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Comments on news posted 2005-07-21 15:06:36: The question of whether or not broadband qualifies as a utility, luxury, or even right - pops up every month or so, and our readership is pretty evenly split on the subject. ..

page: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · next


N3OGH
Yo Soy Col. "Bat" Guano
Premium
join:2003-11-11
Philly burbs
kudos:2
reply to Ender_W

Re: Luxury

I second that, and agree with Cod. Broadband is a luxury, all be it, a very useful one.

I see someone above stated that broadband is a utility because a lot of people don't have a telephone, and a telephone is a utility.

I think that's specious reasoning. The telephone has become the defacto medium to summons emergency services, and has been for the past 50 years.

Not too many people are logging on to call the police when a burglar is trying to break into their house, or their house is on fire.


Conk2k9

join:2005-04-15
Riverside, CA
reply to npln

Re: most people do not need it

If you go to school and everything and practically live off it then it is a utility.

I vote for utility. It use to be a luxury but now everything practically requires the internet. Dialup is way to slow for anything now except email. We are in the information age so it is a utility in this day'n age.



ET TU
Its' Only Temp
Premium
join:2005-05-21
Belvidere, NJ

This is so stupid!

As said before todays way of living the big info age
Dr's using internet for surgery etc... video conf. at first a luxury ,But know look at all that is being done
But the best of it all is yet to come.Think of what is going to be in 5 years.What you don't have email,you can get it on our website,hello this is just the tip of the iceberg!!!!! internet broadband is a tool most of all
The companies have to stop gouging our pockets of the last dime some times money isn't the answer that is what is keeping America down in the tech Field putting $$$ first
kills the advancement to a crawl!!! Look at all the other countries passing us by Hey CEO's want to give your company a big profit boost cut your wage by 75% That would be a big boost to alot of company's income I have done it even some services for free
--
Yes I am a Doctor and no you still must make an appointment Mors ultima linea rerum est stercus accidit Quando podeces te regi eorum fecerunt?



JRW2
R.I.P. Mom, Brian, Ziggy, Max and Zen.
Premium
join:2004-12-20
La La Land
kudos:5
Reviews:
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reply to npln

Re: most people do not need it

said by npln:

I see it mostly like a luxury, the world was doing fine before it!!! I have it....barely ever use it!!!

Utility not really.......

A Right......you are kidding right?
Many years ago...

People did just fine without PHONES....

People did just fine without ELECTRICTY....

People did just fine without MEDICINE...

Broadband opens up access to information to the masses, and that is a right, it should be treated like a utility, you might be able to argue that at some point, the AMOUNT of bandwidth could be considered a luxury, but it would IMHO be a weak argument...


ylen131

join:2000-02-09
Canoga Park, CA
reply to JRW2

Re: A Right!

said by JRW2:

said by ylen131:

luxury, person can survive with out it
You can survive without a phone, but how many people have one, and that IS a utility!!
phone can still be argued a luxury, with internet you can use 56k modem,so there is no way for now broadband can be argued is a right


SRFireside

join:2001-01-19
Houston, TX

You might be able to argue that phone is a luxury, but it's considered a utility by Government in that is has be available just about anywhere in the U.S.

I think the crux of the debate is how necessary is it to put broadband in the level of importance that the Government should deem it necessary to have it just about everywhere. Corporations depend on it so in that arena the vote is yes.



bokamba
Chengdu Rocks
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join:2002-04-05
Falls Church, VA
Reviews:
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A utility, not a right

I think broadband is best viewed as a utility. It's something that, if it's available, can significantly improve quality of life. It's homogenous enough that as long as people get fast, reliable service for the right price, it doesn't matter who's providing it. I don't think it's morally wrong not to have broadband, which is what calling it a "right" would imply.



N3OGH
Yo Soy Col. "Bat" Guano
Premium
join:2003-11-11
Philly burbs
kudos:2
reply to broadbanderexpanderc

Re: utility, need and more

Not to go off topic, but what is it with the proliferation of unregistered posts lately.

I noticed the unregistered tag no longer carries the poster's ISP info, and such.

Hey, BBR, it's time to do something about these unregistered posts.....



Jason Levine
Premium
join:2001-07-13
USA

BroadBand is a luxury moving towards utility

Back when phone service and indoor plumbing were new, they were luxuries. The very rich had them and the poorer folks made due without. As time went on, more and more people became accustomed to life with these services. At some point, they shifted from being a luxury to being a utility. (Meaning that an average person was able to expect access to such a service at a reasonable rate.)

Broadband is still a luxury, IMO, but it is quickly moving to the utility stage. Many services are beginning to assume that you have high-speed Internet access. This, combined with the growing broadband-enabled population percentage, means that a person without broadband is going to be significantly "left behind" from society at large. I don't think we're quite at that point yet, but in a few years we just may be.

Incidentally, I'd qualify a "right" as something so essential to life that a person cannot be denied access to it and, in some cases, can't be charged for it. (Beyond what you pay in taxes if the government runs the service.)

Indoor plumbing has progressed far enough that it's a right. While you still might have some very rural areas without indoor plumbing, most do and it's virtually assumed to be present. Try selling a home in 99% of the country if said home doesn't have any indoor plumbing. ("A nice view of the city from your spacious outhouse." ) Broadband definitely hasn't progressed to the "right" stage yet.
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G_Poobah

join:2004-01-17
Schenectady, NY
reply to Brownbay

Re: A Right!

It's not a right, it's a luxury..

However, having said that, does it make sense to let the government force companies to build (i.e. The TVA style). I'd say yes.

The government subsidised UNIVERSAL phone service. Can you say that the internet is different? not really. Both were considered 'luxuries' when they started, but today you can't survive without a phone (except for some very rare obscure area's). In subsidizing phone service everywhere, the early adopters were forced to pay more to make up for the unprofitable customers. Do we want to do that again for broadband?

The problem is simply wires. It costs a LOT of money to run wires everywhere. Running fibre to obscure towns, obscure roads in those towns, and widely distributed houses on those roads would be a very very expensive proposition. But is it fair to them that they don't have it? I mean, the government gave the cable and phone companies HUGE subsidies to build out in the populated areas (i.e. right of way, etc). Doesn't that free subsidies give the companies a legal obligation to support EVERYONE then? I would argue yes, since the telco's and cableco's have gotten subsidized by the government, they have an obligation to run wire everywhere.

Of course, this means the shareholders make less money. But, wait, the shareholders made more money due to subsidation, so don't loose any sleep or cry any tears over that loss. It's payback time..

now, if Verizon was SMART, it wouldn't be running fibre everywhere. It's already been proven that about 400 low earth (i.e. 200 miles up, not 25,000 miles up) satellites could provide continuous high speed coverage to the entire country. For 100 billion dollars, a company could build the network, and provide 100mb full duplex service everywhere. We have the technology, we have the capabilities, we don't have the vision..
--
Grand Poobah



Chiyo
Save Me Konata-Chan
Premium
join:2003-02-20
Charlotte, NC
kudos:1
reply to Jason Levine

Re: BroadBand is a luxury moving towards utility

yes it would suck not to have the internet but you DON'T NEED IT your not gonna die from not surfing the net (well atleast not all of us ) I say luxary item besides stroll down to your public libary if you want to hop on the net ITS FREE.
--
"Sure there have been injuries and deaths in boxing - but none of them serious."- Alan Minter, Boxer"I get to go to lots of overseas places, like Canada."- Britney Spears, Pop Singer



FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

1 edit

A utility - but not a right

Broadband should be seen as a utility like phone service or water service or sewer service. But that doesn't make it a right. Many areas of the country have neither water service or sewer service. Those people have to dig wells for water and cesspools for waste output.

To call it a right just plays into the hands of the welfare state advocates who will want the taxpayer to subsidize every welfare household with broadband access. Nix on that.
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DHRacer
Tech Monkey

join:2000-10-10
Lake Arrowhead, CA
reply to JRW2

Re: most people do not need it

oh, you mean the DARK AGES?

Bubonic Plague and all that? People didn't look like they were doing too fine then.

Sure but the life expectancy was you were lucky to get to 50.

Of course working your ass off in a field for your king probably meant that obesity wasn't a big deal at the time.
--
"No one will believe you solved this problem in one day! We've been working on it for months. Now, go act busy for a few weeks and I'll let you know when it's time to tell them." (R&D Supervisor, Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing /3M Corp.)



tonyfer2

join:2002-08-14
Elizabeth, NJ
reply to l33t

Re: Luxury/Utility

yes it is a luxury.


reply to kapil

Re: What kinda' question is this?

Um ... China has far better broadband penetration than the United States. I'm sure many children in China would consider it a utility. Also, the days of Chinese sweatshops may be numbered. Today, the Chinese government unhinged its currency from the dollar, so pretty soon, hopefully, China's currency will increase in value and imports and exports will be more balanced. That would be good news for citizens and workers in China and the international economy. In some time, one could imagine China trying to modernize its exports (so as to produce cars and jet planes and robotics) thus thrusting itself into the realm of modern global markets such as the United States and Japan (its already on the cusp, afterall. It is the number 2 economy in the world). With a $6 billion, you can believe that the government has some money to spend.


reply to N3OGH

Re: utility, need and more

I post anon on here often, you can check other topics and see me there. I live in Washington, DC and my ISP is T-Mobile sometimes, Verizon at other times. I feel marginalized for my mysterious nature! Help! Help! I'm being oppressed.



warriors
It's A Great Time Out

join:2001-06-05
San Jose, CA

1 edit

I say it's necessity!

I say it's necessity!

Even though I can survive without it, I just can't live without it. It's like life without a flushing toilet. A few days without might be ok, but I just can't live without it!



Viper007Bond
Premium
join:2002-09-26
Portland, OR

Utility

It's like electricity or a phone. Sure, you could live without them, but people should have the abilty to have it.


reply to ET TU

Re: This is so stupid!

You bring up an interesting point as to why the tech sector throws economics off so much.

Advancement in technology is not always good in the eyes of capital. Even if it is obviously good.

For example, company A produces 16 drugs for cancer type C.
Company As main source of revenue is the 16 drugs for cancer type C. Researcher at company A finds a way turn those 16 drugs into one drug. That one drug will essentially cure cancer type C.

If cancer type C is cured, the company collapses. Therefore, it is good for company A to NOT market the drug (if you are a laissez-fairest above all else that is).

There are many instances where this is the case. The problem is that not every company markets one thing. That is the big problem with the oil industry, in my opinion. Oil produces make a host of products. If hydrogen was introduced as a legitimate energy alternative, those companies would lose those oil profits and many other sectors of the economy would collapse as well, even though hydrogen would be a far more efficient and cheaper resource.

Of course, I don't initially see any connections with that and broadband, but Et tu, your somewhat off-topic rant is appreciated.



ptrowski
Got Helix?
Premium
join:2005-03-14
Putnam, CT
kudos:4

Luxury....

I can see it now, every crackwhore in NYC mapping out their next tricks on mapquest.com
Can't live with out broadband? Good lord! I like it, but food, water, shelter etc is more important..


fiberguy
My views are my own.
Premium
join:2005-05-20
kudos:3

I say it's an OPTION.

I don't think it's a utility, a luxury, and ESPECIALLY a right.

Utility: Usually runs on it's own pipe such as telephone, gas, sewer, or electricity. It's a first run line of service. Broadband requires a secondary carrier to allow it to run, at least in todays' infrustructure.

Luxury: Some people choose to have it and others' don't. No one's life depends on this service so to add it to your monthly budget would definetly be a luxury since there is nothing that changes your life for the worse by not having it. (And yes, telephones are a lifeline becuase of 911 service)

A Right?: Hardly. We have the righ to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I don't recall broadband in there. If broadband were a "right" then I think not only everyone would have it, but it would be subsidizes and there would be no monthly bill.

An option?: You betcha! You can live with it or without it. People make the choice to have broadband. Unlike Heating/lights, sewer and water, in which you MUST have in a house to be legal, I don't thinkg broadband will ever fall into this category. Phone? It's middle of the line. It CAN be a lifeline service, but it's still not required to be in every home like power is to be inhabitable.

I will add this, though.. I think that with more business pushing people to use the internet for services, in some cases penalizing people for not using the internet like the airlines do, I would say that if there ever was a requirement to subsidizing that these businesses that penalize people by moving more people to use the internet by cutting back or eliminating phone centers, or those that penalize people for using call centers, THEY should be forced to pay to subsidize internet connections. I think alot of business out there forgets that many people don't have computers and internet - those being mostly the elderly and the poor. I say if it's ever classified as a utility, that they keep this in mind.


fiberguy
My views are my own.
Premium
join:2005-05-20
kudos:3

1 edit
reply to Brownbay

Re: A Right!

said by Brownbay:

My vote goes for it being a RIGHT/UTILITY... especially in this day and age when so many things depend on it.
What "depends" on the internet? Not flaming, just want to hear what you say depends on the internet?


Dagda1175

join:2001-06-17
Goleta, CA

get govt out

If its a utility it means more govt hands on it. Thats always bad. Keep govt away from business thanks!

And calling it a right is assinine.



ronob
I'M Fixin It

join:1999-10-18
Fort Lauderdale, FL
reply to l33t

Re: Luxury/Utility

Actually many farmers use, need, want broadband in order to have information necessary for them to survive.
Weather and market for example.
--
I've been to the end of the internet!



charlie hp

@covad.net
reply to ylen131

Re: A Right!

Agreed. To anyone who has studies the concept of "rights", there is absolutely no way in hell that broadband could ever possibly in 3 million years be considered one. At least in the Lockeian sense of rights that this country was founded on.

And I definately dont agree with broadband being made a utility. There is too much enterprise involved. Around the country we are seeing great enhancements in speed and quality. There are a few people that cant afford it. If you cant afford $15/month for SBC DSL, then I doubt:
A: you can afford and extremely basic but modern $500 computer setup
B: that having internet access is going to benefit you in any way. Its not like the burger flipper is going to get an online doctorate. Liberals and their crazy ideals.



JRW2
R.I.P. Mom, Brian, Ziggy, Max and Zen.
Premium
join:2004-12-20
La La Land
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
reply to DHRacer

Re: most people do not need it

said by DHRacer:

oh, you mean the DARK AGES?

Bubonic Plague and all that? People didn't look like they were doing too fine then.

Sure but the life expectancy was you were lucky to get to 50.

Of course working your ass off in a field for your king probably meant that obesity wasn't a big deal at the time.
I think you missed my point...

People did "fine" without those things, but now they are NOT luxuries, they are necessities, and so too is broadband, though still climbing, it can no longer be considered a luxury, and is now almost required to survive in todays society...


charlie hp

@covad.net
reply to ylen131

Re: A Right!

And here's an idea:

why not make the infrastructure semi public- ie a municipality could sign a contract with a private company to foot the bill for building a fiber network in the city (this way the taxpayer wouldnt have to foot the bill, which would be one of my many major objections). The private company would not provide service itself, but would only be allowed to sell bandwidth and interconnect/ rackspace rights. For example, it could sell bandwidth on a size/distance metric, ie "one cent per megabite kilometer" or similar, on all traffic in the network. Other companies could come in and serve as ISPs, connecting the fiber network to the outside internet, providing a DNS server, customer service, etc. Different companies could provide VoIP and IPTV services.

The key is that there wouldnt be a conflict of interest between the people managing the network and those providing service on the network. The network would be contractually obligated to let anyone compete, and would likewise be contractually obligated to keep their prices at a certain rate (ie "3% a year" or "with inflation"). They would make these concessions in order to get access to the neighborhood- only the city really has the authority to be thrashing up roads and laying lines from house to house, the city could give the authority carefully to the company that was paying for all the infrastructure.

I think that would be a great setup and a great compromise between being able to bridge the problems imposed with building a network and making sure service on it is fair.


ced06

join:2004-03-12
Towanda, PA

`

As much as I would like to say it's a utility, it's not. Broadband is a luxury. Internet access is not a luxury, but broadband is. You can get dialup access off any phone line (which is considered a utility), but broadband deployment costs money (DSLAM, upgrades at your cable company, etc).

Even if it was considered a utility by the government, you can be sure rural towns would still be without broadband.



dispatcher21
911 Where is your emergency?

join:2004-01-22
united state
kudos:1

How is it a right?

I guess I dont understand how anyone can think an internet connection is a right? The only things that are your rights can be found in the first ten amendments in the Consitution(US). Everything else is something that is a luxury that you work hard to attain and make life easier(nice house, internet, car,phone,cell), or a privelage that is granted to you (driving, flying, hunting).



dslwanter
It's coming
Premium
join:2002-12-16
Mineral Ridge, OH
reply to JTRockville

Re: Utility

said by JTRockville:

Networks are the means of communication in the modern world, particularly in a global society.
Agreed, and it should be regulated as such. Especially since now people are using it for phone service such as VOIP. Because if it were, SBC would be in a lot of trouble with my line anyway, my broadband can't stay connected when thunderstorms are still 40+ miles away. They can't (or won't) fix my line. I say won't because inside sources tell me the lines are so terrible up this way they don't even bother.
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