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The Internet Communications

President Bush Releases US Broadband Policy 190

Ars Technica is reporting that while most people wouldn't know we have a national broadband policy in place, the president claims that not only do we have a plan, it's working spectacularly well. "That's the main conclusion of the just-released 'Network Nation: Broadband in America 2007' [PDF] report from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). What's shocking about the report isn't what it covers [...], but what it leaves out: it doesn't contain a single extended discussion of the fact that the US has been slipping in a worldwide broadband rankings throughout the decade."
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President Bush Releases US Broadband Policy

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  • Dialup (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:34AM (#22272386)
    I am posting on dialup. There is no competition in the local "broadband" market, so the one provider charges too much. And the phone company cannot be arsed to extend their DSL coverage the 2-3 blocks necessary to reach my house. Nothing has changes since about 1999.
    • Re:Dialup (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Brian Gordon ( 987471 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:50AM (#22272484)
      ..meanwhile the old beige box in the back of a grimy bar in south korea has a fiber optic modem with a direct line to the isp
    • Re:Dialup (Score:4, Interesting)

      by MMC Monster ( 602931 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:56AM (#22272874)
      Yeah, right. You connect via dialup to /. and managed to get a +5 Insightful 4 sentence long first post.
    • by jc42 ( 318812 )
      I am posting on dialup. There is no competition in the local "broadband" market, so the one provider charges too much. And the phone company cannot be arsed to extend their DSL coverage the 2-3 blocks necessary to reach my house.

      It's even weirder at our house. Verizon "owns" the phone line, and some years back, I checked with them about DSL. They said we're too far away for DSL. So I checked with speakeasy, and they said "Sure, we can do it". We've had speakeasy service now for a couple of years, and it
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Fastolfe ( 1470 )
        It's my understanding (as a former big telco employee that had nothing to do with DSL) that the big carriers like that draw a somewhat arbitrary line, beyond which they simply don't want to support DSL. Customers beyond that line will, on average, cost more to support, because they're going to have more frequent connection/speed problems due to their distance. It's not that they can't do it, it's that they don't want to do it. But that was just my perception.
        • by NateTech ( 50881 )
          Your perception missed that those costs were high because the DSL network was regulated by most public utility regulators as a common carrier after a while. The telcos didn't want to build/maintain infrastructure for every ISP out there, they wanted a captive audience.

          Verizon figured this out, and built out FIOS while leaving the copper "common carrier" in the ground -- thus they can claim those other ISP's can service anyone in DSL range, as the FIOS network grows to a size larger than the DSL copper.

          Even
      • A month or so ago, just for yuks, I checked with Verizon again. They told me that we can't get DSL, because we're too far away. Speakeasy's DLS goes over a line leased from Verizon, of course, since Verizon is the local monopoly. Verizon can't (or more likely won't) supply DSL on their line, but at the moment they're required by law to lease it to other companies. It turns out that two of those companies (Covad and speakeasy) are collaborating to do with Verizon's line what Verizon can't be "arsed" to do.

  • Not shocking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:40AM (#22272414)

    What's shocking about the report isn't what it covers [...], but what it leaves out

    I guess we're all tired of ranting about Bush, but... I'm not shocked that his report left out his failures. Bush doesn't admit failures. (He's only admitted one regarding his work as a President, ever: Making some cowboy-style remark like "Bring it on." regarding terrorists.)

    • by Swampash ( 1131503 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:52AM (#22272498)
      What part of "freedom stay the course terror terror" don't you understand?
    • two words (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MisterSquid ( 231834 )

      "Mission accomplished."

    • is that he's accepted the resignation of Cheney with sadness... and he's outta here, too.
    • People talk as though George W. Bush is president. However, I've never heard one analytical remark he has made. I think it is impossible to be the leader of something when not mentally involved. In a childlike way, he called himself the "Decider", but it is said that he only decides from a list given to him in which the preferred decision is already given to him.

      Bush is just a figurehead, a puppet to show the public. The media are full of "Bush" said this "Bush" said that, but he is only reading something someone else wrote for him to say.

      Cheney and Rove and others have arranged that the powers of the U.S. government be sold to acquaintances, oil and weapons investors, and others who want corruption.

      One contribution that seems to have been made by Karl Rove is not only testing that finds the weaknesses of voters and exploits them, but powerful, well-funded initiatives to prevent strong leaders of opposing parties from winning.

      It is all corruption all the time. Part of that is endless war that is destroying the value of our money. Notice that prices are rising rapidly? That's because the value of the dollar is dropping. Oil and weapons investors don't care about the value of the dollar, they get paid whatever they ask.
      • You havent read the Hitchhiker's guide to the universe have you? Think its the third book which is relevant.

        "The President is very much a figurehead - he wields no real power whatsoever. He is apparently chosen by the government, but the qualities he is required to display are not those of leadership but those of finely judged outrage. For this reason the President is always a controversial choice, always an infuriating but fascinating character. His job is not to wield power but to draw attention away from
  • by Herschel Cohen ( 568 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:42AM (#22272432) Homepage Journal
    If you never have a policy it can't fail. Just stay the course to Victory.

    Never let facts confuse the issue. Just follow Cheney and stay out of shotgun range.
  • hhhmmmmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:44AM (#22272446)
    Ok,
    1. our economy is in a great state.
    2. Iraq has WMD.
    3. Iran almost has the bomb.
    4. the deficit was never balanced when I came in, and it is almost balanced now.
    5. America has plenty of oil, and gas. We have no need for nuculear or alternative power.
    6. Our broadband policy is working great!
    So now, I am trying to decide if he is still copying reagan, if he belongs in the same place with brittney, or both?
    • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:36AM (#22272750) Journal
      1. our economy is in a great state. He could have been sarcastic, oh wait, he is american.
      2. Iraq has WMD.English time, Iraq has A WMD. One weapon. They probably did. The kurds did not gas themselves.
      3. Iran almost has the bomb. and we are almost capable of travelling to mars. ALMOST is a nice word.
      4. the deficit was never balanced when I came in, and it is almost balanced now. Well the first is most likely true, balance would mean equel spending and income, most likely their was a deficit or surplus of some kind. The second bit, well there is that word ALMOST again.
      5. America has plenty of oil, and gas. We have no need for nuculear or alternative power.Plenty for what? For the next year? Probably. Since the US seems to be pretty well suplied with electricity, there is no need to look at other sources, not in the timespan politicians worry about anyway.
      6. Our broadband policy is working great! Might be true, if the average slashdotters policy is to never have sex with a girl, then their policy works GREAT! Say that the broadband policy is to make the telecoms and such super rich without having to invest and avoiding making it even easier to infringe on copyrights, then US policy is working.

      I am not just being pedantic, this is the problem with soundbite politics. It doesn't leave room to properly qualify statements. Take bush senior "no more taxes" or something to that effect. If you read up on it, it is just possible that he spoke the truth, as far as I can judge from europe, he just raised existing one, not created any new ones. On the other hand everyone should have known he was lying because the sentence also means he was promising the complete eradication of ALL taxes. "No more slavery" doesn't mean "no increase in the number of slaves" but the abolition of slavery entirely.

      Soundbite politics, a great evil that is slowly destroying democracy.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Azghoul ( 25786 )
        Considering the amount of money Verizon is spending deploying FiOS, please to define how the "telecoms and such" are getting "super rich without having to invest".

        Thanks.
        • Yes! Someone actually gets it!

          I've made a comment about it here: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=439642&cid=22273362 [slashdot.org]

          The problem with American broadband isn't the industry. The problem is AT&T. Most other companies are making large investments. AT&T is out there trying to legislatively and financially rebuild their monopoly.

        • by neomunk ( 913773 )
          *ahem*

          http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20060131/2021240.shtml [techdirt.com] (that's just the first link google gave me, there are many more)

          Give me my fiber, I've already paid for it. They have my money, give me my services. I'm not asking for a handout, I want what I paid for. THEY however seem to regard my diligent payments as some sort of *gasp* hand-out.

          Hypocritical foolishness of the highest order. Socialism for the rich, dog-eat-dog for those of us that don't deserve such luscious gigadollar treats.
      • "Take bush senior 'no more taxes' or something to that effect."

        He said, "no new taxes" in his campaign. Then he signed one of the largest tax increases in U.S. history. I knew he was lying for two reasons:

        1) His upper lip was moving.
        2) His bottom lip was moving.

        To his credit, though, at his worst he was a gazillion times smarter and more trustworthy than his son.
    • by xeoron ( 639412 )
      Makes me wonder, where's the emperors cloths?
      • by BLKMGK ( 34057 )
        Damn, beat me to it! This was my EXACT thought when I read this. Deluded to say the least...
    • America has plenty of oil, and gas. We have no need for nuculear or alternative power.

      Except Bush is pushing for more nuclear power plants to be built, with subsidies.

      Falcon
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:47AM (#22272468)
    History has always shown that the most modern of nations have a culture of innovation, discovery and advancement. This is a self-fulfilling truth: the more effort you put into bettering yourself technologically, the better off technologically you'll be. And with better technology usually comes greater efficiency and greater productivity, and with greater productivity comes a higher standard of living.

    The transformation of South Korea from a war-ravaged nation to a technological powerhouse where inividual homes and apartments have affordable fiber links better than many hosting companies in the US is one such example. They embraced development and technological progress, and so they have rocketed ahead in terms of living standards and quality of life.

    Meanwhile, we have the US focusing so much energy on religious issues. So much time and potential is wasted arguing over the merits (or lack thereof) of "Intelligent Design" and creationism, for example. If a small fraction of that effort was put towards technological advancement, such as the installation of fiber to all American homes, America could be doing some very great things. But as the current trends are, this seems very unlikely.
    • by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:17AM (#22272646) Journal
      have missed something.

      The current administration has been fixing numbers for 8 years. No child left behind was about numbers, not education. The death toll in Iraq was about numbers not the war. (Iraqi and mercenary deaths don't count) Just about everything this administration touched was about numbers to show the public. They were not planning on the housing crash catching them before they got out of office. There are miles and miles of dark fiber in the US that were paid for with tax dollars and higher service fees. Are they in use? If they are, it's not for joe bloggs ISP service.

      In South Korea, the government mandated the tech revolution. In the US the government will not do so, leaving it to private companies who then leave out the little guys that are not profitable customers. This is the major difference. For some reason, after these guys pay off their government officials here in the US, they don't feel that bragging rights about how they provide the BEST service in the US bar none is necessary. Note, more bars != best service, and advertising should always be viewed with a healthy overdose of cynicism.

      The current spin doctors know (at least 4 out of 5 of them) that it's the numbers, not actual service value that counts. Our government has shown them how this works. You can do anything, as long as you have a plausible story and numbers to show you are right. After all, the ONLY intelligence data that the rest of us knew about was that Saddam had WMD, and the NUMBER of concurring agencies and or countries was convincing... but I digress.

      It's all about numbers. If you have money with large numbers on it, you can get the fiber to your house from any ISP. The problem is that there is no incentive for private businesses to provide superior service to your home if they can continue to rob your wallet every month for something that it a little better than dial up. Notice how the commercials try to convince you that their service is 'broadband', lightning fast, and other terms that intimate super fast speeds. They never talk about real data rates so again in this case it's about numbers. If they hide the numbers you are lead to believe it's all good. You will not see one US company compare their customers to the top three ranked countries in the world for Internet service. That would be using the numbers fairly and we in the US just won't stand for that kind of non-sense. It's just un-American.
  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:49AM (#22272478) Journal
    Deploying high technology infrastructure is problematic because it changes to rapidly. It takes at least a decade to get the current technology deployed and then it's obsolete. Part of the reason that the US is slipping in terms of broadband is that much of the infrastructure is controlled by unregulated monopolies, but a lot of it is due to the fact that the US moved first.

    My first trip to the USA was in 1998, and back then I saw adverts for DSL connections costing less than I was paying for dial-up here in the UK. On my last trip (last year), the adverts were for more than I pay for a faster connection. This kind of technology comes in cycles. The first to deploy the infrastructure gets the fastest connections for a few years. For the next few years, they get incremental advances based on what you can squeeze out of the existing infrastructure and then they hit a brick wall. The countries with the fastest connections are always the ones who deployed their infrastructure most recently.

    Slipping behind is not something the US should be worried about, it's a natural artefact of this kind of technology deployment. They should be worried if they don't have any plans for leapfrogging ahead again (fibre, WiMAX, and so on).

    • I agree with your sentiment. One thing I always say as regards technological "competition", is that the guy who starts late is usually able to capture the lead fairly quickly. This is because, over time, dramatically better technology will be accessible for significantly lower costs. The trick is to not fall so far behind in the interim that you become irrelevant or lack the resources to take advantage of the newer technology when it becomes feasible and affordable. But if you can stay sufficiently competit
    • by nguy ( 1207026 )
      but a lot of it is due to the fact that the US moved first.

      That's why it may actually be wise not to move first, e.g. on Iraq.

      f they don't have any plans for leapfrogging ahead again (fibre, WiMAX, and so on).

      Too late: 100 Mbps fiber to the home and WiMAX are already deployed in Europe.
      • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:48AM (#22272822) Journal

        Too late: 100 Mbps fiber to the home and WiMAX are already deployed in Europe.
        Pure hyperbole. Neither is available here in the UK (except some parts of central London, possibly). The same is true for most of the EEA. A few isolated deployments does not mean the whole of Europe has anything like this speed. The fastest connection I can buy here is around 20Mb/s with 50Mb/s promised by the end of the year, and this is over old copper cables.
        • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )
          20Mb/s is still a lot faster than the 5Mb/s I have right here in Canada.
        • by nguy ( 1207026 )
          Pure hyperbole. Neither is available here in the UK

          Let me help you out here: the sentence "100 Mbps fiber to the home and WiMAX are already deployed in Europe." doesn't mean "universally deployed" or "widely available", it means there exists places in Europe where it has been deployed and commercially available, nothing less and nothing more.

          In addition, it turns out, that there is a lot of fiber-to-the-home already in the ground. That means that many ISPs are pretty much ready to roll it out widely across
          • Let me help you out here: the sentence "100 Mbps fiber to the home and WiMAX are already deployed in Europe." doesn't mean "universally deployed" or "widely available", it means there exists places in Europe where it has been deployed and commercially available, nothing less and nothing more.

            In that case, 100Mbps FTTP is already deployed in the US (there are a few small areas where it is being used).

            Also, I'm under the impression that Wimax isn't really being used much in Europe since we have HSDPA which do
            • by nguy ( 1207026 )
              In that case, 100Mbps FTTP is already deployed in the US (there are a few small areas where it is being used).

              Did I say anything different? I responded to a statement that the US might have a first mover advantage on fiber and WiMax. The US can't have the first mover advantage if the stuff is alread deployed in Europe. Clear enough?

              Every so often some ISP makes a press release about trialling 100Mbps FTTP but I question the merits of upgrading the local loop much further until the network infrastructure i
              • With P2P (even legitimate) and video rental services, people can easily saturate their connections, and they do.

                I have *never* seen P2P saturate an 8Mbps connection. This is probably because the vast majority of the P2P users have abysmal upstream speeds.
                • by nguy ( 1207026 )
                  I have *never* seen P2P saturate an 8Mbps connection. This is probably because the vast majority of the P2P users have abysmal upstream speeds.

                  Well, that depends on the kind of stuff you download. I download legitimate content hosted at sites with big bidirectional pipes, so I have saturated my connection. Furthermore, fiber to the home is generally symmetric.
          • by LarsG ( 31008 )
            In addition, it turns out, that there is a lot of fiber-to-the-home already in the ground. That means that many ISPs are pretty much ready to roll it out widely across several European nations.

            Very true. Many of the old euro telcos have been deploying fiber to the home "under the radar", every time they have to replace a copper cable or install new phone wires to homes they include an unconnected fiber. I think the main reason for keeping this on the qt at the moment is that they want to wait until they hav
        • Yes, but the UK is ALSO behind much of europe. Try France, for example. ADSL1 (8Mbs) is pretty much universal. ADSL2+ (24Mbs) is far more widespread than in the UK, you can get it even in many rural areas, whereas it's only available in the centre of major cities in the UK - and costs triple what it does in france. 50Mbs FTTH fibre rollout is now available in dense urban populations in france, and is being rapidly expanded due to the existing fibre infrastructure.

          The UK, i.e. BT, decided to stick with coppe
    • Deploying high technology infrastructure is problematic because it changes to rapidly.

      You mean the government has not yet started subsidizing the telcos to ugrade their technology, throw more tax payers money at it, and then when it comes for telcos to start providing services to us, they turn around and start blocking torrents, filtering stolen music, look at mail headers, abort net neutrality, and make sure the last mile problem never really goes away.

      Considering, that Bush Republicans have always favored pouring our money to corporate coffers, it would seem another effort to make more m

    • The issue is why other countries are already 2 to 3 cycles ahead.

      It isn't like US moved first, then everyone deployed "what was next" to outdo the US. The US moved first, and most countries followed in its footsteps deploying the same technology. The problem is why other countries were able to continue to move forward to outdo the US, while US growth stopped. The "cycles" you talk about are faster abroad, and slower in the US, and that is the issue here, not the existence of cycles.

      • The problem is why other countries were able to continue to move forward to outdo the US, while US growth stopped.

        Stopped? Then why was the Verizon truck laying fiber past my apartment complex last month, and through my ex wifes backyard last year?

        Stopped? No. Just not growing as fast.
        How many houses does 1 mile of fiber service in the US? How many houses does that same 1 mile of fiber service elsewhere?
  • by lancejjj ( 924211 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @08:51AM (#22272496) Homepage
    According to the report, affordable broadband is critical to the productivity of the economy.

    Well guess what? I spend over $55 per month for my Internet service. And that includes $0.76 in taxes. Do I pay it? You bet. Hell, I'm an IT guy, so connectivity is important to me. But regular "non-IT" people? Is broadband worth $670 per year to them?

    $670 is more than my telephone bill. It is even more than my monthly electric bill. That's right, I spend substantially more on Internet connectivity than on Telephone OR Electricity. Let me tell you, I'd give up broadband way before I gave up electricity or telephone.

    So, all-mighty-report-writers, here's a clue: many American families aren't going to be able to pay that kind of price.
    • by LaughingCoder ( 914424 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:21AM (#22272678)

      here's a clue: many American families aren't going to be able to pay that kind of price.
      I beg to differ. Many of those same families routinely pay $100+ cable/dish bills. And they will pay $60/month for broadband when a) they decide they need it or b) it becomes a better entertainment value to them than cable/dish TV.

      And FWIW, I pay more (twice as much) each month for electric and for cell phone than I do for broadband. And don't get me started about heating costs, transportation costs, and food costs, all of which dwarf my broadband bill. In fact, having broadband allowed us to cut our cable bill (we do a lot less TV watching so we don't need lots of channels), and it allowed us to cut our landline bill (using VOIP) as well, so in the end it almost pays for itself.
      • by symbolic ( 11752 )
        I beg to differ. Many of those same families routinely pay $100+ cable/dish bills. And they will pay $60/month for broadband when a) they decide they need it or b) it becomes a better entertainment value to them than cable/dish TV.

        Just a note - Comcast has its Triple Play service - broadband internet, cable TV, AND phone - for about $100/mo.
        • I have been a Comcast customer for many years. I added broadband to my cable as soon as it was available. But, when I called last year to look into the triple play deal ($99/month) they said it was only available to "new" customers, and I would have to pay the regular rate of $129/month. So instead I signed up with Vonage at $20 a month, leaving my total monthly outlay at $115 for cable, broadband and landline.
    • by db32 ( 862117 )
      I am really interested to know in what kind of conditions you live in. My monthly electric and water bills are both considerably higher than my monthly broadband bill. I can only guess that you are living in an appartment or other scenario where your utilities are at least partially subsidized somehow or you are comparing your yearly broadband cost to monthly bills. Or there is the possibility that you live in an area with the most generous energy company in the nation.
  • Where was he holding it, Gitmo?
  • by Carbon016 ( 1129067 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:01AM (#22272554)
    Obama has an amazingly detailed plan of how to fix America's broadband situation which /.ers might find interesting (I didn't know about it until I was linked elsewhere). Clinton just says "blah blah tax incentives", and other candidates like Romney don't even discuss it, but Obama seems to really care about the issue (for example, discussing raising the minimum speed that can be called "broadband" [barackobama.com] from 200kbps which is indeed amazingly low). I think he's probably the only candidate who doesn't put the Internet on the back burner, and from the debates it seems like it's not just a bunch of interns writing this stuff up, he actually knows what he's talking about. It's a shame a lot of other candidates don't seem to care, because Internet access ties in very strongly with education issues and restoring America's technological and scientific place in the world.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by n6kuy ( 172098 )
      Barak may care, but I'd prefer that whoever becomes the next prez, he and the rest of the federal government keep their grubby mitts off the internet.

      Government doesn't need to define "broadband". Defining broadband to be X bits per second doesn't mean we automatically get fatter pipes. It just means that what we get is no longer called "broadband," if it doesn't meet the definition.

      The marketplace can define what it considers broadband. Government only needs to ensure there is a marketplace free of monopo
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Carbon016 ( 1129067 )
        Why do you think broadband is somehow different from other public utilities? Saying "oh gee we can just break up the monopolies" is all well and good but that's not really a solution as they'll just re-form with time. Companies are not going to go around laying fiber on a whim, there needs to be some sort of financial incentive. Utah has shown this through their UTOPIA program where municipal governments have installed the fiber themselves and then leased it out to a multitude of service providers (with a M
  • Misleading Rankings (Score:5, Informative)

    by SQL Error ( 16383 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:15AM (#22272638)
    I've seen some rankings that put Australia ahead of the U.S. in terms of broadband conenctivity, purely because of advertised speeds. As an Australian, I find this highly amusing.

    For example, you can readily get a 30mbit cable connection here. Telstra Bigpond's cheapest full-speed cable offering [bigpond.com] is $39.95 a month... And includes 200 megabytes of data. After which you pay 15 cents for each additional megabyte. (And they charge for uploads as well as downloads.)

    Yes, you can get fast, reasonably-priced internet access here. And if you use it, you'll hit your monthly quota in one minute.

    The smaller ISPs mostly don't engage in such blatant theft, but all of them have download limits, often quite small. Which would you prefer: 6mbit speed with no limit, or 24mbit and 5GB a month?

  • How much coverage? (Score:5, Informative)

    by a_nonamiss ( 743253 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @09:17AM (#22272648)
    Looking at the map of High Speed Providers by Zip Code [arstechnica.com], it would in fact appear that we as a nation are in pretty good shape. Problem is, the pictures people are using to educate our leaders reflect some fictional, non-existent universe. I live in Central Ohio. Looking at that map, it appears that I have PLENTY of choices for broadband coverage. It would also appear that there is no place in my state that isn't covered by at least 4-6 providers. I'd like some of whatever that map-maker was smoking, because it must be some good stuff. As an IT consultant, I can say assuredly that MOST places in the state have, at most, a single provider. Where I live, it's Insight (RoadRunner) or nothing. My parents have another, single, provider. Where I work, I have only one option. I have a client who lives about a 22 miles from me who has no broadband options at all.

    I think the fallacy here is that they're probably counting technologies as "broadband" that shouldn't really be considered. ISDN is not broadband. Counting Satellite as broadband is a mistake, too. If you've ever used it, you know what I'm talking about. You can't count the cellular 144k as broadband, because in practice, it's not really faster than dial-up, and you can't count a $1000/month leased line as broadband, because most people aren't going to pay 30% of their income to cover their broadband connection.

    We can't delude ourselves with fake numbers and expect to know what's really going on. We're holding on to our past glory not even realizing that we're becoming less and less relevant every day. Sure, we built a nuclear bomb and put a man on the moon, but do you know of anyone in today's workforce that was part of either of those projects? Our highway system, built in the 50's, is great, but there's a heavily travelled bridge down the street from me that's been out for 2 years. The World Trade Center got knocked down over 6 years ago, and there's still a giant smoldering hole in South Manhattan because we can't see past our greed and get our crap together. We have a president that thinks scientific advancement is sinful, and an aging, over-extended military that can't even defeat a bunch of disorganized rebels in two third-world countries.

    I hope and pray that we soon get our stuff together. I don't think it's too late yet, but it's getting pretty close.
    • I think the fallacy here is that they're probably counting technologies as "broadband" that shouldn't really be considered.

      Yes - that's one thing they're doing. Anything above 200 Kbit/second is being counted as broadband. Another thing they're doing is aggregating data by zip code. So if there's any provider that delivers service at this blazingly fast speed, they count the entire zip code as having access. Great, eh?

  • "America's consumers are now reaping the rewards of the Administration's pro-investment, deregulatory policies: a vigorous broadband marketplace in which providers using various platforms compete against one another on price, speed, mobility, content, and other service features."

    I'm speechless.

  • Ars Technica is reporting that while most people wouldn't know we have a national broadband policy in place, the president claims that not only do we have a plan, it's working spectacularly well.

    Not many know of Bush's hidden technical talent. For example, he recently found errors in Fermilab's calculations [theonion.com]. Don't underestimate the man.

  • According to Bush [sfgate.com], every American can now get affordable broadband.

    Because Bush defines "broadband" as 200Kbps (yes, kilobits). And "everyone" means that even if only one person in a ZIPcode could buy 200Kbps broadband, that ZIPcode is checked off as if everyone in it could get it. And considering the $TRILLIONS Bush has burned in handouts to his cronies (especially the telcos, these days his favorites), the definition of "affordable" is left as an exercise to the reader.

    Those relatively few readers whose b
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      TrollMods must be that single broadband user in their zipcode. Bush might be down, but he's still got a zombie army which will shout down any facts that show he's the worst president ever, and his fans the worst Americans ever.
  • Compared to Sweden.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by denoir ( 960304 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @10:31AM (#22273074)
    The US broadband situation is interesting a a contrast to the one we have here in Sweden. In all cities you can basically as a private person get a fiber connection up to 100 Mbit. Up north where very few people live, you can still get decent 10-20 Mbit ADSL connections. Here in Stockholm most ISPs are talking about upgrading to 1 Gbit/s late this year or early next year. I've had broadband since 1997 (10 Mbit back then). And it's cheap. I'm currently paying roughly $10/month for a 100 Mbit connection (although it's a special deal through the homeowner association my condo belongs to - the street price is somewhat higher)

    So why to we have faster and cheaper connections?

    * Smaller population (9 million). Although we are do not have a high population density (20/km compared to 31/km for the US), the problem does not scale in a linear fashion.

    * Über-centralization. In the US you have states, counties etc, all that have some form of local identity, laws and business. Sweden only has the national level. There are no local ISPs.

    * We've paid for it. While it might seem that we are paying less for faster connections, in fact we are not. We are and have been paying it through taxes. Sweden is a very socialist country. Although our ISPs are privately owned they are given enormous subsidies to make sure that every man, woman and reindeer gets a broadband connection no matter where they live. In essence, we in Stockholm are through taxes financing the building of broadbroadband connections up north where it is not economically feasible.

    So all in all it's a combination of population, geography and politics.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fireboy1919 ( 257783 )
      * Smaller population (9 million). Although we are do not have a high population density (20/km compared to 31/km for the US), the problem does not scale in a linear fashion.

      So you should be able to get it in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc. You can't get it anywhere - even when the population is extremely concentrated.

      * We've paid for it.

      So did we. [newnetworks.com] We aren't centralized, but virtually every single state wants fiber at the state level. They just can't force the telecos to do it.
  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @10:36AM (#22273102) Homepage

    The details probably look something like this:

    - Grant telephone companies retroactive immunity.

    - Allow wide-ranging, warrant-less surveillance of internet traffic.

    - Profit!!!!

    And PS - Stop terrorists!

    Hopefully they'll make whatever drug Cheney is smoking that let's him say with a straight face they've never violated anyone's civil liberties widely available. That should smooth over any remaining restlessness in the sheep.

    The ultimate irony would be if the next administration started using some of these tools. Funny the right wing never thinks about that until someone is investigating them. Then they're all about civil rights. Just like Bush was all about fiscal conservatism after the Democrats got control of Congress.

    Hypocrites.

  • Strange as a national network policy you think it would day something about the government taping in to all traffic and monitoring it. That is a national policy and it does affect everyone. Also said taping might have something to do with network uptake by end users.

    http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060515-6829.html [arstechnica.com]
  • Obama's Is Better (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Petey_Alchemist ( 711672 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @11:03AM (#22273286)
    Obama is the only candidate with an *actual* broadband plan.

    http://www.barackobama.com/issues/technology/ [barackobama.com]

    He supports net neutrality; content filtering conducted by parents, not the state; reforming the universal service fund to help subsidize broadband, and a whole lot more.

    That's why Wu supports him, and why I do too.
  • room.

    The problem with broadband in the U.S. is AT&T.

    That's _all_. AT&T(the new SBC) controls something like 60% of the US telco market. AT&T has no interested in next-gen broadband. Ergo, at least 60% of the US will be stuck in broadband hell.

    Look at other providers. Most cable companies provide unlimited downloads (up to something ridiculous, like 200-600 gb per month). Comcast is 8-16 Mbps. RCN is 10-20 Mbps. Even the smaller providers are 6-15 Mbps. And every one of these companies is serious about deploying DOCSIS 3.0, bringing node population way down, and boosting speeds to the 50-100 Mbps range in the next year or so.

    Look at Verizon. It's on an ambitious "wire our entire footprint with fiber" plan, at vast expense (hundreds of billions). Currently advertising 15/5 Mbps service, it is well known that they are designing the system to easily support 200+ Mbps connection (and provide enough bandwidth for the forseeable future).

    Look at Sprint/Verizon Wireless/T-Mobile. T-Mobile is on track to launch a nationwide HSDPA 3G network by the end of the year. Sprint/Verizon have rolled out EVDO RevA nationwide, and are currently planning Revs B and C. Sprint is also on track with a massive WiMax deployment nationwide.

    Look at the FCC. We're radically reorganizing the airwaves to free up huge blocks of spectrum for large investments into 2-way highspeed digital transmission. We're preparing for a complete transition of all broadcast from standard def analog to HD digital, and the subsequent free up of airwaves.

    And of course, these developments proceed fastest in markets with competition. Verizon is pushing FiOS to 25 Mbps in Comcast markets, where Comcast has moved its cable to 16+ Mbps. Optimum Online is at 30 Mbps in competitive markets.

    Competition works. The markets push these large behemoths to invest in new technologies, and they are rolling out this stuff as fast as can be expected. Towers are being refitted, huge quantities of equipment are being purchased, and the various ISPs are tearing up the streets installing new copper and fiber.

    All of that, except in AT&T territory. Which is, of course, most of the country. Compared to all of this, AT&T's plan is a hybrid fiber-copper network (that all the cable companies and Verizon rolled out years ago), blanketing markets with advertising claiming that you don't need more than 6 Mbps down, and 768k up; and, of course, using its monopoly profits to underprice its broadband (we can only sell you 3-6 Mbps, but you can get it for $14.99 a month!).

    Figure out a way to fix AT&T, and the rest of the industry will drag us into the future, and you'll see that our regulatory framework makes sense. Ignore AT&T, and no amount of incentive will fix things, because those robberbarrons running the company will figure out a way to pocket the money and continue to not invest in anything.
  • No, just not advancing as fast as other, smaller countries.

    Unless you are operating under the mistaken impression that the telcos and cable companies are tearing out wires and fiber.
  • When you guys simply measure how fast the bandwidth the average American has versus x, y, and z company. You look stupid.

    Comparing Canada where 90% of the population resides on the border. Or the numerous small European nations. Comparing a nation like the U.S which has a large amount of populated territory compared to the density.

    So I am tired of hearing how far we are falling behind. Because few of the countries we fall behind have a population as spread out as the U.S. nor as much of a area to cover. :
  • by Enrique1218 ( 603187 ) on Saturday February 02, 2008 @12:39PM (#22274088) Journal

    Republicans have terrible long term memory. Bush did not heed his father's caution about invading Iraq. Likewise, in forging this do-nothing policy, he forgot about another Republican- Dwight D. Eisenhower. One of Eisenhower's greatest achievements was a Interstate Highway System [wikipedia.org]. The highway system was completely funded by the US government and had tremendous impact the economy that lasts till this day. Goods and workers trek across that system everyday creating the life we have the today. The things we take for granted today would not exist without those roads. A national broadband network can have similar impact for the 21st century. Instead of cybertrekking across small roads like we do todays, we can move across superhighways.

    The US economy and society would benefit from this system great. Huge broadband pipes makes sending any form of data across that network practical. Advertising, entertainment, and commerce would get more opportunities. For those who don't like DRM, broadband could cut out those media companies behind the RIAA and MPAA that sit between the consumer and the artist. Scientist and student can have access to huge libraries all from their computers. Our economy grows on ides and such network would allow those ideas move efficiently.

    With a recession oncoming, private businesses aren't likely to build such a system anytime soon. Banks are still licking their wounds from the housing fiasco. I can imagine that they will be too shell shock to give loans for a broadband network. The US government is the biggest spender in the world and it doesn't matter if it wastes money on a technology that would be obsolete. I believe that governmental investment is the only way to get a broadband system off the ground.

    • Governments can build dark fiber networks to the home, but let competing service providers plug into those networks. The fiber itself should last for decades and you have to work with governments for right-of-way and other construction issues anyhow. Having one dark fiber network eliminates wasteful duplication. The electronics that plug into those networks evolve rapidly though, so leaving everything else to private industry makes sense. With the fiber in place even a local ISP can get up and running q
  • I generally assume that if Bush says something, it's a lie. This seems to be true even when he gets no advantage out of lying. (Perhaps he feels the need to constantly practice?)

    I'll admit that this approach doesn't give me a perfect batting record, but it's pretty good. He seems to have a real aversion to the truth. (Of course, you can't just assume that the opposite of what he says is the truth. He's not THAT unskilled a liar.)
  • The correct title of the report should have been "Netborked Nation: One Brand in America 2007".

  • Why was President Bush holding it prisoner in the first place? This is more fallout from 9/11 and the War on Scapegoats, isn't it?
  • "it doesn't contain a single extended discussion of the fact that the US has been slipping in a worldwide broadband rankings throughout the decade."

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay

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