805696)

If content were really the issue, and Canada had this amazing free flow of broadband material, where is it? This is the internet. I can hit Canadian servers as easily as American ones. Why isn't there this free flow of movies, TV, and music coming from the Great White North?

The reason is, this article is a bunch of crap. There is a huge Non Sequitor between Canada and Korea having better odds of broadband and lack of content.

There are other little reasons, like the fact we have a larger population and a smaller population density.

Brian Ellenberger

FIRST EGG TROLL POST!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2805701)

I send you this post in order to have your advice.

Egg Troll we miss you and your charming antics.

It is too regulation (4, Insightful)

Zoop (59907) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805705)

If the local Bells didn't have a monopoly on the last mile of copper and cable companies didn't have monopolies on the last mile of, er, twisted copper, all of LL's concerns would be dealt with.

But the simple matter is that the Bells were allowed to drive out 3rd party DSL, Congress regulated internet service on cable INTO bigger monopolies (at least local cable companies had to compete with DSL).

Of all the reasons I've heard for people not going with "broadband" (and little since my inital experience on a cable modem has truly been "broadband"), I have never, not once, heard anything about content. In fact, I've wanted to do things for people with dialup access that I couldn't do because downloading that nifty new 13.4 MB program was just too long to tie up the phone line.

Lessig is an interesting writer, but he really pushes his arguments into places they just don't work.

Litiginous Society, That's Why! (2, Insightful)

Catiline (186878) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805710)

These experiments in innovation [refering to Napster and MP3.com] are now over. They have been stopped by lawyers working for the recording industry. Every form of innovation that they disapproved of they sued. And every suit they brought, they won. Innovation outside the control of the "majors" has stopped.

This is a subtle clue as to why broadband isn't being bought. Broadband is all about my having the resources to run my own web pages or FTP site or MP3 stream. If I can't do that without the fear of the RIAA (gotta pay royalties!), FBI (think Linux is warez) or whoever patented hyperlinks (whatever happened to "non-obvious"?)breaking down my bedroom door, then I sure don't have any reason to invest in that big a connection.

Come on, broadband isn't about how much I can suck down at once, it's about being able to produce my own content.

Misses the real problems (5, Insightful)

Jimmy_B (129296) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805712)

The site's not responding for me (Slashdotted? big site for that), so I'm going by the summary, which *completely* misses the mark with broadband's failures. Broadband in the U.S. is failing for two reasons: the infrastructure is owned by companies who are neither competent to nor motivated to provide broadband, and population densities are such that updating antiquated infrastructure is expensive.

Consider the telcos, who are responsible for providing DSL. They want DSL dead, because it cuts into their massive-profit sales of T1s. They're also big, lumbering bureaucracies, which deal badly with change. I won't recount my own DSL horror stories, but there are plenty to be had at DSL Reports [dslreports.com] . Technically DSL is functional and capable, but the businesses behind it, and the support bureaucracies, are not.

Cable has different problems. First, there's the cable companies; in my area, and in others, cable Internet is simply not an option because the local providers don't offer it. There's also the problem of bandwidth sharing. It's true that DSL bandwidth is also shared, but it's shared at a central point, which is easily upgraded; with cable, mis-estimation of demand or usage can leave people drastically short on bandwidth. (DSLReports again for horror stories).

Finally, consider the population layout in the US, as compared to elsewhere. If you have population-dense cities, surrounded by low-density farmland, you can provide access to most of the population simply by providing short-range access in the cities. In the US, most of the demand is in the suburbs, which involve much longer distances and are, therefore, much harder to provide for. (This is especially true in my home state of Massachusetts, where economics are such that the demand and the money is all in the suburbs).

Yeah, really. (1, Troll)

x136 (513282) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805715)

What's Holding Up Broadband in the U.S.?

I don't know...

[he says as downloading a Darwin ISO at ~250K/second]

Re:Yeah, really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2805733)

What a waste of a post. Do you think anybody cares what you are downloading and at what speed. I am at work and we are jacked straight into the backbone. I download around 5-10Mbs if the other side can handle it. I downloaded two slackware discs at one time - both at 5Mbs.

TOO MANY TOYS (4, Insightful)

clinko (232501) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805723)

I think Broadband hasn't caught on because it's the fact that the U.S. has too many toys right now to pay for. Something's got to be cut out.

1. Cable TV $40
2. Car Note $250
3. Car Insurance $100
4. Regular Phone $30
5. Cell Phone $45
6. Tivo $10
7. Cable Modem $40

That's $515 a month and it's missing the cost of 2 little of things:

1. FOOD

2. SHELTER

It's easy to say something like:

"Well, I could get AOL for 20 bucks less, I don't use the internet that much anyway." --Quote from my Mother.

Nothing is holding back broadband (1)

joshjs (533522) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805725)

Well, if broadband is widely available and not many people are using it, it stands to reason that people do not consider the service to be worth what is currently being charged for it (which is my contention), or that it is simply not a good service (and to say this would be both bogus and sad).

Nothing is holding back broadband; the value of broadband compared to its price is holding people back, from getting broadband. Several people have told me this.

Ah, but once you get it, there's no going back. :)

Lack of Choices (4, Interesting)

medcalf (68293) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805738)

Having been a cable modem customer, and now a DSL customer, I've had mixed experiences.

With cable, until the @Home debacle, I had 3 static IPs and ran my domain off the cable modem. I had decent performance, but the it was expensive, not as highly available as I would have liked, and I knew that I could lose access at any time for running a server.

Now I have DSL, albeit the consumer service. Soon, it will be set up with static IPs and my domain will be back up (grumble). It will be even more expensive, for probably less performance, but is supposed to be more reliable (certainly has been so far), and I won't have to worry about running the domain (plus I'll get another pair of static IPs).

Both cable and DSL share a common downfall, and it is the reason that most dial up customers I've talked to are slow to switch: no choice of ISPs. With a phone line, I can sign up for any ISP, and can leave for another if I don't like the service I'm getting. With DSL or cable modem, I get one ISP, and cannot switch providers and keep my connection otherwise. There is therefore no price or service incentive for the vendor to improve.

For me, I'd select no ISP. My wife would use AOL. My father-in-law would use his current local provider, and my Dad would be happy just to get broadband at all. The imposition of service has nothing to do with the architecture, and everything to do with decisions made by the broadband access providers. However, as a consumer, I am forced to pay for services I do not want and will never use.

Certainly, content should not be a problem: every web designer out there seems to assume that you are plugged into the server room judging by the amount of bloated Flash and Java pages out there.

-jeff

Maybe it's just price... (2, Insightful)

icejai (214906) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805742)

Reading some posts from people in the states made me think of how cheap broadband in Canada is.

Here in Toronto, cable (300KB/s max downstream, ~45KB/s max upstream) is only $40.00cdn a month.
That comes out to $25usd a month (assuming 1.6 exchange rate).

Maybe us canadian's are more likely to switch because it's so cheap. As for americans, is there a reason why you guys are paying 2-3 times what we pay?

Thank you Canada! (2, Informative)

ADRA (37398) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805743)

I would just like to say I am very happy with the broadband services provided in Canada. I am in Vancouver, where I can get Cable or (A)DSL. Both services have become very stable over the last year, and their availabilities are almost limitless. A very affordable $40CDN a month is pretty cheap for 400kps cable service that I get now.

The Cable companies Shaw and Rogers support internet basically everywhere you can get regular cable tv. It is fast, and they have scaled reasonaby to meet customer demand. I used to find rogers (when they were in vancouver) a little flaky, but that has all gone away now..

I think adoption of canadian broadband has been sucessful because:

a: Cheap
b: Reasonable to Excellent Quality
c: Availability

Keep up the good work guys!

Call me crazy, but... (1)

irregular_hero (444800) | more than 12 years ago | (#2805744)

I think the real reason broadband is being held up are called, uhm... "bankrupcy proceedings?"

:)
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