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Americans don’t need fast home Internet service, FCC suggests (arstechnica.com)
277 points by JacksonGariety on Aug 9, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 188 comments



I was recently fortunate enough to upgrade to 1Gb symmetrical fiber. I can say that it is absolutely fantastic. You really can do things you never did before:

1. I can host time-machine backups for my entire family on my home server, allow them to have off-site backups.

2. I can provide openVPN service for my entire family when they're outside of the home. I can also browse full-time on my own openVPN client at full-speed.

3. I can seed legitimate torrents for far, far longer than I normally would. For example, new Ubuntu releases.

4. I "donate" some of my bandwidth to other people and projects, allowing them to host files from my home.

5. I can test and host my own websites/services from my house. If it gets a little traction it won't destroy my entire internet.

These are all things that simply were not possible when I was with Comcast, with only 10 Mb/s upload and bandwidth caps. If we completely deregulate internet I'm afraid they will be impossible for most everyone.


Your list of things is fantastic and I could see the benefit of each and every one of them.

But here's the issue.

When you tell non-tech-savvy people about "provid[ing] openVPN service for [your] entire family" they go wall-eyed. That's the best-case scenario. In the worst case scenario (e.g. politicians and telecom execs), people become suspicious about what you might be hiding.

Increasingly (for going on 50 years now), the US is an authoritarian state with low tolerance for people who insist on exercising the rights granted them in the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. (I'm thinking of the right be secure against illegal searches expressed in the 4th Amendment and the use of cryptography as a munition protected by the Second Amendment.)


All odd, because the argument ultimately boils down to, "I don't want to wait for X to download."


I think the largest difference for me is in QoS, not in bandwidth. I generally use 802.11ac so I'm capped at 450mbps of the ~1000 available.

The service is always on, it's always stable, there's no weird routing or congestion latency at peak hours, it's just... functional.

That's what's miraculous about it to me - basically never needing to reset the router or reconfigure things. Internet as reliable as electricity. I literally don't even think about it.

Also the total cost difference is $45 a month for a far more satisfying experience.


With AT&T I actually connect my junction to a (provided) external battery, so if the power goes out, I can hook up my router/modem to a UPC and still have internet for three days. I don't know if this is the same with coaxial/comcast.


> I generally use 802.11ac so I'm capped at 450mbps of the ~1000 available.

How come? I generally get between 800-1200Mbps on 802.11ac, real, measured speed with iPerf3.


he only has one wifi antenna , so max 433Mbit. If your Router/Access Point and your client has more then you will also have more speed. 867Mbit with 2 antennas and so on


What wifi router do you use? Also, do you use custom firmware?


I use Mikrotik access points: https://routerboard.com

I use several models, check out the dual concurrent triple chain ones like: https://mikrotik.com/product/RB962UiGS-5HacT2HnT

I wrote a little bit about my set-up here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14743866

> Also, do you use custom firmware?

No, just standard Mikrotik firmware.


Thanks for the reference, I picked one up to play with :) I used to hack on a grotty old cisco router for my home network but it's been ~15 years since that was relevant.


If I had a connection anywhere near that fast I'd do (and have done) many of the things listed. The problem for me and many others is that many ISPs don't allow those activities. I work from home and value a solid connection, but I'm on the slowest fiber offered, 20Mb both ways.

I don't need more speed, I need more freedom to use what I have.


>1. I can host time-machine backups for my entire family on my home server, allow them to have off-site backups.

What upstream speed do your family have? I've got the equipment and the bandwidth to do this, but my family have <1 megabit upstream available.


They will need to do the backups while they're over if they aren't also on fiber.


they said 1 gig symmetrical


Doesn't necessarily mean that's what their family are connected with (to the backup server).


Careful - your ISP ToS might explicitly forbid you from hosting internet facing services over your connection.


6. lightning strikes nearby won't enter your home over fiber like happened to me 4x over coax, losing your modem at best. NC summer thunderstorms are brutal.


We didn't need anything faster than dial-up for the web of 1999.

It's all the things yet unimagined that ubiquitous high speed internet would enable that's the real tragedy here.

The complete failure of imagination of today's "leaders" is very disheartening.


This is an excellent point. The FCC's shameful cowing to ISPs has a huge opportunity cost to consumers.

Greater connectivity creates new business opportunities. Uber would be impossible without smartphones and reliable data. Netflix would be a DVD company without high-speed home internet.

When the FCC tells us we "don't need" better internet, it forecloses whole new categories of businesses.


Re: Uber, the US has more wireless broadband subscriptions per capita, according to the OECD, than anyone but Japan and Finland (basically tied with Sweden). Re: Netflix, we just broke into the top 10 on Akamai's ranking of average connection speed. On both metrics, we blow away the other big Western democracies (the U.K., France, and Germany).


I question the utility of average here. If I have a single gigabit user, I can dwarf a whole lot of 2-3 megabit connections. Good that we're ahead, but medians would be helpful here to give a better picture. Hopefully Akamai dealt with this somehow in their methodology.


I agree with you that a /median/ average is more illustrative of the progress than a /mode/ average.

However even better would be an actual /map/ showing you by area of ISP service, the fastest speeds (down and up) that an ISP is willing to attempt* (believe in a normal case they have a reasonable chance of success) to provide.

Then from that map, weighted by population density, reaching qualitative conclusions; such as mode average based on population, or the cutoffs at 20 and 80% of the population.


Something is very wrong here. What other business/industry is there which wants you to use less of their product at a slower rate? (only electricity companies pushing for greater efficiency comes to mind). In a healthy capitalist economy, this shouldn't happen.


Every business that sells a tiny amount of product in a huge amount of packaging.

The reasoning is the same: by keeping the cost per unit as low as the customer will tolerate, you make more profit without building out more capacity.

If most customers of an ISP are currently on a 10 Mbit/s connection, do you think they'll pay 100x for 1 Gbit/s?


I'm not sure - you are implying that ISPs don't want faster internet? Why would it be in their interest not to have faster offerings?


ISPs don't want faster internet if it means they need to invest. ISPs want to maximize their profit, not the speed of their internets.


Over what time frame?


Isn't that business model of the ISP - you invest in infrastructure and then collect profits from it, selling subscriptions? The existence of ISPs is the proof that they do want to invest - otherwise who did the investments?

> ISPs want to maximize their profit, not the speed of their internets.

How this is contradictory? If you have faster network, you can have more people subscribing and paying more money.


The key here is the need to invest more. The ISPs would rather milk the existing investment. It is also not a given that people would pay enough more for a faster network.


I don't believe faster internet is the top priority of most American ISPs. This is the quality of a monopoly- the focus on maximizing profits. It's not that having faster internet is bad for them as much as it's a waste of time and money compared to simply milking their existing monopoly.

And make no mistake, ISPs are a monopoly. Due to 1) the inherent difficulty of building a broadband network 2) a hellish patchwork of local regulations and government-granted exclusivity deals, ISPs function in a state of basic monopoly.

Densely populated areas can have multiple options for high-speed internet, but the market is not bursting with competition.

If you don't have to compete, what's the point of building out faster internet? Why spend more on investment without competition? Why not just focus on making as much money as possible off previous investments?


> It's all the things yet unimagined that ubiquitous high speed internet would enable that's the real tragedy here.

And let's not forget that even the things that seem normal and widely available are out of reach for many people: Video streaming, data backups and other tasks just aren't an option for people in underserved areas. Now add a whole family / household and your already inadequately met bandwith equirements multiply.


Modern American "conservatism" (or at least Trumpism) isn't even about holding ground on the present, its backpedaling to the past. The audience that eats up this rhetoric want to reverse entropy and will destroying anything they can to get a facsimile of it.


Your problems with monopolies and regulatory capture started way before Trump came along.


But the curve got a whole lot worse.


Government in the US doesn't govern anymore. Period.


It never did, in US we are self-governed, that was the whole idea.


Pedantry is unbecoming.


It's not really pedantry, I'm not picking on the words, but the concept. Many here, especially a lot of people coming from places with a strong government, decry the fact that US government does very little and seemingly can't make progress. This is by design: US institutions are setup in a way so only absolutely non controversial initiatiaves would pass, while the rest would be handled by citizens themselves or smaller governments on a regional level. Such governing structure was the fundamental innovation made at the time the US was established compared to the old tyrannical governments of the past, and I find it appalling that many people here, many of whom call themselves progressives, completely miss that fact.


The internet innovation spirit in the US is high but the companies in charge, and oversight, are on the milk it train.

Cable and broadband companies were massively innovating in the 90s and early 2000s, now they are focusing on their 'innovation' on pricing and milking it by: slowing things down, data capping it, lobbying for more monopoly control, trying to get access to your private info and constant pricing games. All of these actions are due to lack of product innovation and to make up for lost revenues of not just increasing capacity and speeds thus offering a better product people will pay more for.

All we can hope for is another disruptive network innovation that puts them in the rear-view or adds some competition like Google Fiber did or others. Google Fiber had an amazing impact to pricing and speeds in any market they entered. For the most part broadband has been lagging on real innovation and expansion, in favor of MBA metric pricing games and value extraction for some time.


Great so we can let ISPs off the hook for all the money we've already given them for faster service they haven't provided. This is how our government works folks.


It's mostly how our Republican governments work.


Both sides are guilty of this, anyone who believe one party is less in it for fame, power, and money, than the other is just as naive as those that voted in our current president.


> Both sides are guilty of this,

This republican excuse for poor government is so tired. Further, from the third paragraph in the article:

> But during the Obama administration, the FCC determined repeatedly that broadband isn't reaching Americans fast enough, pointing in particular to lagging deployment in rural areas.

So no, it's not really both sides here. There is very clearly one side doing a shit job.


It's a false equivalency. One party's appointee fought for net neutrality and tried to regulated the ISPs as a utility; the other's is now actively dismantling everything his predecessor had accomplished, not even trying to pretend it's not in the ISPs' interests.


I'm speaking in a broader sense. Both parties have agendas, many of which behind closed doors equate to self improvement and consolidation of power. They just wrap the turd up in a red or blue bow.


This is doubling down on the false equivalence. The phrase "broader sense" is a weak counter to the accurately identified flaw in your approach.


>Both sides are guilty of this, anyone who believe one party is less in it for fame, power, and money, than the other is just as naive as those that voted in our current president.

This idea is not only false but also poisonous to democracy. If it becomes dominant then the US will be vulnerable to revolution. While I think an overhaul of the constitution is about time, a revolution is usually highly unpleasant.

If all democratic choices are equally bad, then you have two choices left: Resignation or revolution. This is kind of what Trump is about, I think: A lot of angry people wanted to see if they could vote for something else than the traditional two ideologies that they regarded as equally bad.


Have you worked for the government, have you been behind closed doors with representatives of both parties? I have and you're foolish if you don't think they have similar agendas with fringe conflicts.


Obviously they do. Power corrupts and we all know this. The question is whether they are equally bad.


I could copy, paste and format, but I'll just link this comment instead, because it's pretty thorough in showing how wrong that idea is:

https://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/6s1mge/10_membe...


No. This both-sidesism is laughably wrong. There are extremely clear distinctions between the two parties. Anyone claiming they are the same is either intellectually lazy or corrupt.


Well, ok, fair point. You're forcing me to better articulate myself (I'm not the GP, but still...).

It's not that they're "the same," but they've come to reach a homeostasis that protects each side while not truly fixing hard problems. They may not have sought that out intentionally, but now that they're in it, they're intentionally, happily, staying in it.

The end result is, we're watching a play, where each side has some powerful dramatic lines full of tense conflict, but it's all fake and they're really cooperating to keep everything pretty much the same.


The end result is, we're watching a play, where each side has some powerful dramatic lines full of tense conflict, but it's all fake and they're really cooperating to keep everything pretty much the same.

I used to believe that, but I no longer do. The Trump administration, in particular the leaks associated with it, has given us a perspective that we've never had before as private citizens.

There really is a good side and a bad side here, and they are not secretly in bed with each other. No one would make themselves look this incompetent if they were reading from a prewritten script.


I'm surprised that people don't note again and again that the fearmongering and bitching about things like the ACA that the Republicans have done for this entire decade has led them into power... and yet they've got nothing to offer. They've been complaining about the ACA for 7 years now, and have had that long to develop a workable alternative, and they have nothing serious. You know, something that a white-haired conservative who claims to be good at management should actually have. Why are the Republicans not having their feet held to the same fire that they demanded when they were in opposition? Media pundits are too busy laughing at Trump to really bother.

We had the same thing happen here in Australia a few years previous; the opposition party just said "No!" to everything that the incumbent government was trying. They got into power, and then realised that that trick only works when you're in opposition... and when that's the only muscle you've exercised, you're now lost at sea with no idea what to do. They had nothing but poorly-planned destruction on the cards; nothing constructive has come from their tenure.


But one possible explanation -- Trump is a "Washington outsider." If both sides are cooperating to keep up the farce while not damaging the status quo, then _both sides_ would need to resist Trump ... because he is unaware of the game and hasn't committed to playing it.

Could be a great opportunity to send a message to the voters, "Hey, don't try putting outsiders in here."

(None of that is meant to take away from the crazy mistakes the Trump administration has been making. The Mooch!)


This isn't true either. As instance, whether or not you believe O-care was a good thing, the Democrats were ready to sacrifice their majority for it. On the reverse, the Republicans promised repeals for six years before cowardly running away from it to save their hides.


Idk why you're being downvoted. Even if the parties have a disagreement it is usually just superficial. Both are still in favor of things like bombing, for example, both wanted TPP (and Trump killed it, funny enough) and a myriad of other things. They aren't exactly the same, but they are on a lot of matters.


They're being downvoted because their point, and yours, is absolutely bunk. You pick one or two token things on which they agree, and ignore an entire host of issues on which they have significant differences.


You missed what I wrote. Of course they disagree on things, but those things are largely superficial. They don't disagree, for example, on foreign policy. They don't disagree on the NSA collecting bulk data, they don't disagree on promoting corporate welfare. They disagree on some important things too, like environmental policy, but that's just a matter of who is paying who.

Calling this "absolute bunk" just demonstrates you don't know what you're talking about.


No, I got exactly what you wrote. I don't buy it, and I incredibly do not buy this bunk idea that the disagreements are entirely superficial. To those millions who would have lost health coverage under the GOP plan, do you think that difference was "entirely superficial"? To the transgender people who are having their ability to exist in public spaces assaulted by the GOP, do you think those differences are "entirely superficial"? To the masses of people being deported solely for committing the crime of wanting a better life for them and their family, do you think the differences are "entirely superficial"?

And saying that people who disagree with you just "don't know what they're talking about" is incredibly intellectually lazy.


Healthcare, like, the mandatory profits for insurance companies?

Immigration is a loaded topic. We can't afford to let every single person on the planet who wants a better life to move here. Maybe they should work on improving their own countries instead? Mass immigration is unsustainable with growing populations.

And calling an argument intellectually lazy is being "intellectually lazy" itself.

You're delusional if you think the Democrats and Republicans by and large have any real interest in the American people. They are both in bed with corporations and they both need to be rooted out and removed from office. If you vote Democrat you're just as bad (maybe worse since you should know better) as Republicans.


> you don't know what you're talking about [...] You're delusional

We've banned this account for repeatedly violating the site guidelines and repeatedly ignoring our requests to stop. If you don't want to be banned on HN, you're welcome to email hn@ycombinator.com and give us reason to believe that you'll follow the rules in the future.


"Healthcare, like, the mandatory profits for insurance companies?"

Like the end to discrimination against pre-existing conditions. Like the end to yearly and lifetime caps on coverage. Like the end to insurance companies just being able to drop you the minute you get sick.

"Immigration is a loaded topic."

No, it's not.

"And calling an argument intellectually lazy is being "intellectually lazy" itself."

No, it's not. It's pointing out the faults in your argument.

"You're delusional if you think the Democrats and Republicans by and large have any real interest in the American people."

And you're far too cynical if you think they don't, or if you think that they're the same.

"If you vote Democrat you're just as bad (maybe worse since you should know better) as Republicans."

Wrong. No matter how much you hope that they're the same, they are not. Again, all it takes is looking at the various issues facing people today. Healthcare. Immigration. Minority rights. Voting rights. For you to say they are equally as bad is for you to say you have never actually looked at anything, and want an excuse not to.

I have absolutely no respect for lazy people like you who don't even bother to look at the issues, and just choose the easy way out. Do not bother responding back with another easily disproven and shot down argument.


> I have absolutely no respect for lazy people like you

We've banned this account for repeatedly violating the HN guidelines as well as for using it primarily for ideological battle (an abuse of the site, as I've explained many times) and ignoring our requests to stop. We'd be happy to unban you if you'd actually like to use the site as intended, but alas that seems not to be the case.


I have never ignored your requests. I would like to point out that you do have it out for several people, and very unfairly issue warnings and bans to those people while ignoring far more grievous violations of your TOS, including ones against me.

The out of context snippet you quoted is no more a violation than most other things on this site. For you to go after certain viewpoints like you do, not out of any notion of preserving civility, but to silence certain viewpoints, smacks of censorship.


I hear this complaint a lot, so perhaps it's inevitable that HN moderation comes across to ideologically committed users as a secret censorship of their views, and/or that it feels like we must be lying when we say it's about your conduct on the site, and/or that we have it in for you personally.

However, the people holding the opposite views say exactly the same thing (including yesterday: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14984601). And there are plenty of users arguing for the same positions as you who respect HN's rules and consequently don't get moderated or banned. So from my perspective, your posts have more in common with those from the opposite extreme (i.e. posts by users whom you would regard as your enemies) than with the majority of community members who share your views.

It's certainly true that moderation gets applied inconsistently but that's not for ideological reasons nor because our principles are inconsistent. It's because we only see a portion of the comments that get posted here (see https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14977025 and https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14977025 for more explanation).


I can appreciate that, due to the news of the week, you've had a harder than normal job, and I can safely say that I'm glad I'm not in your place. But I still can't help but feel the moderation is applied inconsistently. Not necessarily by any particular ideology, but simply by content that people just disagree with. I was dinged not long ago simply for posting a calm, fairly innocuous post, with no vitriol or malice. Those replying were more uncivil, yet I was dinged. And, because I was dinged, I could not reply to appeal.

I do not wish to draw this out further than I have already. I know you have a hard job, and I am sorry for losing my cool at the tail end of the above discussion.


I appreciate that and hear you. If you want to continue the discussion I'd be happy to do so at hn@ycombinator.com.


"There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party … and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat." - Gore Vidal

Even more true today then when Gore said it!


Only if you're intellectually dishonest, or you've not been paying attention. For instance, how many parties are actively trying to suppress minority voters?


This whole "both parties are equally bad" meme needs to die, as it is categorically false.


Or thank Democrats for advancing pork-laden public-private partnership regional cable monopolies that gave rise to the copper behemoths of today. Don't try to make this partisan.


Sorry, I wasn't aware Nancy Pelosi is a Republican.


Wait, how do you give ISPs money for service faster than their current offerings? Do you mean they are subsidized by the government, but after receiving subsidies to expand bandwidth they do not? Any source to that?


ISPs have for decades been subsidized and not delivered.

http://newnetworks.com/bookofbrokenpromises.htm


Is there any information that doesn't require me to buy a book? Not that I'm opposed to that in principle, but I'd prefer an open source.


sure ... I wrote an article mentioning it https://medium.com/@kristopolous/public-private-partnerships...

"...ISPs don’t actually build what they get the money for. One used hundreds of millions for trips, expensive food and wine, and luxurious parties while not actually delivering anything. The $200 billion handout in the Telecommunication Act of 1996 was supposed to fund fiber to the home. Instead:

> other countries made sure the money went into ground wiring and other upgrades. The U.S. lacked the regulatory will...and thus, the phone companies were able to simply spend less and not be held accountable."

And here's a newish example. This is the consequences of fundamentalist orthodoxy and foundational mythology:

"EPB wanted to build out its gigabit fiber network to many of these same communities using money it has on hand or private loans at no cost to taxpayers. It would then charge individual residents for internet service. Instead, Tennessee taxpayers will give $45 million in tax breaks and grants to giant companies just to get basic infrastructure built. They will then get the opportunity to pay these companies more money for worse internet than they would have gotten under EPB's proposal."

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170412/06311737132/tenne...



[citation needed]



That money comes almost entirely from a special tax on those same companies. It's like adding a 10% sales tax to each iPhone or Pixel and then giving the money back to Apple and Google to subsidize phones for people in need. It'd be weird to call that "money we've ... given them."

To the contrary, usually when we impose special excise taxes like that we do so to discourage what we perceive as undesirable industries (alcohol, tobacco, gambling, sugary drinks). It's the height of political innumeracy to expect a different result with internet service just because our intentions for imposing the excise tax are different.


> That money comes almost entirely from a special tax on those same companies. It's like adding a 10% sales tax to each iPhone or Pixel and then giving the money back to Apple and Google to subsidize phones for people in need. It'd be weird to call that "money we've ... given them."

It is quite literally "money we've ... given them."

You are wrong in that the subsidies are not a tax on the companies. The subsidies are a fee collected from the subscribers by the companies on behalf of the government.

Those subsidies are then distributed to different incumbents, based on applications. This distribution is not based on which companies collected and how much. The collection and distribution are disconnected.

So to summarize, it is indeed "our money", since it's being collected from us and if it wasn't we'd get to keep the money hand have cheaper service. It is also "given" away as a subsidy to incumbents.

In other words, "money we've ... given them."

What's wierd is not that we give them our money. What's wierd is that this is not a regular tax, but a fee tagged on to telecom services. But hey, it's far easier to tax by proxy, call it a fee and somebody else do the dirty work. At least rhen you don't need to call it a tax.


One more little sign America is more and more retiring its leadership in the world, opening doors for other nations to be more developed?

In a time where many European countries aim at providing 100Mbit as a minimum in the next years and thus also open rural areas for economic development, decision/opinions as the one described in the article seem ludicrous. Of course, providing net infrastructure in the US with its huge size is a challenge. Yet, in a country like Sweden with similar population density, 100Mbit is already kind of the basic minimum even in remote areas.

Here in my town in Germany we had super slow internet until 3 years ago. Now I can choose up to 400Mbit from different providers (100Mbit DSL or up to 400Mbit cable). Connectivity skyrocketed and it does in many other European areas. Now the US decides to lower standards? Is it the same kind of thinking as "we don't need high speed trains, we will have Hyperloop in 50 years", just adapted to "everything will be mobile one day"?


Looking at population density alone is misleading; what you really want is population-weighted population density (i.e. how dense are the places where people live). Sweden has large sparsely-populated areas, but almost the whole population is clustered in a handful of major cities. The Stockholm metro area has a quarter of the entire country's population. If the U.S. population were distributed the same way, the D.C. metro area would have 80 million people over an area including Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. (Instead, it has only 6 million people and the vast majority of those states are rural).

In any event, the U.S.'s proportion of higher-speed connections compares pretty well to Sweden. According to Akamai, in Q4 2016 the U.S. at 42% of connections above 15 mbps. That's less than Sweden (49%) but comparable to Finland (44%). It's way higher than Germany (30%).


Even many dense urban areas in the U.S. have quite low broadband penetration, so it can't be chalked up entirely to low-density areas like small towns and rural areas. According to Fivethirtyeight [1], only 28% of adults within the D.C. city limits have home internet faster than dialup. And Manhattan, pretty much the most urbanized locale in the country, is only a bit higher, at 36%. Many low-density exurban areas are actually higher than that, so something other than density is responsible.

[1] https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/lots-of-people-in-citie...


That's comparing apples and oranges. American metro areas are shaped very differently than European ones. Only 10% of people in the D.C. metro area live within city limits, versus 40% of people in Stockholm's metro area. That inner city population skews much poorer than the metro area as a whole, with a quarter of households making under $25,000 annually. That notwithstanding the city itself is very well wired. If you live in Anacostia (one of the poorest neighborhoods) you can choose from two gigabit fiber providers and two gigabit cable providers.

And as far as I can tell the difference in uptake is not really because broadband is cheaper in Stockholm Internet. Telia charges 990 SEK ($122) for gigabit. Comcast charges $150 for 2 gig, while Verizon charges $70-100 for 1 gig. At the low end, Telia charges $50 for 100/100, versus $40 for Verizon's 50/50 plan.

DC also is a good example of what I mean about population-weighted density. The D.C. metro area has about the same density as the Stockholm metro area, and the municipalities have about the same density too. But in Stockholm 40% of people live in the denser core city versus only 10% of people in D.C. So even though the metro areas have the same density, the distribution makes DC harder to wire (all else being equal).


> That inner city population skews much poorer than the metro area as a whole, with a quarter of households making under $25,000 annually. That notwithstanding the city itself is very well wired. If you live in Anacostia (one of the poorest neighborhoods) you can choose from two gigabit fiber providers and two gigabit cable providers.

Ah so the internet is good in theory, it's only in practice that internet connectivity is poor.


No in practice the Internet is great (see the Akamai stats above). And at least for fiber the price is comparable (see my edit above). The US just has more income inequality, and segregated poor people into inner cities. While lamentable, that is an orthogonal issue that has nothing to do with broadband policy.


That still doesn't explain New York. The density and shape of New York is more like what you describe for European cities due to the fact that it was developed before the car was invented. So why does the internet connectivity suck in Manhattan?


> American metro areas are shaped very differently than European ones.

Oi.

So many excuses for why in so many large cities of the US you can struggle to find anything above 5mbps connections.

"Oh, the US has such a unique density, unlike anywhere else!" - well, actually ...

"Oh, well, the cities are shaped differently!"

Come on now.

> versus $40 for Verizon's 50/50 plan.

You mean with FIOS? That they are not selling any more because it wasn't profitable enough for them once they had had to build any notable infrastructure?

Oh, not to mention that that $40/mo 50/50 plan actually went up to as high as $99/mo after year one, depending on your area....


You're arguing from a false premise that excuses need to be made. As the data shows, US Internet, on average, is very competitive, no excuses needed. To use France as an example: According to OECD data, fiber deployment is higher in the US than in France (11% of broadband connections versus 8%). But if you want to know why they built fiber in Paris first then the surrounding communes, while in DC the suburbs got it before the city, well shape and demographics has a lot to do with it.

As to FIOS, they're not only still selling it, but upgrading the whole footprint to gigabit. And in much of the footprint (e.g. the D.C. suburbs), Comcast is offering multi-gig for $150/month. I don't know why my redneck neighborhood in exurban Maryland apparently has better internet choices than the Bay Area. Chalk that up to another major difference between the US and Europe: in the US, actual broadband construction is driven by state and local policy, not national policy.


Good broadband is no doubt still an issue in parts of Germany, especially if not cable is available. But I see a big political push and discussion on how to have higher standards and how to reach them. No one says "well then, lets make the status quo the standard".

I have to say that recently I sound much too arrogant concerning the US. Sorry to you guys. It is just that the little Texas landowner in me, that I am, wants to cry at night at the sum of this years politics. It has not been like that the governments before.

If there is a country that has a place in my heart, it is yours.


Here in Lithuania, most phone networks offer LTE for home internet, for rural areas where you can't get fibre. LTE covers 95% of the country by area (admittedly the geography is favourable as the country is rather flat). I can't find any real details on speeds, as it is sold 'as good as you can get', but one provider says with LTE where the theoretical maximum is 100 Mbps, you can get an average of 35 Mbps down and 10 Mbps up - however they are now rolling out LTE Advanced with a theoretical maximum of 300 Mbps.

Another comment expresses concerns about not being able to get the coverage advertised, but these are all just political issues. When you take a contract here they'll check the expected coverage and warn you if it could be bad, and even then you can cancel the contract within the first 30 days with no extra charges. And don't forget that LTE hardware designed for home use usually has more and better antennas than mobile devices, and you can install an external antenna.

N.b. The Akamai ratings for Lithuania don't look that great, but I'd assume it's mostly because people here often have older generation mobile devices (so not the fastest LTE) and computers (so no 5GHz wifi). There is also a bit of a resistance to upgrade, so a lot of people are on slower connections that they deem 'good enough' even though they could switch provider and get 10x the speed for the same price (a couple of years ago fibre was installed in my building so I could upgrade from 10 Mbps cable to 1000 Mbps fibre, but they didn't even put an advert on the noticeboard so I didn't realise for a few months).


D.C. - Boston has 52.33 million (15%) in a much smaller land area than your suggesting. Really once your talking about 2+ Million population centers adding some long distance fiber between them is so cheap it's practically free compared to last mile costs.

PS: Fairfax county a suburb of D.C. has a over 60% of the population (1.1m) than West Virginia (1.8m) in less than 2% of the land area aka 406mi² vs 24,038 mi² aka or well over 50 times the population density.


> dense are the places where people live). Sweden has large sparsely-populated areas, but almost the whole population is clustered in a handful of major cities. The Stockholm metro area has a quarter of the entire country's population

Obviously large cities in all countries will have high speed broadband. A better measure of broadband penetration is probably to look outside cities. Perhaps surprisingly, fiber is often built from "the outside in" in Sweden, due to subsidies. Dense areas such as cities obviously have a lot of choice, but after that the places that got (and keep getting) fiber are remote and very sparsely populated areas. The thinking (I'm assuming) is that medium density places such as suburbs will be getting fiber by market forces, and already have choices such as DSL in the meantime - so the vast subsidies to pull fiber to every remote cottage is focusing on the really remote areas such as small islands, small remote villages etc.

So contrary to what one might think, Sweden now has fiber in many of the lowest density areas such as remote houses in the Stockholm archipelago


I find those numbers highly suspect. In Portugal, 94% of the subscribers had a contracted speed of 20mbps or more. Now, contracted is not real, but only 28% above 15mbps? And dropping? That makes no sense.


America has always had terrible internet access, Congress long ago created monopolies for telephony and cable video and the legacy of those policies are still the problem today (two massive and completely different regulatory regimes and two industries that are totally politicized and the largest political donors).

Similarly Amtrak is a government monopoly disaster, there's no opportunity for private investment in U.S. passenger rail. Wikipedia says there are 1,500 private passenger rail companies in Germany. There are none here, outside of a handful of tourist experience lines. Our privately owned freight rail is, however, the finest in the world.


You seem to forget that the freight rail companies all used to do passenger rail and purposefully divested themselves of it.


Remember: at least the US were the first country to ever have internet at all :) So from whatever we profit now, USA invented it.


any country that pioneers a technology and implements the first generation of it will tend to lag as the second and third generations of that technology are developed.


Well, Switzerland (CERN) was the first place to have the world wide web...


Don't forget that Tim Berners-lee is British


And how does that get me better internet access?


Feels like we're not even trying to pretend like we're reaching for greatness. I am far less in love with the country then I once was; there is little audacity to reach for more as a country on many fronts (infrastructure, healthcare, education, general well being, connectivity).


That's the thing. We talk a big game, think technology can solve anything, but then when it comes down to basics, we say "Nah, too hard...too much space, etc etc".


Plus war.

So much endless mindless war...

Since 2001, America has spent an average of ~$300 billion dollars per year on the nebulous war in the Middle East.

Terrorists are media-hyped paper cuts compared to over 1 million Americans a year dying due to heart disease and cancer ($11B/y federal R&D) - not to mention Alzheimers, diabetes, obesity... and, to be blunt, you and almost everyone you know will probably die from one of those diseases.

For perspective: on average terrorism kills ~79 Americans per year (including 9/11). There are 121 American suicides per day.

The math doesn't make sense on any level. $300B/y killing people thousands of miles away and directly fueling increased hatred towards our nation... and a mere $11B/y invested in heard disease + cancer, which saves millions of citizen's at home.

Even pie-in-the-sky research like fusion is a better investment. Fusion would solve or mitigate large global problems, including terrorism, yet it receives a mere 1/1000th the funding level as our wars.

The real problem is we keep voting for the establishment parties because we believe that "3rd party will never win" dogma both parties roll out.

Remember this: Nobody won the 2016 popular vote.

40% of Americans didn't vote last year, 30% voted Trump, 30% voted Clinton - and many of those 30% were compromise voters that would have preferred a different primary candidate, or simply voted against the opponent's candidate.

This is democracy. If we want something different, we have to vote for someone different.


Yes... and starting a couple of days ago, the media has been really playing up the NK threat.. a real change -- in the past, Kim would make threats, and basically be ignored.. but now the same threats are front page news.

So of course we don't have money for any of those things... we need to save it for NK.


By your metric, nobody has won the popular vote in 2012, 2008, 2004, 2000, 96, 92, 88, 84, 80, etc. either.


That's right. We're chronic non-voters that are blind to the significance of that block.


To add a comparison to your point, in the last election in Sweden, 85.8% of the voting-age population voted.

A few key differences:

* Everyone is already registered to vote (through IRS equivalent records)

* It's always on a Sunday

* Everyone gets a letter home in advance telling them where to go to vote (60% usually do this), or how to mail-in vote.

* Identification is handled either through ID/drivers license, OR someone with a valid ID vouching for your identity.

* There are 8+ parties to vote from, and you get parliament representation if your newly created party gets 4% of votes.


Companies have lobbies, people typically don't. The FCC is speaking for the large ISP's that lobby politicians to do so.


i'm less in love with national greatness than i once was.

IMHO, a tolerable mediocrity across every field would be better than national greatness if that mediocrity were uniformly distributed across the country and its residents.


>One more little sign America is more and more retiring its leadership in the world, opening doors for other nations to be more developed?

What leadership (except in economy size and military)?

Other nations have been more developed in internet, infrastructure, healthcare, education, work culture, etc for decades.


For about 15-20 years, really, though I can see why it would feel longer.


I don't think that e.g. the nordic countries or Switzerland were worse than the US in 1960 or 1970.

Heck, parts of NY were like a developing world city back then, much less places in the South and co...


Which nations? The only country which would be even comparable to US in terms of connectivity, healthcare and education quality, UK is still lagging behind US in all these matters. Good luck trying to get decent LTE or even 3G in London, or a proper timely healthcare for anything relatively complicated.

Are the other nations which are ahead in US in these areas which I am missing?


>The only country which would be even comparable to US in terms of connectivity, healthcare and education quality, UK is still lagging behind US in all these matters.

I think you should travel more. Maybe try Switzerland or the nordic region?

In internet speeds for example, the US just made it in the top 10 this year: https://www.fastmetrics.com/internet-connection-speed-by-cou...

And if you visit a place like Switzerland you'll wonder what kind of developing world nightmare is the US compared to their efficiency, cleanliness, infrastructure, government services, and lots of other things besides.

It's also a few places ahead of the US in per capita GDP. But then again, several countries are: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/...

Not also how Sweden, Norway, Switcherland and Denmark have higher per capita median income than the US (adjusted for purchasing parity etc): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median_income

(Apart from access to healthcare, UK is less developed in those areas than lots of countries)


> Good luck trying to get decent LTE or even 3G in London, or a proper timely healthcare for anything relatively complicated.

> The time to schedule an appointment has jumped 30% in 15 U.S. metropolitan areas from 18.5 days in 2014 amid a national doctor shortage fueled by aging baby boomers, population growth and millions of Americans with health insurance.

It's easy to shorten wait times for healthcare by removing/keeping millions of people from having coverage.


Or by removing the annual cap on the number of doctors that graduate and simultaneously relaxing the regulations and paperwork, that prevent doctor from operating independently instead forcing them to join large networks like PAMF. I talked to a couple of my doctors, both of them admitted they would like to have a private practice, but would get buried by the paperwork and accounting they will have to perform in addition to their actual job.


100Mbit? That was a decade ago. I now have 500Mbit, but my ISP can easily deliver 1Gbit if I feel the need.


He is talking about a national minimum, not the speed of any one client.


Unfortunately, a similar position is held by the NBN here in Australia (National broadband network), and indeed appears to be held by some members of the government.

This has been a long standing position even prior to the NBN existing, resulting in almost two decades of delays and debates in replacing half century old copper phone lines that provide much of the people's internet.

I wouldn't wish such lengthy technological delays on another country, so I hope this gets sorted out rather quicker than our issues have been.


The irony is that in Australia, mobile broadband is superior to wired in most areas.

Dear USA: please do not use this as evidence for mobile broadband's inherent superiority.

I recently moved to Germany and am on what is considered a slow DSL link: 32Mbps down, 8Mbps up. It's wonderful and life changing compared with the 4/1Mbps Telstra DSL I used to have.


The situation in Germany isn't perfect though. If you live in a more rural area it is not unlikely that there is no DSL available at all.


California Assembly Bill 1665 attempted to something similar:

"Both Frontier and AT&T maintain antiquated DSL systems that serve millions of Californians who live in communities that don’t have sufficient revenue potential. Low income and low density communities in other words."

http://www.tellusventure.com/blog/california-bill-magically-...

AB 1665 seems on hold until legislators return on August 21:

http://www.tellusventure.com/blog/hostile-takeover-of-califo...


> But during the Obama administration, the FCC determined repeatedly that broadband isn't reaching Americans fast enough, pointing in particular to lagging deployment in rural areas.

No skin off my back. I already have internet service significantly better than the FCC broadband definition, and my core concern in this space is net neutrality. Rural areas are the ones that will be negatively affected by this kind of policy change in the coming years. You get what you vote for in this case.


> No skin off my back

How many customers have trouble accessing your website or service? How many potential customers, vendors, partners, employees etc have limited education and income because they lack basic resources?


Rural areas went strongly for Trump and the Republicans, and now Republican appointees are making policy decisions that will have negative effects on those areas. The conclusion I draw from this is that those voters either don't care about their internet speeds, or they do but value other things more and vote with those in mind (or maybe they think the market will take care of it). Regardless, they're getting what they voted for, and it doesn't affect me.

Side note - the US population is heavily urban/suburban, so even if I was running some kind of internet-based business, the loss from ignoring/losing rural areas is something like ~25% of the population; imo it doesn't really matter that much.


An alternative might be that they are slowing independent media penetration in rural areas. If internet speeds are ~ 1-2 mbps then streaming HD isn't smooth, but all the digital over the air broadcast FOX / NBC / ABC are available in HD for free.


Part of the problem, I suspect, is that most startups only target cities, and those who live in them.


Fuck Pai. More and more Americans are working from home. That alone is reason enough that we need fast broadband. I know he doesn't care about people and their needs but scum like him are at least usually persuaded by business arguments so I'm making one here. He's not a representative of anyone. He was not elected. It's not his job to decide what Americans want. The only way to fix this FCC travesty is to get rid of the pro business, anti citizen scum who appointed him.


> I know he doesn't care about people and their needs but scum like him are at least usually persuaded by business arguments

I think Pai is the kind of scum that's only persuaded by what's filling up his own intestines.

He's not on some kind of Peter Thiel-level of cerebral, cold-hearted business mastery. He's just a big fat leech that somehow managed to climb the ladder far too high for anyone's good.


Fix link so it points to article top, instead of comments (?)

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/08/maybe...


Yeah you have to click full story button to see article


I wonder how long until Pai adds extra regulatory requirements for utility cooperatives that will spring up to kick the telcos out of the rural areas? I'm not joking about that notion since the telcos really hate cooperatives that spring up and replace or compete with them.


As someone who lives in a very expensive area, I would happily live in a more rural or less populated area if there was decent infrastructure to do so. I don't think that internet alone is the solution, but faster internet across the country is one of the hurdles for remote work and (theoretically) better distribution of the population.

I know that a lot of other pieces have to fall into place to make this happen, but the entire country wired with strong backbones and last mile service will definitely help.


The FCC is wrong. The Internet is intertwingled with everything we do these days. I live in non-urban Montana at the end of a DSL line suffering "bandwidth exhaust", a term my ISP (CenturyLink) coined to describe what happens when they sell "high speed" Internet to many customers but do not adequately provision their DSL network to support them. This shortfall is being fixed, but progress is glacial. How to bring everyone on-board the Internet is still a work in progress.


Clickbait headline.

FCC expresses possibility that in the near-future wireless connectivity may be more important to consumer internet users.

Admitting "we don't know which way this industry is going to go" is probably a healthy thing for government to do.


The headline's accurate, IMO. The FCC is seeking comment on whether slower mobile connections should be considered sufficient when measuring overall broadband internet access deployment.

25Mbps/3Mbps wired is already an unambitious requirement, and Pai dissents from it having been raised from a previous 4/1 requirement, and suggests that a 10/1 mobile connection would be enough.

The whole proposal sounds like they just want to lower the bar to what's available now and toss up the "Mission Accomplished" banner.


I don't think you read actual proposal by FCC. They seem to suggest set 25/3 as a minimum and don't say anything about maximum. Their goal is a bit different from what you are thinking, their goal is to make sure every single person in USA has access to reasonable speed. You want 1gbit internet, but if that comes at a cost of some people in rural America to not have internet then it doesn't fit their goal. Therefore statement like "if we only had one choice of 25/3, we'd take it" can be easily taken out of context. They are clearly suggesting minimum and not maximum.


You're right, I didn't read the FCC proposal; I'm basing my information on the article itself. If the facts in the article are that far off of what the proposal itself says, then I'm confused why the whole post hasn't been flagged to oblivion.


I honestly have same question for a lot of articles these days. Especially with any sort of "hard to read" documents like research papers and stuff like long proposals/memos. I noticed trend where journalists just want to get clicks at any cost and willing to take things out of context to do so. Also there are more and more people that want to push their agenda with identity politics and rather than judge each idea on it's own merits, they will reject anything that comes from particular person/establishment/group that they don't like. After getting burned by this a number of times in recent past, from now on I always read original source before jumping to conclusions.


Yeah and the telecoms are going to charge for each device... with my home connection. I can serve all my devices locally from one trunk... With mobile I have to have a data plan for each device...


A lot of people did not read this article: It is about mobile.

It is actually about mobile home access. Generally:

- mobile coverage in the home is different from outside of the home. The primary focus of radio planning was outdoor coverage and the networks reflect this. I suspect this is about having a mobile access point at a fixed location which helps a little via antenna and positioning vs. a cell phone.

- mobile networks have been planned with totally different traffic assumptions and those are literally cemented into base-station locations.

- mobile is a shared medium with low constraints. It will be hard to guarantee minimum rates. Much harder than for fixed networks. There is a reason for the data caps - if there were not then competition would have long eliminated them.

- disincentives for scale: Providing data rates for one home may be easy. But if all the neighbors hop on that bandwagon then things get more difficult.

It is possible in principle but the cost for universal mobile access service and these bandwidth guarantees with the current technology may be quite high at this time. Anecdotal evidence of localized solutions also in other countries exist but can anyone point to a place where such a service has been deployed in a large country?


This is about suppressing information availability and opportunity in rural areas.

Sorry financially-challenged rural dweller, you only have a phone with a fixed data allowance. I guess you'll need to continue relying on old media for your information needs. Have fun with whatever the public library has to offer-- oh by the way we're cutting the library from our budget.

Oh and those of you who, despite our best efforts, discovered that you can learn a knowledge trade and work from home, staying near your family and friends, bringing money into the local economy rather than move to a city? Sorry, it's not in our political interest to allow you to broaden your horizons.


Also, could somebody explain to me what is the function of FCC in setting those "standard" speeds?

> This would also be the first time that the FCC has set a broadband speed standard for mobile; at 10Mbps/1Mbps, it would be less than half as fast as the FCC's home broadband speed standard of 25Mbps/3Mbps.

I mean, what that "standard" does? Is it prohibited to sell connection slower than this? Clearly not, since there tons of home internet offers slower than 25/3. So what is the meaning of this standard, what consequences does it have? Of course the press, who is supposed to inform me, is too busy trying to propagandize me and forgets to explain what that all actually means. Could fellow HNians fill the gap?


Money, the answer is always money.

The speed standard is used to funnel money to the incumbents. The incumbents are supposed to improve and/or upgrade their speeds or coverage to match these standards in return for these subsidies, but reality has a way to get in the way. In practice the incumbents pocket the money and deliver whatever they feel like.


If this is true, then the meaning of the article is "FCC was going to spend tons of money to bribe ISPs into upgrading everybody to unrealistically high speeds, but instead they decided they would spend slightly less money to have ISPs to upgrade everybody to still unrealistically high speeds, but slightly lower, which wouldn't be happening in any case because there's no enough infrastructure to support it".


I don't quite follow your argument. Which speeds are unrealistically high?


Looking at current offers and infrastructure, expecting everybody to be hooked up to minimum 25/3 line IMO is unrealistic.


Why do you feel that? You can get within spitting distance with ADSL, and that's without bonding. Plenty of other DSL flavors beyond that too.


The sentiment, that Americans don't NEED fast home internet is probably more accurate than not. It's not relevant though. Need has never been the driving force in the market. It's want, and if people want it, there's no reason they shouldn't have it. Why would the head of the FCC care if people need high speed? Only if he were in the pocket of the ISP's. Then he'd need a way to NOT create rules that mandates high speed internet. And if it's not a requirement, then it's up to the business to charge whatever they want without regulation. It's insidious, and quite clever albeit evil.


>The sentiment, that Americans don't NEED fast home internet is probably more accurate than not.

No, it's total bullshit, except in the pedantic "well, humans don't NEED electricity/medicine/communications/synthetic shelter/[anything since we wandered the plains of Africa and had a life expectancy in the 40s]" sense. Fast, symmetrical end point Internet is of massive importance and in not just direct but emergent ways that a surprising number of people, even on HN, don't seem to consider. Think for example of many of the concerns that have been raised over the last few years here about how the net has become ever more centralized, or about the difficulties of efforts like Tor. A lot of the core driver for that comes down to lack of end point bandwidth vs demands. If symmetrical gigabit connections were the rule rather then the exception, it'd be possible once again for significantly sized services run directly. Obviously if a service grew large enough they'd eventually need to move towards the core, but for a lot of people it'd completely eliminate the need for many current colo and cloud offerings. Would you be happy going back to thinnet or 10BASE-T on your LAN? Everything that runs there could run over the net with more bandwidth, latency only becomes a significant issue over extremely long distances.

More bandwidth also means more can start to be devoted to meta-content issues like privacy. If we consider 25 Mbps to be a target for many services say, then onion routing networks are hard to make use of because they tend to impose significant overhead and be limited by slow nodes (particularly as even someone with a "enough" 25 Mbps connection themselves often would not be willing to allow all of that to be used by the larger network). But if everyone had 1000 Mbps (or more) to play with, then they could easily devote a bunch of that to sharing networks, take even a 90% overhead hit, and still have as much bandwidth as they needed. Just as more power in CPUs/GPUs has allowed us to not merely run things faster, but optimize towards the value of human time vs computer time, more bandwidth "then needed" represents leeway to optimize towards goals beyond the bare necessities.

Seriously, giving everyone (or close enough) fast, symmetrical connections should be one of the absolute highest priorities of anyone concerned about market competition, centralized control, privacy, and so on. It'd be one of the best investments America could make, just as national electrification, telephone, and roads were.


> No, it's total bullshit, except in the pedantic "well, humans don't NEED electricity/medicine/communications/synthetic shelter/[anything since we wandered the plains of Africa and had a life expectancy in the 40s]" sense.

That assertion seems reasonable to me. What does "fast" even mean? Don't know? Then it's a good assertion. You don't need what isn't defined.

This is not the same as "humans don't NEED access to nuclear materials", because the acceptable safety measure is currently 0. So that's also a feasible assertion. The question about tradeoffs and what is practical has to be answered first. Until you say what the minimum is, there's no point arguing about how supposing an upper limit (to what is needed) is wrong.


>What does "fast" even mean?

Simple and objective. "Fast" equals current standard deployed wired LAN speed, so right now about 1 Gbps symmetric (technically WiFi has exceeded this but in practice there is far, far more discrepancy in advertised vs actual WiFi bandwidth). I would be willing to accept arguments about delayed ramp ups and the like, so after 10 Gbps becomes standard industry wide for wired LAN I could see WAN upgrades taking x years, but in basic principle the only difference between WAN and LAN should be latency (should be mostly irrelevant except for special applications and continental/intercontinental distances), SLA/uptime responsibility and guarantees, and who exercises network control.

You're taking a typical argument from incredulity without bothering to actually give this any particular thought. It's frankly pretty simple and certainly not a technological challenge either. What should we be able to use the Internet for? At least the exact same stuff we use our LANs for (plus more). Again, I invite anyone who argues that 1 Gbps or more is "unnecessary" to go right back to 10BASE-T for a month on their home & office networks and see how that works out for them.


>That assertion seems reasonable to me. What does "fast" even mean? Don't know? Then it's a good assertion. You don't need what isn't defined.

Says who? Love and friendship aren't defined either, but humans need both.


So do you need a lot of love and friendship or a little? "Need" of a category type isn't about what that is, it's always a matter of scale. I was speaking to scale, which is why I phrased the example in that manner. Can you stop trying to avoid the question and at least give some answer to my question? What does "fast" mean? What the FCC calls "fast" or some other value measurement?


Do you need electricity? How much?

Do you need food? How much? If you get thinner your TDEE lowers, so you "need" less.

Do you need running water to your house? Hoe much? Our hygiene has in part made us live longer, but maybe we just "need" a few pints a day to drink?

Do you need a refrigerator?

Stop muddying the waters. Internet access is increasingly relevant, and before we had it (as with electricity and running water) we didn't know so. It's not a problem to give people much better, faster and uncapped access, it's only not in the monetary interests of incumbent ISPs and their puppet Ajit.


> Internet access is increasingly relevant,

I would argue it's a necessary right. That's not the issue and I ask again, what does fast mean? It has no intrinsic meaning.

> Stop muddying the waters.

Insisting the terms of a negotiation before taking an agreement is not muddying the issue. It's rationally rigorous and seems to be problematic. That's why it's worth discussing. I'm still waiting.


> Insisting the terms of a negotiation before taking an agreement is not muddying the issue.

Is that why you conveniently disregarded my other questions? If you can't answer those, it should inform you of why your question is disingenuous, which was my point. I'm still waiting.


> Is that why you conveniently disregarded my other questions?

The question is still about degree. Starting with new off-topic propositions to attempt to derail, are for your own entertainment. Since you're just here to argue about anything but the issue at hand, I'll wish you good luck.

The question stands. What does "fast" mean, in regards to need? A natural negotiation before condemning an imagined policy that has not specified limits or prerequisites.


The need for high throughput residential connections is almost entirely driven by use of video streaming services (Netflix etc). So if you assume people don't need those (e.g. if you are a satellite tv company) then this makes sense.


The title seems a little clickbaity. It seems all that's being said is the FCC is recommending a reasonable minimum, not a maximum. I don't think it makes sense to run gig fiber connections to rural homes unless someone is footing the bill, but they definitely should have some internet capability, and 10/1 mobile and 25/3 direct seems at least minimally viable.

This title makes it sound like the FCC is advocating that speeds above those are unnecessary for anyone, as if they're coming for your network speed. I don't get the sensationalism here, this hardly even seems newsworthy.


While not exactly rural, I certainly enjoy having rock-solid gigabit fiber here in Rome, Georgia (via AT&T Fiber). And while mobile networks are improving, I can't envision mobile as an adequate replacement to dedicated fiber, at least currently. Especially given the variability in signal strength and speed. Not to mention data caps and throttling are also pre

And just because a cell provider purports to offer LTE within a geographic area, that doesn't translate to LTE being available and reliable within and throughout your residence. In the past, I frequently experienced downgrades to 3G and Edge, with only intermittent LTE availability.

I don't think we're in disagreement; I just wanted to share my perspective.


Except telcos in the USA only do the bare minimum. Anything above that will have a huge pricetag or just not be available in many areas.

So people with internet at current minimum will see their speeds lowered.


Precisely. They're just saying that the current situation doesn't warrant regulatory intervention. In most metro areas, 100Mbps is pretty readily available due to market forces rather than regulation and competition among fiber providers is pushing speeds into the 1Gbps range in many areas.


American's don't need modern fancy cars either. We have surreys, wagons, and horseless carriages too.

(The sarcasm is real. Claiming that home internet access is unneeded implies a fundamental misunderstanding, a regressive misunderstanding, of how society has transformed in the past 20 years.)


It's too bad internet speeds went nowhere under President Obama's administration. According to Wikipedia, internet speeds are currently faster in Mongolia and Romania than in the US. I hope the change in leadership and changing regulations will help the US regain its competitive edge.


It's great you have your own opinion, but if you're going to claim that internet access and bandwidth did not improve at all in the past 8 years you should probably back that up with reputable data.


>if you're going to claim that internet access and bandwidth did not improve at all in the past 8 years

I don't see where I said that. If you'd like a data point, then look no further than the ultimate failure of Google Fiber. The largest internet company in the US can't successfully deploy fiber. Meanwhile in Japan, fiber is available almost everywhere, even in rural Hokkaido.

I don't want to be stranded on slow internet while the rest of the world races away to faster and faster speeds. I hope president Trump's strategy to Make America Great Again works out, and we get fast internet here too. Whatever the previous administration's plan was, it clearly wasn't working.


More likely the FCC is doing the bidding of those who wish to squash competition.


And this is why Kenya has faster average mobile internet than the USA.


Symmetrical 2Gbps, which is offered by Comcast in some regions, is probably too fast for 99.99% of consumers... but it is nice if you have the option


10Mbps is more than I've had at home up until very recently.

It's fine for me; I work mostly in plain text and prefer it whenver there's an option. But undertand many people want more. Don't understand the FCC weighing in one way or the other. Should be up to private enterprise to provide what customers want to pay for. Get rid of the local monopolies, get out of the way, and watch what happens.


sigh they're taking a leaf out of the Australian government's book.


We are seriously becoming a third world country.

- 5300 water systems in violation of lead rules: http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/28/us/epa-lead-in-u-s-water-syste...

- rank 16 in road quality http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-sad-state-of-americas-roads/

-expensive, slow mobile phone service compared to rest of the world http://time.com/money/3633758/wireless-cost-us-world-ofcom/

- Piss Poor electrical grid, with an increasing number of outages http://insideenergy.org/2014/08/18/power-outages-on-the-rise...

- 1 out of 9 bridges are structurally deficient https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/06/19/transp...

- rising death rates for prime age whites due to massive drug epidemic, obesity, and loneliness http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/03/23/52108333...

- highest incarceration rate in the world https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_incarceration_ra...

- highest first day infant mortality in the industrialized world http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-has-highest-first-day-infant-...

- U.S. adults rank below average in basic educational skills https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/10/08/us-adults-ran...

- Expensive, broken healthcare system that bankrupts families. We spend twice OECD average on a percent GDP basis with below average results https://www.oecd.org/unitedstates/Health-at-a-Glance-2015-Ke...

- Expensive, broken tertiary education system that bankrupts students. We spend twice OECD average on tertiary education and get poor results. https://data.oecd.org/eduresource/spending-on-tertiary-educa...

- Awful, expensive secondary education system compared to rest of industrialized world https://data.oecd.org/pisa/mathematics-performance-pisa.htm

- Slow, expensive broadband compared to rest of the world http://www.businessinsider.com/the-us-falls-behind-rest-of-t...

-all of the above probably contributes to us ending up poorer (in terms of median wealth) than other industrialized nations even though per capita GDP is high and taxes are low

http://www.middleclasspoliticaleconomist.com/2012/07/us-trai...


I get by with 0.9mbps so F you all.


Yeah, corruption runs amok. May be Americans don't need corrupted FCC more?


I'm just flabbergasted by this preposterous proposition.


Are you? Or did you just wanted to use several $10 words in a row?


> the 25/3 Mbps standard we propose would not even allow for a single stream of 1080p video conferencing, much less 4K video conferencing.

Could somebody explain to me why one needs 4K for video conferencing? No, I mean it'd be nice to have tons of bandwidth, but why 4K video conference is an absolute necessity? The article kinda makes it sound like not having 4K video conferencing is the state of absolute depravity and without it it can't be even called proper internet service. Can anybody explain it to me?


This is about broadband, broadband is supposed to be fast.

From the law: "(1) Advanced telecommunications capability: The term 'advanced telecommunications capability' is defined, without regard to any transmission media or technology, as high-speed, switched, broadband telecommunications capability that enables users to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video telecommunications using any technology."

Originating high-quality video for the near future should reasonably mean 4k video worth of upstream bandwidth.

Also, 25 MBps is still really wimpy. In any reasonable moore's law resembling curve we should have 1-10 Gbit broadband by now.


> This is about broadband, broadband is supposed to be fast.

It is fast. The question is what is the use of 4K video conferencing. None of the usages I've seen require anything even close to it.

> In any reasonable moore's law resembling curve we should have 1-10 Gbit broadband by now.

Why internet speeds should follow Moore's law? Where did you find the law of nature that requires it? Should we also have flying cars, real hoverboards and robots doing all the work while we relax in holodecks?


Nobody needs 4K video conferencing, or any video conferencing at all. It's just nice to have, and 4K is nicer to have than 1080p, which is nicer than 240p.

4k deserves more of a mention than say 16K because that's what the current high-end mainstream screens/recorders use.


Everybody having dedicated OC-24 line would be even better. But it is presented as if it were some kind of bare necessity, not exuberant luxury.

> that's what the current high-end mainstream screens/recorders use.

But not for video conferencing, unless your are shooting cinema-class movies over videoconference.


Yes video conferencing doesn't use 4K as commonly as other video equipment of the same luxury class. It's an example of technology being held back by low internet speeds. One example of many, and the theory is that there are even more unknown examples of tech being held back by low speeds.

4K video conferencing was specifically chosen for legal reasons. The quote is from politician who is talking about this because it shows a mismatch between what's happening and how advanced telecommunications capability is defined in the statute. It gives them a leg to stand on. Don't read too much into it. This is about faster internet, not an effort to specifically deliver 4K video conferencing to humanity.


> Yes video conferencing doesn't use 4K as commonly as other video equipment of the same luxury class.

That's a severe understatement. You need 40 to 50 inch display to really see the difference (which will probably still be irrelevant for videoconf purposes), otherwise you just waste money to buy a fashionable buzzword label.

> It's an example of technology being held back by low internet speeds.

Or an example of 4K resolution not being needed to see a couple of talking heads?

> The quote is from politician who is talking about this because it shows a mismatch between what's happening and how advanced telecommunications capability is defined in the statute.

There is no definition in the statute - it just says "high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video telecommunications" - what is high-quality is not defined. You can consider it 4k, 16K, 128G, whatever you like.

> Don't read too much into it. This is about faster internet, not an effort to specifically deliver 4K video conferencing to humanity.

Maybe then journalists and politicians should not use irrelevant examples? If it's about faster internet, talk about internet, not 4k video conferencing.


I can personally clearly see the difference between 1080p and 4K even on phone screens. I guess it can be puzzling indeed if 4K seems like an irrelevant buzzword, but for many it's a significant improvement. What's more, I've seen this same argument against 1080p as well. A good chunk of people were arguing that 720p is all anyone would ever need and that 1080p is just a wasteful buzzword.

> Or an example of 4K resolution not being needed to see a couple of talking heads?

You keep coming back to needing something. It's a weak argument, because you don't really need anything besides water and a slice of bread. In addition, let's say I do actually need my 4K video conferencing. I would still be held back by the low speeds in question.

As for choosing relevant examples, 4K video conferencing is just fine. You're free to choose another example for your own campaign, but be warned that there will be plenty of people who will claim your example is irrelevant and a waste of resources. Because again, if we're not talking about water then it's a luxury and not everyone will be interested.




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