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  • Aug 24th, 2016 @ 10:56am


    Sorry Karl, once again you fail because you can't seem to see past your hatred of these companies to realize they are being smart.

    You seem surprised they are buying up spectrum? Did you even actually read the quote, which suggests it's possible that they won't even want to pay the minimum set forward, which would trigger another auction round?

    Moreover, did you consider WHY they are buying spectrum? It's in no small part because it's a limited resource, and something they can control and profit from. It would be the same as buying empty lots in real estate. All the lots around it are built up, the lots are right in the best locations, and there won't be any more of it. That is a recipe for long term profits. It doesn't mean they are going to do much of anything with it today, tomorrow, or the next day.

    Buying up empty lots doesn't give you 1 iota more service, and doesn't innovate anything. Rather, they are buying the space and keeping others people out.

    Net neutrality has spurred plenty of innovation and investment - on in house, zero rated services and walled gardens of "doesn't count against bandwidth bills" services. It's driving a wedge between in house services and the web at large, and there is absolutely nothing the FCC can do about what companies do on their internal networks.

  • Aug 23rd, 2016 @ 9:41pm


    More like Electronic Fear Foundation these days... but as others have said, proof that Karl ain't a top shelf Techdirt writer!

    I was going to add that I think that this is a case like #hillaryhealth. No matter how much Microsoft says the data is made anonymous or pooled in a manner that doesn't allow for individual data to be matched to user, there will always be those screaming "spying!". It's pretty unavoidable.

    EFF's entire spiel here seems to be based on (at best) second hand knowledge.

  • Aug 23rd, 2016 @ 6:24pm

    (untitled comment)

    Techdirt hates it when law enforcement actually does something that results in criminal prosecutions.

    I wish the site was still up identifying those who seek child porn. They need to tie a can to the tail of those fuckers and make sure everyone knows who they are. If "entrapment" (what the rest of us would call a "sting" operation) is what gets it done, then entrap away!

    In favorite Techdirt-ism, the ends justify the means.

  • Aug 23rd, 2016 @ 11:20am

    (untitled comment)

    The reality is that Trump is against the TTP because it would cost him money, and Hillary is wishy washy on it because there is no benefit in the election in enthusiastically supporting it.

    The song will change in January, when Hillary takes over and suddenly she will like TTP again.

  • Aug 22nd, 2016 @ 8:58pm

    Re: Re: Fact checking

    It's one of the ongoing issues of media and politics. Media has the ability to shape people's opinion, and the owners of media have rarely been shy to try.

    The biggest difference is that in the past, you might see editorials or op-eds in support of a given candidate. In more recent years. we have seen the media becoming more and more mouth pieces for their chosen party. I think of it as the Fox News Effect. Online sites like Breibart don't even attempt to get the facts right, pouring lies and misdirection into the political debate (see #hillaryhealth for more of that crap).

    The total lack of fact in news reporting these days is pretty scary.

  • Aug 22nd, 2016 @ 11:10am

    (untitled comment)

    I think perhaps you have a bit of a problem between "bullshit" and "I don't like your answer". The press are calling out Trump because his stuff is over the top bullshit, with absolutely no space for doubt. The press can call it out, because it's clear and not subject of opinion or debate.

    It's rare that things are so clear cut. Most of the time, there are at least two possible interpretations of someone's statements, or enough provable truth in the lies that it's hard to split them out. The media still do a pretty good job (many news organizations run fact check stories) but the generally don't call someone and out and out liar, often pointing to shreds of truth that salt the lies.

  • Aug 20th, 2016 @ 7:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: 20th century thinking

    Umm, no, it's not a phone network either. Think walkie talkies, in car radios, base stations... first responders don't have time to speed dial each other every time they want to say something.

  • Aug 18th, 2016 @ 11:30pm

    Re: 20th century thinking

    Just to clarify: It's a radio and communication network that also handles data (like in car terminals). It's not an internet replacement or a secret web.

  • Aug 18th, 2016 @ 11:28pm

    Election Year Politics

    In an election year, politicians always seem to slink away from anything that might be a problem. Support for the TTP in pretty big in the Republican world (big business) but not as popular with the individual voters. So during the election cycle, they back away, and come January, they are back with their full support knowing full well that the public will have likely forgotten the whole thing by the next time the critter are up for re-election.

    It's how the critters keep their jobs.

  • Aug 18th, 2016 @ 12:27pm

    (untitled comment)

    A couple of things: First, a congrats to Karl for apparently buying out Techdirt, as the site for the moment is almost exclusively your posts on pages 1.

    As for the story, well...

    First and foremost, if I understand this correctly, the network is going to be built by industry not using government money, and they will in face be paying the government for the privilege. So the estimated cost, in many senses, is not a direct expense.

    Second, one of the things you have to remember about a system like this is the concept that the coverage is nationwide without gaps. An emergency happens, and fire and rescue from various jurisdictions can work together on the ground with a common communication system. That's pretty powerful concept.

    Anyway, I end up a little confused, the price is going up but it's private industry paying, and that 47 billion will net them more than 100 billion. Seems like a fair return - and even if they costs akmost double again (say 80 billion) it would still be a good deal for them overall.

    Trying to figure out where the outrage is aimed, exactly.

  • Aug 17th, 2016 @ 11:01pm

    Re: Re:

    Not really. Mike is blaming the "paywall", I am blaming the content.

    What is interesting of course is that if more news sources were subscription based, the "free" stuff would be harder to find, as most of them are based on scraping subscription free news sites.

    Mike wants to blame the wall, I am blaming the emtpy garden inside.

  • Aug 17th, 2016 @ 10:57pm

    Re: Re: Giggling... are you a shill?

    Actually, the big five (as you call them) make their money by NOT throwing cash down every technology black hole they trip over. Most of them have been wisely replacing copper with fiber for most of their existing backbone network, doing fiber to the node setups not only for internet but also for phone and other services. Unlike Google, they have long since figured out that there is no way to easily recoup the money involved in re-cabling people's homes when the existing copper will do internet speed well beyond what most people need.

    They make their money the old fashioned way: By not burning through it like play money.

  • Aug 17th, 2016 @ 10:54pm

    Re: "Re: Giggling... are you a shill?" Actual Technical Factors.

    Yup. However, that still leaves Google ISP with a big problem, because they still have to get within 1000 feet of the consumer, and they have to offer enough bandwidth to meet the needs of all of the consumers in that space.

    In low density areas, the last 1000 feet isn't the cost, it's the miles and miles between and the poles and the installation that costs so much and cannot be easily passed on to consumers. So getting to a pole or a spot 1000 feet away from someone's farm house is still expensive, using fiber or using some kind of mesh network to get there. Each node costs, and has to be maintained.

    Also, the rooftop "reasonable" antenna exemption is for non-commercial use, generally not for commercial users. The exemption is a home owners personal use exemption, and not a way out of the FCC rules. There are a few small groups trying to set these things up and the FCC is watching closely.

    It would explain why Google is so much into mesh networking. But it would fly into the face of FCC regulation and there is a strong possibility that they would find it to be an unreasonable commercial use of the public airwaves. There is no free lunch!

    So if you consider Google setting up commercial nodes (with appropriate licensing) and then trying to maintain them and get users to use their radios and receiving equipment, you start seeing that it could end up being even more expensive than running fiber. Google is already proving that FTTH style service is way more expensive than anyone wants to admit.

  • Aug 17th, 2016 @ 10:47pm

    Re: Re: Giggling... are you a shill?

    Always good to see you missing the point and piling up the personal insults. It's almost hard to know where to start because your posts are sort of like buckshot - high in dispersion, but not much kill power.

    "Like everything you state"

    Incorrect. All of the numbers come from the current Alphabet reports. So there is no guessing. Further, if you took time to read the attached link, you would realize that they too have drawn very similar conclusions. The new CFO seems to be clamping down hard, bringing the adult supervision back to the company.

    As for "it's a guess", it means that I am expressing an opinion based on the facts. It's sort of the same things that Mike Masnick does in many of his stories: Lining up facts, and filling in the gaps between.

    "which is why Google are not rolling out in "most of the country" but concentrating on underserved populated metropolitan areas"

    Portland is populated and metropolitan, but they are not longer pulling the trigger there. Why? Some people draw the conclusion that there isn't any money to be made, so they aren't going to do it.

    "You not only spew crap for paragraphs, your conclusion actually agrees with the people you're trying to attack. Does that mean you're a shill too?"

    My conclusion is that the concept of the story (that all is fine on the good ship Google Fiber) is just plain wrong. In fact, a "pivot" at this point away from fiber is a good indication that the ship ran into a storm and has turned back. Looking at alternate ways to reach consumers is a good idea, but it shows that after all the huff and puff about incumbent ISPs being lazy and fat, we see perhaps that they are smart enough not to throw money down a hole. Google fiber has, at very least, proven that we are probably at least one iteration away from that model being useful in anything other than the highest density situations.

    That's not just a guess - it's backed up with facts and figures. Your post? Backed up with vemon and hatred. You really should stop making yourself look foolish.

  • Aug 16th, 2016 @ 10:29pm

    Giggling... are you a shill?

    Karl, I think you have blown your cover as a bit of a shill. This story is pure Iraqi Information Minister material.

    The Alpahbet reality (not Google, that is only one of their busineses) is that they have a pile of what they consider "moonshot" or "other bets" type businesses. This is everything from space exporation and self driving cars all the way to things like Google Fiber. That group last quarter cost the company nearly 900 million and took in only 185 million total (and burned through more than 3.5 BILLION dollars in 2015). (source: http://www.foxbusiness.com/features/2016/08/15/alphabet-ceo-larry-page-needs-adult-supervision.html )

    Quite simply, Google Fiber is a big, big, huge money loser. As a little experiment to show what is possible, it was a nice idea. Kansas City was a cool concept. The reality however is that it does not appear to make enough income to justify it's existence. It's actually bad enough that it appears to be a form of dumping (intentionally losing a lot of money to gain market and drive others out). This only works out for Alphabet because other business (specifically Google ads) are bring in tons of free cash.

    As a stand alone business, Google Fiber should already be out of business.

    So, evolving? Nope. What is sounds much more like is "stop throwing money into the pit". It's a solid pivot to try to leverage out some of the other expensive moonshots (buying lots of radio bandwidth) into something more profitable. It's pretty clear that Google has figured out that fiber to the home, as a stand alone concept, it just way to expensive to run.

    It's a guess, but I am suspecting that they have also figured out with a big enough sample that giving people access in this manner doesn't drive enough incremental ad views to pay for it all. These people would have seen Google ads anyway (a little slower on their existing ISPs), so Google's benefit is slight, and thus doesn't generate enough extra income for Alphabet.

    So now Google Fiber will slink off quietly and top being top news, and sooner or later they will announce that the Beta is over and that they have sold the network to Comcast or something like that.

    Google Fiber is a great idea, but it's just to expensive to do in the US, your population density in most areas is too low to cover the true expenses of the project.

  • Aug 15th, 2016 @ 5:45pm

    (untitled comment)

    It's easy to say "paywalls" (do you have a problem with subscription service as a concept) don't work - but they do.

    What doesn't work is trying to sell non-unique content at a unique content price. Since most local and regional papers depends heavily on wire services for content, they are selling a non-unique product, something others are willing to give for "free" (free as in check out all our ads). Those papers have to consider what unique content they really have, and value it accordingly.

    It's not the paywall - it's the content!

  • Aug 15th, 2016 @ 4:21pm

    (untitled comment)

    Great story, but where is the "sue the into the ground" mentality? This is a perfect case of DMCA abuse, where the claim is clearly fabricated from end to end, yet nobody seems willing to step up to the plate and take a legal shot at these people.

    It's just about the perfect case.

  • Aug 15th, 2016 @ 4:11pm

    (untitled comment)

    Why can't Techdirt seem to apply the same standard "blip" excuse in other places?

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20160626/01311234823/as-austin-struggles-to-understand-life -without-uber-lyft-dui-arrests-rise.shtml

    If small increases in police shootings are just a blip, can we accept the concept that the increase in DUIs (in a single month, a very small sample period) is equally a blip?

    As the Anonymous Coward say:

    "Overinterpretation of an extrapolation of extremely low numbers. Move along, nothing to see here."

    Please apply the standard equally before starting to yell and wave your arms frantically.

  • Aug 15th, 2016 @ 4:07pm

    Re: Re: quick math

    Sorry, but you are wrong here. Think of the cash like any other possession. The police stop you (say for speeding) and they ask you whos car this is. You say "I don't know" and well, see how that works out.

    Carrying a bunch of cash, and not being able to say where you got it or what you intend to do with it on this particular trip creates an issue similar to car above. Think about it: You have 50k cash on you, you have no source for that money, you have no reason to have it with you, and you are going on a trip and carrying it with you - at the peril of being robbed or worse. Why?

    Police are well within bounds to seize the car if you cannot prove why you have it (or to ask the owner to take control if they are around). Cash is no different.

    Moreover, you fall into the realm of cash transaction laws.

    https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/form-8300-and-reporting-cash-paym ents-of-over-10000

    Banks are similarly required to report such transactions as despots or transfers over $10,000 to the IRS. Generally people moving cash are trying to avoid reporting - often because they don't have enough declared income to have so much cash.

    When you consider that a wire costs about $25 to send bank to bank, it seems pretty silly to carry large amounts of cash to someone, unless you are trying to avoid reporting...

  • Aug 15th, 2016 @ 10:43am

    quick math

    A little bit of math shows that the average haul is just over 40,000 per person (209 million, 5000 or so people targeted). Now, while I understand the whole arm waving thing about "the police are stealing their money" I have to ask: Why are people wandering around with that much cash?

    This isn't "took the cash out of the bank to buy something" money, these people are travelling across the country with huge sums of money on them, risking their apparent life savings rather than sending a bank wire, getting a bank draft, or other financial device making the funds "portable" - all in the name, apparently, of avoiding detection.

    You gotta ask why... and why people have so much cash to start with.

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