Saturday, February 19, 2011

Life, Liberty, and Streaming pr0n.

"One-third of U.S. households lack broadband Web access!" says the CNN headline. Something Must Be Done, because this violates every American's right to play crappy flash games and email lolcat .jpegs to each other in the most efficient manner possible.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, women and minorities hardest hit:
It might also be interesting to consider the implications of local demographics, which can easily be explored via The New York Times' interactive map of U.S. Census data. In some cases, there are interesting correlations between the broadband options available in an area and the race, income or education level of the people who live there.
In other words, neighborhoods full of unemployed, non-English-speaking, high-school dropouts, the ones most likely to want to watch streaming reruns of American Idol on their smartphones, are the ones least likely to be able to do so. In an unrelated economic factoid, these very same neighborhoods are also underserved by Whole Foods stores and Mercedes Benz dealerships. It's obviously a conspiracy.

I'm not sure what the proposed solution is, but I would imagine it involves printing more money.


Ancient Woodsman said...

It's definitely a conspiracy: the neighborhoods of non-English speakers up north in the Granite State have been awaiting broadband for years now. Many a local politician has used the promise to bolster their career, yet somehow the citizens still wait.

They have the gall to be causasian French speakers, so they don't fit the mold for such assistance from Washington, D.C.

Look up "Indian Stream republic" and you'll have an idea of the geography. Something tells me that they'll still be ignored by CNN, NYT, and the like.

Sarah said...

It's a trap!

What the government gives, the government takes away, or over-regulates to the point of driving the private sector out of the industry, or just screws up beyond recognition.

Jay G said...

Now, now Tam.

Everyone knows that streaming broadband is a basic human right. What are you, some kinda heartless Sarah Palin type?

perlhaqr said...

And fifteen years ago 100% of American households lacked broadband internet access.

It's just like all the arguments for pretty much any amount of socialisation in healthcare, at the basic level. "Something has been invented, therefore I deserve it even if I can't pay for it myself."

And really, I strongly doubt that 1/3rd of the US truly lies in areas absolutely unavailable to high speed internet. It may be really expensive high speed internet, but there's almost nowhere that the little satellite dishes can't get you 'net.

So it's not even "I can't get this" it's "I don't want to pay as much as it would cost to get this, so someone else should buy it for me."

WV: "zingun" -- Yeah, this topic has me zingun right along.

Kristopher said...

We need smart iMoney.

Whenever the state requires more money, they can then remotely add zeros to the bills in your pocket!

greg said...

Strange, you mean a whole industry(not just one greedy corporation!) feels that they might not see an immediate profit developing a service in an area where the inhabitants of that area are unable to afford said service...

But of course, the Government thinks it can do better.

For definitions and examples of the COST of the Governments 'Better' please see: Amtrak and U.S. Postal Service.

Roberta X said...

At least around here, the Postal Service is actually quite pleasant to deal with; I don't know why. As for efficient, ummm, not so much. Mostly 'cos they can't figure how much it costs to send your letter and therefore never charge enough to break even.

Mark B. said...

Or, Bobbi, could be their business model fossilized in 1925 due to lack of competition or enterprise-wide accountability as well as institutional inertia.

Nah, couldn't be -- they're a .gov . . .

(exits snickering)


Mister_V said...

"One third of US households lack broadband web access... millions of starving Africans strangely unsympathetic"

SpeakerTweaker said...

I'm not sure what the proposed solution is, but I would imagine it involves printing more money.

Christ Almighty, you can be a downer sometimes. You know, not every government program involves printing more money!

They could just take more of yours.


Will Brown said...

You know, not every government program involves printing more money!

They could just take more of yours.

And lately it's been both simultaniously.

I suspect the "solution" might involve something like this technology.

Discobobby said...

Mister_V wins the thread. Perspective.

And it's amazing how fast you can get "broadband" set up when:

1) You get a bunch of neighbors together, do your own engineering and spend your own money.


2) Somebody has the gear on their back and ET needs to phone home Right Fucking Now.
(Feels like weeks)

Again, perspective.

Living in Babylon said...

I wonder if they count people who steal wireless ethernet from the neighbors in the statistics. I have been a very poor bastard with some internet in my time.

global village idiot said...

Holy Samoleons!

Tam, take a look at that map, particularly at Our Fair State - yours by adoption, mine by birth (God be praised).

If you throw out the puny, insignificant principalities on the eastern seaboard, it almost looks as though Indiana has the most widespread broadband in the Union. You can nearly trace the outline of the state by it (the outline of the Wabash and Ohio Rivers is particularly noteworthy)

Who'd have thought we'd be that well-wired?


Roberta X said...

I was just noticing that myself, gvi. Ain't we somethin'?
"Hoosier (hoo-shur): 1. people with superduper wireless broadnandl 2. a native of Indiana (obs)."

Old NFO said...

Another way to 'buy' votes... Just sayin...

Buzz said...

We may rank toward Mississippi and Alabama for percentage of fat slobs, but at least we're at the other end of the spectrum for high-speed access to on-demand streaming of "Ow, My Balls" and "Ass," by golly!

theirritablearchitect said...

Printing more a corrollary of more Nanny, lest we plebes forget who's in charge!

Anonymous said...

They've promised full high speed access here in Australia. 80% of the population live in a few coastal cities- the most urbanized population on Earth (bet you didn't know that). I'd would be a reasonably cheap thing to do except the politicians have to include every sheep station and outback outhouse in the county so it's not feasible and just a stunt for media time. Any program like this would be out of date by the time it's finished anyway.

Anonymous said...

"One third of US households lack broadband web access... millions of starving Africans strangely unsympathetic"

And at least one overweight white guy who has paid his own way and raised his own kids and tries to take care of and pay for his own damn bidness without being forced to take care of and pay for every fucking body else in the world's damn totally, completely, and unapologetically unsympathetic (as in doesn't give even half a rat's ass) to both.


Ed Foster said...

What Discobobby said. Go Mister V.

I wonder how much the shrinks would make if all the solid state toys went pop?

I have an Ivy League educated son with an I.Q. 8 points higher than Einstein, who spends his time editing movie scripts when he isn't writing massive amounts of code.

He was complaining about how difficult it was to seque back into reading books when a job required it, rather than scrolling the screen in front of him. And he grew up reading several books a week, sometimes several a day.

What would happen to the average open-mouthed bubblegum chewer who's highest cultural achievement was figuring out most of the buttons on the TV remote?

Imagine Gertie Tattoo pushing her shopping cart filled with potato chips and high fructose corn syrup, without a cellphone attached to her ear to natter endlessly about the Kardashians latest affair or who clipped who on "As The World Churns".

Me, I'd throw another log on the fire, turn up the wick on the kerosene lantern, and turn the page.

Maura said...

I'm not sure what the proposed solution is, but I would imagine it involves printing more money.

Christ Almighty, you can be a downer sometimes. You know, not every government program involves printing more money!

They could just take more of yours.


*seriously unladylike snort*

Bubblehead Les. said...

If you need free interweb, just go to the Library and bug Breda. "How come my free Gov't Issued iPad won't access the Free Porn Sites when I'm in the Children's Section, and why can't I carry my Shotgun into the Reference Section?" Or better yet, Mickey D's. Oh, that's right. Mickey's don't be doing the Welfare Card. Yet.

Brad K. said...

So - has all wideband in the US been "nationalized" so that it is now property of the government and its minions?

As I recall, communities negotiated with carriers to license cable and wireless private systems.

If no carrier thinks they will make enough profit to be worth their while - they take their while elsewhere. Simple.

It happened with phone companies. Many communities formed their own phone company, 'cause they couldn't get any of the big guys interested.

The same think could happen with small towns and rural counties today.

Except - there is a big question on why anyone is interested in getting broadband to me or my neighbor. I know advertisers want more access to 'untapped' potential buyers, and politicians want more cheap access to target voters. But that doesn't explain why I should care.

And I think that is a big part of the disparity. Unlike the affluent districts, people working without internet access have less difficulty thinking they can continue working without internet access.

Many of those that aren't hooked up chose that state.

I imagine that coverage by Winchell's donuts, Wendy's, and maybe even Wal-Mart follows similar demographics to the broadband coverage maps. I don't see Washington pushing for universal IHOP coverage. (I prefer the Minneapolis 'Pannekoeken Huis', myself.)

The right thing to do might be to just shut down the FCC, send all those good folks home, and make broadcasting in general cheaper instead of making the internet more expensive (and less useful to the non-affluent).

Anonymous said...

Lets simplify this a bit.

Joebob and Billiesue start a phone service in backwater where ever to provide a service. Their equipment was purchased on their dime and may be pushing 10 to 30 years old by now even after it has been upgraded to handle touch tone service.

Don't even ask me about the quality and age of the copper line the service arrives at their home on and how far away they are from the CO.

Even *IF* Fedco wants to push high speed service, "How are they going to tell Ma & Pa they need to spend a bizzilion dollars upgrading their equipment and copper to provide broadband?", now multiply that by 50 states...

Oh yeah, one more small issue.

They OWN the franchise to provide that service on their copper and unless the competition erects wireless towers across the country no one is gonna provide broadband to everyone.


Discobobby said...

I understand your point, but why tie yourself to the copper? For most applications when you hit the end of the fiber (or whatever terminal you have) some creative microwave shots can get you most of the way home. Long Lines did it for decades and most of the towers that feed your notional co-op are probably still there, hopefully owned by American Tower or someone like them. Hopefully the co-op will either see the light and play ball for a cut, or they didn't negotiate for tower exclusivity. (Warning: There may be lawyers here, but you're not using their copper, just sharing a third-party owned tower for your shots.) Then depending on your customer distribution and terrain you end up with some flavor of Metro/Macrocell or LightRadio-esque OTA broadband. Lots of ways to skin that cat. Even if that doesn't fly (no pun intended) you can still get "broadband" out of pretty crappy copper depending on how you do it.

It's that last mile that's cloudy in these hypothetical discussions, but it's not an unknown. And if you found a retired Long Lines/Bell System pro to be your engineering lead (as opposed to somebody like me half-assing it on the back of a virtual napkin) you get things done a lot easier on reputation alone. Those guys are like gold.

As an aside, in a previous life I hired an pair of retired MaBell techs to punch down about 400 endpoints for phone/data/etc. Call it 1600 runs. Done in a weekend, they had to re-do around 5 and the board was dressed and labeled with surgical precision. Expensive as hell and worth every penny.

Anonymous said...


Its because Ma & Pa started out with copper and the odds of them investing in MW or fiber is, shall we say, remote.


David said...

My snark-o-meter just blew.

Lynn said...

I have a satellite dish, the only option in this area for "broadband" Internet access. It might be technically broadband but it is certainly not high speed. I see the situation with high speed Internet access as being similar to the situation with electricity in the early 20th century and if today's conservatives had been in power back then I probably still wouldn't have electricity at my house.

However, trying to connect the lack of high speed Internet with race is beyond ridiculous. The places where it is still unavailable are mostly rural areas where the population is overwhelmingly white. But don't tell any politicians that or we'll never get broadband out here.

Counsel said...

Why does anyone need high speed internet? There us no need as everything can be done differently... However, some things are more efficient over HS Internet---like sending large files.

Why this benefit is even an issue in Washington shows the catering to those without-who can't or won't pay. Tackle medicare, medicaid, SS, and the budget so that our economy takes off-then we wouldn't complain the gov wasn't doing it-whatever it is...

Lynn said...

Counsel, I'd be happy to pay but it's not available. That's the point. Not that people won't pay but that it doesn't exist in some areas.

And "Why does anyone need high speed internet?" Seriously? The Internet is practically unusable on dial-up and very limited on satellite and it's getting worse every day.