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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. ..



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

Re: It doesn't have to be FREE

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?
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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.
--
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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
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Saint Louis, MO
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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.
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openbox9
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join:2004-01-26
Germany
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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
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join:2002-05-13
Saint Louis, MO
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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.
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