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The Almighty Buck

Starband Files for Chapter 11 123

PalmKiller writes "Well it looks like Starband is going into chapter 11. I got the email a few days ago. And just when I got CYGWIN with squid proxy working beautifully. With winproxy I rarely got any thoughput on my clients (20-50KBytes/sec or 160-360Kbits/sec), on squid I finally am getting 80-95KBytes/sec (640-760Kbits/sec continuously) and some faster bursts. Well, I guess I will ride her till she falls over and dies." Looks like Echostar's tactics have been successful. And we just did an article a few weeks ago on Starband's service, where most commenters weren't very happy.
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Starband Files for Chapter 11

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  • When will the competition start? or are the Major's going to become one and we'll never have good service at a good price? Ceti
  • First KNPQwest, now Starband! Whos going to be next? (I hope its Microsoft).
  • Users (Score:5, Informative)

    by hoowee ( 581244 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @05:20PM (#3662302)
    More info on the Starband User's experience available here []
  • Guess I can let my installation certs lapse now... :-)

    Too bad. A decent service if you don't have access to cable/dsl.
  • Adelphia (Score:4, Interesting)

    by scott1853 ( 194884 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @05:26PM (#3662351)
    I'm sure Adelphia Cable is next. They just got delisted from Nasdaq last week and are apparently involved in a little Enron mimmicking. Something like 2 billion worth of debt was kept off the books. I don't have the links handy but just lookup Adelphia Trouble in Google and I'm sure you'll find a hundred articles.
    • Re:Adelphia (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ender81b ( 520454 ) <> on Friday June 07, 2002 @05:44PM (#3662444) Homepage Journal

      Adelphia postpones quarterly report due to 'accounting discrepancies' []

      More on accounting problems (google cache) []

      Adelphia selling off assets (google cache) []

      Absolutely ridiculous. All these telecoms going bye-bye. Where the fsck did the people who ran these business get their degrees? I mean, for god's sake, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that if your company is 2 billion in debt maybe you shouldn't pay like 50 million to liscense a stadium (titan's adelphia stadium). Or perhaps you shouldn't get those $100,000 sun boxen. Always a favourite of mine - listening to all this super expensive brand-new equipment these companies have. Ebay anyone?

      It just boggles my mind that somehow these morons got put in charge of a company like this. Take starband - why in god's name would you ban something like P2P filesharing programs? These programs are like the #1 reason people (Especially younger people) want to get broadband - but you filter them out. Great business strategy. Gee, I wonder why you are going bankrupt?

      It just pisses me off that these morons who ran the company will get to live off of 'only 50 million' like that b*tch from Enron while 1,000 or more employees will have to try and have to scrape together a living. Argggggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

      • P2P isn't banned, it just doesn't work very well. OpenNap servers work well though.

        It has to do with upstream bandwidth only being about 64kbits/sec. You can't do P2P very well with such a limited upstream.

        You get a full, uncensored, unlimited, usenet feed though, and to me, that more than makes up for it.

        Starband is not something to get if you want to do any serving or uploading. It is primarily a download-only broadband solution, just like all other consumer satellite products. The advantage is that Starband doesn't tie up your phoneline for the upstream like others do.
      • Where the fsck did the people who ran these business get their degrees?

        Actually, if looking at it from a purely selfish standpoint (which I'm sure many if not most of those who ran these companies did), they were brilliant. After all, who has pocketed all this money and perks? These guys learned very well thank you. They perfectly manipulated a situation that allowed them to exploit gullable (and willing) VC's and other investors and customers. They rode the wave, were smart enough to know that it wouldn't last forever, so they milked it for all they could. For the most part, they have lost nothing. They have fat bank accounts, they will be able to get fat jobs. Now tell me how stupid they are again.

        why in god's name would you ban something like P2P filesharing programs?

        Bandwidth, bandwidth, bandwidth. If you want p2p, you'd go for cable modem/dsl, not starband. You'd only go starband if you had no choice (or detest your cable/phone company), in which case you'd have no choice. Seems like a smart move to me.
      • The three R's for today are Readin, Riten, and Ranting.

        Where the fsck did the people who ran these business get their degrees? I mean, for god's sake, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that if your company is 2 billion in debt maybe you shouldn't pay like 50 million to liscense a stadium (titan's adelphia stadium). Or perhaps you shouldn't get those $100,000 sun boxen. Always a favourite of mine - listening to all this super expensive brand-new equipment these companies have. Ebay anyone?

        The people who run these companies are NOT going bankrupt pilfering them. If you have kept up with this Adelphia story you might have noticed that the owners gave themselves $2,000,000,000 loans and that kind of thing to subsidise their livestyles.

        As Dogbert once said, "I can't tell you what I'm going to do with the company's assets, but it rhymes with villiage."

        Next time, Read before you Rant stuff that ain't right.

    • Try DSL Reports []'s forum. Look at the news headlines on the top of the Web page.

    • No duh Adelphia is next. I'm packing up my stupid piece of crap Terayon TeraPro modem and giving it back to them as soon as DSLExtreme gives me the high-sign.

      TeraPro is a kludge that allows cable companies without fiber plant to run cable modem over coax. It is notoriously unreliable. Here's details to wince over: Terayon: the TeraPro proprietary cable system []

      Adelphia saddled us with this setup because they were unwilling to string fiber and set things up the right way with DOCSIS. I look forward to seeing them run out of town on a rail.

    • They already filed... like three days ago.
  • Ownership Question (Score:2, Insightful)

    by OaITw ( 155633 )
    It would be nice if someone could explain or provide links clarifying the relationship between Echostar, Starband, and GILAT SATELLITE NETWORKS. On the the Starband site they say they are not a publically traded company and refer to Echostar and Gilat as partners. The CNET article describes Echostar defection from the Starband and GILAT camp. Anyone got info on the ownership of Starband. What is interesting to me is that it seems that Starband existed as a subsidary of these other companies but the chapter 11 applies only to Starband.
    • EchoStar and Gilat are two of the several investors in StarBand. Just because StarBand is bankrupt doesn't mean it's investors must be bankrupt too - for the same reason that Webvan's, E-Toy's, etc. creditors didn't come after all of their stockholders.
    • by schnell ( 163007 )

      Gilat is a VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal, e.g. small satellite dish) hardware manufacturer that owned a large chunk of Starband. However, even though they retain a smaller stake in it, they recently wrote off all of their investment in the company, saying they didn't expect to get any of it back.

      Echostar is the company behind Dish Network, and they had bought into Starband (majority ownership?) and planned to use it for their own residential satellite Internet service. Recently, though, Echostar decided it wanted to buy ("merge with") satellite biggie Hughes Electronics (operator of DirecTV).

      Knowing that Echostar would face some regulatory hurdles over the consolidation, Echostar dropped Starband (claiming something or other was wrong with it) and then complained to the regulatory overseers that rural folks wouldn't be able to get Internet access unless their merger with Hughes was approved. I think I heard that Echostar recently took its reps off Starband's board, since they didn't seem to be too welcome anymore.

      At no time, I think, were Gilat and Echostar really "partners" - they just both owned parts of Starband.

  • Chapter 11 (Score:3, Informative)

    by zerocool^ ( 112121 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @05:32PM (#3662384) Homepage Journal
    Chapter 11 is NOT going out of business.

    Chapter 11 is filing for protection from creditors during restructuring.
    Doesn't mean it's not headed that way, just that it's not there yet.


  • by SlashChick ( 544252 ) <`erica' `at' `'> on Friday June 07, 2002 @05:34PM (#3662394) Homepage Journal
    Having grown up in a rural area, and having friends and parents who still live in an area that just got 56K phone lines, this issue is important.

    I can remember back in the day when AOL and other ISPs promised 98-99% local number coverage, and we were still in that other 1%. We didn't have local dial-up until 1996, when the local pharmacist (!) and his wife set up a T1 and modem pool out of their garage.

    My question is: what is going to happen to these communities? With the FCC pushing toward one DSL provider and one cable provider per town, this is going to merit absolute disaster in a town that Verizon doesn't care about and where there practically isn't a cable company (the cable company went out of business three times in three years; everyone gave up and got satellite.)

    I sense a real impending disaster that could perhaps be averted by something like fixed wireless. Are there feasibility studies on the 'Net (cost analyses, etc.) that show the costs of putting in a fixed wireless or other broadband setup? I've seen the case studies, many of which are posted on Slashdot. However, they fail to touch in the bigger problem, which is that this applies to 20% of the country.

    If we want people to have broadband, someone is going to have to come up with a plan to offer it over large service areas over something that is not a phone or a cable line. Do we have answers yet? What is on the horizon?
    • There are a lot of things that are popping up for rural areas. My wife is from a small town in western Kansas called Plainville. There town having only 2500 people just got DSL and a town about fifty miles north of them called Phillipsburg now has wireless access within 20 miles of a certain grain silo (no joke). The company providing the server is Nex-Tech []. Many of the cities that this company works with are in the 1000-3000 people range...and they don't suck either :)
    • Well they could do what these [] people did. In all honesty, setting up an internet CO-Op seems to be the most likely way for people in rural areas to get broadband.

      Remember only because of the Rural Electrification act of 1923(?) did rural areas get electrict/telephones. A report from the DOE (deparment of Energy) that I read (can't find the link, of course) said that the total cost of wiring all those places took around 30-40 years to pay off. The telecoms make very, very little from rural areas, and in many cases lose money, so they tend to not care about them.

      So either build your own or press the gov't to make some sort of law requiring the telco's to provide broadband.
    • I've been looking at DirecWay []. Supposedly people have gotten it to work with Linux, but I haven't seen any hard evidence yet. Meanwhile, Hughes is apparently shipping their DW4020 router device (around $300) that "officially" lets other systems (like Linux, Mac, etc) connect to the DirecWay modem.

      When you consider that the basic setup and install is over $500, this is a fairly expensive way to go, but I guess if your desperate for bandwith in rural areas . . .

      • Alas the cost is where the rub lies. I spent $600 for the install of my starband system and the modem, so I will be leary about doing that again...will they survive? I did get a free upgrade from a model 180 to a model 360 last year though. While I think the way to go in the country is satellite still, the new radio is a possible. I had a direcpc one way system, which is still on the side of my home, I suppose I could fire that one back up...the Fair Access Policy was crappy and I am sure it still applies to their two way. And DSL is out when you live 20 miles from the nearest town...AFAIK.
        • Be glad you had a 180.. I just bought my *band system just 4 months ago.. At $800 for the hardware and install, + $79/mo for service, if they drop tomorrow I will have paid almost $300/mo for internet access..

          There are very few other options this far out in the sticks..
      • There's no mention of throughput or latency on their flash-ridden website. I wouldn't bother with them.
    • What is on the horizon?

      The question is, what is over the horizon? []
  • Satellite internet has been dying and it is no news shocker to see more companies falling... Why pay for broadband that only works in good weather? With broadband already in decline, there is no way you can sell it if one of your warnings is... May lose signal during bad weather
    • The signal on the satellite I am pointed to is very strong. A mild rain or even a fairly hard one does not bother it much, it is still quite usable most of the time. A downpour however does kill it, which we seldom get where I am at. However sunspots get it for about 5-10 minutes a day around 2 pm or so this time a year, but it comes back gracefully. The longest knockout I have had was because it was raining hard on the west coast for a couple of days where the noc is . . . seems a downpour on either end kills it quite dead.
      • The effect you mention is called "solar interference", but it has nothing to do with sunspots. It happens when the sun, as seen from your antenna, passes exactly behind the satellite. The sun emits so much radio noise that it drowns the satellite signal. At other times of the year, the sun is either higher or lower in the sky and never gets in perfect alignment with the satellite, so its noise doesn't get focused by the antenna parabola.
    • I have only lose satellite contact when it is really really pouring, like NWS Severe Storm Warning type weather. Of course the power usually gets flaky from the resulting lightning of the storm, so I'm not usually trying to hard to use the Internet anyway.
    • Outages due to bad weather have been a rare and very brief problem for me. YMMV

      I would hate to see Starband fail. It's the best thing since flush toilets to folks facing 26.4 baud access.
  • Charlie seems to think that Wildblue doesn't hold much promise either, as indicated in this [] article. I think it's interesting to read what Charlie thinks of satellite internet in light of the way Echostar handled Starband.

    Who's going to step up to the plate and deliver broadband to the masses outside the metro areas?

    • What masses outside of metro areas? According to the US census bureau, about 88% of the population lived in metropolitan counties.

      • those figures are a bit misleading. in the denver/boulder area for example there are 3 counties i can think of. Jefferson county, boulder county, and gilpin county. while PARTS of these counties touch urban areas, the bulk of all 3 is mainly rural areas.
      • What masses outside of metro areas?

        They're called suburbs. Cable Internet and DSL are far from penetrating into all of the suburb areas. Plus, just because a county is a "metropolitan county" doesn't mean the entire county is within the city.
  • ding dong the....

    damn... i'd better get that starband dish up on ebay..........
  • Guys, first rule of journalism (and for that matter, of getting an "A" on any paper you had to write after, say, the 4th grade): make sure you cover
    • who
    • what
    • where
    • when
    • [for bonus points] how & why

    Before reading this, I had no idea who Starband was, what they did, where I might have known them from, etc. After reading it ...I still don't know, but I know that they're out of money and that it messes up some guy's Cygwin/Squid setup. But I don't *care* about some guy's Cygwin/Squid setup. If you want to convince the reader that this is important, maybe it would make more sense to mention, I dunno, who the fuck Starband is and why the hell it would matter to anyone if they're broke.

    And to think I once saw Slashdot as journalism's great shining democratic hope. Oh the disappointment of reality.... :/

    • Guys, first rule of journalism (and for that matter, of getting an "A" on any paper you had to write after, say, the 4th grade): make sure you cover

      * who
      * what
      * where
      * when
      * [for bonus points] how & why

      But that would take time away from making snide little comments in the submission/story.

      Seriously, if you have just now realized how badly Slashdot is run, you must be new here. Half the accepted submissions are trolls (designed only to get a knee-jerk, emotional reaction out of people), and the remainder are so poorly editted that they make no sense at all.

      I only read Slashdot for the amusement factor now.
    • try reading the article instead of just the summary. those different colored words will take you there. they're called "hyperlinks" and take you to other places on the "internet"
      • Thank you troll-meister, but the point isn't that I can follow the links -- in fact I did follow the links and was still unclear on the situation. The point is that the article doesn't do anything to make clear why 1000s of Slashdot readers should care enough to want to waste time following the links.

        But then hey, I'm wasting time feeding the trolls. Thrown stones, glass hourse, pot, kettle, yadda yadda yadda.

        • having been at the karma cap for nearly six months i can assure you that i'm not a troll. now, there are 1000s of slashdot readers that don't care about every article that is posted. some stories are of interest to some people, other stories are not. if you are an uninterested party, ignore it.

          • You're dutifully ignoring the point. Seeing as the original article provided so little information or context, I have no idea if I'm an interested party. I can't tell from that if it can be ignored or if it should be studied further. I have a clearer idea now, based on people's comments, but the article itself is completely un-enlightening. That is what I'm griping about...
            • Sounds like an uninterested party is complaining about indadequate information to convince them that they should stay uninterested.
              If you are an interested party, like you're using Starband, just the word "Starband" is enough.
              It's talking about bit rates and proxys. Obviously something to do with internet connections. It could mention long ping times, but that starts to get far too wordy.
        • I've seen a number of posts before on /. about Starband - in fact even better than the link in the story is a Slashdot search [] for Starband.

          Personally, I don't mind that they omit those details as I've always felt that stories here assume a certain level of basic knowledge from previous reading - I like it that way in fact as I do not have to wade through fluff in the articles.
      • called "hyperlinks" and take you to other places on the "internet"

        I have the internet in my hard-drive under the desk - sometimes though, it disappears and clicking on the "e" doesen't work. Sometimes, though, clicking on the "N" works, and the internet works.

        Gotta go - the paperclip is helping me write a letter.

    • Before reading this, I had no idea who Starband was, what they did, where I might have known them from, etc.

      Indeed. This kind of article is more the domain of FuckedCompany [], IMHO.
  • There goes another one....

    And me still fooling around with 56k, of course XO [] looks comparatively healthy...

  • From Starband's press release:

    Now, through bankruptcy court, StarBand intends to restructure our debt, bring in an infusion of new equity, remove any impediments created by existing shareholders and emerge with a plan to achieve profitability.

    Those pesky shareholders, always wanting a return on their investment. If management takes the attitude that the shareholders are the enemy, it's no wonder they're going under restructuring.
    • by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @06:19PM (#3662581) Journal
      Major Shareholders:

      EchoStar: Entered into marketing agreement with Starband and owns 30% of stock. Failed to perform on marketing agreement (which was to sell starband bundled with Dish Network collect the payments for a while, and then turn over the accounts to Starband in Feburary). Their failure to perform on this agreement has driven Starband into bandruptcy, because Starband does not know who to bill for their service, and thus, has basically zero revenue.

      Echostar wants to kill Starband, because they are trying to buy Hughes, who owns DirectTV and has their own Satellite Internet product, which would make Echostar a lot more money than their arrangement with Starband does.

      Echostar held several board seats at Starband, until they got interested in buying Hughes.

      Other major shareholders:
      Gilat - Provides the satellite network and services. Don't know if there is any sleezy goings on here.

      Microsoft - Apparently pressured Starband into not allowing open source developers access to the protocols needed to build anything other than a Windows client for Starband. Starband is very Linux friendly, they even will provide the software you need to do Internet connection sharing, so that you can use Starband with non-MS computers, but they refuse to release the specs, for suspicious reasons.

      Starband has nothing to lose by ditching the scum that makes up it's major shareholders.
  • About damn time (Score:3, Informative)

    by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @06:08PM (#3662536) Journal
    2002-06-02 12:46:12 Starband files Chapter 11 (articles,news)(rejected)

    News for nerds, stuff that's at least two weeks old.
    • 2002-06-02 12:46:12 Starband files Chapter 11 (articles,news)(rejected)

      Did your submission include a reference to winproxy, cygwin, and squid? Was your submission totally incomprehensible, utterly failing to explain what Starband is, or what relation it might have with cygwin and squid?

      Hell, I've spent the last 10 minutes trying to figure out if Starband had been funding either squid, or perhaps the cygwin port of squid. Obviously, if your submission was clear and concise, it wouldn't have pissed me off so much. Then, I wouldn't be so pissed that I'd spend another 5 minutes writing this whiney post. Then, I wouldn't have been staring at the RedHat Linux ad for the last 5 minutes, and the sense of community I get from this website would be gone.
      • Haha.

        Great reply. I actually submitted it twice, my first submission was a rather long one, explaining "Starband satellite internet service" and their relationship with Echostar, which is why they are in bankruptcy, but it was before they filed Ch11, it was a week before when they asked the judge for an injunction against Echostar, which was denied. (Apparently they just filed the suit to see if they could get the injunction, and didn't plan to carry through on it)

        I then tried to shorten it, once they filed Ch11. I didn't mention a lot of unrelated open-souce programs, so that is probably what happened.
    • well, starband files chapter 11 wasn't the real news. Messing around with squid is what was important here.
      Without some opensource reference (or anti-ms) this isn't worth a story.
    • Remember, it's like you were saying a while ago, it's all about salsa boy.
    • you had a better article writeup. They decided to wait for the person that had the least about of useful info and the most shit.
  • by reschly ( 565800 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @06:10PM (#3662550) Homepage Journal
    and would have also made me a lot happier:

    Starbucks files for chapter 11.
  • "I have no emoticon to express how I'm feeling right now!" -- Comic Book Guy

    If I knew who Starband was, however, I might.
  • There goes my plan.

    Since the IT crunch I have taken to driving a semi, I'll (soon be) out 2 weeks and home 2 days for now.
    While theres plenty of Inet access in truckstops (A lot offer truckers FREE broadband in a "Multi Media Center") theres times I'll be in the middle of nowhere and would like a lil something to keep me company. Granted, I'll have satellite email in the truck, thats where it stops. I was kicking around an idea of getting starband installed at my house (since the EULA says it has to be stationary, and installed professionally), rip it down, and jury rig it in my truck. I was even thinking of maybe getting a digital compass and basicstamp and doing a little hackjob to make it try to align itself when I was on the road.

    But not anymore =\
    • Re:Damn it all :( (Score:3, Interesting)

      by GigsVT ( 208848 )
      You could do it the legal way and get a Starband installer cert, it's not hard, and it will make sure you don't blow away satellite TV for the whole eastern seaboard. Some guy with an RV got a starband installer cert for that same reason.

      As a side note, you can still do all this if you are so inclined. They are still selling Starband, and this message is being posted from it.
      • Don't worry (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mangu ( 126918 ) will make sure you don't blow away satellite TV for the whole eastern seaboard

        You are sending a 1W signal from a 90cm dish. TV goes at 100W from a 9 meter antenna, so your signal will be 40 dB below theirs. But you won't be able to get it right without their cooperation, it takes a certain amount of interaction with their control center to get the antenna aligned. Even with an installer cert, they'd probably charge you an installation fee every time you moved.

        Here's the catch: the antenna must be small, to reduce the cost and make it easier to transport and install. At the same time, radiated power must be low enough to comply with regulations. The consequence is that the EIRP (equivalent isotropic radiated power) received by the satellite is at the very edge of what's detectable. The procedure seems easy because it's mostly automated, but you can't do it by yourself. I know all this because I work for a company that sells exactly the same service as Starband, outside the USA.
  • by rbabb ( 134729 )
    I was an intern for their marietta office about a year ago now. I tested their new 360 USB/ETHERNET modem. The service worked fairly well on the testing labs. Of course it had it's share of problems with lag time, and down time due to weather. But the service wasn't designed to compete with DSL or Cable Modems. It was designed for people who couldn't get any other form of broadband, and didn't want to use a regular dial-up service for the upstream.

    I knew even a year ago that they were having severe financial troubles. They couldn't even afford to pay me and the other interns $10/hour for any more then 20 hours per week. Plus I was kinda offered a job as a tier 3 tech (would handle things no other tech coudl figure out) but it was retracted because they couldn't afford more people.

    I hope that Starband works everythign out. Like it or not, it's the only hope for many people across the US to get some form of broadband service.

  • Here's Your Slashdot Daily Recap, Applicable to every article that has run since late '99:

    Two companies you've never heard of are fighting over something you're not familliar with, and as a result, theyre leaving virtually TENS of people without a service you havent heard of either!

    An evil corporate entity you've never heard of is DANGEROUSLY CLOSE to finally pushing a bill you've never heard of through Congress that will DANGEROUSLY restrict the rights you're not quite sure you had to begin with!

    A popular author you've never heard of has a new book you've never heard of...Don't laugh! Critics you've never heard of are hailing it as a masterpiece, and the author himself has an enormous mob of fans (numbering in the dozens!!!) who have read everything he has written, including several other titles you've never heard of. He gets compared to William Gibson somewhere along the way, which makes him incredibly relevant, because everyone knows William Gibson = Relevant.

    Someone has finally perfected a way to do something you were never aware of, which involves a cash prize, numerous officiating bodies you've never heard of and extra-long acronyms everyone but you has known about for years... These acronyms, so sinister, often stretch into the mind-numbing 4 and 5-letter category.

    Someone wanna write a Perl script to replace Slashdot the same way that Slashdot wrote one to replace Jon Katz?
    • If any post deserved a Score:6, this one does. This is a masterpiece.
    • Yah, I know. This shit gets repetitive, doesn't it? The same damn thing happens on TV too. Like this on network, ESPN only friggen talks about sports games, sports management, and the like. Touchdown this, goal that, can't they be more original? Who cares who fouled who and why? I mean, I could code a PERL script for this, and I bet it'd be an even more exciting report than if a real game were involved! Sheesh!

      Oh. Sorry. I forgot to add the right formatting tags to all of my post
  • My good old cable modem spits out 600kB/s+ at the best of times, and somewhere aroung 200-300kB/s at the worst, and costs $30CAD a month (~$20USD). What's the problem down there? Availability, or price?
    • Price is the problem.
      Anybody could set up a broadband ISP in rural ares with DSL or Wireless if you could buy DS3 or OC3 TCP/IP bandwidth for what it's really worth using modern ethernet technology. In Canada you can buy from the government and they pass it on at cost which is cheap enough to give you good service even in rural areas.
      Sadly in the States there is this massive infection of paranoia about the government which is, oddly enough, fueled by the government itself which came to power on a platform of government hatred. Talking about twisted. We need marijuana reforms so bad because everybody just needs to mellow out a bit.
      The insistance that broadband has to be handled by the unregulated private sector because the government can't be trusted with our private communications is bizarre to say the least. It's particularly odd because if the government was to lay, or simply purchase existing fiber on the interstate highway rights of way for an at-cost ethernet only backbone it could simply promise the same level of monitoring on the government owned network as it currently already has over private networks. Since it's a matter of public record that private networks are fully monitored anyway in the name of national security, the government wouldn't need to have any more access to everybody's data on its own network than it already has on private ones, this would maintain the status quo and lower prices.
      I can hear the argument now though --well it's not about THEM looking at my P2P pr0n downloads, it's that they'd be putting these struggling mom and pop baby bells and cable companies at an unfair disadvantage. Oh boo freakin' hoo. Finally the argument becomes --we can't have cheap broadband in rural areas because it would mean these telecoms wouldn't have a license to fuck the nation and block out anybody's attempt to start up a small rural ISP with broadband ISP grade bandwidth which is NOT a T1. That's what happens when you put government haters in charge of the government. They have to prove their point and their point was negative from the outset so if they don't fuck everything up they feel like they didn't do their job.
  • It seems that the submitter for the story incorrectly converted the network bits/bytes. He stated that 20-50KBytes/sec = 160-360Kbits/sec and that 80-95KBytes/sec = 640-760kbits/sec.

    As you can see, he's using the common "8 bits = 1 byte". However, that's not correct for network traffic. It's actually "10 bits = 1 byte" due to the network start and stop bits.

    Just thought I'd point that out for clarification.
    • As you can see, he's using the common "8 bits = 1 byte". However, that's not correct for network traffic. It's actually "10 bits = 1 byte" due to the network start and stop bits.

      That's true for asynch serial lines, but not for other types, such as ethernet.

      • That's true for asynch serial lines, but not for other types, such as ethernet.
        True. More like 15-20 bits = 1 byte.
        kbps measures the bit speed, the time from one bit to the next, excluding the effects of overhead.
        kBbs measures the rate at which bytes are sent down the pipe, including the effects of overhead.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm shocked that no one commented on the unfettered spirit of humanity demonstrated in this comment.

    "Well, I guess I will ride her till she falls over and dies."

    That's the spirit tiger! ;)
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"An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup." - H.L. Mencken