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How ISPs Collude To Offer Poor Service 207

alexander_686 writes "Bloomberg is running a series of articles from Susan Crawford about the stagnation of internet access in the U.S., and why consumers in America pay more for slower service. Quoting: 'The two kinds of Internet-access carriers, wired and wireless, have found they can operate without competing with each other. The cable industry and AT&T-Verizon have divided up the world much as Comcast and Time Warner did; only instead of, "You take Philadelphia, I'll take Minneapolis," it's, "You take wired, I'll take wireless." At the end of 2011, the two industries even agreed to market each other’s services.' I am a free market type of guy. I do recognize the abuse that can come from natural monopolies that utilities tend to have, but I have never considered this type of collusion before. To fix the situation, Crawford recommends that the U.S. 'move to a utility model, based on the assumption that all Americans require fiber-optic Internet access at reasonable prices.'"
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How ISPs Collude To Offer Poor Service

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  • Interesting theory (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 28, 2012 @07:09PM (#42414887)

    Crawford recommends that the U.S. 'move to a utility model, based on the assumption that all Americans require fiber-optic Internet access at reasonable prices.

    This all sees well and good. Too bad it's not capable of happening, since the USA is run by corporations, and it'll be a cold day in hell before they shoot themselves in the foot.

    If you want not retarded internet, your single only option is to move out off the continent.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by locopuyo ( 1433631 )
      It could be worse. It could be like Australia where they have fast downloads but roflbad upload speeds.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        America definitely has this problem as well.

        It costs $500+/mo to get about 3meg upload in far northern california.

      • It could be worse. It could be like Australia where they have fast downloads but roflbad upload speeds.

        or national fiber-optic network with Download CAPS for internal traffic.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 28, 2012 @07:17PM (#42414989)

      If you want fiber-optic Internet access at much lower prices than we have today, you'll have to convince millions of others.

      There are millions of people on 1.5Mbps or less DSL who see no need to pay even $1 more.
      There are millions of people on dialup who don't need to stream anything at all.
      There are millions of people who don't know what all the fuss over this Internet thing is about.

      But you want those millions of people to buy you a pony!

      • by cdrguru ( 88047 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @07:31PM (#42415103) Homepage

        Absolutely. Step 1 is figuring out if the statement "all Americans require fiber-optic Internet access" is true. So far, it isn't by a long shot and the assumption that it is true is one of the big problems.

        If Internet access is needed by everyone, then maybe a utility model would work - everyone pays and everyone gets service. However, if it isn't true then moving to that kind of model would impact a huge number of people in very negative ways, especially in the pocketbook.

        Another aspect that should be considered is if the Internet is ready for everyone to need it. What would happen if the entire US had unlimited fiber access? Well, my guess is that spam would increase (ha!) and that scammers would get a lot richer. Most of the people that do not have access today wouldn't know what to do with it if they had it and would certainly believe that a Nigerian prince was holding millions of dollars for them, if they only send $125 to him today.

        Does this sound like a good idea?

        • by darkfeline ( 1890882 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @08:09PM (#42415447)

          Depends on what you mean by "require". Not everyone "needs" electricity, gas, telecommunication lines or water either. Hell, why don't we all go back to the days where everyone lives in cottages on a ranch with maybe a well and some farmland?

          The point is, Internet access has an infrastructure dependency and provides a service which fits perfectly with the utility service model, so it makes no sense that we use a better model for gas and electricity and not for Internet. This is Economics 101, here, but the wikipedia page provides a good explanation []

          • I personally think that internet service should not be handled as a utility rather cable plant should be. Let the utility maintain all the inherently monopolized components (cable plant, gas/water pipes, etc) and then allow as many providers offer higher level services that build on that infrastructure. Customers can then shop amongst those providers. A single SEPERATE service utility (as in not in any way associated with the cable plant provider) can be allowed in areas where there is no or insufficient
        • The Wii U has a huge day-one system update patch, weighing in at 5GB. I have FIOS (15mbits/s) and it took 30-45 mins to download. Steam and other digital distribution systems are becoming more popular and games easily weigh in at multi-gigabytes. Today I just got Assassin's Creed 3 as a gift and it is a 15gb download.

          As services like these are more commonly used, more people will eventually figure out that they will need improved internet connectivity to better use these services.

          • by alen ( 225700 )

            So? You don't need the update to play single player

            Play a few games, set it to download and go to sleep

            • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Friday December 28, 2012 @11:18PM (#42416907) Journal

              The problem is more and more of our content is gonna be digital, you have everybody including ALL of the major OSes pushing the appstore model, yet instead of laying lines you have the ISPs putting ever nastier caps. Ever see how much streaming video takes? Or buying a game digitally? I know that I probably went through 50GB on the Steam Summer sale and I wouldn't be surprised if I go through that or more before the Xmas sale is through, how many of those sales do you think they'd get if I was paying $1.50 a GB which is what some of the caps they are proposing run?

              This next gen will probably be the LAST generation where the games come on discs, not only are the games getting bigger but digital distribution allows for cheaper games and can all but kill piracy since most won't have the skills to sideload digital games and hack a Xbox 960 or PS5, so what then? because its obvious the ISPs don't give a shit, not if they have the option to just cap the hell out of everybody and keep the profits. We are finally beginning to reach a point where you can truly have the world on demand, movies games and shows will all be cheap and instant, but if the ISPs just keep adding nastier caps the world will get this great new digital age and we'll be stuck on the equivalent of dialup. Of course the stocks will never be higher, have to think of the stockholders ya know.

              Oh and to the guy talking about "all the millions of slow DSL or dialup" how many of them have any actual choice? I live in a town of over 20,000 and there is plenty of places where your choice is dialup or nothing, hell when I lived in Nashville a while back there was places even in a city that size where it was dialup or nothing, so who says they have any choice? I have several customers on the lowest DSL so you would count them as "not needing faster" but in reality they all tried the highest tier AT&T had and all it did was raise their bills, showed no change for that extra money. Should they simply give AT&T an extra hundred plus as a prezzie so they'll be counted? I tried the highest tier at my cableco, it gained me a whole 3Mbps and cost $120! more a month for 3Mbps more download and 1Mbps instead of 512Kbps upload. Do you think I wouldn't jump at the chance to get anything faster at a fair rate? Hell its costing me $110 a month now for just net and home phone service, but since their phone don't count against the cap and something like Vonage does its not like i have any options, and in my area if you are LUCKY you'll get 2Mbps DSL, most don't even get 756Kbps.

        • by gutnor ( 872759 )

          You are looking at the problem the wrong way. Step 1 really is "Does the US needs all American to have fiber-optic access". That is a political decision that is first strategic as it may be crucial for US competitivity in the future. But also societal/cultural: should the US become a society that is more connected (get the work to you) or a society that is more mobile (go to the work).

        • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @10:20PM (#42416443) Homepage Journal

          You're very much right that not everyone actually requires fiberoptic service. First, separating wants from needs is important. I'd like to have super fast fiberoptic, but I don't "need" it. Few of us do, really. We can be patient, and wait for ten minutes to get a file that would have downloaded almost instantly on fiber. So, we're in agreement there.

          But, you're a lot less right when you say that the internet isn't required by everyone. In today's world, if you don't have internet, then you cannot be competitive with the competition just a couple miles away. I live out in the sticks, where internet service was very spotty until five years ago. The access that is available is still pretty crappy today.

          My "auto parts" store of choice lost business to franchised auto parts stores, until they finally got online. People searching for things simply couldn't find them. The franchised stores were either on line, or they were represented by a corporate headquarters site which listed them, along with a map with directions to their stores. My supplier simply didn't exist. Even though I knew where they were, I couldn't go online to find out if they had a particular item in stock, or if they would have to order it.

          Now that Mr. Baker has an online presence, he does get more business. His online presence isn't a very good presence, because he is not tech savvy, and doesn't understand the need to hire someone who is tech savvy. Still - he's there. And he gets business that he never did get before.

          If the old guy would hire someone to market him online, he could gain a lot more business, because he offers things that the franchise stores don't. Farm and tractor supply parts, tractor trailer parts, small engine parts, that O'Reilly's and others don't offer at any price. The bulk of his business comes from word of mouth advertising. A real on line presence, tailored to suit his needs would easily increase his business by 10%, probably 20%. I could potentially increase his business by 100%, but there's no way to prove it until someone actually does it.

          I say that in today's world, internet access is a necessity. You simply can't compete unless people can find you.

          • by joocemann ( 1273720 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @11:08PM (#42416829)

            To clarify.... Not everyone needs internet just like not everyone needs roads... What? Not everyone needs roads? Correct. Some people don't go anywhere, or go places on foot and on bikes, which could be mountain bikes, and using dirt footpaths. They don't need roads...

            But they DO need roads.... they want a pizza delivered. They want the ambulance to show up when their kid biffs hard on his bike. They want their neighbors to be able to get to work 40 miles away and come home in time for the neighborhood bbq.

            Sure.. you don't need internet to have fun, or maybe for your own personal choices. But you need internet for the businesses around you to keep their prices lower with digital age technology. You need your government to have communications tech so they can protect you from the various nutjobs around the world that are angry for debatable reasons. I could go on with a million examples of how you passively take benefit from the internet --- so much so that your current state of life, even without you personally using it, NEEDS the internet.

          • by Smauler ( 915644 )

            Few of us do, really. We can be patient, and wait for ten minutes to get a file that would have downloaded almost instantly on fiber.

            That's all very well for small files. Loads of games on steam are over the 10Gb download mark now.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 28, 2012 @09:25PM (#42416065)

        As a dialup user, I still have a smartphone if I want to stream anything video.

        The main problem with dialup these days isn't even the slower connection speed (I have seen as slow as 21600 bps) or the host-based softmodems (HSP or HSF modems). The main problems are: bloated oversized page graphical elements, websites using tons of JQuery and/or Yahoo API and/or Google API and/or Facebook API. Many of those sites use additional scripts just for user tracking and that's even before addressing the ad-serving scripts on the page. Watch that modem process and process sometimes for well over 10 minutes before the site finally loads--IF something doesn't time out and cause a Page Cannot Be Displayed error to be generated by the browser.

        Turn off scripts, and see how fast the actual HTML-only content of the page actually loads over dialup. But, then the page is still mostly broken because buttons and even hyperlinks on some pages are dependent on client-side scripting.

        In summary, it's shitty web design all over "Web 2.0" that designs every page as a dancing and singing application in a web browser instead of a mostly static page with a few optional active elements. I would welcome a throwback to the earliest days of web pages where they would still load over 14400 bps and used mostly HTML-only elements for the page, graphical content was minimal and any graphics used as small of a size as possible balancing quality with loading speed. Either that, or stop using my client-side bandwidth for page control processing, user tracking, and ad serving--do all that shit on the server-side and give me a quick-loading client-side page that will actually respond on click--not a few seconds later.

      • But you want those millions of people to buy you a pony!

        You want people to fund your kid's school.

        You want millions of people to subsidize the roads you drive on.

        How is this really that much different? Before motorcars took over, millions of people got by just fine with their horses. You ignore that internet service isn't as much an entertainment option as a utility today. A utility that's rapidly changing the way information and notices are delivered to homes and it's in the hands of private comp

      • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @10:05PM (#42416307) Homepage Journal

        The pony was bought and paid for. The telcos have accepted money over the years, from the government, purportedly for the purpose of getting broadband internet out to the "last mile".

        We're not asking for another pony. We just want to ride the frigging pony we've been promised. The pony that we paid for already.

        I would agree with this mockery you make, except, just across the water in Europe, everyone has the pony. Fast ponies. They have pony races, just to see how fast they can go. We can't even climb on a broken down old circus pony to be led around a little rope corral.

        Obviously, we're doing something wrong on this side of the pond.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      If you want not retarded internet, your single only option is to move out off the continent.

      Or get your municipality to run their own fiber as a public utility.

      I want common carrier broadband. AT&T doesn't offer it, nor does Comcast. So there's no issue of public entities competing with private business here.

      • by mkraft ( 200694 )

        If you want not retarded internet, your single only option is to move out off the continent.

        Or get your municipality to run their own fiber as a public utility.

        I want common carrier broadband. AT&T doesn't offer it, nor does Comcast. So there's no issue of public entities competing with private business here.

        Then your municipality would get sued by the Telco/CableCo for being anti-competitive (of all things): [] []

  • by retchdog ( 1319261 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @07:13PM (#42414929) Journal

    ``I am a free market type of guy... but I have never considered this type of collusion before."

    no shit. try doing some homework. here is a quote from that rampant communist, Adam Smith:

    ``People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary." — book I, ch. 10, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, published 1776.

    • I'm glad someone else noticed it.

    • The other angle is that the darkside has a mantra to attack the U.S. as that is the heart of global military power, and as any true fascist knows, they must have control over global military power in order to rule the planet. So one of the main attacks is to screw up the U.S. economy. The other is the attacks on the legal system via software patents and collusion between between Boards of Directors wherein company X loses to company Y in order to set legal precedent, so that company Z can be attacked econ
    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      Maybe there shall be a separation between physical net and carrier service and make sure that no operator gets exclusive right to a fiber network.

  • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @07:16PM (#42414965) Journal

    but I have never considered this type of collusion before

    What, you never possibly considered that collusion happens because nobody wants to stop the gravy train? AT&T and Verizon and everyone else there have got it good, their train will chug along with minimum investment and massive profits for as long as none of the people aboard says "Stop the train! I want to spend billions of dollars on infrastructure investments and charge less to compete with you head on!"

    • by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @07:57PM (#42415301)

      The history of utilities until they became massive monopolists was that various jurisdictions granted them easements, right-of-way, and lots of other considerations in exchange for getting services built. The telcos were independent, and a long distance network consisted of AT&T, ITT, and others. Then came Judge Greene, a breakup of AT&T, GTE and ITT consolidations of the Baby Bells, and the sense that utilities were unbridled and focused on shareholder return based on serious assets.

      The landlines were different than what is now the Internet. Most were analog copper cables that had muxed data channels. Fiber is only the last 20yrs.

      So there is this mixed bag of monopolist thought as we've boiled down the US landline carriers to six, wireless carriers of significance to four, each with a territory in landlines. Some communities did their own fiber optic services, but they're rare. Communities became forbidden after their state legislators were sufficiently bribed to prevent community utility access. Co-ops went the same way, although there are still some around.

      Collusion? The telcos shifted much away from the State PUCs to the Feds with the TCAct, so they'd only have to fight (I mean bribe) Washington and deal with the FCC.

      And in reality: this is a huge freaking country, and trying to cover it with copper, fiber, or wireless still takes a lot of capital. How do you get capital? A business plan with a guaranteed return on investment. How do you get guarantees for revenue floors? Collusion? What a bright idea.

      Utilities are unique and used to be cooperatives and had a ceiling on revenues, each price increase in front of a state or perhaps federal committee, breathing down their necks to keep prices reasonable. Government doesn't protect people much anymore, it protects the interests of business in the blind faith that says: in doing so, you're disciplining investment. Bullshit.

      • The telcos were independent, and a long distance network consisted of AT&T, ITT, and others.

        AT&T WAS the phone company. Oh, there were a handful of tiny, independent telephone companies, but for the most part everybody in the U.S. had AT&T (you know Mama Bell). If it wasn't for Judge Greene, there would not have been any Baby Bells to consolidate. They would all still be AT&T.

        • Your sense of history varies from mine, but let's say for a moment, AT&T was it, and there was no ConTel, no ITT, no GTE, and so forth. Yes, Judge Greene broke up AT&T, and then the landgrab was on.

          Today, AT&T is a reverse merge of Southwestern Bell primarily, which had acquired Ameritech, Southern Bell, and so forth. Verizon took on GTE/ConTel, Nynex, and others. But there are landline and longlines assets, datacomm infrastructure (yes, real OC12-OC192+) that are intermixed.

          I said nothing about

          • AT&T, before Judge Greene, was the biggest company in the world by any measure (revenue, assets, market cap). They had become a monopoly through the actions of the federal government. When AT&T was broken up, everybody thought the big money was in long distance.
            • We can agree on the size of AT&T and its monopoly in numerous areas. They were gargantuan. They became a monopoly through the actions of their board of directors, and what the directors did. The government gave tacit approval in most cases, to their actions.

              MCI, Sprint, WorldComm, many other Tariff 12 Carriers started to thrive. When the data business blossomed, and cellphones looked to rule the day, many different actions happened. The breakup of AT&T lead to many other countries taking everything

              • Today, there's a sense of ownership by the telcos

                AT&T had that sense of ownership before the breakup. Today's telcos inherited that sense of ownership from the original AT&T, it is not a post-breakup phenomena. At one point before the breakup of AT&T, you were not allowed to connect a non-AT&T device to your telephone line. AT&T owned your phone. The first step that led to the breakup of AT&T was a lawsuit because AT&T would not allow you to connect your own modem to their phone lines.

                • AT&T in 1980 is not in most reasonable ways, the AT&T today. It tries to act that way, but it's Southwestern Bell with lipstick, covered in testosterone patches.

                  AT&T often rented your phone to you; you didn't even own it, as you mention. That's when Western Electric got its first competition, sometimes by GTE, ITT, and others. I lived through that entire era, battling what was AT&T through the breakup and ostensible reformation. I watched the squirrely tariffs, the State PUCs, the FCC, and a

    • Between my wife and I we had all the iPhones on AT&T since the 3G which barely hit 1mbps in 2009. Here we are three years later and our iPhone 5's can download at 20mbps on a normal day in midtown manhattan.

      Verizon is the same. Sprint has always sucked but that is their problem.

      The only people who haven't seen an improvement are the ones who live in places where the cows outnumber the people

      • So basically most of the fucking country. Ironically, you'd starve to death without those places where cows out number people, you're just too ignorant to realize it.

        God I hate attitudes of morons like you.

        Also, 20mbps, not even a little impressive, neither was 1mbps in 2009. Pull your new yorker head out of your ass and get a clue.

  • by Roger Wilcox ( 776904 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @07:17PM (#42414997)
    The situation as it stands is unacceptable. The telcos have proved that they cannot operate broadband service fairly without regulation. Therefore: something akin to common carrier laws should be in effect for all broadband service providers.
  • We'll Get There (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nicobigsby ( 1418849 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @07:28PM (#42415079)
    Competition will solve this problem. It may take a little while but Google's beta test of their ISP service seems to be going well and has the telcos running scared (even reportedly going door to door in KC checking on customer satisfaction). Google is making a move here and I can't believe they intend to come to some sort of gentlemen's agreement with the telcos considering one of the motivations for Google entering the market was to thwart extortion attempts by the major ISPs where they were attempting to force Google to pay them a fee in order for them to deliver Google's content at the higher speeds, when we already pay them for the service of delivering Google's content to us. This move by Google smacks of the style of the old industrialists, like Rockefeller building oil pipelines to circumvent back door deals made by the railroads to charge him more money for shipping oil. This industry is still young, but if Google proves it can be profitable to lay new fiber and thereby dispels the idea that we have to use the existing infrastructure of the telcos, we will see even more new players enter the market. Already many cities are partnering with local companies and universities to offer residents high quality local ISPs for less money. I think it's too early in this industry to jump on the whole "we need the government to fix this for us" train... in the end I can't see that being a great answer anyway... especially when you consider that all conventional utilities have to do is provide consistent power/water supply to their customers, and there is a lower quality of service ceiling than in the ISP game.
    • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

      Competition will solve this problem

      At one time there was competition in the US, not anymore. The US is where Canada was back in 99 through 2008. Back oh 10-12 years ago, I was in total awe of the US broadband speeds(I live in Canada) compared to what my parents could get in Florida, or my best friend was getting in Indianapolis/Franklin(15/1@$33/mo with no cap on cable). Jump a head 9 years when I'm at a state where I can winter travel and work, to avoid to cold and what can I get in Florida at my winter place? 6/1 cable @$55/mo, no DSL

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "move to a utility model, based on the assumption that all Americans require fiber-optic Internet access at reasonable prices"

    Sure, this is common sense.
    Sure, this could be a major national economic stimulus.
    But - politicians are required to enact such a move and
                    they know who is buttering their bread and
                    they know it's not you.

    • by Kaenneth ( 82978 )

      "they know who is buttering their bread"

      Yeah, but once in a while they should think of 'We, The People' who provide them the bread to be buttered in the first place.

  • Google Fiber (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Qwavel ( 733416 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @07:47PM (#42415237)

    Isn't this why Google created Google Fiber?

    The primary purpose of Google Fiber is to give the industry a kick in the arse.

    • The primary purpose of Google Fiber is to allow them to drill even deeper into your personal life and private information so they can "sell you" to advertisers.

      • I would happily give that up than work with my two options, Comcast and ATT. I'm sure the competition drills deep into my personal life anyways.
      • Re:Google Fiber (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 28, 2012 @08:13PM (#42415495)

        Yes and no.

        The ability to mine it for information is a plus to them, but their primary motivation was to FORCE the local providers to get off their bum ass and do their jobs.

        I honestly hope google spreads and actually becomes a major player that the local providers have to compete against on a national scale so they have to upgrade and give us decent service instead of this 1 meg up 45kb/s down they want to give us now in some areas.

        Google is offering what the other guys should have ALREADY been offering but refused to do so and for that, I thank them. Do I like the fact they are mining my information online when/if I use them? I am not particularly thrilled about it but it is their entire core industry and they do not hide that fact now what they do with it so I honestly have no issues with it with how they are currently doing it and just follow the rule of "Never put online what you don't want the world to know" and for the other stuff, encryption is your friend.

        My biggest issue with google is not standing up to the US government on requests enough. As far as I am concerned, the government shouldn't be able to ask for information without a warrant period unless in emergency life or death situations and even then, that would be a 90 second phone call to get a warrant.

        • I completely agree.

          And all the more reason to use SSL encryption for every transaction, every webpage on the internet.

      • True enough, but the means by which they achieve this goal is by creating an environment in which internet access is a commodity. As long as your internet is rationed, so too is their access to your data. So the question becomes: 'Is better internet worth this price, and, more to the point, is it preferable to what I have today?'
      • The primary purpose of Google Fiber is to allow them to drill even deeper into your personal life and private information so they can "sell you" to advertisers.

        Since its a paid service where the consumer is the service, I think that there is at least some reason to consider that (in addition to pushing the incumbent players in the market in a direction which improves accessibility and usefulness of Google's existing services) its a move to diversify their revenue stream so as not to rely solely on adver

    • Re:Google Fiber (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Pollardito ( 781263 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @10:27AM (#42419343)
      The primary purpose of Google fiber is to threaten anyone in the industry that would charge Google (as a content owner) a fee to move data to their customers (i.e. network neutrality). "You charge us to reach your customers, and we'll make them our customers or less profitable customers with a price war." They probably only need to successfully wire one city to do that, so we'll see what happens after that. They try to avoid entering industries that require a lot of customer service, so it seems unlikely they'd follow up K.C. with a lot more deployments unless they feel they need to do so to prove their point.
  • ..all your elected Congressmen and Senators elected by informed, focused voters who stay on top of issues like this. They all make sure these corporations will not get away with this...

  • by JWW ( 79176 )

    Google needs to "leak" a presentation about their fiber project in KC with a slide that says.

    Project Completion

    - When Time Warner has no more customers in The KC area.

  • The current situation has a long history in a multi-billion-dollar ripoff of the taxpayers and customers of these companies. Cringeley wrote an amazingly prescient article on the hows and whys we have what we have today (I believe it was even featured here a few years ago when it was published):

    The $200 Billion Rip-Off: Our broadband future was stolen. []

    This all is nothing new, it was planned in the 90s, and we have pretty much the implementation of that plan today.

    Does it piss you off? It pisses me off for s

  • You must be new here.
  • Pass a law requiring incumbent ISP's (if they run a monopoly in the region) to provide competitors with access to their copper/fibre network at wholesale cost.
    Also tag on an addition that each incoming ISP has to give the ISP they are buying from the same ability to buy bandwidth at cost from them as well. Stopping a single big player taking over multiple markets and force others out by sheer financial weight.

    So competition and the ability to provide better/ value for money services in other area outside th

  • Until 1984, national telecommunications was a regulated utility, with the government controlling prices. A long distance call was $2.87 per minute. In 1984, it was deregulated and natural competition quickly brought the rate to $0.10 per minute - a 97% reduction. Tight government regulation of internet service as a utility is a great idea, if you want to pay $12 / GB. I can understand how this might have been debatable in 1812, but in 2012 we've already tried both ways over and over again. Competition bea
    • That $2.87 rate is in today's money, in other words inflation adjusted. The correct rate decrease immediately after seregulatuon was about 50%. Of course competition also brought us VOIP. With Vonage, for example, long distance is 0 cents per minute, a 100% reduction from government regulated rates.
    • by sstamps ( 39313 )

      Until 1984, national telecommunications was a regulated utility, with the government controlling prices. A long distance call was $2.87 per minute. In 1984, it was deregulated and natural competition quickly brought the rate to $0.10 per minute - a 97% reduction.

      Tight government regulation of internet service as a utility is a great idea, if you want to pay $12 / GB. I can understand how this might have been debatable in 1812, but in 2012 we've already tried both ways over and over again. Competition beats government fiat every time.

      Gotta love revisionist historians...

      The cost of long distance pre-1980s was due to the existence/enforcement of a monopoly, not due to regulation, but due to the incorrect assignment of the telephone network as a NATURAL monopoly, which it never was.

      In 1982-4, the monopoly was broken over the collective knee of the People, and natural competitive market forces kicked in, just as they should have been allowed for the previous 70-odd years. Regulation wasn't done away with until the 1996 Telecommunications Ac

    • It seems neither system is ideal.

      Government monopoly means everyone gets access, but the quality is rubbish.
      Private monopoly means people in high population densities get semi-reasonable access, everyone else can go fuck themselves. Even if everyone else wants the government to intervene they can't because the private monopoly has bought the government.

    • I pay $80 a month for DSL and local phone service.
      My internet DNS is so bad, I switched to Open DNS, a free service, because DNS provided by my DSL provider times out 90% of the time.
      My packet loss is always > 45%, and my internet speeds for "3.0M down, 750K up" are 128K down, and less than 56K up.
      Wrap "open market works" around you in the night, fondle it, and stroke it.
      But it's a pipe dream. It doesn't work, not here, not for me, and not for people around me.

  • Lack of demand my ass

    When a city tries to start its own municipal internet and the incumbent telecom sues their asses off, gets an injunction, and then drags out the court case while they build their own internet right under the city's nose, it's not lack of demand, it's blatant anticompetitive rent seeking.

  • a national fiber network would be a huge infrastructure investment with lasting benefit, like the highway system.

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @09:57PM (#42416247)

    As usual, someone that lives in a large city has no concept of what it's like to live outside their metropolis. His plan might work in New York, but in Iowa, not so much.

  • It wasn't that long ago that I used to envy the US infrastructure here in Australia, amazing how fast things can turn around. We now have access to AU $100 plans with 1TB/month at 100/40 Mbps speeds, it's things like this and our free health care that have our citizens up in arms over how our government continues to meddle in our lives!!
    • Free healthcare in Australia? I thought most people on /. were WAY too smart to buy that BS. Of course the government healthcare doesn't pay for important things like say, ambulances, but it does cost the average family $8,800 per year in extra taxes. Almost nine thousand dollars for crap coverage and still some people are thankful because it's "free" (meaning the govt forces you to pay for it.) After being forced to do it the govt way, Oz has worse healthcare than 46 other countries. (Based on availabil
      • Are you sure you're not the one drinking the Koolaid? I don't pay anywhere near 20% of my income for health care and having chronic depression means I don't go broke every time I have an episode. I haven't worked since Feb and just coming out of a deep episode and yet here I am not having to turn over my life savings in order to survive. If I tried to do that in the states I'd probably be homeless and without any care. So, was it worth living in a country for "free" healthcare at your quote of "$9,000"? Abs

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