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August 14, 2002 12:39 PM   Subscribe

Buy SBC now. "In order to make sure the economy grows, we must bring the promise of broadband technology to millions of Americans,'' Bush said at a White House-sponsored economic forum. "Government at all levels should remove hurdles that slow the pace of deployment.''

Is the USTA happy about this type of talk? You bet. They would like to see passage of S.2430, also known as the Broadband Regulatory Parity Act of 2002. Others wouldn't. Some have studies (300K PDF) that argue local phone companies are slowing the growth of DSL for anti-competitive reasons.

Also, notice how the President said "bring the promise of broadband technology to millions of Americans", not all Americans? Might have something to do with the fact that rural DSL is really, really expensive to provide.
posted by dglynn (14 comments total)
in order to ensure the smooth deployment of two-way viewscreens into american homes, we must bring the promise of broadband technology to millions of americans...
posted by quonsar at 12:44 PM on August 14, 2002

what the baby bells want, the baby bells get. what a crock o crap.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 12:54 PM on August 14, 2002

DSL is virtually impossible in rural areas, because of distance from the central office.

I'm on my parents' farm right now, surfing on their 2MB/sec wireless connection. $40/month, and the only thing that screws up the connection is the weather.
posted by schlaager at 12:58 PM on August 14, 2002

Stop it,'re scaring me.
posted by rushmc at 1:09 PM on August 14, 2002

Qwest is the poster child for how to fuck up marketing broadband. In my neighborhood, DSL just became available last month, at a whopping 256K up/down. This is a fairly "techy" neighborhood, so pretty much everyone already had wireless broadband antennae on their roofs for Sprint 768K (except me, I have trees blocking my line-of-sight). Had Qwest come in with 1MB DSL, I'm sure there would have been a lot of defections, since Sprint is trying to get out of the wireless broadband market. So far, I think I'm the only one who signed up.

In my old neighborhood, where most people didn't know what broadband meant, and couldn't afford it if they did know, 4MB DSL was available.

These neighborhoods are less than three miles apart.

What's wrong with that picture?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:13 PM on August 14, 2002

DSL is virtually impossible in rural areas, because of distance from the central office.

Yup, that's why I'm still on a modem, even though I live in a suburban neighborhood in farm country. No cable or DSL predicted for many more months. This is reason number 5 college is better than home.
posted by insomnyuk at 1:19 PM on August 14, 2002

I'm all for more broadband, but Bush (Sr or Jr) doesn't have the best track record of knowing what will make the economy grow. I can think of several other more important steps to strengthening the economy than DSL for all.
posted by jragon at 2:10 PM on August 14, 2002

Sorry, but the Web has, commercially speaking, imploded. If no one could come up with enough content for a dialup-oriented Web, I find it hard to believe more broadband will change things. As it is, probably a majority of people who have broadband at home don't need it.

All a broadband Web will do is canibalize broadcast, satellite and cable tv content.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:21 PM on August 14, 2002

ParisParamus: You seem to be conflating the massive failure of web companies with no business model with the entire internet. Some things to think about:

-There's the exploding online games market, which I'm guessing you aren't much aware of, or how much its going to grow with the imminent release of both xbox and ps2 online services.

-Besides which, most broadband providers couldn't care less about "canibalized" content. And certainly plenty of users want fast access for mp3s and, lets be honest, porn.

-Thirdly, there is still plenty going on on the web, just because there aren't 100 half-assed ecom sites for every item doesn't mean people aren't using it, and doesn't mean they don't want to use it. There hasn't been a flood of users "leaving" the internet, just a bunch of cruddy companies.

I'm really not buying the "people don't want broadband" arguement.
posted by malphigian at 2:47 PM on August 14, 2002

Some rural areas are foregoing copper altogether and bringing Fiber to the home. Just one example.
posted by Tenuki at 3:01 PM on August 14, 2002

Rural Pricks.

First they wanted electricity and now they want broadband.
posted by pjdoland at 3:08 PM on August 14, 2002

Broadband isn't cheap to provide. Backbone providers are tubing left and right, so the bandwidth glut at that level will go away. Therefore the dream of $50 T-1 wide connectivity will die as well. Combine that with the technical limitations of deployment, and you'll find that the costs of broadband rapidly rise above what most people are willing to pay to say nothing of providing vendors a profit.
posted by shagoth at 3:35 PM on August 14, 2002

pjdoland --- oddly you're on the mark. A lot of the broadband development in rural areas (like most of where I live, North Dakota) is coming from Rural Telephone Co-ops, originally chartered to bring phone service to rural customers. Otherwise they'd be left unhooked as the infastructure cost doesn't make sense when trying to turn a profit, but becomes more reasonable when profit isn't the goal.

Basically we're in the same situtation with a different technology, and the RTCs are stepping up. Good luck to them, too --- our farm house is still connected via above-ground bare copper strung on glass insulators. It's state of the art technology for 1930.
posted by nathan_teske at 3:46 PM on August 14, 2002

I guess with that $60/month, the requisite brand-new Palladium PC for $1000 that will be required to play all legal digital content and having to repurchase your entire music library it will add up.

The sad fact is that fibre is getting closer and closer to all Americans. If all those green telco boxes were turned into spreadspectum wireless ip distribution hubs, we could pretty much all have flatrate symetrical broadband and VoIP but that's not in the buggy-whip industry's best interests (pdf)
posted by jonnyp at 4:24 PM on August 14, 2002

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