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Old 02-09-2013, 11:21 AM   #61
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If this came to be I wonder how long it would last?...
Yea, I remember when they said they were going to broadcast free television and radio over the air. Like that would ever work.
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Old 02-09-2013, 11:24 AM   #62
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Yea, I remember when they said they were going to broadcast free television and radio over the air. Like that would ever work.
Not the same thing at all. TV is a single broadcast to multiple receivers. Rather than individual two way data streams to many users.
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Old 02-09-2013, 11:32 AM   #63
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Some earlier posters talked about how carriers being given "free spectrum". This might have been true with the old analog cellular system, but the present digital spectrum has been sold by auctions since 1994, and this has raised many billions for the US Treasury. See this: Spectrum auction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

WiFi, whether free or not, only covers the "last mile" "last hundred feet" from the end users to the infrastructure. We all have a wireless station inside our home, but what is the infrastructure that carries the traffic between my WiFi station and your home WiFi station so that we can talk via Skype?

In between our WiFi's is an extensive network of fiber optics, routers, and backbone microwave towers traversing this vast country. Does the US government build and maintain all that? Do we talk about confiscating all these resources?
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Old 02-09-2013, 11:47 AM   #64
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"There are already clear signs in the United States and abroad that if enough of this public spectrum resource is made freely available for unlicensed use, the private sector will step up and make wireless connectivity ubiquitous and affordable, at least in urban and suburban areas.
Except that they would have to do it by saturation bombing us with advertisements or tracking everything we do online for their own marketing purposes.

Frankly, I'd rather pay for it.
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:20 PM   #65
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Some earlier posters talked about how carriers being given "free spectrum". This might have been true with the old analog cellular system, but the present digital spectrum has been sold by auctions since 1994, and this has raised many billions for the US Treasury. See this: Spectrum auction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

WiFi, whether free or not, only covers the "last mile" "last hundred feet" from the end users to the infrastructure. We all have a wireless station inside our home, but what is the infrastructure that carries the traffic between my WiFi station and your home WiFi station so that we can talk via Skype?

In between our WiFi's is an extensive network of fiber optics, routers, and backbone microwave towers traversing this vast country. Does the US government build and maintain all that? Do we talk about confiscating all these resources?
What you say is true. The infrastructure between the wi fi sites would be extensive and expensive. There are still rural areas that you cannot get cell service in.
It would have to use a technology different than the existing wi fi we use 802.11n/g or it would interfere. The local sites would have to have a range similar to cell sites or there would have to be too many sites to be cost effective. I have never seen a network use less bandwidth over time. The usage would quickly increase till it used all that was available. Especially if free to the end user.

It is a long way from having some spectrum available to having a national wi fi network. And it won't be free. Someone will pay.
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:31 PM   #66
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Not the same thing at all. TV is a single broadcast to multiple receivers. Rather than individual two way data streams to many users.
It is the same in that wifi could be provided free with advertising. Anyone using it can decide whether they want to pay for something better, or put up with the disadvantages that come along with free. Some airports already have free wifi and it is reasonable to use in my experience.
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Old 02-09-2013, 01:53 PM   #67
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It is the same in that wifi could be provided free with advertising. Anyone using it can decide whether they want to pay for something better, or put up with the disadvantages that come along with free. Some airports already have free wifi and it is reasonable to use in my experience.

I have no problem using advertising supported service. Airport WiFi is a classic example, put up with a 30 second ad than you can surf to your hearts content, or you flight leaves which ever comes first .

I also am happy to use Google and the Early Retirement Forums, despite been bombarded with intrusive ads. Oh wait I hardly notice them
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Old 02-10-2013, 05:56 PM   #68
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I honestly believe that this should be mandatory watching/reading for every American with any interest in the future of education and wifi/internet.
Full Show: Who
Who's widening the digital divide.

Hope springs eternal!
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:34 AM   #69
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I watched the above show, where Susan Crawford talked about phone and cable companies dragging their feet in providing "fast and cheap" internet access to every American.

She did say that they did not want provide Internet access to rural areas because they could not make money there. Wow, what a revelation! Instead, companies spend a lot of effort to develop services for cities where the well-to-do live. Well, that did not surprise me either.

What was more interesting to me was that Crawford said that even when fast Internet was available, it was too expensive, and the consumer was gouged. As an example, she said a fast 500Mbps line would cost $30/month in Hong Kong, but $200/month in New York City. I am not an expert to know if the environmental and economic differences of the above two locales had anything to do with the cost difference of Internet, but they could, the same way somehow income taxes were a lot different between the two cities.

Crawford said that the higher cost of Internet in the US was caused by lack of competition. That may be true in some areas. I want to be able to pay less for my Internet access too, and in my area, I have the choice of a cable modem, which I am using, and DSL service from the local phone company. I check the prices every so often, and have found them to be competitive. Are they colluding to gouge me?

Crawford said that inexpensive Internet access should be provided to every area of the country, the same way telephony and electricity are. Perhaps, but fast? And how fast? I agree with her that one cannot even apply for a job without Internet access, but cannot see that the ability to stream videos would have anything to do with keeping our students competitive with the rest of the world. Just because Internet access is good, superfast Internet is not necessarily that much better. I would even go as far as saying further diversion caused by fast Internet might further reduce the math and language proficiency of our students compared to their Asian counterparts.

Services to rural areas and far-flung places will always be more expensive than to high-density city centers. That applies to many things, like consumer products, healthcare, etc..., and not just Internet access. We cannot blame service providers for not wanting to incur losses. The only way to equalize the price is by subsidy, either explicit or hidden inside some regulations. Crawford could have just said that we should do it because it's good for society, which was her main point, and be done with it.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:39 AM   #70
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Services to rural areas and far-flung places will always be more expensive than to high-density city centers. That applies to many things, like consumer products, healthcare, etc..., and not just Internet access. We cannot blame service providers for not wanting to incur losses. The only way to equalize the price is by subsidy, either explicitly or hidden inside some regulations. Crawford could have just said that we should do it because it's good for society, which was her main point, and be done with it.
We already have a history of similar endeavors, such as rural electrification. It wasn't cost-effective for private companies to get small towns and farms on the grid, so Uncle Sam stepped in. Now one can argue that it was a *lot* more critical to get electricity to farms out in the boonies than to provide fiber optic high speed Internet to rural areas, but much of the same economic dynamic is in play.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:52 AM   #71
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We already have a history of similar endeavors, such as rural electrification. It wasn't cost-effective for private companies to get small towns and farms on the grid, so Uncle Sam stepped in. Now one can argue that it was a *lot* more critical to get electricity to farms out in the boonies than to provide fiber optic high speed Internet to rural areas, but much of the same economic dynamic is in play.
I don't think fiber to the last mile is practical for rural areas. Maybe take a page from the developing world and skip the wire lines for wireless.
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:55 AM   #72
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We already have a history of similar endeavors, such as rural electrification. It wasn't cost-effective for private companies to get small towns and farms on the grid, so Uncle Sam stepped in. Now one can argue that it was a *lot* more critical to get electricity to farms out in the boonies than to provide fiber optic high speed Internet to rural areas, but much of the same economic dynamic is in play.
Yes. It's as simple as that, and one should not vilify businesses for not wanting to do "charity" work by providing services at a loss, or making an initial investment in the infrastructure for no cost.

Still, it may not be possible to totally equalize costs and quality of services. Take for example healthcare. How do we assign top-notch specialists and surgeons to every small city and town in the US?
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Old 02-11-2013, 10:58 AM   #73
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I don't think fiber to the last mile is practical for rural areas. Maybe take a page from the developing world and skip the wire lines for wireless.
I am still waiting for WiMAX to be deployed see how it works. Still, people may keep forgetting that wireless link bandwidths are always puny relative to fixed land lines, particularly fiber optics, and will still complain that they do not get to access Hulu for HD TV.
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