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FCC Wants More Time To Craft Broadband Plan 140

Posted by samzenpus
from the we'll-be-right-with-you dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Julius Genachowski, Federal Communications Commission Chairman, has sent out a letter to Congress requesting more time for the commission to deliver its national broadband plan. According to the stimulus bill passed in early 2009, the FCC was to come up with a plan to provide all citizens with access to broadband services and deliver it to the committee by February 17, 2010. Even though an outline of the plan was released last month, FCC is requesting till March 17, 2010 to finalize the plan."
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FCC Wants More Time To Craft Broadband Plan

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 07, 2010 @10:14PM (#30690228)

    The FCC is still using a 56k modem and it will take them a month to upload the plan.

    • by fotoguzzi (230256)
      They are still working on the back doors.
    • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @11:12PM (#30690504)

      No they hit there download / upload cap and need to wait for next month.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by aztracker1 (702135)
      I think they should just create a policy that says you can only refer to internet connections slower than 10Mbps as "dial up" or "Low-Speed Broadband" with those words no less prominently displayed than any other text in any advertising. Then regularly, every 5 years, re-evaluate the "minimum" level for this distinction.
    • You have no idea how close you are. The FCC building in DC had a very slow connection up until about a month ago. Now it's a relatively zippy 8mbs (same as home cable service mind you). But it was sub 1-mbps before that which was a joke for downloading even moderately sized PDF's.

  • It's a lot easier to come up with a plan to serve 99.9+% of the population than 100%.

    If 300,000 Americans can't get broadband due to location, those 300,000 people are probably also lacking access to other very important things like emergency rooms and the like.

    300,000 is too many to be without Internet, maybe 3,000 or 3,000 is more acceptable.

    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @10:21PM (#30690262)
      This is the government. They will start shooting for 100%, budget cuts will cut it to 85%, lobbyists will cut it to 80%, and by the end of the program only 65% will be helped.
      • by Meshach (578918)

        This is the government. They will start shooting for 100%, budget cuts will cut it to 85%, lobbyists will cut it to 80%, and by the end of the program only 65% will be helped.

        And then 10% will not qualify because of some technicality.

      • by rastilin (752802)

        It's funny because it's true.

        I think it IS possible to get 100%. Go with a plan that helps 99.9% and then have a location-independent plan, something like a portable satellite modem, subsidized by the state, for the remainder. Some people do live in exceptionally remote areas; if the state has problems supplying you with electricity, internet will also prove to be problematic.

        • by Burdell (228580) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @10:36PM (#30690336)

          Why should the government subsidize Internet access for somebody that lives an an "exceptionally remote area"? When I bought my house, I checked first to make sure the Internet access I wanted was available. If you choose to live in an area that doesn't have certain services available, why should you be able to demand taxpayers provide it to you later?

          • by rastilin (752802)

            Well I'd say that it depends on the degree of remoteness. I live in Australia, and most of it is pretty empty. People live pretty close to the center anyway and not necessarily in towns or villages. I mean by themselves. The government makes an effort to help them anyway.

            If you've bought a house halfway up a mountain, it would probably cost several million to run a line up to your place. But compared to the cost of debating the issue endlessly in court and the news, satellite internet is cheaper.

            • by Narpak (961733) on Friday January 08, 2010 @01:06AM (#30691036)
              And, as far as I am given to understand, one reason for this initiative is because of problems such as when The City of Wilson [wikipedia.org], North Carolina, decided it was tired of the large ISP denying them broadband access and took matters into their own hands; creating Greenlight [greenlightnc.com].
              As debated in this slashdot thread. [slashdot.org]

              The good people of Wilson, NC pay $99/month for 10/10 Mbps internet service, 81 TV channels and telephone service. How'd they manage that, you ask? Well, the city-owned and operated cable service called Greenlight came into being when the City of Wilson approached TWC and local DSL provider Embarq and requested faster service for the area. 'TWC refused the request. And so Greenlight was born,' says blogger Peter Smith. 'Now Time Warner Cable and Embarq are upset that they've got competition, and rather than try to go head to head with Greenlight on price and service, they've instead been lobbying the state government of NC to pass laws to put Greenlight out of business.

              As I have read about this case local businesses and private citizens lobbied and organized and eventually got the project financed by the issuing of bonds. Quote from their FAQ "The funds for constructing the fiber network come from bonds issued by the City of Wilson. Tax revenues are not being used to fund this project in any way."

              With large ISP's fighting local democracy I can understand why public pressure for better broadband infrastructure arises.

              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by jimmy_dean (463322)

                "With large ISP's fighting local democracy I can understand why public pressure for better broadband infrastructure arises."

                You meant fighting local socialism.

                • by Narpak (961733)

                  You meant fighting local socialism.

                  Certain concepts and ideas covered under the umbrella of socialism are not mutually exclusive with democracy. And if people express, through their words and votes, a desire to favour local socialism over corporate privilege I say more power to them.

              • by MobyDisk (75490)

                The funds for constructing the fiber network come from bonds issued by the City of Wilson. Tax revenues are not being used to fund this project in any way."

                Government bonds are paid back with tax money. That's like saying "I'm not paying anything for this house: I took out a loan."

            • by bsane (148894)

              Satellite internet isn't broadband.

              Its a marginal upgrade from 56k for _some_ downloads. You can't stream, voip or game, and browsing is generally better over a modem.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Duradin (1261418)

            Right on! And all those major cities that can't supply their own food, water, power and waste management locally shouldn't see one dime from anyone outside of the city nor should they get any sort of discounts or subsidies!

            Just because something doesn't benefit you directly doesn't mean that it isn't benefitting society as a whole.

          • To some extent, I agree with you. I do the same thing when choosing where to live. However, I also understand that getting remote areas beyond 20k dial-up (I know 10 people that have that right now), also helps me. They don't need 10mb even, just getting .5mb to 1mb allows a lot of basic service to happen. That saves me from driving to help work on a computer in a remote area, it gives me access to VPN when I'm on vacation in a remote area, etc...
          • I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

            by zogger (617870) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @11:00PM (#30690476) Homepage Journal

            I agree, it's a rip. And why should the government provide subsidized access to provide much cheaper food, water delivery, electricity delivery and natural gas deliveries to those remote densely packed areas where none of those valuable resources occur naturally in the quantities those densely packed areas demand and use now? Why should they be allowed to "vote" to take from other people far away in the rural areas, or to use any public tax monies collected to help provide these goods and services?

                Should go to a pure profit, supply and demand based model, no government interference? All private roads, no more government mandated free "right of ways" for pipelines or electrical towers. Let private corporations negotiate with each individual landowner for transit fees and access fees, etc. If they want to move products to these "broadband rich" densely populated areas, those people there should also pay what it is really worth. Then all of our goods and services will be more fairly priced.

            Works both ways, man, so do you want that trade? That's what you indicate you want, so are you willing to pay the real free market no government interference/ no tax payer ripoff price of your existence, or do you want to keep the government tax payer help in setting some "commons" that you get now?

            • Well, given the dramatic amounts of money that the government currently transfers from cities to remote areas, I'm not sure you'll like the outcome.

              Cities pay for themselves, and then some.

              Rural areas are a financial drain. Nevertheless we put up with them for sentimental reasons (and of course because the original compromise of the Senate gives them dramatically more legislating power per capita).

              • by True Grit (739797) *

                Cities pay for themselves, and then some.

                Because of the higher population (more people == more taxes), sure, but can they *feed* themselves? Didn't think so.

                • They feed themselves by giving the country folk far more money than the country folk would be receiving in a system without massive subsidies.
          • The telcos have already been subsidized via tarrifs and tax breaks to the tune of 300 billion. The FCC has some control over what the telcos charge, even if they are a legislated monopoly. In exchange the telcos were supposed to rewire most of the country. This wasn't just large cities, this was rural, suburban and city. This used to be called the 200 billion broadband scandal. It's now up to 300 billion [newnetworks.com].

            This is a good read, a free ebook. The authors even sat on the FCC board. This is well worth sending an

          • by BrookHarty (9119)

            Same reason the Feds subsidized the telephone in the 30's to the rural areas. Expansion, Security and farmers need porn too.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by interkin3tic (1469267)

            If you choose to live in an area that doesn't have certain services available, why should you be able to demand taxpayers provide it to you later?

            It should be obvious: not everyone decides where they live, and those that do often have much more complicated factors than "will I have broadband." Farmer Bob's son may want to take online classes so he can do something besides farming, or even if he does, some business, ag, veterinary, or numerous other classes might help. Maybe there isn't a physical college for miles. Participating in online video conferences for classes would be something that you'd want broadband for. Downloading the video lecture

          • I know right. These rural dwellers even demand access to public roads and electricity... The chutzpah! But seriously did it occur to you those of us residing in rural areas pay taxes also...
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by hairyfeet (841228)

          Please don't act like it is just those up on a mountain that can't get broadband. My mom is less than 3 minutes away from a town of 15,000, and can see both the cable and DSL junctions from her back door. Will they run it the block and a half to their house? Nope! In fact here in AR there are plenty of towns where the cable nor the DSL has not moved a single inch in close to a quarter century. Why? Because both Cox and AT&T has "cherry picked" all the nice neighborhoods and refuse to give a shit about a

      • by Bengie (1121981)

        They want to wait more because in a few months there won't enough free IPv4 addresses left to give every citizen an IP address, then they'll have to wait for IPv6 before rolling out.

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        The reality here is the lobbyists will be trying to cut back competition and open access regulations to zero. The biggest problem for the FCC is the very same marketdroids that came up with death panels et al for public option health insurance will be attacking anything the FCC puts forward in order to maintain monopolies, duopolies or cartels.

        In this case the incumbents and the lobbyists will be fighting for zero percent helped.

        Don't forget the John McCain double speak Internet Freedom bill written fo

    • by fluffy99 (870997)

      It's a lot easier to come up with a plan to serve 99.9+% of the population than 100%.

      If 300,000 Americans can't get broadband due to location, those 300,000 people are probably also lacking access to other very important things like emergency rooms and the like.

      300,000 is too many to be without Internet, maybe 3,000 or 3,000 is more acceptable.

      That's the entire reason for this plan. A fair percentage of the US consumers don't have a viable option for high-speed internet access. Being in a remote location can certainly rule out DSL, cellular, cable, or even satellite. Satellite internet access is probably the easiest to deploy in remote locations, but its pricey with upfront equipment costs and high monthly fees.

      Proximity to emergency services isn't really related. As an example, so you live a mile outside of town in a sparsely populated area

  • A month isnt that much time based on the subject matter. This is something that may stay around for as long as 50 years, so please take your time, and for fuck sake get it right.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      You assume that there is some theoretical amount of time that will allow a government agency to "get it right". IMHO, the more time a government agency has to complete a task, the worse the result will be.

      • You assume they actually plan on having something to show for their efforts besides a new high score in Minesweeper. Getting a one month extension makes it easier to get another month extension later and before you know it, it's time to pass the buck to the next administration.
        • The FCC will deliver a plan before March 18th - this isn't something they can delay more than once, given the direct Congressional oversight on this.

  • Define broadband. Would one mbps down be sufficient enough?

    Is their goal simply to make sure people have adequate bandwidth to reasonably surf the Internet? Not necessarily streaming TV shows, but perhaps when it comes to news clips (with a bit of buffering).

    Also, VoIP comes to mind, but I'm unsure what my opinion is on that.

    • by neokushan (932374)

      They're currently working on defining it. They'll have the definition in a month.
      Then they'll start working on the actual plan...

      No doubt the definition will be whatever they can reasonably accomplish in the timeframe. If they can find a way to get 50Mbit to every single person, 30 will be the definition of broadband. More than likely, though, the definition will be something like 256k (5x dialup) just because it's "easier" to get that to everyone than an actual reasonable amount (like 2Mbit).

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Khyber (864651)

        Read the Telecomunications act of 1996, and lo and behold, we're supposed to have had 45mbit symmetrical to every household already.

        They have not delivered, I say the people should sue for failing to provide contractual obligations in a timely manner, and we file a lien on their entire infrastructure and provide everyone with free service until they deliver on their obligations?

      • No, more likely it will be something not even close to that because it will be written by the telcos themselves. Their lobbyists draft legislation, hand it to a congressman, pay them fuckloads of money in legal bribes and all of a sudden you'll see documents stating that "broadband" is actually physically impossible to run to some areas and thus compliance with the law is "optional".
    • You can't define "Broadband" because they will advertise "Hi-Speed" or "Ludicrous Speed" internet... you need to define a term that anything slower than X should be called. I would suggest that any internet connections of less than 10 Mbps be referred to as "Low-Speed Broadband" or "Dial-Up Internet" and that those expressions must be in a font and size that matches any prominent text in the advertising. And that the minimum be reviewed (and can only go up) every 3-5 years.
  • With something this big why does it have to be such a concrete deadline. Couldn't they work it out into phases and release the phases. Its not like the town plan will benefit if their trunk has to be reworked.
    • by hedwards (940851)
      Because it's just a deadline for creating the plan. The plan itself might take many years or possibly decades to fully implement. The reason for the deadline is so that they can start in the foreseeable future rather than continuously crafting the plan. The congress was wanting the beginning of the implementation to help pull us out of the recession. Hopefully with the bonus of making the country more competitive in the long run.
    • Congress funded this as part of ARRA and put a hard deadline on it in the legislation. As it turns out, having a hard deadline is a good thing, b/c it forces all the political monkeys to do their craziness within a fixed window of time. Political monkeys will swing from the branches, chatter and eat bananas for as long as you let them, so a deadline is really valuable for this type of work.

  • by Seor Jojoba (519752) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @10:48PM (#30690398) Homepage

    I'm asking this seriously, not rhetorically.

    They have a budget of $7.2 billion for grants. It seems like they could wi-max a bunch of major cities, but not the whole US. Or maybe they just want to make the internet "affordable"--not necessarily free. Subsidize people's ISP service? Ugh. I don't want to pay for my neighbor to download Zombie Strippers off the internet.

    I do like the emphasis on making things competitive. There are a lot of us that have just one practical choice for broadband, either the phone or cable company. And then there is maybe some not-really-high-speed 3G/GPRS solution available. But without knowing details, I don't see how they encourage competition when there is a monopoly on wired or wireless access.

    Seriously, what useful thing can the FCC do here?

    Here is my plan: Make sure all the schools and libraries have got broadband-equipped computers to match demand. Let people that can't afford home internet ride the bus down to the library or stay after school. This is probably 90% covered already. It's too boring and unambitious of a plan to be very interesting, but it would do just fine. You'd have plenty of change left over from that $7.2 billion--go stimulate something else more useful with it, i.e. education, mass transit. We don't need to make sure every person is connected to a high-speed multimedia wonderland all the time for free. The emphasis should be on education and basic needs like typing up resumes, checking your e-mail, etc.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by neokushan (932374)

      Maybe I'm living in the clouds, but if I was the FCC, I'd build a massive fibre network then lease some of the connections wholesale to ISPs. Anyone with enough money can lease some connections/bandwidth and sell it on at whatever cost they want. The FCC would run the network, the ISPs would just fight tooth and nail for customers, forcing them to focus on things like customer service and price.

      • You may be interested in the model used in Singapore. One company has been granted the contract to run a government-funded fibre network that covers basically every home in the country, and all ISPs can use it on equal terms. This means no duplication of infrastructure for which there is arguably a natural monopoly, yet everyone is on the same state-of-the-art playing field. The ISPs are free to compete on backhaul, value-added services, price, and so forth.
        • Unfortunately, it didn't occur to the US Government that, when subsidizing the construction of the various copper/fiber/etc... lines, to keep ownership of said lines.

      • Having the gov't run the network would be a nightmare. They could sub it out, but then what's the point? FCC estimated in Sept 09 that it could cost as much as $350M to build out fiber to home across the US.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rastilin (752802)

      No one likes subsidizing "Zombie Strippers". But people don't like using library computers either, it's unpleasant and a hassle; which is the opposite of letting people have easy access to information. Also, there are things you can't look up while other people are around, politics, sex-ed, Iranian marches, etc... You can't do your banking, and it's embarrasing to talk to family and close acquaintances while on a big screen that everyone can see. Also, you can't run your own software like Linux updates, Fr

      • To add to the problems you mention above: many libraries do not even allow some of the things you mentioned to happen on their computers. No social networking sites or instant messaging (which is how I communicate with most of my family), no streaming of anything, and no forums or chat rooms.
    • by k8to (9046) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @11:51PM (#30690678) Homepage

      Segment the data transport and data service industries?

      A T1 is data transport. Cable is data transport. These things get bits from a to b.

      TCP/IP, DNS, email, web hosting, etc etc .. these are all data services.
      I'd simply declare you can't be both, or you can't be the data service if you're near-monopoly data transport, at least in that area/segment/etc.

      This would foster .. competition.

      It's so hard for the corporatists to grasp that regulation is often a positive economic force.

      • It's not hard for them to grasp. They understand it all too well. The problem is while it's a macro-economically positive force, it means higher levels of competition and lower margins for individual players. So they fight regulation to keep their margins high, even though it's at the expense the larger marketplace.

    • by jonwil (467024)

      The #1 thing they can do is to seperate content from transport. Ban anyone from offering both internet access AND content (such as Cable TV).

      Right now the Cable providers like Comcast and Warner have a vested interest in making sure people CANT get decent throughput and access to the increasing number of options for "TV" content online (legal and otherwise). Take away the conflict of interest where the cable companies deliberatly want to stop Hulu, BitTorrent, YouTube etc in order to prop up the business mo

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      Cover about 3,000,000 square miles. One WiMax AP per square mile. About $100 for the AP (they are higher now, but when you place an order for over 1,000,000, the price decreases. Put in a VSAT dish of about 1.2 meters, and the gear to run it. Steal power from the local municipality. And for under 3 billion dollars, you have the ability for broadband in all the US (I left out Alaska). If they use VSAT bandwidth that's "free" (meaning reserved for the feds), they could put up some satellites over existi
      • How many satellites would you need to support this kind of national bandwidth? Plus, who wants 2mbs sat bandwidth? It blows. 500ms minimum ping time? Ugh.

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          A single satellite would be sufficient for 2 Mbps service to every house. Of course, you could always launch more satellite if you wished.
          • Why does HughesNet have to limit traffic for their existing (very limited) customerbase if a single sat could support nationwide traffic for hundreds of millions of customers? Is it a spectrum issue - if a single sat were given more spectrum to downlink, it could support more users?

            • by AK Marc (707885)
              Why does HughesNet have to limit traffic for their existing (very limited) customerbase if a single sat could support nationwide traffic for hundreds of millions of customers?

              I don't understand "have to" in that context. It's most likely that they just don't pay for enough bandwidth for the number of customers in order to keep costs down and profits up. They aren't "out of bandwidth" in that there are satellites with capacity available, so if they just wrote a bigger check, then they would have more ban
    • I don't want to pay for my neighbor to download Zombie Strippers off the internet

      Yes you do. That website has costs. If the strippers aren't given enough -very expensive- artificial brain substitute, THEY WILL KILL US ALL.

    • by fons (190526)

      Here's what we have in Belgium:

      - The government imposes every operator to have an affordable version of their broadband access. Mostly speed is limited to ADSL speeds of 5years ago and download caps only allow normal surfing/mailing. So most people can afford this.
      - If you are unemployed or live on benefits you get this "light" broadband at cheaper prices.
      - Once every few years the government will sponsor cheap PC/broadband bundles.

      Off course these measures only work because every house is connected to a ca

    • Your idea is actually well supported in the public record comments on the Broadband plan (see particularly Public Notice #15 for the Broadband plan on the FCC website) (no link b/c I'm lazy). They might just do something like you describe for schools. And incidentally libraries already permit this, but they don't have enough bandwidth to satisfy customers.

  • It will be just like telephone and now health care. The people who want the service enough to buy it will be taxed to provide the service for people who don't care enough to buy it on their own.

    • by colmore (56499)

      I find this much inferior to just making things a public utility. If you want to have the government guarantee a public service, why pussyfoot around?

    • by True Grit (739797) *

      It will be just like telephone and now health care. The people who want the service enough to buy it will be taxed to provide the service for people who don't care enough to buy it

      Wait, is there someplace thats getting free telephone service? Where? I wanna move there!

      How typical.

      Hint: the telephone subsidy is much like the expansion of the USPS back in the old days. It was not to make it free for anyone, but just to make it *available* to everyone.

      And if you don't get why extending mail and telephone was considered so important, why not read some of the history of those times. A large country thats disconnected and out of touch with itself could never move beyond the 2nd-world

    • You're absolutely right. When will people wake up and realize that the government providing everything is no panacea. It takes from those who have some, to those who don't want to have (or some legitimately who do, but can't afford). This is evil and creates class warfare. In the meantime, we all give up more and more of our freedom and liberty all in the name of "fairness." Of course this is not fair at all, it's a manufactured wrong against the natural order.

  • That second link isn't exactly heavy on details. Cities and suburbs already have the infrastructure. And many semi-rural areas have cable or DSL. The rest could be covered by wimax. But what about the truly rural areas? Satellite as it is now shouldn't be considered broadband with the high lag and ridiculous bandwidth caps. (When I was on satellite it was 250 MB in a 24 hour period before dial-up like speeds were enforced for 24 hours.) Some sort of terrestrial wireless may be the only option for them too.
  • Doesn't serving "everyone" have daunting technical/physical challenges, if not financial ones at a minimum?

    How does an extra month give you a good answer that's not completely unrealistic -- "just run fiber to everyone's house" -- and impossibly expensive?

    That being said, I'm not against broadband/networking being invested in by the government, for the same reasons I'm not against the government building roads. It's a common thing we all need good, local access to. You benefit from roads, even if you don'

    • Ahh, but does the government actually provide good roads? Sure, there are universal roads around America that you don't generally have to pay to use on-demand. But I think we've all gotten used to a universal crappy standard of excuses for roads. When was the last time roads were actually innovated on? Probably in the 1950s for most states.

      • Ahh, but does the government actually provide good roads? Sure, there are universal roads around America that you don't generally have to pay to use on-demand. But I think we've all gotten used to a universal crappy standard of excuses for roads. When was the last time roads were actually innovated on? Probably in the 1950s for most states.

        That's because the Federal govt made the mistake of having the states fund road upkeep.

        I don't know about the state you live in, but the one I live in (Michigan) is requi

    • by fluffy99 (870997)

      Personally, it would be interesting to see internet access become a utility. It wouldn't matter how it's delivered, and would be a fixed price for a fixed bandwidth. Put it back on the service providers to deliver it however they want. That would leave them with profits on the easy to service customers, and taking losses on the hard to service customers. That's how phone service works. If you live in the boonies, they don't charge you extra monthly costs. They don't charge any different if they have t

  • After we first make sure that everyone has access to broadband, we can give them computers to use on it. Then software.

    After a while, we can make sure everyone has a pony, too.

    How many people want broadband that can't get it now? Move or pay the price. No one should pay so you can live in stumblefuck and get the benefits of urban living. Sorry, I'm not buying you a pony.

    Yes, many places are stuck with shitty providers and no choice. That's a different issue, and I'd like to see something done about th

    • After we first make sure that everyone has access to broadband, we can give them computers to use on it. Then software.

      After a while, we can make sure everyone has a pony, too.

      No matter where you live you have a choice in computers, software, and...er... ponies, to fit your budget. The same is not true of broadband.

    • by sorak (246725)

      After we first make sure that everyone has access to broadband, we can give them computers to use on it. Then software.

      After a while, we can make sure everyone has a pony, too.

      How many people want broadband that can't get it now? Move or pay the price. No one should pay so you can live in stumblefuck and get the benefits of urban living. Sorry, I'm not buying you a pony.

      Yes, many places are stuck with shitty providers and no choice. That's a different issue, and I'd like to see something done about that.

      I've felt that way ever since I heard the government was delivering mail...The delivered the mail, put up police forces, fire departments, and even paid for a standing army, and I thought, "It's just a matter of time before they give everyone free ponies".

      But seriously, slippery slop arguments aside, everybody benefits from an informed society. If we want to be able to compete with the rest of the industrialized world, then we need to have educated people with ambitions that extend beyond "factory moves to

      • by swb (14022)

        Everyone benefits from an informed society, but where do you stop? Broadband is worthless without a computer, and nearly worthless without a *contemporary* PC that can keep up with the inane software requirements of the Adobe Flash/Javascript/IE8 world.

        And what about college/post-secondary education? That is not free, either.

        None of this shit is free, it comes out of the pockets of people who (still) earn a living. Maybe if you woke up and realized that Goldmine Sachs was paying bonuses earned with YOUR

        • by fluffy99 (870997)

          free luxuries you don't enjoy.

          I think that's part of the problem. Internet access is quickly becoming a necessity rather than a luxury.

        • by sorak (246725)

          Everyone benefits from an informed society, but where do you stop?

          See...Slippery slope argument. You stop when it makes sense to do so. If a $300 PC could encourage children in trailer parks and housing projects to get an education and become a productive member of society, then I would pay the $300.

          But we're not even talking about that. Obama isn't going to give away free internet, and you'd have to be batshit insane to think he was. The best we can hope for is some small regulation that MAY result in lines being run to houses that they were never run to before. Then, th

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