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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 · next

Brownbay
Premium
join:2005-03-13
North York, ON

1 edit

1 recommendation

A Right!

My vote goes for it being a RIGHT/UTILITY... especially in this day and age when so many things depend on it.
--
You can make Time wait... Just don't count it.

ylen131

join:2000-02-09
Canoga Park, CA

Re: A Right!

luxury, person can survive with out it

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

Re: A Right!

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!!

ylen131

join:2000-02-09
Canoga Park, CA

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

Re: A Right!

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.

broadband guru

@205.241.x.x

Re: A Right!

You can also argue that a house is a luxury if you use the thought process that you currently are using. We have 10,000 homeless people in my city. Just because you can live with out something doesn't charictorize it as a luxury. Everything materalistic thing you posess would be a luxury with that arguement. A luxury would be something that you can do with-out, but get your goal completed. So a internet connection might be a luxury for somepeople, but those who are using mission critical applications, it is anything but a luxury.
BarneyBadAss
Badasses Fight For Freedom
Premium
join:2004-05-07
00001

Re: A Right!

Why don't we just call it a PITA and leave it at that?
bbandbrat
Big Broadband Everywhere - Firstmile.Us
Premium
join:2005-04-05
USA
You're absolutely correct. The government considers a phone an essential service. Therefore it created the universal service fund, which we all pay, to fund services in hard to serve areas and for low income individuals. The Telcos are also required to provide what is known as "life line" services for individuals who request such a service.

Consider that at one point electricity was a luxury, now considered essential; telephones were a luxury, now considered essential; broadband will become essential. Although it can be argued that an individual can live without braodband today, the economy can not successfully compete without the opportunity for 100% broadband penetration to it's population. It is the opportunity that is essential today. Whether an individual makes use of the opportunity is an issue of personal choice.

BBB

MIABye
Premium
join:2001-10-28
united state
said by ylen131:

luxury, person can survive with out it
Ditto.

broadband guru

@205.241.x.x

Re: A Right!

pepole can survive with out anything but air, food and water. Look on your streets at the homeless people, think of the natives back when they didn't have anything. Think before you post. Back up what you say. just because you can live with out it doesn't charictorize it as a luxury.

charlie hp

@covad.net
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.

1 edit

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.

charlie hp

@covad.net

Re: A Right!

You can get broadband now for under $40/month in pretty much every metropolitan and suburban location in america. Thats cheap. Hardly more than an average dialup ISP ($15/month) and a dedicated phone line ($20+/month after taxes and fees). Even if you're not making a lot of money, if getting broadband is one of your priorities, its not a problem. You'd be surprised at how many people under the poverty line actually have basic cable, which costs about as much. One of the saddest sights I see are the satellite dishes hanging near the windows on "projects" in chicago. They're living a building paid for with taxpayer money, they're kids probably arent getting what they need to succeed in school, and they're spending $60/month to get HBO so they can watch the "Kings of Comedy" specials. Great.

And if the burger flipper was a college kid then he would have internet in his dorm. Bottom line is that anyone who wants broadband can already afford it if they're willing to pay for it. People who work in america really arent that poor. And if you're so poor and decrepit as to be unable to afford $40/month max even as you really want it, then I stick to my point, you're probably beyond help.

What you people are saying is like saying "we should subsidize buying cars because people need cars to get to jobs and to school" or "we should subsidize shoes, he's missing out on so many opportunities".

Re: A Right!

I wonder why they aren't getting what they need to succeed in their urban area public school but schools like the public school in West Chester, PA and Longmeadow, MA and other suburban communities get plenty of funding?

Oh yes! Because we allocate our government spending in ridiculous ways that promote the status quote and insure that certain people remain poorly educated so as to provide the unemployment pool that keeps laborers hinged to an exploitative market, hoorah! The schools that need national funding are ignored and not given the hands-on approach needed to make them work. Teachers in wealthy suburbs make more than urban and rural teachers. Ridiculous. The government passes standards (No Child Left Behind) but than illegally demands states fund the programs to pass those standards. Blah, blah, blah.

Frankly, I think giving away cars and shoes to everyone in the world would be fantastic. I don't know why you hate free stuff so much!

"Beyond help." Hmmm ... never heard that one in economic theory before. I think you're being a bit unacademic there ...

But all of those things HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS ISSUE SO LET'S GET ON TOPIC

Let's look at my statement again ...

"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."

You have not done what I asked, at all.

Show me the exact percentage of houses who can get broadband for that rate. Heck, show me the numbers fo $40 and compare it with other countries. And I don't mean slow satellite times, I mean broadband and broadband speeds.

Why do you act like my issues are with exclusively urban poor? My issue is with rural areas as well. My issue isn't with "you should be able to afford it" its with "look at other countries' prices" in comparison. My issue has NOTHING to do with subsidies. You don't buy broadband cheaper for people. You make it cheaper in the market. You don't have to subsidize it. You stop the price-gouging of exploitative companies. You promote profitable municipalization.

Tell me this, if an IOU can build a system, maintain that system, provide service AND make a profit, than logically, can't a "city" "or (individually-owned utility) do the same thing cheaper? Afterall, it doesn't even want to make a profit! It can charge the lowest price possible. Woot. Woot. Seems other countries figured that out to solve rural area penetration problems, didn't they?

Its not about subsidization in anyway. Its about fostering lower prices. A profit is still a profit even if its a more reasonable profit.
bbandbrat
Big Broadband Everywhere - Firstmile.Us
Premium
join:2005-04-05
USA
said by charlie hp:

You can get broadband now for under $40/month in pretty much every metropolitan and suburban location in america. Thats cheap. Hardly more than an average dialup ISP ($15/month) and a dedicated phone line ($20+/month after taxes and fees).
....
And if the burger flipper was a college kid then he would have internet in his dorm. Bottom line is that anyone who wants broadband can already afford it if they're willing to pay for it. People who work in america really arent that poor. And if you're so poor and decrepit as to be unable to afford $40/month max even as you really want it, then I stick to my point, you're probably beyond help.
How arrogant and ill-informed. It must be nice to have a silver spoon in one's mouth.

1.) $40 dollars a month isn't cheap to everyone in suburbia. Try paying that when you've been laid off and you're living off credit cards because you've been looking for a job for almost a year so you're saving is gone and you're about to loose the place where you live. You're not a slouch, just a victum of right-sizing, mergers, and/or outsourcing. Yet you need access to the internet and email to get that next job. Or how about the person "flipping burgers" as you say, who is trying to go to school to improve himself and get out of flipping burgers. I guess I've been on the bottom and clawed my way out so I have a totally different perspective on this point. $40 is NOT cheap.

2.) Not all of suburbia has broadband. I live in suburban southern CA with $450,000 - $1 million dollar homes being built all around me. There is no DSL in many areas. SBC says there is but just call and ask for it or go to their website and type in your phone number and they politely tell you you are out of reach. The cable company services part of the area, but not all - since it's in BANKRUPTCY.

I guess I'd tell you to get out in the REAL world - it's not so pretty as you'd like to think.

BBB
carlinniss

join:2003-05-12

1 recommendation

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.

Shadow01
Premium
join:2003-10-24
Wasteland

Re: A Right!

said by carlinniss:

I learned myself using the Internet.

Is this proper English?
Zyniker
Zyniker
Premium
join:2004-12-25
Anaheim, CA

Re: A Right!

To some extent, yes...if he meant he learned something of himself by way of using the internet...but I don't think that was the main part of this post...
--
Join the Theuth.com Distributed Computing Team!»distributed.theuth.com/deep_thought.htm
Freezone

join:2000-09-29
Southfield, MI

1 recommendation

said by Shadow01:

said by carlinniss:

I learned myself using the Internet.

Is this proper English?
No butit proves his point even more. He has assholes like you to teach him better.
carlinniss

join:2003-05-12

1 edit

Re: A Right!

said by Freezone:

No butit proves his point even more. He has assholes like you to teach him better.
Hahahah Exactly!

Oh, and I didn't say I learned English on the Internet. Geez, like no one here has ever messed up on grammar.

I learned web development, and I think a lot of people would benefit from having the Internet available. There's a boob tube in every house spouting nothing but utter garbage...

Why not have something worthwhile as an option?

charlie hp

@covad.net
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.

calvoiper

join:2003-03-31
Belvedere Tiburon, CA

Re: A Right!

This is not unlike what some CLECs were proposing after the Telecom Act of '96 started to get bogged down--the ILECs would be just wholesale facility providers, and all retail would be through separate retail enterprises--and the ILECs would have to treat all other retailers the same as they treated their affiliate.

As a proposal, it was a non-starter following the FCC's turn away from forcing competition following Reed Hundt's replacement by William Kennard in the Chairmanship. It had (and still has) good arguments in favor, but is doomed in the current environment where the whining Baby Bells claim that any lack of a monopoly on their part is a "disincentive to investment".

Philosophically, this proposal is sort of like saying that a motor vehicle transport system is a vital need--so the governmental units will use private industries to build backbone (roads) and the actual "transport" will be done by others using more-or-less standardized transport vehicles....

calvoiper
--
VoIP--the death knell of remaining voice monopolies!

NightLinks
Premium
join:2001-06-04
Bronx, NY
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!

IamZed
Premium
join:2001-01-10
Dayton, OH
said by ylen131:

luxury, person can survive with out it
You could live without an education, too.
--
A thing worth doing is worth doing to excess

FightingBlue

@direcpc.com

1 recommendation

Re: A Right!

quote:
You could live without an education, too.

Given the tenor of his post, I suspect that he already does.
said by "ylen13":
luxury, person can survive with out it.
What about a postal mailbox? Is that a luxury? Or is it an essential component of a free state / free population, in order to exercise their essential political rights?

Let's face it, *everything* is "on the internet" these days. It is (mostly still) a very democratizing medium. In fact, many gov't services and documents are available over the internet. Even more, some of those are going to be made internet-only, for the most part, within 10-15 years, if only for reasons of efficiency and cost-effectiveness. If that happens, then a citizen not having internet access, would be very disenfranchising, I think. As much so as not having a postal mailbox, if not actually more so.

a

@qwest.net
ok, let's disconnect the cruise control from your vehicle since that is a luxury as well

G_Poobah

join:2004-01-17
Schenectady, NY
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

wifi rocks

@verizon.net

Re: A Right!

said by G_Poobah":
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.
Here's a wild idea - you know that "Federal Universal Service fee", that most DSL subscribers get charged (cable is currently exempt, being just an "information service provider", not having anything to do with telephony)? Instead of the ILEC charging that (and not doing much with it) - why not allow for the possibility for the subscriber themselves to help assist in providing that "universal service", and in the process, obtain a credit that cancels out their having to pay that fee? What I'm suggesting is that - using Verizon DSL subscribers as an example here - customers should run their own WiFi "hotspots", on behalf of "universal service"-type benefits to their neighborhood and society at large.

Here's how it could work technically, in order to ensure that too much paying-subscriber bandwidth isn't used up, and that their own personal computers are protected: 1) first, rate-limit the (public) wireless connections in the router firmware, either in the DSL modem or the wireless router, and 2) allow the "public access" wireless connections, to use a secondary PPPoE session connection / secondary IP address, different than the customers, and from the POV of the customer's computers or the dynamic IP address that they recieve from Verizon as an authenticated paying customer, those wireless connection IPs would be just another random "outside" IP on the internet at large.

If Verizon were "nice" about this, they would even provision the DSL subscriber's lines for a small extra potential bit of bandwidth on their ATM network, such that only those (public) wireless users could use it, but the subscriber couldn't. So the customer still gets their 1.5Mbit or whatever, and if the line can support it, an extra 128-256Kbit for any potential passer-by wireless users.

Even *better* than that - I've been thinking recently about all of the possible uses for portable, WiFi-enabled "web pads" (and variants thereof). Verizon could sell WiFi enabled portable devices, that could be used to: 1) surf the web (say, a small 640x480 LCD / touchpad), or 2) place VOIP calls (kind of like a cell-phone, but WiFi-enabled), and 3) buyers of these devices, could use them in conjunction with public-access-enabled customer-run WiFi "hotspots"! (As well as potentially publically-run ones as well.)

This sort of joint private ownership of access infrastructure is easily possible, given the technology of today, and given appropriate safeguards, could be done in a way which does not technically nor legally "endanger" the private owners of this infrastructure.

It would be somewhat similar to those people that have their own power-generating equipment on-site, and in some cases, instead of drawing power from the "public" grid all of the time, sometimes they actually can contribute power back, and get paid a credit for doing so. I have no idea how common that currently is, but I've heard of that being the case in some places.

It would be conceptually similar to the telco installing a wire-line telephone to a private user, and also taking the opportunity to string a second phone line to the premises, and with the homeowner's permission (and proper credit), attaching a local-usage "mini cell tower" to the property as well. Shared joint ownership of infrastructure. It *could* work, should people be forward-thinking enough to accept it.

In fact, it's not a whole lot different than the current situations regarding publically-accessable payphones, and public postal-deposit boxes that you can place mail into. And better still, there is no "physical" issue with regards to security or access, with WiFi. As you as you have the device on and broadcasting a signal, that's all you need!

FightingBlue

@direcpc.com
You're very right about LEO satellites. In fact, as I recall you can do it with just 288, plus on-orbit backups, and it covers the entire world (Minus parts of Antarctica, but who cares? The penguins prefer WiFi.). As great as fiber is, offering effectively unlimited bandwidth, someone should have done a sat network first, to offer service to all the parts of the US that won't see fiber for 5-15 years, and all the non-industrialized parts of the world that won't see fiber for 150-200 years.
fiberguy
My views are my own.
Premium
join:2005-05-20
kudos:3

1 edit
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?

••••

Anubis Prime

join:2001-06-01
Pittsburgh, PA

1 edit
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.

••••••
the dozer
Premium
join:2004-04-12
Douglasville, GA
It is definitely a luxury. Just like the telephone, cellphone
in it's early stages, not everyone had one or could afford
one. It's not a necessity to have it. It is NOT a right,
unless you have the means to have it.

Yakup

join:2000-10-12
Folsom, CA
I believe we can live without electricity, phone, or even driving just like without internet.

However today so many businesses rely on internet for their existance I think internet is just like electricity.
--
DUDE WHERE IS MY WINGS
fiberguy
My views are my own.
Premium
join:2005-05-20
kudos:3

Re: A Right!

said by Yakup:

I believe we can live without electricity, phone, or even driving just like without internet.

However today so many businesses rely on internet for their existance I think internet is just like electricity.
There is a flaw with your thinking though. Tell those 12 people that died recently in this heatwave in AZ. It's a necessity to keep water pumping, toilets flushing, fridges working to keep food fresh, I can keep going. But electricty is definetly a necessity.

Phone? Yea.. but still, it's considered a lifeline for emergency purposes. You can purchase a cell phone today and use it for 911 service at no charge. SOme states require that disconnected phones stay active for 911 only use if requested and especially during non-pay temporary disconnect. So phones can go either way.

In this post, I think the general topic is about residential broadband, not business class service either.

Also, to a previous post above, it was mentioned that work relies on internet services for 401K and other services. I do believe that if companies consolodate federally required data and information on a company intranet only delivery system that they must give access at the work place for those with out computers. Or, they have to make it available in another form.

So still, I haven't heard a convincing argument on how the internet is a necessity.

a

@qwest.net
broadband is like having cruise control, you just have it & freak out if it doesn't work right all the time...

Mrq5
The Fab Four

join:1999-08-21
Warren, MI
Without reading all the replies I vote with the topic starter.

Broadband is a normal progression from speech, writing, Pony Express, horse & buggy, electricity, running water, automobiles, flight, etc...

At one time all of the above was NOT a right. All have proven to provide a much better quality of life which quickly transformed into a RIGHT rather than a luxury for the wealthy. Its only logical that Broadband should be next. Broadband offers a much better quality of life for all that use it. Sure, you could have continued to use the out-house and live without running water but human nature asks WHY???


wifi rocks

@verizon.net

Re: A Right!

said by "Mrg5":
Broadband is a normal progression from speech, writing, Pony Express, horse & buggy, electricity, running water, automobiles, flight, etc...

At one time all of the above was NOT a right. All have proven to provide a much better quality of life which quickly transformed into a RIGHT rather than a luxury for the wealthy. Its only logical that Broadband should be next. Broadband offers a much better quality of life for all that use it.
That does make a lot of sense, even if that viewpoint has a slight "liberal" leaning to it.

How do you define "broadband" though? As any sort of faster-than-dialup internet access? "Always on" internet access, perhaps regardless of speed?

Perhaps a contrasting POV:
Even homeless bums can beg enough change to use a pay-phone though, they don't get a free phone-line installed just for them or their own street-corner.

So I guess my POV is somewhere in-better. Internet access in general is a very democratizing thing, and valuable to increase the quality-of-life for society. So many things are being done "on the internet". So I think that there should indeed be either "universal", or at least inexpensive public access to the internet. Whether that involves connecting cheap low-end access terminals to pay-phones, or what, I'm not sure. But it will eventually happen.

boogi man

join:2001-11-13
Jacksonville, FL
kudos:1
except that not all that you have listed is a constitutionally protected right

at this point alot of us would have a hard time getting by without broadband service some would have to actually commute or move because of the ability to telecommute and dev work done from home. thats not to say it can't be done without though. the public libraries in my area are doing a bangup job of providing that highspeed outlet to the public with existing tax dollars

i really dont see broadband as a right. perhaps we should focus our activism on things like healthcare, public transportation, the homeless epidemic, abused children i could go on.

BIGMIKE
Premium
join:2002-06-07
Westminster, CA
Century-old telephone tax may finally be repealed
(Washington, D.C.) Rep. Dave Camp today voted to repeal the three percent federal excise tax on telephone bills and other telecommunications services.

Congress first enacted a telephone excise tax to help pay for the Spanish-American War in 1898. Back then, this "temporary" tax amounted to one penny on long-distance phone calls costing more than 15 cents. Over the years, the federal phone tax has survived several attempts to phase it out and scale it back. Congress made it a permanent 3 percent tax on telecommunications services in 1990.

“The Spanish American War Telephone Tax is a relic of the 19th Century -- back in the days of Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders," said Camp. "It's time to make the phone tax surrender after its 102-year battle with the American people. The tax is unfair and this repeal provides direct tax relief to almost every household."

The tax applies to phone services such as subscriber line charges, add-on features like call-waiting and caller ID, toll call services, directory assistance, and long distance and wireless. “This is just another example of how Washington DC has taken the taxpayer’s money for a war that started in 1898 and ended over one hundred years ago. I am pretty sure we have paid off the Spanish-American War, ” Camp said. “The last time I checked, the telephone was a necessity, not a luxury.”

»wwwc.house.gov/Camp/newsarticle.···rdID=325

kangabil
Do It Now, Do It Right
Premium
join:2005-05-15
Australia
Try having this argument with say a Kalahari Dessert tribesman, a Bangladeshi tsunami victim and a hobo; don't think they would consider it at all let alone give the topic a rating out of 1 to 10.

Get serious folks.
--
Who was that masked man?

Ka_Pow

@61.8.x.x
more than just a 'utility'

certainly NOT a luxury. luxury is a relative concept, and depends from person to person.

now, those people who are drawing comparisons between 56K and 10MBPS, are deludeded and hypocritical when they say, well 56k is a necessity, but the latter is a luxury.

if you go to 3rd world countries, then screw 56K, even proper electricity and running water are considered a luxury, because they have none of that right now.

so, who do we draw comparisons to? draw intelligent and relevant comparisons please, and in doing so, you will come to the unmistakable conclusion that 10 MBPS, or 10GBPS, it will never be a luxury, but will always remain a necessity for the people concerned, the very people who are buying or thinking of buying it in the first place.

so stop with the morality BS.

Rayden911

@rr.com
It's all three, 1) It's a "utility" (Cable Company), 2) It's "right" if it were not availible to all it would be discrimination, 3) It' a "luxury" You can live without.

drkkgt
Boo
Premium
join:2003-08-26
Whittier, CA

How about a religion

so govt will not tax it and stay the he!! out?

JTRockville
Data Ho
Premium,MVM
join:2002-01-28
Rockville, MD

Utility

Networks are the means of communication in the modern world, particularly in a global society.

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

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"

Scilicet
Spaced Out
Premium
join:2005-04-11
Aurora, CO
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Vonage
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.

Dennis
Premium,Mod
join:2001-01-26
Algonquin, IL
kudos:5
Honestly I consider it a Utility.

The only reason I wouldn't would be so that the government doesn't start getting into regulating it even more.

l33t
Premium
join:2003-01-23
Indianapolis, IN
Even though I am thankful for my highspeed connection. I still believe it is a luxury. Because not everyone can afford it. And some even are on dial-up. But this single luxury/utility can be useful in many ways. It opens up markets, business, commerce, and information. But no, this isn't a right at all. There are some business people who don't even have a computer in America.
--
My opinionGeorge Bush Bush > John Kerry > Ralph NaderVisit Kerry's website!»www.kerry-04.org

•••••••••••
Cod

join:2000-07-05
Kernersville, NC
In this day, 2006, I see broadband being a luxury. I'd love to see it as a 'right', but the bottom line is that right now, broadband is still a luxury. I don't see half of the US population who don't have broadband either because of choice, financials, or availibity not being ab le to function in everyday life because they don't have broadband. Maybe in ten years when certain things become a necessity like online voting, strictly online banking, etc become the norm, then maybe it will become a right. But even then, most of that stuff can still be performed by dialup.

I know I will get flamed for my thoughts, and I am certainly pro-broadband FOR EVERYONE, but I just don't see it as anything more than a luxury right now for most Americans.

•••••
If broadband is a communication "luxury" than phone service is also a luxury. Communication is not a "need." I would say broadband is certainly as much of a "need" as phone service, television provision, radio and most uses of electricity (lighting, space cooling). That said, it is certainly a utility. As for those who argue "regulation ceases the spread," please read a bit on the deployment policies of Korea, China, Canada and Japan. When history is to be accounted for, regulation/limitation is necessary to promote penetration. China is particularly relevant to the United States as the geographic makeup of the country and the way the population is dispersed (rural areas vs urban areas, China does have a much longer population to the United States, but in the past ten years, a large portion of that population has become more concentrated in cities, imagine if LA, NYC, San Diego, Chicago, DC-Baltimore, Denver and Phoenix tripled their populations, hence the rural factors are still similar) is fairly related. Its true in a ground-level market, regulation kills growth, but when a market is sort of a bastardized head on top of another market's already built and consolidated body (telco industry), then regulation is needed to force the large companies to allow smaller companies to join the market and compete. History has a very important affect on the ability of the market to function.

Frankly, in my opinion, the sooner broadband gets deployed, the better, municipally funded or not. If a city wants broadband right now and its not there already, encourage them to build it and then sell the physical infrastructure to a third-party private or a young company that can network and grow to provoke competition with the already monstrous and lethargic telcos and cable companies.

••••

AreSee

join:2000-09-20
Atlanta, GA

1 edit
I don't see how we can call broadband a utility if there are still areas in the country that can't get it.

Now I do believe that Internet access itself is getting to the point that it's a utility; and an increasingly important one at that.

I'm not touching the Right to Broadband argument.

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

Re: connection yes / broadband no

said by AreSee:

I don't see how we can call broadband a utility if there are still areas in the country that can't get it.

Now I do believe that Internet access itself is getting to the point that it's a utility; and an increasingly important one at that.

I'm not touching the Right to Broadband argument.
Until recently, I believe, there were STILL areas of the US without either hardwired phone or electricity. So your argument looses something...
extreme100
Premium
join:2002-06-07
Coloma, MI
Factoring in my time and cost of driving around, I figure my broadband connection pays for itself.

And don't even suggest I could do that with dialup because dialup is just too phuqing slow.

npln
Us Army

join:2000-07-17
Antioch, CA
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?

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kapil
The Kapil

join:2000-04-26
Chicago, IL
Children in China should have the right to not be forced to work in sweatshops.

The fact that fatasses in America and elsewhere in the developed world can use their Broadband to order the products of those sweatshops like Nike and Gap is a luxury.

Running water should be a right and is basic enough of a need to be considered utility. Broadband so you can get your daily fix of pron faster is a luxury.
--
Stand Up For Free Speech! - »www.eff.org

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.

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

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.

bokamba
Chengdu Rocks
Premium
join:2002-04-05
Falls Church, VA
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
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.

Jason Levine
Premium
join:2001-07-13
USA
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.
--
-Jason Levine
http://www.jasons-toolbox.com/
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Chiyo
Save Me Konata-Chan
Premium
join:2003-02-20
Charlotte, NC
kudos:1

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

wifi rocks

@verizon.net
said by "Jason Levine":
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.
You make some very good points there. I just wanted to throw something else out - what about health care? In terms of the overall good of society, and not creating an arbitrary set of "haves" and "have nots" - shouldn't we be worried about such far more basic quality-of-life type things like health care, before we care about whether or not we have higher-speed access to the internet? Just a thought, even though it is slightly OT for this thread.

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

1 edit
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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warriors
It's A Great Time Out

join:2001-06-05
San Jose, CA

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

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

John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8

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

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

Re: Luxury....

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

•••

Dagda1175

join:2001-06-17
Goleta, CA
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.

Re: get govt out

"Thats always bad." Yeah sure was attrocious when the government abandonned the slave trade. Please, be reasonable.
ohyeah504

join:2005-02-21
Richardson, TX
utility