Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Life, Liberty, and High-Speed Porn.

Like a photographer without a camera, or a mechanic who doesn't own a car, Kelli Fields is a webmaster without high-speed Internet access.

By day, the 42-year-old uses a broadband connection at work to update a university's Web site, which she built and codes from scratch.

But when she goes home at night, the rural Midwesterner struggles with a dial-up Internet connection so slow, she does chores to pass the time while Web sites load. Her high school-age son is so fed up with the glacial pace of their Internet connection that he asks his mom to update his Facebook page from the office.
So naturally I'm expected to pony up and cover her piss-poor planning. Cue Sally Struthers: "Poor Kelli only has a 56k internet connection, but for just eighty cents a day, you could provide her with clean running broadband. We'll send you a picture of your webmistress..."

Rather than her using some good old-fashioned American gumption and initiative and moving to a new home where she can actually do her intertubes work or her springing for a satellite service, I'm expected to reach into your children's future paychecks to finance her lack of judgment and motivation.

I hope she doesn't decide to become a swimming instructor, or I'll wind up having to buy her a frickin' pool.

(And her kid can just piss off, okay? Most of the world is surviving just fine without a Facebook page. Eat your broccoli, do your homework, shut your piehole, and get offa my lawn.)

Look, running broadband to Two Mules, Montana is not profitable at this time.

Do you know how I know this? Because, were it possible to make money running broadband to Two Mules, someone would have already done so.

So if we do run .gov-mandated broadband to Two Mules, it will therefore be a constant little hemorrhage of red ink from now until the heat death of the universe, because once it's there, it will become a Right. And fifty years from now, when we're all downloading satellite signals into our modem implants, the Last Citizen of Two Mules, 96-y.o. Kelli Krabapple, is still going to have her old-fashiond fiber cable so that she can forward awful glurge email spam to her relatives, and our grandkids will be stuck with the squillion-dollar a year maintenance tab to keep her antique cable modem running out on the lone prairie.

50 comments:

Lawyer said...

This entitlement mindset is driving us into the ground. Interesting leadership example from the mom, though. She's teaching her children that her job can take a back seat while she uses employer provided infrastructure (during employer paid time), to do her kids' homework and social networking.

Joanna said...

Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

On a similar note, if you ask I will gladly give -- but try to take, and there will be trouble, comrade.

Mr.B said...

Socialist mindset.

Everyone is entitled to everything....provided by the government.

Bob said...

Eat your broccoli, do your homework, shut your piehole, and get offa my lawn.

OK, that's it. I'm writing Tam in for President in 2012.

Anonymous said...

I'm of two minds about this.

I agree with Miss Tam and comments above.

On the other hand... by analogy with "rural electrification" initiatives earlier this century, pushing out some sort of faster internet to the hinterlands doesn't strike me as an actual terrible thing (massive govermental overreach/ etc...) even if it costs me a little.

I see it as catalyst to bring life/businesses to a lot of rural areas that will otherwise just dry up and blow away.



My hesitation involves more a question of technology and how fast it is moving and what might be the best way to handle that "pushing out". I mean, you wouldn't want to mandate "fibreoptic cable everywhere" if in 3 years we come out with Wide-Area Wi-FI that works really well for much less.
(Though having lived places where this is glass fibre to the pole, it's painful to move away from that kind of throughput)


Also if you want to live the boondocks, thre should be some cost to you for pay for service and maintenance.

Andrew said...

Read the article. Fast Internet is available to the nice lady -- she just won't pay for it.

She could install a satellite and connect to the high-speed Internet, but the installation fee is $300, and she said she can't afford that right now. She's been waiting for wired broadband to come to her home for five years, and she holds out some hope that the network will get to her eventually.

...

The slow connection may affect family finances. Fields said she has turned down Web development projects because she simply couldn't do them from home.


Sounds like the investment could easily pay for itself. Waaah.

Tam said...

Running broadband to Two Mules, Montana is not profitable.

Do you know how I know this? Because if it was possible to make money by running broadband to Two Mules, then someone would have already done so.

If we do run broadband to Two mules, it will therefore be a constant little hemorrhage of red ink, from now until the death of the republic, because once it's there, it will become a Right. And fifty years from now, when we're all downloading satellite signals into our modem implants, the Last Citizen of Two Mules, 96-y.o. Kelli Krabapple, is still going to have her old-fashiond fibre cable, squillion-dollar a year maintenance tab or no.

Joat said...

Getting the government out of it would speed things up. When I lived in town I had a choice of dialup or comcast, my legally mandated phone provider didn't provide DSL in my area, and comcast charges you for cable tv even if you just want high speed internet. I couldn't justify $100 a month for internet, so I survived on dialup until I moved out of town to a house in the middle of nowhere that has DSL. When the government doesn't allow any competition there is little incentive to provide better service.

Jay G said...

Ah, yes. Life, liberty, and 5 MPS upload speeds. Right there in the Bill of Rights...

Nathan said...

I hope she doesn't decide to become a swimming instructor, or I'll wind up having to buy her a frickin' pool.

Sally says she'd take that if you threw in a cute pool boy. :-D

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I need a new TV. My needs are modest. 42 inch flatscreen HD will be fine. Please approve the purchase request.

It's not like you KNOW the people that are paying for my TV. They are Chinese and your unborn Great Grandchildren. Hey, maybe the great grandkids are little snots and who cares about the guy way over in China.

Oooo, if you know the tracking number for that shipment of electronics, that would be helpful.

Joanna said...

Sally says she'd take that if you threw in a cute pool boy.

Seconded!

Bram said...

I'm amazed by government programs to deliver services already available.
This woman is just stupid, the installation of the Satellite Internet is free. I wouldn’t pay this moron to manage a website.
http://www.expertsatellite.com/internet/wildblue.html

In California the state is building a high-speed rail line from San Diego to San Francisco. The base cost is $42.6 billion before all the inevitable cost overruns that will double the cost. Today that flight costs $59 on Southwest ($49 from LA). The train is unnecessary and will never re-coup a fraction of the construction costs.

Government is waste.

Thor said...

Now, y'all make some good points. But did anyone catch this quote, "The FCC's chairman, Julius Genachowski, has written online that the nation's broadband plan will include programs aimed at "making sure that every child in America is digitally literate by the time he or she leaves high school." The idea is to teach kids why they need the Internet."

Uh, I think making sure that every child in America is literate should come before "digitally literate".

perlhaqr said...

And if running broadband to Two Mules isn't profitable now, it never will be if there's a "free" (or subsidized) government service to compete with.

So, just seconding your point that it'll bleed red ink forever.

staghounds said...

"rural electrification initiatives earlier this century"

In 1930, 10% of rural houses had the electric.

In 1940, 90% did.

In 2010, the REA is still in business:

http://www.usda.gov/rus/electric/index.htm

And Bram, government is NOT waste- because someone gets the money.

Government is PATRONAGE.

Mike W. said...

She could install a satellite and connect to the high-speed Internet, but the installation fee is $300, and she said she can't afford that right now. She's been waiting for wired broadband to come to her home for five years, and she holds out some hope that the network will get to her eventually.

So she's been waiting 5 years for wired broadband but can't afford $300 to install satellite? If she'd saved $60 / yr. she'd have internet by now.

Wolfman said...

Interesting enough, there is no Two Mules, Montana (although I grew up in MT, I did a search just to double check). There is, however, Two Dot, Montana, just down the road between Great Falls and Big Timber. I can't find the current population of Two Dot, but I remember from an old (prob. 1990) census the permanent population was 9. I am willing to bet Two Dot has internet. They pipe it directly into the satellite feed. It is simply not my problem if they don't want to spend the money to purchase their services. My hometown (in Montana) has a current population of about 2500. I KNOW they have High Speed Internet, and they didn't even have the PHONE LINES hooked up until the mid-fifties! The locals create their own baby Bell and got the phone in, and they ran the internet in later. Tell this woman to pick herself up by her bootstraps and deal with it.

Tam said...

$60 a year? Why, she'd have to skip taking her kid to the movies at least once to do that! Do you want to make them suffer even more?

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Like Anonymous@0921, I'm a bit torn on this issue. The internet has grown to have a significant effect on the economy and the way the government interfaces with the population. It's also opened up the "free press" keystone of our form of government in ways that couldn't be conceived of even ten years ago. I would say that a viable internet infrastructure has become essential to maintaining a free society. I won't go quite as far as saying dialup isn't 'viable', but it is definitely borderline.

While I agree that the .gov shouldn't pay for her broadband service (or the home installation), I do think that, as part of the national infrastructure (like the "rural electrification" initiatives), some .gov subsidies for initial installation of the necessary local infrastructure may be justified.

"if it was possible to make money by running broadband to Two Mules, then someone would have already done so."

What may be preventing companies from doing it is the initial investment. The setup costs for the infrastructure are probably higher in rural areas, and would take longer to recover because of the lower density customer base. Once those costs are recovered, it very well could be profitable (especially if there's a higher service cost for the customers) - but it's likely most companies aren't willing to make the initial investment because of the longer recovery time. Subsidizing that initial investment through grants or loans to private companies could be all that is needed to expand the infrastructure.

Anonymous said...

The woman is stupid. If she can get side jobs using the satellite service, then it becomes a business expense. Just deduct the cost on her tax return.

Samsam

Justthisguy said...

I'm perfectly happy with my cheap dial-up connection. I just wish some of you people (Uncle, you listening?) wouldn't have all those ads and animations and videos and bells and whistles on your sites which make them take forever to load. I've had to install Flash blocker to avoid the goddamned Youtube videos, and adblock as well. There is no reason a Web page should take longer than 10 seconds to load on dial-up.

WV: adhell. I am not making this up.

Anonymous said...

"Do you know how I know this? Because if it was possible to make money by running broadband to Two Mules, then someone would have already done so."

So... is it your position that *anything* profitable has already been done, and if it hasn't then it isn't capable of making a profit?

Michael said...

I found the field Ms. Fields lives in. It pretty much a subdivision and has utility polls. Like most of these liberal sob stories, it not an evil company at fault but someone preventing Cox Cable from running lines in the area.

Tennessee Budd said...

Amen, Tam. I have dialup, because cable isn't available where I am, & I ain't paying for satellite (I don't watch TV, so it would be rather a waste; also, I'm getting married in September, so I have enough to pay for). I don't expect anybody to pay for my access, & there's no reason I should have to pay for someone else's.
Justthisguy, I feel your pain. I never click on video, because I don't have the time to spend waiting for it to load.

RevGreg said...

Hmmm...she's maintaining a website "which she built and codes from scratch" and can't do something as simple as update it to announce that the school is closed because of a slow connection? Maybe if she stopped sucking at what she does, that wouldn't be a problem. How about a Javascript which monitors a folder on the server which you can FTP small text files to which will then be displayed in a pre-determined manner? I used to do that using my ancient Kyocera SE-47 cell phone as a dialup modem at speeds FAR slower than modern dialup. It's called working within the boundaries of what you have. Wired broadband to my home is an issue also and I maintain multiple websites on a daily basis via Wifi Hotspots and mobile broadband (I'm relaxing in the park right now)...maybe I should apply for an SBA grant!

RevGreg said...

Oh yeah...and you have neighbors lees than a mile away with fiber optic broadband? Tell you son he has a new hooby:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-range_Wi-Fi

Jenny said...

Oh gosh yes, lets encourage her to mooch bandwidth from her neighbors instead of her countrymen.

But like Greg says... something tells me we're probably not exactly dealing with a sharp Flash-slinging, database writing codemonkey here. More like the "I know enough HTML to throw up the little animated puppy dog on the church website" kind of web developer.

... and that's the kind of work you can do on dial-up with a ten year old POS computer and open source (free) software.

Not that I'd know that from experience or anything. :)

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

"Do you know how I know this? Because if it was possible to make money by running broadband to Two Mules, then someone would have already done so."

So... is it your position that *anything* profitable has already been done, and if it hasn't then it isn't capable of making a profit?


YES! Regardless, it's not the gummint's bidness, and in most cases it prolly isn't any of mine.

dave said...

As someone who is out of the range that the local wired carriers are willing to serve, and who would benefit from this "plan," I say:

suck it.

There are other options. Fixed wireless (I have two carriers here); satellite (Wildblue and, for the masochistic, Hughes); and my chosen option, persuade my cell phone to route packets (Palm Pre).

Would I like to have a faster, cheaper connection? Hell yes. And the government can help by simply getting out of the way.

One of the proposals I heard was to open up more spectrum for fixed wireless providers. That, I can get behind, but there's no need for subsidies or handouts. Just get out of the way and let people who have actually done something productive with their lives impress us with their creativity. When profit is on the line, people will be astonishingly creative.

Sigivald said...

Neighbors less than a mile away have high-speed Internet access, but the fiber-optic cables that connect homes and apartments to the high-speed Web haven't reached her house.

So, uh, two WAPs and two can antennas, and an arrangement with the neighbors?

But even better, I looked at a map. "Rural" Catoosa is pretty much suburban Tulsa.

And every wireless broadband coverage map I can find suggests she's more than capable of getting it if she wants.

(For that matter, since there's to-the-house fiber a mile away, I BET she's close enough to a CO for DSL...)
But, no, she'd rather complain that they aren't running FIOS to her house.

Joanna said...

But, no, she'd rather complain that they aren't running FIOS to her house.

Nailed it.

Anonymous said...

Here's the rest of the story; The Left has been wringing its collective hands over the fact that they’re losing the control over the public narrative that they had only 20 years ago, and they're scheming for control. Gubmint provided internet service means more justification or pretense for gubmint control of internet. The FCC was a big win for them back when the broadcast airwaves were king. As broadcast media take a back seat, now they need another angle.

That's all there is to this. Forget about their stupid rationalizations. Those are just distractions, putting you off the game. -- Lyle

Michael said...

My mother living in bumblef**k Ohio had this issue. The farm was too far from the main roads to get any sort of cable. Satellite is decent downlink, but horrible uplink and long return times. Some enterprising townie setup a radio antenna, and started pumping the tubes through the air. Now all the local farms have broadband and the townie is financially secure.

It's almost like capitalism works.

Hecate said...

What Michael said. There are plenty of mom-n-pop wireless ISP's out in the real toolies. Not the suburbs like the whiner in question.

I live way further from so-called civilization than she does, and bought a cellular repeater for my house. Gives me 3G wireless broadband via cellular provider good enough to do my network engineer job from home at 2:00 am.

A locally owned small telco/ISP is currently running gigabit fiber to every single household in a town of less than 1,200 people way out in the sticks. Impossible to do on a large scale but affordable (and profitable) on a small one. Capitalism at its finest.

Nathan said...

And then there is the inexplicable. Cross any of the main streets surrounding my spacious manse and our neighborhood, and AT&T UVerse is available.

In our small middle-class enclave of single-family homes, nothing but promises for the last five years.

So as much as I'd like to have UVerse, I finally got rid of Dish Network in December and handed everything except landline phone service over to Comcast. And I'm saving $80 a month in the process.

Your loss, AT&T. You rewired the pair gain network and you've had the VRAD equipment sitting in place for three years. All ya gotta do is wire it up.

Geodkyt said...

Hecate,

When I moved up to my current location (my future wife lived here, and wasn't leaving her job to move down to where I lived), I took the first job I could get within 40 miles.

Working for a small rural telephone company and ISP.

It's AMAZING what options you can put on the plate. But just like the options when you eat out, haute cuisine on fine china costs more than Bag o'Burgers.

Word Verify "Ingrat" Yes, she is.

Anonymous said...

From Joe in PNG:

Ever notice how these MSM "More Government NOW!" sob stories always seem to feature some muddled looser who couldn't even tie their own shoelaces without two offical government Shoelace Advisors?

Or, if the next big push was for "Date Aid", the NY Times would run a sob story about a poor guy having trouble finding a date. But, if you looked closely at the context, you find he's a 300 lb Japanese tentacle Pr0n afficinado who only bathes maybe once a month. But, somehow, his singleness is not his fault, and only the Government can help.

Anonymous said...

"you find he's a 300 lb Japanese tentacle Pr0n afficinado who only bathes maybe once a month. But, somehow, his singleness is not his fault, and only the Government can help."

No, I know not even the Government can help me at this point.

Montie said...

Catoosa, and its surrounding rural area, is part of metropolitan Tulsa, OK. In looking at my wireless internet provider's coverage map, I see that it is well within the service area for the wireless broadband service that I now use at only $40 a month (hey, and a free modem after rebate). It's faster and nearly as cheap as the cable company's broadband that I used to have, the same company that she's "waiting on".

I see no reason why I should have to pay through taxes or a higher cable bill for her access along with mine. For a "webmaster" she is awfully ill-informed.

Knowing the cable company here in Tulsa as I do, I'm sure they would have already extended service to her area if there was 10 cents profit in it.

TJP said...

Sigivald said...

[snip]

(For that matter, since there's to-the-house fiber a mile away, I BET she's close enough to a CO for DSL...)


Yup:

http://dslbyzip.com/?zipcode=74015

A lot of people don't seem to realize that the electrons don't suddenly commit suicide at 14,001 feet from the DSLAM--it's just that the Telco doesn't want to deal with whiners who don't get their full bandwidth because of an increased error rate--whiners who usually have the full force of some state department of utility interference behind them.

I'm 4,000 feet beyond the "maximum", and I honestly don't see the difference from when I was a block and a half from the CO. You just have to indicate to the Telco that you're fine with the loss of bandwidth. It's still better than dial-up.

This is assuming it's less than a half-mile in wire distance, not as-the-crow-flies.

HTRN said...

"But, no, she'd rather complain that they aren't running FIOS to her house."

And they never will - Verizon went to court(and won, which still amazes me) to get exemption for FiOS for Cable TV buildout requirements, on the grounds of "We're a telephone company, not a cable TV company", despite them offering cable TV service. So far, they've largely concentrated on stringing fiber in middle class and up areas, with a decent population density, something that doesn't really describe this womans area of residence.

John A said...

Yeppers, running new wiring (or fibre optic cabke) costs money. Lots of it. Which, alas, probably does mean some sort of "government" subsidy, aka "earmark," in rural areas, and possiblly a lot of suburban ones, if the need is equated to ekectricity and/or telephone. Which is one heck of an "IF" for me.

But. Ms. Fields does not seem like a good case to justify it. Um, "... she doesn't want to give up services like TV to free up money for an expensive Internet connection."

That strongly implies she has Cable (or satellite) TV. Adding internet to that usually runs about $40 per month. If she has premium channels like Showtime she could drop those and save that forty bucks.

Michael said...

Her Address is:
10275 E 575 Rd, Catoosa, OK 74015

Mapquest or Google Earth it.

Cox Cable doesn't provide service to that address. But if you look at that area, it's not because it's rural.

Jerry in Indiana said...

I am very familiar with Catoosa, OK. It is more or less a small town being encroached by an expanding Tulsa. It even has a Hard Rock Cafe Casino. Just on the east side of town, it gets pretty rural very quickly.

I know people on a lake in Wagoner, OK who have terrible cell phone service but have high speed internet. Something smells fishy to me.

I moved home to Indiana 7 years ago, paid $300 to get a satellite dish and got internet service for about $70 a month. It worked great until you connected to a VPN and then the speeds were as slow as dial-up. It was virtually impossible to update an Access database on a remote server.

3 years later, the local electric utility began a new service of line-of-sight wireless out in the remote sections of Boone County. I was one of their first customers. It runs $49 a month and it flies!

Fenris said...

If it was really a priority for her, she'd make it happen. So far, it hasn't been worth her time or effort, therefore she doesn't need it. If she doesn't need it, I don't see any reason for the rest of us to finance her hook-up. If she did need it, she'd already have a connection and there's no problem to fix.

She needs to put her big girl pants on and deal. Her son can shut his trap and buy his own internet connection if he's starving for it so bad.

Boat Guy said...

One more "justification" for another gazillion in Federal spending mandated by ObaMao. Of course there are "cost savings attached" ; if the kids are all "internet literate" and know "...why they need the internet" it'll save the money of putting the Govt-mandated microchips in 'em at school

Geodkyt said...

TJP,

Don't forget that distance isn't the only consideration in DSL.

Bridge taps (a relic of the old party line days, and often poorly documented) can screw up DSL connectivity.

There are often other line quality issues -- including these wonderful filters they often installed in Ye Olde Dayes (pre-DSL) which filtered out high frequency "static" to get a cleaner signal for the analog voice that was all they were pushing then. That DSL signal? The filter treats it as high frequency static".

That UNDOCUMENTED filter -- being cheap, non-repairable, and having no adverce effects in the days of Ma Bell and solely analog lines, was generally recorded as an expendable item. Record the LOCATION installed? You must be kidding. . .

Which is why I can't get DSL at my house, even though I am WELL within a 14,000 foot cable run.

The joys of small phone companies and ISPs in rural areas -- I've seen more weird wiring in one trailer park than in the entire series (both US and UK production) of Junkyard Wars/Scrapyard Wars (depending on which side of the Pond you saw it). And I worked there less than a year before getting my current gig. . .

You cannot imagine how fun it is to try and explain to the (food stamp consuming) trailer park queen that the wiring job her uncle did with reclaimed lamp cord spliced in a doizen places is interfering with her DSL service.

Brent said...

In regards to government stimulus for high speed internet. I think it is rediculous that with our technology anybody does not have access to broadband internet. I think internet should be considered as equivalent importance as a phone line and electiricity.

Geodkyt said...

Again, Brent.

There's this thing, called a "satellite".

Not dependant on ground based infrastructure to your home, aside from an antenna, transceiver, modem, (Keep in mind the transceiver can be combined with either the antenna or the modem quite easily) computer, and electricity to run it all.

If you can afford more than basic cable, you can afford satellite IntarWebz.