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Communications Businesses

Telcos Want Big Subsidies, Not Line-Sharing 340

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the give-us-money-and-leave-us-alone dept.
It seems that a recent survey of global broadband practices by Harvard's Berkman Center at the behest of the FCC has stirred the telecommunications hornet's nest. Both AT&T and Verizon are up in arms about some of the conclusions (except the ones that suggest offering large direct public subsidies). "Harvard's Berkman Center study of global broadband practices, produced at the FCC's request, is an 'embarrassingly slanted econometric analysis that violates professional statistical standards and is insufficiently reliable to provide meaningful guidance,' declares AT&T. The study does nothing but promote the lead author's 'own extreme views,' warns a response from Verizon Wireless. Most importantly, it 'should not be relied upon by the FCC in formulating a National Broadband Plan,' concludes the United States Telecom Association. Reviewing the slew of criticisms, Berkman's blog wryly notes that the report seems to have been 'a mini stimulus act for telecommunications lawyers and consultants.'"
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Telcos Want Big Subsidies, Not Line-Sharing

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  • by EndlessNameless (673105) on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:25PM (#30203668)

    Free money, no mandates. This sounds like the initial Bush stimulus package, so it's entirely without precedent.

    If their development is going to be subsidized with federal funds, they damn well better open those lines. And they should be required to meet coverage quotas if they want any of those rural development funds.

    • by sconeu (64226)

      I assume you mean "so it's not entirely without precedent".

      • I read it more as "so it's entirely without precedent"... with a sarcastic voice...

        I'm also wondering where the "wellduh" tag is on this article... they want to maintain their government-sanctionned monopolies, and oh, by the way, they want more money, too. How is this news?

    • by Nadaka (224565) on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:41PM (#30203828)

      The internet industry was already given tax money to implement infrastructure once. That money was distributed to shareholders as profit. And since there was no punishment clause, they never had to implement the infrastructure that they agreed to.

      • by The Cisco Kid (31490) on Monday November 23, 2009 @01:21PM (#30204258)

        Actually, the "telephone industry" was given money, not the "(I)nternet industry".

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Meaning, of course, that they want more.

        The study does does nothing but promote the lead author's 'own extreme views,' warns a response from Verizon Wireless.

        I'd say Verison's greedy views are the extremist views. Why is it that so-called "conservatives" are against welfare, unless it's the rich that are on the recievinig end of the welfare? Isn't this what they call "communism"?

        Hypocrisy reigns supreme.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          You misspoke. I'm a conservative. I'm against all forms of welfare for all people, except as a last-ditch safety net (i.e. you lose your job; you get unemployment funds).

          You know a lot of the problems with our internet would be solved simply by revoking ALL monopolies that Comcast, Cox, Time-warner, et cetera hold over local neighborhoods. If you allow competition, then the People will be empowered to avoid the shitty companies and chose alternatives (like Apple TV or Linux ISP). We don't need a top-dow

          • by tsm_sf (545316) on Monday November 23, 2009 @01:46PM (#30204556) Journal
            What we need is a publicly owned infrastructure and privately run services.
            • by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday November 23, 2009 @02:08PM (#30204766) Homepage Journal

              Well, with my experience with the utilities in Illinois, I'd say let the municipalities run the utilities. Springfield's CWLP (whose manager bears an uncannily striking resemblance to Mr. Burns) is owned by the city. We have the lowest rates, the best customer service, and the least downtime of any electric company in Illinois.

              When two F2 (almost F3) tornados ripped right through my neighborhood [wikipedia.org] in March, 2006, completely destroying the electrical infrastructure, we had power within a week. The telcos and cable took a month to get service restored, and they didn't even have to plant new poles.

              Later that spring (June IIRC) a weak F1 went through the St Louis area. I visited my friend in Cahokia, [wikipedia.org] who has the privately owned Amerin, and the damage was minimal. I didn't see a single line down or broken pole. But he was without power for a month.

              Private utilities are not beholden to their customers; only to their stockholders. It's not like you can take your business elsewhere. Publically owned utilities are beholden to their customers; bad electric service loses an election for the Mayor. He IS accountable, Amerin's CEO is not.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                >>>Private utilities are not beholden to their customers

                No but being regulated monopolies, they are beholden to the government who operate as the boss. If you're friend was without power, then it's because his *government* fucked up and did not do its job.

                I experienced a power outage in Maryland after the remnants of a hurricane blew through and wiped-out power throughout the whole region, and the Baltimore G&E company had my power back in just one day. That's because the government has a law

              • by FrigBot (1459361) * on Monday November 23, 2009 @04:04PM (#30205918)

                We used to have a good utility system in Alberta, until the conservative government of the past decade or so started to privatize the utilities. Now, the quality of service has generally gone down, while prices have gone up. The idea was that by introducing competition, that the oposite of what I just described would occur.

                Oh, there's competition now alright - yesterday my 84-year-old next door neighbour told me about a phone call she got from some unknown gas company trying to convince her to bundle gas and electricity into some contract-based plan. She asked them to send an information package, and what they did was sign her up, and send her the info. Fortunately a bright relative of hers sent a letter to the company and straightened it out, removing her from their list. Things like this happen all the time now. I even heard that when the AB government was considering de-regulation of electricity, the state government of California warned them not to do it, citing the awful experience they had with the same experiment in the late '90's. But then, this is Alberta and we don't listen to reason.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mcgrew (92797) *

            Notice I said "so-called conservatives". True conservatives don't want welfare for the rich.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Can we see some citation please?

        And I don't mean providing a link to some blogger's opinion (which is the typical response), but some actual FACTS that trace the money flowing into telephone companies coffers, and money flowing out to rich person's pockets. From my reading of the 1996 Telecom Act, the money was earmarked for laying digital phonelines, not internet. i.e. Blame Congress for poor planning

    • by Zerth (26112) on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:49PM (#30203922)

      We already did that once and I've got relatives that still only get 9600 on dialup, no chance at DSL, and they live in a town with 1200+ people/sq mi, if only 10,000 or so people.

      They'll take the money, kick out a fat dividend, and then spin off a paper company with the responsibilities, destined to fold.

      • >>>I've got relatives that still only get 9600 on dialup

        Are you sure? I've encountered some crappy lines in my travels, and the noisest/slowest line still provided 21,000 bit/s. As for higher speeds, couldn't your relatives get cable internet or cellphone internet? I do think the government should mandate DSL for anyone who asks for it, but that's not a job to be performed by the FCC. That's a job for the State governments. i.e. -

        Dear Bell:

        If you want to continue holding your mon

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by natehoy (1608657)

        Or sell the division to a sucker who can't figure out that they will fail, like the recent sale of the landlines in New England to FairPoint.

        Though, in this case, FairPoint was so obviously unprepared, it showed in their business plan as submitted to the PUC (fuel and labor costs won't go up for 5 years, yet you haven't prepurchased fuel nor have you finished negotiations with the Union. They won't go up. Really?).

        But, point taken. Verizon got a LOT of money to put better phone lines and Internet access

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cdrguru (88047)

          What happened in Illinois was simple. The state decided the lines should be open and decided the lines should cost some fixed amount statewide. Doesn't matter what the cost was, it was way, way below what it cost to maintain the copper wires. But the state "knew" that since the wires were already there, in the ground and on the poles, that there were no more real costs.

          This resulted in great "openness" and a real bonanza for DSL startups. Just like you would think it would.

          Only problem was, a small dose

      • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday November 23, 2009 @02:22PM (#30204894) Homepage

        I live in NYC and the phone company won't even provide broadband. I can get Internet from the cable company, but Verizon says neither FIOS or DSL are available in my area.

        That's in the country's largest city. The idea that internet sucks because our population density is too low is absolute hogwash.

  • I for one, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ae1294 (1547521) on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:25PM (#30203670) Journal

    have not read TFA but anything the teleco's HATE must not be all that bad...

    • Re:I for one, (Score:4, Interesting)

      by PizzaAnalogyGuy (1684610) on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:37PM (#30203784)

      There are, however, several things to consider especially when it's about telco's.

      Lets say you've ordered a pizza delivery guy to bring you a big fat pizza with some coca cola, because frankly you've a little bit hungry. But what will the pizza delivery guy do if you're mean to him? That's correct, he will not give you the pizza. You might try calling a different pizza place, but you're out of luck if your area doesn't have one or they're already closed after 9pm.

      It's basically the same thing with telco's. Only way to change that is to get government to do something about it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by JustOK (667959)

        Pizza with the government cheese!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        You might try calling a different pizza place, but you're out of luck if your area doesn't have one or they're already closed after 9pm.

        It's basically the same thing with telco's. Only way to change that is to get government to do something about it.

        But not by creating pizza's with government cheese. You change things by opening your own pizza shop. (the way I do it is to make my own pizza) The governments job is to make the playing field level, not by providing all services.

        It seems that more and more, government un-levels the playing field, by design. It natural when you think about it. We'll put you in charge of pizza shop licensing. Who are you going to lunch with, the sharp dressed person from the pizza lobby, or the wild haired, crazy gu

        • It seems that more and more, government un-levels the playing field, by design. It natural when you think about it. We'll put you in charge of pizza shop licensing. Who are you going to lunch with, the sharp dressed person from the pizza lobby, or the wild haired, crazy guy that wants to "revolutionize" the pizza business and stick it to the man. (in this scenario, you are the man.) Since you hang with the PIAA goons, and they offer to do most of you job for you by writing the pizza legislation, what group

      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        But he won't charge you for not giving you your pizza. Or have you sign a contract (as a condition of ordering the pizza in the first place) that says that if you decide to not pay him and call up a different pizza place instead, you owe him $300.

        AT&T and Verizon do both.

    • by zookie (136959)

      have not read TFA but anything the teleco's HATE must not be all that bad...

      Hmmm... commenter doesn't RTFA and makes judgment based on previous bias, and gets moderated +5 Insightful? Wow.

  • by Kenja (541830) on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:29PM (#30203708)
    In most cases, the "lines" (optical etc) are paid for with tax payer dollars. If the telecos cant play nice, we're just going to have to take our toys and go home.
    • by Improv (2467) <pgunn@dachte.org> on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:37PM (#30203786) Homepage Journal

      Better than that - the letters patent are meant to protect and aid business ventures in order to promote the interests of society. If any company is unwilling to do that, we should revoke it and dissolve them.

    • by cdrguru (88047) on Monday November 23, 2009 @03:14PM (#30205372) Homepage

      We tried that already in 1996 in some parts of the country. I don't think it ever made it everywhere. The problem was, the State came in and said to the incumbant telco that they would permit other companies to use their lines for some payment (say $1 per line) ignoring what their own information and that of the telco said it cost to maintain the line. Say the real cost was $5 per line.

      The result was a bonanza - lots of start-up companies formed to take advantage of this huge disparity in costs. They got plenty of investors because just dealing with the arbitrage between the $1 fee and $5 real cost could result in $4 getting passed around. Just collecting the interest on this money was worthwhile if there was enough of it.

      Well, obviously nobody spends $5 on something and sells it for $1, at least not very long. Nearly all of the DSL start-ups failed when the real terms of the deal becaome known to everyone. We still have some folks trying to play at this game of paying less than what the service they are getting costs. Vonage is there because of this play and the bones of the whole Sprint ION fiasco. End result is that there is a real cost and if you separate by force the profit from the cost the cost has to be paid somehow.

      Nobody wants that. We have been hiding the cost of physical line maintenance for a long time, probably since around 1960 or so. And the structure of the incumbant phone companies allowed these costs to be very effectively buried. So effectively that today nobody knows where the real cost-sinks are.

      The end result of this is likely another stab at state-mandated fees for line use. And whatever the fee is, it will be too low for reality. My guess is this time around they will really break the system and the lines will simply not be maintained for years.

  • Fascism, DUH (Score:5, Insightful)

    by czarangelus (805501) <iapetus&gmail,com> on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:30PM (#30203714)
    "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power."

    America is, and pretty much always has been, a fascist nation. I think the recent bailouts of the banking giants and car manufacturers should prove that it is fascist now; Andrew Jackson himself was fighting fascism when it came to central banking back in the 1830's. War and weapons define the American economy. Boeing and Raytheon and Xi could be considered the ultimate achievement of which a fascist society is capable.

    Lew Rockwell [lewrockwell.com] is fond of referring to the central government as the Welfare-Warfare state. Our country has always defined itself through these two socialist conspiracies against mankind - welfare both corporate and personal, which stunts economic growth and creates a class of victims wholly dependent on the largess of their tormentor - and warfare, which is the extension of corporate power through the state in order to secure resources overseas. We should abandon this socialism, this corporatism, this fascism - and create a government that exists only within strict Constitutional boundaries. Nothing else will do for the good of mankind.
    • Re:Fascism, DUH (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Delwin (599872) * on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:36PM (#30203774)
      It's also called 'bread and circuses' and it's been around a lot longer than Lew Rockwell - by a few thousand years.
      • by Colin Smith (2679) on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:50PM (#30203936)

        Walmart and Fox?

         

    • Re:Fascism, DUH (Score:4, Interesting)

      by AndersOSU (873247) on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:48PM (#30203912)

      If we've always been a fascist nation, and we're the sole remaining superpower, the whole welfare-welfare state thing has a pretty good track record, huh?

      The only quibble I have is that corporate welfare really only came into vogue with Reagan after our ideological rival, the soviet union's fate was pretty much sealed. We should probably try to figure out if corporate pandering is good for an economy, like social safety nets are. Personally, I'm putting my money on bad - and think we should return to a single welfare state.

      • by czarangelus (805501) <iapetus&gmail,com> on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:54PM (#30203980)
        I can't find it, but the old Italian's speech in Catch-22 sums it up best; what good is it being a superpower if you are always caught in a state of conflict and you're always in economic turmoil as a consequence? Nobody ever bothers Lichtenstein.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Abcd1234 (188840)

        If we've always been a fascist nation, and we're the sole remaining superpower, the whole welfare-welfare state thing has a pretty good track record, huh?

        Speaking as a member of a welfare state that didn't have a massive economic meltdown and continues to tick along while the US flounders, I'd say yeah, it does have a pretty good track record:

        Hint: An idea isn't bad just because the American government is too fundamentally fucked up to implement it properly.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mcgrew (92797) *

        The only quibble I have is that corporate welfare really only came into vogue with Reagan after our ideological rival, the soviet union's fate was pretty much sealed.

        In Soviet Russia (no joke, no meme) the government controled industry, with disastrous results. In the modern day US, industry controls government, and I fear the result may be equally disasterous.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jandrese (485)
      By this measure, aren't all governments, throughout time, fascist?

      Describing fascism as a government with business interests makes the definition far too broad to be useful, the only possible reason to do so is to invoke an emotional response at the very word fascist.
      • By this measure, aren't all governments, throughout time, fascist?

        Most governments (perhaps not quite all of them) have included at least some degree of fascism. It only makes sense to label them fascist, however, when these elements—business and politics—are unified to a significant degree. If politics are not dominated by business interests (and visa-versa) then the government in question may have traces of fascism without being a fascist government in any meaningful sense. The GP is making the argument that the U.S. government is, in fact, dominated by busi

    • you have the emotional appeal down solid, its pretty good chest thumping stuff

      but you're underpinning your inflammatory rhetoric with poor a set of facts

      good propaganda never lies, it traffics in half truths. so, for example, you don't want to say the usa has ALWAYS been a fascist state. not mainly because thats a lie, but also because you undermine your final appeal for a return to constitutional roots... well, if those roots are so strong, how come the usa has "always" been a fascist state? its a contradiction. you can't refer to a strong set of principles that never actually worked

      no, you need a sympathetic narrative, a demagogue's best friend: its better to refer a mythological past where everything was perfect, the founding fathers reigned supreme. then evil influences crept in. in your particular fantasy, that would be corporations, and they subverted and ruined the garden of eden

      so instead you want to say the usa WAS ONCE a solid strong democracy. instill chest thumping patriotism here with strong quasihistoric visions, you know the drill. then change the tone and talk about how money was thrown around and morals and integrity were corrupted, the founding fathers betrayed... good hollywood stuff

      good luck to you sir, you're well on your way to being a solid propagandizing demagogue. you have the emotional appeals down solid. now just hone up on the half-truths and you'll be a rabble rouser supreme!

    • War and weapons define the American economy. Boeing and Raytheon and Xi could be considered the ultimate achievement of which a fascist society is capable.

      I've heard people say this kind of thing, but I don't think they've actually checked the numbers. Even if you use the highest estimate for US military spending possible, as you can see from this article [wikipedia.org], you're still only getting $1.1 trillion, which include pensions and interest on past wars. Even then, it's less than 10% of the entire US economy.....so what is the rest of the economy doing? How can you call it a welfare-warfare state when more than 90% of what goes on isn't part of that welfare-warfare se

    • Re:Fascism, DUH (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday November 23, 2009 @01:53PM (#30204616) Homepage Journal

      War and weapons define the American economy. Boeing and Raytheon and Xi could be considered the ultimate achievement of which a fascist society is capable.

      When I was a child, President Eisenhower warned of the "Military Industrial Complex". Apparently we didn't heed his warning.

      We should abandon this socialism

      Corporatism is NOT socialism. Socialism is the polar opposite; socialism tries to make a better society (usually failing, however). It is facism, though. What kind of people rail against giving welfare to the poor but have no problem giving it to the rich?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TemporalBeing (803363)

      America is, and pretty much always has been, a fascist nation. I think the recent bailouts of the banking giants and car manufacturers should prove that it is fascist now; Andrew Jackson himself was fighting fascism when it came to central banking back in the 1830's. War and weapons define the American economy. Boeing and Raytheon and Xi could be considered the ultimate achievement of which a fascist society is capable.

      Then why is ovrer 2/3rds of the American economy based on CONSUMER spending[1] instead

  • Good (Score:5, Funny)

    by Killer Orca (1373645) on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:32PM (#30203738)
    I'm glad something finally brought AT&T and Verizon together, I hate it when big corporations get in fights. Also, fuck you both for calling the U.S. innovators in wireless broadband, we are in the middle of the pack at best in broadband services.
  • by deprecated (86120) on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:34PM (#30203748) Homepage Journal

    If the big telcos hate it, I like it.

  • Was it Cato? It's sometimes hard to tell the difference between the big businesses that want freedom from any laws that they find inconvenient and the "philosophers" who have what amounts to be almost the same thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:38PM (#30203810)

    "...direct government encouragement can facilitate deployment and drive penetration."

     

    ...that's what she said.

  • by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:42PM (#30203840)

    Verizon notes, open access and unbundling would be a bad policy for the United States, largely because of the rural nature of much of the country. "The problem in these rural and low-density areas is that they have been unable to attract even a single entrant," the telco argues. "Imposing unbundling will not only fail to solve this problem, but will only make things worse: if the economics do not currently support a single provider, they are even less likely to support multiple(and potentially an unlimited number of) providers."

    I'm not sure that you can have worse service than no service. There are many areas that only allow one (or a few) providers. If that one provider chooses not to give service to a part of it's service area, those people are screwed. Maximum innovation will come from maximum competition. It's called capitalism, but it always seemed to me that capitalists usually want the least amount of competition possible.

    • by portnux (630256) on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:47PM (#30203896)
      And the broadband companies take legal action to prevent private citizens and communities from creating their own broadband systems why?
    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday November 23, 2009 @01:35PM (#30204406) Homepage

      Why not more regulation?

      Telecom is by all appearances a natural monopoly, like other utilities. If you take AT&T and Verizon and break them up into little pieces, in about 15 years you'll be right back to where we are now in this market. We know this because we tried breaking up Ma Bell, and within about 15 years we were back to an oligopoly (and probably would have been back to a monopoly had the FCC and FTC allowed it).

      The ways to handle utilities, in order of my preference at least, based on the experiences of residents where each of these are applied:
      1. Publicly owned and operated: This isn't perfect, but by all appearances can do a really good job. When was the last time you thought about your municipal water and sewer service? That's the sign of a well-run utility.
      2. Heavily regulated monopoly: This is the electricity market in a lot of places. Again, far from perfect, but customers generally aren't bilked and service is usually pretty decent.
      3. Less regulated oligopoly: This can be decidedly unpleasant if the various players realize that they can earn more by both of them bilking their customers rather than trying to take market share away from each other. The regulations can help prevent problems, but are generally less extensive than the regulated monopoly.
      4. "Free-market" free-for-all: Think California during the electric deregulation. This typically is really an unregulated oligopoly.
      5. Unregulated monopoly: Standard Oil et al. Typically, the monopoly makes a huge bundle of cash while all the customers (who often have little choice but to pay) get bilked.

      Right now, telecommunications is sitting at option 3. AT&T and Verizon would both love option 4, and whichever one is capable of buying out the other would really really like option 5, but for the purposes of serving customers you're typically better off with option 1 or 2.

      • by mdarksbane (587589) on Monday November 23, 2009 @03:13PM (#30205362)

        I think about my municipal water and sewage service all the time. It's actually a real concern that I might get them.

        You see, I live in the country, and paid quite a bit when I bought my house to put in a new septic system that should last me 30-50 years. However, the nearest city recently (against the wishes of anyone nearby) decided to put in a new water treatment plant a few miles down the road. Not close enough to really bother me, thankfully, but close enough that they might want to run lines to my house.

        That's great, right? Government at work, getting better sewage system out to the country.

        If the county runs sewer in front of your house, you are *required* to pay to be attached. That means thousands to tens of thousands of dollars of direct costs that you are required to pay, regardless of whether your current system still has 30 years of life on it, and for no real direct benefit to you.

        Government-run utilities can do good things, provide good services, all that. But it's still government, and there's still a "must" attached to it that can really screw you over if you're caught on the wrong end of their plans.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Just Some Guy (3352)

          My mom lives about a mile and a half outside a medium-sized Midwest city. When my dad was alive, he once served as the campaign director for a friend of his who was running for County Commissioner, and they won the election. Fast forward about 15 years.

          The county commission voted to enact a leash law. In this case, "county" means "sparsely populated area surrounding the city", not like Orange in SoCal. My mom owns a big, friendly mutt who pretty much kept her sane after my dad died. She was faced with

    • I'm not sure that you can have worse service than no service. There are many areas that only allow one (or a few) providers. If that one provider chooses not to give service to a part of it's service area, those people are screwed.

      They're not saying that there will be fewer providers; the number of providers can't become negative, after all. Rather, they're saying that forced line-sharing would increase the minimum price at which any provider would be willing to operate in that area, since they must anticipate an even lower profit-margin than they would currently receive without the line-sharing requirement.

      Maximum innovation will come from maximum competition. It's called capitalism, but it always seemed to me that capitalists usually want the least amount of competition possible.

      Find me anyone who likes dealing with competition—regardless of their ideology—and you might begin to have a point.

    • by Dog-Cow (21281)

      Capitalism is an economy driven by the non-Governmental ownership of property. I am not sure what Competition has to do with it.

    • if the economics do not currently support a single provider, they are even less likely to support multiple providers.

      Invoking economic arguments may not be the most self-interested thing for Verizon to do, because if we're doing that, we may as well admit telecom tends towards natural monopoly [wikipedia.org] and network effects [wikipedia.org], and that having telecom infrastructure managed by self-interested private parties isn't ever going to produce the same kind of yields that markets do by competition in other sectors.

      The fact that

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:44PM (#30203860)

    Just require companies taking subsidies to cap wages including top executives at 100K a year and bonuses at 5K a year. They'll squeal like pigs and no one will touch the subsidies. Something similar happened with the bailout money. When there were no strings attached everyone wanted their share. Once they started insisting on wage caps suddenly no one needed the money.

  • Linesharing (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:47PM (#30203894)

    At least here in Finland line-sharing did wonders to consumers. It lowered prices and allowed small companies the possibility to offer broadband with completely different business models. Competition also forced the big ones to improve customer service quality. I can't think of any downsides for the customer.

  • Attn: Telcos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 23, 2009 @12:48PM (#30203902)

    Ahem.. (clears throat). FUCK YOU!

    The taxpayer gave you Millions if not Billions back in the 90's for infrastructure upgrades. And now, a decade later, with YOU posting record profits, and infrastructure being upgraded at a rate comparable to snails pace, you have the gall to ask for more money from the taxpayers, i.e. your CUSTOMERS?

    Pardon me Big Telco, but FUCK YOU!

    • by JustOK (667959) on Monday November 23, 2009 @01:05PM (#30204092) Journal

      "We can't hear you now"
      -Verizon

    • Re:Attn: Telcos (Score:5, Informative)

      by Hatta (162192) on Monday November 23, 2009 @01:10PM (#30204150) Journal

      The taxpayer gave you Millions if not Billions back in the 90's for infrastructure upgrades

      That's over 200 billion [newnetworks.com].

    • by Compholio (770966)

      Ahem.. (clears throat). FUCK YOU!

      The taxpayer gave you Millions if not Billions back in the 90's for infrastructure upgrades. And now, a decade later, with YOU posting record profits, and infrastructure being upgraded at a rate comparable to snails pace, you have the gall to ask for more money from the taxpayers, i.e. your CUSTOMERS?

      Pardon me Big Telco, but FUCK YOU!

      That is because they have a legal obligation to their shareholders, not their customers. Since the taxpayers did not become shareholders in this process they have no legal obligation to do anything except increase the return for their shareholders. Since they received 200B USD in the 90s the only way they can do that (besides asking for more money) is to try and be as ruthless as possible.

  • From Snatch - "You got to deal with him. You just got to make sure you don't end up owing him. Cause then you're in his debt. Which means, your in his pocket. And once you're in that, you ain't ever coming out."

    It applies to mobsters and the government.

  • The real problem is the system is gamed heavily in their favor. We should make ALL monopoly connections be discontinued. Here in Denver region, Colorado, QWest has the monopoly on twisted pair, and Comcast has the monopoly on cable/fiber. If we remove these monopolies and regulations, it will allow real competition to come in.
  • by sanosuke001 (640243) on Monday November 23, 2009 @01:23PM (#30204284)
    1. Separate the ISPs into separate entities. Phone service in one company, internet service in another, television in a third.
    2. Separate the ownership of the infrastructure into another company
    3. Make the three companies from part 1 pay company from part 2 for access
    4. allow any other company access to part 2's lines for the same fee as it charges part 1 companies
    5. don't EVER allow them to merge again
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cdrguru (88047)

      This was tried in 1996, with the government mandating the cost of service - what part 1 had to pay part 2. Problem was, the mandated payment wasn't really enough to cover it. Works out fine when it is all just different parts of the same company.

      Doesn't work at all for third-party company that wants to offer DSL service. Third party company starts out thinking they are getting a great deal and many investors flock to the new company with visions of how profitable it is going to be. DSL service explodes,

  • and thanks for the free service

    wait... you mean you want charge us for what we paid for already?

  • I knew that Verizon and at&t would come out against this. They've been taking additional revenues from the various fees like FUSF, et al and just plowing it right back into the revenue and dividend stream.

    You think for a moment they're actually going to do something like build out broadband? Not on your life, unless of course the FCC mandates it. Then it'll be tied up in the courts for a decade or so. By the time a decision favoring the FCC ruling is made, there will already be an upstart and disrupt
  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Monday November 23, 2009 @01:49PM (#30204580)

    I've got a wonderful idea - instead of giving telco's tons of cash to build infrastructure, why doesn't the government build the infrastructure itself (much like the highway system) and then simply lease bandwidth on those lines at a set rate to any company who wants it?

  • by TheHawke (237817) <{rchapin} {at} {pelicancoast.net}> on Monday November 23, 2009 @02:23PM (#30204904)

    Considering the lack of attention to the details of improving rural service, I feel that they do not deserve a single nickle of gov't funding.

    Fact is, they got a lot of gall for asking for more money after the stunning YTD they posted on the market, both wireless and wired.

    Until they can show REAL (as in purchase orders for equipment, permits for installation of same, they really do not deserve any outside funding at all.

    They've been living off the fat for this long, I think that it would be high time to put them on some lean rations for a while.

  • by mrnick (108356) on Monday November 23, 2009 @03:48PM (#30205742) Homepage

    Getting my starts in IT at the beginning of the commercialization of the Internet and being present to see what it has developed into makes me think that the wireless telecommunications companies are off their bloody rocker!

    One major difference from the Internet and the many wireless networks (3g, etc) out there is that the Internet through purchase or peering agreements are all interconnected. If the United States could dismantle the current wireless networks in place and deploy the strategically there would be no coverage gaps, even in the most rural of areas.

    It makes neither technological or economical sense to maintain so many separate networks.

    I don't know the answer, because I wouldn't want the government running the infrastructure, but if maintaining the wireless infrastructure was done by a single entity and if that entity was not any of the wireless service providers communications would be much better in this country.

    There should be one unified wireless network that would sell its services for a fee, regulated by the FCC/FTC.

    Wireless service providers would pay for access to this network and then resell it to consumers, with value added services.

    Cell phone manufactures should not be allowed to be Wireless service providers. All phones made should work with any Wireless service provider. No locking, etc. Wireless service providers could still sell discounted phones in trade for contract commitments but there would never be a scenario like exists today such that a phone manufacture, like Apple, inc, could restrict their phone to work with one wireless provider.

    Fees should be regulated to keep illegal price fixing that happens with all the providers today.

    How providers bill would be up to them but real unlimited, all you can eat, service with absolutely NO restrictions. This is what happened with the Internet. It was once where you paid for a set number of hours per month or you paid by the minute as you used it. But, economies of scale and demand from the consumers forced the providers to go with unlimited service.

    Today, even when a providers sells you an unlimited data plan, like AT&T forces you to do if you use an iPhone it is not unlimited. AT&T restricts tethering and if the feel you have used an excess amount of data they will terminate your account. So, it's not unlimited it just has a secret limit. This would have never been tollerated with Internet service.

    True unlimited cell service is inevitable I wish they would go ahead and accept it. Unlimited minutes, Unlimited texts, Unlimited data, no restrictions on tethering, etc..

    The day is coming when we won't buy broadband because everyone will have their own personal Internet connection with them, in their pocket (their phone).

    I just hope I live through the cell wars to see it. The economics work for the same reason unlimited Internet accounts are profitable. That's because of averages of large numbers. I might use tons of data and talk minutes but my dad, my sister, my roomate don't. It averages out.

    All this bickering is making my head hurt. Consumers should group together and sue for being overcharged and price fixing in the cell industry.

    ppfffffttt...

    Nick Powers

An authority is a person who can tell you more about something than you really care to know.

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