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Hundreds of Cities Wired With Fiber, But Telecom Lobbying Keeps It Unusable 347

Posted by Soulskill
from the in-case-you-went-a-day-without-hating-your-ISP dept.
Jason Koebler writes: 'In light of the ongoing net neutrality battle, many people have begun looking to Google and its promise of high-speed fiber as a potential saving grace from companies that want to create an "internet fast lane." Well, even without Google, many communities and cities throughout the country are already wired with fiber — they just don't let their residents use it. Companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, CenturyLink, and Verizon have signed agreements with cities that prohibit local governments from becoming internet service providers and prohibit municipalities from selling or leasing their fiber to local startups who would compete with these huge corporations.'
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Hundreds of Cities Wired With Fiber, But Telecom Lobbying Keeps It Unusable

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  • Re:Government ISP? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NoKaOi (1415755) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @06:02PM (#47168031)

    I want competition, not government ISP.

    You're (probably intentionally) ignoring a huge point. As pointed out in the summary, the agreements also prohibit the leasing of the already existing fiber lines:

    and prohibit municipalities from selling or leasing their fiber to local startups who would compete with these huge corporations.

    So it's not just that the government can't operate an ISP, it's that nobody else can. And before you try and say it's not fair that the cable company had to run their own lines, while the government ran them for these other ISPs, keep in mind these points:
    1. The competing ISPs would still have to pay for the lines.
    2. The cable companies have received huge subsidies from the government.

    Personally, I *want* "fast lanes" because they remove popular traffic off the main transit links.

    Okay, now I know something's up. I also see that all of your recent comments pro-big-corporate-ISP. What you're pretending to not understand is that "fast lane" doesn't mean fast lane, it means everything else is slow lane. They're not talking about building out new faster infrastructure. And it's not simply about peering, it's about charging providers extra to provide this "fast lane" which amounts to "give us money or we're gonna slow you down."

    My home town, Burbank, CA has metro fiber for businesses. Studios love it. The fiber is actually owned by the cable company. Heh!

    See! You think fiber is okay if it's the cable company making a profit on it, but not if it's a competing ISP.

  • And Outside the U.S. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fullback (968784) on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @06:38PM (#47168223)

    I'm moving and my new place has 200Mbps down/100Mbps up fiber, so that's an upgrade from the 100Mbps I've had for about 15 years. And the price is going down to about US$38/month. Not bad, huh? I could choose 1 Gbps, since everywhere has been upgraded with it for years now, but it would only be useful for content inside the country. The infrastructure is far more advanced than the U.S.

    Of course there are no caps and no provider-conspired speed throttling. I've never had a provider-caused outage in 20 years of internet service.

    That's that service level and pricing that competition has created over time in Japan. I'm in a small town, so don't even think about the "U.S. is too big" reply. Every time I go the U.S. I'm shocked at the level of service. You are really under the thumb of the internet provider mafia.

    You need to vote in representatives that will actually to start representing you. I don't see any hope for you without that.

  • Re:Annoying. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by geekoid (135745) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `dnaltropnidad'> on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @07:19PM (#47168439) Homepage Journal

    Because with taxes it will be cheaper, the people will have a larger say, and it is beneficial to all people.

    Interesting anecdote:

    I worked for a Water Bureau. The number clearly show that taxing people instead of having a water bill would be substantially cheaper for everyone.
    I mean 20% cheaper, if not more.

    But if you mention it to the public, when they hear 'taxes', the well off scream bloody murder when though it would also be cheaper for them as well.
    With taxes, you no longer need a billing system. So you loose the expense of that, the infrastructures for that, the expense of maintaining PCI compliance, accountants, taking people to court who don't pay there bills, cut down on meter reading, paper.

    " Should someone who doesn't use the service be forced to help pay for it through their taxes?"
    you mean like the taxes used as subsidies for you phone infrastructure?

  • Re:Annoying. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @08:20PM (#47168705)

    Yes, the last mile needs to be government run, but with minimum standards, so that yes it is mostly a matter of moving a patch cord, save you should not even have to do that. For the most part the providers equipment should just be on fast links to the rest of the system and everything configured in software. You would also include a satelite link that provides emergency service should the primary links be down. Emergency service might be a basic news site with some cached video/audio along with a way to send and receive text messages of some kind and 911 calling.

    Put another way suppose that you put fiber in every home. That would be expensive to start with, but it would be a one time cost likely sufficient for the next generation with reasonable planning. Sure some of the equipment may change, but that last run of fiber likely won't need to very often, if at all. [One presumed you would also run enough spare fiber to deal with any issues that may arise.] At any rate, once that one time sunk cost is done then its mostly just about picking an ISP. Better yet you would have logical places for places like netflix to add their equipment, since nothing says you have to get all of your data through one ISP. A caching server could supply much of it.

    Also with regards to coddling obsolete industries I fully agree. The government is supposed to serve the people and if it can do a better job in this case, because it is not so determined to be quite as evil, then it should do it. Just because the legal fiction exists where corporations are treated as people, doesn't mean we should ignore the wishes of _actual_ people. AT&T for one has flat out ignored a great deal of customers who would love to be able to get plain old DSL, because they are not required to give a damn and don't, if it won't make them an immediate profit. So yes, I for one would love to put out of business all the last mile providers, although to be fair I have had decent luck with Charter...

  • by TheScorpion420 (760125) <thescorpion420@noSpAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday June 04, 2014 @11:53PM (#47169477)
    I lived in Indianola Iowa and the city owns the fiber ran next to their totally underground power network. They lease access to Mahaska Communications Group out of Oskaloosa Iowa who then sells Internet access at ridiculously good rates. I paid $50/month for 100/100 with a 10ms ping and NO cap.
  • by dave420 (699308) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @03:03AM (#47169927)
    Just a guess - maybe people believed the hype? All those years of hearing how awesome America is and how it's the greatest country on Earth, singing the pledge every day at School, flags everywhere, etc. made them complacent, and any suggestion it wasn't was shot down in patriotic pique, meaning the situation only got worse. If something can not be rationally criticized - be it China or the US - it will fester, with its worse aspects eventually challenging its better aspects. Nationalism and patriotism are reasons for the US's decline. Both are fine and useful concepts for struggling countries or communities, but when it becomes de rigueur in more powerful countries or communities, it outlives its usefulness to the extent it tends to becomes a problem. Just think how much shit a President would get if he/she didn't wear a US flag pin - that's not healthy for a country.

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