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Bandwidth costs

© January 2006 Anthony Lawrence

Gosh, I'm confused. We've all read about the over-building of fiber networks and how buying up that excess capacity can be such a bargain. DSL prices are heading downward, and while cable hasn't followed yet, it probably will. And yet we have some providers acting as though bandwidth is scarce and trying to get companies like Google to share their costs: https://www.networkingpipeline.com/blog/archives/2006/01/google_we_wont.html

So what's the story? Playing games with bandwidth is nothing new, and politics and corporate greed of course play into it. See I, Cringely's 2002 column on SBC for one example.

Some countries complain about Internet costs being too high compared to the U.S., and note that the internet is U.S. centric. But countries like Japan and France have lower cost internet (https://www.lessig.org/blog/archives/003290.shtml).

It all leaves me baffled. Is internet access too expensive or isn't it? If it is, is it the government's fault? The telcos? Google? My fault? Is it too important to leave to private industry - should our taxes be providing the bandwidth or at least some of it? I sure don't know..

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Tue Jan 24 18:26:11 2006: 1548   bruceg2004

Also, other countries get much faster speeds for a lot lower price. Of course, if I am not mistaken, the other countries' bandwidth is more regulated by the government (i.e. socialized), so the fat cats do not keep getting fatter at the expense of the consumer. I heard John C. Dvorak actually suggest that our ISP be socialized on the TWIT podcast! He is a right winger, suggesting a leftist policy - maybe the world is ending!

- Bruce

Tue Jan 24 18:39:38 2006: 1550   bruceg2004

I probably should have mentioned that I am for more Internet regulation at the government level, to help keep costs low, and provide access to poor folks, who may have a better chance at learning something, and making a better life for themselves by having the world of knowledge at their fingertips. I have personally benefitted from the Internet, and taught myself a lot, because I do have access. With OpenSource, and low cost Internet - everyone can benefit.

- Bruce

Tue Jan 24 23:50:21 2006: 1552   BigDumbDinosaur

Is it too important to leave to private industry - should our taxes be providing the bandwidth or at least some of it?

No, our taxes should not be providing anything of the sort. We're already taxed up the wazoo with social enghineering crap. In any case, the telephone industry is (excepting the federal universal service fee -- shades of the events leading to the Boston Tea Party) is not tax-financed, and just about everyone can afford at least basic phone service. So why make an exception for Internet service, most of which rides on the same networks carrying phone traffic?

I probably should have mentioned that I am for more Internet regulation at the government level, to help keep costs low...

Since when has government regulation ever kept the cost low on anything? Inevitably, government regulation increases the cost of doing business, which is passed on to the consumer. For example, we have lots of government regulation in the energy sector. Have gasoline, natural gas and home heating oil prices stayed down? Not around here, they haven't!

...and provide access to poor folks, who may have a better chance at learning something, and making a better life for themselves by having the world of knowledge at their fingertips.

Those so-called "poor people" already have the world of knowledge at their fingertips. All they have to do is get off their asses, attend school like the rest of us did, and go to a public library, where there is lots of knowledge to be had at no cost to them (we taxpayers, as usual, foot the bill).

Wed Jan 25 00:21:56 2006: 1553   TonyLawrence

I think you are wrong about the poor. In fact, most "poor" are hard working folks, often holding down multiple jobs, but get farther behind every month. When you earn close to minimum wage, even with two jobs, it can be very, very difficult to survive - particularly if there are unexpected medical expenses, uninsured losses, etc.

It's not right - and it hurts all of us.

Yes, there are people who abuse welfare, but they are a tiny minority. We should punish those people severely, but we shouldn't cut back social programs because of the very few cheaters. We're a rich country; we can afford to do better by our citizens and need to break the cycle of poverty before it breaks us.

The rich can't keep getting richer at the expense of people's lifes. It's inhumane and disgusting.

Wed Jan 25 02:32:35 2006: 1554   bruceg2004

Well said, Tony. The sad thing is that the gap is getting wider, and wider. The poor are getting poorer, and are getting less oportunities. How in the world can anyone afford college, even if they are in the middle class? The costs of college keep increasing, and the wages of most families stay the same, or only increase a little, to cover inflation. College is soon going to be out of the reach of many families, and then what will their options be?

I know a lot of poor people who have a great work ethic, and would do anything to attend a university, but cannot afford it. It seems that society only rewards those with money in the family, like our president. With his college grades, and how he was "promoted" through Yale, makes me sick. The ironic thing is that he is against "social promotion", yet he is a living example of what is not fair. Just because his family had money, he was allowed to coast through Yale. There are many poor people who would work many times harder than he did, but cannot afford Yale.

I also don't know of many people that are proud they are on welfare, or have to use food stamps. Anytime I am in line behind someone who has to use some form of government program to pay for milk, and eggs, they look very sad, and ashamed. Sure, there are people who abuse the welfare system, just as there are people who abuse the fact that they are rich, and lie, cheat and steal from the hard working people in this country.

Take a look at all the scandals happening in Washington right now. I bet most of those people come from "old money", and have enough money to buy a small country. Yet, many of the people who criticize the welfare system, say nothing about people like:

Scooter Libby

Tom Delay

Jack Abramoff

There's more people, too. Just google "whitehouse corruption" or something similar. It makes me sick that the Republicans tried to fry President Clinton for something that hurt nobody but his family. It certainly did not affect me, and I doubt it hurt anyone else. Ask the families who have lost their sons or daughters to this war that these thugs have created, over oil. Oh, and where is Osama? We still have not caught him yet, because all of our resources are in Iraq. Very sad. I really do not know how Bush sleeps at night.

My favorite as of late, is the mining incidents that have happened, and how the current administration keeps cutting the oversight into the safety of these mines. The President recently asked a senator from West Virginia how he could help. The Senator simply replied "Stop cutting our budgets!" I guess the administration believes that the companies are honest enough to police themselves! The fat cats just want more money! That's it. Nothing else. Just more money, so they can keep getting richer, and the working people suffer, sometimes with their life.

- Bruce

Wed Jan 25 11:39:42 2006: 1560   TonyLawrence

I saw one of our Republican finest last night on the Jon Stewart's Daily Show explaining how his "level of taint" isn't as high as some of the others - makes me sick. I happen to be virulently anti Republican party for other reasons, but I don't pretend this doesn't extend to the Democrats either - this particular hot potato may not have passed through many of their hands, but others surely have.

As to the working poor, an idea I have deserves an audience (or I think so, anyway). We need some low paid workers both because there are some jobs that just aren't worth much (Walmart greeter maybe) and because there are people who just need a small part time job and are otherwise doing fine. There are also small businesses who just can't pay high salaries. I have a simple solution: let any business have up to five employees at a location who are paid less than twice whatever the current minimum wage is. Joe's Pizzeria and Walmart play by the same rules: at each of their stores, they can have five employees earning less than twice minimum wage. Additionally, businesses with multiple locations can't have more than, oh, pick a number, say 500 employees at this level anywhere - perhaps even including their over-seas employees, adjusting for relative income, of course.

It's a simple idea, and probably needs different figures, but it could eliminate horrible abuse by large corporations while actually giving small business a boost and still leaving room for teenage summer jobs and retiree's part time work. Maybe it needs to be ten employees earning less than 150 percent of minimum wage, maybe some other figure, but the idea is (I think) very worthwhile.


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