More People Realizing Broadband Stimulus Is Targeting The Wrong Problem

from the competition,-competition,-competition dept

We’ve been worried about the details of the broadband stimulus bill, since it has looked mostly like a way to give money to incumbent telcos, rather than to actually stimulate any broadband. Obama advisor Blair Levin insisted this was just part I, and was more about creating jobs than tackling the broadband problem, but it looks like more folks are getting worried, as well. Scott Bradner points out the obvious at Network World: the broadband stimulus package seems focused on getting broadband to people who aren’t that interested in broadband, more than it’s about improving broadband for those who do want it.

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Comments on “More People Realizing Broadband Stimulus Is Targeting The Wrong Problem”

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Link P. (profile) says:

Short sighted

That’s rather arrogant to say the least. Try living in an area that doesn’t have broadband or is very limited. In my area, 1.5M is the max and it’s all down to the phone lines. The news agency that supposedly did the poll asking people in rural areas whether or not they wanted broadband was rigged as most people know. It was not explained to those that don’t have it what the advantages where.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Short sighted

That’s rather arrogant to say the least. Try living in an area that doesn’t have broadband or is very limited. In my area, 1.5M is the max and it’s all down to the phone lines.

Funny that you call it arrogant. I wrote the post, and my DSL line is capped at 768kbps. But do you see me demanding a gov’t handout to increase broadband here? No. I want competition in the marketplace so that it will push companies to actually provide better broadband.

The news agency that supposedly did the poll asking people in rural areas whether or not they wanted broadband was rigged as most people know. It was not explained to those that don’t have it what the advantages where.

It was done by the Pew and American Life Project — a rather respected group, rather than “a news agency.”

Pitabred (profile) says:

Re: Re: Short sighted

It was a valid poll, but I’m sure if you polled people in the early 1800’s about whether they wanted “television” or if they wanted to replace their horses with “automobiles”, they’d say no to that. Disruptive technologies are almost by essence unrecognized by the people as worthwhile, because they just don’t (or can’t) think that way.

CalM says:

They must not want it, or something.

False premise.

Not just a question of ignorance or of a rural culture that doesn’t value connectivity. Its just that everyone who absolutely needs broadband has been forced to move to an area that has it.

And there are LOTS of people that would like to relocate to rural areas but can never consider it. When looking for a house existing broadband service was a top consideration given to our realtor. I have to live where the connectivity is, so guys like me aren’t there when the survey folks come by.

This more or less exactly mirrors the surveys that the power companies did when they were told by the government to roll out power to the Tenessee Valley during the great depression. “Nobody there wants it – if they did they moved to the city.”

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

If they want

If they really want to stimulate the economy, they can just give me a call. Give me the funds and I still start an ISP that will not cave in to the RIAA and will actually provide the speeds I sell. None of those caps or throttling. This would create jobs, and considering I live in Michigan, everybody knows we could definitely use them. Having been mistreated by comcast (our only option, except maybe satellite, which has high install cost, in addition to same monthly cost + high latency that is not acceptable for my gaming) enough times, I know what not to do to make people happy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Try it. You'll like it.

Once people try broadband a lot of them won’t want to go back to dial-up. Therefore getting it to people who don’t want it will result in a lot more people wanting it.

One other thing that is holding back broadband in some cases is the RIAA. I know two families who won’t get broadband because they are afraid of the RIAA. One of the families doesn’t even have kids.

hegemon13 says:

Post is off-track

There are plenty of areas in the Midwest that have no access to broadband. That’s right – none. My dad is a computer programmer. He lives on an acreage about 7 miles outside Lincoln, NE, so he is not that far from a city with plenty of broadband offerings. The fastest stable connection he can get to his house is a 128k DSL connection. That’s right – double dialup speed is the best option available.

Competition is not going to get faster internet out to him because the population density is too low to ever justify the infrastructure. While I agree that competition is extremely important to improving the existing services, I don’t know what you really expect. A government bill cannot just create competition out of thin air. What it can do use fund a sort of “last mile” requirement for broadband. Spending the money to improve broadband where it already exists is a bit ridiculous when there are plenty of people who can’t get it at all. And to say that they don’t want it is both arrogant and ignorant. Clearly, you don’t live in an area where you have close contact with people to whom broadband is unavailable. All of them that I know complain plenty.

Steven says:

Re: Post is off-track

This kind of thinking drives me nuts. Your basically saying: My dad wants faster speeds, it’s not economically feasible to provide that to him, so I want everybody else to cough up some money to give my dad faster speeds.

Your dad has chosen to live where he lives. That’s his choice and he must deal with the consequences.

A Government bill cannot create competition, the market does that just fine, what a government bill can do is remove the restrictions that are in place preventing competition and/or prevent actions that block competition.

kirillian (profile) says:

Plenty of people would like better internet access

I work for a company that provides an internet service to many people who live in rural areas. Probably about half of our customer base uses satellite internet to connect to our service because they do not have access to anything other than dial-up otherwise. They know that satellite internet has problems with streaming, but they don’t really have much choice. Then there is a group of people that have just a dial-up connection trying to figure out why the video and audio won’t work. Many of them would love to have a faster connection.

These people actually want better connections, but they don’t have much choice in the matter. They pay exhorbitant prices for crappy internet connections and think that’s normal. Then they get terrible service from their ISP diagnosing their problems. This is quite a turnoff for them – they are used to people waiting hand and foot for them and the horridly rude reps and terrible service they provide is just ridiculous.

I know that there’s a little bias from the sense that anyone who is trying to use our service already has something for an internet connection or is at least familiar with it, but…I’ve never had a phone call where someone had dial-up and found out that our service required broadband…and then said anything to the effect that they didn’t want it…if anything it was, “Well, we can’t get anything else out here…”

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