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Bogus Experts Fight Your Right To Broadband

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the just-gimme-a-pipe dept.

378

An anonymous reader writes, "Karl Bode of Broadband Reports takes aim at supposed telecom experts and think tankers who profess to love the 'free market,' but want to ban the country's un-wired towns and cities from offering broadband to their residents. If you didn't know, incumbent providers frequently determine towns and cities unprofitable to serve (fine), but then turn around and lobby for laws that make it illegal to serve themselves (not so fine). They then pay experts to profess their love for a free market and deregulation — unless that regulation helps their bottom line. A simple point: 'Strange how such rabid fans of a free-market wouldn't be interested in allowing market darwinism to play out.'"

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Not really anything new (2, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667975)

If you are really a fan of a free market, you'd understand the reality that regulation means that it isn't free. Restrictions mean it isn't free. Taxation means it isn't free. Licensing means it isn't free.

What we really see here are Statists who use the words "free market" are just pro-State pundits who, as the anonymous reader wrote, are paid to profess support for their employers while sounding pro-freedom.

This is no different than war supporters who think that soldiers and previous war protect freedoms (they don't). It is no different than neoliberal Senators who think that minimum wage laws protect the freedoms of workers (they don't). It is no different than the Federal Reserve Board of Governors who believe that more liquidity means more freedom for the consumer (sorry, wrong).

There are two ways to conduct business: competitively, or with the help of the State. Regulations, licensing, taxations, embargoes, tariffs, duties and other "pro-market" structures are "legal" uses of force by the State for one thing and one thing only: to take care of the businesses friendly with the State.

I love the free market because I love watching markets change to meet the needs of the consumers (demand) as well as the manufacturers (supply). I love seeing both sides of a barter or exchange profit from that exchange, rather than one side gaining and one side losing. The free market is not zero sum: it is mutual gain. This is capitalism. The State-licensed mercantilistic market is not zero sum -- one party loses, one party gains. This is socialism or Western State mercantilism.

Re:Not really anything new (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668075)

There are two ways to conduct business: competitively, or with the help of the State.

Well that smacks of black and white thinking, doesn't it? You mean there's no middle ground between those two?

Re:Not really anything new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668181)

Off topic, but is it me or has slashdot officially died? I look over the comments and long gone are the days of 1000+ comments on stories, we're down too 100 now. Everyone is over at reddit & digg, both community driven. Come on guys stop jerking off - wheres slashdot labs et al? The original open source site should open up or just as bad as the rest.
Nuff said - my 0.02, AC

for real (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668441)

lets go to kuro5hin, screw these guys.

Re:Not really anything new (1)

YowzaTheYuzzum (774454) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668577)

Off topic, but is it me or has slashdot officially died? I look over the comments and long gone are the days of 1000+ comments on stories, we're down too 100 now. Everyone is over at reddit & digg, both community driven. Come on guys stop jerking off - wheres slashdot labs et al? The original open source site should open up or just as bad as the rest. Nuff said - my 0.02, AC

Yesterday (October 31, 2006, AEST), there were 31 articles posted, with a total of 7211 comments (mean number of comments per article was 232.6).

The same day, last year (October 31, 2006, AEST), there were only 20 articles posted, but still a total of 6749 comments (mean was 337.5). To be fair though, there was an article about ID, which got over 1500 comments. So let's take a look at the median... For 2006 it was 170, and for 2005 it was 247. Hm, perhaps there has been a decrease after all.

Let's look a little further back... how about Oct 31, 2005? 30 articles, 10138 comments, mean of 337.9, median of 320.

Ok, looks like there has been a decrease. I'd actually be interested in seeing a better analysis (with a better sample than my five minute job).

2003, not 2005. (1)

YowzaTheYuzzum (774454) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668603)

Whoops.

Re:Not really anything new (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668667)

I look over the comments and long gone are the days of 1000+ comments on stories, we're down too 100 now.

No, it's not because the regulars have gone back to dial-up because they couldn't get municipal broadband. The difference is that you have set your preferences to show section stories (which generally get fewer comments) on the front page.

Re:Not really anything new (1)

Kijori (897770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668285)

There isn't, is there? If we rephrase it to what they mean minus the emotive language - free or State regulated - there is clearly no middle ground. If it's a bit State regulated, it's State regulated. If not, it's free.

Re:Not really anything new (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668437)

You treat the State as if it were completely external to human, social processes, when it really is such a process itself. You've completely essentialized the components of your model to something completely outside of reality.

Re:Not really anything new (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668625)

If it's just a dichotomy between zero and nonzero amounts of regulation, then one might ask what's wrong with sufficiently small amounts. If the economy isn't "free" unless it has absolutely zero state participation, then this is some definition of "free" that isn't very interesting.

It's useless to round all fuzzy values to 1 (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668781)

If it's a bit State regulated, it's State regulated. If not, it's free.

If false is the law of the jungle and true is totalitarianism, then whether a particular enterprise is regulated by the state is a fuzzy-valued membership function [wikipedia.org] , not a boolean-valued indicator function [wikipedia.org] . The prohibitions of murder and bank robbery are state regulations; therefore, all business is state regulated to some degree. Your way of defuzzifying [wikipedia.org] this, by rounding all fuzzy values greater than false to true, makes your logic useless.

Re:Not really anything new (1)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668969)

You mean there's no middle ground between those two?

Nope. "Competitively", in an economic sense, means that a business is all alone, by itself, sink or swim, fighting to make a profit or go bankrupt.

This changes if you have government "help." Depending on how extensive said help is, you can make a lot of screw-ups and still get billions in pension forgiveness, forced contract re-negotiations, bankruptcy protection, etc.

"Competitively" is a good thing - because state help shifts the burden of business' poor planning from this business to the taxpayer. There is also no "middle ground" - either you have help or you don't, you succeed by your own merits or have assistance or gimped opponents.

Regulations for freedom: an oxymoron. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668081)

You make a very good point. I think one example that geeks can easily relate to is the GPL versus the BSD license.

The GPL claims to promote freedom, but attempts to do so through the application of numerous restrictions. What it ends up doing is limiting the freedom of many people, namely those who wish to be free to not redistribute GPL'ed source code they might happen to modify.

The BSD license, on the other hand, makes no such unreasonable restrictions. The minor restrictions it does make are justifiable, and do not really hinder the freedom of anyone to modify and redistribute such source code as they see fit.

MOD PARENT UP.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668389)

Very very true...

Re:Not really anything new (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668211)

Regulations, licensing, taxations, embargoes, tariffs, duties and other "pro-market" structures are "legal" uses of force by the State for one thing and one thing only: to take care of the businesses friendly with the State.

Yeah. Because businesses like paying license fees, taxes, tariffs, and duties, and having their goods embargoed.

TIME OUT! Hi, Slashdot. I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that YOU, too, Slashdotters, can vote against the American two-party system in the upcoming election. If you believe in social Darwinism and unrestricted free-market economics, like our Libertarian friend here, feel free to seek out Libertarian candidates for local office on your ballots this coming Tuesday, November 7. If you have differing views, there are a variety of other, third-party options to choose from as well. However you choose to vote this Tuesday, November 7, just remember to register in time to participate in the democratic system, because that's the only thing that can make our government really work. We now return you to our regularly scheduled myopic GeekPolitik...

Re:Not really anything new (1)

Viper Daimao (911947) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668339)

Yeah. Because businesses like paying license fees, taxes, tariffs, and duties, and having their goods embargoed.
No, but established, big businesses can pay them better, and keep track of them with their legal staff better than smaller or future competition. These create a barrier to entry that protects establish business, limiting competition.

Re:Not really anything new (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668495)

Yeah. Because businesses like paying license fees, taxes, tariffs, and duties, and having their goods embargoed.

"Business" as such, is indeed hurt by these. But don't make the fallacy of composition -- specific businesses can certainly benefit from them through elimination or hindering of rivals. For example, Sarbanes-Oxley -- ostensibly to promote a fair environment -- actually imposes disproportionate costs on smaller businesses. ExxonMobil can easily adjust its finance department to comply. A newer firm going public is going to have a tougher time. I don't mean to reopen the SarbOx debate, just to point out that it's a regulation that *some* specific businesses can feel comfortable cheering on.

In fact, politics can basically be summed up as "Businesses trying to cloak self-serving regulations as being in the public interest, while the ones that 'just' focus on serving customers get screwed."

Re:Not really anything new (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668925)

Politics could be summed up that way, if you ignore the other 99% in order to sound pithy.

Re:Not really anything new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668229)

It seems to me that a restriction-free market has a natural gradient towards monopolies therefore removing the benefits of open competition. In order for there to be competition which benefits the customer there must be some form of regulation.

Re:Not really anything new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668561)

Actually, monopolies can only be created by the State -- through subsidies and other artificially high barriers to entry. In a free market, competition ALWAYS appears, even if the cost to enter the market is high. When there is a profit to be made, competitors show up. Most "natural" monopolies that people throw out to debate me (Standard Oil, etc) were never monopolies, they were just the most efficient in their business, but competitors constantly came along to nip at their ankles. And none of those "natural" monopolies lasted long -- consumers got the best price or best product, until someone else came along.

Re:Not really anything new (1)

monkeydo (173558) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668307)

I love the free market because I love watching markets change to meet the needs of the consumers (demand) as well as the manufacturers (supply). I love seeing both sides of a barter or exchange profit from that exchange, rather than one side gaining and one side losing. The free market is not zero sum: it is mutual gain. This is capitalism. The State-licensed mercantilistic market is not zero sum -- one party loses, one party gains. This is socialism or Western State mercantilism.

Socialism: 1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods (thanks Merriam Webster)

If the cities own the broadband infrastructure, and sell Internet services THAT is socialism. The government restricting itself from entering private markets is the opposite of socialism. Private enterprise simply can't compete with government. Government doesn't opperate by free market principles. Government doesn't care about supply or demand, it doesn't maximize efficiencies. It doesn't act rationally.

Realistic capitalists realize that some regulation is required in practical free markets.

Re:Not really anything new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668369)

Realistic capitalists realize that some regulation is required in practical free markets.

Funny, in the vast majority of the cases where the telcos are brawling in the lawmakers' offices, if they had wanted to compete, all they had to do was show up and win. If a government puts out a bid for some project and nobody bids on it, who are the non-bidders to cry foul when the government says "oh well, guess I'll do it myself"? Why is it any different if nobody bothers to wire a city where the residents certainly appeared to decide that a majority of them wanted it?

Re:Not really anything new (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668709)

" I love the free market because I love watching markets change to meet the needs of the consumers (demand) as well as the manufacturers (supply). I love seeing both sides of a barter or exchange profit from that exchange, rather than one side gaining and one side losing."

Where exactly are you watching this take place? Where are you watching it from? Seriously?

Re:Not really anything new (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668821)

Well let's just revoke all the corporate charters. And then when a company, let's say BP, is found liable for the worker's deaths in the Texas City refinery explosion, the managers right up the line are personally responsible for their negligence. In Texas, that means an eventual death with a needle in your arm with the press observing.

I don't know if that would work very well.

Free (5, Informative)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668951)

The thing about "free" markets, is that they don't really exist. Without state intervention, regulation and domination will simply come from within markets. Monopolies, cartels, exclusivity deals that lock out new players, etc. State interference is a small loss of market freedom that prevents vastly greater losses in market freedom. It's no different than personal freedom -- you could try living in a society where the government doesn't intervene at all, but it would take a matter of days for gangs, organized crime, warlords, and other forces to strip your freedom away from you completely. That's why governments are created -- so that the limitations on freedom can be managed and minimized. Doing away with government regulation completely results in vastly greater losses of freedom.

Frankly, I'm shocked that you would think that states should be forbidden to provide services THAT THE FREE MARKET DOESN'T PROVIDE. Small towns can't get high-speed, because no merchants want to provide it. It's not worth it. But if the people of that state feel that they want that service, and are willing to pay for it, what's wrong with them banding together to set that service up themselves? Should construction firms be able to pass laws preventing you and your neighbour from collaborating to build a tool shed that you can then share? A state is no different from you and neighbour working together -- it simply occurs at a larger scale.

Finally, state-run businesses don't necessarily interfere with the functioning of competitors. Frequently, governments will create an organization to supply some service that the free market doesn't provide, and then once it has been established, they split it up and sell it off to merchants who are willing to run these services now that they've been established and proven.

Socialism vs Capitalism isn't a one-or-the-other choice. There are productive balances that can be achieved between total government management of everything and slavery to an oligarchy of industrialists.

But seriously -- how do YOU think small towns should get services like broadband, water-purification plants, sewer systems, and whatnot?

Lastly -- "neoliberal Senators who think that minimum wage laws protect the freedoms of workers"?! You sir, are officially a retard. Neoliberalism is exactly the opposite of that. Neoliberalism is the philosophy that YOU are endorsing in your post -- that of total deregulation. Sorry man, but you're a neoliberal. I know, I know, anything associated with the word "liberal" is automatically evil because of that association with freedom, but deal with it.

Confusion & the 'Free Market' (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667987)

Congratulations, I have a masters in computer science & you've managed to confuse me. I don't even know what I want anymore. I guess I want government regulation that prevents situations like the one I'm in. Where I can only buy Cox cable and only Cox cable because my neighborhood made some ancient agreement when I didn't live here. Where's the competition? Nowhere. Free market my ass.

They then pay experts to profess their love for a free market and deregulation -- unless that regulation helps their bottom line.
Are you surprised? In my 24 years existing as a United States citizen, I have witnessed this time and time again: The rich get richer as the working class gets fscked.

It's easiest to make money when you have money.

Re:Confusion & the 'Free Market' (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668151)

"Congratulations, I have a masters in computer science & you've managed to confuse me."

Computer science majors are easy to confuse. Just ask them how to ask out a girl.

Re:Confusion & the 'Free Market' (3, Informative)

ocelotbob (173602) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668243)

Congratulations, you are a victim of state-mandated monopolies. Government regulation got you into this mess; the city signed a contract giving Cox exclusive rights to your town. It is illegal for another provider to string up lines and offer cable service. Don't like it, petition your city council, tell them to a) make such contracts illegal and allow any company that wants to provide cable service.

No, it is subject to market forces (1)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668851)

Where I can only buy Cox cable and only Cox cable because my neighborhood made some ancient agreement when I didn't live here. Where's the competition? Nowhere. Free market my ass.


This isn't quite true. You see, there were market forces at work when the franchise agreement between Cox Cable and your town or county was being negotiated. Whenever your area was making a move from broadcast programming into the cable world, there were probably a number of cable television players vying for the contract. For whatever reason--we would hope, as a result of offering the most competitive terms--Cox got the contract:

1. Sometimes these agreements are exclusive, sometimes not. Sometimes they are written to not necessarily be exclusive, but they might as well be because the existing cable company owns all of the infrastructure and is unwilling to lease its property to a potential competitor. Other times, it is your local phone company that is responsible for keeping competition out. You see, many phone companies actually lease the space on the top of their phone poles to cable companies that need to use them to string cable lines. You want to talk about a racket? The price is calculated per pole and usually to the cable company's detriment. The phone company has a sweet, parasitic thing going, and is often either unwilling or contractually unable to jeopardize it by leasing to others. Incidentally, if you've ever stood on the sidelines while one utility company totally screws another utility, it's about the funniest thing in the world.

2. Note that franchise agreements are subject to renewal, and if you really felt like Cox wasn't doing right by its customers, you could raise those issues when it was time for the agreement to be renewed. There is a simple appeals process in place that covers that exact situation. It's not common, but it's been known to happen. Then, as Cox's world comes crashing down, their franchise agreement no more and their property has been sold off at fire-sale prices, you will see plenty of cable providers come courting, promising you the world.

It is simple (4, Insightful)

Black Art (3335) | more than 7 years ago | (#16667993)

Goverment helping people or doing nice things for them is Socialism. Socialism is BAD.

Throwing them to the wolves, however is not Socialism, therefore it must be good.

Re:It is simple (1)

billsoxs (637329) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668029)

You need to smile more

like this ;-)

Re:It is simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668035)

Right, because as we all know, only the ruled benefit from socialism (i.e. more power over the people), never the rulers. None of the great icons of socialism are/were filty rich compared to their beloved citizens, none at all! They only help people and do nice things!

Re:It is simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668097)

Right, because as we all know, only the ruled benefit from socialism (i.e. more power over the people), never the rulers. None of the great icons of socialism are/were filty rich compared to their beloved citizens, none at all! They only help people and do nice things!

You are a fucking retard. The GP was not extolling the virtues of socialism, but complaining that retards (such as yourself, I am sure) tend to refer to anything that government does to benefit its people as "socialism".

Providing police officers without requiring the citizenry to hire its own private security forces... gee, sounds like socialism to you... retard.

Re:It is simple (1)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668197)

Sounds like you're talking about dictatorial 'communism'. Socialism is not that.

Re:It is simple (1)

newt0311 (973957) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668749)

no but it is still a faliure.

Re:It is simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668137)

good time is coming fellas.
  When you will be called a terrorist for passing ur opinion on slashdot
when you wont see any cash big brother will know every single penny and how it travels with plastic
then we will have Corporations and Govt i.e Sultans and their courts men.
crime will be gone coz it wont be noted as crime.
and then black and white will be gone. it will be poor and rich.
and its not just united states it all over.
and then I dont know what will happen.
Quote of the Day: Management runs the show

You're oversimplifying (5, Insightful)

misanthrope101 (253915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668685)

Government helping people in the US is socialism. In fact, any social spending or infrastructure spending in the US is socialism. Paying for grandma's health care is socialism.

Paying Haliburton and other US contractors to rebuild Iraq--that's not socialism. The discriminator is this--who makes the money? If money is being spread among a bunch of little people, then that's socialism. If money is poured into a few large corporations whose executives make tens or hundreds of millions, then that's the free market. If it's profitable for the rich, it's the free market, but if you're giving money to a single mother of 2, then that's socialism. If you're helping the working poor pay their medical bills, that's socialism, and probably creeping totalitarianism.

But we can brag on TV about building schools for Iraqis, and that's NOT socialism. But--you guess it--large American corporations have won contracts to rebuild those schools, along with those huge military bases over there. What is an what is not socialism has more to do with who gets to pocket the money than it does with any fidelity to Karl Marx. Care to look into how much federal money was spent rebuilding New Orleans, compared to how much is spent on rebuilding Iraq? If you spend money in New Orleans, then small local firms may get some of the contracts, and the money may be spent, and most importantly earned, locally. If you spend in Iraq, all of the money goes into the coffers of large companies with sweetheart deals, such as Haliburton.

Small mom-and-pop contractors don't have contacts in the Department of Defense and White House. But if you get big enough, you get to engage in nation-building as part of someone's "vision," like PNAC, and then that isn't socialism, even if you're building the very things that WOULD be socialism if you were building it for Americans back home.

Re:You're oversimplifying (1)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668799)

Wow. Great post. Too bad I'm out of mod points and also already posted.

In light of your post it's interesting to think not only about what government spending constitutes "socialism," but also about exactly how different big business today is from "socialism," not only in its work for the government abroad, but here at home as well.

Of course the best example is Wal-Mart. I've always found their logo, with plain block letters and a star in the middle, creepily Communist. And, sure enough, they have an effective monopoly on virtually all consumer goods across huge swaths of the (rural and exurban) U.S. They determine, through central planning, what goods and services many Americans can buy and what prices those buyers will pay. On the supply side, they exert almost total control over a considerable network of suppliers. The only difference between Wal-Mart and a Soviet store is that the Soviet store was run much less efficiently. For the consumers and suppliers alike, neither one has anything to do with a free market.

Good market regulation and tax policy does not have this effect of entrenching monopolies (or big, established businesses) but of leveling the playing field for competitors.

What? (1)

xwizbt (513040) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668021)

Look, I'm clearly being thick. Can anyone explain to me what this story is actually about, in really simple terms, because the story summary makes as much sense as dressing an avocado in knickers, and I'm really not used to that.

Re:What? (2, Informative)

Known Nutter (988758) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668107)

big company won't serve some small area, fights to keep anyone else from doing so, municipalities, private citizens, the Devil...

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668213)

Well, you see, it is like this. People are tired, no make that angry -- ANGRY -- about the loss of common decency. Take avocados running around naked. The only proper thing to do is to provide knickers and a bright red dress. And a warm coat in case it gets cold. And that is why socialized telecomm is wrong.

Re:What? (2, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668571)

Can anyone explain to me what this story is actually about, in really simple terms,


Large ISPs deploy broadband first (only?) in big cities, where there are lots of potential customers in a small area, producing lots of revenue for their investment. They haven't had a lot of interest - yet - in deploying in small towns and out in the spaces between towns.

Some towns have gotten tired of waiting for some company to decide to wire them for broadband, and have tried to set up their own, local, town-owned-and-operated (or town contracting with some company to operate but town-controlled), tax-subsidized, ISP to get it to happen sooner. This is on the model of other utilities (water, gas, electricity) which some cities operate.

Some of the cities doing this would be hugely profitable for the big ISPs that haven't gotten around to them yet. So they've gone to the state governments containing those cities and lobbied for (and sometimes gotten) state laws passed to block ALL cities, towns, villages, counties, townships, etc. from setting up their own ISPs. That includes the ones they want to wire and profit from, and the ones that they probably won't be interested in for years or decades.

Reason Foundation - a free-market think tank - came up with a report suggesting that municipal ISPs are a bad idea.

The big ISPs are using that to support their lobbying.

Broadband Reports did an editorial flaming the Reason Foundation report.

(I only skimmed the editorial and glanced at the report since I'm at work right now. The editorial seems to be ad-hominems attacking the expertese and independence of the people involved in creating the Reason Foundation report, rather than arguments on the issues. But I could be wrong.)

= = = =

Personal take: Free market theory suggests that if the big guys leave some market untapped that leaves opportunities for others. For instance: If the population is too spread out for DSL to be profitable or high-bandwidth, it might be a good spot for something else, like a WISP (WiMax or WiFI based), to provide lots of bandwidth with little infrastructure and reap a profit while providing service at decent rates. But a subsidized municipial ISP might provide enough service at low enough rates (suplemented by tax money collected whether you subscribe or not) to kill the opportunity for the WISP and leave the residents with only the municipial system (which would likely be lower quality) and satellite.

I'm seeing that in Nevada, where some of the smaller towns are being supplied by a WiMax operator. And they're about 20 miles from my place (with a mountain in the way) and aren't interested in hopping the hill to my valley any time soon. I'm left with a 28Kish dialup unless I want to subscribe to a satellite service.

So I feel for both sides of the argument. B-)

happened here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668877)

..but I lucked out, got the wimax. The local telco and the local cable guys won't run one stinking more foot of wire or coax that they don't have to, hence, no broadband for folks outside the city. None, zero. A local mom and pop saw an opportunity and threw up some wimax and I was on that like a duck on a june bug, works great! And even IF those fucked up old industries finally run better copper out here as far as I am concerned they can suck it, I'll stay loyal to the little guys who actually cared enough to do it first.

  When you look at what sort of obscene amounts of truckloads of cash the big cable and telephone guys are sitting on, and how little it takes to do wimax to get out to the customers they don't reach, I can *never* forgive them for just telling all the marginal customers to eat it, they can go to hell for all I care for them. I will NOT ever use them again, at least directly. My money will go to the people who care about their neighbors, not some giant faceless bogus corporation, as much as possible.

With that said, go look at what the equipment costs, it really isn't that much if you really want wimax. Maybe see if maybe you can do a rent to own deal with them to get a little repeater setup (solar powered maybe??) to supply you and your neighbors. The price you pay just to start satellite internet is STEEP, to get bogus service, see if you could use that money better, offer parity to the wimax guys, see what they say. Maybe if you could get just a few neighbors to all offer similar it might tip it in your favor.

All Government Regulation is to serve... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668027)

the incumbent businesses. No exception.

Whenever a business (lobbyist) says that their laws (proposal) is to protect the "public" - watch out!

Look at your own state. Why is that manicurists are regulated but not electricians in some states. I don't know about you, but I've never heard of someone dyong from a manicure - from faulty wiring - yes.

It may different in your state or country, but Governement regulation is GOOD (TM)!

If I'm in business, I would love it if the Government kept competition from entering the market!!!!

See AMA.....American Medical Association - the ultimate in barriers to entry!!!

Re:All Government Regulation is to serve... (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668145)

Yeah, 'cause we should just let anybody practice medicine. That won't come around to bite us in the ass at all.

Re:All Government Regulation is to serve... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668247)

Yeah, 'cause we should just let anybody practice medicine. That won't come around to bite us in the ass at all.

Actually, it probably wouldn't. Consider that there are already plenty of people who "practice medicine" illegally. Government regulation just lulls people into a false sense of security: "it can't possibly hurt me...the government would ban it if it could!"

Without (government) regulation, reputable doctors and health care providers would likely form their own associations which would certify that people were actually competent to practice medicine. And what's more, they might actually be run by medical experts rather than politicians and bureaucrats.

Re:All Government Regulation is to serve... (2, Insightful)

dal20402 (895630) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668699)

Without (government) regulation, reputable doctors and health care providers would likely form their own associations which would certify that people were actually competent to practice medicine. And what's more, they might actually be run by medical experts rather than politicians and bureaucrats.

I can't believe after the last 200 years of history that anyone has the gall to make this argument with a straight face.

We had unregulated medicine. Throughout the 19th century. And what did we get? A bunch of traveling quacks with patent syrup. And very little real healing for anybody.

Licensing in high-risk professions is good when the licensing bodies are visible to the public. When there are only a bunch of private trade associations competing with one another, consumer confusion is rampant, and plenty of fly-by-night operators are only too happy to make a quick buck. By contrast, the "bureaucrats" in charge of medical licensing today are medical experts. Politicians have nothing to say about the subject.

To take this as far as possible, are you willing to completely deregulate aviation, getting rid of the FAA and everything it implies... air traffic control, pilot licensing, stringent maintenance standards for aircraft, etc. and farming out those functions to private organizations that you have no way of holding accountable until after you suffer damages? I didn't think so.

The free market is not the only possible organizing principle of human society, folks, or a god to worship. It's a tool to maximize wealth in the short term, and nothing more. It does an excellent job of that, and gets us nice toys in the process. But it's simply not designed to tackle other, very real human necessities, which we expect as part of the social contract: ensuring people a minimum standard of health and safety, managing community goods sustainably, or even providing a fair structure for market participants and processes. As irritating as government can sometimes be, I really don't want to live in an unregulated society, and if you'd come off your ideological high horse and actually look at facts you wouldn't either.

Re:All Government Regulation is to serve... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668297)

Yes - we SHOULD let anyone who wishes to practice medicine. And if, as a result of their incompetence somebody dies, we SHOULD arrest and try them for "negligent homicide". And of course the victim's family should have the right to sue the pants off of the culprit.

A person should be allowed to do whatever he/she wishes, but must be held accountable for any resulting damage.

Re:All Government Regulation is to serve... (1)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668549)

A person should be allowed to do whatever he/she wishes, but must be held accountable for any resulting damage.

I'm nominally a Libertarian, and this extremity of thought still bothers me. Sometimes, after-the-fact consequences just don't cut it. Occasionally, regulations in a tiny collection of areas can save many lives, without the attendant loss of critical freedoms. I agree generally with the idea that we have drawn the standard of what ought to be regulated far too loosely, but there are still a few areas where regulation isn't exactly the devil's work. Does a person lose a critical freedom if they are prevented from owning or constructing nuclear/biological/chemical weapons? I'd say not. Criminalizing the taking of significant steps towards building such a device is a difficult line to walk, but you surely can't recoup any value of justice after-the-fact. I have very little problem deregulating medicine, but that thinking can't be applied to everything. Just most things. Reflexive ideology without reference to reality can be very destructive.

Re:All Government Regulation is to serve... (1)

Descalzo (898339) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668315)

Sometimes I figure anyone ought to be able to practice medicine. I'll keep taking my kids to the same, licensed guy though.

Maybe there ought to only be laws against lying about having a license or something. That's a tough issue for me. I haven't decided.

Re:All Government Regulation is to serve... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668769)

Sometimes I figure anyone ought to be able to practice medicine.

      I used to think it was easy too. Then I went to medical school.

Certification marks (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668905)

Maybe there ought to only be laws against lying about having a license [to practice a profession] or something.

Heck, existing certification mark [wikipedia.org] laws would work. A lot of people and computer repair shops would hire somebody with a CompTIA A+® certification over somebody without a recognized certification. Likewise, if the law prohibiting practicing medicine without a license were repealed, the AMA would warn the public to "look for the logo".

However, allowing everybody to practice medicine has some implications that you may not have thought about. Would you want somebody high on self-prescribed cocaine or methamphetamine to operate a 500 kg machine that could ram into your bicycle?

Just business (1)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668039)

Those communites may be unprofitable to service today, but if in five or 10 years the technology comes along to make it profitiable, then their lobbying will put them in a position to exploit it. As for the consumer in those communites today, tough. The customer first fad is over.

Re:Just business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668427)

I hope this is sarcastic, because this is far from "just business." Do you truly believe there should be legal barriers preventing anyone with a potentially profitable model from serving these communities? Or an unprofitable model, for that matter? If somebody wants to give it a go, why not?

The customer first fad is over. (1)

Freaky Spook (811861) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668453)

No its not, now its a marketing gimmick companies like AOL and major banks use to attract new customers.

Until you have signed up with them, they will do everything the can to make you feel like you are coming first, then as soon as they have you, they give you a number and tell you to wait in line.

Market darwinism... (3, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668077)

Obviously, no one has an intelligent design for creating new markets where none exist.

Re:Market darwinism... (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668203)

yes they do its just that He stopped doing the obvious thing (like nuking the ... about 2000 years ago).

It makes me wonder (1)

TVmisGuided (151197) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668111)

I suppose we'll never have to worry about seeing a Broadband Unification Board, will we?

What's With All The Political Stories?????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668127)

What's that, eight politics story on the front page of slashdot for today? Where is the news for nerds? I know Election Day is coming up, we don't need to editors to bash us over the heads with political stories to steer the election.

Slashdot has really jumped the shark when stories in the linux section gets outnumbered by politics.

Re:What's With All The Political Stories?????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668397)

Slashdot: Indoctrination for nerds, leftist hype that matters.

Keith Dawson is a bigger troll than Jon Katz ever was... at least Katz didn't use the enlightenment topic for political drivel. How about hiring an editor who actually read Slashdot before working here rather than a political hack?

You gotta fight (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668175)

for your right
to brooaaaadband.

Re:You gotta fight (1)

slughead (592713) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668581)

You gotta fight
for your right
to brooaaaadband.


Broadband is not a right, but partying is.

Bad idea (3, Interesting)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668189)

Nobody wants to hear it but I'll say it anyway: Municipally owned and operated ISPs are a bad idea. No matter how hot your technology is today, tomorrow's technology will be hotter and the municipality won't be able to react. Governments and government contractors never can. Their taxpayer-funded presence in the market will, however, serve as a very effective means of encouraging for-profit companies to go elsewhere.

I have direct experience with this in the dialup market in Altoona PA in the late '90s. If you weren't happy with the sponsored ISP, tough luck. The small ISPs pulled out when they couldn't compete with Joe Taxpayer. I worked for one of those ISPs.

You want municipal wireless? Fine, but understand that means you'll ONLY get whatever products and quality of service your town's government is capable of. Servers and static IPs? Ho ho, good luck. And you'll be the last town in the nation to get anything better.

Re:Bad idea (2, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668263)

You want municipal wireless? Fine, but understand that means you'll ONLY get whatever products and quality of service your town's government is capable of.

The current trend is for municipalities to take bids from private companies. It's the same way a lot of government services operate ... you don't think there's an office at city hall where a guy interviews ironworkers for jobs building bridges, do you? I have faith that at least some of the companies [com.com] that are interested in building out and servicing municipal wireless networks have the wherewithal to do a good job.

Re:Bad idea (2, Interesting)

monkeydo (173558) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668345)

Seems obvious to me. Free marketeers are opposed to monopolies just like everyone else. When governments enter the private sector they behave very similarly to monopolies, because they aren't playing with their own money. This leads to market failure. The article has no logic whatsoever, and the author makes no attempt to examine the logic of the reports that it criticizes.

Re:Bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668363)

The article has no logic whatsoever, and the author makes no attempt to examine the logic of the reports that it criticizes.

Welcome to Slashdot!

Re:Bad idea (1)

jdigriz (676802) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668367)

Ok, walk me through this. Tomorrow's technology will be hotter, municiplalities won't be able to react, community will be stuck with dated technology, and yet for-profit enterprises will ignore this obvious and juicy underserved market? Why's that exactly? I thought the whole advantage of free markets was that they could and would react quickly to consumer demand. Why would for-profit companies be afraid of competing with such a leaden, inefficient and obsolete existing provider?

Re:Bad idea (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668485)

You cannot compete with free stuff.

I mean, how many people have plastic surgery, eh? Even though you could get a better product (improved looks), it costs you money, it's risky, and it's a pain in the neck. So most people decide their 'free' physical appearance is just good enough.

Or say, you can chose to pay $300 for a retail copy of Win XP, or you could keep a pre-installed free OS (equivalent or better), which one would you chose? It becomes especially tough to sell you something when you get all the free stuff by default.

Another case in point is health insurance in certain European countries: all citizens get some basic insurance, or they can purchase a private plan. You will find 99.9% are quite happy with what they have even though they could get faster service, better equipment, and top-notch doctors from the private hospitals/insurers. (This is why American insurers have spent billions lobbying against a universtal govt. insurance: they would lose profits big-time).

Re:Bad idea (1)

matt21811 (830841) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668673)

Proven false by counter example.

Paid for stuff gets priority by consumers over free stuff all the time.
I could walk the 12 miles to work for free but, I, and nearly everyone else I know, buys a car and drives.
My country has a heavily subsidised public train system which is much cheaper to use instead of cars and yet most people still prefer to drive to work.

Your XP example is a classic. A great many people will happily pay for XP even if their new machine came preloaded with a free OS.

I'm a bit of a Libertarian myself but its imposible to ignore the huge benefits that government activities, including running businesses, can play in mproving an economy. Saying otherwise just shows you haven't thought about it enough.

Re:Bad idea (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668697)

You cannot compete with free stuff.

      I dunno. Google has never charged me a single penny, and yet they seem to be a multi-billion dollar company.

Re:Bad idea (1)

The Mad Debugger (952795) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668517)

Umm.. because (as in TFA), they didn't want into that small market before, because it wasn't profitable to go dig up the streets or put in WAPs or whatever. Now that market has something that they'll have to compete against (crappy, but some people won't change), making it potentially even less profitable. Therefore, as suggested above, stuck with dated hardware.

Re:Bad idea (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668701)

Dated hardware is better than none at all, which is what they'll have without municipal broadband if private companies don't offer service there.

Re:Bad idea (1)

Maclir (33773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668471)

Sorry, I have to call BS on your premise.

Now, why should a private company, whose main responsibility is to make profits for their shareholders, voluntarily upgrade their technology, particularly when they enjoy a monopoly in their service area? And you assume that a local government, whose main responsibility and accountability is to their citizens (who can vote them out every few years) would not be responsive to changes in technology?

Are you sure you aren't automatically assuming government = bad, private industry = good?

Re:Bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668477)

And you'll be the last town in the nation to get anything better.

And at the rate we're going we'll be the last nation in the world to get anything better. You make it sound like companies are some kind of nimble fighter striking at a dying sluggish behemoth, when now that ATTs rebuilding the death star, it's dropped most of its "lightspeed" rollout plans because of their copper wires dragging them down beneath the waves. I haven't heard a lot from Verizon on their FIOS service for the past couple of years now, how is their rollout going? We get the same old tired excuses about population density when we can't even come close to some eurpean countries' rollout rates and speeds in our biggest cities. We get runarounds about other countries getting better service because they started later, as if all the profits from the old copper lines had suddenly vanished, leaving nothing to invest into upgrades.

Re:Bad idea (2, Informative)

chill (34294) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668521)

No, you're wrong. You're making the assumption that a municipal wireless service will be a monopoly. As you state in your argument, their service will suck in pretty short order. That is when competitors step in and offer a "premium" service for a fee.

Free wifi is nice, but if it boils down to dial-up speeds because of sub-standard equipment and implementation, then there will be a market for premium services. I can even envision the advertising "Tired of not being able to use your VoIP phone and computer at the same time? Are you tired of always getting fragged in online gaming because you have the worst ping in your group? Then get off the city service and step up to !"

Re:Bad idea (1)

toddestan (632714) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668681)

And that is different from the large telecoms who have dragged their feet at upgrading their infastructure how exactly? Atleast if it's locally run, you'll have a better chance to do something about it when the time comes. If the telecom company doesn't care about your small town on 33.6kbps dial up right now, do you think they'll care in 2025 when you're still on 1.5mbps DSL?

Re:Bad idea (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668809)

I think the point is that sometimes, these are the last towns to get anything better anyway. Besides, is it really much worse to have a municipality running other ISPs out of town, denying users static IPs, than to have some other ISP doing the same thing?

Re:Bad idea (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668811)

I sense a great disturbance in the force, as if millions of /.er's bubbles burst...

This is hardly free market darwinism (1)

el_munkie (145510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668257)

Free market darwinism would be allowing private entities to compete for the dollars of customers on the basis of quality of service.

This is taxing everybody to create a service that will be useful to a small portion of the population. I like my Internet connection to have a low latency, and a citywide wireless network would definitely not provide the latency I need for gaming, so I would just be paying for a service that would be useless to me as well as the broadband access I'm already paying for.

Government competing with industry ? free market (2, Insightful)

Phat_Tony (661117) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668259)

Strange how such rabid fans of a free-market wouldn't be interested in allowing market darwinism to play out.

Government "competing" with industry is not a free market and there is no "market darwinism" to play out. Of the two competitors here, one can confiscate any amount of money they choose from everyone to pay for their service. It doesn't matter if anyone wants it, they need no voluntary "customers." They take whatever money they want and provide whatever service they want.

Pretending that a company can compete with government, where government forces everyone to pay for their service, is a terrible twist of the word "competition." It's like saying that Wendy's can "compete" with McDonalds if the government passes a new law that everyone has to pay to eat all their meals at McDonalds, and then can show up and get the food they already had to pay for for no additonal charge. In order to go to Wendy's, you have to also buy a McDonalds meal and throw it away. That's not "free market competition."

Note that I'm not saying anything in this post about whether or not municipalities should be allowed to offer internet access, or (and this is an entirely separate issue) whether or not they should do so. I'm just saying that calling government "competition" with free enterprise companies some sort of free market is absurd. It's not competition when one of the competitors gets to force everyone to "buy" their product, can charge whatever they want, can loose any amount of money without fear of going out of business, can provide any service and quality level with no effect on revenue, and can tax and regulate their competitors. Yes, there are some areas where a company manages to service the same sector government services in a different way, and I'm not saying it's impossible that some people would pay for another internet service even after paying for the government one, especially if the government one is run as badly as many government things are. But even if a lot of people end up paying for both the mandatory government service and a second, private service, it's still not free market competition.

Re:Government competing with industry ? free marke (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668335)

Government "competing" with industry is not a free market and there is no "market darwinism" to play out. Of the two competitors here, one can confiscate any amount of money they choose from everyone to pay for their service. It doesn't matter if anyone wants it, they need no voluntary "customers." They take whatever money they want and provide whatever service they want.

That's maybe true in a totalitarian state, but less so in real-world US of A.

Take the Post Office, for example. It's technically a government service, but for years it has been operated pretty much as a business, and a profitable one. And it's a business that competes with other, private businesses -- take, for example, UPS.

What's more, the USPS has for several years signed business agreements [postalproject.com] with FedEx, UPS's main competitor. If that's not the government messing around with the free market, I don't know what is.

Full disclosure: I think UPS is a great company. I own stock in UPS. And, quite frankly, that stock is doing just fine.

My point? While what you say is superficially true, as with most issues, the world doesn't really work as black-and-white as all that. Yes, there are opportunities for businesses to compete in areas that local municipalities operate in. Some private businesses even compete directly with branches of the federal government.

Is UPS happy about the USPS's relationships with FedEx? Oh hell no. They complained til they were blue in the face. But at the end of the day, they keep their business running, they seize their opportunities, and that's life.

Re:Government competing with industry ? free marke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668537)

Erm, you do realize that it is illegal for you to carry and deliver letters for money, right? It's called a monopoly, and the USPS has one.

Re:Government competing with industry ? free marke (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668911)

It is? Would you care to point out to me what law says that?

It was the telegraph that caused the Pony Express to go under, not a law.

Re:Government competing with industry ? free marke (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668481)


Pretending that a company can compete with government, where government forces everyone to pay for their service, is a terrible twist of the word "competition." It's like saying that Wendy's can "compete" with McDonalds if the government passes a new law that everyone has to pay to eat all their meals at McDonalds, and then can show up and get the food they already had to pay for for no additonal charge. In order to go to Wendy's, you have to also buy a McDonalds meal and throw it away. That's not "free market competition."


This issue is easily resolved.

As you know, the USPS (and similar entities) are sponsered by the government - however, the primary (and most visible fee) is the stamp on the envelope. While you may also have to pay taxes if you don't use the postal service, it is still based around use. Regardless of whether you pay for services you don't use, UPS and Fedex are still prosperous and highly recognized alternatives. These two companies survive against government competition because they specialized in large package shipments.

Municipal-sponsered Internet access can also be set-up in this fashion. The city may have an initial setup fee that appears in taxes - however the municipality has it's main charge for it's usage. Any telcos that want to compete (especially for profit) can attract customers from the municipality by giving service that the municipality can't (e.g. faster speeds, technical support, etc.)

If Canada has developed the concept of a Crown Corporation [about.com] , then so should the United States. While there isn't usually much competition to crown corporations (because they fill a specific need that for-profit enterprises don't go after), there is competition for at least some of those businesses (e.g. CTV competes with CBC.)

Re:Government competing with industry ? free marke (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668675)

It's like saying that Wendy's can "compete" with McDonalds if the government passes a new law that everyone has to pay to eat all their meals at McDonalds, and then can show up and get the food they already had to pay for for no additonal charge. In order to go to Wendy's, you have to also buy a McDonalds meal and throw it away. That's not "free market competition."
For another example where this is already happening, consider the public school system.

(In cash-strapped California, for instance, about HALF the state budget goes to the schools and universities. Then, if you want your kids to exit their K-12 education intact, literate, and with a chance to get into those tax-funded universities, you have to pay AGAIN to send them to a private school.)

Substitute 'free market' for 'shareholder equity' (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668267)

The assets deployed for the old tip-and-ring telephony were and are public trusts; protected monopolies for municipal utility use. Telcos have stolen these assets, their incumbent rights-of-way and easements for their own purposes-- shareholder return and equity. This massive theft goes untested and unnoticed.

The low-hanging fruit of public assets-- the big cities-- are easy pickings. High-density infrastructure pays first. Rural areas and marginal density suburban areas pay less and cost more. Gone is the idea that rural deployments can be subsidized because the telcos believe that their depreciation costs are too high to afford subsidizing low-density deployments. The results: the Congress, already in the back pockets of the telcos, has yanked from the states, the authority to regulate the telcos.

The net effect is that the telcos have the ability to hold consumers hostage in this 'free market', where the telcos have consolidated from nine to just four, depending how you count them. Ah, the free market, where 'free' means 'for shareholders'. Flamebait? Look in your heart.

DUH! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668275)

Cable Tv companies make deals with localities they come into to make competition "illegal" so they dont have to compete. Hell TCI cablevision, now called Comcast demanded that not only cableTV operators could not come into the town I lived in when they started up, but also asked that community TV in neighborhoods, be licensed and regulated to the point they all went away. (Community TV was a single large tower with antennas and a couple of C band dishes ot put Free to air content onto a small neighborhood cableTV plant that all the residents paid to maintain by the association fees.)

Oh no, CATV this type of tactic is old-skool. GTE was also known for such a tactic as well in the 60's and 70's.

Shocker From TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668295)

For the Bells, the motive is clear: money.
FOR THE BELLS, THE MOTIVE IS CLEAR: MONEY.

More news at 11.

Net neutrality (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668353)

This is similar to the ridiculous advertisements the cable/telecom industry has been putting on TV regarding net neutrality. They proudly proclaim that they are defending the consumer against evil money-grubbing corporations like Google or Cisco, offering no concrete argument as to why their assertions might be true (if you say it often and loudly enough, it must be true!). At the same time, they deny the truth: what they really want to do is eliminate consumer choice re: VoIP and VoD.

Universal truth... (2, Informative)

Lord Aurora (969557) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668383)

FTFA:
...the real agenda is simply maximizing revenue.

My history teacher told us that there are three keys to understanding American history:

1. Great Britain.

2. People are stupid.

3. Follow the money.

Great Britain doesn't apply here, of course, but the other two are universal...this article is news, but it isn't new. We should expect people to do things entirely for profit. And we should expect people to be blatantly two-faced. Plato or Aristotle or someone like that said that "Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being ruled by those who are stupider." Or something like that. Stupid people + money = corruption, but corruption != surprise.

Re:Universal truth... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668711)

"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics, is that you end up being governed by your inferiors."

Preach on! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668411)

I'm stuck on 128k Dialup ISDN just because the fsckin' telco (BellSouth) can't install a DSLAM in the right location. This connection is shared on *3* computers in a home LAN. Not only that, but 90% of the time the 2nd channel drops and I'm on 64kbit. 46ms first hop ping is nice though.

Your "right" to broadband? (1)

barfooz (936184) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668445)

I mean, I like broadband as much as the next guy, but who said one has a "right" to broadband?

Re:Your "right" to broadband? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668767)

The same people that brought you the right to free speech: the government. All rights are arbitrary, get used to it.

Re:Your "right" to broadband? (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668857)

I guess they missed that unalienable right in the declaration of independence.

Re:Your "right" to broadband? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668965)

but who said one has a "right" to broadband?

Voters in city council elections. If voters elect representatives knowing that said representatives want to fund the last-mile buildout of an entry-level ISP, then they have declared Internet access a "right".

"Right to Broadband" - ????? (1)

geekwithsoul (860466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668447)

Boy, James Madison, George Mason, and the rest of those guys were sure forward thinking individuals! And I never even knew this was a right!

Nothing but a big steaming pile... (1)

Pollux (102520) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668619)

...of bullshit.

The Reason Foundation is yet another free-market think tank that believes that eliminating government oversight in the broadband sector will result in broadband utopia.

In my neck of the woods, there is a small community called Lake George, MN. Lake George is a nice small lakeside tourist town, population ~150 and growing. It's got a few nice cafes, some tourist shops. They just got their first apartment complex, and there's a lot of tourist dollars that go there every summer. There's a lot of people that would love to live there year-round, but there's a problem. Their phone provider is CenturyTel, based out of Louisiana. CenturyTel has NO PLANS to build broadband infrastructure there in Lake George. From a business standpoint, I can understand. There's no reason to. It would cost to much to create that kind of infrastructure just so that maybe 50 households could sign up.

But everybody in the area knows about Paul Bunyan.net [paulbunyan.net] . They're a regional provider that delivers phone, internet, and cable all in one package for $80. Nobody can offer a better bundled package. Sure, we can sign up with Charter for cable internet and TV, and Qwest for phone access, but it's not the same price. Paul Bunyan Coop has been doing a fantastic job offering cable and broadband internet access to rural areas surrounding Bemidji, MN. (Here's [paulbunyan.net] a map showing their whole service area. Mind you, Laporte is a town with 150 people, and they offer service in the ENTIRE township.)

Now, why do I bring these two different companies into the picture? Because Paul Bunyan just got awarded a government contract to lay lines into Itasca State Park. Itasca State Park is located about 10 miles west of...guess where...LAKE GEORGE!!! They were laying the lines right down Main Street in the town just last week! And yet, legally, they cannot build infrastructure in Lake George. They have to run the line straight through. And why is that, when they're laying an access line right through the town? Oh, here's the kicker everybody...get this...since Lake George never was owned by Ma Bell (and many rural areas weren't...there's a specific legal name for this condition...can't remember it for the moment), since Lake George's phone lines were never built by Ma Bell, they aren't subject to deregulation laws like the larger communities are. So, CenturyTel has exclusive rights to offer telecommunications service to Lake George. And they're not selling.

Deregulation my ass. Companies will do whatever they want with whatever they have exclusive access to. Big Business isn't going to build jack squat in rural America. Three cheers for the regional Coop's that are willing to bring modern telecommunications access to the rest of the country.

stop complaining, and start building (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16668817)

get out the crimper, buy lots of CAT5e and start running wire door to door, use wireless, routers, servers, back up the power supply with solar and wind.

What's stopping us?

I haven't paid money for internet and I don't intend to give anyone money to do so. Once the infrastructure is in place there is no need for the Enron's of the world, we don't need them.

This is a democracy (1)

LOTHAR, of the Hill (14645) | more than 7 years ago | (#16668879)

Us citizen's should recieve whatever benefits we voted for the government to provide. I'm a strong supporter of a free market, but my democratic principals easily trumps my economic principals. If it won't work or isn't the most effective, so what. It's our right as voters to choose.

Economic principals are should be based economic thoery and be a matter of correct or incorrect.
Democratic principals is a moral matter of right and wrong and being able to choose the form of your government.
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