back to article White House and FCC announce big, broken solutions to America's pitiful broadband

The White House and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have both announced big plans to expand broadband internet access across the United States. In the first, the Trump Administration has highlighted a new report drawn up the Department of Commerce that aims to use federal resources to jumpstart flagging internet …

  1. JohnFen

    Oh, great

    What a crock of shit. I'm never going to be able to ditch Comcast, am I?

    1. elDog

      Re: Oh, great

      There are choices, @JohnFen. Even in the remote vales of Vermont.

      We have satellite (for them that just want to receive the inanity that is broadcast.)

      We have some DSL which the current lame providers that inherited this lame duck from Verizon can't/won't make work. Maybe not broadband but better than a hose trickling bits per second.

      We have some access to cellular which can be pretty good (near Mt. Mansfield, the highest peak it's around 3/1.) So the problem in this state is that the cell towers can't really handle the load when there are a lot of phones/tablets/etc. plugged in. This happens during peak tourist seasons (summer, fall, winter). I also understand that some of the carriers actually share capacity so your T-Mobile may be robbing me of my VZW circuit.

      Other cable ops can't afford to compete against a well-entrenched one. Comcast has been doing a pretty good job for me recently but it ain't cheap.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh, great

        That's because wireless is, and always will be, inferior to wireline. It's the physics of ethernet. As Richard Feynman once said, "Nature cannot be fooled". The fact is that both government and private monopolies (or in a few places, duopolies) have failed us. It's time to try something different. During and after the Great Depression the US undertook the seemingly impossible task of electrifying rural America. The most famous of those efforts was the Tennessee Valley Authority. But in other places, particularly the Midwest, the job was done through local and regional co-operatives, funded by the government but owned by their customers. While they're not as well known, there are also at least a couple of hundred telephone co-ops across the US. I think that it may be time to stop wasting time (and money) with Big Cable and Big Telco, and look to government financed, customer owned, co-ops as the vehicle for wiring up the country with gigabit broadband.

      2. JohnFen

        Re: Oh, great

        In my neighborhood, there are literally no other choices (outside of satellite, cellphone, and dialup, which don't count). No DSL, no WiFi, no nothing.

    2. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: Oh, great

      What a crock of shit. I'm never going to be able to ditch Comcast, am I?

      Not until your Public Utilities Commission grows a pair and yanks Comcast's operating license. ... And, in the unlikely event that happens, they'll probably be replaced by some company that's even worse.

  2. ThatOne Silver badge

    What is all this fuss about, Internet coverage reaches 100% according to a recent email poll...

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Today's poll

      was actually brought to you by a congressional committee, using references from an industry self-analyzing 'study' that [surprise!] declared what a great job the industry was doing in upholding its development and rollout promises.

      And then the Tooth Fairy gave out free prophylactics to the congressmen for their next Congressional Page visit.

  3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    A modest proposal

    But one thing is clear: the federal government's conscious myopia about what has caused broadband provision in the US to fall so far behind the rest of the world is only kicking the can down the road.

    Ah, roads.. The UK has a fascinating* thing called the 'Design Manual for Roads & Bridges', complete with dedicated sections for digging holes, and then filling them back in. Or 'reinstatement'.

    The US has a crumbling physical infrastructure, no doubt aided in part by telcos (or their contractors) regularly digging it up. And having read the DMRB, I know that in the UK, the reinstatment bit does always follow official regulations. But the US (and UK) at the Federal level could make it a requirement that all new roads (and major repairs) fit say, 6x4" ducts with pit boxes say, every 10 miles.. or major junctions. Then assign 1 duct to Federal use, another for State and an attractive rate for anyone else to use the other 4. Then do the same for residential/urban roads so there's at least a couple of decent sized ducts. It would be a relatively small incremental cost to road contstruction, but would enable a more future-proofed infrastructure. States should also make it a requirement for residential development.

    The absolute last thing to do would be let a telco build and 'own' it. Currently planning regs are pretty short-sighted in not requiring infrastructure, and developers don't see it as a priority.. Despite the best efforts of BT's 'New Build' team to educate them here in the UK.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A modest proposal

      Probably best not to lecture our colonial cousins on how to roll out broadband, when the vast majority of real (say 100 Mbps+) capability in the UK is via telco owned vertical monopolies? So almost 60% of the UK population supposedly have access to VirginMedia/LbertyGlobal cable, but that's a single vertical provider. Vodafone Gigfast, Hyperoptic, and certain small fry such as WightFibre all appear to be monopolistic connections.

      So until BT Openreach offer appreciable coverage and affordable pricing for genuine FTTP, things really aren't that competitive here in Blighty.

      1. GordonScally

        Re: A modest proposal

        I know its not a lot but in all areas that Virginmedia cover there is openreach access and therefore access to sky, talktalk and other fibre providers/resellers. Its providing incentives for companies to expand fibre access to rural exchanges thats the issue. If virgin or other companies that dont use openreach infrastructure want to expand their coverage they have to invest millions to install the cable/fibre and they provide connect speeds faster than openreach currently can. To use an analogy you cant build a toll road for company x use and then insist that everyone else can use it for free/no investment.

  4. Howard Hanek

    Another Form of Attack?

    How does one protect network cables from snail attacks?

    1. Alistair

      Re: Another Form of Attack?

      "How does one protect network cables from snail attacks?"

      Butter, garlic, parsley and some parmesan. Pop 'em in the salamander for aobut 3 minutes and ... Yum!!

    2. Fungus Bob

      Re: Another Form of Attack?


  5. Mark 85 Silver badge

    removing barriers to deployment and takes a decidedly free-market economy approach to the issue.

    Free market my ass... Given the structure, monopolies agreed to by the big guys, there is no free market for cable, internet. I wonder what they've been drinking to come up with this?

    1. Fungus Bob

      snail shit?

  6. Marty McFly Silver badge

    Uh, yeah, sure....

    I live in rural America and have to drive 8 miles before I get my first signal bar on my cell phone. Tell me again how 5G is going to revolutionize things?

    (And unless you think I am in the middle of nowhere, it is only 10 miles to the nearest Kroger, and 38 miles to the nearest international airport. The downtown of the biggest city in the state is 45 minutes away.)

    1. JohnFen

      Re: Uh, yeah, sure....

      "Tell me again how 5G is going to revolutionize things?"

      In terms of internet service, it's clearly not. In terms of enhancing profit for the telecoms, it may very well.

  7. Alistair

    Apparetly we are doing something a bit better up here.

    I am in suburbia in Canuckistan.

    I can sign up with any one of 9 DSL providers (I'm on DSL with an off brand provider) - I have a $4.80 surcharge on my DSL bill for LLU.

    I *could* sign up with any one of 5 Cable internet providers. 3 of those insist you have to buy cable and would like to sell you VOIP home phone too. With these there is a one time transfer fee to change the owner of the cable loop. (This does *not* apply universally, it seems to be local to this area)

    I'm getting 25MB/11MB *officially* but I'm quite often seeing far better numbers than that. I am however getting pissed with the modem, after the last firmware update it *appears* to be capping individual xfers at 4MB. This is NOT a puma6, but is a BSD based modem. Eventually I'll have the spare system to set it up in passthrough mode. (PS total bill, unlimited volume 25/11 *with* surcharge CA$69.50/mo)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I really wish they'd just ask the big ISPs how much they want, and then turn around and divy that up among the smaller players. Not another penny for the big guys until they learn to play nicely.

  9. earl grey

    a kick in the testimonials

    for all those suggesting this and all those with a hand out for more money.

  10. Jeffrey Nonken

    Regulatory capture + natural monopoly = we are totally screwed.

  11. hammarbtyp

    Need a new new deal (Don't hold your breath)

    Unfortunately this again proves that there is no one fits solution to big problems.

    In a realistic world, federal dollars would be used to pay for a public optical high speed backbone that anyone can use to create local services.

    But this is America, and that sort of thing smacks of Communism, so they will leave it to the market, who will then cherry pick the best areas, ensure that any competition is squashed and you will end up with a expensive hodge podge which suits no one apart from the monopolies controlling it. Best of all for them everyone in the US will pay for it. But hey it's the American way dammit.

    If the interstate network was being built today, and not in Rossevelt's socialist new deal era. Most major highways would stop about 50 miles outside major cities with rural and the poor being forced to use the dirt track back roads

    1. BigBear

      Re: Need a new new deal (Don't hold your breath)

      I agree with most of your comment, but your US history is way off. The construction of the US Interstate Highway system had nothing to do with the New Deal. Yes, the New Deal did include quite a few large infrastructure projects such as major bridges and dams (e.g. the Hoover Dam), many of which are still in use.

      However, the Interstate Highway system was built mostly in the 1950s and 1960s. The rationale was officially economic growth, but it was secretly designed to support large, heavy, mobile ICBMs and the landing, if necessary, of B-52s and other large military jets — so it was also a Cold War asset.

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