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The Internet Upgrades

US Ranking for Broadband Falls 298

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the but-don't-worry-none dept.
Ant writes "Broadband Reports mentions Declan McCullagh's CNET editorial where he believes everything is a-ok in the world of broadband, and people concerned with falling global rankings are over-reacting. 'FCC figures released last month show that 94.3 percent of U.S. ZIP codes have high-speed lines available to them,' he writes; though as we've pointed out, the FCC considers one home in a zip code with broadband to mean that entire zip code is 'serviced.'"
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US Ranking for Broadband Falls

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  • by prostoalex (308614) on Monday January 10, 2005 @07:45PM (#11315882) Homepage Journal
    This is nothing to fret about. The United States is losing to the countries with high population density [itfacts.biz] and smaller footprint, where wiring a city of size of Seoul or Amsterdam suddenly wires up 10-15% of country's population. If you take California or New York City and treat them as a separate country, the rate of broadband access would be quite competitive with the others. US of A is just a pretty big country to have anything decent in terms of % numbers.

    Note, however, that on the same page it says US is leading the world in the total number of broadband connections [itfacts.biz] with 31.7 million cable/DSL/other lines. The nearest competitor - China - only has 22.2 million broadband hook-ups.
    • USA #1 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday January 10, 2005 @07:49PM (#11315922) Homepage Journal
      Just because it's easier for Seoul to get its citizens on broadband doesn't make it any less a competitive threat. The US, with its huge coastlines, competes easily with landlocked countries like those throughout central Europe, central Asia, and central Africa, but that competitive advantage means we rule the seas. S. Korea and the Netherlands are disproportionately represented on the broadband Net per capita, which is how individuals experience the status. Don't we want to keep American predominance on the Net, by using our advantages in brains, capital and momentum to overcome momentary disadvantages in geography?
      • Re:USA #1 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dun Malg (230075) on Monday January 10, 2005 @08:04PM (#11316061) Homepage
        Just because it's easier for Seoul to get its citizens on broadband doesn't make it any less a competitive threat.

        I'm not sure getting broadband to every Bubba in the woods, Jebediah on his farm, and Kaczynski in his mountain shack is relevant to competition. The fact that the US has vast swathes of nearly empty countryside means that they'll have a greater percentage of "disconnected" areas. The fact that there's no great competitive loss as a result is overlooked. A proper comparison would be per-capita broadband connections sub-divided into categories based on population density.

        • Re:USA #1 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday January 10, 2005 @08:20PM (#11316203) Homepage Journal
          I just came from a City Council hearing in Brooklyn. People testified how the remaining industrial areas in Red Hook and the Navy Yard, full of entrepreneurs and 20th Century infrastructure in downtown Brooklyn, can't get broadband (DSL, cablemodem, fiber) because Verizon's monopoly keeps them lazily fat on just the lowhanging fruit elsewhere in NYC. They have made the investments themselves, forgoing economies of scale in pulling their own fiber, and bringing years of political pressure to bear in producing a single fiber for 4,000 small businesses to finally buy T1s. As a result, all those communities are now customers for broadband services, able to afford the bills after the resulting economic growth. The surrounding residential communities will see even bigger effects years later, as children raised there now can grow up with broadband experience that increases their earning power (and takes them to richer neighborhoods without those problems).

          Universal service gaps don't refer just to "dead weight". The threshold for ROI by monopoly telcos is too high to serve even many urban neighborhoods with otherwise very high productivity and consumer potential. None of the excuses about density or infrastructure are the truth, as belied by the experience in NYC. If it's true here, the media capital of the world, it's certainly true in other aggregated communities which could potentially rival it if they were properly connected.
          • Re:USA #1 (Score:3, Interesting)

            Why hasn't anybody jumped into the area with mesh-based WiFi? Seems to me given the relatively short distance to areas of the city that DO have broadband, it would be a natural.
            • There might be technical restrictions, like hooking the mesh to a broadband connection in the area (catch-22), or RF interference (lots of electrical generators, motors, and microwave/radio gear from the local industries). Or maybe there's a huge opportunity for a mesh provider there. If someone is interested in offering one, I know a funding source, so I'd expect there's a barrier to investment. Or just a bunch of experts standing in a circle, waiting for someone to make a move. But I'd say that Verizon's
          • I just came from a City Council hearing in Brooklyn. People testified how the remaining industrial areas in Red Hook and the Navy Yard, full of entrepreneurs and 20th Century infrastructure in downtown Brooklyn, can't get broadband (DSL, cablemodem, fiber) because Verizon's monopoly keeps them lazily fat on just the lowhanging fruit elsewhere in NYC.

            True, but I think Verizon is a special case: a combination of the worst baby bell (Bell Atlantic) and the most inept and inefficient non-bell ILEC (GTE). I sw

            • Verizon operates in 20 states, typically as a monopoly, so I don't think NYC is alone in our NYNEX hell anymore.
      • Re:USA #1 (Score:2, Troll)

        by djupedal (584558)
        Don't we want to keep American predominance on the Net, by using our advantages in brains, capital and momentum to overcome momentary disadvantages in geography?

        1.) I lived in Seoul for the last 4 years, and enjoyed it when they upgraded me from ADSL to VDSL, no charge, just to free up space in the lower speed catagories. I'm in China now, and IPv6 is underway.

        2.) American predominance? Don't look now, but English will be surpassed as the most widely used language on the net in less than two years - o
        • Re:USA #1 (Score:3, Insightful)

          by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647)
          "2.) American predominance? Don't look now, but English will be surpassed as the most widely used language on the net in less than two years - or sooner."

          By what? According to whose statistics? The #2 language used by Google users is German, and it's not going to be overtaking English anytime soon.

          "I lived in Seoul for the last 4 years, and enjoyed it when they upgraded me from ADSL to VDSL, no charge, just to free up space in the lower speed catagories."

          You want to know why that doesn't happen in the US
          • Re:USA #1 (Score:3, Interesting)

            by WebCrapper (667046)
            I can agree with this. Most people just don't care about bandwidth (ok, outside of Slashdot). I'm in Germany and my parents have 4 times as much bandwidth as I do and don't use 1/8th of it.

            Not to change subjects - in Europe, there are cars that have 27 horsepower, but they can go several hundred miles on about 8 gallons of fuel. In the US, we have 500 horsepower cars that can travel gas station to gas station. With all the crying over gas prices, people also don't understand that Diesel is the way to go as
    • I pay $30 a month for SBC Yahoo! DSL that gives me 320 kb/s both ways. That means I get 40 kbytes/sec max on downloads. It's kind of a stretch to call that BROADband.

      For about the same price, in Korea they give you 10mb/s both ways. Orders of magnitudes faster.

      • Well, it contains the letters D-S-L, so it must be broadband. *shakes head* Bellsouth even lists ISDN as DSL -- that's the only place I can find any mention of ISDN anymore, and even then, the pages are about a decade old.

        IDSL (144k) is not broadband; even bonded IDSL (max 576k) isn't broadband. ADSL/SDSL is not always broadband either -- ranging from 160k to around 7M. (down anyway)

        For the modern world (read: the world we live in right now), dialup is just too damned slow to get anything done. I've h
    • If you take California or New York City and treat them as a separate country, the rate of broadband access would be quite competitive with the others.

      Show me the website of someone offering 24MB/1MB DSL in New York. This guy gets that in Tokyo. [typepad.com] Show me the website of a company providing VDSL to a New York apartment for $50 a month like you can get in South Korea [hanaro.com].

      I'm sure its nothing to fret about, after all 11th place is respectable for a country that didn't even bother to show up.
      • Hmmm, after reading this article: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/g/ archive/2004/12/09/gadgetgap.DTL&type=tech [sfgate.com], I just don't think we're going to compare favorably to the Japanese in just about any consumer tech category.
      • It's not as good as Tokyo, but I get 10MB/1MB right here in sunny New Jersey (actually, about 1/4 mile from NYC). Cost is around $30 a month.
        • But that price isn't correlated to population density, right? eg. the problem isn't America's geography. Your price is correlated to the fact that it's either served up by a random location by a non-monopoly, probably an underdog? The reason we don't see that kind of price in the majority of very urban areas is that government management of the issue really sucks here.
          • Actually, it's provided by CableVision, the local Cable monopoly. AFAIK they provide similar service over all/the majority of their service area. This is a very urban area, as I said it's right by NYC, actually less than 10 mins bus ride from 42nd st. My commute to downtown manhattan is under 20 mins. IIRC NJ is actually the most densely populated state overall.

            I know it's surprising to NYC'ers, I used to live there and suffer with TWC with the rest of you, but CableVision is just another reason I'm glad I
      • You need to keep something in mind about Japan: they are only ahead now because they started late. They didn't have to deal with incremental technologies and just put in the newest best thing. The US however invested heavily in slower broadband technologies so that they had more broadband for longer. As such any differences between Japan and the US are bound to even out soon as the US upgrades its internet access (fiber for example) and as Japan starts to no longer have the "best" technology.
    • If you compare Canadian and US broadband, the US gets half the speed for twice the price, and it's even worse when you compare the US to Korea, Japan, or even India.

      One could argue that price is irrelevant, but the US is far behind on average connection speed, which does matter.
    • This is nothing to fret about. ... US of A is just a pretty big country to have anything decent in terms of % numbers.

      Since when does something being hard give you an excuse to do a crappy job at it?

      Plus, as others have pointed out in this thread, they percentage of Americans how live in Urban areas is about the same as that of Canada, yet the Canadians managed the #3 spot... Not only that, but in Seoul, people have tens of megabits of throughut. I don't know about you, but I live in a fairly urban part
    • I don't think the total number of broadband connections means much if the US simply has the largest post-industrial population.

      China isn't a superpower (yet). IIRC, a much greater percentage of Chinese are pretty poor. China does have great wealth, but I think a greater disparity than the US.
    • The United States is losing to the countries with high population density

      Yep, good old Canada, weve got a real high pop density here...
  • Complete BS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bruha (412869) on Monday January 10, 2005 @07:45PM (#11315887) Homepage Journal
    I cant believe for a minute that that many zip codes are covered.. and yes one in that zip counts the entire zip.

    How about breaking it down by zip+4 and that number would drop dramatically.

    And what about Bush fixing the digital divide?
    • How about breaking it down by zip+4 and that number would drop dramatically.

      There are what, 50 million Zip+4's in the US? How about breaking it down by Zip+2. I think that would make more sense.
    • Re:Complete BS (Score:2, Interesting)

      by coopaq (601975)
      And what about Bush fixing the digital divide?

      Depends on your definition of "fix":

      Fix, as in give everyone broadband or fix, as in create disparity.

      fix: v. fixed, fixing, fixes

      1.) To place securely; make stable or firm.

      2.) To influence the outcome or actions of by improper or unlawful means.

    • Re:Complete BS (Score:2, Insightful)

      by javaxman (705658)
      I cant believe for a minute that that many zip codes are covered.. and yes one in that zip counts the entire zip.

      Typical FCC lawyerspeak bullshit. Not unlike the FCC's fiction of how many households can get over-the-air DTV.

      And what about Bush fixing the digital divide?

      Yup. He'll take care of that, just like he's taken care of the environment, education, security and the economy...

    • by ugmoe (776194)
      And what about Bush fixing the digital divide?

      He's being held back by Al Gore patent on the internet.

    • If you look at that map it states in the fine print that even satelite service is coutned as broadband... and most of the country is covered by one satelite service or another, which probably coutns for a very very large portion of that single provider coverage area...
  • FCC (Score:5, Funny)

    by Detritus (11846) on Monday January 10, 2005 @07:47PM (#11315909) Homepage
    Do they mean 'serviced', as in 'our cow was serviced by the bull'?
  • It's not a right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dancin_Santa (265275) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Monday January 10, 2005 @07:48PM (#11315912) Journal
    I've been all over the U.S. and can understand the reluctance of the phone companies to provide service to some areas. There just isn't enough population in some areas to seriously consider putting in the wires to bring high speed internet to these areas.

    Most of the U.S. is farmland. Very little of it is what you call "Blue States". And as anyone who studies these things can tell you, farmland doesn't have the population density of even relatively small cities. So you wonder why you don't get broadband out in the sticks? It's because you don't have enough neighbors.

    It's one of the prices you pay for peace and quiet.
    • Re:It's not a right (Score:2, Interesting)

      by overbom (461949)
      My hope is for something like wireless mesh networks on top of grain elevators for the rural farming areas... you can see them for miles.
    • by remahl (698283) on Monday January 10, 2005 @08:06PM (#11316078)
      If it isn't a right, then it at least should be.

      Parts of Sweden are very sparsely populated, and yet broadband access is widely available. The government decided a few years ago that Internet access was important and that appropriate funding should be provided to remote municipalities with low population densities. Since private companies did not find it attractive to build high-speed connections to remote places, the government and municipalities agreed to cover part of the cost.

      Access to communications _should_ be a human right, just like the right to education (article 26, Universal Declaration of Human Rights). Private enterprise cannot be trusted or expected to cover human rights -- infrastructure in particular should be provided by public organisations.
      • by YrWrstNtmr (564987)
        If it isn't a right, then it at least should be.

        Bah. Pretty much every home has an internet pipe. The phone line. Where is the compelling need for govt mandated (and taxpayer funded) broadband?

        Since private companies did not find it attractive to build high-speed connections to remote places, the government and municipalities agreed to cover part of the cost.

        Unless this is a different planet, the Swedish government makes just as much money as every other government. Exactly zero. They get it from taxes.

        • So the only way for the 'government to cover the cost' is to have the taxpayers pay for it.

          or ensuring that the recipients of that money are using it properly. the problem in the US is not taxes or funding, the problem is that the government protected monopolies that are responsible for providing the technology (and that do make money) don't have any incentive to provide better service, because the fcc isn't doing its job.
      • Re:It's not a right (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Xabraxas (654195) on Monday January 10, 2005 @08:43PM (#11316394)
        The government decided a few years ago that Internet access was important and that appropriate funding should be provided to remote municipalities with low population densities. Since private companies did not find it attractive to build high-speed connections to remote places, the government and municipalities agreed to cover part of the cost.

        That will never happen in the US as long as a republican is in office. You can't offer up that kind of idea in the US without being called a socialist. The odd thing about this is that the very people that this kind of thing would help (the red staters) support bush and the republicans.

        Access to communications _should_ be a human right, just like the right to education (article 26, Universal Declaration of Human Rights). Private enterprise cannot be trusted or expected to cover human rights -- infrastructure in particular should be provided by public organisations.

        I totally agree. In fact I once expressed the idea that people should have a right to the internet and that the government should support initiatives to broaden access, and I was shouted down and called a communist. I still don't understand why people in this country fight against themselves.

        • Re:It's not a right (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Doug Dante (22218)
          "Access to communications _should_ be a human right, just like the right to education (article 26, Universal Declaration of Human Rights)"

          South Carolina's voters recently refused to change the segrationist language in their state constitution specifically because it might create a right to a public education.

          If they're that concerned that they don't want to pay for kids to get a good education, what makes you think that they're going to pay for them to get broadband!?

      • If I had Mod points, I'd mod you up just for referencing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in relation to infrastructure.
      • Everywhere in the US has a phone line and from that line you can get Internet service. I question the utility of mandidating and paying for higher speed access with public funds. Broadband is nice, don't get me wrong. I love my DSL and I pay for fast, professional grade service. However I have used dialup in the past, and have reverted to dial up in outages and when I've moved. It limits what you can do, but not severrly.

        Dialup is perfectly functional at this point for information access. The web works fin
      • First of all, you provided nothing to back up your assertion that access to communications should be a human right.

        Second of all, it's all well and good to say that in your opinion, all humans should be entitled to communications access, but it's much harder to say just how far this access should extend.

        Do all humans, in your opinion, have the right to free telephone access? Free dialup access in public libraries and schools? Free dialup access in the home? Free broadband access in every school? F
      • by tsotha (720379)
        If it isn't a right, then it at least should be

        Why? Dialup is available throughout the entire country. While it's more convenient to surf the web at broadband speeds, this isn't a food/shelter issue.

        The reality is you choose where you want to live in the US if you're a citizen. If you live somewhere without broadband, and it's important to you, then move. There are lots of reasons to live in "the country" - infrastructure isn't one of them.

        If broadband is a right for country people, when do I get m

      • Re:It's not a right (Score:3, Informative)

        by Mad Marlin (96929)
        If it isn't a right, then it at least should be.

        There are two entirely different things, and people often get them confused: rights and entitlements. Rights are things like the right to bear arms, the right to practice any (or no) religion, and so forth. Entitlements are things that the government should give somebody, such as cheese to poor people.

        Access to communications _should_ be a human right, just like the right to education (article 26, Universal Declaration of Human Rights).

        The fre

  • by t_allardyce (48447) on Monday January 10, 2005 @07:50PM (#11315936) Journal
    Y'all that there government said we could have ourselves ay free 'broad band' co-nection for arh trailor!

    Them 'engyneers' betta get the hell off ma land!
  • Broadband (Score:5, Informative)

    by Michael Hunt (585391) on Monday January 10, 2005 @07:51PM (#11315937) Homepage
    At least in America there is /CHOICE/ in the affordable broadband market sector.

    In .au, we have ONE carrier providing something in the order of 90% of the broadband connections' layer 1/2 infrastructure (with some smaller DSLAM operators and two other cable cos, one of whom is regional only).

    Additionally, nobody LIKES this one carrier, who up until just recently were actually charging their wholesale customers (ISPs who lease DSLAM ports via PPPoA/L2TP) more per connection than their retail customers. This ended when the ACCC (.au equivalent of the US FTC) served them with a competition notice, which they are now currently trying to work their way out of.

    Yes, America has it good, comparatively. And, unlike Korea, they're not responsible for ~5/6 of all reported open proxy hosts.
    • At least in America there is /CHOICE/ in the affordable broadband market sector.

      Generally, this isn't true. Your choice is DSL or cable. We have a government mandated one cable carrier per area, so you have no choice in cable. DSL regions are generally serviced by one company, so IF you're close enough to a station (and only one person I've ever known is) you can get broadband from one company. Sure, many companies sell DSL, but it's all remarketed from the same provider.

      Additionally, nobody LIKES t
    • Uh what the hell chocie do I have? My options consist of cable... and just cable... DSL is provided 1000 feet from me, but my neighborhood woudl need it's lines upgraded to support DSL and the phone company won't invest that kind of money...

      So while out their somewhere are more carries I still have a chocie of one and some people have a chocie of none...
    • i would hardly consider what we have here to be a reasonable choice, and (imo) they all at best barely qualifies as affordable.

      in almost all of the US you have exactly one cable provider. cable internet costs a ridiculous amount of money unless you are also a cable tv subscriber. (minimum $55/month for cable internet or ~$80 for internet and tv(*))

      if you choose dsl instead, you do have choices, but they still suck. choice 1 is to get the crappy service offered by the local phone monopoly. in many area
  • by killermookie (708026) on Monday January 10, 2005 @07:51PM (#11315939) Homepage

    Michael Powell isn't terribly concerned. "Better data is needed," Powell admits. "But the data we have is still valuable." Who most benefits from the "value" of that data is the billion dollar question.

    Has Michael Powell really become this useless?

    • I think you should rewrite this for slashdot:

      Michael Powell isn't terribly concerned. "Better data is needed," Powell admits. "But the data we have is still valuable." Who most benefits from the "value" of that data is the billion dollar question.

      1) Need Better Data

      2) Data we have is Valuable

      3) ???

      4) Profit

  • FCC considers one home in a zip code with broadband to mean that entire zip code is 'serviced.'"

    Then, what, there are 6 people in Nevada with broadband?

    Seriously, it's so expensive for what I need internet for I can't justify it. Further, I'm concerned with paying for services I don't want and having some type of service rammed down my throat which I don't want at all.

    SBC/Yahoo talk like everything is rosy and wonderful, but I don't see it in my future and it's probably going to be more and more packag

  • Bah... (Score:3, Informative)

    by FroMan (111520) on Monday January 10, 2005 @07:57PM (#11316001) Homepage Journal
    I don't even need a wire for broadband...

    Wireless. I don't know how many other places have access to it, but I have microwave through michwave. Only requirement is LoS to the tower. Seems like rural areas with lots of farmland could really benefit from microwave.
  • Declan sure does have that corporate line down pat, don't he?

    Declan, your wallet gonna be gettin' mmmmmiiiiighty fat, dude!

    The telcos and entertainment industry won't forget you when it comes time for payback. Or has that part already gone?

    You sly dog!

  • If the FCC wants to make it a valid figure, use something (that should be) familiar to them. The NPA/NXX system should work for every land-line, and give a far more realistic estimate.

    Oh wait. That wouldn't sound as good. Never mind.

  • There are so many problems with this...

    It's debatable what is considered to be Broadband - with most surveys falling back on "always-on" service. But average American speeds (oh, and what ARE those) compared to South Korean speeds - should that be taken into account?

    Then the survey refers to zip codes that have service "available" - which does not seem to take into full account what might be available on the edges, efforts to drive service outside of the normal methods (friend a mile away with a Pringle

    • Part of the problem is, the regional telcos
      will not spend the money to upgrade the
      infrastructure they inherited from Ma Bell.
      DSL service is "available" in my neighborhood,
      but is nearly useless. The Central Office (CO)
      is greater than 18,000 feet away, with most of
      the POTS cabling being 30+ year old buried
      copper wire. The local telco (VERIZON) would
      like to charge $30 per month for their consumer
      DSL service that is (as tested) only 20%
      faster than dial-up. Their Business Wireless
      DSL is also available, at n
  • Garbage? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DrKyle (818035) on Monday January 10, 2005 @08:03PM (#11316051)
    From TFA:
    Canada, in third place, falls into the second category. Nearly everyone chooses to live close to cities like Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa along the not-quite-as-cold southern border. A Canadian province bordering Greenland called Nunavut is larger than Alaska, but its entire population would fit in a football stadium with room to spare.
    Is this guy as dumb as his reasoning makes him sound? There are MILLIONS of Canadians who live 3+ hours away from the US border. How come those people have access to high speed internet if they want it? How come I've had high speed in my house for 5 years and I live in a town of 15k people about 6 hours from the border driving 130km/h? And what the hell is the point of his last little rant about Nunavut? (1) It's a territory, not a province. (2) He doesn't mention anything about their internet usage which makes it completely irrelevent to TFA! I think that yes, it might be hard to get Ma and Pa DSL at Green Acres, but do they even want it? It sounds to me that the whole "we've got so many rural people it's impossible to get good service" is just an excuse put out by those marketing geniuses who also make claims like "They don't want/need it anyways."
    • Re:Garbage? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PitaBred (632671)
      Because you live in a TOWN of 15k. That's non-trivial, and it'd be worth stringing a data line out to. However, we're talking about RURAL US. Many people in the rural areas of the US live in the middle of nowhere relatively, miles from their nearest neighbor, and it's not worth it to string out expensive fiber to where it'll serve less than 100 or so people. Even some suburbs are barely worth putting in the infrastructure necessary to support them.
      His logic is spot on. You don't seem to understand 'ru
      • Re:Garbage? (Score:5, Informative)

        by DrKyle (818035) on Monday January 10, 2005 @08:42PM (#11316382)
        In 2000, 79% [usda.gov] of the US population lived in urban areas, the 2001 Canadian census lists 79.7% [statcan.ca] there is hardly any difference there and yet claims about "Oh, but Canada lives closer to the border" still persist. Urban vs Rural is NOT the big issue. The big issue is GREED by companies and COMPLACENCY of the population to bend over on issues such as this.
    • There are MILLIONS of Canadians who live 3+ hours away from the US border. How come those people have access to high speed internet if they want it?

      It doesn't stretch the truth much to say that everyone in Canada lives within a three hour drive of the U.S. border. But more significantly, perhaps, the Canadian population is concentrated in just four urban regions: the Golden Horseshoe in southern Ontario, (Niagara Falls-Hamilton-Toronto,) Montréal, British Columbia's Lower Mainland and southern Vanco

  • Well duh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by stratjakt (596332)
    They count satellite as a broadband option, so that covers everyone in the 48 contiguous states. Alaska and Hawaii have to fend for themselves.

    But lets talk about speed, what does broadband mean to them? (Pedants aside, since we all know broadband doesn't technically mean fast internet)

    Koreans and Japanese have these crazy fat 100mbit pipes and whatnot I'm always reading about.

    We're far behind when I'm actually getting excited because Comcast bumped my service up to 3mbits.
  • Shallow article (Score:3, Insightful)

    by El Cabri (13930) on Monday January 10, 2005 @08:14PM (#11316153) Journal
    This article is just an indeological blurb recycling for the millionth time Americans' usual excuse for their telecom backwardness -- their land mass -- and adding some free-markedroid mantra to boot (the part about "wacky govt regulations").

    About govt regulations : European countries _regulate_ their former monopoly telcos into offering to host their competitors' routers into their own last-mile hubs for _regulated_ fees, allowing customers to subscribe directly to a competitor's DSL offering bypassing the telco completely. So in this case gvt regulations _enable_ competition and the effect on prices and qos is dramatic. I will leave the most ideologically blindsided anti-gvt drones think about the paradoxical situation.

    As for landmass, well, it brings obvious benefits to US residents, here are the drawbacks. You don't here from Japan that they are the #1 nation in agriculture because they make do with their small space. They just say ok, we depend on imports to eat, let's make up to that on smthg else.

    Korea is more connected than the US, and that's a fact. The same way that Finland will nevercompte with spain for the tourism euros of the Germans seeking sun during their vacation, the US will have to cope with a huge overhead to keep up in the world of connected societies.

    Maybe they should throw a little bit of gvt regulation into it.
    • Then how do you explain Canada?

      Canada is larger than the US, and it much better connected.

      Its geographic challenges are much more difficult to overcome than the US ones.
    • the US will have to cope with a huge overhead to keep up in the world of connected societies.

      Says who?

      The US could just accept that there will be a higher percentage of Americans without broadband access than, say, Koreans. There's nothing wrong with that - people who want broadband can live in areas where there is broadband. If there is an economically sufficient number of people outside those areas, someone may develop a new technoogy to serve those areas.

      But the US doesn't have to "cope with a huge
    • "Korea is more connected than the US, and that's a fact." Only by percentage. Not by total numbers. Choose your metric. Not buy total numbers of users. Yes the US needs to do better I have three of four DSL porviders plus cable. I do live in a odd town though it has over 100k people but it is HUGE and spread out. Think of a like 10 small towns all right next to each other.
      If you look at the rest of the US and the big cities are well served for the most part. Lots of small towns are well served as well. The
  • Dammit, I live in a zip code that is partially serviced by broadband (but not me).

    The phone company doesn't provide it here. And what reason do they have to? Not the FCC.

    They don't care a bit about service.

  • by EvilStein (414640) <{ten.pbp} {ta} {maps}> on Monday January 10, 2005 @08:25PM (#11316243) Homepage
    Ok, I live in Pleasant Hill, CA. Look on a map - it's East of San Francisco by about 20 miles. The average income in the area is $60,000+ - over 20% of the population makes over $100,000.

    I cannot get DSL in my apartment complex. I can get a cable modem from Comcast, but that's it. Astound Broadband has tried to service this area but was shut out by Comcast.
    My friend down the street is in the Walnut Creek city limits. We're all on the same SBC fiber ring. Her DSL line cannot carry data reliably if it's set to 1.5mbit. Speakeasy has backed her down to 768kbps, but is still charging the same. She called Comcast and Astound - *neither* can service her with a cable modem.

    We're *not* in the boonies out here. So why the hell can't we get decent service? It doesn't make any sense to me, and when asked, the SBC & Comcast sales drones just say "planning on servicing that area soon..." (repeat every 6 months)

    1 person in ZIP 94523 sure as hell doesn't mean that everyone is happy - or can even get decent service at all.
    Stupid FCC.
  • DSl Coverage (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I live three miles (15,000 feet )from BellSouth's corporate headquarters in Nashville Tennessee and am not in their DSL coverage area. I live in an older section of town and they have no plans to upgrade the tangled mass of wire that they call a phone system. I do have access to Comcast 24/7 service: 24 hours a month out of 7 months guaranteed.
  • ...why should I care?

    I'm not trying to troll, but I'm really asking how this will effect the US instead of just bragging rights.
  • http://www.dynamiccity.com/casestudies_grantcounty .htm

    No county can make excuses when this county with 2600 square miles will soon be fully lit of over 50,000 miles of fiber.

  • Landmass myth (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lelitsch (31136) on Monday January 10, 2005 @09:09PM (#11316563)
    The "the U.S. has lower broadband coverage because so many people live waaay out in the country" argument doesn't really cut it. In 1990 over three quarters of Americans lived in cities [msn.com]. And the numbers have definitely not gone down since. So yes, it might be hard to cover 99% of the US, but getting to 75% should be fairly easy. At least I don't know of a town of any size that doesn't have some cables running into it.
  • One of the more touching American mental holdovers from the 50's is the idea that the U.S. is a leader in technology or adoption of technology. An amazing number of Americans still truely believe they are more advanced than everybody else in just about everything that has to do with electricity and are honestly stunned when they find out that they lag behind in quite a few areas.

    For example, take mobile phones, where the Europeans -- and especially the Scandinavians -- are far ahead; the U.S. is still stu

  • per pg 20 of the PDF-- 30 odd mil for residences and small biz/ 2.3 mil for larg biz/gov/institutions..

    look at the individual states, IL has over a million high speed lines..it's the highest state for one I would not have thought of as a GIMMIE for how #'s.. but I guess chicago clinched it for them

    it's really ooky to see the breakdown by state..

  • Why are people worrying about broadband? There are still several million people in the USA that do not even have phone lines. And I am not talking about places like Alaska here. All this nothing new and nothing to worry about.
  • the FCC considers one home in a zip code with broadband to mean that entire zip code is 'serviced.'

    Wait a minute, lemme get this straight. The FCC goes by Zip code to determine a percentage of the broadband service. In fact, one home in that zone means the rest of the zip area is serviced. Gees... Sounds like they're actually encouraging wireless routers to be setup and range extenders for the entire neighborhood. Or else I don't understand how all the people in that zip code could access the broadband in
  • When you've got 1/4 of the population basically living in poverty, they aren't going to fork out $50 a month to surf the web.
  • There's no problem. Look at the graph of broadband penetration. [websiteoptimization.com] These are Nielsen's numbers, updated every month. Passed 50% last August. Expected to pass 70% this year. Cable TV is only around 66%.

    Most of the noise about the "broadband penetration problem" comes from telcos who want a monopoly over the local loop. There really is no "broadband penetration problem." So quit worrying about this.

    There are millions of people out there satisfied with their 56K modems. Since the US has flat-rate local

  • by David E. Smith (4570) * on Tuesday January 11, 2005 @01:32AM (#11318170)
    I'm responsible for about a dozen unique ZIP codes in there, sorry. My company does high-speed wireless Internet, and we put up a few new towers last spring. (Those numbers are based on the June FCC filings, so they're already six months out of date.) There are a few dot-on-the-map "towns" that have a population of like three people, but they're within five miles of a tower, and we somehow managed to get broadband to them. If there's even one customer, we're required to report it.

    The FCC form (Form 477) doesn't actually ask for any kind of correlation between "ZIP codes" and "number of people per ZIP code". One page asks about how many broadband customers we have, and another page asks for a shopping list of all our broadband customers' ZIPs. We offer broadband in about thirty different ZIP codes, even though most of them only have one or two customers.

    (Since a T1 qualifies as broadband, natch, they think we have coverage thirty miles from our nearest tower -- one customer out there wanted a hookup badly enough that they were willing to pay through the nose, so we did it.)

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