Monday, March 03, 2008

Government Broadband?

I don't know that I'll ever understand this push for government to provide broadband services. And it's not just Eric Kirk or this guy that we keep hearing about it from. There's any number of people that think, for some reason, that if government gets into the broadband business it will be cheaper and more available.


Sure, we may need a redundant fiber optic line up here but, for the most part, I think the system works fine as it is. At least we have choices of providers and such the way it is now. If the government gets any more involved, we likely won't.

If it works, don't try and fix it.


At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred, forgive me. Your concern about the government pushing into broadband made me think about how the government is trying to "solve" the "housing crisis" by jumping to the rescue of the poor, defenseless homeowners.

Even the so-called Free Marketeers are scrambling to borrow money the government does not have to bail out people who borrowed money without thinking far enough ahead to realize they had to pay back the loans.

That'll teach them a lesson! They will learn they can make any stupid mistake they want to, and the government will bail them out for votes - even if the legislators were too stupid to think ahead about the fact that the government will have to pay back the borrowed money.

At 12:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you on this one Fred. Broadband access in Eureka is readily available and pretty cheap. The city paying a consultant a bunch of money to tell us what we already know is a huge waste of funds.

At 1:45 PM, Blogger The Boy Most Likely to ... said...

Fools' Gold.

As soon as the government starts to regulate broadband, the private business sector will work to remove the government's involvement. Vicious cycle.

Gov should leave this one alone, but won't surprise me if they get involved.


At 7:05 PM, Anonymous Andrew Bird said...

I like the idea. Broadband is not cheap for low-income families with children. Gives these children the same access to knowledge and learning as their more affluent classmates.

At 8:02 PM, Blogger Fred said...

"Broadband is not cheap for low-income families with children".

Well, if they can't afford to buy broadband, I suspect they couldn't afford to buy a computer, either, right?

Besides, as has been mentioned before, more and more areas are already getting free non- government broadband.

12:34 wrote, "The city paying a consultant a bunch of money to tell us what we already know is a huge waste of funds.".

I was watching a Eureka City Council meeting a few weeks ago about that. There were a whole bunch of local techies that were there pushing for Eureka City Hall to explore government broadband. They were saying it would cost around $50,000 just for a study to see what could be done and how.

I actually agreed, at least in part, with one of the techies arguments for government construction and control of local internet by the City of Eureka or the county:

As has been noted, when the fiber optic cable was severed down in Weott a while back, most of us lost even local internet services since even if I'm e-mailing someone across the street from me, the message needs to go to Santa Rosa before it comes back here to the guy across the street.

The techie suggested by Eureka having central control and having its own network we were all hooked to, we could still function locally in the event of a fiber optic failure.

I don't agree that the city needs to provide and control the network for that to happen, but the problem is something that needs to be addressed.

Perhaps, assuming some other location or organization couldn't make it happen, City Hall could host a server and use it as the central routing network that would allow us to function in the event of our lines to Santa Rosa being cut.

Keep in mind this is only if it wouldn't work have a local provider fulfill that function and, if the city actually took on that role, they'd just provide a location and a router plus any maintenance the equipment needed.

At 11:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually Fred, you can buy a new computer for about $300, or go the used market. A low income family can save to buy a computer, but handling monthly fees of $25 to $45 is entirely a different matter.

What a consultant could do is publicize AT&T's hidden $10/month service. It's often mentioned in news reports, but finding it online to order is entirely a different matter.

At 6:55 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Agreed. I've actually felt for some time that those nasty corporations have made computers affordable for nearly everyone.

We need to keep in mind also that there's also inexpensive dial up connections, like Netzero, still available. Less than $10.00 a month from what I last saw.

Never mind the growing abundance of free wireless networks provided by both private and government organizations. Heck, even the semi- homeless Nick Bravo was able to blog away and I believe he didn't even own a computer.

At 11:17 AM, Anonymous Andrew Bird said...

Free wireless for all today.

Free healthcare for all tomorrow (after the inauguration of either Obama or Clinton).

At 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here we go again. As usual, 20 years after everyone else, the Feds have realized there is money to be made in this here internets deal. Even Dubya has seen it!

So- same game plan: subsidize it,
make the middle class pay for it all, and give away free stuff to people who dont want to work!

I know, that all sounds reactionary.
But just wait........

At 1:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A dial-up connection is good for little more than e-mail. Web sites are so ladden with graphics that it's common for dial-up connections to time-out (or nearly so) waiting for pages to load. And forget about using youtube or anything involving media.

At 2:19 PM, Blogger kaivalya said...

As I see it, Government should want to subsidize the building of Internet Infrastructure to and from Humboldt county for the purposes of "economic development".

The Internet is the new marketplace for entrepreneurs. And a fatter pipeline and stronger backbone into Humboldt county could boost the local economy and culture, as I see it.

Personally, I wouldn't advocate the government getting any more involved than promoting greater backbone infrastructure (and perhaps public access in government facilities). I'm under the impression that this is the kind of stuff the Headwaters Fund was designed to support.

At 2:48 PM, Blogger Pogo said...

Everyone knows those old clunkers that poor folks are forced to drive are not only dangerous polluters but need constant chewing gum and duct tape repairs. Fortunately, help is on the way. One writer of letters to the editor of a Racine, Wisconsin newspaper has figured it all out. We could helpfully throw free BMWs and broadband internet access into the mix:
" I agree [...] that Barack Obama would be a great president. I have hope that he can provide free health insurance for everyone.

I have hope that he can bring our soldiers home and make the world a safer place. I have hope that he can protect Americans from poverty by printing more money at the mints.

And, I have hope that he can make me a taller, more attractive, wealthier person, immune to all illnesses. The best part is that all of these will be accomplished at absolutely no cost to me.

Some skeptics would say that he can't do these things because he hasn't had enough leadership experience, foreign policy experience, or government experience. Some would say that Obama can't provide for all our needs without doubling taxes. And, some would say that he hasn't provided one piece of a specific plan to reach these goals.

Well, to those people I ask, "Where is your hope?"

All these years I've been creating accomplishments and gatherine [sic] experience to list on my resume. From now on, I'll just list my hopes and plans. All that work was so unnecessary.

Angie Smucker

At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The city is in serious financial trouble. Spending general fund money on this at this time is just plain irresponsible.

At 8:10 AM, Blogger James said...

It would be nice to not have to pay for web access but if you look hard enough there IS free access at the hands of many businesses when you need it... and like you've already mentioned if you NEED to get online, dial-up is $10 a month.

Broadband is not a universal human right... it's a perk. Back up big gov't.

At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Basic broadband DSL or Cable costs $19.95 a month. And that includes a wireless router in your home. Twice the cost of dial-up, but not not a lot of money compared to other expenses for the average household.

I am glad the majority (Glass, Jones, Endert) of the city council had the wisdom to see this was not a prudent expenditure at this time.


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