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> What did jogjayr say that people find not contribute to the discussion? I believe they are right on point - why not make our government better?

It’s not a helpful point. The government (at least in a democracy) is a reflection of the people and their culture. Even to put it charitably, we’re a culture that puts many other things ahead of infrastructure. In France to build a train line, the government does a study, passes a law that preempts all other laws, and then the thing gets built. Here, any project is tied up in years of litigation before it can move forward.

Why is our metro service so bad? The WMATA union is completely broken. They had track inspectors falsify reports. Management fired them, the union sued, and they were hired back. But you can’t take on the WMATA union because then you’re a capitalist pig and now you’re mired in a larger national debate about unions versus right-to-work.

Or compare how Stockholm did fiber deployment. The municipal entity built out over more than a decade, wiring up profitable neighborhoods first in a demand driven way. Here, if you tried that it would explode in a shit show about “digital redlining.” (Which is not to minimize that problem—just pointing out that the legacy of actual redlining in America makes it politically impossible for us to adopt a policy that worked very well in Sweden.)

You can’t fix all that. And if you can’t fix it, there is a good reason to keep the government away from markets that are at least kinda working.

>You can’t fix all that. And if you can’t fix it, there is a good reason to keep the government away from markets that are at least kinda working.

Comcast and ATT have as disgusting a history with our infrastructure as the government. Throwing our arms up in the air with "the government can't do it" while simultaneously saying "oh well I guess trust profit driven companies with our data transmission" doesn't sound at all sustainable to me.

"You can't fix all that," so I guess I'll die? I'm not going to roll over and let Comcast have its way with me.

> Comcast and ATT have as disgusting a history with our infrastructure as the government

Except that’s not true, right? Comcast’s top speed has gone from 12-20 mbps in 2008 (last time I had Comcast service in Atlanta) to 1 gbps today. That involved a ton of investment—each new versions of DOCSIS require you to split nodes and move fiber closer to each subscriber to hit the required performance on the analog side. Over that time period, Comcast cable has improved way faster than almost every other aspect of computing besides iPhones. My MacBook from then (2 GHz Core 2 Duo) would still make a pretty serviceable machine. But I’d be pretty salty about a 20 mbps internet connection. (And stuff like Facebook, Gmail, and Google Search arguably have regressed, rather than improved, over that time period.)

Over that exact same time period, Metro had to disable driverless train operation, which was built into the system when it opened in the 1970s, because it had let the signaling equipment deteriorate too much for it to be reliable. They had to decrease train spacing from 6 minutes to 8 minutes, and increase the scheduled time between stops because track conditions (and human drivers) didn’t permit maintaining the more aggressive schedule.

From my point of view, I’m looking for ways to have Comcast take over Metro, not have WMATA take over my broadband.

I don't measure infrastructure by speed alone. So what they increased broadband speed. The Spaniards brought guns to the native Americans, then shot them. Doesn't make sense as a "thus it is good" argument.


Comcast blocked peer to peer. ATT blocked Skype and Google Voice. MetroPCS tried to block everyone but YouTube.

Great, you found a time a local government did a stupid. One local government, one instance. I can provide for you a storied history of big Telecom's attempts to wrestle control over a consumer's choices. Again, and again, and again, they try to take from us. We have no say in any of their decisions - we can't even vote with our wallets because they have functional monopolies. At least we can elect our government representatives. At least portions of the government support net neutrality (when literally no Telecom company actually does in practice).

Speed is the number one most important thing for broadband service, and it’s also the thing that requires lots of capital investment to provide. So massive investment and dramatically increasing speeds is a critical sign of a functioning broadband market in the US. (What you see in public infrastructure in the US is the opposite. Lack of investment leading to decay, and not only an inability to keep up with growing demand, but an inability to even maintain previous levels of service.)

The WMATA example is not “one instance.” I use it as an example just because it’s local to me. (You want to hear about my water service? It cost $30,000 for the city to hook us up to public water/sewer in 2015. We just had the chlorine levels tested and they’re squarely in the middle of the range for pool water.). And frankly Maryland is a wealthy blue state, with better public services than say Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware, or Georgia, other places I’ve lived.

Transit is also an example of infrastructure that, like broadband, requires expensive maintenance and continual upgrades to handle increased demand. The NYC MTA is also in dire straits. When there’s only a handful of cities in the US with “real” subway systems to begin with, the #1 and #3 systems being in a state of emergency is a pretty significant data point.

But the problem isn’t unique to subway systems. US infrastructure, which is almost entirely managed by state and local governments, is a disaster across the board: https://www.infrastructurereportcard.org (American Society of Civil Engineers Report Card giving US infrastructure a D+). Whether you’re talking about lead water pipes poisoning kids in Chicago, civil war era sewer systems dumping raw sewage into the Potomac, Baltimore’s subway that celebrates 75% on time performance, California HSR that ran out of money after construction barely started, etc., American state and local governments prove time and again that they cannot be trusted with infrastructure.

We are at an impasse.

>Speed is the number one most important thing for broadband service

Safety and security take precedence over speed, for me. I don't trust corporate entities that I have no decision making power over with my data, especially because they have already demonstrated what their goal is - extract maximum capital from me by any and all means necessary.

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