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FCC Kills Build-out Requirements for Telecoms 325

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-rules dept.
Frankencelery writes "In a 3-2 vote, the FCC has altered cable franchising laws in the U.S. to the advantage of AT&T and Verizon. 'The FCC order imposes a 90-day limit on local communities' franchising decisions, but, more importantly, does away with build-out requirements. Those requirements generally insist that companies offer service to all the residents in the town, rather than cherry-picking the profitable areas.' Good news for the telecoms, but bad for cities who want a say in the fiber deployments."
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FCC Kills Build-out Requirements for Telecoms

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  • by suv4x4 (956391) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:19AM (#17323002)
    It's for everyone: if companies are forced to sell where wouldn't sell, this would affect the prices and quality of service for everyone.

    There are cases where even "evil monopolists" should be left to do certain aspects of their business without regulators messing in it.
    • by pembo13 (770295)
      You seem to imply that they will lower their prices or something. I don't see why they would. In which case they make larger profits.
      • In which case they make larger profits.
        Which is bad how, exactly?
        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:42AM (#17323082)
          > > In which case they make larger profits.
          >
          > Which is bad how, exactly?

          At the expense of equal access, public infrastructure, and realistic phone rates to go along with those benefits.

          Or, was there an upside to corruption that we weren't aware of? Enlighten us how buying off greedy politicians is so great.
          • > > > In which case they make larger profits.
            > > Which is bad how, exactly?
            > At the expense of equal access, public infrastructure, and realistic phone rates to go along with those
            > benefits.

            You need to think into the future.

            If in a given field, a company is making excessive profits, the fact that that field is so profitable naturally leads it to draw in other companies. These new companies then undercut - just a little - the existing companies, to steal their customers. This is the b
            • Sure, but most of the time companies prefer to go after existing customers, because there's already an infrastructure and a market there.

              Very rarely do you hear a company say "hey, we're going to market our wireless internet service in the slums, where no-one can afford the rates we want to charge!"
            • You are assuming (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Gr8Apes (679165) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @09:48AM (#17324106)
              Your assumption is that others can enter the market. In the US, in most localities, both the physical phone and cable networks are monopolies, so you only have a single supplier for each. Until the service and the carrier are separated, this will continue to be a problem. Especially when the existing networks were built at taxpayer expense, and new systems would have to be built at cost.

              The fair thing to do would be for localities/states/feds to divest the various companies of their physical networks, much as was done with electricity deregulation, which at least levels the playing field for everyone. After all, they were paid for with taxpayer dollars, so it only seems fair that the taxpayer owns them. That'd be us, btw.
            • don't even pretend that another company can begin to compete at this point
            • > > > In which case they make larger profits.
              > > Which is bad how, exactly?
              > At the expense of equal access, public infrastructure, and realistic phone rates to go along with those
              > benefits.

              You need to think into the future.

              If in a given field, a company is making excessive profits, the fact that that field is so profitable naturally leads it to draw in other companies.

              This is correct for businesses with low upfront costs. In the telephone and cable industry, there is a high upfront cost to running wire and cable. That upfront cost would off-set and annihilate any chance at profit in the near term. Customers tend to also be apathetic: They will stick with what they have because it involves the least amount of work, even when they hate it. So, any new cable provider in a city would have to offer such deeply cut rates to entice these lazy consumers as to make it not wo

            • by raehl (609729) <raehl311@yFREEBSDahoo.com minus bsd> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @10:19AM (#17324414) Homepage
              We have two kinds of companies offering broadband services, the cable companies, which have to offer service to everybody, and the phone companies, which only have to offer service where it is the most profitable. The most profitable place to offer service will be where it is cheapest to offer service.

              The problem is, the phone company is allowed to set their prices based on the cost of providing service to a particular customer. If providing service toa customer is expensive, the phone company doesn't have to do it. The cable company doesn't have that option - it has to provide service to everybody. So the phone company drives down the price in the profitable areas, and the cable company is screwed - if they lower prices to compete, they still have to provide service to the unprofitable customers, and are eventually forced out of business because they arn't making any money. IF they don't lower prices, the phone company will just lower prices JUST ENOUGH to undercut the cable company, not really saving the cable company any money, while the cable company will probably have to raise rates for everyone because, now that they've lost their profitable customers to the phone company undercutting them, need to cover the increased per-customer costs of being saddled with only the expensive customers.

              So, everybody loses - the profitable customers end up paying higher rates to the phone company because the cable company can't compete, and the unprofitable customers end up paying higher rates because they're not being subsidized by the profitable ones.

              Now, I'm not saying that unprofitable customers should have the same rates as profitable ones - if you choose to live out in the boonies, that's your choice. But if we're not going to force phone companies to build out to everyone, then we shouldn't be forcing cable companies to do so either.
              • then we shouldn't be forcing cable companies to do so either.

                That's the even dumber part of this. This change in structure says that cable companies won't have to do full build outs either, in the future. However, if they are currently under a contract, they have to finish the full build out. So the phone company still gets to come out ahead. They can finish their partial build-outs & be reaping huge profits in tiny areas, while the cable companies are still bound by last years build-out agreements

        • I'm a customer, not a stockholder. Therefore, the fact that they convinced the government to allow them to screw over customers should be disconcerting.
      • by suv4x4 (956391)
        You seem to imply that they will lower their prices or something. I don't see why they would. In which case they make larger profits.

        I knew people will bend it like this, but there's the deal: you have a certain acceptable price range to offer to your customers, say ~100 ID/mo (imaginary dollars :P).. To break even without regulators, you need say, ~50 ID/mo, and with regulators: ~80 ID/mo.

        If you need to sustain certain profitability with regulations that force you to do business where you don't want to, yo
        • Infrastructure investment through government mandate then leads to an effective subsidy on better communication. Better communication leads to more intelligent market choices. More economic exchange means better larger economy. Government collects taxes and spends much of it on R&D grants to feed the infrastructure loop.

          At least, that's how the US Government helped Bell Labs with Ma Bell and we all benefited greater than all the libertarian marketscapes in third world countries combined.

          Pick a better
          • by tacocat (527354) <tallison1@@@twmi...rr...com> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @06:18AM (#17323212)

            My phone bill after the Ma Bell breakup didn't reflect this.

            All my bills following the deployment of broadband intraweb thingy didn't reflect this.

            In fact, all my (tech) bills are rising faster than inflation and I have only experience more dropped calls, lower data rates, and poorer (image) quality television.

            They may make in investment in infrastructure, but that doesn't mean a realized benefit to the customers in every case.

            • I don't think I worked in the US pre-breakup, but over the years my landline phone services in both the US and Canada came down a lot in price. Internet prices in Canada have come down over time as the infrastructure got built out and less had to be collected to pay for capital investments.

              Fortunately, our telcos and cable companies have remembered to include infrastructure maintenance and upgrade budgets, and used them properly.

              Those requirements generally insist that companies offer service to all th

            • by acvh (120205) <geek AT mscigars DOT com> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @09:37AM (#17324024) Homepage
              I feel for you, but I don't see any way that this could be true. Fifteen years ago I paid Compuserve 6 dollars an hour for 2400bps online access. Ten years ago it was a local dialup ISP getting $29.95 a month for "offpeak" access at 56k. Today it's 29.95 a month for 3Mbps access.

              My local phone service today includes all the long distance I can eat, voice mail, more call handling options than I'll ever use, and costs 60 bucks a month. My parents paid a base fee for service, had to buy "message blocks" for local calls, and paid anywhere from 45 cents to a buck and half for long distance minutes.

              Ten years ago I got my first cell phone, and paid $1 a minute for the first 20 minutes of usage, then 69 cents after that. Today I pay 10 cents a minute for the first 700 minutes (on two lines even) and something for going over, which we never have. I can make calls anywhere I go, never pay for roaming, and the only time calls drop is when I'm driving.

              I don't usually think of TV as "tech" in this context, but ten years ago our cable bill with HBO ran something like $75(?). Today Dish costs us $80, with HBO and a DVR.
            • Actually, the phone bills do reflect much lower costs after the breakup. Back in the late 79, my phone bill was 100. That was unlimited local calling AND a few calls from Colorado to Illinois and maybe one or 2 other states. Now, it costs me less than a 100 to have unlimited calling all over the states. In addition, calling Canada, Mexico and most of EU is not cost prohibitive. And there was no such thing as high speed access. The high-speed access is rising high because of the FCC (for the last 10 years).
          • > Infrastructure investment through government mandate then leads to an effective subsidy on better
            > communication.

            People have n money available to them. They spend it optimally - at least, more optimally than anyone else can spend that money on their behalf, because they know most about themselves, more than anyone else.

            When the State appropriates money and decides what to spend it on, that money is AT BEST spend as efficiently as it would have been otherwise (in the case where the State spends it e
            • > People have n money available to them. They spend it optimally - at least, more optimally than anyone else can spend that money on their behalf, because they know most about themselves, more than anyone else.
              > When the State appropriates money and decides what to spend it on, that money is AT BEST spend as efficiently as it would have been otherwise (in the case where the State spends it exactly at the individual would have).

              That is not true at all! Imagine a city full of people who each have a dol

            • Hmmmm... let's say you weigh 500 lbs. You want to spend your money on another McDonald's Big Mac. However, the government knows that you would be better off spending your money at a health club. So they take your money from you and use it to provide parks and jogging trails. They still can't make you use them, but they can increase your opportunity to make better choices. Another example would be your desire to sit and watch Oprah and Springer, but they use some of your money to sponsor PBS in the hop
        • If you need to sustain certain profitability with regulations that force you to do business where you don't want to

          This would be great and all, except that the telecom companies have already proven just how much pent up rage they can unleash at people moving in to serve markets where they "didn't want to" as witnessed by all the laws they have backed and tirades their CEOs have given against cities deploying the wireless services that they weren't.

          Companies want to have their cake and eat it too. This is i
          • > This would be great and all, except that the telecom companies have already proven just how much pent up
            > rage they can unleash at people moving in to serve markets where they "didn't want to" as witnessed by
            > all the laws they have backed and tirades their CEOs have given against cities deploying the wireless
            > services that they weren't.

            You're confounding two different issues.

            The free market telecoms companies objected to the appearance of *State provided* telecoms.

            They would not have objecte
    • wow, so naive... (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      ...to think monopolies are reigned in by market forces.

      Last I checked, the raison d'etre of monopoly regulation was because market forces had failed.
      • by suv4x4 (956391)
        wow so naive...to think monopolies are reigned in by market forces.

        I don't see the world in black and white, I said:

        There are cases where even "evil monopolists" should be left to do certain aspects of their business without regulators messing in it.

        Which part of "there are cases" and "certain aspects" is unclear to you? There also such thing as overregulation, heard of it?
      • > ...to think monopolies are reigned in by market forces.

        Of course they are. The market IS what you get, when all is taken into account.

        So for example, monopolies, as guided by market forces, charge the highest rate the market can bear.

        I think what you mean is something more like monopolies will take full advantage of their position to make as much money as possible. This is correct.

        All companies try to take full advantage of their position to make as much money as possible.

        The difference between a nor
    • by ultranova (717540) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:33AM (#17323046)

      It's for everyone: if companies are forced to sell where wouldn't sell, this would affect the prices and quality of service for everyone.

      Except the people who, thanks to this decision, can't get any service whatsoever.

      There are cases where even "evil monopolists" should be left to do certain aspects of their business without regulators messing in it.

      Anything that's vital for the proper functioning of society, and has a tendency towards a natural monopoly - water, electricity, telecommunications, transportation - should be controlled by the society and not by "market forces".

      • by spectrokid (660550) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @06:13AM (#17323198) Homepage
        I lived in York when the water company got privatised. Never seen such a disaster. It wasn't just a license to print money, it was also a license to be incompetent. Now with telecom, one can argue to which extent it stil is a monopoly. And people wo go living in the middle of nowhere should learn that this comes with a price tag. I can remember stories from Belgium where millionaires built illegal expensive villas in protected woods. Even though the constructions were illegal, the utility companies had to spend fortunes to connect these houses, paid for by suckers who live in appartments. And five years later, when they get kids, they go and complain to local politicians because there is no busstop anywhere near. So now the bus from A to B has to stop 10 times instead of 5, doubling travel time. Living in a city is better for the environment (less transport) and better for the community (public transport, utilities, schools...). It should be rewarded.
        • Living in a city is better for the environment (less transport) and better for the community (public transport, utilities, schools...). It should be rewarded.

          Yes, everyone should live in the city and food will magically appear in the grocery stores (or maybe we'll just switch to eating Soylent Green).

          Honestly, do you really believe the crap you're spouting? Cities might be slightly better for the environment than sprawling commuter suburbs but they are certainly not better for the environment than self-su

    • This flies in the face of the century old concept of universal access whereby we pay slightly higher rates to insure that everyone has an equal opportunity to take advantage of the telephone system. I'm not so worried about the idea of IPTV not being available in the sticks as there are alternatives, but no FIOS means that they are shut out of the infrastructure that will power the 21st century.
    • There are cases where even "evil monopolists" should be left to do certain aspects of their business without regulators messing in it.

      Like running a telephone/cable/data line over or under my neighborhood but not offering me service becuase we live where they "wouldn't sell"? We're giving these guys rights-of-way -- they're suckling at the public teat. I understand their goal is to maximize profits by socializing the costs and privatizing the revenue, but we don't have to agree with it or accept it just

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:26AM (#17323026)
    Especially when they own the regulators.

    Good to see corruption and graft still thriving in the USA.
    • by coolgeek (140561)
      Meh corruption. The FCC is going to get a very public spanking from Congress in the new session. There will be some legislation reversing this decision, and they will probably throw in some boundaries to rein the FCC in.
  • by bakana (918482) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:26AM (#17323028)
    Somebody just got a brand new phantom in their driveway via payouts from Telecoms. The FCC are the ones that required cable companies and sat companies to sign individual franchise agreements with each city that service was offered. Why would they go and allow telecoms to skip that step with their services? At the minimum mandate that they have to roll out their products to everyone. Crazy!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by kfg (145172)
      Why would they go and allow telecoms to skip that step with their services?

      There has been a revolution. It was even televised, so I'm not sure what your excuse for missing it is.

      KFG
    • by jonwil (467024)
      The problem is, as we have seen in some cases already is that if Verizon, AT&T and the other companies rolling out various kinds of fibre data networks are required to roll it out to everyone (including all the non profitable areas) they wont roll it out at all.
      • by masklinn (823351)

        Srip them from their monopolies, use public money to roll out (dense) fiber data networks (instead of buying bridges to nowhere), then rent fiber to any private companies (for a fee).

        The current telcos lose their power, everyone gets potential access to the network, new (disruptive) telcos can appear on the market without being strangled by teh mini bells.

        Not going to happen of course (since the mini bells have pretty much bought out every telco-related regulator), but that's the best thing you guys could

    • by jez9999 (618189)
      Somebody just got a brand new phantom in their driveway

      Did they bribe Infinium to actually build one then?
  • by It's Atomic (986455) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @06:11AM (#17323184) Journal
    I'm not from around your neck of the woods, and honestly couldn't tell you if the decision was a good or a bad one. Nor do I understand the consequences or background to the situation, even after RTFAs.

    The very fact that the decision had to be made leads me to believe there are communities, cities, populaces with many thousands if not millions of people who want a say in how their town is serviced by a telecommunications company. Some kind of kickback, like a swimming pool, or some franchise fees.

    To my naive way of thinking, it seems incredible that 5 (3-2) people can veto the decision making process / power of entire cities or possibly even states, throughout the entire country.

    It also seems kind of wrong. Power, corruption, ultimate power, you know, that kind of wrong.
    • To my naive way of thinking, it seems incredible that 5 (3-2) people can veto the decision making process / power of entire cities or possibly even states, throughout the entire country.
      Look pal, a modern economy needs efficient, lean companies squeezing every last drop out of their emloyees and resources so CEOs can be amply rewarded for growth at any cost. How are our companies supposed to remain lean if they have to go chasing 30, 40 500 or 5000 or whatever other communistic amount of regulartory board members so they can be given their brown paper envelopes containing unmarked used dollar bills?

      No, I say. No. What we need is a small manageable amount of bribable individuals so companies can spend less resources on bribery, and more on running their business more efficiently.... into the ground. The current number is great. Sometimes you don't even have to pay them. You can just bombard them with marketers, PR guys, dime a dozen scientists and regatta parties and they mostly just end up actually believing what you say. Great stuff.
      • by speculatrix (678524) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @08:58AM (#17323778)
        whilst I applaud your irony, as with the best irony there is truth in it. The snag is that we the public are responsible for rapacious control by the big corporates. Yes, really, because our pensions are invested in corporations and we demand the highest growth in our savings and most people have no interest in how the money is invested or the consequences of the pressures to perform placed on the investees. If a corporation fails to meet the demands of its shareholders, it is punished hard. The snag is that people most dependent on managed pension funds are those most likely to be hurt by their actions - people who can manage their own pensions are likely to be wealthy enough and high enough up the corporate ladder to have some say in their life.
    • a local municipality here was doing exactly what the FCC blocked, trying to get some sweetness to permit some services.

      of course who would be wired first? well, gee, the government itself, followed by certain neighborhoods that a paper determined to be, guess where, the same people voting to approve it lived.

      sorry, but I understand that it may annoy people that businesses putting down high speed means of access should be allowed to determine where their market is, let alone where they start deployment. It
  • by dircha (893383) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @06:13AM (#17323196)
    Presidents adding oral ammendments to bills and unelected agencies enacting legislation.

    This is just yet another example; it is rediculous. Where is the mass outrage? Shouldn't Republicans be outraged by our government wiping its ass with the Constitution - limited government and separation of powers? Shouldn't Democrats be outraged as the government continues to redistribute our hard earned money into the pockets of its corporate sponsors?

    I mean ordinary people. I'd like to think I'm an ordinary person, but polls say otherwise. Why aren't ordinary people outraged when they see these abuses and corruptions?
    • by mpoulton (689851)
      Why aren't ordinary people outraged when they see these abuses and corruptions?

      Ordinary people *don't* see these abuses, because they aren't paying any attention. If they took the time to understand how our government actually works, they probably would be outraged at the regulatory power wielded by unelected agencies -- most attorneys I know are!
      • by bky1701 (979071)
        "If they took the time to understand how our government actually works, they probably would be outraged at the regulatory power wielded by unelected agencies -- most attorneys I know are!"

        You mean the demons are mad that the devil is having all the fun? [/Lawyer joke]
    • by Rix (54095)
      Franchise agreements are pretty stupid, and it would be fair to say they play a large part in holding back progress in the US. Why should every little podunk suburb have a say in national networks? If you want to regulate them, fine, but that's the wrong level of government.
      • by afidel (530433)
        Franchise agreements were the only thing that ensured that I eventually got cable modem service at my last apartment. Adelphia was too busy giving all its money to the founders to spend it on the local digital buildout and it was only the local cable board bringing out the fines for missing the project completion date (which was possible due to franchise agreements) that finally got them off their duff. They were still almost a year late finishing the project, but at least I eventually able to get service.
    • by Detritus (11846) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @07:08AM (#17323376) Homepage
      The FCC makes telecommunications policy via regulations because that limited power was expressly given to them by an act of Congress. Congress has the power to modify the FCC's authority, and has done so on numerous occasions. If you actually read the proceedings of the FCC, they often make reference to the statutory authority that empowers them to deal with an issue, or that limits what they can do.
      • by Marillion (33728)

        OMG - Someone who understands government.

        It should go without saying that other agencies derive their authority from similar Acts of Congress.

        So the mystery committee of five people was created (albiet through layers of abstraction and indirection) from the electorate.

        A take home lesson from this is that if you like or dislike the regulations of some government agency, let you elected representatives know. What regulatory powers Congress give to agencies, Congress can increase or decrease.

    • by shams42 (562402)
      > Shouldn't Democrats be outraged as the government continues to redistribute our easily borrowed money into the pockets of its corporate sponsors?

      There, I fixed it for you.
  • Everyone knows the rights of megabusiness count for -two- citizins.
    In case of a conflict, choose megamoney. Always.
  • by StarsEnd (640288) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @07:59AM (#17323544)
    As seen on slashdot before
    http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/01/05/02 9222 [slashdot.org], various companies attempt to hinder broadband rollout by governments.
    Will this decision then reduce the resistance against municipalities building their own infrastructure? If my township isn't one of the cherries to be picked by the companies, we can pick it ourselves.
  • by zaaj (678276) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @08:15AM (#17323620)
    In my area, there's an ISP that's also a CLEC (Competing Local Exchange Carrier - they offer dialtone). They're building out fiber to buildings for Ethernet and telephony services, and would like to get into video (TV) but since they're a small company, they just can't do it if they're going to be required to build-out to the non-profitable areas. It's not just a matter of raising prices for everyone to subsidize the sparsely-populated areas, it's a matter of not having the access to the capital required to do such a build-out in the first place. That, and the "densely populated" areas around here are not big enough to make the subsidization idea feasable even if the build-out could be done.

    Here's another perspective - the telco's are only offering DSL in specific areas - sure it's probably primarily for technical reasons - certain radius from the CO for DSL to work, but if they can "cherry pick" for DSL, why not the rest of the services they offer.

    On the other hand, arguments about large numbers of rural residents not having phone or electric sevice now if the build-out requirements were never in place are hard to ignore, and high-speed internet is being considered a basic necessity by more and more people as time goes on. Perhaps the FCC doesn't agree about that, or perhaps they figure having wide-spread fiber deployments at all would be a better starting point to eventually get fiber to rural areas than if fiber wasn't in the city/town at all.
  • by theBeak (1003038) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @10:02AM (#17324244)
    Having lived most of my life in a rural area only minutes from a major metro area, I can tell you if it weren't for buildout requirements, I wouldn't have phone, garbage or power service. Utility companies are GIVEN many privileges when it comes to their for-profit business, such as easements through public and private property to run cabling. Do you really think anyone would WANT a string of 200-foot electrical towers going through their property? Of course not. But the government allows easements through properties for the GOOD OF ALL. In exchange for these privileges, the companies are expected to service everyone. Also, requiring these infrastructure providers to service every area helps promote growth of both residential and business areas. How quickly do you think an area would develop if the basics like power and data had not been provided for during infrastructure installs and upgrades? There are those who say this sort of situation fosters competition, i.e., some upstart little company will come along and service those who the big boys won't. That may be true in some areas, but not telecom. If a company says area A isn't profitable, so we won't service them, how will another company be able to service them without the profitable areas to make up for it? The answer: they won't be able to. That's why these buildout requirements were set up in the first place. The goverment was essentially saying to the providers, "Look. You have to analyze your profitability across the board, regardless of whether that two square miles at the edge of your service area are profitable in and of themselves." Every business has an area (or more than one) that is less- or even non-profitable. It's called the cost of doing business.
    • by alteran (70039) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @11:22AM (#17325034)
      I understand how someone living in a rural area might want build-out requirements for cable francising. But let's face it-- TV viewing and internet access are NOT phone service or electricity.

      Living in rural areas with our current lifestyle incurrs a lot of societal costs in terms of pollution and infrastucture expenses. Rural development uses more land. Rural areas create more transportation costs, most indirect causes of which are born disproportunately by urbanitees. I could go on. In short, EVERYONE pays for those expenses, NOT just the folks living out in rural areas. It is not only unfair to ask urban dwellers to finance these inequities, it also creates an artificial incentive to develop rural areas and encroach on natural preserves.

      It's bad policy. For phone and electric, I'm willing to hold keep my peace and underwrite expensive outlays to rural areas-- these are necessities, and I'm willing to take a hit so that other people can have those necessities. But to incurr those costs for entertainment seems a bit much-- particularly since for broadband and TV, viable alternatives do, in fact, exist. Sure, there aren't as many choices, but that applies to everything out in the country, from everything from stores to restuarants to places of worship.

      Why should broadband/TV access be any different?
  • by mailseth (227177) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @10:51AM (#17324686)
    Please allow me to plug the open source mesh network project that I've been involved with. If the residents feel that they are being treated unfairly, they should just put up CUWiN nodes, and share to all areas in the city with minimal cost.

    http://cuwireless.net/ [cuwireless.net]
  • by randomjohndoe (618905) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @11:19AM (#17324986)
    Break the monopoly! Local governments want universal access? Then they should build it. Fund it through long term bonds like other infrastructure. Let ISPs, Telcos and Cable TV companies compete to provide service through the community owned fiber. Now you're not locked into carrier owned infrastructure. End of monopoly. Watch for the big companies to hate this as much as they do municipal wireless. Then you'll know it's good for the consumer.
  • FUSF? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dex22 (239643) <plasticuser@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @11:56AM (#17325426) Homepage
    If the telcos no longer have to service poorer or more remote or inconvenient areas, does that mean they will no longer receive Federal Universal Service Fund payments?

    Does that mean I can keep my FUSF fees?

    Of course not. Gah.
  • by Rotten168 (104565) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @12:15PM (#17325626) Homepage
    Unfortunately, both parties only support federalism and the 10th amendment when it suits their interests.
  • by glennrrr (592457) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @12:21PM (#17325694)
    Here in Nashua, New Hampshire, I've heard the reason Verizon does not offer TV service along with their fiber optic Internet service is that the mayor is insisting on universal access until he allows the franchise (and conveniently preventing competition with Comcast). So I get my TV via a ugly Dish Network dish on my roof, and my Internet via the zippy fast Verizon fiber optic service.
    This is not exactly pushing the limits of the bandwidth of the fiber.
  • Cherries (Score:3, Insightful)

    by alanjstr (131045) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @12:30PM (#17325818) Homepage
    So a company wants to be profitable and everyone gets mad. This isn't about them not serving those remote areas at all; they already do that. They just want to deploy fiber to the areas that are most likely to pay for it. Also, some municipalities take more than a year to decide whether the telcos can deploy fiber. That means that YOU are waiting for more competition for more than a year.

    So why should I, the consumer, suffer?

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