back to article In these troubling times, senators unite to end America's big divide – rural v urban broadband

The US Senate has formally formed its first informal committee to push for better broadband in America's countryside. The bi-partisan Senate Broadband Caucus will be made up of five senators who represent states with large rural populations and will push for laws that help to expand high-speed internet service into those …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The US Senate has formally formed its first informal committee to push for better broadband in America's countryside.

    Whoa, easy there, senators! You shouldn't rush this important task. Why not create first a committee that will decide on a proper amount of minority members of another committee that will be formed to decide the color and fonts of the letterhead that will be used by the committee that decides on the acronym of the task force that will determine the initial expenditure for the formation of a group that will in turn meet in a date and location yet to be decided by a subcommittee that...

    Meanwhile, why not a fact-finding mission to Monaco or Sweden to see how their politicians helped provide their cows with broadband?

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Have an up vote from me.

  2. 404

    Political Theatre

    These shameless SOB's, and one in particular, dumped $Billions$ into 'Rural Broadband Infrastructure' not six years ago after the banking fiasco. Care to know what it did?

    Purchased thousands of satellite dishes for 'internet broadband', no money down, no contract, and large data caps.No fiber laid, no upgraded equipment. Satellites.

    This is another reason for lobbyists and corporations like Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Google, et al to share their love with senators and congresscritters - under the pretense of helping the motherfucking children.

    *DISCLAIMER: Ask me again, I'll tell you what I really think - 404. Author wishes to convey that he is in no way related to *any* of those SOB's in any way, has been on a AT&T DSL waiting list from 2007 to this very minute, all while being molested by the two satellite 'broadband internet' company multi-year contracts, limited data allowances, and charges, Charges, CHARGES! Fuckers.

  3. JeffyPoooh


    Bell Aliant FibreOP (Atlantic Canada) should be studied as a 'business case'. Generally considered a success in many aspects. People keep stating increasingly-obsolete things as if they're fixed facts, but FibreOP often provides the clear counterexample. Look it up, study it. Just roll fiber already.

    Law Makers always fail to pay any attention to the ever-increasing data speed requirements. Nova Scotia spent millions and millions subsidizing several Wireless ISP. The resultant 1 to 3 Mbps is already essentially obsolete. Not enough speed. Tight data caps. Increasingly useless. At the very least draw a graph of anticipated data speed requirements, and plan ahead. Note, schedule delays puts you below the curve and kills the usefulness of the investment. Must move quickly, or don't bother.

    LEO satellite constellations are coming someday, like our Flying Cars. Keep an eye on them. When they eventually go into service, it may set a new worldwide baseline. No sense being worse than that.

    Put O3B on the To Be Studied list. Fiber speed by satellite for backhaul. Ground stations still expensive.

    Good luck.

  4. Ole Juul

    I live in a rural area

    and none of that makes any sense to me. Telcos don't want to invest in low profit adventures and they don't want government to do it for them. Sure, I wouldn't mind better service. But it's not going to happen until the Government stands up to the Telcos. I'm obviously not holding my breath.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I live in a rural area

      The cellular carriers will be installing LTE fixed wireless broadband in a lot of rural areas over the next five years. With no competition from cable/DSL internet they have a ready made customer base, and spectrum in rural areas is cheap and underutilized. It will also help fund upgrading those rural towers so they can phase out 2G technologies and recover the spectrum it uses to deploy more LTE in urban areas where spectrum is scarce.

      1. jimdandy

        Re: I live in a rural area

        "If you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are.."

        You get treated the same way by monopoly Telcos. Unless you are rich, or related to the local Government Representative.

      2. Gideon 1

        Re: I live in a rural area

        The cellular carriers are not going to install expensive LTE base-stations in rural areas because there will be too few LTE capable handsets there to justify the investment.

        The only currently viable option is satellite broadband.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I live in a rural area

          But they already HAVE.. I'm rural and I'm on LTE (granted with a yagi and an amp, but still) and get roughly 20-25Mbps.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I live in a rural area

          You miss the point. They want to retire 2G in order to reuse that spectrum in urban areas, in order to do that they need to retire 2G everywhere, which means they must upgrade rural towers. They'll upgrade to LTE because that's cheap and widespread now, and because it gives them the opportunity for a second revenue stream from fixed wireless.

          The main limiting factor is running fiber to towers that have only a T1 backhaul. That was fine for 2G, but obviously not enough for LTE. I wouldn't be surprised if in VERY rural areas, like places with population densities of only a couple people per square mile, if you see "LTE" on your phone but have terrible throughput. It'll be a tower with LTE that still has the T1 backhaul, because it was deemed too expensive to run fiber to that particular tower and the population density was so low fixed wireless wouldn't bring in enough reveue to pay for the backhaul upgrade.

    2. JeffyPoooh

      Re: I live in a rural area

      Me too. Our property is several acres. We have about ten houses on about a km of road, about 1.5 km from the next batch of houses.

      We have FibreOP (FTTH). Available Gb speed, but we decided that 150 Mbps is adequate to save money.

      The 'Last (up to) 40km' problem is a SOLVED problem. It's being installed in small towns and villages all over Atlantic Canada. Based on our experience, they're willing to roll the trucks quite a few km down the road to service clusters of low density residential housing. Take a Sunday drive in the rural areas, and you can see the fiber looped on the poles. Still, it takes time. But they're doing it.

      Horse, meet water. Drink.

      Too many people haven't got the memo.

      Bell Aliant FibreOP is a successful business case worth studying.

  5. Mark 85 Silver badge

    I may have misread that as: Senate Broadband Circus. But I'm not 100% sure.

  6. Alister

    It must be cold there...

    Those cows look Friesian.

  7. Lamb0

    Farmers are still waitting...

    ... but the affordable satellite bandwidth has already been allocated, mostly to (MUCH more densely populated) California.

    Californians needs their comforts, and, it's so ex$pensive to live there. Cable, ground wireless, DSL, or cellular might crimp their budget. Meanwhile, I've friends with dial-up here in parts of Nebraska. Their only other option is a dedicated satellite T1 link for BIG BUCK$.

    I'm more fortunate living in a shrinking metropolis of ~4,000 70 miles from Lincoln getting an honest 12mb/0.6mb(1.5mb with a better DSL modem). A ~100mb service is "available"; but that's a few poles too far. However, I'm upgrading to next week to 25mb down for <$90/month (including phone, long distance, taxes, service charges, and fees). Owning my own modem $ave$ me the rental fee. Time Warner is an option I avoid. I'm too cheap for cable or satellite. (Eventually I'll add VHF Hi/Lo & UHF TV antennas to keep my VHF/UHF DX200 vertical and G5RV dipole SW Amateur Radio antennas company.) I also appreciate a landline capable of functioning when the power is out - if the wires are still up. ;<)

    I'm off to visit microwatt valley with my flippy phone in the pocket (voice & text sometimes work near the hilltops, but not much else), and let them know the news of a possible broadband connection... possibly by the next decade. (Verizon 4G is more likely than satellite as 3G coverage will be replaced before 2020 and a few more towers will be added by then. ;<)

  8. Marty McFly Silver badge

    Sneaky bastards

    Centurylink recently DOUBLED my "Broadband Cost Recovery Fee". This is what they charge for building their high-speed Internet network. So they get to charge me to build a product they will eventually sell to me? And they are doing what in my area?? I know where the fiber line terminates, and I sure don't see any new construction going on.

    This is the same Centurylink who is selling me an 8mb/s DSL line that regularly runs at 5-6mb/s. When I asked, they recommended my line be throttled to 5mb/s, that way I will be "running at full speed at all times". Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot!!!

    Yeah, they suck. Yes, they know they suck. No, I don't have any alternatives in my area. No, they don't care as a result. Bastards.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sneaky bastards

      They're horrible, that's why I'm on LTE. CenturyLink told me I was too far for DSL despite the fact that the neighbors on both sides of me had it. I asked them how I'm somehow further than neighbors on BOTH SIDES of me, and they just said I was too far. Morons.

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