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Old 11-12-2014, 02:22 PM   #151
ISiddiqui
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Great post, Steve!
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Old 11-12-2014, 02:26 PM   #152
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That isn't a real fair comparison. The toll is being paid on the other end. You are arguing that Comcast gets to build a road and that your family should have to pay to use it...and then you should have to pay for them to use it too since they are coming to visit you.

You can't argue that the toll isn't getting paid. Comcast has never been accused of giving people internet for free.

Why can't Comcast, or a road owner, charge everyone who is using that road? You and the content provider are both using the road. You pay for access to the road and the content provider pays for moving their product along the road, no?

A toll may be getting paid, but it may not be the toll that Comcast wants. The way to potentially reduce the toll while improving service is likely doing things that get some more competition, rather than saying you can't take toll.
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Old 11-12-2014, 02:28 PM   #153
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Originally Posted by ISiddiqui View Post
Why can't Comcast, or a road owner, charge everyone who is using that road? You and the content provider are both using the road. You pay for access to the road and the content provider pays for moving their product along the road, no?

A toll may be getting paid, but it may not be the toll that Comcast wants. The way to potentially reduce the toll while improving service is likely doing things that get some more competition, rather than saying you can't take toll.

Because the way the Internet is made, you aren't guaranteed to take the same route every time between two points. That's been the way it has been since the beginning.
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Old 11-12-2014, 02:33 PM   #154
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No, you aren't. But it's the best analogy in my POV.
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Old 11-12-2014, 02:42 PM   #155
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Isn't the latter point somewhat disingenuous as it's typically the major ISPs lobbying to erect said red tape?
Well, there are 2 things that come to mind here.

1. In the minority of cases where there is exclusivity...that exclusivity was negotiated for as a tradeoff for giving fiber backbones to municipalities and the like. You might be surprised to know the levels of "gimme this, gimme that" when many franchise agreements were initially negotiated.

2. Where exclusivity couldn't be attained (which is the majority), incumbent land-based network owners certainly don't like the idea that they had to give a bag of goodies to be first, only to watch a competitor come in and be given carte blanche. But is that really something unexpected in any industry? And what markets was a 3rd entrant denied access in some major way? (i.e. I'm not talking about some random schmuck requesting easement access for his own neighborhood pet project)

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Again, the fact that it's illegal to have municipal or state ISPs practically everywhere is a joke. It's akin to the argument against a public option for health insurance: either the government is so incompetent that the product is worthless so what do these companies have to fear? Or, the government is so efficient that with a profit motive, a profitable company has no way to compete (however that should be balanced with the needs of a society: if it can be offered as cost neutral but benefits society, shouldn't we do it?)

Instead, we end up with this mish-mash of "the government is so incompetent and they offer it too cheaply for us to complete", which is a logical impossibility.

SI
I don't disagree with the notion of public/private competition so long as the private company is not unfairly or unreasonably burdened where the public entity is not. Competition is usually good for consumers and for the workers.

I know of countless municipal systems throughout the country that have gone up in the past 20+ years...most of which failed & liquidated to a cable or telco because they weren't able to keep up with the rate of change.

But I think we're at a point where the rate of change is more manageable for a new entrant using a fiber to the home approach. Its relatively easy & affordable these days to do it as well compared to older technologies involving copper. But make no mistake, its still extremely expensive where most of the cost is really the labor to run and splice the fiber. Thats why I think Google is doing what they are doing, and I fully expect them to liquidate their systems at some point (perhaps it could take 10+ years though).
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Old 11-12-2014, 02:50 PM   #156
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Again, the fact that it's illegal to have municipal or state ISPs practically everywhere is a joke. It's akin to the argument against a public option for health insurance: either the government is so incompetent that the product is worthless so what do these companies have to fear? Or, the government is so efficient that with a profit motive, a profitable company has no way to compete (however that should be balanced with the needs of a society: if it can be offered as cost neutral but benefits society, shouldn't we do it?)
Just another point to add....it isn't really true that its illegal practically everywhere for municipalities to build their own infrastructure. Nor is it the majority (and I'm tempted to say vast majority but would need to look it up to be certain).

Certain companies are more vocal about lobbying the states they operate in to make it illegal, many times because they had actually built out large fiber networks for the states/municipalities, etc. for the right to even operate initially. Maybe they are still jerks for advocating to make it illegal but its not entirely without some merit.
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Old 11-12-2014, 03:10 PM   #157
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What's your background Steve? You speak like you've got some sort of background in the industry or something.
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Old 11-12-2014, 03:22 PM   #158
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Originally Posted by SteveMax58 View Post
Just another point to add....it isn't really true that its illegal practically everywhere for municipalities to build their own infrastructure. Nor is it the majority (and I'm tempted to say vast majority but would need to look it up to be certain).

Certain companies are more vocal about lobbying the states they operate in to make it illegal, many times because they had actually built out large fiber networks for the states/municipalities, etc. for the right to even operate initially. Maybe they are still jerks for advocating to make it illegal but its not entirely without some merit.

Apparently the list of states with restrictions is 20 states and growing, as of early 2014. Not all of those are outright bans but they have a complete list and explain that almost every state that doesn't ban it outright but has unrealistic hurdles for naming somewhere as unserved or for much too accelerated profitability requirements. Unsurprisingly, most of these bills were done by ALEC.

ISP lobby has already won limits on public broadband in 20 states | Ars Technica

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Old 11-12-2014, 03:53 PM   #159
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However, it is the cable companies (mostly, fiber optic companies are coming along more and more quickly) that are under the hook for building the infrastructure to be able to support that. Netflix pays nothing for its taxing of the current infrastructure - which produces pressure on the cable companies to update said infrastructure.

This isn't true. Taxpayers have given enormous grants and subsidies to build the infrastructure. We handed hundreds of billions over in the 90's to build this out and they pocketed most of it. You'll see almost daily local and state governments handing out money to build out new infrastructure for these companies.

I just don't know how people can be fine with our current internet situation. We get our ass kicked by most 1st world countries. We have slower internet speeds than countries like Estonia. South Korea and Japan make a mockery of us. Why are we cool with not only that but letting it get worse?
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Old 11-12-2014, 03:56 PM   #160
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I just don't know how people can be fine with our current internet situation. We get our ass kicked by most 1st world countries. We have slower internet speeds than countries like Estonia. South Korea and Japan make a mockery of us. Why are we cool with not only that but letting it get worse?

You can have internet that's built fast, runs good, and is cheap. Pick 0.

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Old 11-12-2014, 04:03 PM   #161
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That's where I think the utilities analogy could fit better. The customer not only paid for the road (transmission and distribution line) but also the machine to generate the traffic (plants and substations). So after all of that, the customer has to pay every time they use that road and if that road gets jammed, they can't use the road.
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Old 11-12-2014, 04:11 PM   #162
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Taxpayers have given enormous grants and subsidies to build the infrastructure. We handed hundreds of billions over in the 90's to build this out and they pocketed most of it.

How much and what was the deal?
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Old 11-12-2014, 04:15 PM   #163
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Originally Posted by sterlingice View Post
Apparently the list of states with restrictions is 20 states and growing, as of early 2014. Not all of those are outright bans but they have a complete list and explain that almost every state that doesn't ban it outright but has unrealistic hurdles for naming somewhere as unserved or for much too accelerated profitability requirements. Unsurprisingly, most of these bills were done by ALEC.

ISP lobby has already won limits on public broadband in 20 states | Ars Technica

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Mmmm....more ALEC goodness.
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Old 11-12-2014, 04:24 PM   #164
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Originally Posted by sterlingice View Post
Apparently the list of states with restrictions is 20 states and growing, as of early 2014. Not all of those are outright bans but they have a complete list and explain that almost every state that doesn't ban it outright but has unrealistic hurdles for naming somewhere as unserved or for much too accelerated profitability requirements. Unsurprisingly, most of these bills were done by ALEC.

ISP lobby has already won limits on public broadband in 20 states | Ars Technica

SI
Obviously it would take some time to research each of those states with some level of restriction, but I'd ask the question then....why aren't the other 30-ish doing a lot more buildouts then?

But many of those restrictions are around the way the municipality is allowed to offer the service (where service can be telecom, broadband or video), and the ability to go into debt for it and how they can package or bundle it. I would be curious when most of those restrictions came into play as a lot of municipalities had tried to do it in the late 90s & early 00s, and failed quite miserably at it. My gut tells me some of those restrictions (especially how they are worded) is around the idea that the states don't want to "bailout" those crazy municipalities that get in over their heads. No evidence for that, as I said you'd have to investigate each one and their approx legislative dates, but I'd bet money that is the motivation for some of those states' restrictions.
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Old 11-12-2014, 04:39 PM   #165
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What's your background Steve? You speak like you've got some sort of background in the industry or something.

Happy to PM more info privately but will say that yes, I have some insight into these topics. And while I guess it should go without saying, I try to put out my own opinion as opposed to what my company or the industry in general might argue. But naturally, with that insight could be a level of bias that is at least worth pointing out the possibility of (though I try to be as objective as I can be).

And I'm especially careful of not divulging things that aren't public knowledge (or could get me fired).
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Old 11-12-2014, 04:50 PM   #166
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That's fine - no real need for more info, was just curious.
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Old 11-12-2014, 04:51 PM   #167
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Instead, we end up with this mish-mash of "the government is so incompetent and they offer it too cheaply for us to complete", which is a logical impossibility.

Not at all.

There are people who will pay $1 less to get utter garbage.
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Old 11-12-2014, 05:00 PM   #168
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How much and what was the deal?

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 had a lot of money in it. It was given to states who doled it out. I think some have pegged it at $200 billion.

I, Cringely . The Pulpit . The $200 Billion Rip-Off | PBS

There's a ton of smaller ones though that pop-up from time to time.

Decades Of Failed Promises From Verizon: It Promises Fiber To Get Tax Breaks... Then Never Delivers | Techdirt

And of course the Universal Service Fund which we all pay into that goes back to the telecoms with little to no regulation. It's a tax we pay the government that funds the telecoms.

While Google Fiber is praised in Kansas City, they did receive some breaks too.

Taxpayers subsidizing Google Fiber project | Computerworld

Basically the idea that these companies built the infrastructure on their own is false. Taxpayers funded and continue to fund large swaths of it.
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Old 11-12-2014, 05:06 PM   #169
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The Telecommunications Act of 1996 had a lot of money in it. It was given to states who doled it out. I think some have pegged it at $200 billion.

I, Cringely . The Pulpit . The $200 Billion Rip-Off | PBS

From the article:
Quote:
It is on the state level where one can find the greatest excesses of the Telecommunications Act. All 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia contracted with their local telecommunication utilities for the build-out of fiber and hybrid fiber-coax networks intended to bring bidirectional digital video service to millions of homes by the year 2000. The Telecom Act set the mandate but, as it works with phone companies, the details were left to the states. Fifty-one plans were laid and 51 plans failed.

Quote:
Over the decade from 1994-2004 the major telephone companies profited from higher phone rates paid by all of us, accelerated depreciation on their networks, and direct tax credits an average of $2,000 per subscriber for which the companies delivered precisely nothing in terms of service to customers. That's $200 billion with nothing to be shown for it.

This seems to talk about fiber networks, working with phone companies. Not cable broadband.

As do the rest of your links as well.
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Old 11-12-2014, 05:15 PM   #170
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While Google Fiber is praised in Kansas City, they did receive some breaks too.

Taxpayers subsidizing Google Fiber project | Computerworld

Basically the idea that these companies built the infrastructure on their own is false. Taxpayers funded and continue to fund large swaths of it.

I've got no problem with the tax breaks that Google Fiber is getting from our city. The product they are delivering is more than worth it as opposed to many other tax breaks that never benefit the community and only benefit the business.
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Old 11-12-2014, 06:55 PM   #171
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I've got no problem with the tax breaks that Google Fiber is getting from our city. The product they are delivering benefits me.

Fixed.
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Old 11-13-2014, 07:16 PM   #172
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That's funny, I'd much rather have my municipality or state or whatever providing some baseline internet to compete against the artificial oligopoly in my area. It's so odd that I can only choose from Comcast and AT&T when other places have Time Warner, Cox, Verizon, and more. But strangely, everywhere I live, I have had, at most, 2 real choices.

Yet, if my suburb wanted to create a competing ISP, they could not because of state regulations that make no sense unless you're trying to curb any competition through legal means. Look, if the government sucks at the internet, then what competition does Comcast have to fear? Unless they know they've been sandbagging for years and our internet in this country is pathetic but with no competition, there's no incentive to change.

I know that I, for one, would hate to pay 1/10th as much money for 10x the speed:

SI

The point is having big gov run your internet would be great until about a year later when you need faster internet. Who's paying for that upgrade? Not the government based on everything else they've ever run. The internet is different from a typical utility in that it requires constant innovation.

I'm not saying the existing duopoly is the answer, but thinking our governments would do a better job in the long run is laughable.

If they want to enter as a competing party, then sure, why not?

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Old 11-13-2014, 07:20 PM   #173
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If they want to enter as a competing party, then sure, why not?

As long as you tax exempt the existing private entities from paying into their own competition.
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Old 11-13-2014, 08:37 PM   #174
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The internet is different from a typical utility in that it requires constant innovation.

The backbone networking part (which is the part we're talking about)? Yes, it's more complex than water & sewer, but I'm not sure how much more complex it is than the electric grid, tbh.
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Old 11-13-2014, 09:20 PM   #175
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The electric distribution system has not changed in 50 years. What has changed is how we monitor, regulate and control the juice (e.g., much more real-time than ever before).
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Old 11-14-2014, 08:08 AM   #176
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Exactly, there's been, and continues to be, plenty of innovation in the provision of electricity. The Internet backbone isn't unique in this regard. That's all I was saying.
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Old 11-15-2014, 11:54 AM   #177
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Sooner actually asks an important question, which is NOT secondary in this discussion here. I tend to be on the (moderate) left sphere of things, but I can easily see why cable companies are worried about net neutrality under the current state of affairs. Netflix uses something like half of the bandwith in this country. However, it is the cable companies (mostly, fiber optic companies are coming along more and more quickly) that are under the hook for building the infrastructure to be able to support that. Netflix pays nothing for its taxing of the current infrastructure - which produces pressure on the cable companies to update said infrastructure.

So the cable companies say, Netflix pay us for your huge use of bandwith or else we'll slow you down so you don't use as much. I actually don't see that as something horrible.

The alternative, of course, if all content providers can access as much bandwith as possible, the cost is going to be passed onto the consumers. Data caps will be strictly enforced, as the phone companies have already begun to do.

So that's the tradeoff question, really. Do we want content providers to pay based on their usage (and that can be done in other ways than creating a 'fast lane' - maybe a price based on bandwith used) or do we want the consumers to pay? Now, the most economically efficient usage would probably be to have consumers pay - but do we really want that?

Consumers always pay, if Netflix is charged the price of Netflix goes up, if data is capped the end user pays for bandwidth . The legally responsible practice is content providers pay for content and users pay for data usage. It should be illegal to sniff traffic and deliberately sabotage it or create a private preferred network, but now it is. The moral hazards are much higher this way, whereas straight up charging the customer for a bigger data pipe is more equitable and efficient. Say Netflix comes up with a brilliant traffic optimization solution tomorrow that let's them cut backbone net usage by two thirds. Problem solved world peace in our time, except now the bandwidth is throttled at the last hop from the ISP to the consumer and all that brilliance still looks like a shitty slow connection.

This pattern is bad, it lets companies with a vested interest in seeing netflix fail charge an arbitrary toll on that company. Five years later we are all joking about how anyone who is cool uses the slightly expensive comcast virtual cable service instead of lame, slow, content barren Antiquities like Netflix or hulu.

Charging netflix lets comcast get rich making netflix look bad, charging customers lets comcast get rich making itself look bad. In the second course customers will be more likely to vote for increased competition in the bandwidth market, either overturning bad state laws or taking their money to alternatives.
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Old 11-15-2014, 01:19 PM   #178
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When did this become a partisan political issue? Was it the minute that Obama came out in support of it, because my feed is getting blown up with partisans taking their sides. I thought that this was a topic that had lots of support from both sides?
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Old 11-15-2014, 01:28 PM   #179
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When did this become a partisan political issue? Was it the minute that Obama came out in support of it, because my feed is getting blown up with partisans taking their sides. I thought that this was a topic that had lots of support from both sides?

It does and should but as been said, it's the implementation that ruins it. Also, I believe the utilities quip was probably not a good analogy.
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Old 11-15-2014, 01:56 PM   #180
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But it does make sense, in that this is a technology that should be available to everybody. Yes, it started out as a luxury, but so did indoor plumbing, electricity, radio, telephone, television. I think we've reached a point though - in saturation numbers and cultural reliance - where connectivity should be considered a basic service.
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Old 11-15-2014, 06:38 PM   #181
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When did this become a partisan political issue? Was it the minute that Obama came out in support of it, because my feed is getting blown up with partisans taking their sides. I thought that this was a topic that had lots of support from both sides?

The minute internet providers started heavily funding the campaigns of politicians.
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Old 11-16-2014, 12:52 AM   #182
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When did this become a partisan political issue? Was it the minute that Obama came out in support of it, because my feed is getting blown up with partisans taking their sides. I thought that this was a topic that had lots of support from both sides?

As far as I know, it does. I dislike most of Obama's positions, but I was the one that posted this one because I'm behind him totally on this issue.
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Old 11-17-2014, 09:23 AM   #183
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As far as I know, it does. I dislike most of Obama's positions, but I was the one that posted this one because I'm behind him totally on this issue.

Well, I just fainted.
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:50 AM   #184
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Obama must have a Playstation or something
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Old 11-17-2014, 03:14 PM   #185
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Obama must have a Playstation or something

No, he's just to the 'I don't give a shit what the voters think' portion of his presidency. There's a lot of presidents that suddenly start to make common sense decisions the final two years of their second term.
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Old 11-17-2014, 03:34 PM   #186
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I'm not entirely sure you'll necessarily like what President Obama or his supporters consider to be 'common sense decisions' . Besides, he's been for net neutrality for a few years now.
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Old 11-17-2014, 07:24 PM   #187
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So, I just have to laugh at the stupidity of AT&T sometimes. A couple of years ago with their idiotic leaks regarding their proposed acquisition of T-Mobile (i.e. we'll just remove a competitor & milk it) and now their CEO sticks his foot in his mouth by publicly proclaiming the discussions around Net Neutrality are causing so much uncertainty that they will not be inclined to invest in fiber to the home. Not smart to do when you have a pending mega merger on the table.

Now the FCC is calling them out on their "concerns" & likely to make life miserable for a few people that have to scramble & respond to the FCC's inquiry.

The FCC Responds To AT&T’s Net Neutrality Saber Rattling | TechCrunch

Probably won't make much of a difference in the end. AT&T will do damage control but really, really stupid to make those types of statements (or incredibly bad timing if nothing else).
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Old 01-29-2015, 01:55 PM   #188
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The FCC changed the definition of what can be called broadband from 4Mb down/1Mb up to 25Mb down/3Mb up.

Broadband Internet Definition Changed | Ubergizmo
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Old 01-29-2015, 02:00 PM   #189
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It's a fairly big move. Having the right to call your service broadband is very important to cable companies (and their potential customers). Wonder if it will spur some price changes to allow for most customers to have 'broadband' - for promotional reasons and for preventing folks with lower than that calling up and complaining that they don't have "broadband" reasons.
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Old 01-30-2015, 10:48 AM   #190
CU Tiger
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Where I live AT&T is the only option.
Our Uverse route says Broadband all over it.
They have never managed to get me to 1MB up...now I will have an even better argument. Lol not like they will care.
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Old 02-26-2015, 01:18 PM   #191
Logan
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FCC votes to protect the internet with Title II regulation | The Verge
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Old 02-26-2015, 01:37 PM   #192
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VICTORY!
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Old 02-26-2015, 01:50 PM   #193
ISiddiqui
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And here comes metered usage (well provided the lawsuits fail) .
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Old 11-21-2017, 01:43 PM   #194
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At long last, here we are. The new America first Trump FCC. Fuck the people, it's all about the businesses.

FCC unveils plan to repeal net neutrality rules - The Washington Post

The headline reads:

FCC plan would give Internet providers power to choose the sites customers see and use

It's going to be so awesome. How has malaise about this gotten so damn low. I guess it's being choked out by everything else. I mean I could post something like this every day each a different policy decision.
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Old 11-21-2017, 02:05 PM   #195
Atocep
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I'm sure we'll eventually get around to making the ISPs repay the billions in free infrastructure they received from taxpayers in the creation of our internet.
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Old 11-21-2017, 02:11 PM   #196
ISiddiqui
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It's a bit of shame that very few people are signing up for Google Fiber. Technically I'm in the Atlanta metro region they are ultimately expanding to, but I have serious doubts as to whether they'll ever reach me.
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Old 11-21-2017, 02:25 PM   #197
RainMaker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISiddiqui View Post
It's a bit of shame that very few people are signing up for Google Fiber. Technically I'm in the Atlanta metro region they are ultimately expanding to, but I have serious doubts as to whether they'll ever reach me.

They've made it too hard to enter the market. Lot of good lobbying by the only ISPs in existence to prevent Google from ever getting a foothold.
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Old 11-21-2017, 02:33 PM   #198
bob
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISiddiqui View Post
It's a bit of shame that very few people are signing up for Google Fiber. Technically I'm in the Atlanta metro region they are ultimately expanding to, but I have serious doubts as to whether they'll ever reach me.

I agree it'll never get to my house. In fact, by a weird fluke of where my house is and the fact that all the "ports" or whatever on the nearest Comcast box are all used up, my only current internet option is AT&T DSL despite the fact that my next door neighbors all have their choice of Comcast Xfinity or Uverse. According to both Comcast and AT&T, it isn't worth their money to lay a line for me. And AT&T is trying to kill off the DSL stuff. Should be fun.

Oh, and I live in the heart of Roswell.
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Old 11-21-2017, 11:37 PM   #199
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Should probably check out the front page of reddit.

Everyone needs to do this.

Resistbot

Contact your Congressmen, they are the only hope to help keep this from happening.
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Old 11-22-2017, 01:00 AM   #200
larrymcg421
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ISiddiqui View Post
It's a bit of shame that very few people are signing up for Google Fiber. Technically I'm in the Atlanta metro region they are ultimately expanding to, but I have serious doubts as to whether they'll ever reach me.

I just moved to Midtown and was really excited that I was in a Google Fiber area. Signed up immediately.
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