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Comment Re:Hey, cable companies: (Score 1) 200

I wasn't talking about Sandy, OR,

I was, and the person I replied to was, and the comments I made were in the context of a municipal ISP. You're arguing about something completely different.

I can see you're ideologically opposed to municipal networks and I'm unlikely to change that so I'll quit trying.

So far, the only attempts you have made are trying to convince me that municipal infrastructure without municipal ISP service isn't bad, and I've not been talking about that. So yes, your arguments about a different situation are unlikely to change my mind about the actual topic of discussion. Hmmm.

Comment Re:Hey, cable companies: (Score 1) 200

You seem to have a very poor understanding of how democracies work. My understanding is they are operating at break-even, so people that don't use it aren't really paying anything.

Except the backing of the general fund when there is a loss. And the loss of competition when a for-profit company cannot compete and pulls out.

In fact, it's saved the city government money that they were spending on very expensive commercial Internet access.

If the city government didn't have internet access written into the cable franchise then they are fools. In any case, to HAVE internet service, the city is paying someone for it, and it is now being funded by the taxpayers -- just like it was before the city became it's own ISP. Those taxpayers are either "customers" of the city ISP or just plain old taxpayers who don't care about internet access.

Yes, being able to sell cheap municipal bonds helps.

Interest from the bonds comes from taxes, and the principle is guaranteed by the taxpayers. If the city ISP fails after the city issues bonds to build it, guess who gets to pay back the bond holders?

After all, a tiny city government just kicked their asses because they thought their customers had no other options.

No, the city just kicked their asses because the city doesn't have to make a profit or break even on the deal, and doesn't have to live by any of the franchise agreements they make commercial vendors live by. It's amazing how much cheaper you can sell something if you don't have to make a profit and can rely on shareholders to cover any losses.

Comment Re:Hey, cable companies: (Score 1) 200

There's no reason why you couldn't structure the municipal broadband such that it has to break even over some suitable period.

There's no reason it couldn't be structured to require that the prices be higher than any competing commercial ISP, too. But if you think that any city would do that, or that the people who are pushing the city to provide cheap broadband would accept that, you're naive at best. The whole purpose of a municipal ISP is to have lower rates than the commercial providers.

No, any city agency that can charge low prices and hide the losses by dipping into the general fund will do so.

Where I live one of the main local telcos is owned by the province, and rather than being subsidized it consistently provides a profit back to the provincial government, while simultaneously being highly competitive with the big national telcos.

So you actually live someplace where there are multiple phone companies all serving the same area with multiple sets of wires? Fascinating. Otherwise, they can't be competitive with "big national telcos" if the big national telcos don't actually serve your area. And since any franchise fees are simply moved from one pocket to the other for the provincial telco and are a profit for the provincial government when paid by the "big national telcos", the provincial telco has a big step up on showing a profit.

Comment Re:Hey, cable companies: (Score 0) 200

No, the city only provides the pipe, an ISP provides the actual internet service.

The city IS the ISP. Lmgtfy: here: "SandyNet is the Internet Service Provider owned by the people of Sandy and operated as a public service by the City of Sandy." Now tell me again how the city only owns the pipes. Tell my how ANY municipal ISP service "only provides the pipes". If they only provide the pipes, they aren't an ISP -- BY DEFINITION.

There is a monopoly on the infrastructure. No other cable companies are allowed to run lines to each house, only the one that the government has selected.

First, there are other ways to get internet than "cable television wire". Second, the only reason the government has "selected" just one cable television company is because only one cable television company applied for a franchise.

If you are so against government, why do you support a government-enforced cable monopoly?

I don't, because there isn't.

No, they don't need to break even, but they can.

Whether they can or nor depends on how many subs paying how much money they can get. The NEED not to break even is a fact. That fact means they can, and probably will, operate at below true cost and create unfair competition with commercial suppliers that not only don't have the taxpayer general fund to dip into, have true shareholders that deserve a return on their investment.

They don't drive out competition, they encourage it.

Right. They encourage them to go bankrupt. You can't run a commercial ISP below cost, especially when part of your costs are paying a franchise fee to the city for access to the rights of way -- that the city doesn't have to pay, or pays to itself. YOU as an ISP give some percentage of your gross to the city, and the city, at worst, gives itself 5% of their gross. Where does your 5% wind up? Same pocket that the city's, and it isn't yours.

An open municipal network provides way more competition that currently exists because it lowers the barriers to entry for ISPs,

You have got to be joking. It increases the barriers to entry. If you know that you're going to have to charge a price for services that competes with a non-profit taxpayer backed service that can operate at a loss, you're not going to try. Your barrier is now the fight you'll have to make to get any subscribers, and a need to make a profit.

I'm not one of the people who rail against Walmart, they were able to put mom and pops out of business because mom and pops are mostly inefficient.

Good. You're consistent, at least. Now suppose that Walmart came into town and operated that new store at a huge loss just to force Mom and Pop out. They can do that for a bit of time, using profits from other places to shore up that operation. Would you be so forgiving of Walmart if they did that?

If you are in favor of healthy competition you should be in favor of municipal networks.

The world of 1984 and Ministry of Truth has arrived.

Comment Re:Hey, cable companies: (Score 1) 200

And when commercial services just have no interest in serving your community?

Start one. Or accept the fact that it is not cost-effective to provide service where you are. "I don't want to pay what it would cost" isn't a reason to force others to subsidize your internet.

So, you just do without?

I would love it were there a Golden Corral in my town. There isn't. I cannot force Golden Corral to come to town, so I should get the city to open up a buffet restaurant operated by taxpayer funds? I should not worry that such a "business" operated at cost or below might drive other for-profit restaurants already in town out of business? No, I just do without. Sigh.

So, you doom a community to having no new companies move in because you cant give them good internet service?

You seem to think that the only internet service available to anyone is cable or city internet. If there were such a demand for internet (to make it "doom" not to have any), someone would provide it. It is very unlikely that any company looking at coming to that community is going to base their decision only on cable or city internet service. A place without a demand for internet already isn't going to be a great place to operate a company from for other reasons.

So, we have a law banning local governments from providing this service to their citizens

Well, as I think the summary points out, there are exemptions for places where no commercial company wants to build on their own. So no, the ban is limited in scope.

because we want to be sure that corporate America won't lose a potential market

Because we don't want to create an unfair marketplace for existing companies who are already providing the service, just not as cheaply as some people think it ought to be. So we get a law that prevents municipal competition with existing companies -- just like this one does -- that doesn't prevent it entirely when there is proven to be no competition -- just like this law.

Comment Re:Hey, cable companies: (Score 1) 200

where government only needs to charge cost of doing business.

They don't even need to charge that much. They can operate at a loss because the "shareholders" will be forced by law to cover the losses. What other business do you know of where the shareholders cannot sell their stock at any price and must continue to invest more money in the company even when it is losing money?

There are tons of things that people pay taxes for where they don't receive a direct benefit.

Internet doesn't need to be yet another one, since there are companies already in existence that can provide the service to those who want it.

I choose my own ISP and can easily switch if they do something I don't like, which certainly can't be said of the cable company monopoly that exists in most places.

Uhh, you can chose not to use the municipal service, but you can't choose not to pay taxes. You CAN choose not to use Comcast and you won't pay Comcast a dime if you don't use them. You can switch just as easily if it is Comcast or Citycast.

And the alleged "cable monopoly" isn't really, since there is no monopoly for ISPs and never has been. The only monopoly that used to exist was for cable TV service, but "video content" no longer has any monopolies, and "Internet" has never had one.

As you observe above, the city can provide the service cheaper than a private company because they don't need to make a profit, they just need to break even.

As I also observe, they don't need to break even. They can operate at a loss to drive out the commercial competition -- something that the FTC would be investigating were it one commercial venture trying to bankrupt another by such means. People complain vociferously about Walmart coming to town and driving the local mom and pop stores out of business because they cut prices, but at least Walmart has to make a profit overall. City run internet services don't need to do even that much, so why is it ok for them to drive out competition when it's so evil if Walmart does it?

Comment Re:Hey, cable companies: (Score 0) 200

If the municipality owned and maintained the conduit as the grandparent poster suggested, what's the significant difference between owning and managing empty pipes compared to owning and managing water filled pipes?

Internet service isn't "empty pipes". Would you pay for a fiber connection that was empty?

I don't doubt it happens but does it happen as often as the regular internet outages I see from Comcast?

More often here. My last internet outage was when I swapped modems and they had a bit of difficulty setting it up.

Well no, I expect that the customers of the service (i.e. me) will pay for it through access fees charged to the ISP's.

Municipal internet is paid for partly through customer fees and partly through taxes on everyone. You will be paying only a part of the true cost of the connection and service, and your neighbors who don't want city-run internet will be paying the rest. Do you remember, you are comparing your water service to your internet service, not just "empty pipes".

Comment Re:Results (Score 1) 200

whether the last mile is handled by an ISP or a group of individuals.

A group of people banding together to become an ISP _IS_ an ISP. And the law in question here doesn't stop that.

in which case no ISP would sell a group of people bandwidth to be sub-divided.

Upstream providers would be HAPPY to sell service to anyone they can. It's money in their pocket. Why wouldn't they? It won't be illegal for people to form an new ISP to take advantage of an underserved customer base. What other excuse would there be to not sell to them?

Comment Re:Hey, cable companies: (Score 1) 200

The people are subsidizing the costs, so why shouldn't the government be allowed to build and maintain a network for the benefit of the people which is paid for by the people? The answer of course is because the ISPs think they deserve everyone's money.

You have it 180 degrees backwards. When a commercial ISP serves a community it gets money from some of the people. When a government runs an ISP they get money from ALL of the people, even those who don't want the service. It's the governments who think they deserve everyone's money, and they regularly increase the amount of everyone's money they take by raising taxes.

Why shouldn't they do this for internet? Because it creates and unfair marketplace for existing commercial operations, and subsidizes the recipients of service by charging everyone. Anyone who complains about how unfair is it because Comcast has an economic monopoly in an area should be complaining just as loudly about this unfair competition practice.

And those who worry about NSA or FBI or other TLA monitoring of their communications should realize that federal law would make it acceptable for the government to inspect their communications if the government is providing the ISP service. Yes, keep in mind, there are exemptions to privacy that cover the ISP for actions taken to maintain or repair internet service. And it is much easier for such monitoring to take place in the first place when all the packets go through the government's routers. It's a government employee doing it.

Because a town getting together and deciding to fund and build their own network is a concrete example of introducing competition,

Not honest and fair competition, and because of that it isn't real competition. It's a veiled attempt at putting ALL of the incumbent ISPs out of business because they can NEVER compete against a service that doesn't have to worry about turning a profit or even breaking even. They cannot compete against a service where everyone in the coverage area is forced to either pay for and use the government service, or pay for the government service and pay extra to use the commercial service they prefer.

You might see the direct parallel between the antitrust actions against Microsoft for bundling IE as a browser, and the claims that by doing so they were hindering the third-party browser marketplace. How many web browsers do you see for sale today? How much larger a market share would Firefox or Opera have if the users had to pick one of IE/FF/Opera/other to install on their system instead of simply clicking on "The Internet" icon and getting IE (or now Edge)?

The correct answer to a problem where there are a large number of customers not being served by the existing commercial service is for another commercial service to come in and fill the need. It's not for the government to step in and take out the existing commercial services by selling below true cost and forcing them out of business. If the problem is "nobody can sell me service at a price that I like", then the answer is "too bad", not "make everyone else subsidize my service".

Comment Re:Hey, cable companies: (Score 2) 200

why not just run conduit for fiber as well, and then lease it out? I think the idea is genius.

I see nothing in this law that prevents such an operation, only the operation of an ISP service by the municipalities. In fact, I would bet that there are cities that do exactly this already, in places where there is sufficient population to justify the cost of the conduit.

Comment Re:Hey, cable companies: (Score 0) 200

My municipal water system is cheaper and far more reliable than my internet service.

I think there is a significant difference in the infrastructure between the two. You can't tell the difference between water molecules that come out your tap, but you desperately need the packet addressed to you to be the one coming out your internet tap, for one thing.

In the past 10 years, I can't remember a single unscheduled outage of water service,

Happens in my town on a semi-regular basis. Some nudge ran into a fire hydrant and cracked a pipe last week, taking out an entire block of water users, for example. Collapsed pipes that weren't maintained properly (because it was a government function to maintain them and they spent the money on less important, more visible things) several times last summer.

If that's the kind of service I can expect from government owned conduit, I say bring it on.

You will happily force others to pay for your happiness, it seems. The ends do not always justify the means.

Comment Re:Hey, cable companies: (Score 1) 200

It's amazing how well your incentives align when your shareholders are also your customers.

When some of the shareholders are the only customers, and the rest of the shareholders are required to invest by force of law. It's amazing how cheap internet can be when the "company" providing it doesn't have to worry about a profit or keeping the shareholders happy, and they don't have to provide service to everyone who is putting money into the system.

Comment Re:Does this mean that... (Score 1) 185

I got a post office box. That was two years before Amazon started shipping orders in multiple boxes.

Amazon has always shipped orders in multiple boxes when the circumstances warranted it. It has nothing to do with you getting a PO box.

Two orders delivered in eight boxes suggest that they don't have their shit together.

They didn't delivery two orders in eight boxes. They delivered the orders in a couple of boxes which got stolen, so they had to send them again. They can't predict when you're going to have things stolen, and they don't save money by sending everything you order to one central fulfillment center just so it gets to you in one box. And NOTHING they could have done would have made this set of "two orders" ever get to you in ONE box, since you had to have it redelivered at least once.

Your example is just ridiculous (and thus dishonest) since it conflates your complaint about not honoring a "minimize shipments" option on the original order with you having things delivered to an insecure location and they were stolen.

They must be squeezing their suppliers if they can afford to send an extra six boxes and packing materials for two orders.

It's called "insurance", and they had no way of preventing the extra costs by consolidating the reshipments into the original. It is stupid to expect them to be able to ship "everything" in one box when "everything" includes both items from different parts of the country AND sending them again when they were stolen from where YOU had them delivered.

Comment Re:Good night, and good luck (Score 1) 203

Now your local Sheriff gets to find out when you text your buddy about smoking a bowl, and unlike the NSA, he does care and might have decide to pay you a visit.

A bowl of what? Cheerios? You mean pot? If my local Sheriff wants a hit, I'll tell him to go buy his own. No, he can't have any of mine.

Comment Re:Does this mean that... (Score 1) 185

I had replacement packages that got shipped Same Day Express across the country to be delivered at 9PM at night. That isn't cheap.

Replacing lost or stolen packages has nothing to do with how many packages they ship or from where. Amazon is NOT going to waste money shipping one item to another fulfillment center just so it can be put in the same box as something else you ordered. It doesn't matter if you want them to ship it all in one box, if the items are coming from two different places there will be two different boxes.

If you have a problem with things being stolen from your front step, don't have them delivered to your front step. That's a different issue altogether from how many boxes they ship things in.

Amazon need to get their logistical shit together.

They have it together. They understand their costs better than you do.

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