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U.S. Struggles to Keep Pace in Delivering Broadband Service

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WASHINGTON — San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States, a progressive and economically vibrant metropolis of 1.4 million people sprawled across south-central Texas. But the speed of its Internet service is no match for the Latvian capital, Riga, a city of 700,000 on the Baltic Sea.

Riga’s average Internet speed is at least two-and-a-half times that of San Antonio’s, according to Ookla, a research firm that measures broadband speeds around the globe. In other words, downloading a two-hour high-definition movie takes, on average, 35 minutes in San Antonio — and 13 in Riga.
 

The World Economic Forum ranked the United States 35th out of 148 countries in Internet bandwidth, a measure of available capacity in a country. Other studies rank the United States anywhere from 14th to 31st in average connection speed.
 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/30/technology/us-struggling-to-keep-pace-in-broadband-service.html?pagewanted=2&hp

 

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There are way too many variables to consider here.  For instance how do they calculate average internet speed?  High speed internet access is available in San Antonio, but if most users don't have it or most users are on dial up, does that affect how they calculate the averages?  The article makes it sound like San Antonio, of all places, is just so backwater that it's not even connected to the internet.  That's laughable and a good reason to critically question the things you read and documentaries you see.

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There are way too many variables to consider here.  For instance how do they calculate average internet speed?  High speed internet access is available in San Antonio, but if most users don't have it or most users are on dial up, does that affect how they calculate the averages?  The article makes it sound like San Antonio, of all places, is just so backwater that it's not even connected to the internet.  That's laughable and a good reason to critically question the things you read and documentaries you see.

 

Read the full article the details you ask for are there.

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Read the full article the details you ask for are there.

 

I read the article and it doesn't give the methodology by which they are calculating the averages.  It appears to be a thinly disguised apples-to-oranges comparison so they can complain about how the government doesn't supply subsidized internet access to all residents.

 

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Is it really the US that's "struggling" or just some broke/cheapskate/miser consumers who for some reason do not have a fast connection?

What a misleading headline.

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Wiring the US is far more expensive than Europe by just the sheer size of the country.

 

Hell, just get out of the cities into some of the remote parts of texas and you can see that.

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Is it really the US that's "struggling" or just some broke/cheapskate/miser consumers who for some reason do not have a fast connection?

What a misleading headline.

 

Its not just people being cheap, not all providers have run the fiber optics to all areas - which in turn will decrease the available options.

 

Also, Latvia is much smaller than the US, or Texas.

 

For example:  Riga Metro (10,000 km2) is smaller than Houston Metro (26,000 km2).  So its much easier to place fiber optics in a smaller area than in something larger.  Take also the fact that Latvia as a whole is only 64,000 km2 and we can clearly see that size does matter.  Also, Latvia has 1/3 the population of greater Houston.  Now consider all the expanses of land between Houston and Dallas and Oklahoma City and Kansas City and Minneapolis and we can start to see that running fiber optics across this country is a gargantuan task.

 

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I read the article and it doesn't give the methodology by which they are calculating the averages.  It appears to be a thinly disguised apples-to-oranges comparison so they can complain about how the government doesn't supply subsidized internet access to all residents.

 

 

I think it gets down to whether one considers internet as a purely private good, or as infrastructure that benefits society as a whole, like roads, airports, landlines or sewers.  If the latter, then it would be considered perfectly valid for it to be subsidized in some way, as are roads, airports, landlines and sewers.  

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I think it gets down to whether one considers internet as a purely private good, or as infrastructure that benefits society as a whole, like roads, airports, landlines or sewers.  If the latter, then it would be considered perfectly valid for it to be subsidized in some way, as are roads, airports, landlines and sewers.  

 

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/12/30/municipal_broadband_s_death_by_lobbyist_san_antonio_has_the_fiber_they_should.html

 

 

And CPS Energy already has the fiber. So it's not a question of should a municipally owned utility spend money on building a fiber-optic network. It's a question of given that the municipally owned utility already has a fiber-optic network, shouldn't it do something with it? The Texas state Legislature, doing the bidding of local telecom firms, says no. It can't.

 

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Subsidizing the Internet would give the government more excuses to monitor it (and frankly, that would be a reasonable argument to make) and to create laws like SOPA that would block access to certain sites that the government doesn't like (for whatever reason). Who would want that future?

Edited by IronTiger
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I think it gets down to whether one considers internet as a purely private good, or as infrastructure that benefits society as a whole, like roads, airports, landlines or sewers. If the latter, then it would be considered perfectly valid for it to be subsidized in some way, as are roads, airports, landlines and sewers.

I think you could make a good case for internet as public infrastructure. The question is cost and speed of access and whether or not the access should be free or subsidised.

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Subsidizing the Internet would give the government more excuses to monitor it (and frankly, that would be a reasonable argument to make) and to create laws like SOPA that would block access to certain sites that the government doesn't like (for whatever reason). Who would want that future?

A very good point. Anyone know if this happens anywhere already?

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Subsidizing the Internet would give the government more excuses to monitor it (and frankly, that would be a reasonable argument to make) and to create laws like SOPA that would block access to certain sites that the government doesn't like (for whatever reason). Who would want that future?

 

I hate to break the news, but they're monitoring it anyway.

 

 

In the event, if the internet speed was to be considered an infrastructure requirement, the funding could well take place at a state level, not federal. 

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I hate to break the news, but they're monitoring it anyway.

They sure do, but if you undermine the arguments against it, there's no chance of stopping future attempts to monitor and control it.

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Subsidizing the Internet would give the government more excuses to monitor it (and frankly, that would be a reasonable argument to make) and to create laws like SOPA that would block access to certain sites that the government doesn't like (for whatever reason). Who would want that future?

 

It would help millions of people. Stop the fear mongering.

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It would help millions of people.

A vague, amorphous quote at best. Help millions of people do what? Have easy access to porn? Look at funny cat pictures? Play World of Warcraft in the comfort of their own home? Live more comfortable lives without actually doing anything?

If you were to make a case for educational usage, make a case for having more Internet access in libraries, which they (mostly) do, and have been doing since the late 1990s.

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I'd be okay with treating Internet as a form of a utility.  It's accessible to everyone, but would this drop the price?  I don't know.

 

high speed internet isn't a "Right" people should have, it's something that's nice to have.  In my case, Netflix, YouTube, and school work.

 

 

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If internet is to be considered infrastructure, the question isn't whether the public and businesses have a "right" to it, it's whether the applicable polity benefits in the aggregate to a degree that supports some amount of centralized funding.  I don't have a "right" to a sewer system but I still have to pay taxes to ensure one is provided.  

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As an aside, I would gladly have the internet treated as infrastructure and tax-funded if that were the price to pay to retain net neutrality.  

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A vague, amorphous quote at best. Help millions of people do what? Have easy access to porn? Look at funny cat pictures? Play World of Warcraft in the comfort of their own home? Live more comfortable lives without actually doing anything?

If you were to make a case for educational usage, make a case for having more Internet access in libraries, which they (mostly) do, and have been doing since the late 1990s.

 

It would give the access of information to everyone. There are certain interests that are against that, I guess you're in that category?

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It would give the access of information to everyone. There are certain interests that are against that, I guess you're in that category?

everyone should have easy access to water, but that doesn't mean it souks be given away for free.

everything has a cost associated to it.

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everyone should have easy access to water, but that doesn't mean it souks be given away for free.

everything has a cost associated to it.

Compare the cost of water to Internet. Also water has the infrastructure built everywhere whereas Internet doesn't.

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Not trying to Hi jack this thread but earlier this year my mother traveled to Europe and called me from her cell phone to mine. The  clarity was amazing compared to when we used the same phones from site to site in the US. You have to wonder why and the most reasonable explanation I can think of is that other countries do have better service whether it be phone or internet infrastructure. I don't think the size of our country is the only reason there has to be more to it.

 

HTX

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Compare the cost of water to Internet. Also water has the infrastructure built everywhere whereas Internet doesn't.

 

Apples to oranges.  Water is a necessity of life.  We have to have it.  Internet is a nice to have.  We can live without it.

 

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Not trying to Hi jack this thread but earlier this year my mother traveled to Europe and called me from her cell phone to mine. The  clarity was amazing compared to when we used the same phones from site to site in the US. You have to wonder why and the most reasonable explanation I can think of is that other countries do have better service whether it be phone or internet infrastructure. I don't think the size of our country is the only reason there has to be more to it.

 

HTX

 

The NSA pays a premium for the infrastructure to make sure the call quality is high for international calls so they can listen in.

 

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Not trying to Hi jack this thread but earlier this year my mother traveled to Europe and called me from her cell phone to mine. The  clarity was amazing compared to when we used the same phones from site to site in the US. You have to wonder why and the most reasonable explanation I can think of is that other countries do have better service whether it be phone or internet infrastructure. I don't think the size of our country is the only reason there has to be more to it.

 

HTX

 

That is correct that Europe in many cases has notably better mobile call quality.  And while we're discussing infrastructure, better road quality too.  Infrastructure in the US is nothing to write home about, as it were.  

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That is correct that Europe in many cases has notably better mobile call quality. And while we're discussing infrastructure, better road quality too. Infrastructure in the US is nothing to write home about, as it were.

never mind the fact that their countries are small geographically compared to, say Texas.

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never mind the fact that their countries are small geographically compared to, say Texas.

 

I can't quite get behind an argument that runs "The US is physically large.  Let's settle for second-rate infrastructure."

 

I would qualify this by adding that it is of course impossible to generalize as to the quality of infrastructure.  But that said, there are areas in which the US could do better, and should do better, size notwithstanding.

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What, exactly, are we arguing? Should the United States nationalize broadband Internet? Should they wire up houses for potential Internet access?

 

I can imagine a scenario in which the U.S. wires up potential Internet access for IPs to charge access for, then in exchange for doing the heavy lifting of actually wiring up the houses, help ensure net neutrality, but I'm afraid that's not what people are talking about here.

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I can't quite get behind an argument that runs "The US is physically large. Let's settle for second-rate infrastructure."

I would qualify this by adding that it is of course impossible to generalize as to the quality of infrastructure. But that said, there are areas in which the US could do better, and should do better, size notwithstanding.

not saying is an excuse, it's a reality.

The roads, electricity, and sewage trashes time and money to install and upgrade, it takes money and time.

As far as cell and broadband goes, they are maintained by private entities who have to keep costs reasonable to have a profit.

When electric and phone services became available, they simply didn't blanket the entire country overnight. It took decades.

Yes, cell service is National, but do guy realize how many dead zones there are between cities?

How much water is subsidized in parts of the country because it is just too expensive?

Yes, it socks to be behind in certain technologies and services, but a company can't be put in the red so everyone can access YouTube or the can text their girlfriend selfies.

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An article about Chatanooga's investment in high-speed internet.  Apparently they saw more value than watching youtube.

 

Fast Internet Is Chattanooga’s New LocomotiveIn the 21st century, it is the Internet that passes through Chattanooga, and at lightning speed.

“Gig City,” as Chattanooga is sometimes called, has what city officials and analysts say was the first and fastest — and now one of the least expensive — high-speed Internet services in the United States. For less than $70 a month, consumers enjoy an ultrahigh-speed fiber-optic connection that transfers data at one gigabit per second. That is 50 times the average speed for homes in the rest of the country, and just as rapid as service in Hong Kong, which has the fastest Internet in the world.

It takes 33 seconds to download a two-hour, high-definition movie in Chattanooga, compared with 25 minutes for those with an average high-speed broadband connection in the rest of the country. Movie downloading, however, may be the network’s least important benefit.

“It created a catalytic moment here,” said Sheldon Grizzle, the founder of the Company Lab, which helps start-ups refine their ideas and bring their products to market. “The Gig,” as the taxpayer-owned, fiber-optic network is known, “allowed us to attract capital and talent into this community that never would have been here otherwise.”

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/04/technology/fast-internet-service-speeds-business-development-in-chattanooga.html?ref=business&_r=1

 

 

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Ah, but the difference is a city by city approach, which helps keeps costs down and has more community input, as well as a "test run" to see how it would fare elsewhere.

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