White House: Here's $795M For Broadband; Congress: Wait, We Want $602M Of That For War

from the broadband-or-guns? dept

There's been plenty of coverage of the White House's announcement today that it's handing out $795 million in grants and loans to help establish broadband access in underserved parts of the country (mostly rural areas where it's been expensive to build infrastructure). I'm still not convinced this program is actually needed, but it's popular politically. However, as Broadband Reports notes, at the very same time the White House was talking up the importance of broadband investment, House Appropriations Chair David Obey was proposing an amendment to shift $602 million in broadband funding to paying for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Obey apparently feels that broadband is an area "that no longer require[s] funding" and has "sufficient funds on hand."


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 2nd, 2010 @ 4:38pm

    Sigh

    This is why we can't have nice things.

     

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  2.  
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    Dementia (profile), Jul 2nd, 2010 @ 4:43pm

    So glad this idiot is retiring this year.....hmmm, maybe I should run for his seat.

     

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  3.  
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    JNomics (profile), Jul 2nd, 2010 @ 5:18pm

    I'm all for broadband investment in rural areas, but would much rather $602 million go to pay for the wars. It makes all the economic/fiscal sense in the world. Thinking otherwise demonstrates an irrational bias. That said, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm a supporter of the war in Afghanistan and of a strong U.S. military. Not saying that's the only way to be, but that is where I stand. Happy 4th Techdirt!

    JNOMICS

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2010 @ 5:23pm

    By the time Congress gets done with this we would have built a P2P WifiNet that renders ISP's obsolete.

    I have a few ideas that might help.

    Perhaps wireless routers should have built in GPS capabilities and they can broadcast their location as part of their identification information (like how an IP address identifies routers and computers) to other wireless routers so that routers can better coordinate packet pathways. A public key perhaps could also be used to help identify routers, perhaps a combination of location + public key. This can help direct traffic in the right direction.

    and to limit the packet overhead necessary to avoid packet collision perhaps routers should be allowed to distribute information to each other across different non overlapping channels.

    So lets say that computer "a" wants to send a packet to computer "e" and computer a is behind wireless access point A and computer e is behind wireless access point E. Below, capital letters are wireless access points and lowercase letters are computers. a is wired to A, e is wired to E: A, B, C, D, and E all communicate with one another wirelessly and these routers are configured in a straight line (an oversimplification).

    a - A - B - C - D - E - e

    a forwards a packet to A which forwards it to B using frequency x. B forwards the same packet to C using frequency y. C forwards it to D using frequency z. D sends the packet to E using frequency x again. E sends the packet to e. Then the same packet - frequency configurations are used in reverse. e responds. It sends a packet to E. E sends the packet to D using frequency x. D sends the packet to C using frequency z. C sends the packet to B using frequency y. etc...

    Frequencies x and z are far apart from each other so they don't collide. This method avoids collisions as much as possible and reduces the need for the overhead required to administer packet avoidance.

    Of course this is an overly simplified model and in reality you will probably need at least 6 non overlapping channels for this to work efficiently. But still, I think it's a good idea and communicating via non overlapping channels can also introduce better non overlapping routing capabilities among wireless routers.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2010 @ 5:45pm

    Re:

    Oh, and any wireless endpoints (ie: wireless laptops) should probably also have built in GPS capabilities as well (though it's not really as needed), but they probably need another two non overlapping channels of their own for this to work efficiently.

    In the above depiction, router A can communicate with laptops using non overlapping channel f, B can communicate with them using non overlapping channel g, C can use f again, D can use g again, etc... Again, probably a minimum of 3 non overlapping channels among laptops would be necessary to make this efficient.

     

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  6.  
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    Eugene (profile), Jul 2nd, 2010 @ 6:22pm

    Re:

    I'm all for making sure the wars are funded properly and our troops have everything they need to be effective and safe, but 600 mill is like a drop in the ocean when it comes to war funding. Unless America is literally going broke, there's no reason in the world to cannibalize completely unrelated budgetary allocations like this. This seems more like the kind of thing you'd do only because you want to make sure those funds don't go where they were originally intended. If David Obey was into Poprocks, he'd be shifting the money to a Federal Candy fund.

     

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  7.  
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    Baylink, Jul 2nd, 2010 @ 7:25pm

    With all due respect, guys...

    hundreds of Ph.Ds have been working on mesh networking for decades; there's code you can load into your WRT54G.

    Could we not reinvent it here?

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2010 @ 7:31pm

    There's a saying to go with this. It goes something like:

    -Make broadband, not war.-

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2010 @ 7:48pm

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2010 @ 7:51pm

    senseless imperialism or money into corporations' pockets? decisions, decisions...

     

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  11.  
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    MrWilson, Jul 2nd, 2010 @ 8:33pm

    Remember this kids!

    Spending money to kill people is always more important than spending money to educate people (or at least provide them with faster porn).

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 2nd, 2010 @ 11:08pm

    Re:

    scumbag, you are a death merchant, you will rot in hell for the murder of innocent civillians

     

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  13.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 3rd, 2010 @ 4:55am

    Re:

    Killing people in unjustified wars or implementing an educational and employment enabling infrastructure in underprivileged areas? Decisions, decisions...

    Corporation can be bad, but they do sometimes perform vital functions. Unlike killing thousands of Iraqi civilians because Bush didn't like their leader.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2010 @ 6:19am

    Give that money to new broadband startups.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2010 @ 6:19am

    Re: Re:

    If the war is important VOTE to pay for the damn war don't rifle other programs for it. We needed the paid for when it started not a decade later.

     

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  16.  
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    Famous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2010 @ 11:54am

    Re: "Nation Building," think of all the $$ needed to support foreign bases - let alone other nation building enterprises in (whatever..."an" country). US can deploy from anywhere to anywhere unlike quickly and efficiently, unlike decades ago when foreign bases (perhaps) made some sense. Better yet, let us cease/desist in foreign civil wars and focus on "nation building" at home - with restoring liberty, common sense, and applying $$ to local needs. Ahh... but I dream a pipe dream.

     

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  17.  
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    rdowli (profile), Jul 3rd, 2010 @ 4:14pm

    Re: Sigh

    LOL!!

     

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  18.  
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    rdowli (profile), Jul 3rd, 2010 @ 4:16pm

    Re:

    "Thinking otherwise demonstrates an irrational bias." In your humble opinion, of course!!

     

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  19.  
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    rdowli (profile), Jul 3rd, 2010 @ 4:22pm

    I agree with you. How can we effectively help others, when our own country is in such disarray?

     

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  20.  
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    rdowli (profile), Jul 3rd, 2010 @ 4:24pm

    Re:

    Love ur comment!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2010 @ 7:11pm

    Re:

    Right. Gotta pay for those high tech JDAMs that end up vaporizing your own troops. That's a good investment.

     

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  22.  
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    john, Jul 3rd, 2010 @ 8:34pm

    my plan for this money

    Honestly, i'd give 120mil to the war, 255mil to give the eastern/south states 98% coverage, 105mil for 92%+ coverage in midwest and 85 mil for 95%+ coverage in western states. the other 250mil i'd give to that solar energy project in arizona or a future energy project.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 4th, 2010 @ 1:42am

    Re:

    It makes all the economic/fiscal sense to throw money down the drain in a third world country instead of investing in the improvement of American communication infrastructure? Please tell me you're being sarcastic.

    The spread of broadband across this country has created untold jobs and brought new technologies and services to life that no one could even imagine 10 years ago with more progress to come as more people sign on and the broadband speeds increase.

    The more people who have a chance to get their voices heard and their ideas off the ground the better off this country will be in the long run. The internet is where innovation happens, Afghanistan is where empires die.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 4th, 2010 @ 6:07am

    Re: Re:

    Actually it does make economic sense. Billions are pumped into the "defence" industry generating jobs. Securing the trillion dollar + mineral wealth of Afghanistan will certainly help US corporations. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jun/16/afghanistan-mineral-wealth-conf lict

     

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  25.  
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    DanVan (profile), Jul 4th, 2010 @ 12:37pm

    I am not sure why anyone would think that we are actually taking the NEXT step towards future broadband.

    I have FiOS and applaud them for me insanely solid and quick service but other companies will continue stretching out what they have WHILE charging more and lying about how upgraded their service is

     

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  26.  
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    Jeremy, Jul 5th, 2010 @ 7:51am

    Contact your representative via email. it's easy.

    Stop govenment, it's people, and it's military from invading foreign countries.

     

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  27.  
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    Chris, Jul 5th, 2010 @ 11:37am

    Nation Building

    With all of this effort by multiple administrations to commence "nation-building" in many far-flung corners of the globe, perhaps it's time we begin building our own again. In other words, let's get the @#$% out of Afghanistan and keep the broadband money.

     

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  28.  
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    NAMELESS.ONE, Jul 5th, 2010 @ 1:16pm

    i know

    lets pound the USA to dust and see how well we can rebuild it

     

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  29.  
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    gorehound (profile), Jul 6th, 2010 @ 5:08am

    Re: Sigh

    It is high time to vote Democrats and Republicans out of DC.Got to love how they pass a bill adding on the pork,,,,,subtracting where the bucks should go.

    Just a great way to do business and a great way to have pride in your government.

    I am sick of the Government !!! I love our Country !!!

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 6:29am

    "Unless America is literally going broke, there's no reason in the world to cannibalize completely unrelated budgetary allocations like this. "

    America was broke 4 years ago...since i don't believe the Fed government includes non-money and income-related assets in the budget, we've been broke since like 2002....

    If you dont think 'America is literally going broke', why do you call $10 trillion deficit in the near future and over $50 trillion of unfunded liabilities in entitlement programs?


    We don't need a "broadband stimulus package" and we dont need more government/FCC oversight of our network infrastructures unless it poses a risk to national security.

     

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  31.  
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    Danny, Jul 6th, 2010 @ 9:38am

    Let me guess...

    "Obey apparently feels that broadband is an area "that no longer require[s] funding" and has "sufficient funds on hand."

    This Obey person already has access to broadband right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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