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Comment Re:You people are so ignorant... (Score 1) 223

with the cost per home at $500 to $674

So, the original post makes that sound like a lot of money... but when monthly subscriptions are in the $80 to $120 range then that is a pretty good return on investment. Sure there are operating costs too, but your capital costs are paid for in less than a year at that rate and the infrastructure is meant to last for many years.

A local non-profit/coop/municipality could build out the network based on a per household investment of $500 to $700. Get a municipality to issue municipal bonds to cover the upfront cost and I think you have a pretty straightforward way to build out a fiber optic network

Comment Re:Different views on a free market (Score 1) 223

Unfortunately it is often the monopolies that have the power to influence the regulators and lawmakers in order to write the regulations in such a way as to keep out competition. So, when people are against "regulation", it is often the mind numbing regulations that big companies write in order to keep smaller companies from competing that they are really against.

Calling for less regulation or more regulation are two sides of the same coin, what we need are 'better' regulations that promote competition.

Comment Re:Dish/Direct TV should offer free basic channels (Score 1) 219

I am not suggesting that people hack their way to free premium content. I am suggesting that the advertising model could provide valuable content to viewers in order to entice them to connect their tvs to a satellite dish and still be a profitable part of the business and that for the satellite companies they would be in the living rooms of millions more households so they would have greater opportunities to sell additional content and services in addition to making money off the advertising. Heck try it with 5 channels like USA network, TNT, TBS or whichever ones might fit under the advertising revenue only model. It is a model that used to work for the big broadcasting networks, so there is no reason to think it won't work again for broadcast.

Comment Re:Dish/Direct TV should offer free basic channels (Score 1) 219

It appears that there are quite a few free satellite channels and the number of choices has been growing. So, if Montana PBS can afford to broadcast from a satellite, then I don't think the limiting factor is cost.

The question isn't whether it is economical to support a satellite tv channel with just advertising. I think the answer to that is yes it is possible. The question is about quality and profitability, since most of the free satellite tv channels seem to be less profitable and carry more niche programming than the cable and big network providers who seem to be quite happy to be making money on both advertising and on subscription costs... with some premium channels like HBO making money on top of that even with subscription costs in addition to the cable subscription.

So I think there is a valid question about having a big enough mass market to support some free channels and it still being profitable enough to make sense, but the evidence is there that it is financially within the range of some pretty niche individual channels to broadcast individual channels over satellite.

But what I am talking about is being able to point at one satellite with one dish and get 5, 10, 20, 30 HD and other channels of which some of those will attract enough interest to put a satellite dish on every home in America and point it at that satellite. I don't think it would be a loss leader, but it would itself be a profitable business.

Comment Re:Dish/Direct TV should offer free basic channels (Score 1) 219

Yes I think the pay per view would be pretty key for the satellite company to make money also. I could see the pay per view rental model itself being an interesting stand alone business model. But I think you have to throw in some advertising supported channels for it to make sense from a customer standpoint of plunking down a couple hundred bucks for equipment and maybe more for an install.

But if literally almost every household and bar in the country had satellite hooked up because the only cost was an upfront $200 in equipment that you could install yourself or hire someone to install, then that means over a hundred million households plus some number of businesses that might be willing to plop down $10 or $20 on any given month on top of all the additional advertising revenue from a larger viewing audience.

And if it is rolled out incrementally with a good selection of a few mass market oriented channels along with some niche channels, then I don't see it undercutting the existing core business nearly as much as it adds to it to have new dishes pointing up with customers having an opportunity to become paying customers with a few clicks or a phone call.

Sure, there might be some people who just go for the free option over paying $20 per month, but they were probably likely to just go with Internet streaming anyway if that is the case. Anyway, I think whichever company can make this work with the right mix of channels, pay per view and add-on services, and a good roll out, then they are going to be a big winner and it will really benefit consumers also.

Comment Re:Dish/Direct TV should offer free basic channels (Score 1) 219

The issues you have raised all seem pretty minor and manageable compared with the upside of the satellite companies having access to another 50 to 70 million households for advertising or for selling additional products and services.

Honestly these issues sound like trivial or even silly concerns. Pointing a dish is no different than pointing an antenna and somehow millions of people over a couple of generations of people managed to work that out and get OTA TV broadcasts. Dishes for existing paying customers get misaligned by strong winds from time to time and people have to either align them themselves or get someone in to do it, so it is really not anything different than now. And if they aren't paying customers then they simply wouldn't get customer service, just like people don't get in-home service from other broadcast tv stations. But if they wanted to become paying customers, then sure the company would have to do some quality control checks and have a list of supported equipment versus not supported. And I don't see the stolen equipment being much of an issue when most equipment prices I see are under $100 and most people mount the dishes up higher where they are harder to reach. I don't think Disney worries about whether the DVD player their DVD is playing on has been stolen or not. They are just concerned with getting paid for the DVD.

Comment Dish/Direct TV should offer free basic channels (Score 4, Interesting) 219

The satellite providers should provide some free basic tv with no monthly fees and just charge the full cost of equipment or allow people to use their own equipment and then make the additional revenue on the advertising side. Other paid cable channels could be an up sell with monthly subscriptions or pay per view. If the satellite providers presented a sufficiently attractive mix of advertising supported channels for cord cutters, then it would be a no brainer for people just to add satellite to their household mix of entertainment options for a couple hundred bucks worth of equipment. The number of viewers would go up by many millions. It really would be an opportunity for a win for the public and a big win for the satellite companies.

A better selection of free over the air advertising supported broadcasts are something that is really missing from the current market.

Comment Or in other words.... (Score 2) 284

Corporations are nothing more than a piece of paper, an act of incorporation, and should be treated as such.

Agreed on that point, but that leads me to the opposite conclusion. Individuals pursue values through institutions. It is the underlying right of the individual employees, workers, owners and executives that give the association of people that collectively we call a corporation the same rights as the individuals that are in association with one another. Call it whatever you want, a corporation or a knitting group, it is the rights of the individual to associate and retain their individual liberty both acting individually or in concert which is what must be respected by law.

Comment A free market requires competitiveness. (Score 1) 150

I am libertarian. A free market requires competition to remain free. The market for the last mile telecoms is not competitive. Most local markets are served by one telecom or maybe two. Whether monopoly is the result of free market competition or a natural monopoly is irrelevant. When a market becomes or is becoming monopolistic it becomes necessary to regulate. Of course regulation often backfires, so there is a difference between good regulation that results in more competition with better economic results and bad regulation which usually does nothing but freeze the status quo.

Comment Re:They aren't ending anything (Score 1) 208

I largely agree. Leaving the records in place with the business would be a huge difference and would address the primary constitutional problem with this program...

except it appears that this is a sham proposal:

1) The two hop provision would still cover a good portion of communications. Probably could cover 99% of all communications with some carefully selected "targets". So that is a non-starter.

2) The government has always had legal authority to get a constitutionally valid warrant to seize business records, they didn't need the Patriot Act to give them that authority. So the fact that they are asking for another law means they are again looking for legal cover to subvert the US constitution in some way.

3) 2015. Again, they don't need a new law or to extend the patriot act provisions that sunset next year in order to get a constitutionally valid warrant for specific call records or a particular person, so it should be presumed that what they are looking to do is really just to continue an unconstitutional activity of collecting more records than they have the constitutional power to.

Comment Re:Snowden (Score 1) 208

This begs the quesion......if Snowden hadn't released this info, would this "change" be taking place? I wish I could say that this was an admission from the White House that what he did was right, but we know that's not the truth.

The most egregious Patriot Act provisions are going to expire in 2015 and they faced growing opposition even before Snowden. If anything this proposal is Obama merely being opportunistic and trying to trick the public into believing that this is a "reform" when it is actually just their attempt to extend the business records collection provision of the Patriot Act and deflect attention away from the constitutional violations of the Obama administration.

Comment Re:Why the focus on some archaic communication too (Score 1) 208

Why all the focus on some archaic form of communication that's more a historical curiosity a few old people cling to than a relevant tool? I guess politicians are such old people? It'd be more interesting if they proposed a law to end bulk collection of Internet traffic.

Because the phone records program is not likely the only program, we haven't seen any confirmation that they are also collecting logs of Internet use and emails or text messages, but the same arguments (and legal precedent) apply to those "meta" records as apply to phone records. But it seems less threatening to people to talk about phone records than telling them that all your emails, text messages and Internet Activity are being monitored by the government also.

The phone "meta" data debate has always appeared to be a red herring to distract from the total surveillance of all communications that is now being established.

Comment Re:Status quo? (Score 1) 208

Plus there's the bit where this new proposal would codify the legality of what the NSA has been doing (and will continue to do).

This is what concerns me.

Obama has all the authority he needs to end the bulk data collection programs right now by executive order, yet he is keeping the program(s?) active as leverage to get some further extension of the provisions of the Patriot Act that are set to expire in 2015.

The most offensive Patriot Act provisions are set to expire in 2015 with no action by Congress. That is just next year. We can wait a year for the restoration of the rule of constitutional law and don't have to make this deal with the devil now.

Comment Re:They aren't ending anything (Score 1) 208

What this means in practice is that if you and I both call FedEx that is considered a "hop" and now our numbers are linked. They essentially can use any commonly called number to get to anyone else and you can cover a HUGE percentage of the population with a few common phone numbers. This is a "limitation" that really isn't a limitation.

Yes, A warrant should be limited to all the records of calls a particular "target" is making and receiving. If these records indicate a pattern of activity then investigate who the person is communicating with and then get an additional warrant if necessary.

Again we are talking about the US here, where the constitutional rule of law should apply.

Comment Re:We the Customers (Score 1) 150

A healthy market would result in local peering with content providers networks. So if a telecoms customers need better access to a providers content, then the content provider should be able to peer locally with the telecom or yes pay the telecom to use their backbone services, but that should be optional

At this point I think there should be nothing short of a complete separation between telecoms and the content providers. The Feds should demand that Comcast divest NBC Universal and all other content in order to merge the telecom portions of the business. The Internet is too big a part of the economy for the Feds to mess this up again.

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