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The US Rural Broadband Crisis

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the last-ten-miles dept.

The Internet 586

Ian Lamont writes "Rural US residents don't have the same kind of access to broadband services as those who live in urban or suburban areas. According to the federal government, just 17% of rural U.S. households subscribe to broadband service. But the problem is more than a conflict between Wall Street and small-town residents wanting to surf the 'Net or play Warcraft — the lack of broadband access prevents many businesses from growing and diversifying rural economies, as it's expensive or impossible to get broadband. From the article: 'Soon after moving to Gilsum, N.H. (population 811), [Kim] Rossey learned that he couldn't get broadband to support his Web programming business, TooCoolWebs. DSL wasn't available, and the local cable service provider wasn't interested in extending the cabling for its broadband service the three-tenths of a mile required to reach Rossey's house — even if he paid the full $7,000 cost. Rossey ended up signing a two-year, $450-per-month contract for a T1 line that delivers 1.44Mbit/sec. of bandwidth. He pays 10 times more than the cable provider would have charged and receives one quarter of the bandwidth.' The author also notes that larger businesses are being crimped, from a national call center to a national retailer which claims 17% of its store locations can't get broadband."

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a disaster (-1, Troll)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#20383927)

Oh no, the rednecks can't get their porn!

Re:a disaster (2, Funny)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 6 years ago | (#20383981)

New Hampshire is sure known for their rednecks!

Ounce of Prevention (5, Insightful)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#20383947)

Sucks, but seriously, do a little research before you move, if your business depends on it. Just reeks of irresponsibility. (Not to say not having broadband at 100% penetration doesn't suck, but I'm not gonna cry a river cause you didn't do your research ahead of time ... )

Re:Ounce of Prevention (0, Troll)

Joebert (946227) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384107)

I will sleep better at nite knowing the ass-raping I recieved to get my website built wasn't spent on expensive hookers, it was just spent on somthing stupid.

Re:Ounce of Prevention (5, Insightful)

glop (181086) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384121)

I have moderation points at the moment and thought of rating you as a troll. But I thought better of it and will just state a few points that you seem to have missed :
  1) the guy has solved the problem by shelling some money.
  2) the money he is paying is only 100$ more than my commute costs. And I guess his house is much bigger and cheaper than anything I could find in NY. So he probably was wise to pay that price.
  3) he offered to pay all the connnection costs for the cable company and they refused.

So, I really can relate to this guy and think he really is the good guy here.

Re:Ounce of Prevention (1)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384227)

2) the money he is paying is only 100$ more than my commute costs. And I guess his house is much bigger and cheaper than anything I could find in NY. So he probably was wise to pay that price.
If house space is that important to you, then gtfo of NY. You obviously realize the tradeoff between living in a high pop area, and subsequently having many more community type things available to you, and living in a low pop area and the associated benefits and drawbacks. The guy from the article should have realized that too. A few phone calls to the local service provider there before he moved would have informed him that he couldn't get the service he wanted, as well as how much it would cost to get something that was adequate enough.

Re:Ounce of Prevention (-1, Offtopic)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384251)

I have moderation points at the moment and thought of rating you as a troll.

Err, you don't know what a troll is. Hint: it doesn't mean "someone who disagrees with me". It doesn't even mean, "someone with a point that is wrong." It doesn't *even* mean "someone with a point that is totally illogical." [wikipedia.org]

Be that as it may...

But I thought better of it and will just state a few points that you seem to have missed : [snip 1) he solved the problem, 2) the money he's paying isn't that bad, and 3) the cable company refused]

The point isn't that he was (finally) able to solve the problem. The point is that he's whining because he couldn't get broadband access the way he wanted it, hence the OP's point that it's his fault for not doing his research about where he bought his house, *especially* when his business depends on it!

Re:Ounce of Prevention (3, Insightful)

Red_Foreman (877991) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384127)

Actually, this should be looked at as a business opportunity - I'm sure there's lots of profit that could be made delivering broadband access to rural areas.

I'm surprised that the cable company wouldn't offer it. DSL is more restricted by distance, but I also have to wonder if Fiber would be a better solution for these people.

Again, it's a terrific business oppotunity - if this guy's willing to spend $450 on a T1 line, I bet he'd be willing to spend $75/month for a fiber connection.

Or maybe a dash of creativity... (4, Insightful)

mortonda (5175) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384199)

In many rural areas, wireless broadband is making inroads. Find the nearest neighbor that *can* get cable, and set up a wireless bridge to them. If there's a few people around you, set up a good access point and resell it.

I know, some cable plans don't like that... but on the other hand, it's not like they were planning to sell it to those folks anyway. Also, in my area, you can pay for "enterprise cable" service which is very reasonable, and they won't complain about what you run on it.

Re:Or maybe a dash of creativity... (4, Informative)

krgallagher (743575) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384451)

I have a lot of family living in rural areas. They are all using wireless internet (read internet via cell phone.) It is not the best, but it blows dial up out of the water, and at $49.00 a month it beats any other high speed option.

Re:Ounce of Prevention (3, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384333)

Well... a couple of things. First, most ISPs won't actually give you a real map of where there coverage is. It's really sketchy. Sometimes you can't even tell until you go to order the service. I remember doing a check a few years ago where I entered my address into Verizon's online thing, and it said I could get DSL. Then I tried ordering it, and they said that the website was wrong.

Second, if you RTFA (or even the summary), the guy bought a house three-tenths of a mile outside the broadband coverage. So basically that means that they guy down the street could get broadband and he couldn't. It's pretty understandable why he wouldn't catch this ahead of time.

Re:Ounce of Prevention (2, Interesting)

mrzaph0d (25646) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384517)

yep, i used to get ads in the mail and on my door at an apartment i lived in that advertised DSL was now available in my area. kept getting them for about 3 years. the first year i got one, i signed up and had an appointment for the install, took the day off and found out the day of the installation that it *wasn't* available in my neighborhood. and after than i still kept getting ads for it, specifically targeted to me. i mean, if they mail me a letter, i'm pretty sure they have my address.

Re:Ounce of Prevention (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384381)

How about this. I DID call the cable company before purchasing my home and only after a few months of discussion (They sent 4 technitions to run the line over a period of 2 months) did they figure out that it would cost an additional $1500 and take up to 2 years to run a line. And of course, this ignores the fact that there is no excuse for the data infrastructure of the USA to be this underdeveloped.

My previous city of 10,000 had FIOS, and my current city of 40,000 could barely get me cable.

In a city that large, there should be a reasonable expectation of broadband.

Re:Ounce of Prevention (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384431)

Sucks, but seriously, do a little research before you move, if your business depends on it.

I had this problem about 5 years ago, when I moved to a Chicago suburb. I had assumed that I'd be able to get broadband (a necessity for my work), so I didn't even bother to check. Turns out I was wrong, I couldn't get DSL or Cable at all for several years. I lucked out, though, in that there were a few different wireless broadband providers in the area. You basically put a dish on your roof that points at a tower a few miles away. Worked well enough, but the ISP sucked, so I left them for cable broadband when it became available.

They don't have hookers on every corner (5, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#20383953)

They don't have hookers either. OMG!! A hooker crisis! They probably don't have a decent symphony orchestra either. An orchestra crisis! Sorry, not meaning to flame, but this is what it means to live in rural America. You have elbow room, privacy, lots of fresh air, and cheap housing costs. In return, you do without some things.

As population density drops outside of metropolitan areas, it's impossible for telecommunications companies or cable service providers to justify the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars per mile it can cost to bring fiber to every rural community, let alone every home.
It's easy to make a superficial comparison with other countries - particularly European - who have higher population densities. I'd like to see a study in which the figures for broadband access were weighted for density.

Re:They don't have hookers on every corner (2, Insightful)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384071)

This has nothing to do with density, after all he proposed to pay the entire cost of expanding the cable by himself. They just can't be bothered.

The problem is that to get good service for anything, you either need real competition between several commercial parties, or serious government investment in infrastructure. It seems that rural parts of the US lack both. Also, barriers to entry for new competitors are huge, and large government investment would probably mean raising taxes and the people always vote that down.

So the rural US can forget it.

Re:They don't have hookers on every corner (1)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384319)

I was wondering about why the company wouldn't lay the line if he paid for it too, and then I started thinking. First of all, they would have to pay for any maintenance fees afterwards that were associated with that portion of the line. Also, they have to wonder exactly how much of a problem this guy could be, if high speed internet would be important enough to pay the 7k initial fee. Not really saying it makes them right, but those are a couple things I thought of that may have influenced their decision.

Re:They don't have hookers on every corner (3, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384535)

I did pay for the cable company to run a line to my home. I very seriously doubt that it was as involved as you would expect. Here is what happened in my case:

1. I called the cable company and asked if I could get cable at the house. They responded yes.

2. I bought the house and requested that they hook it up for cable.

3. A technition arrived the next month (yes month) and informed me that he didn't have enough wire. He would reschedule and come back. But it might take another month.

4. I wait a month, no notice of a new appointment. I call again, explain the situation and they send another tech out. He reports that he never got the message that he would need longer lengths of cable and had to reschedule. I made him call IMMEDIATELY from my house on the cell (This was the second day of work I had to miss)

5. The third technition arrives and informs me that they have to do an extension. It requires a survey. He schedules the survey.

6. The cable company does the survey, never informs me. I call back 1 month later and tell them that "Yes, proceed with the work" They tell me that it may take up to 2 years to get the permits... (WTF?)

In the meantime, I investigate every option. Satellite (will not work with what I need). ISDN (the phone company no longer deals in this area) DSL, I'm 16000' just too far. Wireless, I'm on the wrong side of the hill. EVDO: not broadband in my area, pretty much dialup.

7. 8 months pass and I have to call again "Umm, where the hell are you?" 3 weeks later they finally hook it up.

So thats what I went through with a company that WANTED to hook up my cable. I paid them to do it. I think it is more that some schmuck didn't want to be bothered with filling out the form to send a truck out to his home.

Re:They don't have hookers on every corner (1)

andrewd18 (989408) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384129)

Thank you for alerting me about this tragic crisis! I'm calling my state representative right now. You're right, we don't have any hookers on the corner of Oak and Fairbeech Lane.

Re:They don't have hookers on every corner (1)

epee1221 (873140) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384231)

In return, you do without some things.
Would you say the same if this were about phone service? How about water? Electricity?

Re:They don't have hookers on every corner (5, Insightful)

mbradshawlong (919651) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384309)

Would you say the same if this were about phone service? How about water? Electricity?
Many rural residences don't have water service either. They install their own wells with electric pumps for their water needs. My parents who live in rural Minnesota only recently received cable and broadband internet and will likely never have "town" water.

Re:They don't have hookers on every corner (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384383)

I'm in a rural area too and don't use water service. It wasn't available until about 2 years ago and even when it came through, my house is far enough from the main highway that I'm not required to tie in (I could if I opted to pay the costs of doing so though). I've always used well water and never had any issue.

By a miracle of fate though I do have DSL. The telephone company has one of their remote switching locations in the middle of nowhere that just happens to be about 3 miles from my house, and so I get DSL. It's expensive, rather slow DSL ($45/month for 1Mbps down/256Kbps up), but it sure beats dialup.

Re:They don't have hookers on every corner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20384471)

I have an Asburn VA address and have well water and can not get DSL or FIOS. I am a few miles away from some of the busiest data centers on the east coast.

Re:They don't have hookers on every corner (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384401)

You single out water service, but you don't respond regarding phone or electricity. Why?

Re:They don't have hookers on every corner (2, Insightful)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384367)

What ever happened to TCP/IP over power lines? It used to be mentioned around here occasionally, but I haven't heard anything about that in a while.

Re:They don't have hookers on every corner (1)

Selfbain (624722) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384295)

The problem is that he offered to pay for it and they refused. I'm sure a hooker would go the extra mile if you paid her enough.

Re:They don't have hookers on every corner (4, Insightful)

chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384357)

It's easy to make a superficial comparison with other countries - particularly European - who have higher population densities. I'd like to see a study in which the figures for broadband access were weighted for density.

While definitions of "broadband" may vary, you may find that availability of a DSL or cable connection is on par between Western Europe and Big City America, levels are different.

You can get 100 Mbps connection in Sweden and a few other European countries for what a 5 Mbps one costs in the U.S. Want it weighted by population density? Fine. Pick a big U.S. city -- any one. Just ignore the rural part and compare it to Europe on a country-by-country basis, including their suburban and rural parts.

I used to think like you do, that it was population density that curtailed U.S. broadband in comparison to places like Korea and Europe. Then someone pointed out that U.S. broadband is crappy-to-mediocre in the largest U.S. cities with high population densities. What is the excuse for New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and Washington D.C.?

Re:They don't have hookers on every corner (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384369)

I'm just curious, would you feel the same way about electricity?

Re:They don't have hookers on every corner (2)

ghyd (981064) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384375)

Well in France we have both hookers and ADSL (with TV) in rural areas. And booze. And blackjack.

Re:They don't have hookers on every corner (1)

Serapth (643581) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384399)

It's easy to make a superficial comparison with other countries - particularly European - who have higher population densities. I'd like to see a study in which the figures for broadband access were weighted for density.

I don't disagree with you, however, your most apt comparison would probrably be Canada. A country with 1/10th the US population but more landmass by far and still a higher broadband penetration. Then again, part of that stems from last mile phone service being (previously )semi public. Now that Bell is a private company, we are starting to see more and more rural communities get the shaft. That said, the consumer can always opt to pay the last mile costs, unlike this article.

Outside that, this entire article is bunk. I moved to the country without looking in advance and *GASP* the infrastructure isn't as good. Well gee, boo hoo.

Re:They don't have hookers on every corner (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384411)

It's easy to make a superficial comparison with other countries - particularly European - who have higher population densities. I'd like to see a study in which the figures for broadband access were weighted for density.

New England (and this article refer to NH) does have a population density, including distribution of urban-vs-rural areas, comparable to Western Europe.

Face it, "We're number 17!". Broadband availability in the US sucks, and the mono/duopolist providers have no interest in improving coverage (quite the opposite, they've actively fought changes in the way they can report availability statistics that would paint a more accurate picture).

Re:They don't have hookers on every corner (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384483)

Last I heard, "hookers" weren't considered vital for economic growth. In fact, the last I heard, prostitution was still generally illegal.

At least compare it to other kinds of infrastructure. Say, "They don't have running water or roads either. OMG!! An infrastructure crisis! They probably don't have electricity either. An electricity crisis!"

Rural == Not A City!!!! (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#20383963)

I'm not sure just what part of the world "rural" people don't understand, but out here in the boonies (and I live on an isolated island in Alaska - that's rural) we don't have LOTS of thinks. Kentucky Fried Chicken, Wal-Mart, traffic jams, low prices.

We do happen to have relatively good Internet via cable (1 mb) but you can't take anything for granted. Yes, the big, evil Telcos don't want to put stuff out here because it costs a lot. And yes, they should be soundly trashed because it was already "paid" for.

A crisis? Oh well. Caveat Emptor.

Look before you leap (-1, Redundant)

andrews (12425) | more than 6 years ago | (#20383971)

If your living depends on the Internet how about checking for broadband availability before you move? That's like the people who move into a house near an airport then complain about the noise.

Everyone knows broadband availability in rural areas sucks. It's just not cost effective to deliver it and that's not going to change with current technology. Get over it.

Re:Look before you leap (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20384435)

Echo from seventy years ago:
Everyone knows electrical availability in rural areas sucks. It's just not cost effective to deliver it and that's not going to change with current technology. Get over it.

Look up the Rural Electrification Act of 1936.

Surprise? (2, Informative)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#20383979)

Soon after moving to Gilsum, N.H. (population 811), [Kim] Rossey learned that he couldn't get broadband to support his Web programming business, TooCoolWebs.
He couldn't check the web to see if broadband was available? 18 months ago, I moved from a large city to rural Indiana (town population - 500) and guess what, I knew that broadband was not available because I checked before moving. Sure, I pay through the teeth (comparatively) for satellite (which sucks), but it wasn't a surprise that my home would not have traditional broadband.

Re:Surprise? (2, Informative)

too2late (958532) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384149)

The problem with Verizon and other large Telco's is they don't even know if they offer services in your area or not. My experience is you call them to find out if it is available and most of the time they will tell you it is available and then after you move into your new house and call them up to sign up, then they tell you it isn't available. By that time you're screwed of course. I live in a semi-rural area (about 10 miles away from a city with pop. 65,000) and my choices are severely limited. What is available is too expensive (> $65 a month for 6 MB from the cable company is all I can get)... I don't want 6 MB and I don't want to spend $65+ a month for internet access. I want what is available to everyone else... 1.5 MB DSL for $15 a month. It's even more frustrating when people that live 1/4 mile away can get it and I can't.

Good argument for municipal-owned networks (3, Insightful)

Cade144 (553696) | more than 6 years ago | (#20383985)

Seems like this is a great argument in favor of municipalities building their own fiber infrastructure like they do with roads, sewers and the like.
Or, like electricity, people could for a Co-Op and get their own broadband.

Re:Good argument for municipal-owned networks (5, Interesting)

MrMunkey (1039894) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384089)

I grew up in rural North Dakota. Our small town (population about 500) has the Northwest Communication Cooperative http://www.nccray.com/ [nccray.com] They provide phone/dialup/DSL/cableTV access. The co-op seems to have worked fairly well back home. I don't know if that's not normal or not... I just grew up with it there.

Re:Good argument for municipal-owned networks (1)

Albanach (527650) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384133)

British Telecom in the UK found a good solution to this problem. They simply created a site for folk to register if they wanted broadband. Once the number of folk reached the point that upgrading the excahnge became viable they rolled out ADSL.

Of course they've now upgraded all their exchanges, event he most rural ones because current ADSL technology means it can be provided economically to 20-30 households.

Re:Good argument for municipal-owned networks (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384299)

British Telecom in the UK found a good solution to this problem

The Brits don't really have the same kind of "rural", though, so I think its a lot easier for the UK to do that then it would be here.

Re:Good argument for municipal-owned networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20384495)

Rural New England is almost certainly comparable to rural UK. The argument is bunk. Sure, in parts of the mid-west "rural" takes on a whole new meaning, but that doesn't get the US off the hook entirely: even where population density is lower, the cost-per-mile of laying the fibre is almost certainly cheaper, and it should balance out.

Re:Good argument for municipal-owned networks (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384385)

Municipality? This is a rural area, population 811. They've got roads, but they don't have municipal sewage or water.

Re:Good argument for municipal-owned networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20384457)

Family farms became unprofitable in this country several years ago but that could be changing. Today with the interest in organic farming, the ability to turn farm waste into fuel, and if broadband could be added to the mix then perhaps it could be a reasonable choice again to have even a small family farm. Broadband could change things on many levels, even quite a few that are unthought of yet. How many here work from home now with broadband a necessary item? How many of those would also like to raise their children on the farm or at least in a rural setting? For many rural folks this could be as simple as signing up to provide customer service over the telephone for corporations. Farmers could advertise their products over the internet as well, picking up fancy restaurants for customers in many cases. Frozen in during the winter up north while providing services over the internet could help balance the books for many rural people.

Hi-tech subcontractor who works from home? Wouldn't it be nice to live in the country, grow some of your own food so you know more about what is in it? Would you consider moving to a rural area if you could get broadband? In many areas you could build or buy a much better home then what you are living in now for a lot less money. Want to set up your own still or oilpress to provide yourself with green fuel? More space for wind generators or solar cells?

I have only touched on the possibilities and not gone into much detail. You might want to give this some thought though as it could help to change our effect on the environment greatly as well as providing better lives for many.

It would be great if some organizations with the time and the money would do some investigating into the vast amounts of money the telcos were given to provide such services over the years and to bring legal and political pressure on them to provide what they have been paid for. If we could get some realistic broadband services in many areas, it could rejuvenate rural life in this country as well as reduce the "need" to outsource at many levels. It could even be good for the public image of some corporations to establish customer service support from Appalachia etc.

There's options, but they suck... (2, Insightful)

Gorm the DBA (581373) | more than 6 years ago | (#20383989)

Rural folks can get a quasi-Broadband connection from Satellite Internet providers, assuming they can get a shot to the south (and if you're rural enough to not get broadband, you're probably rural enough you can get a satellite to the south...).

But it's expensive ($80 or more a month), slow (I had it for 2 years, best DL speed I ever got was only 5 times faster than a 28.8 modem), unstable (hard rain = No internet), unsupported (well...okay, they have people on the other end of the line, but they aren't very good, and they can't fix your problem), and high latency (1500 ms ping is quick. VPN doesn't work, and forget about gaming).

We need a Tennessee Valley Authority-like program to get Rural America on the net.

Re:There's options, but they suck... (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384193)

I have a customer I used to do computer support for that lived out in the middle of nowhere because he wanted to raise horses as a hobby. He had the satellite ISP professionally installed by the ISP and it worked about as well as a 9600 baud modem with the wrong AT config string... anything would make it go out - weather, phases of the moon, looking at it the wrong way etc. Even when it did work it was dog slow and had TONS of timeouts on all but the most responsive of sites. There is no reason that cable shouldn't be REQUIRED to service these areas if they want a monopoly. Either you server everyone or you don't get a free ride serving anyone. I charged extra travel expenses to do support and he happily paid them, there is no reason there can't be a rural service charge to help subsidize it - god knows we've got service charges for everything else under the sun.

Re:There's options, but they suck... (1)

PadRacerExtreme (1006033) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384427)

There is no reason that cable shouldn't be REQUIRED to service these areas if they want a monopoly.

Who should be required. Where I am in WI, there are at least 3 different cable providers in the state. My village has cable and broadband. 1 mile away, I leave the village and enter a township. They have no cable at all (so, obviously, no broadband). Since cable companies negotiate their monopoly with each municipality (at least in WI, it isn't state wide), who is responsible? Time Warner? Comcast?
I don't disagree with the statement, but I don't see how to enforce it...

It's disturbing (2, Interesting)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 6 years ago | (#20383991)

In urban areas we've gotten complacent that broadband is available, and just works. But in reality, the shape of our broadband is sad at best. My experiences are at best unreliable and inconsistant. Not to mention that Wifi access (even for paid subsribers) is limited at best. We really need to get on our horses and make country wide broadband and wifi (to a lesser extend wifi) an imperitive.

This doesn't even bring up the point of pricing structures of broadband in urban environments. Cable is around $50 a month (give or take) for 10mbit. A T1 (granted, a dedicated line) is around $400 for 1.54 mbit. Tell me that makes sense?

Re:It's disturbing (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384223)

We really need to get on our horses and make country wide broadband and wifi (to a lesser extend wifi) an imperitive.

Why?

SLA/TOS (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384305)

Admittedly, SLAs (Service Level Agreements) and TOS (Terms of Service) are closely related, but that $400 T1 line does give you:

1) A certain guarantee of performance from that 1.544 Mbps line. Your 10M cable modem, on the other hand, is shared with your neighborhood. (Sort of. DOCSIS is around 30, your cap is 10, still that means you're still fundamentally shared if there are more than 3 users in your neighborhood.)
2) Probably a block of static IPs instead of DHCP
3) No "no servers" ban in your TOS
4) Higher reliability
5) Upgraded support guarantees

Yes, it makes sense. (4, Informative)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384325)

You're not even guaranteed 56kbps on your residential "broadband" line. Hell, you're not even guaranteed it will work AT ALL on any given day. When you pay for a T1, what you're paying for is getting every single goddamned one of the 1.544M bits every second of every day in both directions--and the right to do whatever the hell you want with them.

Geeks in Space (3, Insightful)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 6 years ago | (#20383995)

Unless the business has a strict need for high upload speed, why not satellite? My house and my studio are outside the reach of cable and DSL and I've been using Wild Blue's service [wildblue.com] at both locations for about 2 years. My brother's business uses it as well. Granted, costs aren't competitive with DSL or cable at a given bandwidth, but it is a lot less expensive than a $450/month T1. The package I have at my studio is advertised at 1.5Mbps down and 256kbps up. Overall it is just as reliable as the cable connection I had when I lived in the city. Wild Blue and a couple of other providers cover pretty much everywhere in the US, including Gilsum, New Hampshire. I do agree with the point of the article, that rural areas need better service. I wish BPL was available at my studio's location, just for its up/down parity, but isn't quite the dire straits it is made out to be. That is particuarly true if we are talking about 'households' that don't likely need a lot of upload bandwidth.

Re:Geeks in Space (1)

Thanatopsis (29786) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384505)

That's amazing when you consider that Wild Blue only began offering service in the last year. Do you have access to some sort of time travel technology?

Re:Geeks in Space (2, Interesting)

tygt (792974) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384509)

I used satellite (Starband) for 4 years, and in general I got download speeds of 400-800Kbps, which is fine for typical usage. Upload sucked though at about 30-40Kbps (fastish modem speed). Ping times (to google) were typically about 700ms.

In general it worked fine; I had a home lab to go with my home office, so I never had to upload images to a remote lab for testing purposes. I could check in C text files using CVS reasonably well. Checking out a large source tree however was painful (too many connections being made; the connection startup overhead was large) so I would typically ssh to a remote host, do the checkout there, tar it, then I'd scp it over the satellite (one connection, and then 400-800Kbps once it was streaming). That was ok.

Of course, using ssh over that link was horrible; I could type a whole command line before seeing any remote echo, and forget line edit...

Now I have a T1, and I share it to my closest neighbors (150 and 250 meters away) for a small monthly fee, which barely makes up for the time I spent setting up their networks; their use doesn't crimp mine, and all seems well. No, T1 isn't 6Mbps; however, the service is amazing. It's *never* down, and *never* throttled at all, up or down link. So reliable, and monitored, that it's almost a pain - if I shut down my router for more than 5 minutes, I can expect my cel phone to ring with AT&T on the line checking if they should roll a truck about an outage.

As far as costs go - $300/mo - so if you're considering T1, do your research, there are deals out there. The best I could get until I found this was a 3-year contract at $525/mo, which was clearly out of the question for me. I called around many times over a couple of years, and one day I got an email from a reseller who said they could work a deal (SBC was trying to keep someone else out, I forget who, but if you had had a quote from the other guys then SBC was willing to go a 3 year contract at 300/mo). Given that first Telstar 8 went dead with no warning for over a week, and I had no service for that time; and then I had a satellite modem keel over dead and had to scramble to get another one; I jumped at the chance.

All said, I'd prefer a "typical" broadband with a $50-70/mo price tag. However, I really enjoy living in the country, 10 minutes away from a great town with lots of culture (thank tourism I suppose, and lots of retired folks, and some well-to-do ex-hippies), so the resultant $200/mo for my T1 (after my neighbors pitching in) is a small price to pay for a 12-foot commute...

It isn't just rural economies affected (4, Interesting)

ednopantz (467288) | more than 6 years ago | (#20383997)

It isn't just Rural economies that are affected by this.

We have a couple of clients in the exurbs who do logistics: mainly deliveries into cities. The warehouses are in the exurbs where land is cheap.

But they can't get broadband at the warehouses. Remote assistance means "bring the laptop to Panera so I can remote in."

Re:It isn't just rural economies affected (2, Insightful)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384263)

So you want cheap land to have all the amenities that expensive land has? I'd love to buy a car at Kia prices that's as good as a Ferrari, but it isn't gonna happen.

Re:It isn't just rural economies affected (2, Insightful)

ednopantz (467288) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384405)

Hey, its your food these guys ship...

The point being that this isn't just an issue for a couple of hicks in cabins.

Solution may be to move. (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384023)

You can't run cable everywhere.

If it costs $450 a month for a line, then you have to consider that against the cost of moving to within the coverage area. In some cases, those lines cost a few thousand dollars to lay.

Re:Solution may be to move. (1)

Gorm the DBA (581373) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384283)

"You can't run cable everywhere."

They said that about electricity and phones too back in the 1910's.

Now electric and phone penetration is above 98%, and the quality of life for Rural Americans increased dramatically.

The key? Legislation that allowed Cooperatives to form *and helped them with the startup capital*.

You're right that it's expensive to lay the initial line, but once laid, upkeep is relatively inexpensive (barring natural disaster), but since Coops aren't trying to make profits (well, beyond establishing a reserve), there is no need for 30% profit margins, so expenses can be 30% higher and still maintain the same rates.

something similar could be done with Broadband (heck, use the existing Coops), but we're too busy trying to make other countries better to worry about our own problems.

500 m extension (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20384025)

seriously this guy needs to hand in his geek card

1. should have checked this before moving if it was business critical
2. 0.3 of a mile away? do a deal with ur neighbour and network urself the last 500m

why should broadband be a special case? (2, Insightful)

i7dude (473077) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384027)

...its a luxury not a basic utility.

rural areas have always suffered from having limited access to luxury items when compared to more densely populated areas. i just don't see the logic in this complaint. i'm not saying its fair...but its nothing new.

if internet is really more important than living someplace that is sparsely populated then you pay a premium to get what you need...or you move. my in-laws live on a dairy farm and they still drive 45 minutes just to buy groceries.

dude.

Re:why should broadband be a special case? (5, Insightful)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384151)

...its a luxury not a basic utility.

Bullshit, this is 2007, not 1997.

Re:why should broadband be a special case? (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384253)

That's a heck of an argument. I also see broadband as a luxury. It's not in any way necessary for modern life. It's about as necessary as cable TV.

Re:why should broadband be a special case? (1)

too2late (958532) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384321)

I would say the telephone is not necessary for modern life... I hate talking on the phone. The government disagrees. It will take government intervention in order for everyone to get broadband.

Re:why should broadband be a special case? (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384515)

The telephone is a line of communication in emergencies.

Telecommunications is open to anyone with a telephone. You must provide an argument of a similar caliber as to the necessity for mandating higher speeds. So far, all I hear is "I want it faster!" Not a good argument of necessity.

Re:why should broadband be a special case? (1, Insightful)

i7dude (473077) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384413)

...its a luxury not a basic utility.

Bullshit, this is 2007, not 1997.
ok, i'll bite. if broadband internet access is not a luxury in your eyes then you must prove to me beyond any reasonable doubt that it is a necessity. try to do it without reverting to profanity or primal "chest banging"

if you can, give me one, just one example of a situation where you cannot survive in this world without internet access. i hypothesize that any daily activity you decree to be necessary involving internet access can, in and of itself, also be considered a luxury.

the majority of things that we use on a daily basis are luxury items...the perception of technological ubiquity in ones daily life does not immediately relegate things to the level of necessity.

dude.

Re:why should broadband be a special case? (1)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384519)

Yeah, because stating the year is a valid rhetorical technique.

Do you care to present any evidence why broadband should be considered a utility?

Gas, electric, and water/sewage are critical for life. Life was bad before modern heat, A/C, and sanitation. Most people weren't even on the Internet 10 years ago. I think it's too early to call it a utility.

Re:why should broadband be a special case? (1)

Random832 (694525) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384179)

Paying a premium isn't the issue - DSL wasn't available to this guy _at any price_ - he even offered to front the $7K it would have cost them to provide service to his location

Re:why should broadband be a special case? (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384463)

And they did not wish to modify their business on his behalf. Your point is what?

Re:why should broadband be a special case? (1)

shalla (642644) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384487)

...its a luxury not a basic utility.

It's a luxury utility, and he offered to pay the luxury price to get it and they still wouldn't install it. Considering all the subsidies and tax breaks and non-competition clauses various government entities have given broadband providers, I damn well think that ANY person in the U.S. should be able to receive broadband if they are willing to pay the luxury cost to do so.

Either the information infrastructure is important and we should all have a chance at it (provided we're willing to pay according to our trade offs like distance from offices, etc.) or it's not and we stop financing the bastards.

One major problem is regulation... (3, Interesting)

Pollux (102520) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384029)

Most rural areas have not been deregulated. Unless the area was a "Bell Holdings Company" (owned by Ma Bell before the company was split), regulations still exist preventing competition in that region. Whoever owns the area has every [legal] right to say no to expansion.

I wrote an earlier post [slashdot.org] on the subject about the same thing going on in my neck of the woods.

Broadband is expensive EVERYWHERE (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384055)

$50/month for a good pipe might sound cheap to you, but I don't like shelling out that much for it. And, rural pay tends to be quite a bit lower (at least it is here in Kansas) so not many people have that much extra to shell out just for respectable web browsing. Rural folks (see my parents) aren't as tech saavy so the cost benefit for their low level of anticipated use of broadband doesn't justify the costs. I've been trying to get my parents to ditch the Net Zero account and go BB, but that'll never happen since they can't see the value beyond their very limited use of the internet (which I know from experience would increase if they had a connection that wasn't frustrating to use).

Low Cost of Living (2, Informative)

JBHarris (890771) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384061)

The main reason I set up my Web-based business in a small town in Rural GA (aside from the fact that it was my hometown many years ago) is that it costs next to nothing to rent a decent sized office. I pay $400/month for rent on what would demand 5 times that in a larger urban or metropolitan area. So I trade off cheap Internet for cheap rent.

Most places that have any decent population density have cellular service, and most cellular providers offer near-broadband speeds for less than $100/mo for unlimited access. If that isn't an option, you could always bite the proverbial bullet and get a full or partial T-1.

Brad

Guerilla Wifi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20384087)

Qwest was being dumb and said all their circuits were being used... Even though I'm in the middle of a brand new subdivision and I think if I would have been getting a phone line with my DSL they would have found a circuit for me.

What to do? Have someone I know 1/4 mile away get DSL and put some OpenWRT boxes in Rooftennas. They don't control you. If you have line of site to someone within 10 miles that can get to the internet, then you have internet. If you are good with antennas, you can of course go much further.

Seattlewireless, OpenWRT, and Pasadena Networks are all good resources. Cowboy-UP!

What about taking it to your phone company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20384095)

I didn't RTFA, but can't you get wireless broadband access cards from your phone company/cell phone company? That's what friends of our family did when they found out they couldn't get broadband to their house. The monthly access fees are the same as what you pay cable companies.

If that's the case, this guy really doesn't do research at all...

And this is why the US is behind (1)

Cryophallion (1129715) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384113)

People wonder why we are rapidly dropping in the list for broadband connectivity vs Europe (http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/06/14/19 48226). The simple reason is the size of the US, and the large amount of rural areas. If it takes $7k to make it 3/10 of a mile, then the profitability for the companies is down the toilet (esp. if they have to do it in fiber in the next few years again anyway). Of course they don't want to spend the money to do it. The short term costs are too high for the long term. They focus on the areas with the most people, to maximize profits.

Of course, it would be nice if they would stop focusing on profits for Wall street and their investors, plus paying the CEO, but I don't think that is going to change anytime soon.

Duh (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384147)

Soon after moving to Gilsum, N.H. (population 811), [Kim] Rossey learned that he couldn't get broadband to support his Web programming business, TooCoolWebs.

This isn't a fault of rural America or telecoms at all, Mr Rossey failed to adequately research the area before purchasing a property.

If he depended on the web so much for his company, you would have thought he would at least know what he can and cannot get before signing the contracts and accepting the keys.

is none worse than only one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20384161)

I moved from 63116 to 62014 (metro st louis to rural IL) Ive gone from "good" DSL service, to no service.
Fronteir offers it, but they are the ONLY carrer in the area, and due to there monopoly can charge whatever they want.
There is limited Point to Point wi-fi but its even more expensive, with worse connect rate, and finding the company that offers it has been near on impossible. (ive had to stop at strangers houses that have the 2.4GHz antennas on there roof to ask them who there service is with)

It all depends (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384181)

I used to live in rural Virginia. If you actually lived in town, rather than out in the county, you could get DSL or cable. In fact, the cable Internet access rocked compared to what a lot of people in Northern Virginia have told me about their service! I would frequently get 400-500kb/sec on Adelphia there, with interruptions being rare.

Obviously, if you want to live 20 miles from the nearest cable or telecom office, you'll have to put up with this. It's the price you pay for having so much space.

Re:It all depends (1)

kaufmanmoore (930593) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384303)

In Union Hall, VA pop 957, 66 people per square mile density we have 6mbit/512k from the cable co for $45. The local phone exchange is wired for DSL but I am to far to get it.

NO! Do NOT say "they should move to the city" (4, Insightful)

keraneuology (760918) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384201)

Given the extraordinary public subsidies, law exemptions and bypasses given to the telecommunication companies they need to get their butts in gear and make broadband as available as the original POTS networks. The various states are to blame as well - if they had mandated back in the 80s/90s that new subdivisions couldn't be built unless they had provided for gas, electric, water, sewer AND modern communications then we wouldn't have this problem today.

If AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and ilk refuse to upgrade their rural networks then pull the subsidies and make them compete on their own merits. At the VERY least they would provide WiFi broadband at reasonable rates.

Nothing to see, move along... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20384213)

Just another pointless 'we care for the bandwidth deprived' piece.

Why are some people so interested in 'keeping up' with the rest of the world? Are these the same people that get a 2nd mortgage so they can buy a bigger SUV than their neighbors?

WHO CARES. Internet access is a LUXARY for most people. It's not stopping anyone from doing business. Its not keeping people from living perfectly normal happy lives.

GET OVER YOURSELF. ITS NOT THAT IMPORTANT. FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO WORRY ABOUT!

Trade-offs (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384229)

Rossey ended up signing a two-year, $450-per-month contract for a T1 line that delivers 1.44Mbit/sec. of bandwidth. He pays 10 times more than the cable provider would have charged and receives one quarter of the bandwidth.
Sure he's not getting the speed that you would get with a traditional cable internet connection. But on the bright side, he gets a static IP address, more reliable uptime, better upload speeds and he's not bound by the whole "Thou shalt not run a server" thing that most cable companies impose on customers in the TOS.

If monthly cost is a concern, he could pay the $7000 outright and get lower per-month billing and the cost-savings per month could pay for the installation.

We aren't all screwed (1)

GweeDo (127172) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384233)

I live in a town of 2000 and enjoy 6Mbit DSL (and could get screwed with 3Mbit Cable for $49.99). Now, I don't really consider my town rural (sure, 2000 is small), I consider my family members out on farms rural. A lot of them are getting point to point wireless internet now though. It is pricey compared to DSL and such, but they can get a 3Mbit plan.

Customer owned fiber networks (4, Informative)

Brian Stretch (5304) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384235)

CANARIE [canarie.ca] (Canada) has many interesting articles and presentations on cracking the last mile problem. In short: municipalities contract someone to build dark fiber networks to the home, homeowners buy a strand of fiber, and competing service providers plug their electronics into the fiber. There are variations on the theme of course but with a neutral party owning the fiber it makes it very easy for new service providers to set up shop.

I'd insist that ISPs peer all local traffic at full speed, or at least 100Mbps symmetric, but let competition sort everything else out.

Meanwhile, Down on the Farm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20384239)

I live in a big city with multiple broadband choices for both my home and business.

I used travel to farmland in a small town south of here when I want to escape. Lately, EVDO coverage has expanded all the way to the farm, and there is no place for me to hide. The local telephone cooperative, made up of some really smart tech-savvy farmers, took advantage of the Universal Service Fund to set up a cheap Asterix PBX in their CO (more like a shack) to set up one of those "Call China for the Cost of Calling Podunk" call-termination revenue-collection centers. This funded DSL for everybody for nothing more than the cost of removing all the old bridge taps. They even started packaging it with Dish Network. I actually wanted to get away from it all; now I can't escape.

Last week I left the farm and went to the mountains to escape. Even the summit of Pike's Peak is now covered in high-bandwidth cellphone antennas from every carrier. Sheesh.

Not all rural areas are void (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20384247)

In north central VT there is a company called Waitsfield-Champlain telecom - they've been around I think 100 years.
They offer up to 4Mb/s dsl in most of their service area so some operators seem able to satisfy their customers demands.

Research, yes, but (5, Insightful)

wytcld (179112) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384275)

I live less than 20 miles from Gilsum, and about a mile from a (relatively) major regional ISP [sover.net] with good SDSL. I did my research before moving here. But the crisis isn't someone moving to Gilsum blindly. The crisis is that there are lots of ways that solid broadband access can give advantage to a business. Good broadband is a strong advantage for economic development. So rural areas need to find ways to develop it. It can be profitable, evidently, even for the providers. The highest DSL penetration in the country is claimed by VTel [vermontel.com] in Vermont. Meanwhile the State of Vermont is looking at ways to subsidize extending wireless access to the remotest valleys - with the Republican governor's strong support.

The crisis is that what's good for business and economic development on the whole is often not taken care of by the incumbent carriers, who have discovered ways to make more profits elsewhere without delivering particularly good or advanced services, just by squeezing customers they already have. It's not that they couldn't make real profits in rural areas, but that they'd have to do some actual work to earn them, rather than just live off the legacy of the networks they've already built.

Too bad (2, Insightful)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384285)

This problem would appear to be hampering the economic development of rural areas, specifically in regard to things like call centers or other "warm body" like enterprises that korporate America could take advantage of. The cost of doing business in rural areas would be significantly lower than in metro areas, especially where wages are concerned. Commute times and quality of life would factor in also. Why aren't our rural areas leveraged for their labor?

You would think that rural economic development entities would be trying to encourage broadband...

Perhaps states and counties could encourage broadband expansion into rural areas via incentives.

Start your own ISP (1)

Danborg (62420) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384311)

Why not find a few a neighbors within WiFi range (Pringles can, anyone?) and subsidize the cost of the T1?

The virtues of regulated monopolies (5, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384315)

AT&T was founded on Theodore Vail's vision of "universal service." There were good and bad things about Ma Bell, but one good thing about it was that it united the nation with a uniform, uniformly priced, highly reliable service.

Exactly the same thing is true of the post office. It costs the postal service more to mail a letter to Alaska than to mail it across town, but the price of the stamp is 41 cents.

Universal service is only possible if the service provider is allowed to cross-subsidize the areas that are expensive to service with revenues from the areas that are cheap to service. Competition and the free market will always produce wildly varying prices and cream-skimming (in which the most profitable markets get service from multiple suppliers and the least profitable get no service at all).

If the Internet is now as fundamentally important as the telephone or the postal service, then--just as with the interstate highway system, or the system of air traffic control which enables airline service to be nationwide--there will need to be national policy to that effect. Otherwise it won't happen.

So What? (5, Interesting)

linuxwrangler (582055) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384355)

Where I grew up (Mojave Desert) there was a Beach Access Crisis. It was far harder for us to enjoy water activities than those people in urban areas like Los Angeles and San Francisco. But the smog and traffic in LA was hideous. In California, we have better access to fresh fruit and vegetables than people in many parts of the country.

Broadband is not "unavailable", it is merely more expensive. Wherever you live, some things will be more available and others will be less available. Get over it. The fees that were (stupidly, I believe) tacked on to all phone bills to fund rural access are still there - just a big pot of cash that the telco's squabble over even though routing phone service to rural areas is no longer a real issue.

Whenever I hear talk of rural access fees, I wonder why the same people aren't championing an urban affordibility fee. Tacking a huge additional fee onto transfer and property taxes in rural areas to help fund the ability to live in San Francisco or Silicon Valley makes about as much (non)sense.

AFTER he moved? (1)

BarnabyWilde (948425) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384361)

"Soon after moving to Gilsum, Rossey learned that he couldn't get broadband"

Hmmm... wrong order. Check first, then move.

Also: Why didn't he simply use satellite (Hughes)?

It works OK....

after moving ... Rossey learned he was an idiot (1)

Johnny Mnemonic (176043) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384379)


Soon after moving to Gilsum, N.H. (population 811), [Kim] Rossey learned that he was an idiot.

Please. This guys makes his living on the web, and yet decides to move to small town USA. And only after buying the house and moving, does he think to check if broadband is available. And then makes it sound like his high T1 bill is the telco's fault, not his own.

If broadband was that important to him, he should have made it part of his purchase requirements and done some research. I've recently moved to small town USA myself, and it was the first question I asked whenever a property was presented for my review. He's a moron for taking it for granted.

Also, more small communities than you'd think do have broadband. One town over, they're getting fiber to the curb laid down--in a town of 500. It can happen. In my small town of 12K we have several options for broadband.

Moral of the story: if your livelihood depends on the availability of a resource, you should make sure it's available before you commit to a lifestyle.

semantics (1)

amrust (686727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384417)

Right now, about 17% [of store locations] can't get broadband," says CIO Robert Hinkle


I'm willing to bet there's a difference in semantics, here.

"can't get" is not equal to "won't pay what they're asking".

Urban areas have better access? AHAHAHAHA. (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384443)

Rural US residents don't have the same kind of access to broadband services as those who live in urban or suburban areas.

Uh...in Boston, we can't get Verizon FiOS. They've been cherry-picking the suburbs and towns while refusing to do anything in Boston or the poorer towns; they want to run fiber and get people who have HDTVs and will go for all the expensive cable packages, and not load down the network. They're not interested in high density areas that will suck up bandwidth and have customers that will be stingier. Urban users are also more likely to share; an entire block could work very happily off a single FiOS connection and a 802.11G access point, and that scares the hell out of them.

If you google around, you can find a color-coded map showing where it is actively offered, where they are deploying, and where they're sitting on their hands. Supposedly, Boston is "in progress", but something tells me the Verizon trucks are only on Beacon, Newbury, etc.

My folks can't get DSL in their home town; one town over has their choice of DSL providers and bitrates. Verizon never bothered to provide anything more than their shitty 1.5mbit/128kbit (yes, 128kbit!) service and sDSL at insanely expensive prices. The ONLY choice is Comcast, and thanks to the "cable access committee", they decided that because Comcast has thrown a few dollars at a local community television station (which mostly broadcasts a perpetual powerpoint presentation), they should get exclusive access to the town (in MA, each town licenses cable TV providers.)

Supply/Demand (1)

kieran (20691) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384513)

Surely, if the town is big enough to support it, this is something that could have been seen as a business opportunity?

Move, or shut up (1)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 6 years ago | (#20384527)

I'm embarrassed for New Hampshire. Stop whining. If you live in the middle of nowhere, don't expect to have all the amenities of a large town or city. You wouldn't expect to find an Asian market or a tapas bar there, why would you expect to find broadband? All are "public" amenities, but they aren't omnipresent, and one can't expect them to be. Either wait until broadband gets out to the boonies, or move. In the meantime, stop complaining about where you have chosen to live.
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