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Wireless Networking Communications Networking United States IT

FCC Maps the 3G Wasteland Of the Western US 173

alphadogg writes "The Federal Communications Commission has released a map showing which counties across the U.S. lacked coverage from either 3G or 4G networks and found that wide swaths of the western half of the country were 3G wastelands, particularly in mountainous states such as Idaho and Nevada. This isn't particularly surprising since it's much more difficult for carriers to afford building out mobile data networks in sparsely populated mountainous regions, but it does underscore how large stretches of the United States lack access to mobile data services that people in the Northeast, South and Midwest now take for granted."
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FCC Maps the 3G Wasteland Of the Western US

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  • by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Friday February 10, 2012 @06:45PM (#39000815)

    from 10 years ago, the same areas look like wastelands for net access in general.

    Telecommunications companies simply don't want to build out. Either the government makes them do it, or they drag their feet on it. The more they drag their feet, the more isolated the communities out there become. Some communities out there - like the FLDS compounds - actually thrive on that level of isolation.

    It's not a matter of carriers not being able to "afford" building out - previous telecommunications acts requiring them to build out telephone infrastructure proved that not to be the case. They just don't "want" to.

    "Free Market" at work, apparently. It doesn't fix shit.

  • by Reverand Dave ( 1959652 ) on Friday February 10, 2012 @06:56PM (#39000955)
    I was just wondering why the FCC has to subsidize these a-holes that are using public spectrum free of charge when they are turning multi-billion dollar profits. Maybe the FCC should just say "build it by this time next year or hand over your spectrum rights to someone who will"
  • by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Friday February 10, 2012 @11:46PM (#39002783)

    Oh yes.. the burden of maintaining a single mile of dedicated fiber. Oh, its so terrible!

    If you are so concerned about it, the fed bill to enact the "forcing" can simply set limits on how much the isps charge per megabyte transerred, (we are talking wired data on their network. The mesh network is not theirs.) Institutes rules that state goverments have to follow to pay for the service (a 1$/mo bond issue would easily pass for something as highly demanded as internet access.) And which forces the telecoms to accept the peering arrangement.

    The state then levies a simple bond tax on the operation of the mesh repeater per farmer. That money goes directly to reimburse the upstream isp.

    Boom. No spoiled, bratty city people have to pay a fucking dime.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2012 @12:17AM (#39002877)

    Forcing anything on the telecoms that they are not already doing today out of their own free market motives means they are either incurring an expense they would otherwise not incur or they are missing out on income they would not otherwise get, and that means that their customers, shareholders, or employees not on the 'winning' side of such a forced big communist government thing are going to end up paying the 'fucking dimes' to make up for the balance. There is no magic money tree that makes up the difference from somewhere else.

    "Boom. No spoiled, bratty city people have to pay a fucking dime."

    Unless that 'mesh network' (which btw in practice never works as good as the implementers thought it would) runs right up to where that single mile of fiber with broadband dedicated internet access already exists right now, somebody has to go and pay the fucking dime to route it all the way there.

    Just go ahead and run that network into an office in the nearest town where you can get a decent business class internet connection (yep, those really are the prices us city folk pay for that kind of level of network load and reliability, it's quite a bit more than the 'single household broadband' pricing you are probably thinking of). Nobody is stopping you from doing that.

    Forcing the telecoms to do it doesn't mean that that network doesn't need to be built and paid for by somebody, and apparently you want big government to force the free market to do it.

    Just admit it, adjust your voting accordingly, and maybe you'll get a government to give you other people's hard earned money.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2012 @12:37AM (#39002941)

    My father in law actually owns a large farm in Iowa, about 2 hours outside of Des Moines. His closest neighbor, 5 miles distant, is his brother, who farms a large tract alongside his. His next closest neighbor, about 7 miles in the other direction, is his father.

    They have radios when they're out in the fields. They have broadband in their homes. I've actually seen the commodity pricing terminals that farmers use, and yes, as you say, "Farmers who have this access have reported much better returns on their harvests" - he makes a fair amount more money by having up to date financial information with which to trade.

    He does not need this information when he's planting a field.

    As far as "access to emergency services" - cell phone or radio, doesn't matter. He has this access already, and doesn't have to pay a monthly fee for it. He talks regularly to his wife back at the house while he's out in the fields. This radio also does quite nicely handling "mesh" needs, because it's a fucking citizen's band radio with multiple channels, some of which are emergency services. He doesn't pay $100 a month for it, either.

    Instant access to veterinary etc. resources - any farmer who doesn't know the common pests and problems his livestock will develop will not remain a viable farmer for long. Anything that's so unheard of that he'd need a cell phone to identify it is going to be so rare it's not worth worrying about.

    "Sound and image recognition programs" - are you fucking serious? You think they're going to hear a "crow's call" while they're driving a giant combine around their field? Good lord, you've never once set foot on an actual farm, have you? The machines are noisy. And there's precious little wildlife hanging around, including bears, once that machinery starts running.

    This list, after the "instant access to current market prices" is such a fatuous list of non-issues that it's comical. There is just about zero need for high speed data connections while you're actually out working on a farm. There simply is nothing that critical/unheard of/unknown/urgent that you need a 3G connection - anything urgent can be gotten over the radio easily. Anything else can damn sure wait until you finish the day's work in whatever field you're working.

Logic is a pretty flower that smells bad.