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Comment Re:Hey, cable companies: (Score 3, Insightful) 200

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.

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. In fact, it's saved the city government money that they were spending on very expensive commercial Internet access. Their problem is that demand has forced them to accelerate their build out (they projected very conservatively). Yes, being able to sell cheap municipal bonds helps. But capital isn't what's holding back the telcos. After all, a tiny city government just kicked their asses because they thought their customers had no other options. Also, it turns out that having widely available cheap and fast Internet has externalities that benefit even people that don't have it at home. Hard to fit on to a balance sheet, but still true!
You should really follow up on this, because it sounds like it would change your world view. Look up Jeremy Pietzold; he'd be happy to answer any reasonably worded questions you have about SandyNet. I think you'd find that he's generally an economic conservative, but perhaps he's more pragmatic than some. He's certainly invested more time than anybody here on this topic.

Comment Re:Hey, cable companies: (Score 5, Insightful) 200

I'm really surprised Wired published that. TechFreedom is a well-known industry schill. They had an equally stupid article against net neutrality. I love this from a recent article of theirs:

The Wheeler FCC has fixated on building government-run gigabit networks to serve small numbers of users in heavily Democratic cities. We need a more humble, realistic, pragmatic and inclusive approach.

The best, cheapest Internet access in America is consistently community owned. And it doesn't even have to be a large community. The small town of Sandy, OR has the best, cheapest Internet in the country. Forty dollars for 300Mbps symmetric or $60 for gigabit. No bandwidth cap. And they work with content providers like Netflix so their citizens get the fastest, highest quality content they can. Far better than any of the cable companies, which refuse to work with Netflix without significant payment. It's amazing how well your incentives align when your shareholders are also your customers.

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

Sorry, but this is a horrible idea. That's like cutting a 160 foot swath across a state and then having each package delivery company pave their own roads. Or putting up power poles and forcing a bunch of power companies to run the wire. You've just significantly increased the costs. And when you're talking about tunneling, they go up fast. Just build the damn road. Run fiber to each building and run it as a utility. If you want to introduce competition, then allow ISPs to lease fiber connections to individual homes. There is simply no reason to run the exact same fiber to the exact same building three times so one of them can be used.

Comment Re:Wrong (Score 1) 333

CompanyA sells a product that claims it contains magic. You find it has none, you sue them for false advertising.

So, I'm supposed to test the chemical makeup of every product I buy and keep some lawyers on hand so that I can sue and win... the few bucks I paid for the product. Sounds like a reasonable system. What seastead should I move to?

Comment Re:Wrong battle. (Score 1) 410

I think we saw with the ILECs in the 90's that unbundling doesn't work unless the infrastructure company can't provide any services on top of that infrastructure. Otherwise there is too much incentive to shift costs and play games with other service providers, favoring your services in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. And they will still need to be regulated like a utility. It does allow a company to incrementally build competing infrastructure, but it's debatable whether that is an efficient allocation of resources.

Comment Re:Comcast says the routers cost too much (Score 1) 410

If you look at Comcast's income statement for 2013, you'll see rising profits. They made 6.816 billion dollars in 2013. I find it disingenuous (fucking bullshit) for them to claim these content providers are costing them money.

In reality it is likely the opposite, the content providers are increasing the demand for their product and allowing Comcast to charge more for service. Their relation to content providers is somewhat like Apple's relation to App providers.

Except Apple doesn't make 97% margins (it's no longer break-even, but it is way, way less than 30%).

Comment Re:Monopoly Rights Are Wrong (Score 1) 410

This is exactly what would happen if we'd given UPS a monopoly on all the roads. Would anyone be surprised that they started charging FedEx more? So why is anyone surprised by this? The solution is the same one we've used with roads: public infrastructure (municipal/public-utility fiber) that any company can build on top of.

Comment Re:Wrong battle. (Score 2) 410

I suspect that this is because cable and internet phone service are very high-margin, while internet service is not.

No, it's quite the opposite. Once you're making 97% margins on your Internet customers and have no competition, why in the hell would you put any money in to it? You're going to have a hard time finding any ROI.

Comment Re:Nice Website You Have There... (Score 5, Insightful) 410

As long as ISPs are not allowed to intentionally degrade non-premium traffic on the back of direct-peering deals, I see no fundamental problem with it.

Non-premium traffic with be de-facto downgraded, because even if they don't actively do it, large monopoly ISPs will be incentivized to make non-premium traffic as unreliable as possible. So whether it is simply slashing the capital budget of non-premium infrastructure or not performing repairs in a timely manner or a hundred other small things, non-premium traffic has to suffer. How long before there are multiple tiers of premium traffic? The monopoly ISPs face no competition or regulation; now they simply have to figure out how to maximize their rents.

Comment Re:Wrong battle. (Score 5, Insightful) 410

Still wrong battle. Franchises are simply agreements to use a city's rights-of-way. They've been non-exclusive since 1992. The problem is that building wireline infrastructure is extremely capital expensive and has severely diminishing returns in areas that are already saturated by a competitor. Your business plan is to sink a bunch of capital into a business and then compete on price with a company that has no capital costs? Good luck raising the billions you'll need for that.

No, the solution here is municipal fiber networks that are managed as public utilities that sell wholesale to ISPs. Just like how we have multiple shipping companies that use public infrastructure to transport packages between customers. Then you can have as many different competitors as the market will bear with as many different business plans. In that situation, the Comcast-Netflix deal would never have happened, because the competing ISPs would have been begging Netflix to install hardware in their data centers to make their customers' experience as good as possible. An ISP trying to make Netflix slower would have lost every customer that cares about Netflix (which apparently is a lot of them).

Comment Re:why licensing? (Score 1) 97

FTFA: "IPTV is digital television delivered through a high speed Internet connection, instead of by the traditional cable method." They are talking about FiOS and Google Fiber (which is why people who read it also noticed a reference to a comment from a Google). Don't worry, grandpa, the guvmint isn't coming to take away your Internets.

Comment Re:Yeah, and they'd go broke (Score 2) 391

Yeah, the problem is that if you sell them at $75, you've now set the price expectation for all Surfaces going forward. What could Microsoft possibly do to justify selling a Surface 2 at $199? And that is taking a huge loss on any kind of decent tablet. The estimates for Apple's bill of materials on a $499 iPad is about $300 (remember, that doesn't include R&D and other costs) and they have the best supply chain in the world. Microsoft can't go below their current $349 if they ever plan on being successful in this market and even that is setting them up for failure.

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