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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. ..

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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
Reviews:
·AT&T Midwest
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.
--
"and he will raise you up, on eagle's wings, bear you on, the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun and hold you in the palm, of his hand"


1 edit
reply to charlie hp

Re: A Right!

Actually, in suburban America, aka quite alot of America, the burger flipper will get that degree. Afterall, he's a college kid at the moment.

And as for your ideas on the cheapness of broadband... That is the LOWEST possible price for broadband in the country, where in places like Korea its the norm. Please give the percentage of individual households in the country who have the option of paying $15 for broadband. Then, when/if you do find them, and they change your mind about what you've posted, please compare those figures to other nations. Then, post them here. Oh wait, you'd find your argument has been proven fallacious and most American households, I'd say upwards of 24/25 or more CAN'T get broadband service for the $15 per month you're advertising.


reply to Dagda1175

Re: get govt out

"Thats always bad." Yeah sure was attrocious when the government abandonned the slave trade. Please, be reasonable.



AreSee

join:2000-09-20
Atlanta, GA
reply to JRW2

Re: most people do not need it

quote:
it can no longer be considered a luxury, and is now almost required to survive in todays society...
Maybe if you're a 14 year old with no girlfriend. For the rest of us, BB is most certainly a luxury if for no other reason that the fact that you can get the same information with a dial up connection.

Here's an analogy and you tell me if it fits:
When I go to work I drive my car, but I could just as well take the bus. Car = luxury, bus = utility.
--
Formerly DSLWho


richardpor
Fur it up

join:2003-04-19
Portland, OR

About Rights

I need to respond to the typical respond of the Collectivist Statist over the issue of rights. There is one major flaw with John Egar logic. Water, Electricity, and other utilities are not rights; try to refuse to pay ones utility bill for a year to see what I mean. In addition, three are those who chose to live with out piped water, phones or electricity such as those who chose to live in remote areas or the Amish. Another fallacy is to compare broadband connection to waterways, railroads and interstate highways. Right of way a only applies the right for building transportation infrastructure and transit but it dose not give me the right for me to force other to build my own private railroad because I like trains.

There are two important concepts that often twisted or misunderstood concerning rights: first, rights by nature are not material and second, do not contradict the rights of other. We can agree we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness but we do not have the right to happiness and other expense. Another way to put it is a person has a right to free speech, but dose not have a right to force me to by that person a sound system and force me to listen. This will be a contradiction of my rights.

Also because of perceived benefit does not make broadband a right. As an evangelical Christian, I believe bible reading is very beneficial but it does not give me the right to force others to provide support for the printing and distribution of bibles. Broadband has less of a leg to stand on because much claims of broadband economic benefit are largely circumstantial and hearsay. Socialized (so called community broadband) is worst because of government tendency to be inefficient by consuming resource via taxes needed to run the network. Resource better let in private had who create economic wealth and jobs.

As right applied to broadband there only two: the right for private industry to build and operate broadband networks with out government interference or regulation.



John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:5
reply to ptrowski

Re: Luxury....

said by ptrowski:

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..
»maps.google.com/maps?q=sluts+NY&···=0&hl=en


--
A is A

Food, food, food

Funny, everyone keeps mentioning "food," but we certainly don't have any nationalized distribution of that on a local level. Food's not a utility, but its a need. Food's not a right, either. So saying "broadband isnt a right or a utility because you don't need it," is not correct. Thus, need does not define something as a utility or right. Afterall, look at food.


mitchhoward

join:2005-07-08
Georgetown, KY

Its definitely a luxury

Even though it pains me to say it, I have to agree it is a luxury. I would love for it to be considered a right, which would force someone to provide it to me out in the boonies. However, as desperate as I am, I also have to realize that it is a luxury because I have done without it for so long and am still alive.



BourneKilla

join:2005-04-12

Broadband with VOIP?

I wonder what it would be with VOIP... Some (few million) have their primary phone through broadband. If all communication technology goes this route (e.g. wifi phones) then it may become a utility... For now I agree with fiberguy... its an option.



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

Re: Luxury....

Hahahahahahaha! Told you!



koolman2
Premium
join:2002-10-01
Anchorage, AK

The Internet is a utility

I would have to say that the Internet itself is a utility, but broadband is a luxury. It's like having the new SUV you've been wanting (ick) over the '68 Ford station-wagon.
--
A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.



Anubis Prime

join:2001-06-01
Pittsburgh, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit
reply to Brownbay

Re: A Right!

Notice how EVERYTHING is becoming a "right". When something becomes a right, it then over-involves the gob'ment (cheese et.al).

I lobby that HBO,Showtime,Starz should be looked at as things that are mandatory for survival.

Do we have the right to an automobile? Housing isn't, healthcare isn't. When those things ARE considered rights by some, we get government disasters such as HUD, welfare and Medicare. Because we LIKE something doesn't mean we are entitled to it at taxpayer expense.

If one has a computer, and gives up smoking, drinking, the lottery and mullet haircuts then there may be some extra pocketchange left to pay up for broadband like the rest of us.


ohyeah504

join:2005-02-21
Richardson, TX
reply to Dagda1175

Re: get govt out

utility



BourneKilla

join:2005-04-12

Broadband with VOIP

There are a few million subscribers to VOIP phone services already. As it becomes more available via broadband this could change the tide of this argument. WiFi phones are now becoming a reality as well... for now I agree with fiberguy.. its an option.


carlinniss

join:2003-05-12

1 recommendation

reply to charlie hp

Re: A Right!

So I suppose no one has ever gotten themselves out of a situation by hard work and knowledge?

The internet gives people a chance to even the playing field and get information only people with a decent amount of money have. It is possible for the burger flipper using the Internet as a tool to get a better job, or learn a skill. I used to pack boxes, and now I am a developer for a very lucrative SEO firm. I learned myself using the Internet.

So before you spout off about liberals, I am proof it does happen. I don't appreciate your comment.

As far as broadband, I do believe currently it is a luxury, but I do think people should try to make it as widespread as the telephone. It would advance things quicker as a society if we all accepted the Internet as part of our daily lives.
I know for me it's a utility, I need it and it's absolutely critical to my daily routine.



l33t
Premium
join:2003-01-23
Indianapolis, IN
reply to ronob

Re: Luxury/Utility

said by ronob:

Actually many farmers use, need, want broadband in order to have information necessary for them to survive.
Weather and market for example.
Dial-up?
--
My opinionGeorge Bush Bush > John Kerry > Ralph NaderVisit Kerry's website!»www.kerry-04.org


DaDogs
Semper Vigilantis
Premium
join:2004-02-28
Deltaville, VA

4 edits

Broadband is a gift from God...

Broadband is a luxury, I think. Soon to be a utility.

--
I think we need severed heads on American's poarches to get American's to stop treating the war in Iraq like an Excel spread sheet? What about you?
»25,000 Iraqi civilians have died



Scilicet
Spaced Out
Premium
join:2005-04-11
Aurora, CO
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Comcast
reply to JTRockville

Re: Utility

A right? You pay for it and you have the right to use it. Unlike a utility, however, where it's place in the internet has now become obligatory. Functionality such as VoIP, gaming, video, music, to name a few would not exist as we know it today. Broadband Internet is the communications media of the future. It has become a required service similar to electric and gas service.



Gandalf1315
Freelance Philosopher

join:2001-05-23
Indianapolis, IN

Please people.....

Anything other than food, water and shelter is a luxury. When the oil is all gone and we still have not develpoed an alternative energy source people are going to get a real wake up call on what is a luxury and what is not.
--
No man's life, liberty or fortune is safe while our legislature is in session.--- Benjamin Franklin



NightLinks
Premium
join:2001-06-04
Bronx, NY
reply to ylen131

Re: A Right!

said by ylen131:

luxury, person can survive with out it
I see it like cable and TV a TV is nothing without CABLE and PC's are nothing without The INTERNET!
--
The House of NOOBS!


ronob
I'M Fixin It

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

Re: Luxury/Utility

Do you eat?
Farming is competitive industry, for them to survive and keep prices that the rest of us can pay, they need access too.

»www.google.com/search?sourceid=n···roadband
a little info
--
I've been to the end of the internet!