Internet

The Broadband Crisis: Who Cares?

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At the Progress and Freedom Foundation blog, Adam Thierer notes that a recent Pew Center poll shows a slight majority of Americans don't think supplying broadband should be a big government priority. Thierer on why that might be:

there might be a number of reasons that respondents downplayed the importance of government actions to spur broadband diffusion, including that: (1) many folks are quite content with the Internet service they get today; (2) others might get their online fix at work or other places and not feel the need for it at home; and (3) some may not care two bits (excuse the pun) about broadband at all. More generally, I noted that, with all the other issues out there to consider, broadband policy just isn't that important to most folks in the larger scheme of things….

The Washington Post on the broadband poll, in a story that nonetheless notes:

The findings come as the Obama administration has allocated $7.2 billion in stimulus money for broadband grants, saying fast access to the Internet is essential to encourage innovation and expand the economy. The Federal Communications Commission and some members of Congress have also pushed to overhaul a $8 billion federal subsidy program used to bring phone lines to rural areas so that it will subsidize broadband, as well.

The Pew poll data. James Glassman at Reason on the "digital divide" (ever narrowing) a decade ago.

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  1. Arts organizations run these “free” events to please themselves, to prove that they aren’t selfish, money-grubbing bastards (like their parents). The point is to show that, for one day a year, at least, they don’t care about money. And, frankly, one day a year is enough.

    1. I think you’re on the wrong thread (and possibly the wrong site if history serves).

    2. Wrong thread. Go back 2 spaces.

  2. Sorry, this goes with the Shakespeare thing. Well, anyway. Better never than late, so screw it.

  3. Glassman. I wonder if people still come up to him and ask about that 30,000 business.

    1. I believe the figure was 36,000.

      1. I checked–you’re right. I’ve maligned the man.

  4. Yes, because if rural areas don’t have broadband the economy will be fucked.

    We don’t have the money, but we should buy it now, rather than in the future when (if) we will actually need it and it will cost less.

    1. More to the point, is there anyone out there who wants internet, but can’t get it?

      Seems to me the greatest demand is in areas that already have the infrastructure…so, ummm, lets stimulate something that people already have plenty of.

    2. I find that small towns in rural areas are the most wired places around. The Waffle Houses and Hardees in those towns always have WiFi and the houses always have high speed connections unless they’re occupied by only old people. My BF’s grandmother lived in a small town in north Florida and when we went up for her funeral he was contemplating whether to bring his laptop because his grandmother’s house (she died when she was 100) didn’t have net connection. I told him that there would be WiFi everywhere in that town–and there was. EVERYONE was wired; nothing else to do in small towns.

      1. So much this. And the Days Inns/Super 8s of the world in rural areas tend to have 10-meg-plus internet connections and amazing satellite selections.

        /Many of them in overbuilt roadside oasis, such as Jackson, TN, caused by the housing bubble, but, even standalones in Arkansas/Alabama/Indiana have the same thing going for ’em.

  5. Jesus fucking christ. I need a bigger dick, do you think I can get a billion from Obama for that?

    Apparently there is no end the money supply.

    1. You’re screwed, dude. A retired military friend tells me that Tricare won’t cover Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra, so, obviously, the gub’mint does NOT care if your dick works, so it’s doubtful they give a shit how big it is. Sorry.

    2. You’re outta luck Greer. A retired military friend informs me that Tricare refuses to cover (names for three popular erection pills that are blocked by the Reason Spam filter), so, obviously the gub’mint doesn’t give a shit if your junk works, so it’s likely they also don’t care how big it is, either.

      1. The spam filter shouldn’t block the technical name of one of the drugs: mycoxafloppin

    3. Greer, No you can’t get the money for that. But you might get the money to buy a couple of chicks that says you do.

    4. No, but if you run for Congress you could be a giant among ‘men’.

  6. Maybe Obama should just send a few billion straight to eBay?

  7. This reminds me of that Digital Divide bullshit.

    1. At the time is was bullshit.

      Every year it becomes less bullshit. At some point you will no longer get statements and bills mailed to your house, and online payments will become mandatory. Checks are pretty much obsolete. At some point it will hit critical mass where they will no longer give them out or accept them.

      1. Correction

        At the time it was bullshit

        1. I meant that it was bullshit at the time. I did a study on universal access (this was back when the eRate stuff first hit), and one of the things I looked at were penetration rates for things like cable, TV ownership, broadband, etc. Pretty incredible how widespread access was and the rate it was growing, even in the late 90s.

          Proponents of subsidized access are well aware, of course, that the market will get things to people far, far faster than anything they might do (esp. in new technologies). It’s all about power and control, naturally.

          1. Considering how much money we’ve paid into the Universal Service Fund. Everyone should have access by now.

            1. There’s some great research showing the universal service was bullshit from the beginning. Rural co-ops had already done great work at getting phone service to people who didn’t have it. But universal service was the major justification for the government getting in bed with Ma Bell and granting a monopoly.

              1. There’s some great research showing the universal service was bullshit from the beginning.

                *GASP* Extra, gov’t imposed, fees could be bullshit?! Say it aint so!

                1. Agreed, but conventional wisdom says otherwise. Unfortunately.

      2. Consider that the people on the other side of the digital divide generally don’t have checking accounts in the first place. Most of them aren’t writing checks and mailing them out in the first place.

        Consider also the pace of cellphone innovation. You can already get webpages on phones more or less as they appear on a computer. That functionality will be even cheaper as time goes by. Universal web access on free-with-a-contract cellphones is less than five years away.

  8. I don’t really buy into the “crisis” terminology but I do think the potential benefits of really good national broadband would be on par with the interstate system and basic telephone service.

    I also think we’d be even better off if the government got way the hell out of communications altogether.

    1. on par with the interstate system

      So, eventually we’ll be burdened with internet sprawl too?

  9. I must confess to being one of the people who lives so far out, that we do not have cable or broadband. For me it is not a huge issue, but it is for the families out where I live. It is similiar to the needs for electricity and telephone which the government did assist for the provision to rural families.

    1. I’m sure they can get dsl. And not it is NOT similar to electricity.

      1. “”I’m sure they can get dsl. “”

        And you would be wrong. You can’t get DSL in some part of populated areas because your place is too far from the CO.

        “”And not it is NOT similar to electricity.””

        You say that now. But one day your refridgerator may not work unless it’s hooked into a network.

        1. But one day your refridgerator may not work unless it’s hooked into a network.

          And that’s the day when I switch to a cold cellar.

    2. It is similiar to the needs for electricity and telephone which the government did assist for the provision to rural families.

      Why should the government subsidize with tax payer money your opulent life style in the countyside?

      1. Exactly. I pay through the nose to live in a highly-populated area, and as a result I have access to lots of things that don’t exist in the countryside; but at the same time, I live in a 1000ft? apartment instead of a 4000ft? McMansion, I have no yard to speak of, and I have to deal with douchebags making noise at all hours of the night.

        If Janice’s neighbors want broadband, they can pay for it themselves. There are tradeoffs to living everywhere: people need to stop looking for handouts to eliminate some of theirs.

    3. If you look up and can see sky, you have access to broadband. It just requires a satellite dish.

      1. Why do you hate Morlocks?

  10. Interestingly, Congress pulled some of the funds for the recent $26 billion Teacher Bailout (aka Democratic Vote Buying Bill) not only from Food Stamps for poor people, but also by reclaiming some $302 million in unspent broadband stimulus funds. http://blog.connectedplanetonl…..s-funding/

  11. But, but, the economy is gonna TANK if people in West Bumfuck can’t see videos on YouTube or via Netflix without waiting for them to partially download first!!

  12. “”The findings come as the Obama administration has allocated $7.2 billion in stimulus money for broadband grants, saying fast access to the Internet is essential to encourage innovation and expand the economy.””

    What people may not know is that the worst part of that sentence might not be him linking it to the economy, but the federal demands that come with accecpting the stimulus dollars.

  13. facebook is worth around 11 billion…

    Fucking facebook!!

    If that pile of shit which only gets around 0.4% click-throughs with its ads is worth that much it would seem to me that private enterprise can pay for its own damn pipes.

    Why the fuck does the government need to subsidize Google, Amazon and Orbitz?

    1. It’s like sports stadiums.

      1. I dunno. I’ve never gotten drunk and started a fight in the parking lot of the Internet.

        1. You need to comment here longer.

          1. Drink!

            (I don’t think that’s one of the rules in the drinking game, but it should be.)

    2. “”facebook is worth around 11 billion…””

      What does facebook have that’s worth so much? Our personal information?

      1. B
        L
        A
        C
        K
        M
        A
        I
        L

        1. Those people who got fired because their boss saw something on their facebook? Yeah, they got a call from Facebook’s Blackmail Dept the day before.

        2. I found this site looking for cases of blackmail by Facebook. I just tried to log into my very long-term Facebook account & suddenly – as a “security” measure – I must tell them my mobile phone number! I cannot access my Facebook page otherwise. I was refused access without telling them a mobile number and taken to < https://www.facebook.com/help/?page=1178 > for an explanation. Why a sudden control imposition on a long-term user? Why mobile phone numbers that can be obtained without a residence? Multiple recent online articles refer to Facebook’s privacy invasion e.g. searchenginepeople.com: “… cell phone numbers of users are no longer private. They can be accessed by third party developers and external websites.” Many people do not have accessible mobile phones – are we permanently barred from our own Pages & information with zero advance warning? Is this legal? Before the sudden “security” demand, at Facebook’s insistence, I had “updated” my Amnesty International group’s page for our Osaka group. It was, in fact, a huge downgrade & removed all visible information about & access to the group, but, regardless, if Facebook were going to impose such a measure, why wasn’t I informed in advance? I hope that Facebook is not hunting down human rights activists. I am the only administrator for the group, and I can only administer the Page from that specific account. Now I cannot access it at all. Facebook is manipulating us into supplying very private information or else completely baring long-term users from access to their own Facebook pages. It feels utterly sinister.

          Any ideas about what I can do about this?

  14. one of the fucktwat bloggers at gizmodo decided that the 53% of people who believe that the goverment shouldn’t provide high speed intarwebs to the poor farmers are all dicks. fuck that guy.

    1. You’re too kind. Fuck all of gizmodo.

    2. Poor farmers

      Do poeple actually believe farmers are poor in this day and age?

      1. Hey, be fair, there’s got to be atleast one or two farmers in america who don’t receive subsidies.

  15. Didn’t you heard? High-speed internet is a fundamental right guaranteed by the 5th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

    Geez Louise, next thing ya know, gays will want to get married.

  16. How many of the people wanting to subsidize rural life (internet, REA, bus service) are the same people bitching about Urban Sprawl?

    1. But but but, if you spread out the sprawl it won’t be so…spawly?

      1. I found this site looking for cases of blackmail by Facebook. I just tried to log into my very long-term Facebook account & suddenly – as a “security” measure – I must tell them my mobile phone number! I cannot access my Facebook page otherwise. I was refused access without telling them a mobile number and taken to < https://www.facebook.com/help/?page=1178 > for an explanation. Why a sudden control imposition on a long-term user? Why mobile phone numbers that can be obtained without a residence? Multiple recent online articles refer to Facebook’s privacy invasion e.g. searchenginepeople.com: “… cell phone numbers of users are no longer private. They can be accessed by third party developers and external websites.” Many people do not have accessible mobile phones – are we permanently barred from our own Pages & information with zero advance warning? Is this legal? Before the sudden “security” demand, at Facebook’s insistence, I had “updated” my Amnesty International group’s page. It was, in fact, a huge downgrade & removed all visible information about & access to the group, but, regardless, if Facebook were going to impose such a measure, why wasn’t I informed in advance? I hope that Facebook is not hunting down human rights activists. I am the only administrator for the group, and I can only administer the Page from that specific account. Now I cannot access it at all. Facebook is manipulating us into supplying very private information or else completely baring long-term users from access to their own Facebook pages. It feels utterly sinister.

        Any ideas about what I can do about this?

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