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Verizon, Cable Lobby Oppose Spec-Bump For Broadband Definition 255

WheezyJoe writes Responding to the FCC's proposal to raise the definition of broadband from 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream to 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up, the lobby group known as the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) wrote in an FCC filing Thursday that 25Mbps/3Mbps isn't necessary for ordinary people. The lobby alleges that hypothetical use cases offered for showing the need for 25Mbps/3Mbps "dramatically exaggerate the amount of bandwidth needed by the typical broadband user", referring to parties in favor of the increase like Netflix and Public Knowledge. Verizon, for its part, is also lobbying against a faster broadband definition. Much of its territory is still stuck on DSL which is far less capable of 25Mbps/3Mbps speeds than cable technology.

The FCC presently defines broadband as 4Mbps down and 1Mbps up, a definition that hasn't changed since 2010. By comparison, people in Sweden can pay about $40 a month for 100/100 mbps, choosing between more than a dozen competing providers. The FCC is under mandate to determine whether broadband is being deployed to Americans in a reasonable and timely way, and the commission must take action to accelerate deployment if the answer is negative. Raising the definition's speeds provides more impetus to take actions that promote competition and remove barriers to investment, such as a potential move to preempt state laws that restrict municipal broadband projects.
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Verizon, Cable Lobby Oppose Spec-Bump For Broadband Definition

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  • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo AT world3 DOT net> on Monday January 26, 2015 @09:09AM (#48903533) Homepage Journal

    and be grateful we let you buy it, consumer unit #15684132!

  • life in the U.S. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Monday January 26, 2015 @09:12AM (#48903543) Homepage Journal

    I am not sure that this group of people has any business telling me what I need or don't need.

    In the U.S. at least cable needs real competition in the broadband market. This is where the main oposition to growth is. We shouldn't be listening to them about anything at all.

    It's too bad we live in a country almost entirely run by lobbyists...

    • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday January 26, 2015 @09:17AM (#48903577) Homepage Journal

      I am not sure that this group of people has any business telling me what I need or don't need.

      That's not what is happening. This is a group of people listening to the people and deciding what they need or don't need. People are asking for internet access that looks like it came from the first world, and the FCC is responding to that. 4Mbps is inadequate for many common purposes today. If you want our internet to remain third world, by all means, stand against the FCC in attempting to revise their definition of broadband.

      The phone system was deliberately built out to cover us all because there are substantial benefits to such connection. Now, the internet must be built out to cover us all for similar reasons.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Wycliffe ( 116160 )

        If you want our internet to remain third world, by all means, stand against the FCC in attempting to revise their definition of broadband.

        Competition and/or expanding access would go alot further to bettering the internet than increasing the broadband definition.

        Dialup or using a cellular hotspot with speeds less than 1M is painful. 4M not so much for everyday use. I'm a programmer and
        work remotely via vpn, ssh, plus browse the web, watch amazon prime, etc... on a 1M connection and I have no problems with it.
        I do wish my upload speeds were faster. The fastest upload speed I can get is 768k so I guess by the FCC's definition I'm not
        on broad

        • Re:life in the U.S. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday January 26, 2015 @11:14AM (#48904439) Homepage Journal

          Competition and/or expanding access would go alot further to bettering the internet than increasing the broadband definition.

          Yes, but the FCC can't really do that even if they want to, not by themselves. Raising the definition of 'broadband' (heh heh) is something they can do, hilariously enough.

          The fastest upload speed I can get is 768k so I guess by the FCC's definition I'm not
          on broadband. Even this is not a huge problem. The only reason I wish I could do faster uploads is so that I can do online backups
          but that's probably a niche market.

          I don't think it is. Think about all the Android phone users who have backup turned on, but only on Wi-Fi. They're out shooting videos and taking pictures on their phones, and then these files are getting the cloud backup treatment. I think people are going to get used to this sort of thing in general if they get a chance.

        • It really depends on your location I can get 6mb dsl or 15mbps cable for $39 and satellite for $99 where I live, if you drive few mile to the next town it all starts at $99.

    • Historically, things always get much, much worse before the 99% freaks out. Very seldom do the ruling class give up any power and improve the situation for the masses to relieve the pressure pot.
      Just like the 99%, they also repeat the same mistakes over and over.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 26, 2015 @09:46AM (#48903713)

      We all have a right to lobby Congress.

      The trouble is, most of us do not have the money to hire professionals who have direct access to Congress people because they are ex-Congressmen or know people.

      If you or I tried to see a Congressmen, assuming we could even get past security (terrorism yadda yadda yadda), we would get the assistant to the secretary of the assistant to the intern of the Congressmen's assistant. Upon which, we would be told some sort of canned speech about how the Congressmen takes everyone's point of view into consideration and will do what's best for all of his constituents - or some such bullshit.

      You need money or some sort of grassroots movement that also gets votes.

      See, that's where the Teaparty is an example of an effeective grassroots movement. They riled up a bunch of angry white old people and THEY VOTE.

      Occupy Wall Street riled up some young people who DO NOT VOTE.

      That is why Tea Party rallies do not get harassed by cops.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 26, 2015 @10:38AM (#48904105)

        You need corporate backing or some sort of astroturf movement that also gets votes.

        See, that's where the Teaparty is an example of an effeective [sic] corporate funded astroturf movement. They riled up a bunch of angry white old people and THEY VOTE AGAINST THEIR BEST INTEREST.

        \

        Fixed that for ya! You are quite welcome, although I'm certain you knew that the Tea Party was invented by the Koch Brothers all along. The rest of us have known for years; it's actually quite common knowledge now that the Tea Party is 100% corporate funded and designed, and has been since it's very first day.

    • Re:life in the U.S. (Score:4, Informative)

      by c ( 8461 ) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Monday January 26, 2015 @09:47AM (#48903719)

      I am not sure that this group of people has any business telling me what I need or don't need.

      No, it's a useful gauge of how good it would be for the consumer. If the telcos and/or cable industry oppose something then it's a solid bet that it's in the best interests of the average consumer.

      • Meh. It's a band-aid to the real problem. If there were actually competition in the market, we wouldn't need the FCC telling us that "25Mbps is broadband." The competing providers would do it themselves. "While our service blazes along at 1Gbps, our competitor offers a paltry 500Mbps. (waaaah waaah *cue face of unhappy consumer slowly loading a pixelated picture of a boob*)."

        All that will happen with this is provider monopolies will increase speeds to 25Mbps, and no more. And 25Mbps is still balls.

    • by umafuckit ( 2980809 ) on Monday January 26, 2015 @09:47AM (#48903721)

      It's too bad we live in a country almost entirely run by lobbyists...

      I agree completely. You'll have a heck of a time getting rid of them too, since any attempt to do so will be branded as curtailing freedom of speech. I'll probably get modded flaimbait (again) for saying this: but the US (like other countries) doesn't have absolute freedom of speech. There is no such thing anywhere. So it's time of the government to stop pretending that money and companies can have freedom of speech and to stamp out the bullshit that's silencing the voice of the people they are supposed to be representing.

    • by aliquis ( 678370 ) <dospam@gmail.com> on Monday January 26, 2015 @10:26AM (#48904007) Homepage

      I want to reply on the linked threat from the original article.

      It talks about Sweden but the fact is only some of the municipals have their own fiber networks even though 12-13 years ago a go from Sunet suggested that one would build fiber to everyone just like the electronic grid and that the price would be a reasonable 50 billion SEK.

      Sadly ADSL and cable modems started showing up and I guess the government retards and old fucks was to weak and stupid to make it happen.

      It was of course a very good and much better idea than anything else.

      Instead they built fucking TV antennas for digital TV (and will be upgrading for digital radio) and are still stuck with the old telephone network. AND people have less competition and quality on their Internet connection and not the same amount of options everywhere.

      In the linked article someone make the lame excuse that the US have so many people whereas Sweden only have the population of New York and hence it's not comparable.

      But it's all about density of the population. To be fair though US have larger cities and hence in-between them maybe more open space.

      On the other hand IN something like NY there's no reason you couldn't have what Sweden have in Stockholm for instance.

      Also someone compared with California which have got four times the people in about the same amount of space but shouldn't that just mean that there's better possibilities of doing it in California? An even larger city or more densely populated area = less to dig.

      In the case of Sweden those 50 billion would be 5 000 SEK / person = $600 but that's NOTHING!

      Having a fiber network is a long lasting infrastructure piece and having it built everywhere and others compete for providing bandwidth for consumers likely lead to much better price for them. The nationwide network would lower prices on Internet connection and over time $600 is really cheap.

      And as said it could be used for stuff like TV, radio (possibly), telephony and things they may not want to do now because it's not as obvious that everyone got an IP connection (government and municipal service, health-care, declaration of taxes, banking, ..)

  • Money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Monday January 26, 2015 @09:12AM (#48903549)
    The entrenched operators will spend whatever it takes to protect their monopolies; especially since bandwidth will be the real valuable commodity, not cable channels, as more services begin to offer content separate from a cable subscription. If real competition was introduced they will lose a lot of money and want to prevent that at all costs. The fear Google and local authorities who threaten their monopoly; and want to avoid any federal rules or laws that overturn local actions because it's easier (read cheaper) to influence local politicians than national ones.
    • Also remember that cable companies don't want faster Internet speeds because faster speeds means it's easier to get your video entertainment from the Internet instead of from cable TV. If you decide to stream Netflix and are stuck at 3 Mbps, you might have problems. If you try to stream Netflix and are on 25 Mbps, you won't have any problems. (At least none arising from how much bandwidth you have, at least.)

      Cable companies aren't going to publicly admit it, but they're scared that the American consumer

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yes, 10gbps internet package

    Not 1gbps, but 10gbps

    http://www.digitaltrends.com/c... [digitaltrends.com]

    And America is still talking about 25mbps?

    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
      Fiber 10Gb to the home is rolling out in the USA, but $400/month for now. NG2-PON is 10Gb. Each port is 320Gb, WDM'd in 32 lambdas of 10Gb each for 32 customers. Google Fiber is NG-PON, which is 40Gb WDM'd into 32 lambdas of 1.25Gb each.
  • by pablo_max ( 626328 ) on Monday January 26, 2015 @09:16AM (#48903573)

    Seriously, these guys are total fart blossoms.
    I cannot believe the things they are able to say out loud with a straight face.

    25Mbps/3Mbps is barely even usable.
    Every time I visit my folks in the US, who have 25Mbps/3Mbps I find it unbearably slow. They pay like 80bucks a month for that ridiculous "broadband" connection. 80Bucks!
    Meanwhile, I may 48€ per month for 150/25Mbps. That includes TV and phone too.

    Seriously, how the fuck can you guys stand it? Especially when ever tech company is pushing their stupid cloud services. How are going to use a cloud service with your ridiculous dialup speeds?
    How are you going to watch HD Netflix? Let alone 4K. Forget about it.

    • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Monday January 26, 2015 @09:53AM (#48903753) Homepage

      How are you going to watch HD Netflix? Let alone 4K. Forget about it.

      We won't and this is by design. Right now, if Americans want video entertainment, we mostly turn to cable TV companies. These companies have monopolies in their areas. Like a group of rival mobs, they've carved up the territory so that they don't compete with each other. They also have bribed... I mean lobbied politicians to pass laws to benefit themselves (the cable TV companies) at the local, state, and national level.

      Now, with this level of control, the cable companies have enjoyed an almost unimpeded ability to charge whatever they decide and to offer services however they like. If you didn't like this, you had virtually nobody to go to. You could get TV from a satellite TV provider, but Internet was likely just the cable company or the phone company and the latter was increasingly going the high-priced mobile route.

      Enter the Internet and high speed access. Now, consumers started realizing they don't need the high priced cable service. They just need a fast Internet connection. The cable companies are scared (though they won't admit it publicly - can't spook the shareholders) so they are trying to keep speeds slow, institute caps "to manage network traffic", and take other measures (such as messing with connections to Netflix) to minimize how many customers flee to Internet video solutions.

      So not being able to watch HD Netflix or 4K? That's a cable company feature, not a bug.

      • Right now, if Americans want video entertainment, we mostly turn to cable TV companies.

        older guys, yes. but everyone I know who is 20something has cut the cord and gets all their data online, via netflix or torrents. I don't know anyone who still has cable tv and is young-ish.

        over time, the cable co's WILL have to update their networks. in 20 yrs, I don't think there will be a broadcast tv system anymore. maybe even in 10, if we do it right. this is a fairly short time window and they are NOT going pea

    • I really need to move, here in Germany I am paying around 75 Euro for 2/2Mbps with phone.
      • by dave420 ( 699308 )
        I pay well less than that in Germany, and get 160mb/s down. It was 160, anyway - they keep increasing it. I've not checked in a while what I've currently got.
    • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Monday January 26, 2015 @10:13AM (#48903903) Homepage

      Yeah, here in freaking Iceland most people have 50 or 100 Mbps fiber for a lot cheaper than that. And not just in the capitol region, it even runs out to Vestfirðir now where the largest city is under 3k people.

      It makes no sense whatsoever that a hunk of rock just under the arctic circle, 3 1/2 hours plane flight to the nearest land mass with any sort of half-decent manufacturing infrastructure, consisting often unstable ground constantly bombarded by intense winds, ice, landslides, avalanches, volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, etc, with the world's 2nd or 3rd lowest population density and heavy taxes on all imported goods, can do this while the US can't. What the heck, America? You've got half of the world's servers sitting right there, why the heck can't you manage to connect people to them?

    • Super HD Netflix (1080p) works just fine with a 10 Mbps connection.
  • by Isca ( 550291 ) on Monday January 26, 2015 @09:25AM (#48903615)
    The reason why you have such great service in other countries is because of two reasons:

    The state or state sanctioned telephone company is incentivized to offer better service and is severely penalized if they do not meet those requirements and/or the hardware wiring side is partially decoupled from the services side. In sweden most of these networks are municipal networks that provide fiber to the premises for a low monthly cost because a municipality can easily facilitate a long term non profit oriented recovery time for the expense of wiring everything. Then basically any provider who wants to offer service can using their lines, they just have to pay for their own uplinks and billing system.

    We could achieve some of that model here in the states by decoupling the lines from the service, then regulating them like electrical or water utilities so that there is a base amount paid and a certain low but steady profit margin built in. It would also help tremendously if the state and local legislatures had the power or will to actually enforce the agreements set.

    I'd love to see how fast Verizon could actually implement fiber in PA if they were told to get the ball moving or we foreclose on the lines that we paid for. 2.1 billion + 20 years of interest should be interesting clawback if they had the political will to enforce it.

    • by yacc143 ( 975862 )

      Exactly, adding coverage requirements to licenses makes for a great motivator.

      E.g. that leads to an arrogant expectation, that your mobile just works. Does not matter if you are in the city, or in some remote valley in the mountains.

      Another brutal way to go at it is simply not allowing deployment of LTE in urban environments before the countryside does not have enough coverage.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by greg1104 ( 461138 )

      No, the main reason European countries have better Internet access is due to their small size and layout. Sweden is roughly the size of California [ifitweremyhome.com]. If the US was a country that small, it would be easy to get fiber to everywhere. First speed test result I found averaged just over the state puts California at 39MB/s down and 9MB/s up. And that's without nearly as much taxation to support the whole thing as EU countries too. [speedtest.net]

      But the FCC has to set policies that cover the middle of nowhere USA as well. Why

      • After repeatedly having the same reaction to these situations, I made a spreadsheet that compares the populations and sizes of US states and European countries. The first sheet is population, second is land area in square miles, and the third is population density per square mile. It also has columns on each page showing which countries are in the European Union, and which use the Euro as their currency.

        Here is a link to it. They will send a link to your email address. Use it as you wish.

        http://www.filehost [filehosting.org]

      • by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Monday January 26, 2015 @11:22AM (#48904565)

        Stop thinking about borders - telecoms doesn't give two hoots about them. If what you say is true, internet in US cities should be the best and cheapest around, with the boondocks suffering. As it is, it's mainly crap across the board. Making excuses for shoddy US infrastructure is only helping it continue - I know you might feel upset at not being #1 #1 #1, but without accepting that you're not going to improve anything.

        Plus your map is not showing 'continental Europe' - Europe is larger than the US, so it appears you are merely furthering the stereotype of geographically-hindered Americans. Shame on you. You got so much wrong in one post it's bordering on the hilarious.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday January 26, 2015 @09:27AM (#48903627) Journal
    What I find utterly insufferable about this 'argument'(if it rises to a level where you can call it that) is how badly it misses the point:

    Netflix and a few friends say that 25/3 is needed because a household might be streaming multiple things while running a cloud backup and doing some skyping or something. Verizon et al. say that such usage is atypical, and therefore everyone can take the status quo and like it.

    In both cases, the most important bit is being ignored: new uses for bandwidth are not going to emerge(or are going to be academic and deep-pocketed-corporate curiosities) unless there is at least some prospect of bandwidth being available. Does 'today's typical use case' need 25/3? Probably not; because it was developed under the constraints of a market where 25/3 is markedly above average, so anyone developing products and services is condemning themselves to a niche if they require very high bandwidth, especially upstream.

    If just doing what you did last year, forever, was good enough, 'broadband' would still involve an acoustic coupler. Chicken/egg.
    • If I could mod you up, I would. You hit it dead on. The only counterargument I see to this though is that you still have the
      chicken/egg problem if 25/3 is available and most people aren't willing to pay extra for it because they just don't need it.

      On, a bit of a side note, as you mentioned yourself, the upload speed still sucks. Why 25/3? That's actually a worse
      ratio that the current 4/1. If we really want new and interesting cloud services then upload and download should be matched.
      Given the choice

  • by wjcofkc ( 964165 ) on Monday January 26, 2015 @09:29AM (#48903637)
    Ever since the Google Fiber roll out came here, Time Warner has been scrambling to lay down fiber. Their trucks and construction efforts are everywhere now. They are doing this without raising prices... because they can't in the face of competition. Time Warner could have rolled out Fiber over a decade ago, but why spare the expense when there is no competition? With Google coming out of left field, there is now market competition. That's it right there. We don't need an FCC mandate that explicitly defines broadband, we need mandates that create competition.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 26, 2015 @09:44AM (#48903705)
      Sure, we need to get 3 or 4 other companies in there laying down fiber! That way none of them will have the subscriber base to pay for it and they'll all go bankrupt! You obviously don't have any concept of how public infrastructure needs to work. We need to have one company (or government) placing fiber to everyone's home. That fiber then needs to be made available to anyone who wants to lease it (or wavelengths on it) at a reasonable price. Then you'll see a new day in telecommunications.
      • by wjcofkc ( 964165 )
        Or get innovative and try to develop new broadband technologies. Just as with dial up, someday we will look back and say, "remember when we were all stuck using fiber?"
    • Because Google is available in every market and there's no barrier for Google entering these markets *eye roll*

      You might want to read Google petition to the FCC to reclassify ISPs as Title II common carriers. This will allow Google access the utility poles to run fiber which in many cases they do not.

      Think Potsy think....
  • WTF? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jtownatpunk.net ( 245670 ) on Monday January 26, 2015 @09:36AM (#48903659)
    25/3 is barely adequate now. It'll be pathetic in a few years when streaming 4k is the norm. And what's with the turtlesque uplink speeds? How are we supposed to "cloud" our lives at 3 megs?
  • Sometimes it's hilarious listening to those demanding changes in Federal, national standards in the US, who've clearly never travelled outside the coasts and/or packed, urban dorm living...

    Being able to stream 18 videos at once is nice. But you got along perfectly well beforehand. Broadband is about reliable, reasonable hardline (except for certain buildout locations where LTE is being petitioned as a replacement) information communication... It's NOT intended as the tail wagging the dog on Millennial cord-

    • by dave420 ( 699308 )
      Then why isn't internet access in US cities any good? They're no larger than in other parts of the world, and those other places seem to be able to offer decent, cheap internet for anyone interested...
    • Re:America is HUGE (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pehrs ( 690959 ) on Monday January 26, 2015 @09:57AM (#48903771)

      Oh, yes the "UG, why need sharp stone? Dull stone kills deer also, easier to make." argument.

      If you don't want to be at a severe competitive disadvantage you need good telecommunication infrastructure. Wireless bandwidth is, for physical reasons, severely hampered, which means that fixed lines is the only way to provide it.

      When it comes to the population density, you should note that Sweden has a considerably lower population density than most of the American states, yet much better telecommunication infrastructure. Northern Sweden has a population density of about 4 people per square km, yet good access to telecommunication services. It may cost a bit to roll out, but the alternative of being left behind technologically is much more expensive.

      • When it comes to the population density, you should note that Sweden has a considerably lower population density than most of the American states, yet much better telecommunication infrastructure. Northern Sweden has a population density of about 4 people per square km, yet good access to telecommunication services.

        According to sources like this [tradingeconomics.com], about 85% of Sweden's population is in urban areas. When you only have 15% of the population that's really spread out, of course it's easy to just spend the extra money to wire all of them up. The population of Sweden is so small, you really can't extrapolate out from it very much to US sized problems either. You could barely fill the NY metro area here with everyone in Sweden.

        And our sparse states make Northern Sweden look like a huge party. Nationwide US policy has to c

      • The geographical size of the United States is a well worn argument.

        Based on this reasoning, everyone living within the high density metro areas of the US should have super-cereal internet speeds. They don't. The only reason they MIGHT in the near future is because Google is lighting a fire under the old guards asses. They freaked right the hell out as soon as they realized Google was being serious. Guess what AT&T did ? They're trying to deploy Giga-Power ( yes gigabit ethernet ) to as many locatio
    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      That just raises another issue - why are you services and utilities so unreliable in the US? Here in Iceland we get hurricane-force winds several times a year on average - I've had gusts over Cat 5 on my land. Winter isn't incredibly cold but is super wet (all precipitation forms), windy, and lasts a long time. Up at higher altitudes you get stuff like this [staticflickr.com] (yes, those are guy wires... somewhere in that mass). I lived in the US for a long time and had an average of maybe two power outages a year from downed

    • Re:America is HUGE (Score:5, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday January 26, 2015 @11:19AM (#48904519) Homepage Journal

      Sometimes it's hilarious listening to those demanding changes in Federal, national standards in the US, who've clearly never travelled outside the coasts and/or packed, urban dorm living..

      Here's the problem with that argument: even in cities where population is, most Americans still have crappy internet by modern standards. That's why you don't get to apply the "America is huge" argument to speeds, only to coverage. It's not surprising that many people who live in the sticks can't get cable or DSL, that happens because America is huge and our population is actually relatively distributed. But it is surprising that so many people who live in densely-packed regions still can't get even 25 Mbps, let alone the vastly higher speeds now available for a reasonable price in many nations which did not invent the internet.

  • by pehrs ( 690959 ) on Monday January 26, 2015 @09:40AM (#48903683)

    There are some technical reasons that the telecom monopoly lobbying groups REALLY don't want broadband to be defined at high speeds. It rules out a wide range of very cheap technologies which can be used to claim that they do provide broadband. At 25/3 you need to offer at least ADSL2+M (ADSL2 won't cut it), DOCSIS systems will be severely limited in the number of subscribers, GPRS is out (you need to move to HSPA) and so on. Setting a very low limit for what is broadband is a perfect way to polish the numbers and make it look like good service is provided at very reasonable prices. We have sold refurbished telecommunication equipment to the US, which was no longer considered competitive in the northern European market, but was state of the art for many parts of the US.

    While it is certainly nice to have a place to unload old equipment I don't think it is in the best interest of the USA to play catch up on infrastructure just to help a few telcom companies to keep their profit margins high...

  • Go fuck yourself.

    25 Down 5 up should be the bare minimum allowed. Hell they should also slap on a requirement that it should not cost more than $9.95 a month and "contracts" are now illegal.

    If the FCC had any balls at all and was working for the people, they would do this right away.

    • by nucrash ( 549705 )

      Name calling is not the way. We should guilt these companies into believing that they are holding us back. They are not being the best in the world. They are preventing America from being the first nation. We should hold them accountable, but also let them know what harm they are causing.

      • Guilt? Let's try gut. They taking Billions of tax payer dollars in the name of rolling out broad band and have not done that. Companies should be broken up.
      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        You are correct. Angry mob with tazers is the way.

  • by satch89450 ( 186046 ) on Monday January 26, 2015 @09:43AM (#48903695) Homepage

    "Normal cable companies don't need $100/month for Internet, consumer lobby says.

    "The consumer lobby is opposed to a cable industry plan to keep sub-standard Internet server at or above $100/month. Cable companies do just fine with lower rates, the Internet Consumer Association wrote on SlashDot this morning. It wasn't that long ago that Internet access was available for one-fifth the rate, and the cost burden to the cable companies to provide service continues to drop as the Internet access piggy-backs on existing cable infrastructure, especially in the face of cable company promotion of so-called 'triple-play' products: television, telephone, and Internet.

    "Notably, no party provides any justification for adopting increased tarriffs for providing service. All the companies provide bogus justifications for charges for service that go well beyond the 'current' and regular' amounts that were in place during the dial-up and DSL days."

    (I wonder how the NCTA would respond to such an article, were one such as this parody were ever to appear in print)

    • (I wonder how the NCTA would respond to such an article, were one such as this parody were ever to appear in print)

      So get a domain, put together a shiny website, and shop the article around to all the wire services you can find...

  • by buddyglass ( 925859 ) on Monday January 26, 2015 @09:45AM (#48903709)
    1. The FCC should establish a "moving definition". Identify a set of peer countries and define U.S. "broadband" relative to some measure of those countries' broadband capability. Maybe "broadband" is "just faster than the slowest peer nation". Or maybe it's "the median among all peer nations". Etc. Revise the standard yearly according to the moving definition.

    2. To what extent is Sweden's network access made cheaper by way of public subsidy? The amount of the subsidy should be included in the "price", even if it's less visible.

    3. Not everybody streams HD video. If you don't stream HD video then 25/3 is more than adequate. I watch TV shows from Hulu on my laptop over a 6 Mbps DSL connection.
  • Sweden
    Area: 450 sq km - Roughly the size of California
    Population: 9.7 Million. 85% of which is Urban (8.2 million)
    i.e. The city of New York (8.4 M) with a resource base equal to the state of California.

    Yeah, that's an apples-to-apples comparison, for sure.

    • by dave420 ( 699308 )
      People in areas of Sweden with a population density of ~4 per square KM still get better internet than in many US cities. Your argument is old and busted.
  • by nucrash ( 549705 ) on Monday January 26, 2015 @09:50AM (#48903733)

    This is a series of companies telling us that we don't need the best in the world, all the while we have our government leaders telling us that we are the best in the world.

    Friedman talked about how our inter connectivity by the internet has pushed globalization to the forefront, and the US has lead because of this. Now that other countries are taking queue from the US, should our broadband providers become lax and accept the status quo, or should we demand to keep growing? I for one feel that we as a nation should demand more of our companies in order to promote growth, and if they feel the need to stop that growth, then they should be displaced. We have already started by cutting cables to the cable television companies because that no longer fits our needs. If we start to see markets stagnate, then we should have a right to ask them to keep growing. The internet has been key to the global dominance of the United States. Why prohibit our growth. Broadband providers companies, why do you hate America?

  • Can someone explain why you need a "broadband" definition exactly? And who cares if that 4 Mbps services doesn't meet that definition?
    • No because it's too easy to look up this information. Figure it out for yourself.
    • "Rows and flows of copper wire,
      Charging too much, all the while.
      So many files I could have had,
      But clouds got in my way..."

    • Or why they are redefining a telecommunications word to include a restriction which is otherwise meaningless for 99% of broadband uses out there?

  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Monday January 26, 2015 @10:05AM (#48903835)
    1200 baud should be enough for anyone.
  • The relevant law that the FCC is supposed to be carrying out is more specific than the general term "broadband". Rural areas tend to have slower connections, of course, and the FCC is supposed to measure which areas have usable service and which don't. The law says the FCC is supposed to measure whether areas have an option which:

            enable users to originate and receive high-quality voice,
            data, graphics, and video telecommunications

    Voice: Broadcast AM radio is 25 Khz, which very roughly correlates to 25 Kbps. Copper phone lines (POTS) are 52 Kbps max. So most nay internet connection allows for "high-quality voice", given correct settings in the software.

    Data: Faster is always better, but Google or Slashdot will load in 2 seconds on a 4 Mbps connection.

    Graphics: Facebook recommends uploading at 1200x600 for "full size" display. Such an image will load full size in 1-2 seconds on a 512 Kbps connection.

    Video: Netflix 1080p is 3 Mbps.

    So it would seem that the standard the law requires them to use ends up meaning about 3-4 Mbps.

    We'd all like faster internet, obviously. Te FCC isn't deciding how fast internet should be. It's deciding how fast is required to "enable high quality voice, data, graphics, and video". 1080p is high-quality video, and that's 3 Mbps.

  • One of the tell-tale signs of the quality of a country's democracy in the internet age is the difference in upload versus download bandwidth allocated to the average internet user. Do the people get a voice, or is the internet a receive-only medium?
  • Milking aging infrastructure for maximum profit, desperately defending old business models.

    Now get off my lawn before I take my buggy whip to you.

  • by redelm ( 54142 ) on Monday January 26, 2015 @11:19AM (#48904515) Homepage

    Fine to have good bandwidth from an ISP hub (DSLAM or DOCSIS server) but what guarantees it is available?

    I have noticed that during the Internet rush hours (mostly evenings 4-10pm, especially Sunday) that many providers underprovision their upward links. (I'm not hitting loaded servers.) I have only a 6/1 and often I cannot get 3/0.5 .

    This will be a very local thing and depends on how much the ISP has [over]sold and your neighbors usage (both cable and DSL). YMMV.

  • Can pay $70.00/month for 1Gbps symmetric fiber...
  • More hypocrisy! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ygorl ( 688307 ) on Monday January 26, 2015 @11:22AM (#48904571)
    It's amusing how the telecoms can, when addressing consumers, really stress how important and amazing it is to have legitimately high bandwidth (e.g. Comcast telling me that I need at least 50 mbits downstream if more than one person lives in my home) and yet, when addressing regulators, say that most people don't need more than 4 mbits. Not surprising, but amusing. Do they think that regulators don't see their ads?
  • ...but for fucks sake, stop comparing the US to Sweden (or other Euro countries). Sweden is the size of California and has 9million people in it vs the US's 330million+. You cannot compare the two.

  • by Gavagai80 ( 1275204 ) on Monday January 26, 2015 @12:22PM (#48905159) Homepage

    I used to have 15 Mbps, and downgraded to 6 Mbps to save money. Never noticed the difference. 3 Mbps would probably be fine too -- plenty good enough for 360p video. Not everybody wants HD. On the other hand, I do feel a huge difference compared to the 1 Mbps my parents have (can't really watch video with that). So I'd define broadband as being ~3 Mbps+.

    Some consumers, of course, may benefit from more. Call it broadband HD or broadband+ or something. It's important not to obscure the more important distinction between those stuck on connections too slow for the modern internet and those with broadband.

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