Networking

Digital divide separates urban and rural Americans


For many years, the term digital divide has been used to describe the gulf between high- and low-income Americans' ability and willingness to subscribe to high-speed broadband services like DSL and cable modem.

These days, the price of broadband service has dropped to the point that just about anyone can afford the service (I pay $24.95 per month), and just about every library and school has high-speed Internet access, extending access to nearly everyone... in the cities. Rural Americans seem to be stuck in the '90s, as the increasing demands of Wall Street squeeze telecoms, reducing their willingness to invest in infrastructure that will serve low density population centers.

ISPs to rural America: Live with dial-up (ComputerWorld)

For example, in Minnesota, broadband penetration is just over 39% in rural areas, while in the Twin Cities area -- where infrastructure has been built out -- that number is 57%. The Chinese government has a program in place aimed at reducing the divide between rural and urban populations, and Indian telecom Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. sells high-end services to corporations, using the profits to extend connectivity to poor and rural areas. Even though U.S. broadband penetration is close to 60%, the United States is now behind 15 countries, including Iceland, Canada, and Korea.

The U.S. Congress has had several initiatives to try to address the divide, but none has yet made a big impact on rural customers. With the telecoms under mounting pressure from Wall Street to provide high returns on their equity, the big companies are, at best, dragging their feet when it comes to laying down the infrastructure to support broadband in rural areas. The government, in my opinion, has an obligation to provide either regulation or incentives to convince the telecoms to extend their services, just as they were forced to extend telephone service and just as the electric companies were forced to provide power to all areas.

Do you think that the telecoms should build out their infrastructures on their own, or should government regulations and incentives be imposed? Do you believe that broadband, like telephone and electric service, should be a utility that extends even to rural areas? How would you make it happen if you were in charge?

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394 comments
deepsand
deepsand

Their argument is that such is necessary so as to encourage dial-up customers to switch to a more cost effective service. However, since this includes those who are in areas which have [b]no DSL service[/b] available, that argument wears very thin indeed. On the surface, then, this gives the appearance of being yet more greed on the part of ATT&T. See below article(s).

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

AT&T also annouced that it's getting out of the public phone booth business. With the vast majority of Americans carrying cell phones, it hardly makes economic sense to maintain the infastructure anymore. AT&T isn't a charity operation, and I'd hardly expect it to operate as such.

deepsand
deepsand

the increase is stated as being to encourage people to switch to DSL, [b]but[/u] applies to those areas that AT&T has declined to offer DSL? And, do not forget that many areas lack DSL service owing to the fact that AT&T, along with the other ILECs, actively made it economically unfeasible for CLECs to offer DSL, this contrary to FCC requirements that they foster a competitive market in exchange for de-regulation?

apotheon
apotheon

If you ignore the main thrust of my statement, and pretend you didn't imply the things you did, you can say whatever you like. I guess that works. Good tactical sense you have, there.

apotheon
apotheon

deepsand . . . I don't expect to see a free market re-emerge in the US within my lifetime, assuming a lifetime of around a hundred years total (give or take twenty). The reasons I don't expect to see such a thing, however, are mostly related to people making arguments like yours -- for more regulation by corrupt politicians and officials when less is appropriate.

Absolutely
Absolutely

that the hardest part of accomplishing a free market is the perception by those whose income is below the median that they reap a net benefit via government handouts generally, and regulations which inhibit competition with those above the median. Why recipients of meager Welfare checks believe that government subsidies to billionaires are to their advantage is a mystery on par with the Bermuda Triangle.

deepsand
deepsand

free market within your lifetime? With the media of choice for local delivery fast becoming optical fiber, which requires the same physical access to individual properties as does copper wire, I have grave doubts about about the market for either wire or fiber delivery systems becoming free within my lifetime. Being considerably younger than myself, you may yet live to see such a day. The wireless market has more potential for becoming a truly free one. But, so long as the FCC continues to parcel out wide swaths of the available spectrum to a few large companies, that potential will, in my opinion, remain unrealized.

deepsand
deepsand

said rights-of-way and easements remain in the hands of the ILECs. That there may be a solution available is quite different from such having been implemented. And, I would advise that none hold their breath awaiting such to transpire.

deepsand
deepsand

And, without private property owners granting multiple rights-of-way and/or easements for a given type of service, there is [b]perforce[/b] a monopoly. Stop trying to obfuscate the issue.

Absolutely
Absolutely

[i]In and of itself, well enough. However, such does not ensure that those who have been entrusted with the use of public goods do return fair value to the public, as witnessed by the behavior of the ILECs. In a related issue, it should be noted that the [b]ILECs, having long chafed under regulation[/b], and used every possible means & opportunity to escape such, [b]have also cried for[/b] "equity" in the form of [b]regulation[/b] of the cable industry.[/i] It's as though their budgets afford them special status with the makers of law, to manufacture statutes to their advantage. [i]And, now that they've achieved de facto de-regulation, by virtue of the FCC neither enforcing its own rules not fully implementing acts of Congress, they are gleeful of the pending prospect of the FCC undertaking to subject said industry to regulation, under the so-called "70/70" rule.[/i] Sometimes the Senate & Congress & President do the right thing. Sometimes they don't. I'm a cheapskate every day. Laissez-faire capitalism is the only sensible economic system. [i]Needless to say, Verizon's FIOS operation would not immediately be subject to any such regulation, owing to its presently small market size.[/i] It would be subject to the free market, if we had one.

Absolutely
Absolutely

[i]Bottom line: The properties belong to me and my neighbors, you can't deliver your wired or piped service to properties surrounded by ours without passing through our properties, and you can't do that without our consent. And, we are not going to grant such consent to a myriad would be service providers.[/i] One right of way, to a local service provider of .gov and .state.gov sites only, and competition for broadband access to the world wide web, obviates the need for multiple rights-of-way, and for your argument.

Absolutely
Absolutely

Now that the humor is out of the way: [i]Recognizing that the extent to which DSL service has penetrated the marketplace has been artifically limited by the ILECs, it can therefore not be reasonably held that such penetration does in fact measure the true potential penetration. While such can only be determined under true competition, it is most certainly the case that said potential cannot be less than that presently realized, and will almost assuring exceed such.[/i] That really is the point, and to more effectively critique your mention of "potential" I should have used the word "indefinite" rather than "infinite." Nevertheless, I see from the above that the point is made, and we agree more than we disagree: "it is most certainly the case that said potential cannot be less than that presently realized, and will almost assuring exceed such." [i]That being said, though, it must also be recognized that there exist very real physical limitations to the distance at which such service can be effectly and efficiently delivered. Therefore, while the true potential extent may be now unknown, it is safe to say that such is finite, i.e. not infinite.[/i] Oh, fine, cite me for hyperbole, officer. Still, it isn't as though we'll be using "DC?" http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-12844-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=243515&messageID=2354938

apotheon
apotheon

You referred to property owners granting rights of way or easements to competitors. If the corporations to whom they are granting rights of way or easements are their competitors, that means they, too, are service providers. Thus, my question. Perhaps you've just been going all this time making "arguments" by intentionally obfuscating your meaning, but based on what you said you seem to be suggesting that the service providers would own all the land around termini.

deepsand
deepsand

Ownership is quite a different thing from rights-of-way and easements. But, then, you already knew that, didn't you? So, why the charade? Bottom line: The properties belong to me and my neighbors, you can't deliver your wired or piped service to properties surrounded by ours without passing through our properties, and you can't do that without our consent. And, we are not going to grant such consent to a myriad would be service providers.

apotheon
apotheon

Are you now claiming that utility providers in a free market system could somehow come to own the majority of land in the country?

deepsand
deepsand

The notion that property owners will grant a potentially unlimited number of rights of way and/or easements to would be competitors providing any utility service is a non-starter. And, absent such physical access, such services cannot be delivered.

apotheon
apotheon

. . . but you still haven't actually made a case for why that applies in this case. Perhaps that's because it doesn't, at least at the current level of market saturation.

deepsand
deepsand

Recognizing that the extent to which DSL service has penetrated the marketplace has been artifically limited by the ILECs, it can therefore not be reasonably held that such penetration does in fact measure the true potential penetration. While such can only be determined under true competition, it is most certainly the case that said potential cannot be less than that presently realized, and will almost assuring exceed such. That being said, though, it must also be recognized that there exist very real physical limitations to the distance at which such service can be effectly and efficiently delivered. Therefore, while the true potential extent may be now unknown, it is safe to say that such is finite, i.e. [b]not infinite[/b].

deepsand
deepsand

In re. GW, I stated that one could not assume that past causes are perforce responsible for present effects. With regards to the discussion at hand, I stated that those companies, the ILECs, which are the root cause of the problem at hand, by virtue of their control of the "last mile," and those which presently control the "last mile" are the [b]same companies[/b], a fact that is historically verifiable within our lifetimes. In the former case, the causes of now observed [b]past effects[/b] remains not well known and understand. In the latter, both the cause and the effect are [b]contemporaneously observable[/b].

deepsand
deepsand

monopolies, in this case those born of real physical constraints on the ground, you have no standing here. Your analogy, using Operating Systems as a substitute for the "last mile" is patently flawed, and therefore unworthy of consideration.

Absolutely
Absolutely

http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=244956&messageID=2374193 Citation of "the last time" in that context implies that you do believe or assert such uniformity. Otherwise, the question "whose fault was it 'the last time'?" becomes a senseless apples/oranges comparison. Instead of "irrelevant" I might have suggested the word "inapplicable"; deepsand does get his panties somewhat bunched on that topic, as I do on some others. [i]I never intended to claim that previous times were identical to each other, and if I gave that impression, I'm sorry. My only intention in reference to previous times is that they weren't caused by humans.[/i] OK, well then let's go back to the appropriate thread, and argue whether those previous times have any [u]applicability[/u] to this one -- I won't say they're irrelevant, but I won't say they're the whole story, either!

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

Have I made such an assumption? [i]If "irrelevant" was not the ideal choice of word,[/i] What would you have suggested as a replacement? [i] deepsand has still adequately illustrated that similar phenomena, such as heating, cannot be assumed to have the same cause[/i] Actually all he's illustrated is that he doesn't know whether the cause is the same or not. [i]Additionally, those previous temperature cycles did not all have the same extent or rate, so your assumption of uniformity is in fact contrary to the evidence itself, not merely a misuse of a valid assumption beyond contexts in which it is applicable. It cannot just be the same as "the last time," because it has not been the same each previous time![/i] I never intended to claim that previous times were identical to each other, and if I gave that impression, I'm sorry. My only intention in reference to previous times is that they weren't caused by humans. I am really not trying to be obtuse. There are a number of factors whose presence or absence teamed together to produce the warming and cooling of this planet. It would be ridiculous to claim that some, most, or perhaps even all of these factors aren't present or absent today, and until you can understand what these factors are and how much each contributes, I honestly cannot see how one can claim how much human activity contributes.

Absolutely
Absolutely

An honest question, asked for the purpose of increasing understanding, is admirable. To persist in claiming uncertainty, as you do, in the face of overwhelming evidence in support of a logical conclusion based on overwhelming evidence, merely because you dislike the conclusion or what that conclusion implies about responsible action, is something else. If "irrelevant" was not the ideal choice of word, deepsand has still adequately illustrated that similar phenomena, such as heating, cannot be assumed to have the same cause, merely because the effect is, in both cases, local temperature increase. However, you maintain that such assumption is perfectly valid; it is not. http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=244956&messageID=2377810 It is not logical to assume that just because the Earth's average temperature has increased in the past, that the cause of this temperature is identical to previous ones. Additionally, those previous temperature cycles did not all have the same extent or rate, so your assumption of uniformity is in fact contrary to the evidence itself, not merely a misuse of a valid assumption beyond contexts in which it is applicable. It cannot just be the same as "the last time," because it has not been the same each previous time!

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

[i]deepsand's comment was a response to [u]previous temperature change trends in Earth's history[/u], where cause is [u]unknown[/u][/i] but you do bring up a [b]very[/b] interesting point. How can it be claimed that past causes are irrelevant if one does not know what they are? And how can it be claimed that current causes are [b]different[/b] if they don't know past causes? [i]Better to remain silent and let us assume you have run out of good arguments than to persist in such verbal flailing, and remove all doubt.[/i] They are logical questions. Failure to address them, or claiming they are irrelevant, is not only unscientific, it is [b]dishonest![/b] That I may engage in "verbal flailing" on occasion does not change that fact. I am quite capable of determining what is "better" for me (in fact, that's what drives my desire to argue these things), but thank you for your (I will assume it is genuine [b]this time[/b]) concern.

Absolutely
Absolutely

that deepsand's comment was a response to [u]previous temperature change trends[/u] in Earth's history, where cause is [u]unknown[/u] -- unless you're ready to concede that point? http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=244956&messageID=2375033 Here, we're talking about regulation of telecoms and ISP's, the factual history of which is not similarly in question. Here, deepsand suggested distrusting corporations who we [u]know[/u] have failed to keep their word. You're clearly grasping at straws, Tony. Better to remain silent and let us assume you have run out of good arguments than to persist in such verbal flailing, and remove all doubt.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

[i]owing to the said prior behavior of the ILECs[/i] in another thread you claim that prior events are not an indicator of current "solutions".

apotheon
apotheon

Well, deepsand, you've really outdone yourself. As I tried to point out in my last comment in this (sub)thread, your statements in attempts to refute what I've said [b]ignore[/b] previous statements I've said. If you'd go back and read them, you might notice that those statements of mine refute the premises from which you draw these most recent conclusions to which I feel no obligation to address. Let's demonstrate the absurdity of your "defense": 1. You say something -- let's say it's "The only operating systems in the world are Windows and Linux," for the sake of demonstration. 2. I disagree, pointing out the existence of such OSes as MacOS X, FreeBSD, Haiku, Plan 9, ReactOS, HP-UX, OpenVMS, and so on. 3. You say something equivalent to "The Earth is flat, and since the only OSes in the world are Windows and Linux, your choice to use something other than Windows and Linux is dumb." 4. I link to photographs of a very not-flat Earth, and mention that technically the term "windows" can refer to more than just an OS, and "Linux" by itself is just the name of an OS kernel, but I don't bother addressing the patent absurdity of your other comments about OS use and what does or does not exist -- since I've already addressed it. 5. You complained about me failing to address statements of yours about how I'm making stupid decisions about OS use, since I'm choosing to avoid all OSes in existence (according to you). 6. I point out that you proceeded with your argument without addressing my refutation of your premises, and that I thus feel no obligation to deal with such nonsense. 7. You make vague statements about how me joining a public discussion is somehow inappropriate (something like "someone else's subthread", as though I picked the lock on your front door with the express purpose of interrupting your Christmas dinner conversation), and pretended it was me who has problems addressing all relevant topics. Don't you see anything wrong with this sequence of events?

Absolutely
Absolutely

"I maintain that such must be judged by their potential levels, rather than by those presently realized; this, too, owing to the said prior behavior of the ILECs. Whether we here agree or not I cannot say." If you mean liquidating all their financial assets in punitive action, I'm for it, but just want to be sure that's what you mean.

deepsand
deepsand

From your most recent post, above: "[i]My position is that telephone services offer a model of a sensible division of services; access via Internet to all government sites corresponding to one's jurisdiction ought to be provided at minimal charge, like local telephony. [/i]" One must first observe that the issue at hand is not about 'Net [i]access[/i], but rather about the bandwidth of such, i.e. [i]capacity[/i]. Then, it must be further noted that there are many areas which lack sufficient capacity for the effective use of the 'Net by both business and individuals, such owing to the aforementioned actions of the ILECs' exercise of monopolistic powers. Now, clearly any area which has telephony service also has, at the very least, access to the 'Net via dial-up service; the extent to which such may or may not be affordable to indiviuals, or cost effective to businesses is a distinctly separate, but not wholly unrelated issue. Now, were those areas which could and would by now have gained DSL service, had it not been for the aforesaid actions of the ILECs, to now gain such service, I see no justification for limiting use of such service to certain purposes only, such as "government sites corresponding to one's jurisdiction," regardless of the ways and means by which such service was eventually attained. Therein lies at least one difference in our respective "extent." Another difference [u]may[/u] lie in your statement "[i]The [b]bandwidth attainable[/b] in particular jurisdictions will continue to determine which ISP's compete for which neighborhoods, with the exception that such [b]infrastructure constraints[/b] ought to be the only factor influencing which ISP's compete for whose business, and where.[/i]" I maintain that such must be judged by their [b]potential[/b] levels, rather than by those presently realized; this, too, owing to the said prior behavior of the ILECs. Whether we here agree or not I cannot say.

Absolutely
Absolutely

deepsand: [i]Its seems, Absolutely, that our disagreement lies then not in ... the "what," but to what "extent." I maintain that the "what" should be applied with no contraints on its "extent."[/i] My position is that telephone services offer a model of a sensible division of services; access via Internet to [b]all[/b] government sites corresponding to one's jurisdiction ought to be provided at minimal charge, like local telephony. The bandwidth attainable in particular jurisdictions will continue to determine which ISP's compete for which neighborhoods, with the exception that such infrastructure constraints ought to be the [b]only factor[/b] influencing which ISP's compete for whose business, and where. deepsand: [i]Before addressing the specific issues re. DSL, it might be enlightening to 1st visit ordinary telephony, i.e. voice communications, as this service too relies on a shared usage of the "last mile." "Why," one might ask, "have the ILECs not resisted competition in that arena to the extent that they have in that of data communications?" I submit that it is because the latter is the more profitable one, both in terms of present and potential future offerings.[/i] I have no doubt that is true. Such has no bearing on who paid for what, when, in return for which [b]legally binding promises[/b] of value to be provided in exchange. deepsand: [i]It was the will of Congress,[/i] Correction: That was an action by the Congress. Congress has no "will," as evidenced by the deficit and recession that have been wrested from the perilous jaws of surplus and plenty, and by our military incursion into Iraq while our efficiency in Afghanistan has waned. deepsand: [i]...as expressed by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which was to have been enabled & enforced by the FCC, that the ILECs should make the "last mile" available to competitors (CLECs) for the offering of all services, not just voice alone.[/i] In 1996, the Internet was only beginning to become known outside of the circles that are now hazy legends; Usenet, DARPA, advanced academia. Congress presumed to regulate what it did not understand, and the results were useless. deepsand: [i]That many areas now see a substantial number of CLECs offering local telephone service serves to show that such sharing is both feasible and practical. Why then, is there a dearth of competition with regards to the provision of DSL service. The answer lies in the fact that more and specialized equipment is required to handle such, equipment that needs to be physically installed at a location where it can be connected to the "last mile." The ILECs effectively stifled competition in this arena by making it exceedingly difficult to CLECs to so co-locate their equipment and/or denying the provisioning of so-called "dry lines" (those which carry no dial tone) for the purpose of providing "naked" DSL, [/i] I did not know that. deepsand: [i]...despite FCC regulation requiring them to provide for such; and, they succeeded when the FCC failed to enforce such regulation.[/i] And, I am not surprised. deepsand: [i]Once CLECs had been effectively driven from the DSL market, the ILECs were left unfettered to select which portions of the "last mile" did and did not receive DSL service, according to their profitability, thus resulting in today's divide between those who have and do not have broadband connectivity. Bear in mind that I am not talking about those areas which are physically now unsuited for the delivery of DSL, but rather those that are so suited, and might have such service were that they had been made accessible to CLECs. Therefore, it is my position that the ILECs should be held accountable for the present divide, and required to immediately take any and all such steps as are necessary for its remediation, with the costs of such being borne by them.[/i] We have tried that; instead, confiscate their revenues and bid the projects to [b]anybody[/b] with a complete business plan. I'm sure that students majoring in economics and other students majoring in computer and/or electronics engineering at MIT, Carnegie Mellon, CalTech and Harvey Mudd can work together peacefully, long enough to do a better job than Comcast, Qwest and Cox. If the government stooges that accept & reject bids can't tell whether a team of the best-educated specialists in the country can deliver on a plan, those stooges have no business running anything larger than a vegetable cart; they're fired, too. [i]Only in this manner can the public reclaim the benefit that has rightfully accrued to it from the ILEC's use of public goods.[/i]

deepsand
deepsand

the "what," but to what "extent." I maintain that the "what" should be applied with no contraints on its "extent." Before addressing the specific issues re. DSL, it might be enlighting to 1st visit ordinary telephony, i.e. voice communications, as this service too relies on a shared usage of the "last mile." Why, one might ask, have the ILECs [b]not[/b] resisted competition in that arena to the extent that they have in that of data communications. I submit that it is because the latter is the more profitable one, both in terms of present and potential future offerings. It was the will of Congress, as expressed by the [i]Telecommunications Act of 1996[/i], which was to have been enabled & enforced by the FCC, that the ILECs should make the "last mile" available to competitors (CLECs) for the offering of [b]all[/b] services, not just voice alone. That many areas now see a substantial number of CLECs offering local telephone service serves to show that such sharing is both feasible and practical. Why then, is there a dearth of competition with regards to the provision of DSL service. The answer lies in the fact that more and specialized equipment is required to handle such, equipment that needs to be physically installed at a location where it can be connected to the "last mile." The ILECs effectively stifled competition in this arena by making it exceedingly difficult to CLECs to so co-locate their equipment and/or denying the provisioning of so-called "dry lines" (those which carry no dial tone) for the purpose of providing "naked" DSL, despite FCC regulation requiring them to provide for such; and, they succeeded when the FCC failed to enforce such regulation. Once CLECs had been effectively driven from the DSL market, the ILECs were left unfettered to select which portions of the "last mile" did and did not receive DSL service, according to their profitability, thus resulting in today's divide between those who have and do not have broadband connectivity. Bear in mind that I am not talking about those areas which are physically now unsuited for the delivery of DSL, but rather those that are so suited, and might have such service were that they had been made accessible to CLECs. Therefore, it is my position that the ILECs should be held accountable for the present divide, and required to immediately take any and all such steps as are necessary for its remediation, with the costs of such being borne by them. Only in this manner can the public reclaim the benefit that has rightfully accrued to it from the ILEC's use of public goods.

Absolutely
Absolutely

http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=102&threadID=235329&messageID=2387341 When government adds structures whose activities in private business extend beyond those which only encourage economic competition by guaranteeing personal rights, government's functions which do encourage economic competition tend to be counteracted by other agencies' pursuit of superficially benevolent aims. Pollution, for example, of toxic chemicals into water supplies, [b]is[/b] assault, reckless endangerment, etc., and requires no separate statute.

Absolutely
Absolutely

As the bulk of that message indicates, I mean that access to various Internet resources ought to be offered analogously to phone services, with the modification that "local" telephone service corresponds to [b]all government websites, and not necessarily any other sites[/b], which is my estimate of a reasonable analog of "crucial" access, via telephone, to local services. The infrastructure exists and, as you have noted above, the public has largely paid for it and not received that for which such payment was promised in exchange. It should, therefore, be legal to mandate that such be utilized as I have just suggested. [ edit: initially used too much bold, giving a comical appearance, like a textbook page marked solid yellow the night before final exams ]

Absolutely
Absolutely

... as an abstraction having self-consistent meaning, or as one in use in the popular lexicon, no, I do not "reject the concept of natural monopolies." [i]The very term "public utility" is an absurd one. Every good is useful "to the public,"...[/i] Indisputably correct so far according to the exact meaning, in the study of economics, of the term "good." [i]... and almost every good may be considered "necessary."[/i] If "necessary" is replaced with "necessary to somebody" one could also remove the qualifier "almost," if such served one's purpose better in one's present context. [i]... Any designation of a few industries as "public utilities" is completely arbitrary and unjustified. -Murray Rothbard, [b]Power and Market[/b][/i] This line of reasoning, generally, appears more honest by incorporating fewer unsubstantiated assertions than its competitors. http://preview.tinyurl.com/35v877 [ edit: close [b]bold[/b] formatting tag ]

deepsand
deepsand

your responses tacitly support my contention that, at the local transport, or "last mile," level, the ILECs to in fact constitute monopolies, and are, therefore, in the absence of effective regulation for otherwise compell, able to stifle DSL competition, which was my original point.

deepsand
deepsand

And, if so, in the case of public utilities, how are economies of scale to be realized without resorting to having systems that are administered at a sufficiently large size so as to require "big" government?

deepsand
deepsand

Both the question and my response were regarding "The whole purpose of legally sanctioned monopolies for the provision of common services such as roads, rail lines, electric service, telephone service, water distribution, sewage collection & processing, etc., is to ensure the greatest availability of such with the least amount of disruption to private property." Within that context, my response was appropriate.

deepsand
deepsand

"[i]Remove the structure that [/b]encourages only competition...[/b][/i]" Did you perhaps mean to say "Remove the structure that [b]discourages[/b] competition..." [Edited to correct italics.]

deepsand
deepsand

its participants are failing to discuss the specfic particulars that you wish to discuss, thus giving you the right to ignore those that are there under discussion, is a most specious argument indeed. Obviously Absolutely does not agree with your position, or he'd not be addressing concrete matters here. In so doing, at least he's trying to engage in meaningful discourse.

deepsand
deepsand

The local telephone infrastructure is [b]not[/b] "publicly held," but is in fact privately held bt the ILECs. In fact, aside from from roads, and the dwindling number of municipal water systems that have not been sold off to the likes of Aqua American and its kin, the [b]only[/b] other infrastructure that remains "publicly held" is that relating to the transport and treatment of sanitary sewage. So, we are returned to the question of who will pay for its purchase and maintenance. Are we to simply seize the local telco infrastructure from the ILECs, under power of eminent domain?

apotheon
apotheon

I didn't think it was vague at all. I thought you were very clear, and I'm quite familiar with deepsand's tendency to (intentionally, I think) "misunderstand". He uses that on me all the time.

Absolutely
Absolutely

ownership: Who pays? maintenance: Who profits? $

Absolutely
Absolutely

Because you used the tentative "I believe" to explain to deepsand what I meant, I was worried that I had been vague. I see that the problem in that communication was not with the sender, but the receiver. [i]Remove the structure [b]that encourages only competition[/b]...[/i] That structure, obviously, is that of a government whose involvement is essentially limited to protection of property rights, enforcement of contracts, and generally guaranteeing freedom by punishing coercion of all kinds. I do not consider it at all likely that deepsand misunderstood my meaning. He's such a bore when he acts coy.

apotheon
apotheon

I wonder what kind of bizarre rose-colored glasses you're wearing to think the status quo is within the same league as "well enough". By the way, I believe absolutely's reference to "structure" involved the difference between a free market where competition serves the customer base and a government meddled market where monopolies, oligopolies, and other signs of interference lead to varying degrees of market failure. Of course, I don't expect you to see that, considering you think the current state of affairs is "well enough".

apotheon
apotheon

1. I didn't address that because, by jumping into that, you've ignored earlier arguments I made. If you can answer my statements sufficiently to lead back to yours, [b]then[/b] I'd reasonably be expected to answer them. Until then, it's an exercise in futility because your argument is based on an assumption that you've defused my refutations -- which you have not. 2. I suppose, based on your arguments deepsand, that you aren't aware of possibilities like parallel access, contractual communities, private infrastructure termini, or even septic tanks. If you had, you would surely not be asking such asinine rhetorical questions.

Absolutely
Absolutely

If the local infrastructure is publicly held, analogously to local telephone infrastructure, can you not deduce the rest?

deepsand
deepsand

To which "structure" do you refer. The infrastructure required for local transport of utility services, or the present operational structure of the the utilities industries?

deepsand
deepsand

of rights-of-way and/or easements. We do seem to agree that expecting each competitor to acquire their own rights-of-way and/or easements is, as a matter of physical practicality, not feasible. But, if such public goods are to be shared, the following questions are begged. Who would own them? Who would maintain them. Who would pay for their acquisition and maintainence.

Absolutely
Absolutely

[i]However, such does not ensure that those who have been entrusted with the use of public goods do return fair value to the public, as witnessed by the behavior of the ILECs.[/i] Remove the structure that encourages only competition, not calcification of the [i]status quo[/i], and the function goes with it. It's elementary, my Dear Watson.

Absolutely
Absolutely

deepsand: [i] And still, you evade the realities on the ground. Precisely how would you envision competing companies being able to acquire the necessary rights-of way and/or easements needed in order to physically run their lines from their properties to those of their would be customers?[/i] Try this: The easements & rights-of-way [b]are acquired[/b]. Make them all 'open source,' or reasonable interpretation/extrapolation thereof, for all cases or private property, and of public property that is not a government office, ie streets, sidewalks, sewers, electrical lines, and plumbing or aqueducts -- just in case. The connection to one's .us.[state] & us.[locality].[state] services are thereby [b]guaranteed[/b], analogously to emergency services & local telephony, while ISP's compete for LD services. [i]Can you give an example of but one community which has a viable example of being served by multiple water service providers? Of sewage carriage and treatment? Of the provision of natural gas? Or, the delivery of electricity?[/i] All, inapplicable [i]What is it about telephone lines that makes you think the their being put in place is not subject to the same physical hurdles as are any public utility?[/i] Easy! Alternating current, and its relatively low power loss relative to distance. Next, please. [i][b]Do you really expect[/b] that I, or any other property owner, is going to allow a multitude of companies to run whatever conduits they like through my property just so that they can serve someone else? Not likely; not likely at all. And, assuming that such were allowed, how the hell would any of them achieve any economies of scale? As for implied notions re. your knowledge and understanding re. natural monopolies, and their applicability here, would you have preferred that I assumed that you were aware of such, but deliberately chose to avoid the issue for lack of ability to overcome the challenge it posed to your position? I deliberately avoided such, so as to give no cause for offense. In retrospect, such was a courtesy wasted, as you chose to take offense anyway.[/i] I expect only what Lee Iacocca expected of his competitors, and what Mr. Honda & Mr. Subaru now expect: "Lead, follow, or 'Get the hell out of my way!'"

deepsand
deepsand

However, such does not ensure that those who have been entrusted with the use of public goods do return fair value to the public, as witnessed by the behavior of the ILECs. In a related issue, it should be noted that the ILECs, having long chafed under regulation, and used every possible means & opportunity to escape such, have also cried for "equity" in the form of regulation of the cable industry. And, now that they've achieved [i]de facto[/i] de-regulation, by virtue of the FCC neither enforcing its own rules not fully implementing acts of Congress, they are gleeful of the pending prospect of the FCC undertaking to subject said industry to regulation, under the so-called "70/70" rule. Needless to say, Verizon's FIOS operation would not immediately be subject to any such regulation, owing to its presently small market size.

deepsand
deepsand

Precisely [b]how[/b] would you envision competing companies being able to acquire the necessary rights-of way and/or easements needed in order to physically run their lines from their properties to those of their would be customers? Can you give an example of but one community which has a viable example of being served by multiple water service providers? Of sewage carriage and treatment? Of the provision of natural gas? Or, the delivery of electricity? What is it about telephone lines that makes you think the their being put in place is not subject to the same physical hurdles as are any public utility? Do you really expect that I, or any other property owner, is going to allow a multitude of companies to run whatever conduits they like through my property just so that they can serve someone else? Not likely; not likely at all. And, assuming that such were allowed, how the hell would any of them achieve any economies of scale? As for implied notions re. your knowledge and understanding re. natural monopolies, and their applicability here, would you have preferred that I assumed that you were aware of such, but deliberately chose to avoid the issue for lack of ability to overcome the challenge it posed to your position? I deliberately avoided such, so as to give no cause for offense. In retrospect, such was a courtesy wasted, as you chose to take offense anyway.

Absolutely
Absolutely

deepsand: [i]The whole purpose of legally sanctioned monopolies for the provision of common services such as roads, rail lines, electric service, telephone service, water distribution, sewage collection & processing, etc., is [u]to ensure the [b]greatest availability[/b] of such with the [b]least amount of disruption[/b] to private property[/u].[/i] [and the citizens who own it]

apotheon
apotheon

1. If you haven't intentionally implied anything about me, it's because you've been so busy unintentionally doing so that you had no time left for intent. 2. Your "natural monopolies" argument falls flat when one pauses to recognize the fact that it's regulation of these supposed "natural monopolies" that makes it difficult for good old fashioned ingenuity to overcome obstacles and provide alternatives. Despite this, entrepreneurs are finding a way, slowly -- though their various paths are beset on all sides by the dangers of running afoul of major service monopolies whose legal departments greatly outnumber the entire employment roster of any six small startups put together. Imagine the successes that could be achieved without legal impediments supposedly intended to curtail anticompetitive excess (though in reality they have the unintended effect of increasing the capacity for such anticompetitive effect). 3. I never said anything that should give you any impression that I would claim I didn't understand what you said. I just seem to have a greater ability to make my way through the wet paper walls that hem you in when you look at the situation and say "There's nowhere to go from here! I'm blocked on all sides!" edit: typo (missed an "e")

deepsand
deepsand

The issue is quite simple. That the "last mile" of copper wire is owned by the ILECs, with the CLECs unable to build their own "last miles," owes to the fact that physical access to physically non-contiguous real properties results in natural monopolies, which governments then sanction as statutory ones. Kindly refrain from insulting my intelligence by claiming that you do not understand the above.

apotheon
apotheon

You still haven't supported anything. All you've done is imply I'm stupid and do some hand-waving. I refuse to take the bait or just accept your assertions without evidence or logical support from sound premises.

deepsand
deepsand

the physical realities involved in having multiple service providers trying to gain physical access to isolated private properties, particularly following my asking you to imagine such! I had assumed that you were familiar with the economic concept of a [i]natural monopoly[/i]; perhaps I was mistaken in that regard. If that is the case, there are any number of references to be had easily & quickly by way of online search for said phrase.

apotheon
apotheon

You didn't ask a question. You suggested I imagine something in a manner that implied it was the necessary result of an implication of my own. Since your implication was without logical or evidenciary support, however, and strikes me as counter to the actual likely results of market forces in the real world, I don't see any point in imagining such a thing. Why bother, when "the chaos, and lack of useful results," to use your words, of a government-granted monopoly is so obvious and inescapable in hard-bitten, gritty reality right now. edit: . . . and if you mean the question about "facts on the ground", I basically ignored it because it assumes facts not in evidence and utterly fails to actually address my preceding statement. It is an obvious attempt to redirect your responsibility for supporting your positive assertions to the person questioning them.

deepsand
deepsand

Try simply answering the question posed.

apotheon
apotheon

If you don't understand how to logically support an argument, I can't help you.

apotheon
apotheon

"[i]Imagine the chaos, and lack of useful results, were it the case that every utility company were to try to obtain their own easements and/or rights-of-way.[/i]" Now, imagine that you made a supported argument.

deepsand
deepsand

Imagine the chaos, and lack of useful results, were it the case that every utility company were to try to obtain their own easements and/or rights-of-way. There are, in fact, certain endeavors in which competition is highly undesirable, to the point of being detrimental.

apotheon
apotheon

"[i]The whole purpose of legally sanctioned monopolies for the provision of common services[/i]" Too bad the purpose of any governmental interference in market forces is usually buried under failures and externalities.

deepsand
deepsand

for the lines; and, the various governments are not going to take them away from them. Neither are they going to engage in additional takings of private property so as to provide easements and/or rights-of way for the CLECs. AT&T is [b]not a CLEC[/b], but an ILEC that has all of the easements & rights-of-way owned by the Baby Bells that now comprise it. The whole purpose of legally sanctioned monopolies for the provision of common services such as roads, rail lines, electric service, telephone service, water distribution, sewage collection & processing, etc., is to ensure the greatest availability of such with the least amount of disruption to private property.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

As there are fewer and fewer dial-up customers every day, the incremental cost for the remaining customers rises. My guess is that dial-up has been a losing proposition for several years now. As for AT&T making it economically unfeasible for other CLECs to offer DSL: Do tell me, how and why that is. What is stopping those other CLECs from running their own lines to those customers? Why are they so dependant on AT&T?

deepsand
deepsand

[b]AT&T Boosts Dial-Up Fees Some rates for dial-up Internet access will be higher than broadband fees, to push customers to switch.[/b] Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service Saturday, December 01, 2007 07:00 AM PST AT&T will jack up its rates for dial-up Internet access by as much as 60 percent today 1, going well above the price of faster DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) in many cases. Customers who are now charged US$9.99 per month will start paying $15.95, and the $15.95 customers will see their bills go up to $22.95, said company representative Dan Callahan. $22.95 is the flat rate for all new customers, up from $21.95. AT&T made the change to be competitive with other dial-up providers, Callahan said. The lower rates are left over from previous carriers that have been absorbed into AT&T, namely BellSouth, he said. AT&T offers basic DSL for as little as $10 per month for new customers, with some conditions. But the dial-up price hike is bad news for some AT&T customers in areas where DSL isn't available. One user complained about it on the forum BroadbandReports, saying he would have already signed up for DSL if he could have. "For a buck less, I could have service that is 15 times faster," wrote the customer, who used the screen name "GorbGuy." Traditional carriers and other service providers have been backing away from their dial-up offerings as more Internet users adopt broadband. With the market penetration of DSL and cable Internet service in the U.S. at 50 percent to 60 percent, nearing the percentage of people who have PCs, dial-up is becoming a niche market, said Ovum analyst Mark Seery. Carriers don't like serving that market because, like any large corporation, they're interested in doing one thing, he said. "Any time something becomes not the biggest part of what you're doing, it becomes potentially subscale and inefficient," Seery said. In addition, they can't upsell customers to additional services such as video on demand until they're on broadband, he said. And their dial-up customers aren't a captive audience, because there are many competitive providers of the service, due to technical and legal factors, he added. DSL providers have already tried low introductory prices on DSL, such as AT&T's $10 offer, to entice their dial-up customers to switch. "I think they think the people who remain on dial-up are not looking to move to broadband," Seery said. "Perhaps the only way to get them to move to broadband is to raise the prices." Competition is the good news for those who want to remain on dial-up. Juno, for example, offers a service for $9.95 per month for the first 12 months and $14.95 per month thereafter. Most dial-up providers include a variety of e-mail, storage and security features. But even the major competitive ISPs (Internet service providers) are steering customers toward broadband. EarthLink, for example, offers dial-up at a $9.95 introductory rate and then $21.95 per month. Its broadband plans start as low as $12.95 per month.