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Comments on news posted 2009-12-17 09:21:04: Philadelphia's Wi-Fi network has a long and sordid history. ..



pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Funny

So this is what all that extra money collected by raising the city sales tax went to pay for.
--
"Net Neutrality" zealots - the people you can thank for your capped Internet service.



DaveDude
No Fear

join:1999-09-01
New Jersey
kudos:1

Why would a city use it for internal use, when Verizon, and other companies work just about everywhere. Plus there is no reoccurring cost with subscription.



karlmarx

join:2006-09-18
Chicago, IL

1 recommendation

It doesn't have to be FREE

Lets be honest, having a city/state owned wi-fi network can only be good for the CITIZENS. Having it being reasonably priced, (I'm thinking $25.00 for 5mb/sec), can only lead to more competition. Sure, the city doesn't need to make a PROFIT, thus they can undercut comcrap and verizon. They are estimating it's about $3,000,000 a year, and that means they only need about 10,000 users. (with a population of 1.5 Million, that's less than 1%). This serves 2 purposes, it provides a LOW COST, HIGH SPEED option (one I would willingly sign up for), and more importantly, it keeps the money in the local area. Most people realize by now, that 90% of all tech support calls go to india and whatnot, which benefits NOONE except the foreigners. Let's keep the money, and the jobs it pays for IN the US. Sure, you'll pay a tech support person in the US $100,000 a year (50K salary + benefits), but you'll keep the money LOCALLY. It's PERFECTLY reasonable to pay a GOOD SALARY to a US CITIZEN and still keep the prices LOW, as LONG AS YOU DON'T NEED TO MAKE A PROFIT.
--
Remember 1 in 4 people are retarded. 25% of Americans are Republican. Coincidence? I don't think so.



Bill Dollar

join:2009-02-20
New York, NY

Muni wireless can help 3G Congestion

Verizon, and especially AT&T should be encouraging projects that offer basic, free 1Mbps citywide wifi. It can help them offload some of the supposed data strain on their 3G networks. It would complement their services, and increase their value.



tapeloop
Not bad at all, really.
Premium
join:2004-06-27
Airstrip One
kudos:1
reply to DaveDude

Re: Funny

said by DaveDude:

Why would a city use it for internal use, when Verizon, and other companies work just about everywhere. Plus there is no reoccurring cost with subscription.
If you just look at the city services connectivity, it's similar to the difference between buying a residence and renting. The analogy is never going to be perfect, but you'll ultimately get more long term value and control owning your own home as opposed to giving money to a landlord who can raise the rent whenever they want.

Now whether or not their numbers are solid (net $8 million outlay for 4 years) remains to be seen. All things being equal, I'd rather see more pools and libraries open and fewer canyons potholes in the streets.
--
"I love mankind. It's people I can't stand."

--L. van Pelt


jester121
Premium
join:2003-08-09
Lake Zurich, IL

1 recommendation

reply to karlmarx

Re: It doesn't have to be FREE

Except that the scenario you describe has never been accomplished by a government entity, ever, in the history of the universe.

It always costs more than we thought, or doesn't work quite as well, or has other problems.


openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
united state
kudos:2
reply to karlmarx

said by karlmarx:

as LONG AS YOU DON'T NEED TO MAKE A PROFIT.
Therein lies the problem with socialism. Somebody, somewhere has to pay for it. Who pays the bill if Philly doesn't make a profit, or at least break even?


karlmarx

join:2006-09-18
Chicago, IL

1 recommendation

reply to jester121

What? I beg to differ. What about the national highway system? What about rural electrification? What about clean water? What about NASA? Everything I am describing of course, is a NATIONAL problem that needs to be solved. Name ONE private company that has solved a NATIONAL problem? Give up? That's right, because there never has been, and there never WILL be, due to the nature of a NATIONAL solution. You may quote the railroads, or the phone system.. Hmmm, how well did a monopoly system work then? Oh, wait, we had to break them up, BECAUSE their was a profit motive, and they became abusive.

What I propose is that the government OWNS the backbone, and RENTS it out to private industry to provide service. The phone companies of today would not exist if it wasn't' for the TRILLIONS of dollars of subsidies we gave them over the years. I have calculated that we could run FIBER to every single home in America for under 200 Billion dollars. That's FAR LESS than we gave to the fat cat bankers with our bailout. That's LESS than the cost of the screwed up Iraqi war.

Here's my modest proposal. Let the government take over all the existing fiber, phone lines, cable lines. Replace them all with Fiber to the home, and build a highly redundant, extremely powerful backbone, wiring every single home that has electricity with a fiber line capable of support 1gb/sec. THEN, charge $10.00 a month 'access fee' (used to pay off bonds to finance this, as well as maintenance and whatnot). THEN, let private companies lease bandwidth to provide services. What will that accomplish? An awful lot. A-la-carte tv service, virtually free phone service.

Super high speed internet at a very low price. Let comcast SELL TV subscriptions if they want to, providing bundles of channels, BUT let the channels sell directly to the customer if they want to. If you want to buy a bundle from comcast, comcast will rent bandwidth (very cheap), and provide you with what you want. It's time to replace the legacy copper and coax pipes that run through the US with a REAL NETWORK. Every company that wants to sell their services would be able to. This would effectively reboot the american industry, and provide much needed jobs, and more importantly, KEEP the jobs in the US. We don't manufacture very much anymore, (that's another issue alltogether), but given the importance of information today, it's time we had a NATIONAL solution to a NATIONAL problem.
--
Remember 1 in 4 people are retarded. 25% of Americans are Republican. Coincidence? I don't think so.



wifi4milez
Big Russ, 1918 to 2008. Rest in Peace

join:2004-08-07
New York, NY

2 recommendations

reply to openbox9

said by openbox9:

said by karlmarx:

as LONG AS YOU DON'T NEED TO MAKE A PROFIT.
Therein lies the problem with socialism. Somebody, somewhere has to pay for it. Who pays the bill if Philly doesn't make a profit, or at least break even?
Stop trying to be rational with him, it only makes him angry.

openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
united state
kudos:2

1 recommendation

Usually, karlmarx See Profile chooses not to respond to rationality, unless it's with a "you're a shill" attack. We'll see.


iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
reply to openbox9

I think he's saying that a muni doesn't have to pay off greedy shareholders (and they're greedy all right) every quarter. Nothing should operate at a loss for an extended period, city or not.


iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
reply to Bill Dollar

Re: Muni wireless can help 3G Congestion

It would also obviate the need for an aircard around time. So I would see why they wouldn't encourage it unless the hotspots are AT&T or Verizon branded.


openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
united state
kudos:2
reply to iansltx

Re: It doesn't have to be FREE

said by iansltx:

I think he's saying that a muni doesn't have to pay off greedy shareholders (and they're greedy all right) every quarter.
But a community does have to worry about answering to angry bondholders and taxpayers. Not much different IMO.


SNT
Premium
join:2002-07-17
Satellite Beach, FL

Rocky

Huge Rocky fan here. Nice choice of pics.

-SNT



ArrayList
netbus developer
Premium
join:2005-03-19
Evanston, IL

I concur. WTG Karl!


iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
reply to openbox9

Re: It doesn't have to be FREE

Oh, it's a lot different. Taxpayers can't withdraw their money, and bondholders get a guaranteed, somewhat low interest rate on their bond, which can't be pulled prematurely. Stockholders are whiny babies in comparison.


openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
united state
kudos:2

I think the differences are much more subtle than you believe.

- Community officials answer to the taxpayers sufficiently enough to gain reelection. CEOs answer to their boards and shareholders sufficiently enough to keep their jobs.

- Muni bondholders get their return as long as the community remains solvent, which will most likely happen at the expense of the taxpayers. Corporate bondholders get their return as long as the company can pay its debt, which can happen at expense of the equity holders if the company fails.

Equity investors tend to be more vocal than taxpayers. Call it whining if you want, but it's not necessarily the bad thing that a lot of people make it out to be.


iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL
·Comcast

Again, bondholders are guaranteed a rate of return and have to stick around for the long haul. They also know in what they're investing, so they have a vested interest in a project succeeding. Investors in a publicly owned company can pull out whenever they feel like, with no long-term commitments, because "it's a tech company, it's supposed to make gobs of money overnight."

Also, a muni has to out-innovate its competitors to get customers. Price competition works only when the competitors are overpriced. Out-innovation is good for broadband speeds...



karlmarx

join:2006-09-18
Chicago, IL
reply to wifi4milez

Whoa? I never said it shouldn't be at least break even. BUT, it should NOT make a profit. Why? Because this is for the BENEFIT of CITIZENS. Not shareholders, not bondholders, no fat cat bankers and coke snorting executives with their fancy mansions and their right wing nut case backers. This is for the CITIZENS. What part of 'for the people' goes over your head EVERY time you hear about a government program? Hell, they could LOSE money, that's not the problem, and that's not the OBJECTIVE. If the objective is NOT TO MAKE MONEY, then you have a totally different approach. How would you like to have to pay $5.00 every time you pull out of your driveway? If your roads were run by private corporations, that's exactly what you would see. Instead, roads (and it should be the internet), should be setup for everyone to use, not just those with money.

Tell you what, why don't you tell your town to 'sell' your road to a corporation. They will cut your tax bill by a very small amount to offset it. Do you honestly think a corporation would spend one freaking DIME to repair your road if they couldn't make a profit? Yah, that's right, your road would continue to degrade, they would raise the price every year, and you would just have to live with it. I, on the other hand, prefer to pay taxes to have ALL the roads repaired by the town, so EVERYONE can use it.
--
Remember 1 in 4 people are retarded. 25% of Americans are Republican. Coincidence? I don't think so.


BPLSUCKS9

join:2006-04-26
Grand Ledge, MI
reply to karlmarx

What's happening now with broadband is the same thing that happened with electricity and phones back in the day. Your modest plan will probably happen eventually. I would tweak it though. Personally I would do the build-out and have every CO manned after the build-out. Talk about the ultimate public works project. That kind of build-out would be a huge employment booster. Similar to when every home in the U.S was outfitted with telephone lines and power lines.

However I personally would NOT replace the telephone lines with fiber. The reason being is that in a power outage (yes they still happen in places) POTS lines still work as they are powered by the CO back-up generators right down the line to the end user. Fiber does not have that ability unless you have a back-up on the ONT or ran a twisted pair along the fiber jacket to provide that back up power. The backbone should be fiber but the connection to the house doesn't have to be for POTS.

For internet and cable you would need the fiber. Also if you are going to do that massive of a fiber build-out why not just re-do the backbone completely with the OC-768 lines in redundancy?

The other problem you are going to run into is network management. To manage an inter-connected network that size takes a lot of staff. Your best bet to be honest would be to keep all the current company staff and put them under the Fed umbrella as network managers.

One more thing. The cost of the content is going to be out of sight. You think you pay a lot now for CABLE? What are you going to do when you have to pay not only your $10 access fee to get hooked up but your $20 for phone service, $60 for the T.V you want, and an extra $20 in fees from the phone/cable company? At that rate I'd be better off just getting Internet, T.V, phone from the current system.

Ideally what should happen is you pay for connection fee and get internet...plain and simple. If you want things like cable, telephone, etc on top then you pick your company and their package and pay for it. For example lets say Comcast has a channel package I like that has everything I want except one channel but TWC has the same package with that channel...I can pick TWC over Comcast. The only difference the end-user sees is maybe a different logo when they turn on their set-top box.

Same for phone. Let's say verizon has a better package than AT&T. You call up verizon...tell them you want your service. They send a signal to the ONT to direct your phone traffic to their equipment (if its fiber...if its not then they switch it at the CO).

On the ISP end you would just contract someone to have a massive DNS network (eying you google) that could handle the load.

There is a reason I miss MA bell. At least with MA Bell it was regulated and everyone got everything at the same time. We wouldn't have this problem. Think about this. MA Bell before it broke up was getting ready to start deploying basic DSL and ISDN. I can almost guarantee that by now we'd all be on fiber lines or at the very least VDSL2 with complete fiber backbone or even FTTC/FTTP.



marigolds
Gainfully employed, finally
Premium,MVM
join:2002-05-13
Saint Louis, MO
kudos:2
reply to jester121

said by jester121:

Except that the scenario you describe has never been accomplished by a government entity, ever, in the history of the universe.

It always costs more than we thought, or doesn't work quite as well, or has other problems.
You mean other than by about 2 dozen cities in Iowa?
--
ISCABBS - the oldest and largest BBS on the Internet
telnet://bbs.iscabbs.com
Professional Geographer
Geographic Information Science researcher

APG
Premium
join:2007-01-13
reply to karlmarx

said by karlmarx:

Do you honestly think a corporation would spend one freaking DIME to repair your road if they couldn't make a profit? Yah, that's right, your road would continue to degrade, they would raise the price every year, and you would just have to live with it. I, on the other hand, prefer to pay taxes to have ALL the roads repaired by the town, so EVERYONE can use it.
So you're saying that government-maintained roads are in pristine condition? You obviously don't live where I live. Taxes go up every year, but there are places on every block where the macadam has completely worn away and the original brick road (alas, not yellow) shows through. Let's not even talk about the sidewalks, where most of the concrete stills bears the imprint of having been poured 90 years ago -- and it shows because just walking a block is an adventure.

Here's a history lesson for the Marxists among us who will surely appreciate it:

I get your point that the roads and sidewalks here, no matter how bad they are, are available to everyone. And that's my point, too... if the government had been in charge of wiring this town for cable in 1965, they'd have built a state of art 13 channel system. And today, it would probably still be just that. It would be available to everyone, but it would still be a 13 channel system.

Because cable's in the hands of private enterprise, the entire cable infrastructure has been rebuilt 3 times over the last 50 years. Granted, they did it because they saw the potential for profit... but they still did it. Even so, those who are happy with a 13 channel system can still have it in the form of limited basic. Meanwhile, those who want more can have hundreds of channels, high-speed internet and telephone service. The power of choice is left squarely to the choices of individual consumers.

Now for the specific case of the internet... It's all well and good to say that the government could wire every home with fiber for xxx billion dollars. But that's today and ignores the previous 15+ years of the consumer internet. Without the history of the telcos providing dial-up access followed by DSL and cable, there wouldn't even be an internet as we know it.

And it's just not possible that the government could have wired everyone up around 1995 when the internet was first made available to the public. Imagine the government then saying, "We've got this thing we've been using we call the 'internet'. It ain't much now, but we're going to spend billions of dollars to connect everybody to it because we think it might become bigger than CB radio."

It would have never happened. It took a lot of visionaries and risk-takers, from the tiny 8 telephone line system I first used to connect to the net to AT&T to provide the infrastructure to make it work. (note: I know there were online services before the internet but that makes the story even more complicated.)

Anyway I've never seen a government with such foresight. I'd like to see one, but I don't suppose I ever will.


roc5955
Premium
join:2005-11-26
Rosendale, NY
reply to karlmarx

(sarcasm)
Funny, when they say that about health care in the US, politicos claim it's not good for competition, and all the corporations will go broke!
(/sarcasm)

At any rate, I thought Philly was broke. They recently shut down all the libraries, a few parks, and a whole bunch of other services.
--
"Understanding is a three-edged sword."


APG
Premium
join:2007-01-13
reply to karlmarx

said by karlmarx:

What I propose is that the government OWNS the backbone, and RENTS it out to private industry to provide service.
Ponder this: Time Warner Cable or Comcast or whomever finds another service they want to provide... and trust me when I tell you that a lot of things are being developed at this very moment. Alas, some of those things will require significant changes to the infrastructure; it's not going to be stuff that only requires sending a signal to the consumer...

Under the current system, the cable company decides that spending the money to change the infrastructure is worth it and proceeds.

Under your system, the government decides whether or not to make those changes. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. It's pretty much up to the whim of the times.

Question is, do you want these decisions made by politicians, many of whom are utterly clueless about technology, or the visionaries who will actually pony up their own money?


wifi4milez
Big Russ, 1918 to 2008. Rest in Peace

join:2004-08-07
New York, NY

said by APG:

Question is, do you want these decisions made by politicians, many of whom are utterly clueless about technology, or the visionaries who will actually pony up their own money?
Thats really not a fair statement, I mean just look at how efficient the DMV and Post Office are!

wev567

join:2006-02-25
Pittsburgh, PA
reply to openbox9

said by openbox9:

said by karlmarx:

as LONG AS YOU DON'T NEED TO MAKE A PROFIT.
Therein lies the problem with socialism. Somebody, somewhere has to pay for it. Who pays the bill if Philly doesn't make a profit, or at least break even?


Private industry doesn't seem to providing broadband fast enough for most of us, yet you reject another way? At least in this version of socialism, there is a potential benefit for all. Or would you rather have capitalism like Wall Street practices it, where we privatize profits and socialize the risk?


marigolds
Gainfully employed, finally
Premium,MVM
join:2002-05-13
Saint Louis, MO
kudos:2
reply to wifi4milez

said by wifi4milez:

said by APG:

Question is, do you want these decisions made by politicians, many of whom are utterly clueless about technology, or the visionaries who will actually pony up their own money?
Thats really not a fair statement, I mean just look at how efficient the DMV and Post Office are!
Ever dealt with a privatized DMV state like Missouri? If you think government DMVs are bad, private run DMVs are even worse.
--
ISCABBS - the oldest and largest BBS on the Internet
telnet://bbs.iscabbs.com
Professional Geographer
Geographic Information Science researcher

openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
united state
kudos:2
reply to wev567

I don't reject another way. I do reject wastefully throwing billions and billions of additional taxpayer money down the drain. I fully support capitalism and believe that it is the most sustainable economic system long-term. If you're discussing the huge bailout/stimulus that's happened within the last year as "socialize the risk", I don't necessarily support that either. I do believe that companies should be allowed to fail if they can't sustain their business model. FWIW, we've been practicing privatized profits/socialized risk for a very long time in several sectors.



marigolds
Gainfully employed, finally
Premium,MVM
join:2002-05-13
Saint Louis, MO
kudos:2
reply to APG

said by APG:

Under the current system, the cable company decides that spending the money to change the infrastructure is worth it and proceeds.

Under your system, the government decides whether or not to make those changes. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. It's pretty much up to the whim of the times.
In theory. In practice, nearly all cable upgrades happen because the LFA mandates it. Without LFA mandates, 90%+ of cable systems out there would still be 13 channel analog with a handful of trapped premium channels.
--
ISCABBS - the oldest and largest BBS on the Internet
telnet://bbs.iscabbs.com
Professional Geographer
Geographic Information Science researcher