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.”

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

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JNomics (profile) says:

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!


Eugene (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Famous Coward says:

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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