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Gravel road through a rural landscape of cornfields.
No broadband for you!
I want one of these deals:
After making a big, bold promise to wire every corner of America, the telecom giants are running away from their vow to provide nationwide broadband service by 2020. For almost 20 years, AT&T, Verizon and the other big players have collected hundreds of billions of dollars through rate increases and surcharges to finance that ambitious plan, but after wiring the high-density big cities, they now say it's too expensive to connect the rest of the country. But they'd like to keep all that money they banked for the project.
It's awesome to get paid for something you decide you don't want to do, right? Well, that's not true, they're hiring armies of lobbyists to shed themselves of their responsibilities. And by "armies," I'm not exaggerating:
Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and other telecommunications companies have hired swarms of lobbyists to make similar deals from Pennsylvania to California. AT&T retained 120 of lobbyists in Sacramento, three dozen in Lexington, Ky.
Not only are the telcos trying to rid themselves of the responsibility of providing universal broadband, not to mention erase consumer protection regulations and the like. They're also fighting hard to make sure towns can't provide broadband service to their own residents.
BOB GARFIELD:  They pass on a given region because it's not clearly going to be profitable for them, and yet, when the municipalities want to fill in the gaps, then the lobbyists try to stymie the municipal build-out. Is that what’s happening?

JAMES BALLER:  That’s what’s happening. It seems that what the cable and telephone companies that do this are trying to achieve is preserve future markets when they figure that it's time for them to get around to them, or they’re fearful that the municipal projects will actually be successful and stimulate others to emulate those successes.


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Comment Preferences

  •  This is really the story of the (55+ / 0-)

    late 20th and early 21st century US. Throw a whole bunch of money at something that is conceived of as "a problem" and then hire people to solve it who have a vested interest (read: profit motive) in not solving it. And then (maybe) pay more money/time/effort in getting it done (maybe) some other way, while letting the first batch of people skate with their ill-gotten gains.
    That's how we've prosecuted our wars since Vietnam, too, broadly speaking.
    No wonder we're going broke (kinda.)

    "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

    by bryduck on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:05:52 PM PDT

    •  It's really the story of Capitalism. (24+ / 0-)

      We have Capitalist system in the good ol' US of A.  By means of extraordinarily concentrated power, i.e. money, it rules politics in this country and beyond.

      What idiot thought that "negotiating concessions" from these bloodsuckers would be honored in the future?  Chances are, there were no "idiots" in reality, only those who recognized that selling out the public interest would benefit them personally.

      Let's all get realistic.  Capitalism and democracy are not "compatible" in the long run.  The former will quash the latter for the sake of profits.  Capitalism and the public interest are not compatible.  The compulsion for profit will always mean that the public's interest in fair wages for workers, concern for the environment and fairness for customers will be shelved.

      When something is "for profit," it is not in the public interest.  Pretty fundamental, unless you believe in the "Free Market" fairy.

      •  Yet few people (9+ / 0-)

        even on this site, accept that Capitalism is a bankrupt economic model that needs to be completely replaced.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        Who is twigg?

        by twigg on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 05:44:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Percentage-wise, yes (6+ / 0-)

          But there seem to be a lot more than when I first started lurking here.

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 07:06:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry but you are conflating ideas. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Angie in WA State

          This country was never based upon unbridled capitalism. See the writings of John Hancock and other founding fathers about how to REGULATE and control capitalism to preserve the public good. And regulated capitalism has worked very well in the early days, but as always the elite have fought to tilt the table in their favor and through out the history of our nation we have responded by adding regulations to level it out again. Think anti-trust laws in the 1800s. Also see the major laws FDR pushed through during the great depression. It is only in the last fifty years that we have gone to deregulation and "trickle down economics" that our system is so distorted that it is failing. You can look through out history at great civilizations and see that similar distortions have destroyed over and over again.

          What made this country so great and different was that we attempted to place THE PUBLIC GOOD ahead of the ELITE. No kings allowed. However this really started to change while Jimmy Carter was in office and got much worse when Reagan too over! Most forget that Carter ended the USURY LAWS in the states and that was the start of the end. So the way I see it the last true democrat was Johnson. With Carter, Clinton, and Obama all being Republican Lite.

          We don't need to completely replace Capitalism as you say -- we just need to get rid of Crony Capitalism AND RETURN TO REGULATED CAPITALISM THAT LEVELS THE PLAYING FIELD AND TIES THE HANDS OF THE ELITES TRYING TO DESTROY AMERICA!

          •  To extend upon your comment. (0+ / 0-)

            Actually, deregulation of healthcare happened under Richard Nixon, who let the formerly stable non-profit healthcare system be gutted by the rentiers of medicine. Carter contributed to the mess by deregulation of trucking and airlines and initiated deregulation of communications.

            In sum, there has been systematic bipartisan looting and pillaging of America starting in the late 1960s and continuing through today.

            The monied interests always win.

            If you don't watch news, you're un-informed. If you watch Fox news, you're mis-informed. (paraphrasing Mark Twain)

            by edg on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 03:08:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

              However as bad as those were, the federal law overriding the state usury laws is all but forgotten. Plus it was maybe the most damaging in the history of our nation. Mortgages jumped from 7% to 16% overnight and the new freedom really created the nationwide credit industry. Suddenly MasterCard and Visa could register in DE or Idaho with favorable laws and for all legal disputes be resolved under their home laws as well as have a national interest rate on their cards. Consumer abuse raged at that point! Good ole boy Jimmy got roped in by the Congress and added that gross distortion of the economy to his legacy! I was working construction at that point and the whole housing industry shut down in days of that passing and being signed into law.

              •  I remember. (0+ / 0-)

                I bought my 2nd house in September 1979 at 7% interest. Had I waited a few months, I would not have been able to.

                If you don't watch news, you're un-informed. If you watch Fox news, you're mis-informed. (paraphrasing Mark Twain)

                by edg on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 10:19:17 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  You'd think that the endless examples of... (10+ / 0-)

        ...totalitarian or authoritarian regimes that are also capitalist countries would have sunk into the American collective consciousness by now, especially seeing as how the most populous country in the entire world is a Communist totalitarian oligarchy which is also a capitalist paradise: China. We've got Vietnam in this category, Russia, though it's more monarchical than commie, a bunch of historical examples from Argentina and Chile to Spain...and yet still this bullshit meme of "capitalism == democracy" exists!

        The only economic systems with a good fit to democracies are managed economies. There's an entire spectrum of them, from loose to tight. Let's pick one of them instead of this neoliberal hell we're in now.

        We maybe should also free up municipalities and states to act on the behalf of their people. Does a city need a publicly-owned utility or perhaps municipal broadband? Make it so! Remember the lesson of the internet, just because a giant corporation can't profit by it, doesn't mean a thousand flowers can't spring up from it.

        The thing that is most extraordinary about the internet is the way it enables permissionless innovation. This stems from two epoch-making design decisions made by its creators in the early 1970s: that there would be no central ownership or control; and that the network would not be optimised for any particular application: all it would do is take in data-packets from an application at one end, and do its best to deliver those packets to their destination.

        It was entirely agnostic about the contents of those packets. If you had an idea for an application that could be realised using data-packets (and were smart enough to write the necessary software) then the network would do it for you with no questions asked. This had the effect of dramatically lowering the bar for innovation, and it resulted in an explosion of creativity.

        Join Essa in a revolt against the gods. Continue the fight, Causality.

        by rbird on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 05:55:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Words matter. (0+ / 0-)

        I too often see in this debate the misuse of terms. This country was never a democracy - It was a democratic REPUBLIC. Likewise it was not founded on unbridled capitalism - The founding fathers instituted a REGULATED capitalism. However they did not go far enough in regulating so around the 1880s we had to EXTEND THE REGULATIONS to cover anti-trust laws. Since then we have extended regulation even farther and all of these were based upon PRESERVING THE PUBLIC GOOD.

        Then came good ole Ronny Raygun and the worm turned!!! He somehow sold the idea that our history was UNREGULATED CAPITALISM when that was just a lie and we tore down regulations as fast as Gorbachev tore down his wall.

        Shame on us for being so cheap that we let public education die on the vine to save a little on property taxes so that most voters have no clue when politicians spread lies like this. The worst part is that even Democrats have gotten into the deregulation scheme just to get donations for their reelection funds.

        •  Deregulation started before Reagan. (0+ / 0-)

          Nixon deregulated healthcare and Carter deregulated transportation and communications.

          If you don't watch news, you're un-informed. If you watch Fox news, you're mis-informed. (paraphrasing Mark Twain)

          by edg on Sun Mar 16, 2014 at 03:13:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The concentration has to go. (4+ / 0-)

      It's that simple. The huge media companies just screw us over and then again. Just like the banks. Just like the military boondoggles.

      Seems we're needing things like boycotts and pressure on the FCC and Congress or all who have any say, including towns, cities, and states to break these babies into hundreds of locally controlled pieces.

      If we don't focus on that, then things are going to go on precisely as they are, except always worsening or trying to worsen. Not only on information and media, but in politics and the cultural atmosphere.

      Talk sense about reality: you're not viable says Political Sophisticate Wisdoom.

      by Jim P on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:50:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Meanwhile, out here in bumfucknowhere (13+ / 0-)

      New Mexico, 40 miles from a traffic light,  my rural telephone non-profit coop has been installing fiber optic cable for 20 years.  I have a FO terminal 2000 feet from my house in a tiny village,  and my DSL service 3MBPS is essentially free after we get our yearly rebate as coop members.

      The coop is big, with perhaps the largest service area of any rural phone coop, about  one quarter of the State of New Mexico, and benefits from sound management.

      don't always believe what you think

      by claude on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:06:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How can they afford the army of lobbyists? (12+ / 0-)

    Oh right....

    The Seminole Democrat
    Confronting the criminally insane who rule our state; as well as the apathy of the vast majority who let them.

    by SemDem on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:06:22 PM PDT

  •  obvious corruption (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Puddytat, a2nite, Mannie, JerryNA, stagemom, Bluefin

    what does it take for leadership to take action?

    free the information

    by freelixir on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:08:00 PM PDT

  •  Hey, that influence peddling (12+ / 0-)

    doesn't pay for itself, ya know! Every single state has a Public Utilities Commission. And then there are the Federal regulations to combat, Congressional hearings to anticipate and thwart, the Executive Branch to influence, the lawyers to be kept sharp and ready for a Supreme Court case or three...

    They need every thin dime.

    Darling, you didn't use canned salmon, did you?

    by JrCrone on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:11:00 PM PDT

  •  Go neighbor to Neighbor. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, JeffW, Bluefin

    get little one block at a time things.

  •  There's no better -- although many bigger-- (15+ / 0-)

    Examples of corporate welfare and corruption than my local cable company.  Bundle-fuckers.

    ". . .as singularly embarrassing a public address as any allegedly sentient primate ever has delivered." - Charles P. Pierce

    by Rikon Snow on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:11:59 PM PDT

  •  It's the same playbook they used for (29+ / 0-)

    wiring for phone service.  They wired up and profited in the cities, but didn't want to wire rural areas.

    The feds had to step in and mandate it.

    Part of our phone bill and, IIRC, the federal taxes were slated to be "banked" to finance the project and they were given plenty of time to accomplish the goal.

    Time for the feds to step in again.  Broadband cable access is as essential as phone service.  The feds should not only ensure that the wiring is done, but they need to oversee that it's available and at reasonable rates.

    There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

    by Puddytat on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:12:38 PM PDT

    •  But wasn't that back in the olden days and (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lady blair, Mannie, twigg, Puddytat, Bluefin

      the golden days of regulated public utilities? Before the big break-up of Ma Bell into the Baby Bells and their subsequent eating of one another until turning into the Death Star of the new, improved, and un(der)-regulated AT&T?

      I agree that this needs to be mandated. How will it come about in the current political climate?

      Darling, you didn't use canned salmon, did you?

      by JrCrone on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:29:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sounds like another job for... (15+ / 0-)


      Add that to Postal Banking and we might just start resembling a mature Western nation-state.

      Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 05:02:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't go there (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JG in MD

        Europe and most of the world let their post offices run their telephone companies (PTTs).  It usually didn't work out well.  They often starved the telephone network so that it wouldn't discourage letter-writing.

        However, public ownership of the actual wire and fiber outsideplant, the costly stuff, makes sense.  More of a standalone public authority, not the USPS.

      •  I'd love this, if it could ever come about (7+ / 0-)

        There needs to be a provider of last resort for financial services and the internet. You see the need every day of the week driving down the street, only you might not know it. Predatory payday lenders, check cashing businesses, fly-by-night "cheap" internet providers...and those are just the most visible. Even more legitimate companies and banks gouge the poor for services they provide for free to the more well-off.  In a just society, none of this would exist, because we'd have providers of last resort.

        Join Essa in a revolt against the gods. Continue the fight, Causality.

        by rbird on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 06:13:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It is worse (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie, JerryNA, Puddytat, earicicle, Bluefin

      In the case of phone service, they did wire the city, all parts of the city.  Part of this was financed by pay phones, but we can't really fault them.  Everyone had a phone.  Rural customers had to pay for some of this, but it is not like broadband.

      With broadband they have not even bothered to deliver to all of the city.  I know of places near downtown that do not have ATT or Verizon service, only cable, while places a few miles away have all three.

      And google is no help.  They are wiring up areas that already have high density of broadband service.  The could choose to wire places where broadband does not exist, but their purpose is push the other players out of business, not actually try stimulate growth of broadband.

    •  Formely regulated as a utility (5+ / 0-)

      The feds didn't mandate much.  Here's how it worked before 1992:  Telephone companies were regulated utilities, under the rate of return system.  They were entitled to rates that would make a given return on their undepreciated plant.  In the city, that was easy.  But it was averaged across a telephone company's turf in a state.  So if New York Telephone made huge profits in NYC, that would pay for service in the sticks.  And if they invested in the sticks, that would go into their rate base, and let them charge more in the city.  It worked, but only because it was a monopoly, and they had no incentive to save money except regulatory scrutiny.

      Rural telephone companies got subsidies via the long distance mechanism, like being paid 30-80 cents for each minute of a 20-cent call they carried one end of.

      Then the price cap system came in, buoyed by the promises of a common carrier broadband network (what they never delivered).  That got rid of rate of return. They cut their costs and raised their profits, and the Bells stopped investing in high-cost areas.  In 1996, the Universal Service Fund became explicit, and rural telephone companies got money from it, so they stayed on rate of return and invested willy-nilly.  Hence rural telephone companies are in better shape than Bells, but  it was paid for by others.

      Some states still require their big telcos to serve everyone, but some, like Florida, no longer do. They can "average down" costs by abandoning high-cost customers.  It's a racket.

    •  Wasn't it the same way for power to rural areas (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie, JerryNA, Puddytat, Egalitare

      way back... when?

      “My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there." - Rumi

      by LamontCranston on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 06:23:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That's what happens when you rely on the (21+ / 0-)

    Market for vital infrastructure.

    Should be no surprise.

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:14:15 PM PDT

    •  actually I'd like to see the market in action (8+ / 0-)

      In Romania they have providers on what seems like every other street. When one claims fast dload speeds or connect speeds the rest sit up and take notice and try to beat that speed.  If you aren't happy with your internet, you simply go to another provider and there are plenty to choose from.  Romania has one of the fastest internet systems in the world as a country and I'd maintain it's because they have a lot of competition among service providers. We have the big telecoms who don't really compete much and we came in #31 on that same list.

      Again it's the big corporations that are killing the smaller providers that are giving us pains. It's corporatism that is the problem, not capitalism.

      A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

      by dougymi on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:46:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Umm, rural inclusion is not a market option. (4+ / 0-)

        That's why they were so heavily subsidized in the first place.

        The US is not Romania - scale is a bit different.

        I agree on the big corp deal, but markets are inefficient with population density of rural America.

        If it weren't for Rural Electrification, a bunch of rural folk would still be using outhouses and lanterns.

        Although I guess you could make a counter argument that distributed production and renewables might have come online faster...


        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 05:45:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  agreed about scale... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RMForbes, k9disc

          Romania is about the same size as Minnesota. Still they managed to achieve the level they have with a large rural population on less than the GDP of Minnesota.  What are they doing differently?  They didn't have a national program of internet infrastructure building. Hell, they're having trouble building a physical highway to go from Constanta to the Hungarian border, let alone an information highway throughout the country.  They aren't a city like Hong Kong or Singapore. Urban/rural demo is around 60-40, a little lower than MN which is about 70/30.  What was done differently?  I think, although I can't prove, that it was competiton. I'd like to do more research on it before saying that for certain.  I really can't think of any other thing that could be responsible.

          A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

          by dougymi on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 07:06:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, you are so right. (0+ / 0-)

          I remember when Lyndon Johnson pushed through some laws on rural electrification and the grand parents finally got indoor plumbing through their local REA because an electric pump on the well made all of the difference. Until 1968 they hand pumped water and walked to the outhouse. Of course that might have explained why they had fifteen kids to do some of that hand pumping for them!

      •  Our differences might be of semantics... (7+ / 0-)

        ...not of substance. I view corporatism and the concentration of wealth as the natural end result of capitalism.

        An economic system in which corporations and the concentration of wealth are suppressed...that's a type of managed economy, not capitalism.

        So you might have more in common with this semi-anarchical socialist than you might otherwise think.

        Join Essa in a revolt against the gods. Continue the fight, Causality.

        by rbird on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 06:19:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  oh I think we do. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JerryNA, rbird, Bluefin, k9disc

          It very well could be that corporatism is a natural end result of capitalism. It seems to work that way a lot of the time. To my mind the only way a capitalistic economy works is to be managed and regulated. Ergo, a managed economy.  Whether that's capitalism or not, I don't know.  It can be competition, though.  I firmly believe in competition.  What we have now isn't competition.

          Left to their own devices, human beings are economic carnivores, even economic cannibals. We're seeing that now.    

          A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

          by dougymi on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 07:21:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Hell, they haven't even wired the cities. (11+ / 0-)

    You ought to try it in Baltimore. A joke. 2 choices. DSL from Verison (slowest possible service,will not stream) or Comcast (refuses to wire the block). What a joke.

  •  Out here in rural Virgina (13+ / 0-)

    I live in a rural Virginia county along the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River.

    We have very little broadband -- a local wireless provider whose service is down as much as it's up, and, Verizon National Broadband that is fast (3.5meg down, 1.5 meg up), reliable, but expensive ($59.95/month).

    Our county built a new combined high school - middle school and tried to get Verizon (our local telephone company) to run fiber for 1.5 miles from their central office to the schools -- took THREE years to get it done.

    A small corner of our county was served by Comcast with cable TV.  A year ago, trucks with METROCAST logo, loaded with optical fiber cable, trenching machines, and workers showed up and started digging trenches along some of the main roads in the county.  Turns out, Metrocast had bought out the Comcast service for this area.

    They put in fiber to all areas of the county previously served by Comcast cable TV, then, they started down every other road in the county.  

    My corner of the county will be turned on to fiber in about three weeks -- in fact, there's a big green box on the corner of my front yard, by the road.  Everyone in my community -- 32 of us -- will drop Verizon broadband, Verizon dial-up, and the local wireless company as soon as Metrocast lights the fiber.

    Reports from friends of mine who switched to the Metrocast fiber are all positive.

    Just my $0.02 worth.

  •  As our pols never tire of telling us (11+ / 0-)

    "Free markets" are the most efficient and rational means of making investments and distributing resources.  Anything else is socialistic communism, you wouldn't like having the Stalin Cable Company watching your every mouse-click, now would you?  This is a small price to pay for FREEDOM!  There's bipartisan comity on this.  So remember to vote!

    Pay no attention to the upward redistribution of wealth!

    by ActivistGuy on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:15:29 PM PDT

  •  We need another project such as the REA. (18+ / 0-)

    The REA brought electricity to the places where no private company would, we need the government to step up and bring Fiber to everyone, not only the people in the outback, but to communities such as where I live, which is only 15 miles from Eugene Oregon, where I'm paying for 7 mbps, but at best only getting about 5 mbps on a good day/
    The Post Office could run it.

    Severely Socialist 47283

    by ichibon on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:16:17 PM PDT

    •  We should especially do his... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie, ipsos, rbird, ichibon

      ...since building wind farms out in the country can mess up broadcast tv signals, even with the digital service now running. Having fiber would eliminate the problem.

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 05:37:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agreed, if the USPS were ISP's then email on (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ichibon, Mannie

      their servers could require a warrant to be accessed by the government just like snail mail. This could solve a lot of our current personal privacy problems and reestablish our Fourth and Fifth Amendment protections.

      Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

      by RMForbes on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 09:10:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is a perfect example (24+ / 0-)

    of why items like internet service, cable, and landline telephone service should be considered public utilities and handled by municipal or state governments.

    These services are too important to leave in the hands of a greedy private sector who you just KNOW will do shit like this again, and again, and again.

    "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

    by Darth Stateworker on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:17:38 PM PDT

  •  And of course when the municipality . . . (8+ / 0-)

    town, county whatever tries to get together and do it themselves.

    The lobbyists rear the heads and say "No No we will do it we have plans in the future"

    They amend the fund so that they have to provide a service by set date, otherwise the fund revert to the municipality or whoever can best organize public ownership of the property.

  •  Hundreds of billions? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rikon Snow need to get the facts before you come up with a headline like this one. If you are talking about the USF funds, the whole thing amounts to 8-9 billion a year for the whole industry including about 2 billion for the ILECs. Sorry big guy but this article is total bullshit.

    Do facts matter anymore?

    by Sinan on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:21:37 PM PDT

    •  Recycled simply for Balls. (Nt) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lefty Coaster

      ". . .as singularly embarrassing a public address as any allegedly sentient primate ever has delivered." - Charles P. Pierce

      by Rikon Snow on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:26:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  OK Its probably closer to dozens of billions (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie, Egalitare

      "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

      by Lefty Coaster on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:44:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Okay, fine. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric K, Mannie, earicicle, Bluefin

      Tell us how many billions it is acceptable for the corporations to take, without doing anything?

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 05:50:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  AFOR money, not USF! (6+ / 0-)

      I am VERY familiar with the material (I know some of the people involved) in the article.   It is not about the USF at all.  

      In and around 1992, the Bell telephone companies asked to change their regulation from utility-style rate of return (regulated profit, based on level of investment) to price cap (basic service rate capped, profits unregulated).  Costs were falling so this meant higher profits.  They promised to build broadband with it.  New Jersey Bell specifically promised to wire the state with 100% fiber to the home, 45 megabits each way, open common carriage.

      Instead, they didn't invest.  During the 1990s, their profits rose.  But they invested less.  Maintenance got worse.  They only built DSL, recycling the old wire.  Then in the 2000s, they invested a little in FiOS (VZ) or U-Verse (SBC->ATT), but only selectively.

      The $380 billion that Bruce Kushnick talks about was the excess profit, above what rate of return would have allowed, that they got for doing less, not more, than before.

    •  ~20 years * $8B/yr = $160B (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bluefin, Mannie

      I'm using your dollar estimate, Sinan, along Kos' year span. It's basic math and comes to $160 Billion.  Want to be an adult, take back your "total bull" accusation and issue an apology?

      •  He gave no details for his claim. (0+ / 0-)

        Nor did he address the very complicated issue of bringing broadband to under served areas. By making a headline like this, he chose to play the corporate giants as mooching leeches meme instead of actually diving into this industry and giving some background and facts. I work in this industry, it is not productive to represent it as some sort of ripoff of the customer. Someone here said that in 1992 they promised to bring fiber to the home, that is a bold faced lie. There was no fiber to the home in 1992. Then he said that they had to settle for DSL as if they had a choice. Copper is the installed plant in every building or home in the nation due to USF funding over the years. The fact that you even have a POTs line is because every single carrier paid for it. Bringing fiber to the home is a very, very recent development and it costs huge bucks. So rather than make a blatantly stupid article on the horrors of the Tier 1's, why not have some integrity?

        Do facts matter anymore?

        by Sinan on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 09:02:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then start with *these* comments instead of math. (0+ / 0-)

          You may have a point, but when you include criticism of dollars that doesn't stand up to basic math rebuttal, it makes the rest of your argument look weaker (not logically, but psychologically).

        •  Can we say "vested interest"? (0+ / 0-)

          You are supporting your industry without really looking at this from a broader perspective. Answer me this: why is America at the bottom of the list for broadband in developed nations? Why do the Koreans have insane broadband speeds AND MUCH CHEAPER SERVICE????

          And by the way, it seems to me that there was a lot of money put up for increased broadband in the Recovery Act in addition to the moneys they got over the years. So why are they allowed TO WASTE IT ON LOBBYING AND INDUSTRY CONSOLIDATION INSTEAD OF PROVIDING SERVICE???

  •  Klass Aktion Lawsuit? n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

    by bobdevo on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:23:46 PM PDT

  •  This kind of shit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, yoduuuh do or do not

    makes you wonder what those giant swaths of red in the middle of the country are thinking.  Not that Democrats are really going to stand up to the telecoms or anything but... oh, wait, that's probably it.

    29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:25:11 PM PDT

  •  A bit of history (4+ / 0-)

    The summary doesn't get it quite right.

    The hundreds of billions the telcos got over the years to build and maintain their networks to everywhere was for the monopoly landline telephone network, not the broadband network.

    In 2010, as the Newsweek article says, the FCC launched a National Broadband Plan and made money available specifically to build out broadband.  But Verizon, AT&T, and the big cable operators didn't sign up.  They didn't like the strings that came with the money.

    Some smaller companies, including CenturyLink and Frontier, did.

    •  It included cell as well, though as a consultant (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie, Blueslide, JrCrone

      once told me, "the FCC didn't mandate cell service for cows."

      Apparently, in the end, the gig was to have cell coverage along federally funded hiways. At least that's what Verizon's story was.

      But the two are related. You know damn well Verizon wants out of landline/wireline and into wireless broadband and would like to keep its monopoly privileges.

      Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

      by dadadata on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:32:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not really - (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The wireline network funding came from per-minute rates approved by each state.  Those rates were allowed to stay high enough to maintain the landline network plus a reasonable return to shareholders.

        The states don't regulate cell phone rates.

        There may have been some particular programs where cell companies got paid for specific buildouts.  But mostly, they pay for their networks with their unregulated, high, monthly rates.

      •  and a fine job they have done there (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mannie, Elwood Dowd, earicicle
        Apparently, in the end, the gig was to have cell coverage along federally funded hiways. At least that's what Verizon's story was.
        try driving on I89 in VT without a dropped call.

        -7.5 -7.28, A carrot is as close as a rabbit gets to a diamond.-Don Van Vliet

        by Blueslide on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:39:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Try living in VT without dropped calls, areas of (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Blueslide, Mannie

          ZERO service--even in the state's most populous county. And Verizon has the 'best' coverage in the state. Which hasn't gotten much better in a decade. My county--MY ENTIRE COUNTY--has not a single cell tower. None. Zero. Zip.

          I have driven behind drunk drivers on MAJOR highways (Route 2) in Chittenden County (where 1/4 of VT's population lives) for 5-10 miles before being able to get enough signal to call 911.

          And don't get me started on rural broadband. I am 'lucky' to finally have Comcast--my one & only choice for an actual high speed connection. Although that 'luck' means paying lots of money every month to the WORST company I have ever dealt with it my life. Comcast is so bad that it became too traumatic for me to deal with them when I came down with cancer. I actually had my mom take over managing the account, because I could not physically take constant contact with that level of customer service incompetence/evil.

          And I know that I really am lucky to have a fast internet connection. We had a shithead R governor for 10 years who dragged his feet on rural broadband. And now the Dem is putting a happy face on it by claiming the problem solved, counting unsatisfactory 'solutions' like satellites as access.

          It is an ongoing disaster in rural areas around the country.

          Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

          by earicicle on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 02:30:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  NO, it was for broadband (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mannie, JerryNA, yoduuuh do or do not

      The $380B that Bruce Kushnick talks about is the excess profit, above what rate of return regulation would have permitted, that the telephone companies got by being moved to Alternative Form of Regulation (price caps).  They got the money by promising to wire the country with open two-way broadband telecom (not their own ISP), mostly fiber to the home.  They didn't build it.  They kept the money.

      The National Broadband Plan, he once noted, has one good use.  If you print it out, you can use it as a booster seat for playing piano.

      •  But that isn't accurate. (0+ / 0-)

        Again, "alternative forms of regulation" were established at the state level, and there is no single rationale for them.

        In some cases they were allowed because the phone company convinced the state that competition from cable and cell phone companies meant they no longer had a monopoly, and therefore shouldn't be regulated as one. In some cases the phone company agreed to waive rights it might have used to block competitors from entering the market. There the hope was that broadband would expand - but not necessarily because the traditional phone company would provide it.

        In general, regulation has been reduced on the assumption that an unfettered free market would give us all ponies - not as a clear quid pro quo for broadband expansion.

        •  Kushnick has it in writing (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mannie, JerryNA, Elwood Dowd

          This all predates cable and cellular competition -- think 1992, and the "broadband" was Broadband ISDN, using ATM technology, not native IP (though it could be used to access an IP network, the Internet not being public  yet in 1992).

          New Jersey Bell (Bell Atlantic) had a plan called Opportunity New Jersey which spelled out the deal.  They would build FTTH 100% by 2010 (with other targets along the way) in exchange for AFOR.  Cable telephony didn't happen until after the Telecom Act of 1996.  BA-NJ's ONJ plan was very explicit, and the state BPUC was going to penalize VZ for not living up to it until a Christie appointee took over in January and stopped them.

          Here's the book (not his new one, not quite out yet)

  •  Makes Perfect Sense (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, atana, JerryNA

    If you're too big to fail, you get money up front for work you promise to do, then you decide not to do the work.

    If you're a serf, for example a public employee, you do the work up front for the promise of a pension when your work is done, then they take your pension away saying oops  we don't have any money to pay your pension.

    "I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger 2003

    by kerplunk on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:27:51 PM PDT

  •  They're also fighting small private companies (8+ / 0-)

    that want to add service, creating all kinds of hassles.

    In my valley, a small group made a grant application for USDA rural broadband. It was turned down because according to AT&T, we already have broadband.

    What they mean by that is that there is a cellular data tower in our valley, and if fewer than 10 people are connected to it, indeed, they have broadband by the most broad possible definition.

    Then, there is another handful of us that have broadband via a wireless network that again can only accommodate a certain count of households.

    It most assuredly does not mean that all 3,000 people in this census area could have broadband at once.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:28:16 PM PDT

  •  The good news is... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...Comcast is merging with Time Warner.

    That will will translate into better service and reduced rates!!!

  •  You want to get me up in arms over broadband? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, elfling, big annie, JerryNA, earicicle

    I'm here.

    Where I live there is no such thing as cell phone reception, unless I travel a 2 mile stretch to get it.  At my home it is non-existent.  You would think I live in an area of the country like the picture Kos posted.  I don't.  There are numerous homes and customers where I live who do not get the service that they pay for, just like the rest of you who pay for and get service.  

    There is no distinction in your bill and mine, with the exception that you get good service, and I don't.  Mine is non-existent in certain areas, and spotty in others.  Same price.

  •  well. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The extraction is now happening in broad daylight, fully sanctioned.

  •  Verizon (VZ) and the rest also to get around this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    agoldnyc, JerryNA


    As the ILEC (Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier) for these rural areas actually SELL OFF THAT AREA CHEAP!

    They do not even want to deal with it, and as such Verizon basically GAVE AWAY a ton of rural areas to Frontier. (The price for the amount of coverage area was laughable)

    Frontier found the outside plant to be a total DISASTER upon getting it in many areas as Verizon did NOT invest in upkeep of the plant.  Frontier being a lower level telco does NOT have good service or the backing of a giant like Verizon. As such Frontier to the best of my knowledge still has NO PLANS for RESIDENTIAL fiber. (Not even in its URBAN areas)

    Just copper DSL/VDSL ...sigh

    This is the game played by the BIG 3 ILECs (Verizon, AT&T, Century Link), take the money then sell off the rural areas to companies that won't invest in fiber for rural deployments (OR just fiber to the curb, copper to the home at best)

    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

    by Mannie on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:32:09 PM PDT

  •  It gets worse (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, agoldnyc, JerryNA, Livvy5

    Cable companies are charging a "franchise fee" here in NY State. This fund is solely for the expansion of broadband service. But they refuse to spend it unless local governments get litigious. There has been some discussion locally about making cable companies subject to public service commission-style regulation. This is a good idea, and it's a conversation we should be having nationally. Phone companies are not doing a good job maintaining rural land lines, and cell phone coverage is poor in many rural areas, leaving potentially many people with no communications other than a ham radio. Welcome to the future.

    "I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's." - William Blake

    by Tod Westlake on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:33:36 PM PDT

    •  Tell me about it (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, agoldnyc, JerryNA, Tod Westlake

      I keep SADLY rooting for VERIZON to finally deploy triple play fiber to my neighborhood

      How bad are things when I (who is not a fan of Verizon) am ready to BEG Verizon to come into my neighborhood?!!!

      Time Warner SUCKS!

      Verizon FiOS keeps getting rolled out sporadically with almost no plan (except maybe deploy when sued for not spending would be my guess)

      Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

      by Mannie on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:38:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  THIS has been DRIVING ME CRAZY for last 14 yrs!!!! (6+ / 0-)

    "If Wall Street paid a tax on every “game” they run, we would get enough revenue to run the government on." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:41:36 PM PDT

  •  Corporate America to Rural America (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We don't want you and we also don't want anyone else to have you so to bad so sad sucks to be you ,but ha ha we got your gold and we make the rules. We will be back for more money and once again we won't use any Vaseline Smile you have been had! Love Verizon and friends

    Dogs and Philosophers do the greatest good and get the fewest rewards (Diogenes)

    by Out There on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 04:53:37 PM PDT

    •  Corporate America to Rural America Part II (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, JerryNA

      If you get broadband you may get news from something other than HATE (AM) radio.  Remember those pesky LIBERALS want you to get broadband so that you can be exposed to their lies! Say NO to the socialist plans for forcing companies to provide broadband!  Rush, Savage, Levin, Hannity, etc. will make sure you have the news you need to know!

      Trust in corporate America and not SOCIALISM!

      Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

      by Mannie on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 05:11:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Time for a class action lawsuit... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, JeffW

    by all the rural communities that they have failed to deliver to, while taking their money.

  •  It's their world. We just live in it. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, big annie
  •  god i hate them (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    anybody working on curbing these greedy, sh*tty thieves?

  •  I think ALEC/Koch is part of this problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, agoldnyc

    In Kansas, they tried to pass/or maybe DID pass, a law to get AT&T off the hook for increasing broadband in rural areas.

  •  I just can't believe it, they don't want to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, JeffW, twigg

    provide BB service to Sarah Palin's "real Americans?" There is a certain irony to that.

    It just shows, once again, why we have a government. Our infrastructure is far too important to be turned over to those who only want to make a quick buck.

    But it is also another brilliant example of the redistribution of wealth from our treasury into the coffers of the wealthy.

  •  Does anyone remember when your cell phone (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, PHScott, earicicle

    was attached to your car?  I do.  The cell phone reception that we got at that time far surpasses the reception we get now.  We are going backwards.

    My husband recently had a conversation with a Verizon representative.  He told them that our household had been a multiple cell phone user for over 20 years, and the reception has never been worse than it is now.


    •  What you are describing (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, twigg, ipsos

      is the difference between analog (a lot better range, dealt with obstacle better) versus digital (which can transmit much higher data)

      The old analog cell phone is a thing of the past and isn't coming back

      Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

      by Mannie on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 05:20:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Also ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The output power those things transmitted at was sufficient to fry chicken.

        Modern phones could barely crisp a mosquito.

        They are, actually, technically superb devices.

        I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
        but I fear we will remain Democrats.

        Who is twigg?

        by twigg on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 05:55:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Why did Ford never get (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    a deal like that?

    A legal protection against anyone else building cars because, in the future, Ford was going to build enough for everyone ... but can we be paid upfront.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 05:43:04 PM PDT

  •  $50 a month for cell data here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, earicicle

    And I'm hardly all that rural being 10 miles outside of Tallahassee. No one wants to run cable or DSL down my street when they make money off the cell phone  racket.

    "You are what you write, not what you look like."

    by PHScott on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 05:56:00 PM PDT

  •  A local blog here has been on top of this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, JerryNA

    for many years.

    Stop the Cap! started as a protest site against a Time Warner (or was it Frontier?) plan to cap monthly broadband usage. It's grown into something much bigger, chronicling the abuses of the big cable and telcos all over the US and Canada.

    It was one of the first places to alert anyone to the creeping radicalization of the NC state government, back when the state tried to prevent local governments from doing municipal broadband a few years ago.

    Highly recommended.

    Intended to be a factual statement.

    by ipsos on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 06:04:43 PM PDT

  •  Our forebears did better. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, JeffW, o76

    The post office was created, largely, to knit this country together--to ensure that everywhere the flag flew, people knew we were all in it together. It also contributed mightily to the development of commerce.

    The massive land grants to the railroads and the interstate highway system, among further connected us all, both with tourism and more commerce.

    Now the rest of the advanced part of the world is connecting itself together with high speed communications and we are saying we don't need to be a part of that. In the near future, we will be united by complaining about the slowness of the aging technologies (like written blogs with lots of comments) and not being able to use at all the newer technologies that depend on the ever increasing speeds outside our borders.

    Massive upgrades are never profitable in the short time frame private investors want. Not without government intervention of some sort. That's who it was for mail, rail, and automobiles. But we live in Reaganland, where all government involvement in the economy is bad, by definition. We no longer believe in Public Works. Rather than come together for mutual benefit as we did for the first 200 years of our country, we would rather let our candle burn itself out.

    Oh, we pretend we're still interested in keeping up with the times. And we give away public money to people who make half-hearted pitches that they'll do that for us. But when it comes down to doing it ourselves because we want it done right, we swallow the notion that it's better to outsource because government can't do anything right. And when it comes down to forcing those pitchmen to live up to their promises, we let it go because, you know, too much regulation.

  •  But they are good taxpaying citizens, right? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Not so much. Whores and grifters all.

  •  act locally -- here's my NYC filed comment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Verizon now hopes to benefit from its failure to maintain copper plant throughout New York State by modifying its tariff in violation of the Commission's rules. Verizon plans to install inferior Voice Link service, according to the plan that it disclosed to Wall Street in 2012 (it has not disclosed this plan to the NY regulator).

    The Commission should investigate Verizon's Voice Link behavior in Manhattan as well as on Fire Island and in the Catskills. If, after an audit and investigation, the Commission determines that Verizon has abandoned the Lower East Side, it should hold the appropriate public hearings. If warranted, it should find that Verizon has abandoned its cable franchise on the Lower East Side. It should then eliminate Verizon's cable franchise on the Lower East Side or, in the alternative, allow the City of New York to modify the franchise agreement so as to eliminate Verizon's cable franchise on the Lower East Side.

    "Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place." -- Mandela

    by agoldnyc on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 06:25:24 PM PDT

  •  New Jersey (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Will Verizon be allowed to break its FiOS promise to New Jersey?

    "Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place." -- Mandela

    by agoldnyc on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 06:39:35 PM PDT

  •  Eminent domain should be used (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    A contract is a contract.  If the management of Comcast and the telecoms aren't up to the task, then the government should seize these companies on behalf of consumers and do it themselves.

    Are you a Green who has difficulty telling Democrats and Republicans apart? Well, I have difficulty telling Greens and Maoists apart.

    by Subversive on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 06:51:23 PM PDT

  •  dark fiber, non-universal service, greed.... (0+ / 0-)

    sure sounds like late-modern capitalism

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 08:17:25 PM PDT

    •  PUKE! (0+ / 0-)

      Now I need eyewash!

      Those MF's wiped out my 401K when they went bankrupt!

      Note: I never CHOSE to work for them, they bought out the company I worked for!

      Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

      by Mannie on Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 01:15:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They wouldn't do that would they? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You see their's this thing about the market and some sort of magic hand and....well....besides just shut up and eat your spinach.  

    A bad idea isn't responsible for those who believe it. ---Stephen Cannell

    by YellerDog on Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 10:01:04 PM PDT

  •  speaking of money (0+ / 0-)

    Speaking of making money, I have started a petition that is party neutral, and good for America. I am asking everyone to sign it and share it with as many friends as possible. Cutting military spending and re-investing in America's aging infrastructure. This will create tens of thousands of good paying jobs, stimulate our economy, provide economic security for decades to come, and address the national security implications our infrastructure represents. Another important fact of this campaign, it would allow our returning veterans an opportunity to attain a good paying job while still serving the country they have given so much too.
    Subject: Cut military spending and re-invest in America's Infrastructure


    Our elected officials have neglected our infrastructure far to long. Continuing to do nothing will lead to a catastrophic economic failure in the near future. We spend more on our military than the next five biggest military nations combined. We can maintain our military superiority and still cut spending, all we need is leaders to recognize that this "corporate welfare" needs to end.

    That's why I created a petition to The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Barack Obama, which says:

    "America's infrastructure is vital to our economic growth and future. The current state of our infrastructure has been graded a "D" by engineering groups around the country.  Cut military spending and re-invest in our aging infrastructure, creating tens of thousands of jobs and preserving our future. "

    Will you sign this petition? Click here:


  •  Utopia net making BIG moves... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, ReadDeeply

    Utopia net will be entering into a public private partnership with Macquarie, an Aussie investment firm, not to buy Utopia or take any ownership whats so ever(the cities get to keep everything), but are putting $300 million into the multicity network in a profit sharing agreement for 30 years, after which the city's will own the network owing nothing to anyone.

    They want to go State wide via Utopia expanding(they estimate costing them around $1.9 billion), Making Utah the place for real change on muni broadband.

    Other agreed features include,

    - a free internet tier running 6meg down 1meg up.
    - 100meg and 1gig synchronous connections available to every address passed.
    - use of Fiber Ethernet rather then GPON used by FIOS/Google Fiber
    - Open provider network, Utopia and Macquarie are actually preventing from operating their own provider by Utah Law, and they don't plan on challenging this, meaning anyone can connect and provide service on this network this is a big win over most muni networks

    Mind you Macquarie is going to make out pretty well on this, And their will be a $15-$25 dollar utility fee on every residence, tho the fee is waved for the indigent(and they will still get the free tier).

    Utopia currently has 13 member cities, and provides service to around 12,000-20,000 customers(they are less then transparent about this), they have been growing their revenue by offering backhaul to cell companies as of late leaving new residential installs to languish.

    The Macquarie deal could be finalized and signed within a few months(13 member cities have to all agree to the terms but it sounds like its mostly done deal with only a few minor things left to negotiate).

  •  Performance Clause (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There has to be some metric that defines whether they fulfilled the terms of the contract, unless of course the telecoms wrote the contract.

  •  We need a trust-buster in the US! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, catilinus

    Where is Theodore Roosevelt when you need him?

  •  Refund time (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, ReadDeeply

    Since they aren't going use the money for its' intended propose I want my money back with interest. And my cable bill lowered. And do it yesterday.

  •  Satellite Broadband (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Broadband is available thru Exede, or Hughes satellite.
    Thru the Recovery Act of 2009 the Feds will give a $20 discount to satelite users that sign up after 2010.You receive 10 Gb anytime, 10 Gb between 2-8 Am with the discount of $20/Mo brings the price down to $40/Mo.

    Unfortuneately i had a sat isp before the Economic Recovery Act program that gave discounts to rural satellite broad band new users. This excluded me from the $20 discount.

  •  ATT (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ATT can't even deliver on a small scale. I pay scads of money on my 1 yr contract for high speed WiFi in my home but the WiFi delivers worse than the old dial up. Anything not directly connected to the modem gets about 0.2 bits per second instead of the 24 I'm supposed to get. Technician after technician has been to my home and they can't solve the problem. However, when I'm on the phone with tech support, it works just fine. After I hang up, voila! The problem returns. I've been feeling robbed in my own small way. Now I feel like the whole country's been robbed.

  •  The US is reversing its development process. (0+ / 0-)

    Every choice made in the early 21st Century is sending the country backwards.

    The metro in Atlanta used to come every 4 minutes -- now it comes every 15 rush hour, during the week!

  •  My first brush with this scam (0+ / 0-)

    was when I was working for the military.
    The Dingle Bill was passed in the mid '90.  The Dingle Bill took much of the spectrum that belonged to the military.  The reason given was to develop wireless anything for the industry to make money.  We had to re-engineer all of our telementry systems but none of the money made selling off the spectrum came back to the programs impacted.  In fact, we were to take it out of hide, upgrades were cancelled to do so.

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