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Obama's Goal: 98% of US Covered By 4G 324

Posted by Soulskill
from the can-you-hear-me-now dept.
alphadogg writes "Ninety-eight percent of US residents would have access to high-speed mobile broadband service within five years under a plan that President Barack Obama detailed Thursday. Obama's proposal, which he alluded to in his State of the Union speech last month, would free up 500MHz of wireless spectrum over a decade by offering to share spectrum auction proceeds with current spectrum holders, including television stations, that have unused airwaves. The cost of the proposal is likely to raise questions from lawmakers, and some backers of government broadband spending have already raised concerns that the plan would give money and spectrum to large mobile carriers."
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Obama's Goal: 98% of US Covered By 4G

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  • by garcia (6573) on Friday February 11, 2011 @11:21AM (#35174482) Homepage

    So I have to wonder if this will be very similar to the wired broadband initiatives done years ago which have only started to provide benefits to the people many years later and at a much higher cost than our tax dollars should have required?

    And what is '4G'? Is this wireless broadband definition going to be rooted in 2011 or will it be an ever increasing amount which will be viable in 2025 or 2050?

    The spectrum is owned by the PEOPLE Mr. President, not you, not the government, and certainly not those you license it to. If they are not performing up to the very flexible definition I am sure you won't create because it wouldn't be at all advantageous to the wireless carriers, can we remove that license from them immediately?

    Yeah, I didn't think so. Let's rethink this before you do something insanely stupid and let 'broadband' history repeat itself.

    • by Beefslaya (832030)

      What's a Bieber?

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      I suspect the *real* strings of this plan will be revealed in the fine print--where license terms will require carriers to police "IP infringement," agree to the Obama's kill switch [techworld.com], and allow the NSA and FBI free reign to monitor individual users.

    • I dont think so, I think it's also part of a bigger plan, that they have. They want to be able to access all people, no matter what the communication style, cell phone radio, tv, etc....the president needs to be able to address all of his people, not some....
      I think this also has a bigger means of allowing access to the military that want to be able to have access to all that is electronic in terms of communication....so if you have a cell, they want you to use something that they can track easily, it's usu

  • by thestudio_bob (894258) on Friday February 11, 2011 @11:27AM (#35174576)
    How about taking that money, building out the fattest/fastest fiber network you can and then turn around and let any carrier/company lease it to resell. I'm not sure why you are trying to make "mobile" broadband the thing to invest in, when wired broadband options suck just as much.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RazzleFrog (537054)

      Because building a wired infrastructure is a lot more expensive unless somebody creates a viable, cost effective network over power cables.

      Not to mention that you don't even need a permanent home to have mobile broadband.

  • 98% (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jonpublic (676412) on Friday February 11, 2011 @11:33AM (#35174698)

    Coverage for 98% of the US is different than coverage for 98% of Americans.

    • by hey! (33014)

      I'm not sure what your point its. Unless we try very hard to do things in the most illogical way possible, covering 98% of the land mass would almost certainly mean that at any given time *more* than 98% of the population would have coverage. It would probably mean that *most* people would have 100% of the time.

      What I'm concerned is what terms the coverage would come under. How expensive would it be? What about net neutrality? Would this be a subsidy for carriers who want to lock subscribers into their

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Friday February 11, 2011 @11:34AM (#35174726)
    • The government pays the phone companies to build it. With your tax money.
    • You pay the phone companies exorbitant fees to use it.
    • Profit! For everyone, except you.
    • by Krneki (1192201)
      In a non corrupt country would be like that:

        - The government pays a company to build the 4G stations. With your tax money.

        - The government owns the 4G stations and lease them for a fixed price to anyone willing to play.

      - End user profits because you can have a true free market where you can choose your provider.
    • by Comen (321331)

      First let me state a couple things.
      1. I have been a pretty big fan of Obama, voted for him, and think mayb e things he is doing are on the right track.
      2. I have worked for a telephone company and also a very big cable company.

      I would not have issues at with things like this if I felt like the consumer saw any of the benifits. Better internet connections for americans is a good thing, but for some reason the government has given money to these companies with no strings attached, and this has been done more t

  • Is anyone else angered at the prospect of using US taxpayer monies to build out a backbone to be given to, and then resold to us by the big carriers at rates that the rest of the world finds laughable? One day maybe you can post your discontent on your FaceBook phone at 4g speeds though.
    • by Chrisq (894406)

      Is anyone else angered at the prospect of using US taxpayer monies to build out a backbone to be given to, and then resold to us by the big carriers at rates that the rest of the world finds laughable?

      No. But then I'm not American.

    • by Mr Z (6791)

      Well, seeing as I work on the chips that go into the base stations, at least I and my coworkers benefit from this. And then there's all the people actually installing and maintaining the towers, etc. Not all of the money gets used like this. [spatula-city.org]

      Of course, I haven't seen a good argument for what the economic benefits of widely deployed broadband might be. Sure, everyone can now stream YouTube videos at higher definition. But in terms of basic economic benefit, even if you have fairly slow (by today's standa

      • by Mr Z (6791)

        Hmmm... the new Slashdot theme eats italics. Does it eat bold? It looks like it lets bold through. I had meant to emphasize "broadband" in this statement:

        Of course, I haven't seen a good argument for what the economic benefits of widely deployed broadband might be.

        Basically, the gist of my thought is that, yes, broadband is nice and shiny, but what great innovation are we enabling by bathing the vast plains of Wyoming and Nebraska and Montana with it? I can see the argument that more and more basic serv

      • I don't know what the advantages of near universal high-speed access would be, specifically, but I can certainly say that it doesn't seem unlikely that there would be some emergent behavior going on where unexpected benefits can crop up.

        The main reason I'm in favor of spending money on something like this is because I think that increasing access and convenience to vast amounts of information can be transformative.

        From my own experience, the shift from dial-up to an always-on DSL connection years ago was ac

  • 4G technically refers to networks that have "peak download speed at 100 Mbit/s for high mobility communication (such as from trains and cars) and 1 Gbit/s for low mobility communication (such as pedestrians and stationary users)" http://www.itu.int/ITU-R/index.asp?category=information&rlink=imt-advanced&lang=en [itu.int] Wireless broadband services offering WiMAX (clearewire, DBC) are not technically 4G (unless implementing 802.16m), but are still "mobile broadband" as of 802.16e. Which does he mean?
  • by Markvs (17298) on Friday February 11, 2011 @11:43AM (#35174864) Journal
    That enjoy indoor plumbing http://www.eoearth.org/article/Water_and_poverty_in_the_United_States [eoearth.org] ? If not, how can we determine the percentage of US outhouses that will be in the 4G zone?
  • I don't get it... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Friday February 11, 2011 @11:46AM (#35174916) Homepage

    Where are these jobs going to come from, aside from the telecoms building out the infrastructure? Does anyone other than politicians actually believe that if you give everyone broadband internet access, we'll suddenly have this cool new economy where every unemployed worker can start retraining for a STEM job?

    Andy Grove (fairly) recently made a sobering speech about how naive the US is about the role startups play. I think the broadband argument plays into his point. You can't rely on just startups to rebuild the US economy. Every would-be Apple that starts in a future Steve Jobs' garage must eventually reach the ability to employ hundreds or even thousands of employees and handle unsexy work like running factories.

    No amount of broadband penetration or legions of startups will change the fact that the US regulatory system makes it very difficult for the US to have a robust, diverse and productive economy. The people who advocate broadband as a key recovery point are also the same sorts who often throw out soundbites on this issue. "Yeah, regulations suck, but having dirty water sucks harder, stupid libertarian." Gee, you fucking moron, you notice what the state of the environment in China looks like today, you know China, where your iToy was fabricated? Like a lot of what's wrong with America, this is more duct tape and chewing gum used to hold together a system that is collapsing under the weight of its contradictions and kludgish design and all people want to do is throw out snarky comments instead of getting into the trenches and restructuring things.

    • ... all people want to do is throw out snarky comments instead of getting into the trenches and restructuring things

      Well, the reason why this happens is because everyone knows that, if things were restructured, with the influence that business has in the corridors of power these days, we'd all end up with air and water like they have in China. So, no, I'd prefer not to restructure. And, if snarky comments keep that from happening, then snark on...

  • ...some backers of government broadband spending have already raised concerns that the plan would give money and spectrum to large mobile carriers

    Someone hasn't been paying attention very well over the past decade or so. Giving money to the large mobile carriers is likely the entire the point.

  • It's each individuals RIGHT to pay higher taxes so we can have $100+ bills every month from corporations! Glad to see everyone else gets it too!

  • by RogueWarrior65 (678876) on Friday February 11, 2011 @11:55AM (#35175076)

    If you have been following Egypt even a little bit then you should be worried about any U.S. plan to implement an internet kill switch. So the question is: who is going to administer this nationwide 4G and will it have a kill switch built into it? Will there be market competition in the form of multiple carriers or will you only be able to get it in one place and therefore be subject to whatever useless rules they come up with? Law enforcement can already triangulate your cellphone's position with little effort.

    • True, and to elaborate: The whole "Internet was designed to reroute around nuclear disasters" catchphrase requires a dependable layer 1. The govt knows that killing DNS servers or creating firewalls can only be so effective, but once they can control the layer 1 (kill the 4G signals) suddenly the Internet might as well not exist. The Internet may live on, but you and I can never escape the fact that we live in a physical world.

      And the government is an expert in layer 1: bullets, tanks and handcuffs are a
  • Most of Chicago is covered with 3G. I currently use AT&T but have tested devices from other mobile carriers as well. Coverage isn't the biggest issue. It's the fact that when you do have 3G, so do more than 1 million other people. They've oversold and underprovisioned their network in dense population areas, which means that while I've got a full signal, I can't really do anything with it since there's no bandwidth left at the tower. If there's only a T1 going to the cell tower, and 100 people are

  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Friday February 11, 2011 @12:07PM (#35175286)
    This seems pretty critical. I don't know how my kid would do their homework without the Internet. And don't say, "Go to the library". That's fine if you can spend 4 hours researching, but the teacher's assignments are built around the idea that you've got a text book with all the answers in one chapter...
  • I want to feed and cloth 98% of Americans and I will use Magic Fairy Dust and the sale of Unicorns to pay for it. Logistics...Aint it a b!tch?

  • by Blnky (35330) on Friday February 11, 2011 @12:14PM (#35175402)

    And then, 94% of the US won't use it because they will face large overage charges if they use over 3 Kilobytes per month.

  • The administration's proposal to sell 500 MHz of radio spectrum to "4G" expansion is ill advised at best and at worst a boondoggle that will exact untold harm to the citizenry of this country. By selling off the citizen's spectrum our national security will be compromised through the loss of room for military radar, telemetry, navigation, and communications systems and public safety will be put at risk through reduction in spectrum available for police, fire, EMT, public works, SCADA, and marine safety. B
  • Soon enough the (intentionally) uninformed conservatives will be running around screaming that Obama wants to start a state-run phone service that will provide everyone with 4G cell coverage for free and instantly put all the wireless companies in this country out of business.

All the evidence concerning the universe has not yet been collected, so there's still hope.

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