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But how would you carry a model like that over to a place as big as the USA? Montana, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and just about every state that isn't on the East/West coast would have an incredibly difficult time executing this kind of plan because of the distance between communities. I'm not saying that a similar model wouldn't be easy to implement in the boroughs of New York, Boston, SV, Austin, etc., but when you still have 20% of Americans living in not-urban environments. Indeed even the urban environments are far more sprawling and spaced out than anywhere in Europe/Asia (e.g. Dallas/FW, Houston, Phoenix, Austin, and even Atlanta).

The kind of engineering to distribute such a large network seems to mirror the issues with the nationwide power grid that was proposed to allow for consistent solar energy. The USA is just a very, very big place with populations, even urban, that sprawl and are not condensed like in London, Paris, Munich or other countries in the fiber fight.




> But how would you carry a model like that over to a place as big as the USA? Montana, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and just about every state that isn't on the East/West coast would have an incredibly difficult time executing this kind of plan because of the distance between communities.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rural_Electrification_Act

> I'm not saying that a similar model wouldn't be easy to implement in the boroughs of New York, Boston, SV, Austin, etc.

Oh please, the village I'm talking about is not a borough of a major metropolis, it's a small rural village, the closest thing which could be construed as a city has a population of under 50k and is 20km away.

Boston and Austin have metro populations in the millions, there's barely 6 cities in all of France which reach that.

> you still have 20% of Americans living in not-urban environments

Oh good point, let's check the percentage of rural population in france. Hey look, it's 20%. Wow, probably an outlier, let's check Germany. Oh, 24%. Maybe Spain? 20% again.

And these are highly urbanised countries mind, Ireland and Portugal are sitting at 36% rural population.

> The USA is just a very, very big place with populations, even urban, that sprawl and are not condensed like in London, Paris, Munich or other countries in the fiber fight.

None of London, Paris or Munich are countries, they're major/capital cities inside countries which have their own non-urban populations.


America as a whole does have a lot more remote areas. France only has one department with a population density of less than 10 per square kilometer according to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_French_departments_by_...). Compare that to America and note all of the counties with a population density of less than 10 per square mile (https://www.census.gov/dmd/www/pdf/512popdn.pdf) -- and a square mile is a larger unit than a square km. Fiber absolutely might be cost prohibitive in certain areas.

I still agree with you, though, that America could do something if there was a strong enough will. Even if the cost of fiber is prohibitive, it seems like there are wireless technologies out there that would be better than the zilch broadband 23 million Americans currently have. (https://www.npr.org/2018/03/03/590546371/rural-communities-t...)


I don't want to pick a side here, but "rural" in the USA and "rural" in Europe are two different things. Once you get away from the coasts, things get very sparse and very big. In many places, if you were 20km from a center of 50,000 people, you would actually be considered to be living in that town of 50,000 people. I personally live about 30km from my city center, I am considered part of that city (including my mailing address), and I don't think anyone around here considers it rural. Rural in America means you might have to drive hours on the weekend just to go shopping. 100s of kms of nothing between you and the next town in some places. And since they are ranching areas on poor soil, there are houses all in between that need to be reached. We are talking about one family on around 400 square kilometers of land. I have family that live in a community like that, and it is not uncommon in many areas.

Consider this, the state of Texas alone is bigger than all of France, and while it has several huge cities in it, it still has less than half the population of France. Montana is more than half the land area of France, and only has 1 million people living in it.

It would be a lot easier to just give up on the 1% that are truly scattered to the winds with little homesteads in the middle of no-where. But hopefully we can get some really good low earth orbit satellite internet and not have to worry about all this.


This is something Australia tried to tackle with the NBN, and I would guess that Australia is far more rural and less densely populated than the US. In Australia the solution was a mixture of fibre (FTTP then FTTP), fixed wireless, and then satellite.


That's always a misconception about Australia, as someone who has lived in both.

The NBN failed largely because of a government ideology that neutered it from FTTH to FTTN, if that.

Australia is fairly equivalent to the US for many areas with the exception of the (relatively) uninhabited interior.

If you combined a list of US and Australian cities by population, the top five Australian cities would be in the top 10:

New York (8.5M), Sydney (5.0M), Melbourne (4.7M), LA (3.9M), Chicago (2.7M), Brisbane (2.3M), Houston (2.2M), Perth (2.0M), Philadelphia (1.6M), Adelaide (1.5M).

The notion of Australia as quaint rural villages is used as an excuse by defenders of the status quo. The US is just so unique, "Oh, it's bigger", "more dense", "cities are different here", etc., et al.


I think you are making the mistake of comparing Australia's "Greater Capital City Statistical Areas" [0] with United States cities, when the GCCSAs are better compared to US Metropolitan Statistical Areas [1]. The top US MSAs, labeled by key city) are

(1) New York - 20.2M (2) Los Angeles - 13.3M (3) Chicago - 9.5M (4) Dallas - 7.2M (5) Houston - 6.8M (6) Washington, DC - 6.1M (7) Philadelphia - 6.1M (8) Miami - 6.1M (9) Atlanta - 5.8M (10) Boston - 4.8M

Only Sydney would make the top 10, coming in just above Boston.

Both the US and Australia have cities / metro areas that are significant in population as well as huge low-density areas, but the US metro areas are definitely larger. This makes sense given an overall population of 323M vs 24M.

See

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_in_Australia_by...

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_metropolitan_statistic...


You definitely make a good point, but on the flip side of that is also that the MSAs are probably more overarching than GCCSAs.

For example, the Seattle MSA extends as far north as Burlington, Mt Vernon, as far east as almost Lake Chelan, and as far south as Packwood near White Pass.

No one would credibly claim that White Pass was a part of Seattle, any more than Lake Chelan.

Whereas Melbourne absolutely would consider Boronia on the east a suburb, Campbellfield on the north, and Frankson in the south all suburbs.

I do get what you are saying, and of course with that population number it is so, but I don't think that there's really a great correlation (mainly as a result of Census in the US using a non-standard definition of the internation "metropolitan area" to basically... "anywhere else".

That being said, when you look at "as a percentage of the population", Sydney and Melbourne at ~20%, the others at ~10%, there's also not the argument of "hey, these US cities are far more dense and complex than Australia's", when the complexity is far more often a result of _artificial barriers and restrictions in the market_ than anything logistical.




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