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White House report says that broadband is now a core utility like electricity and water

By midian182 · 27 replies
Sep 23, 2015
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  1. A new report from the White House and the Broadband Opportunity Council (BOC) states that broadband internet in the US is no longer an “optional amenity” but a core utility that is now “taking its place alongside water, sewer, and electricity as essential infrastructure for communities."

    The BOC, which is chaired by the heads of the Commerce and Agriculture departments, spent five months reviewing every major Federal program that provides support for broadband access, from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to the Department of Justice. The report presented a list of 36 actions that the government needs to implement over the next 18 months in order to improve broadband access, including:

    - Modernize Federal programs valued at approximately $10 billion to include broadband as an eligible program expenditure, such as the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Community Facilities (CF) program, which will help communities around the country bring broadband to health clinics and recreation centers;

    - Create an online inventory of data on Federal assets, such as Department of the Interior (DOI) telecommunications towers, that can help support faster and more economical broadband deployments to remote areas of the country;

    - Streamline the applications for programs and broadband permitting processes to support broadband deployment and foster competition; and

    - Create a portal for information on Federal broadband funding and loan programs to help communities easily identify resources as they seek to expand access to broadband.

    President Obama claims that since he took office over 45 million people have gotten online, but the BOC’s report suggests there’s still much more work to do. Other recommendations it makes include implementing outreach programs to Native American tribal lands to improve broadband access in those areas, and that federal agencies promote "dig once" policies that put fiber or fiber conduit underground when streets are dug up for other purposes.

    In July, the White House launched the ConnectHome project across 27 cities. The program aims to bring high-speed broadband to a number of low-income families in the US. 275,000 families have since benefitted from the initiative’s offer of free or very low-cost broadband services.

    Permalink to story.

  2. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,135   +1,552

    Now the poor people can look at porn on the internet
    learninmypc and p51d007 like this.
  3. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,796   +3,181

    That's been possible for awhile. Haven't you ever heard of the AoL free trial discs? You can use as many as you want.
  4. fl21289

    fl21289 TS Booster Posts: 92   +75

    In other words... Time for the government to collect TAXES on your internet bill. Woot Woot!
    davislane1 and p51d007 like this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,682   +773

    I suppose the day was coming... while I don't agree with it, there are some companies that only accept internet payment.
  6. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,700   +2,067

    I thought that competition was a good thing among the conservative crowd. The state of things (as I see it) is that competition is unfairly quenched by entrenched companies that abuse ancient telco laws. To me, it is very unfortunate that govt has to step in to abate the abuse, but I am happy to see it since if it does result in more competition, I will be happy - even if it means that I have to pay some percentage of my ISP bill to Uncle Sam. My position is based largely on how I and my relatives have been treated as a customer of my ISP, and on the stories that I hear of how that monopoly in my area treats acquaintances that have shared their experience with me.

    Take, for instance, a colleague of mine who called that monopoly to try to reduce his bill. When he told them that he relies on OTA TV, they came up with the total LIE that the Govt was going to get rid of OTA TV. Maybe there are some who think that they should, but because it is free, I highly doubt it will ever happen.

    So, F the monopolies, bring on the "utility" classification for broadband, and bring on the competition.
    SirChocula and SantistaUSA like this.
  7. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,890   +1,164

    Then walk, take a cab, bus to a local library and use the internet there.
    Oh wait! security!
    Doesn't matter, most of these yahoo's have free Obama phones, use those.
  8. NightAngel79

    NightAngel79 TS Addict Posts: 203   +57

    Have you ever *tried* to watch porn on free AOL? Exercise in futility :)
  9. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,796   +3,181

    I was once a kid from a poor family so I know the sting of someone picking up the phone right as the image is halfway done loading. Factor in the couple of hours it took to find the image you liked and you've just realized "wow, dial-up sucks".
    davislane1 and Lionvibez like this.
  10. SirGCal

    SirGCal TS Maniac Posts: 365   +138

    While I agree that the cable/etc. monopolies need to go away and said rules need to be abolished, at the same time, do you every know of a place where you can choose your electricity company or even phone company? Seems every area has the only 'one' option... And it's not equal acrossed the board.

    Here, I pay a lot less through my power then someone does in the next town. 2.7 cents per kwh vs 3.3... Why is their power more expensive? (and they are in the far more densely populated area so...) Either way it's not fair, people should be able to choose for everything (but in reality, the world isn't wired that way).
  11. drjekelmrhyde

    drjekelmrhyde TS Evangelist Posts: 319   +106

    You must don't pay bills already. This is not making the ISPs give out stuff for free, but making sure everyone have ACCESS to broadband like water and power.
  12. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,700   +2,067

    Yes, I do. In NY State. It is possible to choose a different electricity provider, and it is also possible to choose at least the long-distance telephone provider of your choice on a hard phone line. The choices for electricity do not always offer a better rate than the primary provider, but it is possible to get a better rate on long-distance service. I pay about 4 times per kwh what you do, but people in a limited area near me get 2.7 cents per kwh like you do. This is made possible by "common carrier" laws that apply to telecommunications and public utilities.

    In our area, however, we have a firm that is currently laying fiber to the home for internet access, so they will not be using the same lines that the monopoly does in our area. In this case, there is a difference. I do not know whether they are getting federal funding for the effort, but they might be. If the new stance on internet access spurs business like this, I am happy with that. By laying their own lines, there is no dependency on the monopoly, so it is true competition.

    I do not know about your area, but you just might be in a place where there is a choice with at least some aspects of your hard-line phone service and/or other public utilities because of common carrier laws. Some research might reveal the unexpected.

    As well, need I mention cell phones? Many people are choosing cell phones over hard-line phones, and there is certainly a choice in that arena.
  13. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +138

    When was the last time you've seen utilities compete? Do you even know the purpose for a business being called a utility?
  14. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +138

    You got this backwards. In New York competition was ALLOWED among the carriers, not restricted, which is what a utility does. In my state, Arizona, only Southwest Gas provides Gas, and depending on your area you either get APS or SRP for electricity. There is no "competition" that you speak of. Now, you want internet service to be restricted to a small number of firms that can afford to maintain the network and deliver the service. That is not creating competition, but restricting it.

    I don't believe you guys ever know what it is that you're doing other than wanting to stick it to the "man".
  15. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 1,512   +1,717

    The prices of a internet utility would be much more reasonable than the BS that comcast and the like try to pull.
    wiyosaya and SirChocula like this.
  16. FakeAccount

    FakeAccount TS Rookie

    Nothing about corruption and how it's allowing broadband companies to avoid competition?
    wiyosaya likes this.
  17. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,700   +2,067

    My apologies that you choose to live in a state where competition is restricted. Perhaps you should consider moving elsewhere.

    The post that I responded to asked me if I knew of a place where there is a choice. I do not want to stick it to the man, I want to stick it to the bastard monopolies that lie, steat, and cheal because they think they can get away with it, and the "man" who allows such crap to take place because of the cronies that allow outdated and antiquated laws to govern modern communications. It is these crappy laws that need to be changed, but they are entrenched in conservative, big-business politics that thinks we are still using strings and tin cans for communications.

    And if you bothered to read further in my post, you would have read that the fiber firm in our area is laying their own lines in parallel to the cable monopoly which means that they do not have to rely on the cable monopoly for carriage of their data - so this is true competition - even if it is only one more firm. This kind of thing is what I think this country needs more of, and, at least as I see it, is the spirit of what the current POTUS is attempting to do. Yet at each and every instance of making things more accessible, we get people who piss and moan that it is going to raise their fees.

    Next time, how about you direct your anger at your situation to someone in your own state who might do something about it. Certainly, venting it at me since I live in NYS is not going to do any real good. Is there any politician in your state who would give a sh!t that there is no competition? Opening your mouth to the appropriate people is the only way that you will get things to change.

    According to the way that I read your post, we should just allow the status quo. If you have a better solution, then by all means, go to the WH web site and propose it since I have not yet heard anything better about what should be done come from you. In the mean time, I will definitely take the fiber service over the f'd-up thugs that have the monopoly in our area.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2015
  18. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,680   +417

    I just opted to switch my broadband in the UK from British Telecom to SSE Hyrdo who are a gas and electricity supplier for about £20 less a month. It really is becoming a utility.
  19. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +138

    How would you know? What do you consider to be reasonable? What I reasonably know is that electricity, water, and gas are priced so low in the Phoenix Metro area that they are always going to the Corporation Commission to request an increase in rates (electricity and gas) and the city is always increasing the rates on water or issuing edicts to not use so much water?

    And my rate with Centurylink for broadband is quite reasonable. You net neuts have yet to prove how imposing the federal government on a company will make rates "reasonable".
  20. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +138

    Yeah, and you want to impose that idiocy on the entire COUNTRY. Save your apologies for after the dynamic broadband market is destroyed because of your contempt for Comcast.

    So in your quest to stick it to the man you're going to mess it up for everyone else. Yeah that sounds like good policy. Revenge is always a good way to bring about change.

    And guess what? This is happening without the government reclassifying the internet as a utility! It's almost as if you realize that seeing the heavyhandedness of government is the wrong way to go about solving the problem, but can't tear yourself away from that solution because you're afraid to admit that maybe, just maybe, the problem is the government and not the cable "monopoly".

    You're correct, the status quo was/is FINE. As I keep trying to point out to you net neuts, we have gone from 13.3 kbps to 1 Gbps in less than three decades, but because you have a beef to pick with Comcast you're going to ruin it for everybody. You don't know when to leave things alone. Rest assured, declaring internet a utility is NOT, repeat NOT going to uproot Comcast or any other major telco, nor is it going to result in lower rates. It never has, it never will. Yeah, they'll have to beg a CC to raise rates, but there will never be a decrease them. I wish I could say be careful what you wish for, but if you get your way we're ALL going to be screwed.
  21. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,700   +2,067

    How do YOU know?

    Its so cheap in your area that you would rather not have it cheap elsewhere because it will F'up your area? How do YOU know?

    The only reason fiber is being laid in our area is because that company got permission from the state public service commission to do so - before net neutrality. Now I should cry and piss and moan because GOVERNMENT got involved and is allowing competition in our area? I should stay with my current sh!t bag ISP because, because, because WHY - because YOU think it is going to F'up YOUR service?

    You got the ISP wrong for my area, but I would be against ANY monopolistic ISP that lies to their customers to get the sale, that slams the elderly and non-tech-savvy onto their service just because they can, in short, abuses their customers because they know they have a monopoly and know that the worst that will happen is that they will get their hands symbolically slapped because they abused their power, and then they will continue to abuse.

    It has nothing to do with revenge, but I expect that you will have trouble grasping that.
  22. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +138

    When has increased regulation EVER made a product cheaper? I know because I live in an area where services that have are deemed to be utilities are always subject to rate increases because these services are priced at rates below their actual market value. And there is hardly any innovation in these markets.

    I don't mind that your local corporation commission gave the go ahead to lay fiber (by the way, you should go ask that business laying fiber how long it took for them to get approval to lay fiber). What I DO mind is that you want an additional layer of government - and the federal government, no less - to come in on top of an already existing layer of government that must approve when and where fiber gets laid and will now make them get permission before charging for their product because people like you got butt hurt by Comcast.

    Nope. I don't have you pegged wrong. Even the above sounds like you playing Captain Save-A-Sucker. Revenge is at the root of your position, but you go ahead and think whatever you want to think. You're a fool that is allowing Comcast to become more entrenched in the market and not less.
  23. robb213

    robb213 TS Evangelist Posts: 345   +113

    No LLU mentioned :(

    Gehenna will freeze over before that happens anyways.
  24. gunste24

    gunste24 TS Rookie Posts: 39

    The key for this announcement is that they ISPs will become public utilities with the regulations that are needed to preclude endless price increases without much improvement. Our speeds and costs are very much higher than South Korea, Japan, and much of Europe, because our ISPs are frequently quasi monopolies in their service areas, like mine.
  25. ksanta211

    ksanta211 TS Rookie

    Need internet at Hines Veterans Hospital Campus, Bishop Goederts Residents, Building 53. Veterans residents unable to get affordable internet in building surrounded by hospitals! This is a metropolitan area (Maywood Illinois)!!
    Building management blames VA. VA reports Catholic Charities Management problem. This is a HUD building. AT&T refuses us service. HELP!

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