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Former FCC Head: "We Should Be Ashamed of Ourselves" For State of Broadband

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the feeling-bad dept.

The Internet 118

An anonymous reader writes A group of internet industry executives and politicians came together to look back on the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and to do a little crystal-ball gazing about the future of broadband regulation in the United States. Former FCC commissioner Michael Copps was among the presenters, and he had sharp words for the audience about the "insanity" of the current wave of merger mania in the telecom field and the looming threats of losing net neutrality regulation.

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About time (4, Insightful)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 5 months ago | (#47270667)

It took 18 years for them to figure this out? Whiles some grandmother in Sweden had 40 GB back in 2007?

When can I get mine? And can I choose from more than one provider? And, most importantly, will I really get 40 GB?

Re:About time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270719)

If you mean 40 GBps, then no: AFAIK no one gets that yet.
If you mean a 40 GB cap thn I have news for you: Most of Europe (and I assume Sweden too) don't have data-caps on broadband anyway.

Capping for max data is ridicouls anyway, you pay for bandwith not data, if they can't handle you streaming your bandwith they're not delivering what they should. And sure, they oversell because almost no one streams that much, but that doesn't mean that when you do, and they messed up their overhead that you as the consumer should be the victim.

Re:About time (4, Informative)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 5 months ago | (#47270765)

I wasn't talking about caps [theregister.co.uk] .

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270815)

Ah, I missed that article. Umh.. wow.

Re:About time (1)

mcfedr (1081629) | about 5 months ago | (#47270767)

Maybe thats what they tell you, but I get near to 80 Gbps - here in eastern europe.

Re: About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47271531)

Sure you do.

Re: About time (1)

mcfedr (1081629) | about 5 months ago | (#47271999)

They brain wash you well over there - http://www.speedtest.net/my-re... [speedtest.net]

Re: About time (2)

bmxeroh (1694004) | about 5 months ago | (#47272109)

Yeah and the speed test you posted is for Mbps, not Gbps. Huge difference. The comment about 40 Gbps is legit though.

Re: About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47277023)

Your ping is pathetic [speedtest.net] :-)

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47274483)

Moron doesn't know the difference between Gbps and Mbps.

Re: About time (2)

jxander (2605655) | about 5 months ago | (#47277627)

Not sure which is worse... that GP confused Mbps for Gbps, or the fact that the smaller one (less than a tenth of a percent of the other) would still be pretty damned good speeds around these parts.

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270983)

It's not ridicules if your other primary business is selling media or access to media.

Our problem isn't just monopolies (more like cartels), it's that they've been allowed to get into more than one business segment.

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47271977)

40 isnt that much, you cant get 200 here in Mexico

Re:About time (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about 5 months ago | (#47272393)

Capping for max data is ridicouls anyway, you pay for bandwith not data

And the bandwidth you pay for is an average bandwith of 600GB/month (Comcast), or about 230kbps sustained. But you get the option of using more in bursts, you have to make up for that later, though, to keep the average about the same.

but that doesn't mean that when you do, and they messed up their overhead that you as the consumer should be the victim

The consumer would be "the victim" if most people were forced to subsidize an infrastructure that gives a few people like you the ability to download 20Mbps sustained rate.

Re:About time (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about 5 months ago | (#47272511)

Sorry, make that 2.3Mbps or 230kBps.

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47274165)

Correct me if I'm wrong, since as an English major, math never was my strength, but would not 230Kbps equate to 0.23Mbps and not 2.3Mbps?

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47275365)

Note he changed capitalization on the B. 230kBps is not quite 2.3Mbps, but it's a lot closer to 2.3 Mbps than it is to 0.23 Mbps. It's approximately 1.8 Mbps.

The capital B means byte rather than bit. Assuming 8 bits per byte (that is, no per-byte overhead bits), then 1 (Xbps) = 8 (XBps)

Re:About time (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 5 months ago | (#47276905)

Everyone messes up the overhead, because the bandwidth usage is not constant. It may even quadruple in one year as a bunch of people start discovering TV over internet. Sharing the bandwidth is good, and the caps allow the people with moderate usage to get their data even if their next door neighbors are downloading 24/7. This is like the early cable modem internet where speed was awesome, if you were the only guy on the block or apartment building using it, but over time that fast low latency network started to suck as more and more neighbors started using it. The cable provider can not just rip out the cables in a 4 block radius every time usage goes up, so when there's a local shared line then the local people need to share (different from DSL where you're not sharing with neighbors).

If they decided that there were no caps, but everyone got only a tiny slice of the bandwidth, then that transmission media would end up being unused most of the time (which may not necessarily be bad). The person at 3am should be allowed a faster bandwidth than during the day when everyone on the block is streaming the worldcup.

Re:About time (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 5 months ago | (#47270723)

Perhaps somebody of importance started reading slashdot.

Re:About time (5, Funny)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 5 months ago | (#47270949)

That's unpossible. Most of us don't even read Slashdot.

Re:About time (1)

unitron (5733) | about 5 months ago | (#47278223)

That's unpossible. Most of us don't even read Slashdot.

Well, not the articles or summaries, anyway.

Re:About time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270757)

Go to Sverige then? Nobody would stop you. Especially since you don't know the different between GB, GB/s and Gb/s.

Re:About time (4, Insightful)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 5 months ago | (#47270785)

Oh, that's your solution? "You don't like Amerrika, git out"!

Thanks AC, it's so obvious. We shouldn't focus on making our country better, as long as it's better than the worst shit holes in the world we're doing fine. And if you don't think so, don't bother, just move somewhere else.

Re:About time (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 5 months ago | (#47271449)

Asshole has a point. Endless complaints about how much America sucks always come from the same people, who always wish America could be more like their favorite foreign countries. But they never seem to actually go to these countries to enjoy these benefits.

Honestly, I'm convince they just enjoy the hatred. If they actually emigrated, they'd have to shut the hell up. Instead, it's far more recreational to endlessly complain, while enjoying all of the positive aspects of America. Sweden has punitive taxes.

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47271839)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]

Sort by individual (max).

Sweden is one spot above the US. So punitive.

Re:About time (1)

Scottingham (2036128) | about 5 months ago | (#47271849)

I would give my left nut to emigrate to The Netherlands. Maybe, just maybe, it's easier said than done?

Re:About time (4, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | about 5 months ago | (#47271927)

Have you actually started learning Dutch and putting forth the same amount of effort to getting a job in the netherlands that you'd put towards finding a job in the US (aka, months of searching and learning the right jobfinding approaches)?

You might be surprised.

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47276289)

I am a Dutch citizen, I don't speak Dutch and I've never been there.

Lineage, bite me.

Re:About time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47272227)

I disagree with that notion. America is my home and my favorite country. Why shouldn't I want it to be even better?

Re:About time (1)

jeIlomizer (3670951) | about 5 months ago | (#47273369)

But they never seem to actually go to these countries to enjoy these benefits.

Perhaps they'd rather improve the country they were born in?

Nah, here in America, we don't allow that. Get out, complainers!

Re:About time (1)

Drethon (1445051) | about 5 months ago | (#47273543)

Can you wire me the money to relocate?

Re:About time (3, Informative)

Sarius64 (880298) | about 5 months ago | (#47273919)

Bullshit. I'm in Hartford, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, England right now. 161Mbps down/12Mbps up/unlimited bandwidth for 35 pounds a month and I check the speed daily. My family is in San Diego where I pay $100/month for supposed business connection unlimited bandwidth (home version had a 300GB limit) 80Mbps down/20Mbps up and I actually get average of 20Mbps down/2mbps up (with a signed business contract) and I check speeds daily. Cox tells me to sit and spin or go somewhere else. They've bribed the government to give them the broadband in my area with not a single carrier that is higher speed. Fiber is available, if your the right government entity. Don't even talk about AT&T; they're worse than dirt.

Re:About time (1)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 5 months ago | (#47275919)

I actually get average of 20Mbps down/2mbps

Consider yourself lucky. A lot of people in a lot of areas don't get anywhere near that, especially at peak times. Where I used to live, I only had cable available and during peak times I was lucky to be able to stream Netflix. Speeds were all over the place, but usually between 2Mbps and 10Mbps (when I was lucky) and only a few times above that (I was paying for 50Mbps). I actually called them once hoping that there was something wrong with the connection, their techs came out and did some tests and confirmed everything was "normal." I moved across town, I now have DSL available. I only have a 15Mbps connection, but I actually get 15Mbps consistently, so I consider myself lucky!

Re:About time (4, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | about 5 months ago | (#47271871)

People act like it's so impossible to leave America. But seriously, if you don't like America, you truly, honestly, don't have to stay there.

I didn't like America. I traveled. I found a place I actually liked a lot (Iceland). I applied for jobs. I got one surprisingly quick. I moved. And now I've lived here for years.

There's nothing preventing you from doing the same. If you don't like America, you really can leave!

Oh, and while we're talking about the internet... here's what my highly isolated, incredibly rugged/unstable terrain, tied-for-second-lowest population density, super-high prices for electronic equipment country's internet stats are:

Data compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows Iceland with:[1]

83.2% of households having broadband Internet access in 2009 (2nd out of 34)
99.5% of businesses using the Internet in 2009-2010 (2nd out of 31)
91.5% of the broadband access being DSL in 2010
  8% of broadband connections using optical fiber in 2010

The Global Information Technology Report 2010–2011[2] by the World Economic Forum ranked Iceland:

1st out of 138 in terms of Internet users (93.5% of the population used the Internet in 2009)
1st out of 138 in the use of virtual social networks (a score of 6.8 in 2009-2010, where 1 is not at all and 7 is widely)
1st out of 138 in terms of Internet access in schools (a score of 6.76 in 2009-2010, where 1 is very limited and 7 is extensive)
1st out of 138 in accessibility of digital content (a score of 6.62 in 2009-2010, where 1 is not accessible at all and 7 is widely accessible)
1st out of 137 in the number of secure Internet servers (1,711.3 servers per million population in 2009)
4th out of 138 in the extent of business Internet use (a score of 6.58 in 2009-2010, where 1 is not at all and 7 is extensively)
5th out of 138 in terms of international Internet bandwidth (626.8 Mbit/s per 10,000 population in 2009)

Fiber's really been taking off since the OECD study was done, it now even goes out to places like Vestfirðir, where in the whole region the largest town is under 4k people, and some towns are so isolated that they're legally classified as islands during the winter because the roads become impassable until late spring. But the fiber stays on. :) We're currently at about 65% home fiber penetration, and the telecoms are talking about hitting 80% by the end of the year.

In general, we've got superb computer and net connectivity and literacy - even on the little stuff (for example, over here, IE is the number *three* web browser, and it's not even close). Reykjavík uses a direct democracy system for bringing public issues directly to the floor at city council meetings, the new constitutional drafting team was credited with online crowdsourcing the constitution (that's overstating the case, but they did make extensive use of online suggestions and discussions), etc. My only real criticism of the net environment here is that while domestic net traffic is generally uncapped, international usually is, you choose an international data package. So this leads to, for example, instead of using Pirate Bay, people use Iceland-only torrent sites like Deildu for file sharing. And one of the local companies, Síminn, is looking at the possibility of domestic caps too, which would suck. Crazy-fast connectivity is great, but not so great if you can't use it to download whatever you want.

Re:About time (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47272501)

People act like it's so impossible to leave America. But seriously, if you don't like America, you truly, honestly, don't have to stay there.

We aren't really talking about people who desire to leave America but can't. Being allowed and able to leave always has been an option, one exercised by many who desired to leave, not unlike yourself.

The problem is people who have NO desire to leave while at the same time having no desire to have what is rightfully theirs either taken away or just ruined by those in power.

In a very real way for those cases, leaving is about the worst option you could take.
Leaving is basically telling every one that yes they can just bully you out of anything and everything one may want to take from you - and that they will be successful in doing so.

After making such a statement and proving it to be true by action, where honestly can you "leave" to? Why would you expect not to be forced away from that place? You have shown after all that you will silently allow it without so much as an argument or fight, so why wouldn't anyone do the same thing again? and again? Where does it end?

Again, that situation and your own are quite different, and in your personal case you willingly desired to leave instead of allowed someone else to bully you out of something you wanted, so those questions don't apply to your situation.
I'm not claiming you personally are a push-over, and in fact I wish you the best of the best with your new Icelandic home (and life in general!)

But for some of us America is our home, and it means just as much to us as your new home means to you.
Allowing ourselves to be forced away is not much difference than just rolling over and handing your lunch money to the school bully, while doing so in front of all the other bullies to show by example how nice of a victim you can be.

For those of us with a healthy dose of pride, leaving typically doesn't even qualify as an available option.

Re: About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47273489)

When standing knee deep in a cesspit, I prefer to exit via the convenient ladder. You can call staying behind to shovel out all the shit 'pride' if you like, but I would call it 'being a sucker'.

1st (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 5 months ago | (#47273977)

1st in Death By Volcano: Iceland.

Re:About time (5, Insightful)

GrahamCox (741991) | about 5 months ago | (#47270887)

And there, in a nut, is why the USA is nose-diving into oblivion. If you believe it can't be improved, it won't improve. Rampant capitalism is NOT the answer to every need, and Sweden proves it. By treating internet access as a piece of necessary national infrastructure, instead of just letting "the market" fight it out, you arrive at a far better end point far sooner. It's got nothing to do with idealism, all you need to do is compare the actual results.

Re:About time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47272057)

Looking at what Sweden has can be a bit misleading:

For 1, it is a much smaller country. The US is by comparison VAST....You should also be comparing it to counties of similar size (Like Canada, Russia, Brasil and China) and see what the average speeds look like there. You also need to look at population distribution and other factors to get a sense why the same tech can be prohibitively expensive in some places.

Second, at what cost is 40Gbps acceptable? What I mean is, what is the real cost of that connection, what benefit is derived from having such a fat pipe (I mean unless she is running a home business with heavy data usage, what difference does it make that she loads her pages in 0.0001 seconds instead of 0.001 it takes you?) The average person in Sweden pays 31% income tax rate, what chunk of that went to subsidize her connection? Is it worth it if say $5000 of her tax money goes to subsidize that connection? If given the choice, lets assume her connection is subsidized at $5000 + a monthly fee of $50/month for 40Gbps, but she can also get a 100Mbps connection for $50/month + a tax rebate of $5000, which would she choose?

Often times in socialist countries, there is a lot of back door and secret meetings where deals are made and the people are not aware of have no choice in the matter. Sometimes it works out in their benefit, but a lot of times it's nothing more then wealth redistribution to the rich and powerful. Often times the real cost of the deal is realized generations later...

Re:About time (1)

un1nsp1red (2503532) | about 5 months ago | (#47275189)

Often times in socialist countries, there is a lot of back door and secret meetings where deals are made and the people are not aware of have no choice in the matter. Sometimes it works out in their benefit, but a lot of times it's nothing more then wealth redistribution to the rich and powerful. Often times the real cost of the deal is realized generations later...

Thank god that only happens in those socialist countries!

Continues to be a bullshit excuse (1)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 5 months ago | (#47277487)

"For 1, it is a much smaller country. The US is by comparison VAST"
This is as much of a bullshit excuse as it ever was.

The thing about the areas of low population density is that MOST PEOPLE ARE NOT THERE. Even if it is true that ti is too hard to cover the large areas of low density that is no reason not to cover the areas of higher density where most of the people are.

Compare New Jersey to Belgium and Switzerland. Given that New Jersey is smaller than either and has the same or better population density, why should New Jersey have the same or better telecommunicaations infrastructure, or trains, or anything like that?

Re:About time (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 5 months ago | (#47273525)

By treating internet access as a piece of necessary national infrastructure, instead of just letting "the market" fight it out, you arrive at a far better end point far sooner.

But you have to hope that where you end up will be adequate for a long time, because you're going to be stuck with it. That's not to say that the private companies that dominate the US market are doing very well right now, but they're all locked into government mandated monopolies so they have no reason to even try.

Re:About time (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#47273967)

By treating internet access as a piece of necessary national infrastructure, instead of just letting "the market" fight it out, you arrive at a far better end point far sooner.

But you have to hope that where you end up will be adequate for a long time, because you're going to be stuck with it.

There's nothing about nationalizing infrastructure that makes it impossible to upgrade, nor anything about privatizing it that makes it likely to be upgraded. Some of us still remember when Pacific Bell was pledging that 100% of their customers would have "litespeed/light speed" DSL (fiber to the neighborhood) by 2000 or whatever it was, which got pushed back repeatedly until they were bought by SBC, which not only continued but celebrated the Pac Bell tradition of splicing copper runs beyond all usefulness or indeed, recognition — right up until they were bought out by AT&T, which is doing all it can to return to the old school one-phone-one-company system of yesteryear. Meanwhile, I live in a neighborhood where the fastest available connection from the telco is about 26.4-31.2kbps on a POTS line with a 56k modem. I can almost throw a rock and hit a house where you can get DSL, or cable, but my particular little spur of the system is just being kept in the dark ages for eternity.

Re:About time (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 5 months ago | (#47274091)

Typically, when they nationalize infrastructure, private competition is not allowed. Even if it is allowed, they have to compete with a service the customer has already paid for. So you are stuck with whatever the state has to offer.

Obviously, private entities with no incentive to upgrade will not do so. That's what's so infuriating about this debate. People say: "well, I guess it's time to give up on having private telecommunications infrastructure" but like the ex-FCC chairman said here, it hasn't really been tried. A private company with a monopoly is not really a private company, they're just a money-taking intermediary between you and the government that granted them the monopoly.

Re:About time (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#47274247)

Typically, when they nationalize infrastructure, private competition is not allowed.

That's not a law of nature, however. And besides, we don't have private competition now, in most markets. Towns sell monopoly right-of-way to a single cable company and then the only competition possible (aside from the phone company) is wireless. It's not clear that competition for physical wiring is actually needed; it's possible now to buy some types of connection provided by other providers over AT&T's (or whoever's) fiber or copper.

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47276357)

But that's just it, you're not letting the market fight it out. America has some of the best carriers in the world for national/international transit. If you're someone like Facebook or Google, or even some small dataceneter you get great deals, but in most neighborhoods (from what I understand) you get exactly one choice for broadband provider. That's not competition, that's not a market, that's the result of collusion or regulatory capture.

*I'm not from the US, so I'm just going on what I've read.

-puddingpimp

Re:About time (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 5 months ago | (#47270759)

40gbs or 40 GB of data / month. If the later you probably already have more. If you have less, are you kidding. That's an incredibly fast pipe. Some grandmother does not have that kind of speed anywhere.

Re:About time (3, Informative)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 5 months ago | (#47270807)

Yes, some grandmother does [theregister.co.uk] .

I realize that's not typical, but it does illustrate what other nations are doing to continually increase their capabilities. Faster, no caps and lack of monopolies seem to be the norm for all developed nations except than the US.

Re:About time (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 5 months ago | (#47272923)

Read the article. She's buying commercial internet. That was a consumer grade service, he just put a commercial grade line into a house. You can get 40gbs most places in the USA providing you are willing pay for it too. That's not really relevant to discussing consumer speeds.

Re:About time (5, Informative)

RavenLrD20k (311488) | about 5 months ago | (#47270973)

Actually, Copp had this figured out for quite a while. Being slashdot and all, I understand the general inability to RTFA, so here's the pertinent part about this guy's history:

Copps has been a longtime pro-consumer advocate. He was the lone member of the five-person FCC to vote against the merger of Comcast and NBC, and since the 2010 net neutrality rule was vacated in February he has been urging the FCC to reclassify broadband ISPs as a common carrier service. He has also advocated against continued media consolidation and big telecom mergers.

The general gist of the rest of the article goes on to say how the rest of the suits were congratulating themselves on a job well done with the Telecom Act in '96 and generally celebrating the current state and where they see themselves going... until Copp takes the stand and gives everyone a verbal bitchslap:

He led off by agreeing with the several executive speakers that true competition is the way of the future, and the best way to serve consumers. “But we haven’t given competition the chance it needs,” he continued, before referring to how poorly U.S. broadband compares on the global stage. “We have fallen so far short that we should be ashamed of ourselves. We should be leading, and we’re not. We need to get serious about broadband, we need to get serious about competition, we need to get serious about our country.”

What I take from this is that this guy is a single life jacket trying to defend us in a sea of self-serving destruction bound sharks. Good luck to us all.

Re:About time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47271033)

It took 18 years for them to figure this out?

The following link is dated, nevertheless it shows the top 19 countries in term of internet speed

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/18/fastest-internet-connection-speed_n_783865.html

Countries like Japan, Korea, and even third rated countries such as Slovenia has gone ahead of USA, the only thing which is fucking wrong with USA is the people ---

You guys have been voting for and sending the same group of assholes into the Washington DC

Re:About time (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#47271523)

It took 18 years for them to figure this out? Whiles some grandmother in Sweden had 40 GB back in 2007?

When can I get mine? And can I choose from more than one provider? And, most importantly, will I really get 40 GB?

If you actually read the original article:
http://www.thelocal.se/2007071... [thelocal.se]

You'd find that having a son who is a Fiber optic researcher/engineer that wanted to demonstrate a new technology would help quite a bit. i.e. you fell for a publicity stunt.

To make it even more silly, read the followup article:
http://www.thelocal.se/2008033... [thelocal.se]

Where it's revealed she didn't really use it much. The equipment was so large, and hot, she actually used it to dry her laundry.

Re:About time (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 5 months ago | (#47271843)

I didn't fall for anything. I was using an extreme example of research being done in other countries to push the boundaries of bandwidth. I know she is not typical and I too found the laundry thing amusing along with the rest of /.

My point is that most of the developed world continues to improve their internet infrastructure while the vultures in our country continue to fight over the week infrastructure we've built here and how they can squeeze even more money out of it without doing anything to improve it.

Meanwhile (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270677)

Former head ashamed, current head working take it worse.

Forget you guys. I'll build my own lunar lander, with blackjack and bookers. In fact forget the lunar lander and the blackjack!

Re:Meanwhile (2)

amalcolm (1838434) | about 5 months ago | (#47270695)

I'd rather have hookers - maybe they can spell, too

Comcast is Worst Company in America (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 5 months ago | (#47270691)

WCIA 2 time champ, too. We all understand the mergers are about extending monopolies and gaining power, the better to gouge consumers.

And what will be done about it? Nothing, as usual. Our national government will even help the poor things gouge us harder. Give them lots of infrastructure, redefine broadband to include even slower speeds, and keep squashing competition from local governments because it's unfair that they should have to compete against a government.

Oh, and Net Neutrality? Just a bargaining chip. Worth a few hundred sinecures.

It's a problem... (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#47270709)

There seems to be some sort of cultural tipping point, among those at the important levers of a given nation's economy, between wanting to be captains of industry in a first world nation and being more than happy to help build a third world one, so long as they get to be members of the oligarchy in it.

It's not as though our industrial titans were actually nicer in the past; but they didn't seem to have the same spirit of "Well, the bean counters say that just doing bare minimum upkeep and making oligopoly margins has a better ROI than actually building anything, so fuck trying and let's see about a bonus." Back in the day, when you rolled up your sleeves and got ready for a hard day of ruthless exploitation and wanton destruction, it's because you had some sort of grand plan in mind.

Re:It's a problem... (4, Insightful)

Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) | about 5 months ago | (#47270771)

Well, that's the core problem of post-industrial society vs. industrial society. Maybe even post-modern world vs. modern world. Maybe people like Elon Musk (sorry, I know that everyone are already grew tired of his name, but I can't take another example from the top of my head) can renew the popularity of actually achieving something, rather than "great, we've secured the profit for our shareholders for the next quarter, fuck everything else". I, for one, would really love to see a beginning of a "neo-modern" era.

Re:It's a problem... (2)

bberens (965711) | about 5 months ago | (#47271565)

While I have an emotional bond to the idea of "accomplishing something" I don't think it's all that important economically. To turn the tides we need to re-empower the blue collar worker. In the past this was done primarily via unions and maybe that will be how it's done again in the future. Something's going to give, just not sure we're at the point where people are fed up enough to organize in a meaningful way.

Re:It's a problem... (1)

Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) | about 5 months ago | (#47272165)

Well, to really succeed, this process has to start from the both sides: some well-motivated guys on top have to support some blue collar workers, who, in turn, have to use this power in constructive way. You know, when every one, from the "big boss" to the last janitor's assistant would be really proud to do they work, create something meaningful, help to build better future, etc. Not so likely in current conditions. And that's not even bringing in the problems of outsourcing jobs or even eliminating them completely with the help of robots.

Still, only time will tell how this problem is going to solve itself.

Re:It's a problem... (0)

godefroi (52421) | about 5 months ago | (#47272757)

Ah, that's not what unions do. They guarantee that no matter how poorly you do your job, you can't be fired, because that's not fair. Pride in your work and building a better future is a whole other thing.

Re:It's a problem... (1)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | about 5 months ago | (#47275675)

That very much depends on who is running the union. And a proper union should be run by it's member workers, not some fat cat who is brought in from who knows where to run it. Sadly far to many american unions went capitalist and started to be run by people who didn't care about the workers and instead only cared about the money. Properly run unions are effective counters to abuse by corporations and business owners and are not corrupt rent seeking agencies that make it hard to fire people who do no work.

Re:It's a problem... (1)

ahodgson (74077) | about 5 months ago | (#47273191)

Unfortunately, in today's America pretty much everyone is looking to screw everyone else, and do as little actual work as possible while doing it. Blue collar workers included. We just notice the guys at the top more.

Re:It's a problem... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#47273883)

While I have an emotional bond to the idea of "accomplishing something" I don't think it's all that important economically.

That's all well and good if your only hopes are economic. I, for one, would like to see the human race move forward rather than simply stagnating and waiting for a big rock.

Re:It's a problem... (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | about 5 months ago | (#47274397)

Something's going to give, just not sure we're at the point where people are fed up enough to organize in a meaningful way.

The problem is that it's a lot easier to organize a bunch of people together as a lynch mob or revolutionary cadre than as a union. God knows how our country came out of the thirties without a revolution. I don't think we could this time. I'm thinking democracy's time has finally come, overwhelmed by the power of inequitable wealth distribution (exacerbated by improved technology devaluing labor) and the fact that most people had just enough that they didn't have to care about things as messy as politics.

What to do about it? I have no clue. It would probably start with "being nice to others" and end with "incentives against wealth accumulation past a certain point", said point to be determined by plebiscite rather than by representation. But I'm a bit of a dreamer.

We'll probably muddle through until it gets bad enough that some asshole (my prediction is Southern, Christian, and white) comes along to start the revolution (which usually means "let's put me into the oligarch class rather than the assholes who are already there") which ends in a civil war and/or a fascist dictatorship. Then we'll die. Go USA!

Re:It's a problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47275325)

To turn the tides we need to re-empower the blue collar worker.

No, we need to obsolete with blue collar worker by replacing him with robots. Either make him into a white collar worker, or send him (along with the rest of us, I'm not trying to single anyone out) on permanent vacation in the post-scarcity society. Don't wanna work? Fine, go "waste your life" flying around on starships, fucking green alien women. (Sure you don't want a job?)

So close, and yet... (2, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 5 months ago | (#47270713)

But we haven't given competition the chance it needs

So very true. Most of the impediments are about pole-access for community broadband, and that's at the State level. So many attempts at competition have failed at the pole-access level (which suits the incumbents just fine!). Sure, if you have Google money you can get through all of it, but even they only have a handful of cities, a drop in the bucket. Inequitable pole access is one of the reasons for the meager success of WISP's, and though I wish them well, spectrum is limited, glass is not.

Whose internet is it anyway? And whose democracy is it anyway?

And then he goes off the rails. It's a republic, for Pete's sake, and it's the Internet of whomever builds it. The interconnection of many and varied private networks is the model that has led to the most successful technological innovation in history. Mess with that at your great peril. Yes, the too-big-to-fail fascist/corporate model is attractive to miscreants, but fix that, don't wreck the Internet.

He seems to be concluding that Congress is in a smarter position to fix it than the entrepreneurs who know what needs doing but are held back by the government regulations. Congress couldn't find its way out of a box unless K-Street told them where the exit was. Patching bad code with more bad code is not the way the Internet wins, either in a router or in the CFR. The odds of additional regulation from Congress not making things worse are slim to none.

I'm pretty sure that he just made things worse by correctly identifying real problems and then prescribing unicorn farts as the solution from his bully pulpit.

Re:So close, and yet... (3, Insightful)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 5 months ago | (#47270745)

And then he goes off the rails. It's a republic, for Pete's sake, and it's the Internet of whomever builds it. The interconnection of many and varied private networks is the model that has led to the most successful technological innovation in history. Mess with that at your great peril. Yes, the too-big-to-fail fascist/corporate model is attractive to miscreants, but fix that, don't wreck the Internet

Except for the places where they use different models than the US, and also seem to have faster speeds and less bullshit.

Re:So close, and yet... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270923)

But we haven't given competition the chance it needs

So very true. Most of the impediments are about pole-access for community broadband, and that's at the State level. So many attempts at competition have failed at the pole-access level (which suits the incumbents just fine!). Sure, if you have Google money you can get through all of it, but even they only have a handful of cities, a drop in the bucket. Inequitable pole access is one of the reasons for the meager success of WISP's, and though I wish them well, spectrum is limited, glass is not.

Whose internet is it anyway? And whose democracy is it anyway?

And then he goes off the rails. It's a republic, for Pete's sake, and it's the Internet of whomever builds it. The interconnection of many and varied private networks is the model that has led to the most successful technological innovation in history. Mess with that at your great peril. Yes, the too-big-to-fail fascist/corporate model is attractive to miscreants, but fix that, don't wreck the Internet.

He seems to be concluding that Congress is in a smarter position to fix it than the entrepreneurs who know what needs doing but are held back by the government regulations. Congress couldn't find its way out of a box unless K-Street told them where the exit was. Patching bad code with more bad code is not the way the Internet wins, either in a router or in the CFR. The odds of additional regulation from Congress not making things worse are slim to none.

I'm pretty sure that he just made things worse by correctly identifying real problems and then prescribing unicorn farts as the solution from his bully pulpit.

And so he extolls the virtues of private enterprise, without acknowledging that there wouldn't even BE an internet without the government (DARPA).

Re:So close, and yet... (1)

JigJag (2046772) | about 5 months ago | (#47271383)

[...] it's the Internet of whomever builds it

If only! But the reality is much different when you look at those laws that forbid municipalities from laying their own fibers or operating their own network. How many stories on Slashdot have we had about this issue already?

No, rather, it's the Internet of whomever greases the palms of lawmakers the best, at least in North-America (Canada included of course).

Re:So close, and yet... (1)

sjames (1099) | about 5 months ago | (#47273853)

Everywhere a community has tried to build community internet service, the big telcos have fought it tooth and nail in court. You can't blame the local government for that one. That might actually be a good place for the Feds to do some real good and explicitly permit any community to build a co-operative provider (with or without the local government).

Re:So close, and yet... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 5 months ago | (#47274253)

Yes, the too-big-to-fail fascist/corporate model is attractive to miscreants, but fix that, don't wreck the Internet.

"too-big-to-fail fascist/corporate model" is a great description of the USA's existing internet infrastructure.
So according to your logic, the internet is already wrecked.

Sure, there are tens of thousands of companies involved in "the internet," but if you look at the core, it's one or two dozen major corporations that control the vast majority of back hauls, interconnects, and last-mile infrastructure in the USA.

Capitalism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270717)

Welcome to capitalism: it appears to work brilliantly in any market for 10-20 years, then all goes to fuckery. Reasons:

1) Whereas workers are always told that unity is wrong and that they must compete, everyone in power knows that the most successful strategy is to cooperate;

2) This is fine as long as an organisation is run in the interests of the people, i.e. its end purpose is productivity, but creates massive waste and leeching when its operations are merely secondary to its primary purpose of profit.

Signed,

A trustafarian who watches "competitors" on the golf course patting each other on the back for a job well done.

Re:Capitalism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270829)

Welcome to capitalism: it appears to work brilliantly in any market for 10-20 years, then all goes to fuckery. Reasons:

1) Whereas workers are always told that unity is wrong and that they must compete, everyone in power knows that the most successful strategy is to cooperate;

2) This is fine as long as an organisation is run in the interests of the people, i.e. its end purpose is productivity, but creates massive waste and leeching when its operations are merely secondary to its primary purpose of profit.

Signed,

A trustafarian who watches "competitors" on the golf course patting each other on the back for a job well done.

Wut? Government-chartered monopolies are capitalism?

What color's the sky on your planet?

Re:Capitalism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270855)

In a capitalist economy, the government is just another business with a proprietary interest in all land forming the nation. As any other landowner, it gets to assign rights to others. Whether you think it "should" be like this or not, this outcome is inevitable and without exception in history.

Now, if you think that there's some supernatural method by which arbitrary numbers of telecommunications companies could provide service to every home, providing some substance to the argument that it's relevant whether Government Inc. or Roadowner Inc. assigns rights to the pipes under the street, go ahead...

Re:Capitalism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47271899)

Every form of government eventually becomes corrupt without exception, one of the reasons some of the first things the founding fathers put into law (constitution) were the ability to speak out against corruption (1st amendment), and the ability to fight it (2nd amendment). Under the original intent of the constitution the ability for corruption to progress is limited (power concentrated at the state/local level, where constituents can more easily observe & react to corruption. Unfortunately we have gotten away from that system to a strong federal & weak state system allowing corruption to be concentrated far away (DC) where it is more difficult for the citizens to demand accountability.

Re:Capitalism. (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 5 months ago | (#47272159)

Now, if you think that there's some supernatural method by which arbitrary numbers of telecommunications companies could provide service to every home,

Connection from the home to an exchange point. Use a different VLAN for every ISP that wants to connect to each customer.

At my home I could then connect to multiple ISPs at the same time if I so choose, just by making use of VLANs. Most customers wouldn't need this and they could have a default VLAN set to their port, but the option would be there.

With this setup, you could have up to 4,000-ish ISPs.

Re:Capitalism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47273855)

MVNOs run on top of cell phone networks.

Dial-up ISPs ran on top of phone lines (which they didn't own).

Vertical separation is a workable model.

The problem with cable companies isn't that they are big companies, but that consumers have no choice. Plenty of private companies have questionable pricing or products (such as iPhone's insane storage prices), but those companies have real competition.

The other problem is that they are trying to prop up cable TV by limiting internet access. Newspapers tried to close off the internet spigot, but they weren't in a position to really stop it. Cable companies could.

Re:Capitalism. (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 5 months ago | (#47273557)

But we dont have that in the USA. As soon as the Federal Government started mucking around with things beyond protecting the consumer, it ceased to be that.

What's the point? (4, Interesting)

Pollux (102520) | about 5 months ago | (#47270777)

a group of internet industry executives and politicians came together...

Did this individual seriously believe he could make this audience of industry executives and politicians feel shame? What next? Will he tell a serial rapist to feel remorse? Will he tell a psychopathic murderer to feel empathy?

These people are incapable of feeling shame. It's what's made them so successful in the first place.

Re:What's the point? (2)

KermodeBear (738243) | about 5 months ago | (#47272359)

Do you remember the days when a politician would do something slightly out of line, he'd get caught, and then he'd resign? Well, I'm only a touch over 30, so I don't remember that happening but I know that it used to happen. Modern politicians seem to have no shame, no honor, no integrity; they will say whatever is required to get elected, do whatever they want while in office, and tell you, "Yeah? What are YOU going to do about it?" if you call them out on it.

The worst part - the absolute worst part - is that they're allowed to do this. Too many people look at the ballot and like zombies pick the 'D' or the 'R' after the name instead of looking at what that person has done or considering the person's character.

Character and principles matter. If you're a scumbag then you're a scumbag no matter what party you're in. Stop circling he damn wagons around some slimeball just because he has the same R or D that you do. If someone is scum toss them out. If you're stuck in the tribal mentality then it is even more important to do this so that YOUR tribe isn't the tribe of scum.

(You != the person I'm replying to; You = the public in general )

Re:What's the point? (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | about 5 months ago | (#47274501)

The trouble is that the R's keep putting in people who look worse and worse to D's and vice-versa. Hooray for the gerrymander. And, since we have FPTP voting, any vote against the guy who barely acknowledges your point of view is automatically a vote for the guy who actively works against your views. From the point of view of the incumbents in safe districts, this is a win. For everyone else? Not so much.

You want to actually have people vote for someone on the other side? Start having the other side stop pandering so much to their base so that they scare away the other side.

Better yet, if your state has a ballot initiative system, start working with groups who are trying to promote IRV or some other voting system. Get that on the ballot. Also, start working to get money out of politics, even if it means a constitutional amendment to do so. Do whatever you can. All of these are better ideas to solve this problem when "throwing a bum out" gets you someone worse in return.

What did he do when he was commissioner? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270781)

It's easy to second guess the guy doing the job now. This chucklefuck however left this guy a pile of shit and now is saying, well, ain't the pile of shit bigger than when I left. Nevermind the fact that you DID nothing about the problem. Go fuck yourself Michael Copps.

Re:What did he do when he was commissioner? (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 5 months ago | (#47270813)

He probably did contribute a lot to this mess, but that doesn't mean he's no correct here.

Accept no shame! (0)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 5 months ago | (#47270793)

It's like Newton's Third Law with me. Anytime some yahoo tells me I should be ashamed, they've lost me.
Build an argument with logic, and I'll tell you if I think it's a shame or not.
But if you're dumb enough of a sheep to accept a pronouncement of shame from someone else, you may deserve your feelings.

It all comes down to one thing... (4, Interesting)

jonwil (467024) | about 5 months ago | (#47270799)

It all comes down to one thing and that is a desire to make sure that pay TV (cable/satellite/fiber/whatever) isn't killed by the internet.

Re:It all comes down to one thing... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47272683)

Pay TV is already dead. Do you know when it died? It died when I bought a Nintendo in 1988.

I've never been bothered by not having cable TV, which is amazing when you consider that I grew up in a rural town with only 2 broadcast TV stations. Once I found that there was a machine that let me control the story, all of those non-interactive stories became less interesting. I watch TV for the local weather report and an occasional baseball or hockey game ("if available in my area", which is another bullshit point counting against subscription TV companies).

And now, they've removed most of the stories from TV. It's all about "reality" (except not real). I live in reality. I don't need to watch it. And I relax, in reality, by controlling a story to my own satisfaction.

We've gone way beyond the point of no return on subscription TV services. Stick a fork in 'em.

Re:It all comes down to one thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47276477)

Your story is not typical.

Cities should move to connection utilities (1)

JoeDaddyZZZ (3543989) | about 5 months ago | (#47270817)

Cities and towns that create better internet infrastructure should rise as natural software company hubs. If they want the jobs offer utility like internet at a reasonable cost. Get rid of the media managed connection model and special individual company tax incentives in exchange for better connectivity.

Re:Cities should move to connection utilities (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 5 months ago | (#47271131)

One of the problems is that cities and towns that have tried this have found an unexpected expense: Legal bills from fighting against the lawsuits that the Big ISPs start to prevent these projects. This is even the case when the Big ISPs don't server those cities/towns. To hear the ISPs put it: Competition from the government is unfair and if they don't serve that area then it is still unfair competition since they might, some day, decide to maybe serve it.

Re:Cities should move to connection utilities (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 5 months ago | (#47271527)

Those legal bills are so BS, they should just have a vote. A city could do something like pass an ordinance stating an ISP that does not have a popular vote does not get right-of-way access to private property without the owner's permission. And not having signed permission while having infrastructure or equipment on their property is trespassing.

That would make things interesting.

Re:Cities should move to connection utilities (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 5 months ago | (#47274025)

I'll agree that cities shouldn't have to fight these legal battles, but once an ISP files one of these lawsuits, the city can either fight back or roll over and accept the ISPs' demands. What is needed is clear indications from the FCC that municipal broadband is completely legal - with the backbone to stand up to the inevitable ISP complaints.

Re:Cities should move to connection utilities (1)

JoeDaddyZZZ (3543989) | about 5 months ago | (#47271861)

That's why they ISP/Cable companies can only be either a wire company or a media company but not both. FCC needs to declare wire companies common carriers and let the media companies fight it out. What if 3 or 4 electric companies wanted to run wire in your town?

Re:Cities should move to connection utilities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47273503)

A better idea would be to force the fuckin' ISPs to share the wires, and rent them out to any new ISPs that want to come in. Then there'd be actual competition.

Re:Cities should move to connection utilities (1)

JoeDaddyZZZ (3543989) | about 5 months ago | (#47274609)

That was the deregulated AT&T model. Phone companies were allowed to use AT&T lines. http://www.networkworld.com/ar... [networkworld.com]

Re:Cities should move to connection utilities (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 5 months ago | (#47271995)

Why is it that one of the few instances where the argument "we have sovereign immunity; go fuck yourself" is legitimate is one of the few instances where they don't use it?!

Too many unanswered questions (4, Insightful)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 5 months ago | (#47271413)

The real issue here is that we have far too many unanswered questions when it comes to broadband internet. The biggest, of course, is who regulates ISPs and internet as a service (rather than the content on the internet). To this day, we STILL don't know the answer. Plenty of people have tried (and failed) to answer it.

The FCC tried to initially regulate them as a Title I "information service", but that led to a bunch of lawsuits and eventually the Circuit Court of Appeals stepping in and saying that no, they couldn't regulate ISPs (especially in regards to network neutrality) under Title I. Now, years later, there's a debate over whether the FCC should step in and regulate them under Title II - something that the courts said would probably be in line with the legal authority given to the FCC by Congress. To this day, there is still no hard legislation as to who should regulate them, so it may very well be that even if the FCC regulates ISPs under Title II, a lawsuit by the telecos/cablecos could reverse the whole thing.

The same thing is true of the "last mile", where supposedly it's regulated by local government.. but in practice it's ruled by Big Telco/Big Cableco and their constant lawsuits used to wipe out the competition. They can do this because there is no strong legislation preventing them from doing so, and until there is a law that provides immunity to competitors from being sued simply because they want to compete and prevents local government from signing all of the infrastructure away to Big Telco, lawsuits will continue to be the law of the land.

We need to answer these questions first. Then we can start improving broadband in the United States.

Personnally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47273513)

I blame AT&T

The Telecom Disaster of 1996 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47273711)

Right, that's where all the companies got deregulated... so that they could merge, leading to just a few fighting it out to be the new, but *unregulated*, Ma Bell.

Enjoying the ever-increasing bills for the same service, kiddies?

And make no mistake: that Bill was bought and paid for by the telecoms, including in ways most of you never heard of... like me: I was working for Ameritech, one of the Baby Bells, and our *corporate*, not division, president *ordered* us all to write letters to our Senetors and Congresscritter to push the bill through... *and* they demanded ->copies of the letter-, and if there's any fools or libertarians (but I repeat myself) out there who *don't* understand that it was a threat, and if we didn't, we could be out of a job, you are clueless.

If you're wondering, my letters were as forceful on the matter as a newborn kitten's... but it was enough to satisfy the bastard Notebart.

                  mark

Re:The Telecom Disaster of 1996 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47275375)

Why wouldn't a libertarian see that as a threat? Do you think it was libertarians who allowed the 'Disaster of 1996' to happen? More likely the Gophers and Jackasses. The same people who also turn their heads when the types of threats you mention are made.

Ignorant much?

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