Remember that Republicans tried to ban municipal broadband federally only two months ago! Just an absurdly, transparently corrupt move.
We'd be better served by providing the names of the ones who introduced it instead of a blanket statement making it sound like all Republicans supported this, especially when at the local level where it really matters they did not support it, they did the exact opposite.
Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Bob Latta (R-Ohio) Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.)
The general idea that there should be competition is good, just not going about it by blocking attempts to create municipal broadband. I'd like to still have the choice to choose private companies if I feel the public option isn't meeting my needs.
(This somehow leads to the conclusion that government services are bad.)
The problem Republicans (in general) have with government-run businesses is not that they operate at a lower cost and so thwart competition, but that they seem to operate at a lower cost because they run on tax dollars rather than on paying customers. Combine that with the fact that the government is not incentivized to make the business profitable and you have a lot of wasted resources used to provide a service that isn't any good but is so cheap to the end user (not to the taxpayer) that it's impossible to compete.
Whether this model of government-run systems is accurate is open to debate, but it's not helpful to set up straw men.
In light of this new budgetary crisis created entirely by private business one of their attempts to generate revenue was to sell merch. For a short time you could buy an Official USPS Outfit Dog Costume for example, and it was actually working. Republicans saw them doing that and passed regulation saying no you can’t sell merch or do anything outside delivering mail.
The post master general at the time said fine, if we can’t raise money other ways then we need to raise rates. Guess what republicans did. They told them to piss off. After kneecapping the usps they just pointed at them and used them as an example of bad government which they themselves caused. Classic “starving the beast”
The narrative republicans have around government inefficiency is either wrong or entirely self inflicted. The USPS is just my favorite example.
And if the republicans actually cared they’d propose alternatives and be active in the legislative process with an intent on servicing the “average” American. Trying to ban municipalities federally does nothing but obstruct and protect their corporate funders. That is unacceptable
Try arguing with what people actually say instead of making a strawman of some Facebook meme.
if it's self inflicted, then it's not wrong. the fact that they can hamstring important services/bills for purely political reasons and still get away with it at the polls is a great example of how perverse incentives in government lead to mismanagement. if you want to persuade me that X government service will be run efficiently, you need to first convince me that a certain mainstream party will not be able to sabotage it.
The Democrats could just let the post office be privatised then run their own, on the side, out of to the Democrat HQ. It'd give them an electoral edge delivering pamphlets too.
The reason they can't do this is because the post office, fundamentally and inescapably, doesn't generate enough revenue to justify running it the way they want to. The Democrat voters don't want to bear the cost of the service they want. And the Republicans have noticed this.
I grew up (and still live and work) in a forever-red conservative state. My dad was a glutton for conservative political news, so I grew up immersed in Fox News, Hot Air, Instapundit, Glenn Beck, Drudge Report, you name it. I'm still surrounded by conservative commentary, both educated and ignorant, at every social function I attend.
In all my years of exposure to conservative thought, I have not once read or heard someone say that their concern with the government doing a task is that they'll do it too well. Where do you hear it?
In fact, the Republican perspective is the opposite; that government-provided options will be invariably be worse value for money - this is why Republicans favor privatization.
I think the Republican objection is to general revenues being used to operated a subsidized Internet service.
If that is what you mean by "government-supported", then there is a reasonable argument to be had about whether forcing everyone to pay for the municipal option through taxes really results in a fair competitive landscape for private providers.
It’s easy to champion crap when everyone else is paying for it :p
FFS that’s not why republicans have problems with the government services. The issue isn’t that government doesn’t have to make a profit, it’s that it doesn’t have to be sustainable at all (i.e. it doesn’t even have to bring in enough money to support itself unlike a non-profit).
Additionally, nobody is afraid the government is going to be “better quality”. That’s not the case in most markets where the government operates.
The concern is that the government can operate a service financially unsustainably and and offer a shitty service for so cheap that it destroys the market for better services.
A government-funded high-speed deployment of 20mbps to the house that goes out for an hour during the night and occasionally disconnects for a few seconds throughout the day that only costs $2.99/mo will destroy the competition, run a deficit, and people will have worse service because of it.
When you take someone's money by threat of violence under the premise that doing so is a net positive for society you have a much greater obligation to pursue that result and sustainability is one of many considerations when it comes to whether or not something is a net positive for society.
You're a hypocrite, picking and choosing your argument to suit your position.
The same thing will happen to you if you don't pay your taxes or don't pay back your credit card debt.
And the extremely unlikely end result, jail, is exactly the same for both public and civil debt.
And that's the trouble with these stupid arguments. Not only are they childish extremes, anyone using them are all just massive hypocrites who want to pillage the commons for their own gain and have the rules always work in their favour, conveniently different when it comes to reining in monopolies, or using their excessive wealth to force others out of business, it all depends on which side they stand to gain most money out.
Then they just flip their argument on its head to justify their privileged position, which is maintained by a threat of violence.
Setting aside that obvious gaff, you’re comparing individuals being prevented from stealing people’s property to the government being allowed to. It doesn’t really make any sense.
Because it’s not tax payer money being squandered. How is that so hard to grasp?
Rich people run out of money making stupid bets. The federal government does not.
The “unfairness” is simple. You regulate the entity who runs your muni fiber operation, and if they don’t meet your metrics you’re measuring success by, you replace them (whether that’s internal folks or an org contracted to provide services).
TLDR Ramp muni fiber deployments with rigorous operational oversight as a requirement.
What you can't do is pretend that private broadband companies would be competing with municipal broadband on equal footing.
The municipality provides the fiber network. All ISPs rent dark fiber, local loops, wavelengths or bitstream access on equal open access terms.
All on equal footing and equal terms.
What is a requirement is acknowledging the unequal footing.
I had assumed we all felt comfortable using “public/private” as a shortcut for all of these differences, but am learning that is not necessarily shared. In terms of moving the discussion forward, what were you hoping to achieve by pointing out some of these facts?
No they won’t. Public projects can be setup to require that they are revenue neutral or positive.
Given how many people actually have multiple options in the last mile, it’s not a natural monopoly.
So in reality I have a choice of two wired providers. Imagine how great our food would be if the only restaurants available were either Burger King or McDonalds. What a competitive marketplace!
It might not be limited to just one for all markets, but two choices isn't very competitive due to the massive infrastructural costs and other barriers of entry (e.g., rights of way). Also, my current residence is an example where there actually is competition. As pointed out above, just because the FCC says there's 2+ broadband providers they're including two satellite providers. So a lot of those 3 provider places are really single wireline providers.
Once again, is a market where all restaurants are either McDonalds or Burger King an example good competition?
I have a neighbor that refuses to use running water. Should the infrastructure be routed around their property?
Should they be forced to use running water?
They have the money to do it, but prefer refilling the 5 gallon jugs.
If a city provides any service: water, sewer, broadband, from property taxes, its going to be really really hard for any company to compete with that.
So you can make the case for municipal broadband, but don't pretend that private ISPs are going to compete with it.
The UK does not have any low cost healthcare providers because you can’t compete with a tax payer funded organisation.
Now, do government services tend to be better? That’s another question.
Republicans argue that government run programs are filled with waste, excess, and decreased output b/c they don't have a profit motive.
That was the case with Soviet manufacturing operations, Chinese farming, and the US Veterans Affairs Hospitals.
The Soviets could never get the right products when they were needed b/c manufacturing decisions where made from a centralized location, not by the people that needed certain goods.
China used to control farming, until one day they had the bright idea to let the farmers control farm output. Chinese farming production has increased by multiples of it's government mandate levels.
The VA Hospital system is the worst healthcare system in US, in terms of quality of car and lead time for an appointment. And the US Government doesn't cover military connected injuries at non-VA Hospitals.
It doesn't make sense to run multiple companies' fiber to each home.
But yes, in most areas there isn’t enough demand for internet to deploy fiber multiple times.
That is not "blatantly corrupt". In fact, closing a market to the public companies and forcing everyone to use a city-run broadband is a lot more concerning.
The source of corruption is through PACs that support candidates without the candidates consent or guidance (either ostensibly or actually).
You can either give a candidate a few thousand dollars directly or you can spend an unlimited amount of money telling people how great you think the candidate is. Only the former is lobbying.
Money in Politics, especially when it's perfectly legal, is a massive, massive problem. It's literally impossible to get fair and impartial leaders who will make decisions in the interest of the common person when corporations are spending millions and millions.
Right now a judge sitting on the highest court in the entire country is hearing a case involving a company who openly and directly paid to have her elected into that position.
I don't care if that person is from the right or left (or middle), there is no universe where that is a good thing, or should be allowed.
Having a Supreme Court Justice you paid preside over your court case sounds like a very perverted form of Justice under Democracy to me.
Politicians care about getting re-elected. That's the power fulcrum or pressure point.
Which shouldn’t be surprising as politics covers such a wide range of issues it would be strange for most of them to have strong views on every issue. Frankly it’s people who don’t care one way or the other are who you try and influence.
Lobbying includes all attempts to influence legislators.
PACs are just a legal fiction to circumvent a law, the effect is the same: support those who's policies you prefer.
The advertising is given no strings attached. The only incentive that you (the politician) have to vote for things that favor the company is that, if you don't, they may not advertise for you next time.
The "fun" part of this whole thing is that the money those companies spend isn't really the issue, it's the fact that the money is helpful to influence people. Comparatively, if a person of non-political celebrity tweets that they like a candidate, they might muster much more influence than say, Exxon could for the same candidate. Now that candidate is just as beholden to the interests of that celebrity as one might be to a corporation.
In effect, the PAC money really is just taking money away from influential individuals and commoditizing it.
I, personally, don't really see a difference. It's not like pre-Citizens United America was some sort of paradise. Most people perceive it as worse but I just see it as different. I, personally, still have a similar amount of political power and influence.
And also that if you do, you may be able to go and work for them for good compensation when your political career is over.
When an oil company buys advertising to a candidate, both parties know it's going to be in exchange for votes that favor the oil company. To claim anything else is bad faith. I THINK we're in agreement here?
If so, I don't think it's correct to call it "no strings attached". The politician might not be contractually bound to votes in favor of oil, but if they want to still have a job at the end of their term, they're somewhat forced to.
The article you posted said something else, that the bill was to ban government-run broadband in an area that has private competition.
From your link:
The bill "would promote competition by limiting government-run broadband networks throughout the country"
States or municipalities that already offer Internet service may continue to do so if "there is no more
than one other commercial provider of broadband Internet access that provides competition for that service in a particular area."
Not quite. It bans new government-run broadband everywhere regardless of whether or not there would be private competition in the area. In areas that already have government-run broadband, it allows that to continue as long as that area does not have more than one private provider.
It says in 2(a):
> Except as provided in subsections 3(b)(1) and (c), a State or political subdivision thereof may not provide or offer for sale to the public, a telecommunications provider, or to a commercial provider of broadband internet access service, retail or wholesale broadband internet access service.
Subsection 3(b) starts thusly:
> Any State or political 9subdivision thereof providing or offering for sale, either to the public, a telecommunications provider, or to a provider of broadband internet access service, retail or wholesale broadband internet access service, before the date of the enactment of this section
and continues in 3(b)(1) (the first exception mentioned earlier):
> notwithstanding subsection (a), may continue to provide or offer for sale such service if the Commission finds there is no more than one other commercial provider of broadband internet access that provides competition for that service in a particular area
and on 3(c) contains the second exception:
> Notwithstanding subsection (a), this section does not apply to the Tennessee Valley Authority
For the past year, I've been volunteering at NYC Mesh (nycmesh.net), which is a non-profit that provides fixed wireless broadband in New York. I thought I knew a thing or two about networking — hell, I've even given a talk in the network track at LinuxCon in the past — but working on NYC Mesh really showed me the limits of that knowledge and has helped me learn a ton more.
(There might be a better list somewhere else as well)
If anyone's interested in helping in Milwaukee please reach out! We're looking for any technical talent we can get, especially in the networking space.
1. Join the NYC Mesh Slack (slack.nycmesh.net) even if you're not in NYC, just to see how it's run.
2. Read Brian Hall's post, "How to start a community network": https://www.nycmesh.net/blog/how/
3. Read Graham Castleton's "Start Your Own WISP" guide: https://startyourownisp.com/
4. Look around and find folks in your area with a similar interest. If you're in or near a city of any size, I bet there's somebody who's already started or is trying to start something.
Honestly, this doesn't sound like a bad idea in my area. I can likely put the tower right on my own land and immediately cover a decently sized neighborhood.
In 2011, Central government started a big infrastructure project to roll fibre out to ~80% of the population. (Called UFB - ultra fast broadband.) However instead of making this just be state owned, the money was paid as cheap loans with a competitive bid system. Companies bidding had to agree to a significant number of regulations, including a requirement to not act as an ISP and to offer wholesale access to the network for a set fee. They could also offer their own services above and beyond the regulated maximum.
So to start an ISP in NZ, all you need is some national and international transit, and at least one server to do billing and core routing. As a result, we have dozens of major, actually good ISPs and many more niche ones. Most of them service the whole country - at least the UFB service area.
I actually like my ISP. I have IPv6 and a static public IPv4. Peering is excellent and international bandwidth plentiful. Gigabit bandwidth with no usage call and no fair use policy (at least no policy regarding days usage).
Municipal internet is great until you realize you just turned a monopoly into a duopoly. Without competition, what drive your new ISP to do better? If you're super lucky, the goodness of their hearts, I guess. Because you know the old incumbent will just match the new ISP and do not better.
EDIT: Folks in other threads have pointed out how bad US government bodies have historically been at investing in infrastructure maintenance. I'd like to note that the NZ model neatly deals with those concerns too. The companies which build out the networks are made the owners presumably when the loans are paid off. These companies become very profitable even though they can't become ISPs themselves, and are thus heavily incentivized to invest their profits back into their networks to keep them working well and to come up with new products to sell. Already a NZ fibre company has deployed 10gbit fibre commercially, with no extra government support.
Note that there is nothing inherent about muni fiber that prevents it providing the same unbundled layer 2 and dark fiber services. But in your example of Chorus they backhaul customers over layer 2 to your location for you. That’s how your example of one guy with a router works. He puts it in Auckland and everything is backhauled hundreds of miles to it. Munis do not operate backhaul networks, these aren’t state wide networks where a guy with his router can drop it in one pop in the biggest city and serve customers from across the state. This kind of design also becomes incredibly inefficient. The provider Chorus here is really doing most of the heavy lifting and doing it in the least efficient way possible. (Back hauling layer two to POPs hundreds of miles away.)
Today all services live at layer 3 and are provided over the top. There’s a good case for just simplifying this and munis just providing the layer 3.
In the heart of Silicon Valley there are only a couple real options for high speed, reliable internet.
1. I wanted to use my own router instead of theirs. Turns out they send DHCP responses with VLAN 0 ethernet tags (which I guess is for 802.1p) which apparently a lot of DHCP clients don't understand at all. I tried OPNSense and Mikrotik ones and ended up having to apply a patch manually to dhclient that comes with OPNSense and recompiling it just to get an IPv4 address (https://github.com/opnsense/src/issues/114).
2. They don't provide native IPv6, they don't plan to provide native IPv6, they have a 6rd setup that is inaccessible by new customers, and to top it all off, from what I can tell they actively block 6in4/protocol 41 so I can't even use a third party tunnel.
3. Their tier 1 tech support at least knows what IPv6 is (the thing they tell people they don't support; they don't understand it beyond that). Their tier 2 support guy called me once but he clearly was simply relaying messages from an actual network engineer he was getting via text chat, so I got nowhere. Their tier 3 is their network engineers who have no time to talk to people like me since I never got a call I was promised from them and have no way to follow up except starting with the 800 number again (a literal multi-day process).
At least with city broadband I know exactly who works on the project and can go talk to the network engineer who can unblock protocol 41/unfuck the DHCPv4. /rant
Then it's your problem.
Laying fiber is expensive, and the more rural you go the more expensive it gets.
The connection being mobile is nice but it's not something I require from my broadband connection, I already have a cellphone. And I live in an apartment building where installing a dish will be all but impossible.
Don't get me wrong, Starlink is amazing tech and in rural areas it'll be a huge deal. But in reasonably sized towns and cities a wired, locally owned internet connection is also huge.
Of course it’s all relative. Verizon has supposed to have been rolling out FIOS to my neighborhood for a decade or more now.
The Starlink constellation has less total bandwidth than a single strand of fiber. It simply does not scale.
Starlink only has permits for about a million terminals or so and they must be very careful in where and how many customers they sign up so as to not overwhelm the system.
Elon himself has said that Starlink is only an option when you have no other options.
More municipal and small internet providers could act as a bulwark against centralization and corporate dominance of the backbone of our communication infrastructure.
> support for broadband networks owned, operated by, or affiliated with local governments, non-profits, and co-operatives
Anyone know if it would work? Note that this is the bill getting criticized as not being about "real infrastructure" due to daring to have non-transportation infrastructure, like this.
Which means the biggest thing you need from the feds (and for that matter the state governments) is to get out of the way and stop actively interfering with cities that want to do this. Which doesn't seem like much to ask, but the incumbents have spent the last hundred years capturing every level of government in the US, and then we got the likes of Ajit Pai running the FCC, which was an impediment.
The other thing to watch out for is the classic regulatory capture move where the government is about to spend money on municipal infrastructure to compete with the incumbents and the incumbents lobby instead to give the money to them. In this context here you're looking for money that goes to "5G" instead of fiber. Because "5G" means incumbents who own wireless spectrum and/or want to "buy" it from the taxpayer using tax money and then sit on it to exclude any other competitors from having it. Or have the taxpayer pay for their privately-owned infrastructure, providing a permanent cost advantage so that no one else can ever competitively enter the market in the future.
First rule of the game is never give tax money to the incumbents. History has shown that it's a black hole that produces no results, and anybody who doesn't understand this is either captured or not paying attention.
Would love it for dinosaurs in politics to get with it and understand the implications of technological investment (or lack thereof).
More legislation from the federal and state level is not needed, unless it's literally "All local agreements are now null and void" which isn't even legal.
The problem is that in a city there's limited space to run the wires to each home.
Also if you want to have 10 competitors is really silly to expect having 10 fiber optic cables going to every home when majority of people wouldn't use more than one ISP at the time. Then 9 fibers will be then unused and degrading.
When Internet was reclassified to Title II, Wheeler specifically excluded Title II's provision that required existing ISPs to lease their infrastructure to competitors.
Back in late 90s, early 2000s we had tons of ISPs to chose from, exactly because of that provision.
This needs to change if we want to get competition back.
Or we would need cities to build such infrastructure which is even harder and more expensive thing to do.
Either way it requires government intervention.
It seems to me that city-owned is actually the best option in this case. If it is optimal to have one set of infrastructure than it makes sense to have that infrastructure owned by the city which operates for the common good. As much as I am hesitant to trust the government to run the network I have no issues with my water or electricity utilities and the prices seem quite fair.
I actually would strongly support municipalities owning the last mile as part of their services, but I'm less interested in them actually providing service.
The problem is the monopoly still exists. My father lives in a small town ironically with a tiny little ISP not owned by one of the majors. But the water - they pay $200 a month for water (!), because they are making major expansions to the water stations to support new building. The town council was pushed to do this by the builders with a lot of wining and dining. So the local, fairly poor townspeople are paying ridiculous rates. Since amalgamation, the town does not have it's own mayor, they do 'regional' groupings, so the individual town can't punt the program.
Due to monopoly situation in the town, the townspoeple are stuck paying massive rates to subsidize a rich builders exploits.
These things are common and guaranteed to happen.
The idea is to have some degree of socialization where absolutely necessary, and then to try to provide real competition on that infrastructure. If the construction and maintenance of the infrastructure can be competitive (like roads) then great. For electricity transport, it can become a problem, as the semi-private agencies that manage the electrical grid are often very inefficient.
Every town should take control of the 'last mile gear' but I suggest your ISP actually should be one of many private players. Definitely more than the physically limited Choice of Comcast + 1 other.
Exactly. Municipalities should run fiber to the nearest meet-me room, and license at a defined rate to anyone who wants to light up that fiber.
Good luck with your "let everyone run their tiny wires wherever without the government being involved" plan. You've heard of NIMBYism, right? How many times do you think you'll be allowed to rip up the street?
It started with the government telco not being interested in Internet. So people started running Ethernet cables, first to neighbors, then to other buildings. It started as having local networks to share files. Eventually those network got connected to Internet. If the price or quality of service provided is not satisfactory they can switch to another ISP. The bad part as you said is the huge number of ugly looking wires
The existing POTS and similar infrastructure are probably worth less now as a going business than if you were to just rip out all the copper and sell it for scrap.
On the other hand, they still have pre-negotiated entry into every house and business in town, and the conduit already sunk. It would probably be cheaper, and certainly faster, to buy a firm like Frontier than to negotiate a comparable footprint from scratch.
I suspect there's some significant legal continuity-of-service obligations that poison the proposal.
They add up, though. https://www.ecmweb.com/safety/media-gallery/20902083/crazy-w...
Anarcho-libretarianism isn't the solution here and neither is rejecting balanced legislation out of a force of habit.
I don’t think anyone is suggesting no laws at all, but perhaps we can have some foresight and not legislate ourselves into oversight which will only make more legislation which will only make more...
I’m happy to see municipal internet IF the service quality and price is competitive. While we’re dealing with the Verizon’s and Comcast’s of the world, this is usually working, what do we do when we’ve destroyed the market and the local service sucks?
"Constant government intervention" is incompatible with the definition (literally) of a free market.
I'm just saying that:
Oxford defines a free market as: "an economic system in which prices are determined by unrestricted competition between privately owned businesses."
Wikipedia defines it as: "a system in which the prices for goods and services are self-regulated by buyers and sellers negotiating in an open market. In a free market, the laws and forces of supply and demand are free from any intervention by a government or other authority, and from all forms of economic privilege, monopolies and artificial scarcities."
Investopedia defines it as: "an economic system based on supply and demand with little or no government control."
Words have meaning, god damn it.
How about paying random people to leave bad reviews for your competitors. Or paying shops so they don't stock competitors products. Or agreeing with banks that your competitor should not get a loan. Or making a deal with railroads where they will only transport your product, and not your competitors? Because all of the above have happened. Is that "unrestricted"?
Also, infrastructure isn't easy to build and is oftentimes not even profitable. Are you suggesting only places where an ISP can make money should have Internet access?
Ideally, at that point, the government would then step back and merely enact rules to keep the market fair and competitive.
Whether that actually happens is another matter. My prediction is that the past trend of the government never letting go of power that it has acquired will continue.
Not doing that would give you this: https://media.istockphoto.com/photos/cables-above-street-kat...
So sure, ISPs per one phrasing is "government-granted monopolies", but the only problem was giving it to one private actor, not that government was involved.
It's not that you're technically wrong, but that it's an incomplete and unfair portrayal.
Instead of just treating infrastructure like infrastructure.
* Comcast 1000/35 Down/up to Ziply 1000/1000 down/up
* Monthly bill cut in half
* Comcast monthly data caps, to no data caps with Ziply
And that's right, Comcast gives 35 Mbps upload, if you are lucky! And data caps.
T-Mobile is rolling out their home 5g internet now. It doesn't support streaming yet, but it hits around 200+ down and 25 up on my phone, so it may get there.
Tell Verizon and the others that if they fail to fulfill their contract, the will get their license pulled, or, at the very least, they will operate their own local municipal broadband.
Of course the incentives are probably for each individual politician such that with enough graft, campaign donations, etc., that they just stick with the status quo, but I'm not familiar with the local situation.
[edit: typo "fulled" => "pulled"]
What they need to do now is tell Verizon that they failed to fulfill their contract, pull their license, and operate their own municipal broadband.
Managing lawsuits and paying fines is apparently still cheaper for Verizon than actually installing the fiber.
What I want to know is WHY no regulator or judge has seen fit to actually enforce the requirement sufficiently to change Verizon's behavior.
(Or why they just don't use your suggestion, say they failed, repeatedly, pull the plug, and make their own system. They could pay for a LOT with the profits, even providing better and cheaper service)
Does that mean the 5g internet is really slow(DSL speed?) or do they actively block streaming? Is there another reason streaming wouldn't be supported even at a decent speed?
Have had almost zero issues, and their support has been tremendous.
On the topic of T-Mobile home internet, it does support streaming. Availability is determined by the network in your local area though.
If you are only actually getting 200, you might as well switch to the 200 plan and save $20/month.
Their strategy is just charge more for everything, and make ordering services compliced.
Going on their website to just get basic cable, and low speed internet is very hard.
They push packages--hoping you will never realize when the deal ends.
They rely on senior citizens who just pay the bill, and are not technical enough to even shop around--if they have a choice? Most households don't.
Comcast should be required to have have simple billing, and simple ording of service
That could be taken care of the next time your local government ok's their next franchise agreement. It's not a franchise. It's some agreement government has with them.
Be careful calling Xfinity (comcast) for anything. The calls are routed overseas, and those employees main function is pushing package deals. Don't fall for it. They try to get the customer to agree on voice, so they have evidence.
1. I'm ok with their internet service, except for the price, and lack of competition.
2. The cable tv service is subpar. I have had checkering for ever. I gave up on getting it corrected. After three visits from third party vendors it's still not right. (This third party vendor was working 6 days a week, and was required to lease his service truck for $250/week.).
3. If you do have a lousy connection, it might be partially related to a filter Comcast put on years ago, but never took off. (The new filters are fine, but a certain brand of an older one is bad. I just threw it out so I can't give the part number. If you have voice remote, make sure it's on the right three splitter. I vagly remember it on the outlet with the lowest resistance?
4. I believe Comcast knows they are pushing too much through that coaxial. I believe they preparing for a class action lawsuit, but might not care?
5. I only put up with Comcast because there's no real competition where I reside. Xfinity's agreements with local municipalities needs to be nixed.
6. Comcast promised to not cut off service during the pandemic, but lied.
7. Comcast offers Hotspots. Your router could be the hotspot, and they don't have to tell you. (I don't believe their is any danger to this practice though.)
I would love it that infrastructure bill did away with Xfinity. They provide very few good paying jobs. I would like to see free internet provided to every American, even the wealthy.
How are you happy again? It sounds like you're happy to be in an abusive relationship rather than none at all.
Perhaps things would be different if I were streaming 4k, but I'm not - and that would only be an issue with a data cap (I agree, data caps are absurd).
BTW, the limit on the upload is a physical issue with cable lines and the DOCSIS protocol... I don't feel it's realistic to demand fiber to everyone's home when nearly nobody has an actual use-case for symmetrical home connections...
Lastly, getting the government involved in maintaining lines to everyone's homes is a disaster waiting to happen. What infrastructure is the government doing an excellent job maintaining as it is? With salary caps on staffers, and the inability to terminate underperforming employees - municipal-owned lines and/or ISP's will start out great, and over time suffer the same bureaucratic disease the rest of the government already has.
Nobody had a use case until a family of 4 needs to work and school from home simultaneously or upload video. Somehow, we had a use case for delivering people ad laden garbage tv shows via cable, but something like fiber internet which might actually be used for productivity and creativity is not worthy of public support?
Or will it just turn into yet another jobs program, filled with sub-par employees that can never be fired for poor performance... While the infrastructure rots away?
Say what you want about Comcast... But my internet never goes down, is always fast, is a reasonable price, and support is readily available within a couple minutes if needed.
Can you say the same for any government run program or infrastructure project?
I’ve dealt with Comcast in 3 states on both coasts, and I can’t share any of those sentiments. The upload is always garbage.
> Can you say the same for any government run program or infrastructure project?
Yes, I’ve never had to call anyone about my electric, gas, sewage, water, roads, parks, or air. Also, FYI, a government org came up with the internet in the first place.
This trope of “all things government bad” is so lazy. We are lucky in the US to live in a relatively trustworthy society, where the FAA/FDA/CDC/etc have done quite a few things to make our lives pleasant. Obviously they’re not perfect, but by and large the civilian agencies have undoubtedly pushed our quality of life up.
Gas and Sewage rarely require infrastructure upgrades... ie. there's no new home appliance that requires "more" gas than the lines can currently provide (or provided 30 years ago).
Water? What about all the lead in the water issues that were exposed a few years back? Do you think they would have just fixed that if nobody made a big stink about it?
ARPAnet has literally nothing to do with how commercial (or municipal) ISP's operate today... not sure what point you're trying to make.
FAA has been attempting to upgrade ATC services nation-wide for years and years... still hasn't happened. Plus they've outsourced certifications of new aircraft to the manufacturer (because they don't have the staff to do it themselves, because they don't pay as well as private companies) which led to the Boeing 737-MAX thing...
CDC is now a political organization spouting whatever the current president wants (at least under Trump and Biden)
FDA - shills for the beef and corn industries...
None of your examples are good.
That was a private entity. (The same one that also was on proabtion for felonies for killing people and causing widespread damage with its gas operations not long before.)
I'll admit, utilities are a bizarre hybrid at best - however it was the government's state level utility commission that approved the non-maintenance plans for decades.
I know myself and many other people feel safe traveling via air, buying food at the grocery store, drinking tap water, are not worried about our houses burning down, and trust the vaccines will help protect us.
Before I switched last year, I only got 10Mbps up from Comcast.
My only gripe is I really wish they would roll the FC Connexion to my neighborhood in midtown now lol
I think ideally the city should allow for other ISPs to lease these lines (of course at price that would cover the cost of maintaining them) and still providing option to be one of those ISPs. This would lower the barrier to enter for other ISPs and perhaps further lower the price.
I only hope that your city won't end up selling the infrastructure to someone in the future, because that will of course kill the whole effort.
I believe the key to solve our ISP problems is unbundling the local loop. The bill that congress wants to pass to fix Internet will be a failure, unless the money is meant for local governments to do the same your city did.
This situation can't be solved without changing laws and local governments.
How I sued Spectrum California for $1800...
So my internet had rolling outages for weeks and Spectrum wouldnt do anything. So they sent a technician to my house. Three consecutive days, scheduled appointment, no one showed, or called (other than the automated attendant. This is important later). I was furious. I was talking to my father who did a bit of law school and he shared that California has a $600 a day no show penalty for companies with 25 or more employees.
So I file small claims for the full 1800. I show up and theyve sent a person who professionally goes to court to fight these things. It also became clear the they use the auto dialer follow up to negate the "no call" portion of the "No show/now call" law. They've got it down to a science.
So dejected by their treachery, I try a last second hail mary by asking the judge if I can speak to the court. I tell him "I am you, you, you (pointing at him and the people sitting in court), this company dosent care about providing the service they promised, theyd rather spend that money hiring henchmen to beat the consumer laws on a technicality. Their largest investment is in extraction, not service. Im just a guy who wanted his internet and to go back to work. If my experience hits home at all please, hold them accountable."
Lonnnnng silence and the little Spectrum rat is visibly smiling. The judge starts to speak "Mr Cereal, I personally empathize with companies not respecting my time. Its so frusteratinfg" The whole court audibly gasps, this judge is gonna stick them. Judge flustered "Wellll, I dont mean Specturm specifically. That said, I find fully in favor of Mr Cereal and order a full judgement."
Ive sold two companies for 9 figures in my life. I have never ever ever seen my jewish father as proud of me as when I called him and told him what happened. I got a check two weeks later.
tldr: ISPs are evil, but you can get them if they dont show. Also, your dad will be proud.
Can some enlighten me, why did they not do it? For those of us outside US, we never quite grasp why US mobile network and ISP are so bad. All while refusing to do any improvement.
Not only are they bad, they are ridiculously expensive. ( and healthcare... but we wont go into that. )
Yet, you cannot buy a service like broadband or sewage, put it in a box and sell it to someone living in another continent.
Location-bound services usually become quasi-monopolies, where free market does not apply. The quasi-monopolist is able (and happy) to charge the maximum price that people can pay.
Cell companies need space for towers and fiber to those antennas. It turns out that these don’t take up all that much space, so it’s trivially possible for multiple cell phone companies to setup towers covering the same customers.
Cable companies however have to deal with the “last mile” problem, which is both massively more expensive than installing more centralized infrastructure, but also involves installing infrastructure on much more restricted areas.
I wish there was a better way to regulate internet service that wasn't subject to these kinds of shenanigans.
I suspect long-term it is competition that ends up fixing this, but think of the drag on the economy when good communication is fouled up like this.
That being said, I agree that natural monopolies should be considered an issue for the state.
There are some poles around, but most of the city is underground. So in this instance, yes, it was cheaper to run the fiber than to run the fiber AND set up poles. :-)
In my current hometown they branched off a separate private company to manage the broadband.
Anyways, in a little town where I lived, a street of about 6-7 apartment buildings banded together and contacted Telia first about digging fiber to their buildings.
Telia gave them a disgusting deal which would have restricted all the tenants to the Telia ISP. They've done this before even in bigger cities where they sign a deal with one real estate company so all their buildings only have Telia.
My SO at the time actually worked for Telia but she was a clever girl because she realized you could go directly to the municipal broadband and have them dig the fiber. That way all the tenants could choose from any ISP in the country and not be restricted to just Telia.
This even raises the desirability of the building for young people who favour Bahnhof as ISP for example.
First of all, even if municipal broadband in different forms are very common here in Sweden, its not the only option. There are some areas of cities or certain estate owners that have deals with ISPs where they install the fiber and have exclusive right to sell broadband services. This can happen in cities with municipal broadband, so different areas of a city can have different providers.
The most common form of municipal broadband here is that the company that manages the water and electricity in the city (a company owned by the city but are run to make a profit) also installs fiber cables (is a network operator). They are going to dig up streets anyway, right? I have never seen a fiber cable above ground in my life here. They manage the cables and install switches etc to get the signal from the customers home to a central location in the city where it can be handed over to the ISPs. The company is not an ISP and does not sell any services in the network, but they allow any ISP that want to sell services with their infrastructure to do so. More and more this is done by standardized APIs (since one ISP can sell services within many different fiber networks), but also more manually with web portals for smaller companies or for troubleshooting etc. The ISP usually pays the network operator for number of subscriptions and/or changes done (connections/disconnections etc). The ISP can then sell services to customers and compete with the others both on price but also on how good their support, bundles etc are. That means that in a medium sized city (for Sweden at least... ~150k residents in my hometowns municipality) there can be up to 20 different ISPs that you can choose between and compare in a portal. All with the same cables and one ethernet jack in the apartments (or a fiber box in houses). Any ISP can deliver the service within a few minutes. So while the municipality has a hand in the fiber market they are not a competitor to the private companies, they simply enable the ISPs to compete in an open market to the benefit to the customers. The same model is used for electricity aswell. One fee goes to the municipal company that manages the physical infrastrcuture and the electricity meters while the cost of the actual electricity used go to the private company you have a contract with. This is the Open Acces Network model and is very common here in Sweden. There are also open networks operated by private companies. For example both Telia (which is both a network operator and a big ISP, previously state owned now privateized) and Telenor (the same deal but from Norway) operate both open networks and "closed" networks (where they have a monopoly).
There is also another, less common, model where the municipality has created a separate company that places physical fiber cables under the streets but does not offer an active network (dark fiber). This model is used by Stokab in Stockholm and was in part created to prevent too many distruptions by private companies constantly digging up the streets. Then all ISPs can rent fiber on equal terms.
tl;dr: Fiber cables are in many places in Sweden handled like a utility and private ISPs can all use them to sell their services to customers on equal terms which create competition that is great for the end user.
- a community (often, but not always, rural) pleads one of our big ISPs (almost always deutsche Telekom, since we gifted our tax-funded telephone network to them) to provide better service (or service at all)
- dt. Telekom laughs in their faces and tells them to screw off
- the community gets together and finances building a network of their own, sometimes even involving locals to dig the trenches for the fibers. They calculate with a sharp pencil and need customers to break even.
- dt. Telekom notices this and quickly deploys their own network, steamrolling the new local ISP with their big marketing budget and brand name
- the small local ISP goes bankrupt, city initiatives stop etc.
And to add insult to injury, dt. Telekom then uses it's customers as leverage to bully content providers into crappy peering deals.
They're also guzzling tax money by the millions in public-private partnerships all while screwing the public over.
In the US, step 4 becomes "pass a law banning muni efforts and lie about existing coverage", and local communities keep the same crappy, expensive service.
(The better but not perfect 1336)
(The grand standing and barely a bone to the consumer 5383)
True but the grass isn't really greener, Germany lags behind the US in average broadband speeds, mean and median for both directions.
The way the system is now, most areas/communities are only served by a single ISP. In the past 5 years of moving in the city, I have only had the choice of selecting Spectrum.
Brilliant move. I'm considering Chattanooga as a retirement location. Lots of outdoor recreation, no state taxes and I can supposedly get fiber internet anywhere I can get connected to the power grid? Sign me up!
verizon made this problem. they told the court, we need a monopoly on our infrastructure or we will not do this. 20 years latter & there has been a massive slow down in roll out, rates have been stagnant & high, & municipalities are left doing what the supreme court dismantled: creating competitve offerings.
i feel like at some point this may need to be revisited. alas, the most likely way it'll get revisited is municipal isps disaggregating, becoming local providers, but allowing competitor exchanges to lease their local loop elements. muni fiber, but a number of different isps. which is what we ought to have had, but with less rules of the road & more string things together.
I'm sure it's more than that, of course. I am glad to see the numbers growing. I, for one, am damn tired of the "options" I have around me. >$50/mo for 50/5 Comcast or ~$40/mo for 1.5/0.5 with centrylink DSL. Its all garbage and we gave them billions to not do this...
I was surprised to read that there were over 100 cities in the U.S. offering municipal broadband as of 3 years ago and even more surprised to read there now would be 560 cities offering municipal broadband. I know there are at least 18 states that restrict cities from creating municipal broadband networks. Does anyone know if there's a comprehensive list of municipal broadband offerings? This lists a lot of municipal broadband providers but it's nowhere near even the 100 quotes from 3 years ago:
FTTC has only recently reached my town, and availability is still patchy. Knowing BT, it will be another decade before the whole town has the option.
And upload speeds are still rubbish, and it's expensive too - the fastest deal BT will provide is 900/100 (although they only guarantee 450 down), and it's £60/m (~$83), and you have to take a 2 year contract, and the price rises by 3.9% a year during the contract!
There have been smaller, full-fibre ISPs popping up all over England, offering much better packages than BT as half the price.
Anyone have any information about getting started with something like this? If it makes a difference, it's for a small, rural town, population 10-15k.
Other providers offer Openreach FTTH btw - not just BT.
I'd argue that symmetric links at 1000/1000 are actually incredibly important.
The lack of decent upload speeds has created the enormous centralization of services that we see today.
If most folks had gigabit (or more) upload capacity, decentralization would become a viable solution to the enormous centralization of content, data and services.
There are a variety of tools that allow folks to self-host their content and many more would appear if there was widespread implementation of symmetric (multi-)gigabit ISP connections.
If there were the ability to stream your puppy videos from your home internet connection to dozens of friends/family, what do you need Facebook, Instagram, etc. for?
That's why high-speed symmetric connections are important.
I don't really need 900 down, but I've really like higher upload speeds. Regardless, I'd like me and others to have the option. Really, I'm just so sick of how slowly the UK's fibre rollout has been - glacial! It's really encouraging to see the various smaller English ISPs (like HyperOptic) building their own network and offering symmetric products at half the price of OpenReach, but I realise the economics are unlikely to make sense for small towns. I also realise that burying fibre without any existing ducting is going to be very expensive. Still, I'm interested to find out what would be involved, or if there are non-fibre options - not with the aim of profit, just providing more options for local people and businesses.
The best alternative is 4G/5G btw. Can easily get 500mbit/sec up on 5G on vodafones £60 plan if you can get 5G from them.
However, it’ll take years to build out and they payback will be far longer than two years.
There’s even funding to be had, but it’s no small undertaking.
Hit me up by email if you want more information. Contact in profile.