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The Internet Government News

FCC Seeks To Improve US Broadband Access 161

Posted by timothy
from the can-you-ping-me-now dept.
MojoKid writes "The US Federal Communications Commission is working on a plan to solve the problem of nationwide access to high-speed Internet service. The three main issues the agency is tackling first are, figuring out how to improve availability, quality and affordability. Acting FCC Chairman Michael J. Copps held a meeting this week where he asked the public to comment on the national broadband plan, which Congress has demanded be done by February. The public has 60 days to submit comments; the agency and members of the public will be able to reply to comments for an additional 30 days after that."
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FCC Seeks To Improve US Broadband Access

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  • The Porno for Podunk Plan
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Think of the children. Some poor, unfortunate teenagers right here in our very own country might actually have to wait a few seconds to see the quality Internet porn the rest of us take for granted every day.

      Now for only pennies a day, you too can bring much needed broadband porn to hillbillies across the nation.

      • by rubycodez (864176)

        you gotta be kidding, in this country, the hillbillies are starring in the porn. with broadband they can all have webcams and post on trash tube sites too. ew.

        • Yeah, guess I should have put <sallystruthers> and <humor> tags around that. Maybe the humorless mods tonight wouldn't have modded me flamebait.
  • Simple (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chill (34294) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @07:28PM (#27525973) Journal

    Next time you auction off spectrum that could be used for JUST THIS PURPOSE, stop setting the minimum bids at astronomical numbers. "Public benefit" doesn't necessarily mean "get as much money for the gov't as possible".

    Some good 700 MHz spectrum, at cheap to nothing rates, would spur small businesses to be created to provide access at costs much more in line with what people can pay. You know, if the entry costs weren't more than the GDP of a 3rd World Nation it might spur some innovation.

    Then reduce the bureaucracy and cost of getting a license to use that spectrum.

    Idiots.

    • Re:Simple (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Renraku (518261) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @07:58PM (#27526229) Homepage

      Auction off something cheap, so some companies could get a start.

      No big company would EVER use their resources to start a smaller puppet company who's sole intention was to buy a piece of the spectrum and sell service for rates as absurd as text messaging rates..just to keep the competition away.

      Never!

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        What really is needed is a special kind of auction that reflects the monopoly aspect of sole access to spectrum. So the bid should involve two items, how much they are willing to pay for that spectrum and how much they will charge for retail access to that spectrum. The winning bid is the one that provides the the best ration of buy price to rent access price. Otherwise the end user is just paying an enormous undisclosed tax bill to pay for the spectrum that was taken from them, really, WTF?

    • Re:Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

      by postbigbang (761081) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @07:59PM (#27526241)

      Resist wireless. It's a short term ploy that isn't even 'broadband'. Modulation schemes today require lots of nearby APs, and that sucks.

      Instead, the USA has to buckle down and run fiber, like we did twisted pairs decades and decades ago. Wireless sounds good until you realize just what a rotten long term investment. Remember 802.11a, then, b, then g, and now the might-one-day-be-ratified n? Or how about that great WhyMax stuff? Want some LTE anyone? How about some bonded channels for GSM? Really-- trenched fiber is the best long term way to go. If you invested 20 years ago, you're still using it and haven't found an upper end limit to its capacity for speed.

      • Re:Simple (Score:4, Insightful)

        by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @09:18PM (#27526833) Journal

        Fiber is simply too expensive. Have you ever driven across the continent? Well I have. Several times. There's a whole lot of *nothing* out there and digging up literally millions of miles of dirt to run fiber to farmhouses is going to cost a shitload of money.

        I still think DSL is the answer to getting highspeed internet to isolated locations like Wyoming or Idaho or Montana. The copper lines are already present, so all the telephone company needs do is install the DSLAM for any customer that requests an upgrade (as mandated by a new law). Even if the wires are relatively poor condition, they should be able to handle 1000 kbit/s speeds, which is far superior to current dialup maximums of 50. And most importantly: It's a cheap upgrade that minimizes the burden on taxpayers.

        BTW my current speed happens to be 700k, not by limitation but by choice. $15 a month is all I'm willing to spend, and it works great. I just finished watching the latest Supernatural episode at cwtv.com - no problems whatsoever. I don't need a 50,000 kbit/s line just as I don't need an 800 horsepower NASCAR to get to work.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by postbigbang (761081)

          Haven't done the math, have you? Haven't talked to people in Montana, Utah, and other places that are doing fiber today, doing it cheaply, and getting bandwidth to dream of.

          There are some places where the economics won't work. Consider them the last mile +. Get them with point-to-point WiMax or a cellular... or at worst, a sat dish.

          • by Extide (1002782)
            Yeah I live in Utah, can't get fiber internet, but the people who can get it (Utopia) can get 15/15mbit for like $25 a month. Packages go up to 100mbit each way for pretty damn cheap considering (~$200-250/month....)
        • by Adriax (746043)

          1000kbps? HAH! I live in wyoming, and I can tell you, unless you live right in town there's a 75% chance your phone system's switchbox is mechanical.

          We were lucky dialup worked when we were living out of town, at speeds of a blazing 13.2kbps on good days 5 years ago.

          Wireless is the way to go out here, cellphones reach almost everywhere, and my town's broadband is serviced not my cable or fiber, but microwave links that bounce it over the mountains.

          • by bitrex (859228)

            1000kbps? HAH! I live in wyoming, and I can tell you, unless you live right in town there's a 75% chance your phone system's switchbox is mechanical.

            Any chance blue boxes still work out there, too?

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by RockWolf (806901)

          I don't need a 50,000 kbit/s line just as I don't need an 800 horsepower NASCAR to get to work.

          That's unamerican! Hand in your SUV's keys on your way out to the bus stop, you dirty hippie. ~

          /~Rockwolf

        • by MobyDisk (75490)

          Fiber is simply too expensive. Have you ever driven across the continent? Well I have. Several times. There's a whole lot of *nothing* out there and digging up literally millions of miles of dirt to run fiber to farmhouses is going to cost a shitload of money.

          100 years ago, someone probably said the same thing about copper.

          • Yes they did. And that's why, instead of installing copper, they used existing technology known as "cattle fences" to hook-up telegraphs and telephones to distant locations. Those temporary solutions were used well into the 1960s.

            That's what we need to do today. Use existing phonelines to get high-speed to everybody... and then *gradually* upgrade to faster fiber connections between now and 2060.

            Another thought

            - rural folks could choose to live closer to the city. That's what I did when I decided I was

      • You are looking at the sad FCC limitations on WiFi. The low power restrictions make it useless for Broadband Access. In that regard You are correct. I will add that he current Broadband providers want to push this misconception! Are you one of them?

        The truth of the matter is that Apple Computer Co.(remember them?) know better and have tried to get spectrum allocated for Broadband Access a few times. But Broadband providers seem to lobby the FCC and we lose.

        Also Broadband is not TV. If you want TV
    • Re:Simple (Score:5, Interesting)

      by causality (777677) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @08:03PM (#27526263)

      Next time you auction off spectrum that could be used for JUST THIS PURPOSE, stop setting the minimum bids at astronomical numbers. "Public benefit" doesn't necessarily mean "get as much money for the gov't as possible".

      Some good 700 MHz spectrum, at cheap to nothing rates, would spur small businesses to be created to provide access at costs much more in line with what people can pay. You know, if the entry costs weren't more than the GDP of a 3rd World Nation it might spur some innovation.

      Then reduce the bureaucracy and cost of getting a license to use that spectrum.

      Idiots.

      I think a big part of the problem is that right now, most people who have any choice at all have a choice between two monopolies: telco and cable. Your idea would provide that missing "third option". An agile competitor with minimal infrastructure costs, license costs, and other barriers to entry might just provide the innovation and options that are sorely missing from the monopolies.

      I say that with the assumption that what you had in mind was WiMax or something like it. Although it would be yet another monopoly, this also makes me wonder what happened to the internet-over-powerlines idea. The above was my realistic response to you. What follows is what I'd like to see despite how unrealistic it may be.

      What I'd really like to see is a more decentralized Internet. This is more like the mesh networks consisting of many low-power wireless connections that communicate with each other. On a truly decentralized Internet, it would be impossible for any single entity to force filtering, censorship, deep packet inspection, bandwidth caps, and the like on large numbers of people who do not want them. It would also be a truly "public benefit" as in owned and operated by Joe Public instead of owned and operated by large, centralized, political bureaucracies in Joe Public's name. Right now this may not be feasible or likely but it would be pleasing to see a step in that direction. Of course, I would not expect the FCC to encourage this idea at all, for it would reduce the amount of control they now enjoy, but that's why I call this unrealistic.

      Just as an aside, isn't there currently a lot of dark fiber? If there is a large amount of it, does anyone know why it's not currently being used, or have an idea of what could be done with it?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Urza9814 (883915)

        The problem with your ideal solution is it's pretty much impossible to connect to areas of low population or between areas of dense population. A mesh network might work OK throughout downtown New York City (though I have doubts on that even - it seems to me there would be a huge amount of stress on the nodes towards the center), but how are you going to connect NYC to LA? Or even NYC to Boston? Hell, even my house, in a small university town near Pittsburgh, would have nearly no connectivity - my house is

        • by Rockoon (1252108)
          You can run one wire to each town, to just one location in town, and wirelessly connect the whole town..

          ...should be significantly cheaper than running wire to every home.

          A decent wireless broadband service will eventualy come.. likely to be from the cell services, since they already have sites well located and contracted: they just need the proper equipment and the incentive to do it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by greedom (1431073)
        causality (777677) says: "I think a big part of the problem is that right now, most people who have any choice at all have a choice between two monopolies: telco and cable. Your idea would provide that missing "third option". An agile competitor with minimal infrastructure costs, license costs, and other barriers to entry might just provide the innovation and options that are sorely missing from the monopolies." Yeah America really fumbled the ball on that one, falling far behind due to corruption and gree
      • What I'd really like to see is a more decentralized Internet.

        The results you aim for sound really great, I'm with you on those. How about the implementation? Let's see if I understod you right.

        If your solution removes control from the hand of the monopoly (or oligopoly), then every user more or less has to be multi-homed: they need to have more than one neighbour who routes their outbound traffic.

        I predict a usability challenge: how do you present the choices to the user in a way that makes them able to make an informed decision (if they want to)?

        Also, users will n

    • by Moridin42 (219670)

      If it is an auction, and we assume that the bidders all bid voluntarily, then it doesn't particularly matter what the starting bid is. Unless, of course, no one is willing to pay even the set minimum.

      700Mhz spectrum at cheap to nothing rates will only occur when 700Mhz spectrum is worth little to no dollars. Which.. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it isn't.

    • The three main issues the agency is tackling first are, figuring out how to improve availability, quality and affordability.

      We need to bust the local monopolies. They don't like to provide service to remote areas. They don't have any incentive to provide quality. And what people usually think when you mention "monopoly" - they charge high prices.

      Unfortunately when the government wants to do something like improve service or availability their "solution" is usually to throw money at the monopoly and tell

    • by inviolet (797804)

      Next time you auction off spectrum that could be used for JUST THIS PURPOSE, stop setting the minimum bids at astronomical numbers. "Public benefit" doesn't necessarily mean "get as much money for the gov't as possible".

      You do understand that the big boys will still join the auction, which means the final sale price will still be an astronomical number.

      Or were you thinking of banning the big boys? Even though they are, due to their size, more efficiently able to capitalize a big asset like "this frequency

      • by chill (34294)

        Just like contracts with the Federal Gov't are required to have a certain percentage reserved for small businesses, there should be portions of the spectrum reserved for small businesses. Or, require those big telcos to provide reasonable 100% build-out plans. If areas aren't built out in a certain time frame, they forfeit the use of that PUBLICLY OWNED spectrum that they leased in that area.

        For example, if Verizon/ATT/Sprint buys spectrum to cover all of Texas, they have x-number of years to actually COV

  • Monopolies (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chabo (880571) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @07:38PM (#27526035) Homepage Journal

    Make it harder for companies to have monopolies or duopolies. This is the system that's in place in most areas of the nation outside big cities.

    Other companies may technically have an opportunity to join in and provide service to the people, but in practice it's just not possible anymore.

    A friend of mine used to work at an ISP in New Hampshire. His company sent letters to all of their customers basically saying "Please support the legislation that will limit Verizon's stranglehold on New Hampshire". The ISPs connection to the outside world (provided by Verizon, surprise-surprise) went down that night. Two days later, they got a Verizon employee on the phone who apparently wasn't "in on it", and he was like "Oh, how did this configuration get changed?" and turned their connection back on.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by JimXugle (921609)

      But duopolies serve a purpose!

      Someone needs to drop your connection for days at a time with no explanation or refund... and piling all that non-work on one company is just too much.

      • by cizoozic (1196001)
        Comcast is perfectly capable of the above, in fact, I'd say they excel at it. Unfortunately, I no longer use their service, so I have to deal with more uptime and a faster connection, but hey, sometimes you just have to take one for the team.
    • ^^^ this. Nothing will improve until the monopolies and cable-dsl duopolies are gone.

    • by einhverfr (238914)

      I completely agree. The only way forward is competition. In practice this means requiring that these companies are required to rent their infrastructure out readily and affordably to other companies. We have seen things going down hill for a while. This needs to change.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SEE (7681)

        If you make them rent, you still have the same monopoly. What you have to do is let other companies lay lines. For that, you've got to basically blast the local governments out of the way, because it's way too easy for incumbents to bribe them into setting up barriers--see Philadelphia's resistance to cable competition.

        • by einhverfr (238914)

          Not really.

          The lines are basically regulated to the point of being a common good and access to them commoditized. You could set the rate to something like 10% of the cost of the least expensive subscription the company offers (land line is $15/month? you must rent then to competitors for $1.50/month!) or some other cost calculation.

          Now, in some places you do see alternative lines being laid. I have a county-run fiber-line to my house. THe county doesn't provide any services to me over the line. They re

    • Re:Monopolies (Score:5, Interesting)

      by subreality (157447) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @08:56PM (#27526639)

      Make it harder for companies to have monopolies or duopolies. This is the system that's in place in most areas of the nation outside big cities.

      Seconded, and it's not even hard to do. Here's how:

      Municipalize the last mile. Take it away from the telco monopolies. Sell access freely to anyone at fair rates as a municipal service, just like water service. Let people plug in any service they want on the other end of the wire. That might be AT&T, giving you phone and internet. It might be some local ISP just giving you DSL and IPTV service. Guaranteed, though, competition will explode overnight.

      What, copper's not good enough? Quit waiting for some slow telco to deign to drag it in for you (years and years after we've already paid for it!). Drop some city funds to pull fiber, and start leasing access at fair rates, the same way you did for copper.

      The cities that have already done this have *fantastic* service for minimal cost... Other than making a big telco monopoly hate them for the rest of time.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dukeofurl01 (236461)

        The cities that have done this have also been sued by big telcos.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Big Boss (7354)

          Yes, but the FCC and Congress can fix that problem. And in my mind they should. The problem is simple enough, monopoly. So allow municipal projects to lay fiber so long as they provide no services to the end user and all retailers get the same rates, no exceptions. In addition, ban any and all governments from restricting competition by granting monopolies for last mile services.

          This provides 2 paths for competition. Over the municipal system (see: UTOPIA Project for a good description of this working in Ut

      • by bmullan (1425023)

        This is a good idea as it eliminates any one entity owning the last mile which is by far the most expensive piece of the network because of the right-of-ways, labor costs.

        WiMAX or some derivative may solve that though.
        Also, some of the WISP providers that are planning on using the freed up Analog TV frequencies may also come up with some municipal wide wireless coverage.

        Whoever mentioned the Telco's will sue... they may but so far they've lost almost all cases against municipalities. Besides its a

        • WiMAX or some derivative may solve that though.

          Not really. The problem is that all the WISP's will have constrained common bandwidth. They'll provide an alternative for the way people perceive high speed internet today (Load web pages faster and watch some youtube), and help drive prices down for the "small cap" market, but some of us want to watch streaming high qualiity video (Like Netflix). Companies that have a stake in traditional TV distribution (Like Comcast, AT&T, etc) will love WISP's... It lets them pretend they're not a monopoly, even

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        Or better yet, run conduit to each and every home and just run out the space to any and all comers. Cities are already well versed in how to run conduit to homes. The current sewer lines are more than big enough to easily handle 20 or 30 lines per household. This is FAR more than necessary to ensure real competition.

        This removes the monopolies suing problem as there is no data services being supplied by the cities, and at the same time it brings in revenue.
        • With municipal fiber, the city isn't running any data services either. They just own a piece of glass that goes into your home. What goes down that fiber is entirely the responsibility of the homeowner and whoever they contract with.

          Fiber is pretty much the end game, at least for the foreseeable future of datacomms, so I don't think the extra expense of the conduit would really be worthwhile.

          • by Belial6 (794905)
            1) Saying that running fiber is not offering data services is a little like saying, that flashing light across that fiber isn't running data services either. It is pretty well established that running data grade fiber optics is part of a data service. Perticularly since they will need to be testing the data capabilities of that fiber since they own it and are going to be renting it's use for data services.

            2) A single fiber optic line, or even 2 or 3, is going to lead to more monopolies. Unless the m
      • Ref: Kutztown Pennsylvania. [carrollcountytimes.com]

        I'm sending this over 10 mbit fiber from the town that costs less than your 4 mbit cable.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      Make it harder for companies to have monopolies or duopolies.

      You are talking about regulation, and that, sir, is no different than Socialism.

      I know this because I heard it on the radio today. And did you also know that it's possible to be a socialist, fascist, marxist, appeaser, quisling, muslim extremist, and liberal all at the same time? It's all over the AM dial. I wasn't sure who they were talking about, but anybody who can be all those things is pretty impressive. He should be president.

      Seriously, I

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Chabo (880571)

        I'm a libertarian, and I still think that preventing/punishing monopolistic business practices is within the list of powers governments should have.

        • by Big Boss (7354)

          I tend libertarian as well. I don't see the internet as being significantly different than roads. The government has shown it can provide good service for large infrastructure projects like this. I also believe they should require that anyone can run fiber, no monopolies. Competition is the only way to improve high speed internet access. Lack of competition leaves us with stagnating technology, even in large cities with population density that rivals other nations that have much better service. It also leav

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

            Competition is the only way to improve high speed internet access.

            Funny, somehow the Internet was created without "competition".

  • Didn't they (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sylos (1073710) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @07:44PM (#27526089)
    Try this already? What..with the billions of dollars given to them already...and monopolies given to them..the tax breaks...etc. This is just buying some CEO a new boat.
    • by rhizome (115711)

      Try this already? What..with the billions of dollars given to them already...and monopolies given to them..the tax breaks...etc. This is just buying some CEO a new boat.

      Not to mention that the changes they need to make are old news in pretty much every other industrialized country in the world.

      More than a CEO's boat, this is just buying some bureaucrat time to get inside juice on the telcos so that they can lobby for them in two years. Many recommendations will be suggested and all will be ignored once the

    • Bring back the '96 telco reform act [wikipedia.org]which helped quite a bit in leveling the playing field with the monopolies of phone companies. It forced the ILECs to allow interconnections with small upstart phone companies. It wasn't perfect - it included things like the Communications Decency Act within it - but it opened the way for many of the thousands of ISPs to be able to offer service.

      Bush and Powell's kid running the FCC did away with essentially all of the changes. Since then all the baby bells are bigger a

      • There are baby bells left? AT&T sucked back up my local baby bell and my cell-phone provider to boot.
  • broadband (Score:3, Interesting)

    by codepunk (167897) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @07:45PM (#27526095)

    Fixing the broadband issue is a last mile problem and just about the only method to address that at the moment
    is through wireless. Now I am sure that the govt will step right up and give the big telecos a bunch of cash and
    tell them to go forth and provide more broadband. Trouble is the big telecos do not provide last mile wireless coverage
    mom and pop shops do. This is not a hard issue to fix if the money is placed in the right places.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)
      In Australia we have exactly the same issues, but with one tenth the population density. In theory infrastructure should be ten times more affordable in the USA.
    • by tepples (727027)

      Trouble is the bi[g] telecos do not provide last mile wireless covera[g]e mom and pop shops do. This is not a hard issue to fix if the money is placed in the ri[g]ht places.

      And the telcos have been spending it on 3G (UMTS, EVDO) technologies. Three G, like what I quoted.

  • When? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @07:45PM (#27526097)

    asked the public to comment on the national broadband plan, which Congress has demanded be done by February.

    Uh, February of which year?

    Not that Congress can get anything right done by February of any year.

  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @07:56PM (#27526195) Homepage

    And how, exactly, are we supposed to comment on this plan? For that matter, what IS this plan?

    Can someone translate it into English for the rest of us?

    • by compro01 (777531)

      The Story is that the FCC plans to come up with a plan to improve broadband access and is asking the public for their input.

      • by MrEricSir (398214)

        Wait, so they're PLANNING to come up with a plan?

        If that's all it is, this is a non-story. Government agencies come up with plans all the time. Plans != action.

        • by compro01 (777531)

          The story is that they're asking for input. I would imagine some of the people here might have some ideas on this matter.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by CMF Risk (833574)

      Commenting seems like a rather complicated (or rather tedious) process.

      All filings related to this Notice of Inquiry should refer to GN Docket No. 09-51

      Electronic Filers: Comments may be filed electronically using the Internet by accessing the
      ECFS: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/ [fcc.gov] or the Federal eRulemaking Portal:
      http://www.regulations.gov./ [www.regulations.gov] Filers should follow the instructions provided on the website for
      submitting comments.

      Â ECFS filers must transmit one electronic copy of the comments for GN Docket No.

  • I don' understand... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I thought the Invisible Market Fairy was supposed to handle this??!?!

    Isn't this how the internet began? Independant [aol.com], competing [wikipedia.org] companies [wikipedia.org] all competing to produce a cohesive, compatible online environment? Why is that model not working now?

  • First (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Thursday April 09, 2009 @08:14PM (#27526341) Journal

    Demand that all service providers act as common carriers, or "dumb pipes", if you will. To insure access for everybody, the basic infrastructure must be managed by a publicly accountable entity, the government, just like the roads. And these "roads" must accept all kinds of traffic. No tiering, no filtering, none of that. The "last mile" can be leased out to those who will accept these conditions. We need consumer protection with real teeth. They won't do it unless they hear from us. So speak up, and speak LOUD. I am formulating my letter at this very moment. To those of you who want to leave it up to the market, I respectfully remind you of the AM stereo debacle, and American cell phone service.

  • I'm happy with my current DSL service. I just wish it was half the cost and the DSL provider stop bugging me to upgrade to a faster and more expensive package. Shouldn't basic DSL pricing be treated the same way as dial-up (i.e., cheap and slow)?
    • by toddestan (632714)

      The DSL company assumes that if you got the faster package, you wouldn't really use the service more, so the extra money you give them would be pure profit. That's why they are always after you to upgrade. Of course, the people running P2P 24/7 don't follow this pattern, but they are the exception here.

  • Don't forget.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @08:22PM (#27526389) Homepage Journal

    To eliminate bandwidth caps.

    Doesn't do much good to have it if you cant use it.

    • by zaffir (546764)

      Agreed.

      In fact, get rid of ridiculous bandwidth charges. Charge for speed, not volume.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        I disagree with you to some extent.

        What needs to happen is for ISP's to not be tiered. And make it fraud to sell out more bandwidth than you actually can provide just because "nobody uses it all". hello? If you tier your lightweights to more than they need, you don't get to bitch if they actually use what they bought when you were expecting them to be less.

        So, first problem: Stop ISPs from advertising or selling more than they can deliver.

        If I were the ISP czar, and I were making policy...

        ASSERT(!greedy

  • by MikeURL (890801)
    Maybe they can start by stopping Time Warner Cable from slashing the access of about 10 million Americans. That would be a great start.
    • by bmullan (1425023)

      Maybe they can start by stopping Time Warner Cable from slashing the access of about 10 million Americans. That would be a great start.

      FCC doesn't regulate Time Warner's High Speed Internet. Each State does it individually. So talk to your State's regulatory commission

  • No bandwidth caps.

    Drop the storage cost to what Japan charges.

    And stop whining about it.

    This country is so far behind it's sickening.

    • by Meor (711208)
      Far behind in what? A 10Mb pipe? Something 95% of people don't need? The only people than need fatter pipes at low cost are movie and software pirates. I'm glad you don't set government policy. You're the epitome of "Subsidize things I like."
  • by jafo (11982) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @08:52PM (#27526609) Homepage

    IMHO, the telcos and cable companies are why we have some of the worst "broadband" access in our homes. They've been dragging their feet, similar to the way the RIAA has been, fighting tooth and nail to not give the customers what they want.

    As much as I'm for better broadband, I'm extremely against giving it to the telcos to implement. We already gave them $2 billion to develop Fiber To The Home by 2000. As of 2009 I know of almost noone who has or even can get this service, it's only in a couple of hot spots where you can get it.

    Worse, the telcos seem to see high speed home networks as competition for their business services, so they dramatically limit the outbound rates. 900kbps is a pretty small pipe to push backups of my home systems across, for example.

    I personally like the ideas of "homes with tails", the home owners owning the fiber from their houses to a pedestal or "meet me" location, and then the providers can get access in there and users can get different options for that connectivity.

    Sean

    • by ZosX (517789) <zosxavius AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday April 09, 2009 @09:04PM (#27526729) Homepage

      If I only had mod points. You just took the words right out of my mouth. Congress should be DEMANDING better/cheaper access after the phone companies have done virtually nothing to hold their end of the deal up. Now they want to implement a tiered internet and ridiculously low caps (40GB??) All the while trying to charge us more?? I think the consumers are getting a pretty raw deal, especially when you see the Japan and Korea are getting hundreds of megabits out of copper. Surely bandwidth costs have come down in the last 10 years domestically. So theoretically they should be making even more off consumers as their costs should be going down. Look at it this way. You pay $50 for cable and $50 for internet. Those 150 channels cost the cable company a LOT more than even 200 gigabytes worth of data transmissions. Problem is that the ISPs all want a piece of a bigger pie than just simply providing 0s and 1s to your door will give them. God help us if net neutrality fails.

    • by ptbarnett (159784)

      As of 2009 I know of almost noone who has or even can get this service, it's only in a couple of hot spots where you can get it.

      It depends on where you live, and what ILEC serves your area.

      I live in an area served by Verizon, and have had fiber to my home for a couple of years. It's not a "hot spot": Verizon has been aggressively laying fiber and deploying throughout many of their service areas.

      I currently have 20 megabit/sec down and 5 megabit/sec up, and could upgrade to 20/20 for another $10/month. 50/20 would be another $75/month on top of that.

      AT&T doesn't deploy fiber to the home, at least not generally. They d

    • by noc007 (633443)

      I have to agree with you. Though I don't recall it being $2billion, more like $200billion. WTF I want to know is why they need more money when we gave them a metric butt load of money with legislation passed 13 years ago with the 1996 Telecommunications Act? Probably lining their pockets.

      It's funny that I made a very similar comment almost to the day a year ago: http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=514000&cid=22991122 [slashdot.org]

  • Step One (Score:4, Insightful)

    by barzok (26681) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @08:57PM (#27526661)

    Eliminate stupid practices like bandwidth caps & metered usage designed to squeeze out competition from online video services while abusing the government-granted monopoly position.

    I'm looking at TW in Rochester, San Antonio, and 4 other cities. You know who you are.

  • The central planners are going to step into an industry suffering from heavy handed regulation, and magically undue their own damage? What will end up happening is an absurdly expensive and inefficient boondoggle, with vested interests (ie people who can't see indirect taxation, but want their broadband deceptively cheap), that will end up a Minitelization of what was a functioning, quasi-free-market network in a national socialist economy, where the people get reamed, and pro-government Big Business gets
  • Yeah right I would like to see them make broadband less expensive. And for their next trick, they can pull a white rabbit out of their ass. We live in an age where likes of Comcast can bundle their service for $100 a month, and make it sound like it's a deal. $100 fuckin' dollars, that's a lot of money.

  • Feb. of what Year? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by olddotter (638430) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @09:42PM (#27526993) Homepage

    Really when do they want to do this?

    I think everyone reading slashdot wants this to happen, and knows what would make it happen. The only question here is can government ignore the lobbyists long enough to do the right thing.

  • We all want FTTH (fiber to the home). Just do it already.

  • You can read the Word or PDF version of the FCC's National Broadband Plan - request for public comment here: http://www.fcc.gov/ [fcc.gov] I think many of you should take the time. I read 1/3 of it today. Some of their questions they are requesting comments on are pretty politically charged depending on which side of this fence you are on. The section on how best to promote video support on the internet --- The Cable Companies like Comcast, Time Warner etc are doing everything they can to squash that by puttin
  • Oh, come on! The guy that's always claiming this is a population density problem hasn't replied yet. I always like making fun of him. Where are you, Mr. Density guy?

  • What needs to happen is the one that provides the connection to the house should not provide the service. The government then regulates the infrastructure provider/maintainers. The service providers then sit on that infrastructure.

    For example, here in Utah we have UTOPIA (Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency, http://www.utopianet.org/ [utopianet.org]). UTOPIA themselves provide the fiber to the premise. Then you sign up with the providers on the network. There are a handful of different ISPs that provide servi

  • If they have ANY common sense, and are aware of the problems going on now, they will include stipulations that:

    1. Service providers CANNOT oversell their bandwidth on the new networks,
    2. Service providers CANNOT throttle customers on the new networks,
    3. Agree and understand that the public owns the infrastructure, and NOT THEM,
    4. That they can be fined for poor customer service,
    5. Service providers CANNOT change contracts or force customers to sign new contracts when they change them that customers have alr

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I know this is "news for nerds" and us nerds have just GOT to have broadband, but is this really a problem?

    Believe it or not, there are still places in this country that don't have telephone service, or just got it. Do you think their lives were less full or less meaningful because of this absence?

    I really see this as an entitlement problem. Sure, broadband internet access is great for certain things, but almost all of those things are something people can easily survive without. You are not entitled to

    • by Dusty00 (1106595)
      I and many others would disagree with you. Estonia and Greece have legally declared internet access a basic human right and the UN is pushing to do the same.

      The internet has dramatically increased the efficiency of our society. No long does a person have to reserve a specific hour out of their day if they want to get the news. One does not have to go down to town hall to get the forms to renew their driver's license. The term, 'surf the internet' used to mean aimless browsing to entertain one's sel
  • There is nobody better-versed in Internet speeds and access than slashdot readers. And the FCC is open to comments for the next sixty days. In my article, [examiner.com] I am urging people to comment to the FCC during this period and I am hoping they have lots of really good suggestions from people who are well-informed rather than ill-informed.

    I do note that the FCC has an "acting" director, which means Republicans in the Senate have held up confirmation of yet another Obama appointee for political (read not-useful) reas

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