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FCC's New Broadband Plan Prioritizes Competition 71

Posted by samzenpus
from the plan-of-the-man dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "The Federal Communications Commission has released an outline of what might be included in its upcoming national broadband plan, and encouraging competition was a top priority. The FCC statement said 'Competition drives innovation and provides consumer choice. Finding ways to better use existing assets, including Universal Service, rights-of-way, spectrum, and others, will be essential to the success of the plan. The limited government funding that is available for broadband would be best used when leveraged with the private sector.' The stimulus plan provided $7.2 billion in broadband grants and $350 million for a broadband mapping program, but also directed the FCC to deliver a national broadband plan to Congress by February 17, 2010."
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FCC's New Broadband Plan Prioritizes Competition

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  • Right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmo (77928) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @09:51PM (#30467850)

    Didn't we do this in the 90's, throw a lot of money at the providers and all they did was give it out to the shareholders?

    If we do this there had better be significant strings attached.

    --
    BMO

    • Re:Right. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:02PM (#30467944) Journal
      Ideally to the necks of those responsible...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AdmiralXyz (1378985)

      Didn't we do this in the 90's, throw a lot of money at the providers and all they did was give it out to the shareholders?

      If we do this there had better be significant strings attached.

      Whoa, whoa, that sounds like socialism. We'll have none of that.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If we do this there had better be significant strings attached.

      To enforce this, we should only give the money out AFTER the conditions are met. They've been proven untrustworthy, so don't give them anything until they give us something first. Also, that way, anyone can do it, not a single company that gets the contract. Whoever satisfies the requirements first gets paid.

    • Re:Right. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by RobinEggs (1453925) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:09PM (#30468032)

      Didn't we do this in the 90's? ... If we do this there had better be significant strings attached.

      Right...give them more money but this time put *strings* on it.

      How about the kind of strings where we send every board member and executive, of any of these companies at any time since we gave them the money *last time*, a notice that they can install what we've already paid for or face federal fraud charges?

      Seriously, I'm not usually a litigious, pseudo-populist dickwad, but a lawsuit or some criminal charges seem completely reasonable here.

      And for fuck sake don't give them *more* money, unless you're okay with literally *training them*, like suggestible little puppy dogs, to defraud taxpayers.

    • by meerling (1487879)
      I have to agree, our current crop of company shills have no idea how to actually use the money we (through the government) make available to them unless we give them very specific instructions. Without those instructions, barring any loopholes, they just feather their nests.

      An image of a rabid vulture sitting in a giant pile of down just ran through my mind... Disturbing, yet appropriate...
    • How about we just don't give them money this time?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by testadicazzo (567430)
      I'm annoyed by the mantra:

      Competition drives innovation and provides consumer choice. Finding ways to better use existing assets, including Universal Service, rights-of-way, spectrum, and others, will be essential to the success of the plan. The limited government funding that is available for broadband would be best used when leveraged with the private sector.'

      Blech. Sometimes free markets and competition are the best way to accomplish a social goal. Sometimes they aren't. In particular, rural and poo

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @09:56PM (#30467896)

    When you have an industry with high entry costs due to infrastructure needs, you are going to end up with only a few companies after the shakeout occurs. Therefore, any policy that is designed to enable consumer choice and universal access is only useful to create an environment where competition will briefly flourish before degrading to the same old 2 or 3 dominant companies own the entire market.

    If the government truly wants to encourage competition, they would provide funding to under-performing companies and startups. This would lower the entry costs and provide a balance to the giants who would normally run roughshod over the smaller guys.

    • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @09:59PM (#30467934) Homepage

      If the government truly wants to encourage competition, they would provide funding to under-performing companies and startups.

      Wow. Give money to the companies that perform worst. You know, I'm sure that there's a flaw in that idea somewhere.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:09PM (#30468040)

        If the government truly wants to encourage competition, they would provide funding to under-performing companies and startups.

        Wow. Give money to the companies that perform worst. You know, I'm sure that there's a flaw in that idea somewhere.

        There is. But that didn't stop the government from handing out free money to the banks did it?

      • by Xacid (560407)
        Yet people on here complain about the big companies having too much control over the market - but then complain when other companies are going to be given a chance?
      • Wow. Give money to the companies that perform worst. You know, I'm sure that there's a flaw in that idea somewhere.

        Well why shouldn't he think it's a great idea - after all, it's what the government did with the auto industry.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That's not exactly what happened. The government paid these companies debts on their behalf. Not because they felt like being nice to the company, but because their debt holders would have ended up in serious financial trouble. Cascading financial failure was a serious possibility. This is bad. The credit market is the biggest market in the world.

        Meanwhile, a year later, the companies are paying the debt back. While not all the debt has been paid back, does it really make sense to keep complaining abo

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Shakrai (717556)

        Wow. Give money to the companies that perform worst.

        Replace 'companies' with 'schools' and you've just described our public education system.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Runaway1956 (1322357) *

      "you are going to end up with only a few companies after the shakeout occurs. "

      Largely because the US has become conditioned to the idea that big companies are good. Globalization is a "good thing" and we want corporations large enough to compete on a global scale. "World class" is a benchmark we use to judge companies.

      My telco serves 4 counties, I think - maybe a 5th. No one has ever heard of it. But, they are successful, in that they attract investors, and they show a profit every year. Rates are mos

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LBt1st (709520)

        How long till your telco is bought out by one of the big ones and becomes the local monopoly with horrible rates and service?

        • by BronsCon (927697)

          If they're anything like my cable co, never.

          My cable co has been here longer than I've been alive, they serve 3 counties, provide the highest level of service i've ever had, anywhere i've ever lived. their rates are among the most reasonable i've ever encountered, and i've come to know several people, on all levels of the company, on a personal level.

          Over 30 years, they're not going anywhere. They turn a decent profit every quarter, are constantly expanding their service offerings, increasing broadband spee

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Runaway1956 (1322357) *

          Fair question, I suppose. I really can't answer that. I can tell you, Walnut Hill was here when my father in law's parents had their first telephone installed. Things were kinda wild back in those days - three miles from the Oklahoma border, the various tribes would have a few people go off the reservations, Arkinda was a booming border town with killings every other weekend, an occasional bank robbery, so on and so forth. The big companies provided telephone service to Texarkana, but couldn't see the p

    • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:36PM (#30468240)

      Or just do what a government is supposed to do - build things like infrastructure, which are too big and expensive to be undertaken efficiently by multiple competing private interests.

      • by Shakrai (717556)

        Or just do what a government is supposed to do - build things like infrastructure, which are too big and expensive to be undertaken efficiently by multiple competing private interests.

        Because if there's anything government is known for it's efficiency.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BronsCon (927697)

          If they stuck to what they're supposed to be doing, and quit doing all this extra shit that's really not in anyone's interest, they'd be pretty fucking efficient.

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Have you ever had a major problem with your water supply? How fast was it fixed? I'm willing to bet the government provides this utility. As it should be with roads, power, and net access and all critical infrastructure. Let the government lay the tubes and have it managed by a nonprofit organisation. This should include the last mile. This organisation should put excess income into a pot for future maintainance and upgrades. Have ISP's lease the bandwith and sell it to end users. Users can freely switch pr

    • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @11:37PM (#30468654)

      IMO, If they want to truly encourage competition, they need to separate content providers from access providers. That will free up access providers to do what they should be doing best. Competing for business at the lowest rate possible. It would also remove some of the political bullshit and insane antics that new entry's in the market have to go through just to be able to drop a single line.

  • by langelgjm (860756) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:16PM (#30468104) Journal
    Their president has said, [publicknowledge.org] "Nothing in the outline presented this morning would increase competition. Reforming universal service and supporting municipal networks are worthwhile goals, but they would do nothing to reverse the slide caused by eight years of misbegotten telecommunications policies that have crippled most meaningful broadband competition for consumers. There was no discussion of opening telecommunications networks to competitors. There was no discussion of structural separations of carriers into wholesale and retail components. These are the factors that Harvard’s Berkman Center told the FCC in a study a mere two months ago were the reasons other countries have surpassed ours – they are using policies we discarded."
  • remind anyone of a bailout?
  • I'd like to see private individuals -- the everyday people who share their wi-fi with their neighborhood -- included among those qualifying for these government-funded 'subsidies.'

    Oops.

    Fixed that for ya.
  • It's very simple: open the lines back up to CLECs. They've been hurt by being shut out for the last decade, but they're still around. They'd be happy to pick up where they left off and resume reselling lines successfully.

    Dumping money on politically important municipalities for "wireless", or something, isn't competition. Competing carriers is competition.

    • by cdrguru (88047)

      Not sure how it worked elsewhere, but in Illinois it was very simple. The state mandated the prices that could be charged for lines. Didn't matter that the cost of maintaining the equipment and lines was several times the rate mandated by the state.

      Ameritech, before being bought by SBC had a very simple policy. Since they could not afford to have the lines used at that rate, there were no possibilities of installing third-party equipment. None. Therefore the lines were never utilized at below-oost rates

  • by jonsmirl (114798) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:31PM (#30468210) Homepage

    FCC Takes on Cable But Not Carriers With National Broadband Plan [gigaom.com]

    The actual presentation from the meeting is included in the article.

    I am anxiously awaiting for this to be approved: "Mandate a home gateway device. Require MVPDs to provide a small, low-cost device whose functionality is to bridge the proprietary MVPD network elements (conditional access, tuning & reception functions) to common, open standard, widely used in home communications interfaces; enables a retail navigation device to operate on all MVPD platforms."

    I'm hoping that means unencrypted channel streams in-house over Ethernet.

    • What this means is that Comcast has bought the FCC along with NBC/Universal and, in Hollywood style, they're going to put on a show for us while they steal our money.

      Screw Comcast and screw the US gov.

  • I really want this to work out. Unfortunately with the US government, this is an investment opportunity for tube manufacturing and installation.
  • What we need is a National Broadband Plan.

    We are going to put the U.S. Government in the ISP business to foster competition by those greedy and money grubbing private ISPs.

    The way it works is, the U.S. Government cuts all broadband traffic down to 80 Kbps and then expand the U.S Government broadband bandwidth to 160 Kbps or more.

    ISPs can only offer 160 Kbps or more bandwidth, if their broadband plans meet certain government criteria. However, unlike the current health care reform bill(s) floating around, th

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