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McCain vs. Obama: Who would be better for tech?

From Net Neutrality to H1B Visas to data privacy and other economic and policy issues, the next U.S. president will influence many important developments in the technology industry. See what we know about the stances of Barack Obama and John McCain on the tech issues.

From Net Neutrality to H1B Visas to data privacy and other economic and policy issues, the next U.S. president will influence many important developments in the technology industry. See what we know about the stances of Barack Obama and John McCain on the tech issues.

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Because there is so much at stake in the direction of the United States' economy, health care system, and energy policies, technology issues have taken a back seat in the 2008 presidential election.

Nevertheless, there are currently a host of critical technology concerns on the table in Washington, and the next U.S. chief executive will have the opportunity to significantly influence these concerns, all of which will have major implications on the direction and development of the U.S. technology sector over the next decade.

Below are what I consider to be the five most important technology policy issues - ranked in order - followed by the list of positions from the two candidates.

1. Net Neutrality - This proposed legislation would guarantee that telecommunications providers cannot control, prioritize, or filter the types of applications and content that Internet customers use. It demands that Internet Service Providers act as good stewards of the Internet, rather than monopolists. 2. Broadband development - The U.S. is increasingly lagging behind other developed nations in the penetration and affordability of high-speed broadband. There are some complicated reasons for this (included the widespread geography of the U.S.), but a lot of it is due to lack of competition and over-consolidation due to current U.S. policies and regulations. Broadband Internet is a major economic enabler and it demands much more serious and proactive policies from Washington. 3. R&D tax credits - The U.S. research and development tax credit expired in December 2007 for the 13th time since 1981. In October, Congress finally extended the basic R&D tax credit through 2009, but lawmakers continue to resist making it permanent. The country that is home to Apple, Microsoft, Google and a host of other tech innovators that export American technologies throughout the world needs to incent these tech companies to keep their primary innovation work on these shores. 4. H1B Visas - While the K-12 education system in the U.S. continues to struggle to keep up with the rest of the world, the U.S. higher education systems remains a bright spot that attracts many of the world's most talented students. The H1B Visa program helps keep many of those students in the U.S. after they graduate by providing them with Visas if they land jobs here. While the execution of this program has led to employers abusing it in some cases, it remains a necessary program for high tech companies to hire the engineers and computer scientists they need. 5. Green tech - If the U.S. were a business run by a CEO and a board of directors, it is very likely that they would look at the current market opportunities and determine that the best places for the U.S. to innovate and invest for the future would be in energy conservation and the development of alternative energy sources to oil. This field is often referred to as "green tech" and it requires a huge investment of capital. Unfortunately, the current economic downturn will likely limit private donors and venture capitalists from investing as much money here, so tax breaks and federal government funds will be needed to stimulate growth and push the U.S. toward a global leadership position.

John McCain on tech

Net Neutrality

McCain is an opponent of Net Neutrality, believing that it is unnecessary government intervention. As his official campaign material states, "John McCain does not believe in prescriptive regulation like 'net-neutrality,' but rather he believes that an open marketplace with a variety of consumer choices is the best deterrent against unfair practices."

McCain's point is well taken but there currently isn't enough competition to make this work, because of the massive consolidation in telecommunications. If McCain were proposing new and specific ways to foster more competition in the ISP market then his rebuttal of Net Neutrality would be understandable, but he doesn't.

Broadband development

One of the biggest problems in the U.S. broadband business is the lack of the kind of competition that McCain would like to see to make Net neutrality unnecessary. Unfortunately, McCain, as chair of the Senate Commerce committee, is one of the lawmakers to blame for allowing the telecommunications consolidation that is at the heart of the problem.

On the other hand, McCain sponsored the "Community Broadband Bill" that allows local governments to become ISPs when private companies fail to offer decent services in their localities. In several areas this has been very effective and it is certainly a legitimate part of the solution to stronger broadband development.

McCain has promised to identify un-served and underserved communities (especially rural areas) and offer government-backed loans, low-interest bonds, and tax credits to companies that bring broadband to these communities, as well as those that offer broadband services to low-income households. McCain has also pledged to support more telecommuting in the federal government.

R&D tax credits

McCain's materials say, "A top priority needs to be putting private capital to work in research and development. As President, John McCain will establish a permanent Research and Development (R&D) tax credit equal to 10 percent of wages spent on R&D. Offering a tax credit for R&D wages will encourage the creation of innovation-driven jobs in the United States."

However, the current (temporary) R&D tax credit is 14% so McCain's proposal would be a decrease.

H1B Visas

McCain would make the big U.S. tech companies very happy by potentially growing the number of H1B Visas that the U.S. has to offer. Here's his official line: "John McCain will expand the number of H-1B visas to allow our companies to keep top-notch talent -- often trained in our graduate schools -- in the United States. The Department of Labor should be allowed to set visa levels appropriate for market conditions. Hiring skilled foreign workers to fill critical shortages benefits not only innovative companies, but also our economy."

McCain has been a co-sponsor of supportive H1B legislation in the past and has voted to raise the cap on H1Bs multiple times.

Green tech

Unlike many members of his party, McCain is a strong believer in global warming and climate change. In August he said, "The fact is climate change is real. The debate should have been over." He has made energy independence one his top priorities, although some of his energy proposals are environmentally friendly and others are not.

He supports off-shore drilling and an increase in nuclear power - both of which can have a negative environmental impact. On the other hand, he disagrees with his own running mate about drilling for oil in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge because he doesn't think it can be done in an ecological manner.

As far as Green tech specifically, McCain has stated, "Green jobs and green technology will be vital to our economic future. There is no reason that the U.S. should not be a leader in developing and deploying these new technologies."  However, McCain has not allocated a significant chunk of his potential energy budget to green tech.

Barack Obama on tech

Net Neutrality

This is the one issue where Senator Obama offers the biggest contrast to Senator McCain. Obama has been a repeated and unequivocal supporter of Net Neutrality. Here's his official line: "A key reason the Internet has been such a success is because it is the most open network in history. It needs to stay that way. Barack Obama strongly supports the principle of network neutrality to preserve the benefits of open competition on the Internet."

Obama is very unlikely to change his stance on this subject. He's even been on the Google campus to tout his Net Neutrality position.

Broadband development

Obama talks intelligently and says all the right things about this issue - like he does on most issues - but he does not have an extensive legislative record on broadband policy and it's unclear how much of a priority championing broadband development would be in a potential Obama administration.

His official statement is "As a country, we have ensured that every American has access to telephone service and electricity, regardless of economic status, and I will do likewise for broadband Internet access. Full broadband penetration can enrich democratic discourse, enhance competition, provide economic growth, and bring significant consumer benefits. Moreover, improving our infrastructure will foster competitive markets for Internet access and services that ride on that infrastructure. Market forces will drive the deployment of broadband in many parts of the country, but not all. To get true broadband deployed in every community in America, we need to reform the Universal Service Fund, make better use of the nation's wireless spectrum, promote next-generation facilities, technologies, and applications, and provide new tax and loan incentives."

Again, that sounds great. But would it be a priority, and would it be affordable? I'm not quite sure where he's going with the proposal to improve federal infrastructure to support universal broadband. His principal of making broadband the next utility to join phone and power is a great idea, but it would likely need to be a long-term vision since the U.S. will certainly be faced with short-term budget challenges in the next administration.

R&D tax credits

Obama's campaign material states, "Barack Obama wants investments in a skilled research and development workforce and technology infrastructure to be supported here in America so that American workers and communities will benefit. Obama and Biden want to make the Research and Development tax credit permanent so that firms can rely on it when making decisions to invest in domestic R&D over multi-year timeframes." Unlike McCain, Obama doesn't say the percentage he would set for the R&D tax credit.

However, there could be political pressure that would work against Obama keeping this promise. The opponents of R&D tax cuts demonize the program as federal handouts to big business. On the campaign trail, Obama has railed against Republican tax policies giving out tax breaks to the wealthy and big corporations. It could be politically difficult for Obama to justify R&D tax cuts unless he can find a way to sell it as something that benefits the average American worker.

H1B Visas

Obama does not put emphasis on his H1B Visa policy as part of his technology plan, but in an interview he stated, "I will support a temporary increase in the H-1B visa program as a stopgap measure until we can reform our immigration system comprehensively. I support comprehensive immigration reform that includes improvement in our visa programs, including our legal permanent resident visa programs and temporary programs including the H-1B program, to attract some of the world's most talented people to America. We should allow immigrants who earn their degrees in the U.S. to stay, work, and become Americans over time."

This is minimal support for the H1B Visa program and that fits with the kind of protectionist rhetoric that Obama has been using on the campaign trail as he has talked about creating more jobs for American workers here at home.

Green tech

Obama has repeatedly stated that energy independence would be his top priority, if elected. His plan is to create five million new "green collar" jobs in a new alternative energy industry that he would fund with a $150 billion investment over 10 years to stimulate private investment in a future powered by clean energy and driven by American innovation. He also wants to make energy efficiency and conservation a national priority.

Although McCain talks about a lot of the same goals, he's not proposing anywhere near the amount of investment that Obama wants to put into his clean energy crusade.

Final verdict

In terms of rating the candidates on my top five issues, I would give John McCain the nod for being the stronger candidate in R&D tax cuts and H1B Visas, while I think Barack Obama would be better when it comes to Net Neutrality and Green tech. That leaves Broadband development as the tie breaker.

Obama has a broader vision for broadband by thinking of it as the next standard utility, like electricity and the telephone, but McCain has a track record of smaller legislative victories that have helped drive progress. Ultimately, I think this issue hinges on which candidate will better foster an atmosphere of true competition in the broadband business, and neither of these two inspire a lot of confidence there.

McCain thinks the free market alone will solve most of the problems and Obama relies too heavily on government regulation and intervention, when what's needed is just-enough government regulation to ensure free market competition.

However, since McCain has presided over massive consolidation in the broadband market, and Obama is more likely to bring back and enforce the Clinton-era 1996 Telecommunications Act, which forced the telecoms to open up their lines to smaller resellers, Obama wins this one by a nose and that also gives him the overall nod as the candidate that could potentially have a stronger impact on the technology industry.

There are also a few other secondary factors that help tilt this in Obama's direction:

  • If elected he plans to appoint the nation's first Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
  • His first sponsored bill that became law was "Google for Government," which shows his interest in technology
  • In a recent interview Obama said he'd like to take what he and his team have learned about using technology in the campaign and apply it to government. He was primarily referring to electronic communications.
  • The fact that he's talked about making electronic medical records a key part of his health care plan (as a way to drive efficiency) shows that he generally views technology as a powerful enabler

This is not an official TechRepublic endorsement of Senator Obama. I would not expect anyone -- even techies -- to base their vote on the next U.S. leader solely on these issues. However, for those of us who make a living in the technology space and have so much invested in its future development, we should all be well-informed about where the candidates stand on the legislative, regulatory, and investment issues that will dramatically affect the technology industry in the critical years ahead.

Poll: Who will you vote for in the 2008 U.S. presidential election?

Further reading

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For more from Tech Sanity Check and Jason Hiner:

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

456 comments
escher
escher

What do I think? I think that the very CONCEPT of Network Neutrality is idiotic, and a good indicator that the person discussing it is profoundly ignorant of precisely what the internet is. Quick Question: How many websites are on the internet? If you didn't say ZERO, then you don't understand networks well enough to rationally discuss this issue.

tgstambaugh
tgstambaugh

This one is a sore point with me. I have a home in rural eastern Arizona, and have contacted McCain's office numerous times over the past 10 years about what we can do to get broadband into our area. His office has been unresponsive, and 10 years later we are still on dial-up. I'll be voting for Obama, not just on this issue, but based on McCain's performance here in Arizona. And based on the polls, apparently a lot of Arizonan's agree. The race here is a statistical dead heat, which is unheard of with a Republican native son running in this conservative state.

rose1077
rose1077

I just wanted to say a thanks to Jason Hiner for this article. He is very on-point saying that these issues have taken a backseat in this election to the more urgent issues of the economy, the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and healthcare reform. However, while not as urgent, these technical issues will definitely help shape the future of the US and the World technically, and the should be considered in making our final decision at the polls tomorrow, especially if you are an undecided voter at this point. This article laid out the major issues and the candidates stance on them clearly and efficiently, allowing us to get the information quickly and understand it easily. Thank you!

dukethepcdr
dukethepcdr

Obama might be good at telling people, including techies, what he thinks they want to hear, but I don't trust him any father than I could throw him. Here's something the article forgot to mention. Obama has also promised to raise taxes on the so-called "wealthy" and lower taxes on the so-called "middle class". The dividing line between the two "classes" is fuzzier than ever. Besides, all that raising taxes on the "wealthy" will do is raise the cost of everything that their companies produce (which is just about everything), lower their incentive to reinvest and create new jobs (whether you are green with class envy or not, don't forget that most "middle class" people work for "the wealthy". On top of that, if you increase taxes on any class of people, you will force them to cut back on some other area of their life that they still have control over so they don't feel the pinch so badly. One of the first areas to go when the budget shifts is shopping for non-essential items. One of those items that is still not essential (no matter how much to the contrary the tech companies want consumers to think it is) is tech gadgets. That shiny new computer you were thinking of getting for Christmas looks even more like an unnecessary luxury if you aren't sure if you'll be able to pay your taxes this coming February. Sure a cell phone seems like a need nowadays, but do you need the latest multimedia wonder when the base "free" model will get the real job (calling people) done? More people will start asking themselves questions like that if they see taxes go up on top of their concerns about the "shaky" economy. I'd like to think that people aren't as stupid as the Democrat politicians like Obama think they are. First, they and the liberal media force-feed all this gloom and doom of a recession and possibly even a depression down our throats for the last two years or so. Now, they endorse a presidential candidate who thinks he can "fix it" by raising taxes. Give me a break. If indeed we are in a recession (which may well become a self-fulfilled prophecy that the liberals seem determined to make happen even while they blame President Bush for it the whole way), then raising taxes on anyone is the last thing you want to do. Lowering taxes stimulates the economy. That's basic economics. Of course, when you believe, like Obama and his ilk do, that government programs are the solution to everything (which they aren't), then I guess I can see how you'd think the opposite would be true. It's thinking like that that got us into this mess in the first place. The tech industry depends on people having extra money to spend on things besides food, rent, gas, clothes etc. Driving the country into a depression by jacking up taxes will not help tech.

maxwell edison
maxwell edison

.....is the person he/she will answer this question with. People who might be inclined to answer this kind of question will answer it with their preferred choice, and find a way to justify it. A McCain supporter simply will not answer Obama, and an Obama supporter will not answer McCain. It doesn't matter if one really might be better than the other for a targeted industry. Besides, we don't elect King. Congress passes laws, not the president. Congress allocates spending, not the president. My answer - neither. Get government out of the business of running business, and business will be better off.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm intrigued by those responding to this. With the exception of three names (one of them Jason's), I don't recognize any of the posters. I wonder how I've managed to miss so many of these people up until now. Was this discussion started on one of the associated sites?

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

at least your taxes will be lower, and that's all that matters, right? When you raise the tax on bread company profits, the price of bread will go up. So the poor slob who didn't pay any taxes before or after now has to pay more for his bread. So much for caring about the little guy. Smoke and mirrors.

chris
chris

I'll bet McCain would be more effective. He has a track record of ticking everyone off, I mean working with both sides :-)

snideley59
snideley59

Every time Congress has managed to get its hands into my wallet, it seems to clutch for more. What would these people do for a living if they couldn't be politicians? At least we in IT provide a service

gypkap
gypkap

...and you get a train wreck like we've had recently in banking and the Stock Market. There were reasons for those regulations, and they went clear back to 1929. Unfortunately, Bill Clinton (whom I actually voted for) and a Republican Congress repealed many of those regulations in the late 90s, and that's why we're in the mess we're in right now.

WiseITOne
WiseITOne

If anyone really believes that the President really does anything of his own free will you are grossly mislead. The Cabinet of the President, lobbyists and other influential people run this country. The President is a PAWN jut like you and me. Don't fool yourselves into thinking he actually makes any decisions without being hand-held by his cabinet.

jose.schmoe
jose.schmoe

well well Palmetto. fancy meeting you here. Again. Or per a previous post, fanc mtg u hr! So what are you implying? that these are plants put out by the minions of the different camps? Perhaps. Perhaps it's all those Gen Yers who caught a whiff of this on their facebook, myspace, twitter, text msgs, youtube, MTV sources at work. That's all they know how to do. There's your answer.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

a discussion about politics turned a lot of lurkers into posters. :-)

tgstambaugh
tgstambaugh

Tony - did I say someone else should pay? No, I didn't. But I certainly can't afford putting the infrastructure in on my own, or even in partnership with my neighbors. That's why government has to be involved in infrastructure issues, plus the fact that the telcoms won't do it unless it shows large profits. Rural areas don't bring extrodinary profits. Never have, never will.

chris
chris

people abusing insurance companies with extra (maybe even fraudulent) claims. they get their million, but everyone else pays for it.

spiritofthebear
spiritofthebear

I agree. Congress passes the laws that get into everyones wallets. They pass laws and also don't bother to push to inforce the laws. Just look at what has happened all actoss the United States when it comes to our Veterans. U.S. Title 38 Section 5301(a) was written to protect our Veterans disability Benefits. Judges are decreasing our Veterans benefits by ordering them to pay their ex-spouses out of Federally Protected Benefits in the guise of "Spousal Support". If our Governement was working for the people like they are suppose to be doing instead of sitting on their butts and arguing all of the time then they would also be providing a service to the people that elected them like our Veterans. But what good are these politicians doing when they pass laws and then don't force the states and judges to adhear to these laws? IT has its place all over the world. In our Government, States, County's and personnal lives. But so does our Congress. Everyone is going off about Obama and McCain. But this also includes the Congress and Senate as well. If our Elected Official's are going to do anything they need to clean house first. They have got to fix what is wrong now and stop pointing the fingure at others.

spiritofthebear
spiritofthebear

You got it. You are the first person that I have actually seen here that has admitted that this mess all started in the late 90's. If people would really think and do research they would have all realized this before now. Great post.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm merely wondering why I'm seeing a large number of unfamiliar names. As I noted above, I think it's far more likely these are users who access content from the home page. Since it was based on a staffer-generated article, this is one of the few political discussions to appear there. The rest have been started by members as off-topic discussions, not easily visible from the home page or to those who don't frequent the forums. As to these being Gen Yers picking up the discussion from social sites, I think that's unlikely. First, many of the posters have been silent members for years. None of the dozen or so I spot checked were newbies; one has been here since 2001. Second, if social sites were the way they detected these discussions, they would have picked up the member-started off-topic political discussions. They would have been active on those discussion before this one; gods know there have been plenty, and many less than civil(ized). I hope this draws some of them out of their shells to the point they'll participate in the technological discussions.

design
design

Jason, it amuses me how quick the partisans are at bashing every discussion. (just like the OS wars) The USA needs a change if for no other reason than house cleaning of 8 years of crap left on the hard drive. Format, load a new operating system, install the new programs and get down to work repairing the damaged reputation of your great nation. You the people must make government work for you. Technology will keep moving ahead regardless of who is in the White House. We the people will also be the ones driving those changes.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I noticed many of them have been members for years but have few or no previous posts. This is hardly the first election discussion since the primaries, much less this election cycle. I assume they're members who access content through the home page and don't regularly click the 'Forums' or 'Off topic' links. Nice job inspiring them to respond; maybe some of them will stay active.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

She had a perfectly functional well, but when the county put in water lines, they forced everyone to hook up to it, at $550 per house (plus $1100 for running the line between the meter and the house). And then she had to pay another $1300 for plumbing repairs caused by the more than doubling of water pressure (from ~40 to >90). Due to a recent state issue that passed, she can go back to her well supply if she wants, but it's still unclear whether the county has to buy back the meter.

tgstambaugh
tgstambaugh

The immature use of the words 'sniveling' and 'whining' don't make for a very convincing argument. The fact is, most rural people are far more independant and self-reliant than most city people, out of necessity and out of choice. Enjoy your smugness while you benefit from the efforts and money of others with your publicly funded utilities and roads and schools.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

[i]3. "Fair Use" restrictions imposed when certain monthly volume limit is reached. Unlike cellphone company broadband, the result is in data rate transmission reduction for a temporary period.[/i] is probably coming to everyone eventually. Rightfully so, IMO. A good thing that may come from it is demand for content providers and advertisers to optimize, and maybe even advertisers paying you to look at their ads to offset your cost. Highways should be the same way.... Some formula of weight per distance.

jdclyde
jdclyde

If people CHOOSE to live in a remote area, they have no one to blame but themselves for not having all the comforts of city life. Should "Government" force McDonalds to open up in remote regions? It is the entitlement lack of mentality that HAS turned people into a bunch of whiners. You want broadband, pay to have the cable or wireless brought out to you. Will there be sniveling about not being able to get a cell signal everywhere next?

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

have an 8-lane highway running past it? [added] [i]The nearest shopping is 100 miles away by road, but UPS and FedEx come right to my door.[/i] And do the taxpayers pay for UPS and FedEx to do that?

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

[i]Tony, do you KNOW anyone that only has an outhouse?[/i] until she passed in 1991. She also had a hand pump in the kitchen connected to a well. The church next-door bought the property and it's a parking lot now.

lcarliner
lcarliner

1. Initial cost of equipment is high ($600 to $800 typical. 2. Service outages during rainstorm. Remember the last time you had to wait for the rains to stop before you could pump gas at a self-serve pump when using plastic to pay? 3. "Fair Use" restrictions imposed when certain monthly volume limit is reached. Unlike cellphone company broadband, the result is in data rate transmission reduction for a temporary period. 4. Transmission latency limit use that rules out online internet game playing, video conferencing, and winning that bidding war on eBay.

SObaldrick
SObaldrick

Before you can continue this discussion, you both need to agree on the definition of the word 'necessity'. I consider necessity = 'in order to survive'. Necessities include; food, water, medical, air, clothing (if you live in a cold climate). Not much else really. Les.

tgstambaugh
tgstambaugh

I don't have to ask - I know because I paid for a septic system and well myself. So did all the neighbors in a 50 mile radius. No one expects those services in a rural area. The difference is that a person can not roll their own phone or internet like a well or septic system. Those services must connect to the national infrastructure. Tony, I've checked into satellite broadband -it's a ripoff. Read some of terms on the companies' web sites that provide it, and you'll see what I mean - ridiculous cost, limitations, restrictions, lack of privacy, etc. If I use it for any kind of business purpose (and I will), it's over $1000 a month for less bandwidth than the lowest DSL. Plus it's unusable every time it rains or snows. "Believe it or not, many people are to (sic) busy out living their lives, to worry about not being able to waste hours sitting in front of a computer everynight." Just because that's how you use the internet, it doesn't mean others do. I and the people I know want to be able to buy, sell, and offer services. The nearest shopping is 100 miles away by road, but UPS and FedEx come right to my door. Fortunately since this thread was started, Obama was elected and it's a moot point. He will be using the existing Universal Access Tax on your phone bill (that was originally added to help pay for rural phone service)to do the same for broadband. And you won't have to pry your wallet open to help others, any more than you do now. Thankfully he recognizes the long-term benefit to the economy. Now if I can just get the phone company to lay the line to my home I will at least have dial-up. I have been trying for over a year now - the service (or lack thereof) of Frontiernet is legendary in rural areas. Their dialup service ranked the lowest of all the providers in the recent J.D. Powers survery. And yes, I am paying for the line myself. I even have to dig the ditch myself, something they used to do just 2 years ago.

jdclyde
jdclyde

Bet that the citizens didn't pick up the tab for that. You would not believe how many people I talk to that don't see the need for broadband, because all they do is email, chat with relatives, and get directions/weather/recipes. When I have to work on their computers, I take them back to my place so I can run patches and AV updates. Believe it or not, many people are to busy out living their lives, to worry about not being able to waste hours sitting in front of a computer everynight. After all, someone has to keep 7eleven in business, right? ;\

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...are a farming family, and they all (4 separate households) use well water and septic tanks. This is only about 30 miles outside of St. Louis. I live in the second most populated area in Illinois, and there are still farms within biking distance that have propane tanks, wells and septic systems. If there is no potential for ROI, or any governmental mandate (bad) or kick back (even worse), there is little the service providers can be expected to do in way of providing services. Yet, I haven't heard of any vociferous outcry bemoaning this fact in the area. Here is a link to put some things in perspective about the need to dial-up for Internet service: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4473971 I'd be willing to wager that the people in that town have bigger concerns than the ability to download porn, get spammed or become members of a botnet. ;)

jdclyde
jdclyde

It amazes me how stupid some people are, when it comes to something the FEEL should happen. A lot of my users can still only get dial up, based upon where they have decided to buy a house. That is your trade-off. If you don't live by an 7eleven, you are not civilized, and don't DESERVE broadband! :D Wireless is starting to take over, like they do in Asia, because it isn't practical to run cables. Tony, do you KNOW anyone that only has an outhouse? :0 I don't, but I know plenty of people that have wells and septic tanks. Hell, my WORK has a well because we are to far away from the nearest city. What an outrage! Crappy high mineral water, but better than the old well that dried up about 6 years ago. I couldn't even use the water for coffee, it was so bad. Everyday I would wake up, make coffee and bring a thermos in to get me through the day. (2 quart, that I bought after my second day of working here).

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

There's still people down home who get water from a well [b]with a bucket[/b] and some still have outhouses!

jdclyde
jdclyde

just how many have a well vs city water. Just how many have sewage vs a septic field. If they built their home, ask them how much it cost THEM to have electrical hooked up to their home. Internet is just one more service that is run to where the paying customers are so that it can pay for it's self. No company will stay in business if they are making dumb decisions like putting infrastructure where it can't turn a profit.

jdclyde
jdclyde

who do you think has to pay to have utilities run out there? Same if you have a house and want electrical or city water/sewage. From the road to your residence is your responsibility. There are still a lot of people that have wells and septic fields because there are not enough people in the area to justify running the system out there. Exactly the same thing, so get over it.

jdclyde
jdclyde

Nice that you would set such an example....

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

don't they? [i]In reality it is a necessity right *now* if you want to do any kind of business in this country that is not strictly local. [/i] If I were in business, I would pick a location with the infrastructure to support that business, not expect the taxpayers to bring it to me. If the mountain won't come to Muhammad... [i]I'm guessing you are a city boy Tony.[/i] I suppose it's relative... 40k people is city to me, but my wife (from Cleveland) says" You call that a city? Our Metro park is bigger than that! Whaddaya mean 40 miles to the freeway?"

tgstambaugh
tgstambaugh

The telephone was considered a 'luxury' when it first came out. Now, even *you* consider it part of the necessary infrastructure of our country. While you may not consider broadband internet access a necessity, it will be considered that in the not-so-distant future. In reality it is a necessity right *now* if you want to do any kind of business in this country that is not strictly local. Using broadcast TV signals for internet sounds great, execept that there are no TV signals in rural areas either. I'm guessing you are a city boy Tony. :-)

lcarliner
lcarliner

Many of these websites I refer to are not the obviously bandwidth hungry youtube, hulu, on-line distance learning, telemedicine, etc., but some on-line bill paying credit card websites, DirecTV, Government websites needed to apply for Government assistance, etc., or any websites that require the use of the Flash player. Remember shortly after Hurrican Katrina, the initial websites that would not work with Macintosh computers, or web browsers earlier than IE-6? My point is that phone companies need to be required to provide full speed dialup capability in areas where even the lowest economy speed DSL or cable modem service is simply not available. If these options were available, then there would be no need for the phone companies to be required to provide full speed dialup.

gil_gosseyn
gil_gosseyn

Gee, I bet you would have opposed rural electrification, too. "What do those farmers need with electricity? Let 'em move to someplace that already has electricity!" What a pu+z!

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

[i]At that speed, many websites do not work reliably at that speed, if at all. [/i] Don't go to those websites. Or move to someplace with broadband. What,too expensive? Live within your means.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

is for what are generally thought of as necessities (Electricity, Roads, Telephone). That said, I expect within a very few years broad(er) band internet will be available to anyone who can receive an over-the-air television signal, without the expanse of installing millions of miles of cables and supporting gadgetry.

Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

Mwa droida bunno bunna droida dial-up. Wa wanna coe moulee rah?

lcarliner
lcarliner

Not only are broadband options unavailable (except maybe for costly and often unreliable satellite service), but the phone companies are allowed to use outdated mux equipment that limit dial-up speed rates to 28.8KB or less, without any reduction in basic phone rates. At that speed, many websites do not work reliably at that speed, if at all. FCC regulations need to be issued that would force the phone companies to provide potential speed at the maximum supported dialup rate (53.3KB) in these deprived areas.

jk2001
jk2001

The mess started in the 90s because the Democrats "stopped being Democrat." That is, they went conservative. They stopped seriously considering the Democratic base of Labor, Environment, and Civil Rights as an agenda worth pushing. That's why the government kept pushing forward with "less government", and deregulation. That's also why the Left was so anti-Clinton, and that led to the rise of the Ralph Nader campaigns. He'd been running since the 90s, but with 2000, he finally had a constituency of upset Democrats. Now, we're experiencing the fallout from the collapse of the Washington Consensus. Today, even McCain is sounding like a Democrat, if you listen to just tiny sound bites.

design
design

Very true - the existing always keeps change from getting too far ahead of everyone. Joey Smallwood - a Newfoundland Premier liked to say. "Go anywhere, as long as it is forward"

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Unfortunately, formatting isn't an option. We're stuck with many legacy applications we have to continue to support. An OS upgrade is possible, maybe with a different GUI, but a complete replacement will require running in parallel for quite a while.

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