back to article Hey America! Your internet is going to be so much better this January

In the last week of January, America's internet is going to get a long-awaited boost. More Americans than ever are going to have access to fast internet as well as a greater choice of providers. What's all the more amazing is that this improvement will come without requiring any extra investment by broadband providers and …

  1. Someone Else Silver badge
    FAIL

    Banana Republicans

    Trump and his minions of 1-percenters and 1 percenter-wannabees, will indeed turn what was once arguably the Greatest Nation on Earth™ into a third world nation. Way to go!

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Banana Republicans

      Exactly.

      And now, in the era of Trump, they hold a majority, and they are looking to unravel the rules to the detriment of Americans and to benefit of the cable giants.

      And in then in February Trump will declare this to be a triumph for his grand infrastructure renewal plan, Making America Great Again. He'll also announce two further objectives which will shortly be realised:

      1) The creation of more smoke above every American city.

      2) The installation of more mirrors in Trump hotel corridors.

    2. bleedinglibertarian

      Re: Banana Republicans

      wow.. i was going to go sign that thing but you turned it into global liberalism versus conservative extremes forcing me, a moderate libertarian to side with the conservatives... i don't really care about this issue any more all thanks to you..

    3. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Banana Republicans

      But it will be the greatest, bigger, more powerful of all 3rd world countries! After all, the best way to win is to choose your adversaries wisely.

    4. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: Banana Republicans

      Everything makes much more sense if you just accept that the US is already a third world country.

  2. Oh Homer
    Headmaster

    The answer should be Yes and Yes

    • "Internet Access" is indeed any mechanism that facilitates accessing the internet. I've never heard of any rule that states it isn't really internet access if it's done over the airwaves instead of by cable. That's just nonsense
    • "Broadband" is anything that isn't dial-up. It's only "fast" by implication, not definition. There never has been an actual speed that defines broadband. My first broadband service was only 512Kbit/s. There was no public outrage when this service was announced, or lines of protesters waving banners demanding that they stop calling it "broadband" because that's only reserved for speeds greater than 25Mbit/s, which didn't even exist at the time

    As one of those stuck on G.dmt speeds I'd certainly love to have a faster connection, but I don't really care what pet name they choose to assign to it, and I also don't really see anything deceptive in using highly generic labels that have never really been quantified, beyond whatever the current level of expectation was at the time.

    1. DryBones

      Re: The answer should be Yes and Yes

      No, no. broadband is cable/coax delivered internet. DSL is phone-based internet. And FiOS is fiber optics.

      They might all have at times been called "high speed internet access", but the DSL that most have "access" to is clinging to that as a fig leaf. And it's like a fat mall cop running in the Olympics. When cell connection speeds have been trying to rival cable-based broadband links (mostly in vain due to DOCIS 3.0), it's very obvious that POTS links have long since topped out, and are being easily both out-sprinted and out-marathoned (DSL is really limited in its run length) by fiber and coax connections.

      Cell service will be acceptable as having 'access to high speed internet' when their quota is 200 gigabytes, not 2.

      1. HildyJ Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: The answer should be Yes and Yes

        The FCC splits Internet access into fixed and mobile. It defines high speed access as 25MBPS up and 3 MBPS down.

        It makes perfect sense to abolish the distinction between fixed and mobile.

        It makes zero sense to lower the definition of 'high speed' for mobile.

        Technologically advanced countries already exceed 25/3 over mobile. The US could achieve it as well but it might cut into the 1 percenters' salary, bonuses, and stock options. So sad.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The answer should be Yes and Yes

          The US has had ~25/3 mobile for 5 years in moderately populated areas and highway corridors. Frankly even 25 down is overkill unless you're streaming 4k video, doing bandwidth-intensive work, or using horribly bloated websites.

          Why does bandwidth always have to get faster? Why can't the software/web industry ever PURGE ITS BLOAT?

          P.S. - Commentards' favorite webcomic guy thinks mobile broadband is the best nowadays - https://xkcd.com/1865/

      2. Justin Pasher

        Re: The answer should be Yes and Yes

        "No, no. broadband is cable/coax delivered internet. DSL is phone-based internet. And FiOS is fiber optics."

        Now you're just playing a game of semantics. By this statement, you are saying a DSL and FiOS connection should not be called a broadband internet connection. Now I no longer have broadband service, along with millions of others! We need more competition, stat!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The answer should be Yes and Yes

        No, no. broadband is cable/coax delivered internet. DSL is phone-based internet. And FiOS is fiber optics.

        No. "Broadband" could include Fiber. "Broadband" is not specifically the internet service provided by cable, it just refers to the fact that it's wide bandwidth transmission. DSL is phone-line based (local loop), but works by using higher end of the spectrum than used by analog POTS. Thus DSL lines are broadband, supporting low-frequency analog (300Hz - 3.4KHz) and DSL (up to 1.1 MHz)

        If you want to talk about internet, then "broadband" generally means anything faster than dial-up.

      4. Oh Homer
        Headmaster

        Re: The answer should be Yes and Yes

        "No, no. broadband is cable/coax delivered internet. DSL is phone-based internet. And FiOS is fiber optics."

        Nonsense.

        Broadband provides high speed data carried over a normal phone line without affecting the telephone service.

        The term broadband simply means a broad band of frequencies has been used. It is a radio term and normally means that multiple frequency carriers are used to carry one signal. It describes the way ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) services work so has become a term to describe a fast internet connection.

  3. Ole Juul
    Headmaster

    And low and behold

    It's lo and behold.

    1. Winkypop Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: And low and behold

      Correct.

      Low and Behold are an accountancy firm in Slough.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: And low and behold

        Aren't they located in the same building as solicitors Sue, Grabbit and Runne?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And low and behold

          "Aren't they located in the same building as solicitors Sue, Grabbit and Runne?"

          Right across the street from Dewey, Cheetham, and Howe.

          1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

            Re: And low and behold

            and The Goodies' firm of solicitors:

            Hitchcock, Scratchitt, and Easing

  4. G Mac
    WTF?

    Farcical

    So I can walk into an office that only has 'slow' 20Mbps fixed internet access and proclaim loudly that I will fire up my mobile hotspot for all because it has 'fast' internet access at 10Mbps.

    I am starting to think 1984 and the Ministry of Truth has arrived, though 30 years late.

    1. LaeMing
      Big Brother

      As the Internet once said:

      1984: We're behind schedule, but getting there soon.

    2. Blank Reg Silver badge

      Re: Farcical

      30 years late? I think you're forgetting that this involves government, by their standards things are on or even ahead of schedule

      1. Eddy Ito

        Re: Farcical

        It was due to delays in rolling out the surveillance portion as they extended it much further than they had originally intended. This is just an attempt to move on so that they'll finally be able to tick off that box that says "real time broadband monitoring of everyone all the time". Unfortunately it may allow them to continue the build out of the thoughtcrime units.

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Another "victory" for "Sweet" Pai

    In the war against customers.

  6. ma1010
    Thumb Down

    And they wonder...

    why it is that so many people are totally cynical about government to the point of apathy.

    If you appoint corporate whores to important offices, then the government appears to be nothing but a corporate whore to be despised.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: And they wonder...

      The ferals are noted for having a working knowledge of the English language. Both actions will administrative fiats which change nothing on the ground. Speeds in the US will be all over the place because of distances and costs to upgrade. Rural areas will be the last on the list to get the current high speeds because of the time, effort, and cost it will take to build out the lines. If the ferals were on the ball, they would trying find a way to bring high speeds to the hinterlands instead of shuffling papers written in shyster.

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: And they wonder...

      If you appoint corporate whores to important offices, then the government appears to be nothing but a corporate whore to be despised.

      But... but... Trump is draining the swamp. I'm sure he is. He said it on television in front of tens of millions of people, so it must be true.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And they wonder...

        >>But... but... Trump is draining the swamp. I'm sure he is. He said it on television in front of tens of >>millions of people, so it must be true.

        Was that at the innauguration?

        If so, you're off by an order of magnitude. There were hundreds of millions at his inauguration.

        That's because he won the popular vote, despite all 24 million felonious illegal immigrants voting against him.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And they wonder...

        When you drain something, it doesn't just disappear, it goes somewhere else. So, yes, Donny's drained the swamp alright. He's drained it straight into DC.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And they wonder...

          Not so much draining the swamp as pissing in the well.

  7. JLV

    "Hot damn, those campaign contributions certainly paid off! Best investment ever, no need to lay cable or masts. Our boy Pai is smoke n mirroring all those fools. Who says these are not competitive markets?, bitch!."

    - Lowell C. McAdam, CEO Verizon

    or maybe

    - Randall L. Stephenson @ ATT

    David N. Watson @ comcast wishes he could take the credit, and he will, later.

  8. Mike 16 Silver badge

    In related news

    The Bureau of Standards has declared that it will peg the definition of the standard "inch" to the International Plot unit of "centimeter". This will allow POTUS to claim his hands are 12 inches long (YUGE!) and incidentally make them feet.

    In re "Broadband": My first non-dialup internet was over Cable, at 1.5Mbps. But it really _was_ 1.5Mbps, reliably, measured frequently (and a static routable IP address) . Nowadays I have "up to 20", which I can't recall ever having caught above 6. So it looks like redefinition is "in the air".

    YMMV TTFN

  9. Amplex

    I don't think the authors reasoning is accurate. It is not in the interest of either the FCC or many of the providers to artificially inflate the speeds available to consumers. If anything the incentives are exactly the opposite - to continually increase the definition of broadband. Why is this? Because the FCC is required to report annually on whether advanced telecommunications capability “is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion,” and to take “immediate action” if it is not. This is a open ended grant for the FCC to justify anything it wants simply by increasing the broadband speed definition. Along with this is the rural broadband crisis and the continual demands from the charity cases by the name of Centurylink, Frontier and others that they need subsidies to in order to deliver broadband. By increasing the definition of broadband the FCC can once again justify giving away even more money to 'solve' the crisis. Never mind that that just last year the FCC was patting itself on the back over giving away 11 Billion dollars over the next 6 years with a requirement to deliver 10Mb/1Mb at the end of the 6 year period. Bottom line is there is no incentive for the FCC to find that Americans are being served with advanced telecommunications capability any time soon. No government agency EVER decides it's done it's job and it's time to go away.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Amplex

      Get ready for a huge shock.

      C.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Amplex

        Whatever the FCC was doing for the last 8 years didn't work. Rural areas are worse off, with degrading DSL service, not even 3G cellular, and some people stuck with dialup. State-funded rural broadband projects have been tied up in bureaucracy and mismanagement the whole time. At this point 10mbps sounds amazing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Amplex

          State-funded rural broadband projects have been tied up in bureaucracy and mismanagement the whole time. At this point 10mbps sounds amazing.

          Well, the federal government gave lots of money to telecom companies to provide rural internet access.

          The companies provided bonuses to their executives instead, and reinvested the rest in bribes - I mean, campaign contributions.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > "I don't think the authors reasoning is accurate."

      That happens a lot with this author.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Coffee/keyboard

        > That happens a lot with this author.

        Yes. When did El Reg, a once rather conservative British tabloid, become a Democrat partisan rag? And what happened to Orlowski?

        R.I.P. El Reg icon please ->

        1. hplasm
          Facepalm

          When did El Reg, a once rather conservative British tabloid,

          What??

      2. Comments are attributed to your handle

        "That happens a lot with this author."

        Pot, meet kettle.

    3. jmch Silver badge

      "No government agency EVER decides it's done it's job and it's time to go away."

      True, but as the FCC can tinker with these numbers any way it wants it will never be 'mission accomplished'. And the FCC will anyway find ways to funnel money to its corporate buddies

    4. handleoclast

      Your reasoning is flawed

      @Amplex

      You make the assumption that Pai's objective is to stay at the helm of the FCC and be rewarded for a sinecure. With ordinary civil servants that might be the case.

      Pai is beholden to the big telcos. His reward comes from them if he kills off the FCC. Neutering the FCC is worth a big payoff but killing it entirely is worth an even bigger one.

      Same reason DeVos is in charge of education and Pruitt is in charge of the EPA. They're there to wreck things so the corporations can run wild.

  10. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Blankety-Blankety-Blank FCC... <expletives deleted> As one in the boonies, the concept of the ISP's broadband and the FCC's vision of competition is a joke. We have one cable type and one landline phone based. Both charge a small fortune per month for their 'service' with frequent outages. They act per the stereotypical monopolies which they are. I'm just disgusted beyond belief.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Well, when it comes to broadband, geography matters. It's not like any country bigger than the US is doing any better rolling out to the sticks. The ROI simply isn't there without a sweetener.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >>Well, when it comes to broadband, geography matters. It's not like any country bigger than the US is >>doing any better rolling out to the sticks. The ROI simply isn't there without a sweetener.

        The government gave them sweetener. Unfortunately, they just turned it into meth.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The *previous* government gave them money and failed to hold them to account. Talk about corporate welfare.

    2. SundogUK Silver badge

      So why doesn't someone else enter the market with a better service?

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Utilities are a notoriously high-upfront-cost market. Meaning naturally high barriers of entry. Rights of way, digging or rigging, laying down the physical infrastructure, and they all scale with distance. Geography matters. Is it a coincidence the most-wired and fastest countries in the world happen to be among the smallest? That's why utilities tend to be natural monopolies. Meaning wiring to the sticks is going to involve some seriously outlay simply due to the distances involved, no dodging that.

  11. Nolveys

    Redefining terms helped to lower both inflation and unimployment. It's sure to help here too.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And in other NEWS

    No one is now fat in America.

    Standard clothing sizes have been updated.

    New standards:

    • Petite: Discontinued
    • Small: Kids, very small kids
    • Medium: Hah, as if
    • Large: Petite Nue
    • X Large: Teen
    • XX Large: Normal
    • XXX thru XXXXXX Large: Good eater
    • My God: A bit on the plus size

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Watch them claim this as a "win for deregulation"

    Showing pie charts or something with x% of the country having access to broadband speeds when Obama left office and after only one year of Trump that percentage has gone way up. The drooling masses will lap it up as more "proof" that their orange hero has made America great for them!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wonder if el'reg will bother covering the massive demonetization of content creators work on youtube steam rolling independent media and handing the keys over to a bunch of authoritarian communists.

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      'authoritarian communists'

      Droll!

  15. Anonymous Blowhard

    Brilliant!

    I guess these guys can also tackle America's obesity problem as well...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This seems to be a fine example of how the Republicans are totally in the pocket of big business.

    1. GrapeBunch
      Coat

      There is no big business, son. That's redefined to be enterprises with 100,000 or more employees, not counting robots and outsourcing. Nope. Everything is now a Mom and Pop shop.

      In unrelated news, inflation continued at less than 2% year-on-year for the 467th straight month, except in Venezuela, Argentina, Iran, Belarus, and the Sudan, where it may be approaching 3%.

      Mine's the one that belonged to the previous poster.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        That's redefined to be enterprises with...

        Well, in Greece they just condemned the statistician who made clear how large the Greek debt was. The reason was he made available the plain numbers without going through a political vote about which numbers should have been the "right" ones: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/greece-scapegoats-a-statistician-who-only-did-his-job/2017/08/04/0c6f2f9c-7889-11e7-9eac-d56bd5568db8_story.html

        Pai & C. are made of the same clay.

        Do you believe Virtual Reality needs a pair of special goggles?

  17. nickx89

    The outcome is obvious.

    "the US broadband regulator will simply change its mind as to what Internet access is." Brilliant, now the whole Internet would be the advertising platform for them, it would make a perfect heaven for broadband companies. So much efforts for making companies happy, welcome corporate America.

    "So if you decide that "internet access" covers both fixed line and mobile then suddenly a huge percentage of the country gains access to "fast" internet access. Not only that but competition in the market suddenly jumps too because there are more providers"... If they add cellular networks into the Internet access, which they will, it would make an additional pocket filling stream for them.

  18. elip

    Dear Kieren

    I see this a lot in this writer's articles:

    "...a massive increase in the amount of time we all spend online..."

    Please stop speaking for all of us, and stop using so many superlatives.

    Meanwhile, I'll let Centurylink know that they should change their spam pamphlets from Broadband to High-Speed, as apparently my 3Mb down and .5Mb up, no longer qualifies.

    The interesting thing is, out here in the country in the south-east, my LTE down is 2.5Mb, and up is 25Mb. :-)

    1. kierenmccarthy

      Re: Dear Kieren

      You're not serious?

      You are entirely guilty of the one thing you accuse me of.

      There are huge piles of surveys and studies show how much more we are using the internet and how much extra data we are using. And yet because you personally aren't, it's not happening?

      What a week.

      1. elip

        Re: Dear Kieren

        I'm not calling myself a journalist. I am a commentard in this relationship - I have agreed to no responsibilities or integrity standards that you (I can only assume) did. If the Reg is hiring for opinion writers, where do I apply? I'm glad there are piles of surveys, please point to the ones which account for us out 'here' (where our lives don't revolve around the internet).

        I'm also *still* waiting on your evidence or any sources of your click-bait, paranoia-inducing claims you posted in this article:

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/12/13/us_purchase_government_spying/

  19. Rik Myslewski

    Heaven forfend! Do you actually mean to imply that the Republican-controlled FCC and its minon-master Ajit Pai is actually favoring monopoly business over Average Americans™?! Stop the presses! The populace must be informed! I'm sure that once they realize they're being screwed, they'll rise up against their corporate masters, armed with the requisite pitchforks and torches.

    Seriously, though, Kieren, thanks for your careful and detailed report about how the GOP is, yet again, screwing us Americans in ... well ... the opening at the end of the alimentary canal through which solid waste matter leaves the body.

  20. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    That simply hands control of what should be independent government requirements to the cable giants.

    [ ... ]

    And that the US was still massively behind other developed nations in terms of speed, roll-out and competition (16th out of 34 developed nations). Worse, just three per cent of the country had a choice of three or more providers (the definition of real competition) for speeds of 25Mbps or higher.

    [ ... ]

    And now, in the era of Trump, they hold a majority, and they are looking to unravel the rules to the detriment of Americans and to benefit of the cable giants.

    But less government regulation is freedom! Anything else is just commie! This is the American way!

    Just ask "Big John" and "Bombastic Bob"

    (Meanwhile, my evil government has given me a situation where I have about 15 ISPs to choose from. Those damn politicians.. Distracting me with complicated broadband choices whilst they control me!)

    P.S. This isn't an "anti-American" post. I'm with you guys against all the bullshit you have to put up with, like I am grateful when you guys are supportive of us with our own political shite

  21. Disgruntled of TW
    Flame

    Learned their approach to looking good from BDUK

    Let's define "super fast" as the speed achievable by DSL, so that we price out any competition from FTTP companies who want to fix the problem once, and lay the fibre. Only the incumbent operator could ever bid, as they own the crappy-copper in the ground already.

    The US and UK will be stuck with copper-crap until someone puts the fibre in the ground - ALL of the ground.

    Meh.

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