Broadband stimulus package explained by Yochai Benkler

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9 Responses to “Broadband stimulus package explained by Yochai Benkler”

  1. ab5tract says:

    I’m consistently shocked at how unimportant an issue this is to most people, given that real broadband for real prices (100/100 for $15-20 sounds about right) would open up entire new and as yet undiscovered industries.

    The Japanese model is the only model that makes sense. In fact, its really one of the only economic stimulus options that make sense.

  2. tartar says:

    We need more plans that can be tagged “sane” and “effective.”

  3. zuzu says:

    Exactly right #1. Giving money to the telcos is as stupid as giving money to the banks.

    I meant Redmond Cooper (@2)

  4. zuzu says:

    I happen to think that the 45/15 rate is a fantastic contemporary package – that’s VDSL2

    “Contemporary” meaning that by the time it’s finally implemented (years later), it’ll already be obsolete. 100Mbps symmetric is a sane target; check out the Web100 Project.

    See, stringing copper out to every home in the US is a very expensive project, and some houses are so far out there that nobody could, economically, run power to them. So, since the power companies couldn’t/wouldn’t do it, the Federal Govt decided to subsidize these efforts and offer federal funding and low-interest loans to companies who would do this.

    Which is how we get monopolies for telecoms and electricity. (c.f. universalservice)

    The problem is that government lacked foresight that distributed generation would be a reality, and of course now our centrally managed spoke-and-hub power grid can’t handle it.

    We could also have wireless distributed broadband if the FCC were pressured into adopting open spectrum for software-defined cognitive radio.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It’s not that strange that the Department of Agriculture gets the money. The program is called the Rural Utilities Service. It is a program that was created in the early 30′s to expand the reach of electricity. See, stringing copper out to every home in the US is a very expensive project, and some houses are so far out there that nobody could, economically, run power to them. So, since the power companies couldn’t/wouldn’t do it, the Federal Govt decided to subsidize these efforts and offer federal funding and low-interest loans to companies who would do this. A similar model was adopted for the telephone infrastructure. It has helped many folks get service where they wouldn’t have before. I admit, that the Department of Agriculture doesn’t seem a logical place to put it, but when you see that they have 75 years of experience with this, it should be a little more comforting. I happen to think that the 45/15 rate is a fantastic contemporary package – that’s VDSL2, which would provide recipients the ability to stream 3 HD channels, and more than cover all your surfing, voice, and file transfers. Not bad – I think this money will help with expansion of service, and increased quality of service. $9Billion would buy 220M lines of data service, without operational/deployment costs, but if you imagine it as only serving to provide the hardware/software to provide the service, and the service providers simply had to manage the installation and operation, that’s a pretty sweet deal – and would give almost every person in the US access to triple play services. I’m for it!

  6. Ned613 says:

    “45 Mbps downstream, 15 Mbps downstream” Is this a typo? Should one of these (15 Mbps) be up-stream?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Maybe conservatives can come on board if it is put in certain words. If you compare any public works to FDR, they will Balk. But if you mention Hoover and TVA or Eisenhower and the Highway system, they might come around. Also frame it in the necessary terms of the USAs standings in deployed bandwidth, how we need to be number one again.

  8. zuzu says:

    Exactly right #1.
    Giving money to the telcos is as stupid as giving money to the banks.

    If throwing government (i.e. taxpayor) money at the problem is a foregone conclusion, a vastly superior alternative is to subsidize local / municipal laying of fibre optic loops to the curb, and then allow ISPs to compete for using that fibre to deliver Internet connectivity, which should settle at about 100Mbps up and down for about $15-20/month.

    At least fibre optic loops are a legitimate infrastructure investment like roads and sewer.

    p.s. Verizon FiOS has already had 20Mbps upload bandwidth (namely, 20/20 symmetric) since January 2008. They had 15Mbps upload since 2005. Of course, paying back private investment for laying fibre PONs has the price for that at $65/month.

  9. Redmond Cooper says:

    Because, you know, the last time we gave a shitload of money to the Telcos to build out their broadband infrastructure went so well

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