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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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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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

oliphant
I Have 8 Boobies
Premium
join:2004-11-26
Corona, CA

Luxury...

Life will go one just fine on dial up.
cobo6

join:2002-02-18
Willingboro, NJ

continue topic

I am for anything thats lower the price of cable and have to make them share their lines just like DSL.

Greg_Z
Premium
join:2001-08-08
Springfield, IL

1 edit

Broadband is a Luxury.

It is a Luxury, just like Telephone, CATV, Cellphones, and Computers. A person is not going to die without them.
--
One man's customer loyalty is another man's misguided arrogance.

Phil BK
Premium
join:2002-05-18
Brooklyn, NY

Different interpretations

Broadband itself, as in access to the internet is a utility. Same as water, phone, electricity, gas. The "high speed" argument is irrelevant since it is totally subjective.

Need is not an issue. Humans don't "need" any of the utilities we have. Even the word utility has nothing to do with need. Look it up.

Access to public information is a right. But as long as there are other ways to get to it (a library) you can't lump internet access in there.

From a business stand point. There is almost no way that a business that doesn't have broadband can say they are on the same ground as one that does have it. Even if you're talking about a Pizza shop or a Shoe shine stand. Fast access to information, as well as the services available are a complete necessity for any business.
--
If at first you don't succeed...bug them till you get what you want.
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

Infrastucture is a utility, Service is a luxury

Broadband should be considered a utility for 1 reason; barrier of entry. Look at anything that is currently a utility and you will find there is generally one player in town, sometimes 2, and if you are really lucky 3. Sometimes they may even share infrastructure. It is like this simply because you generally can't have 10 electric companies, 10 phone companies, 10 sewer companies, 10 water companies and so on. Economics of the industries, whether it be money or simply the lands ability to support such a thing just isnt there. I predict (hope) broadband will be the same some day for that very reason and the providers of the bandwidth will be completely independent of service providers.

With that in mind I don't in any way shape or form believe it should be subsidized. I fully support the "broadband utility company" fully wiring every home and business. However, being that it is a luxury item and always will be regardless of how much some of you try to say it is soooo important to life it doesnt get turned on if you can't pay the bill. Broadband simply is not and never will be "needed to survive" regardless of how better off you may or may not be with it. Beyond food, water, and air EVERYTHING else is a luxury. One only has to look at nature itself and see how any other animal of this earth lives to know that.
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

Re: Infrastucture is a utility, Service is a luxury

Hmmmmm

Varlik
Without Honor You Will Never Be Free
Premium
join:2002-01-06
Anderson, SC

Utiility!

It's a Utility. Sure you can live without it. Some folks who have never had any Internet manage to do just fine without it. Others won't and some just plain can't. The fact is that the internet is a means of communication. It's also a means of doing business whether as a worker or a customer.

Sooner then most people realize it will become common place to need to use the net to effectively accomplish necessary tasks. We should start treating it as a Utility before it truly becomes one. Because it is almost one already. If not we will be even more behind.
--
"Sir SIR! We don't use DHCP servers. We only use IBM & Microsoft servers." From there my call to tech support went steadily downhill.
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

Infrastucture is a utility, Service is a luxury

I posted this once and it shows up in My: Post but does not appear in the thread. So I apologize if some see it twice.

Broadband should be considered a utility for 1 reason; barrier of entry. Look at anything that is currently a utility and you will find there is generally one player in town, sometimes 2, and if you are really lucky 3. Sometimes they may even share infrastructure. It is like this simply because you generally can't have 10 electric companies, 10 phone companies, 10 sewer companies, 10 water companies and so on. Economics of the industries, whether it be money or simply the lands ability to support such a thing just isnt there. I predict (hope) broadband will be the same some day for that very reason and the providers of the bandwidth will be completely independent of service providers.

With that in mind I don't in any way shape or form believe it should be subsidized. I fully support the "broadband utility company" fully wiring every home and business. However, being that it is a luxury item and always will be regardless of how much some of you try to say it is soooo important to life it doesnt get turned on if you can't pay the bill. Broadband simply is not and never will be "needed to survive" regardless of how better off you may or may not be with it. Beyond food, water, and air EVERYTHING else is a luxury. One only has to look at nature itself and see how any other animal of this earth lives to know that.
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

Hmmmmm

Testing
bmn
? ? ?
Premium,ExMod 2003-06
join:2001-03-15
hiatus

Right now...

Currently broadband is a luxury...

In the next few years, its going to become a utility as we begin to see network convergence and IP networks begin to carry voice, video and data.

I think that the ability to access the internet is a right, but connectivity (which is what broadband is) is not a right and shouldn't be.

Vamp
5c077
Premium
join:2003-01-28
MD
kudos:1

It's a utility

Phone is a utility, broadband is a utility.

I need all my utilities... Electric, Cable and broadband (screw phone im cool with my cell).
--
foamy | I'm psycho