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posted by martyb on Saturday January 23 2016, @08:32AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the what-speed-is-their-connection? dept.

In an absolute surprise to nobody, six Senators came out today saying something along the lines of 5Mbps should be enough for anybody:

Today's letter from Steve Daines (R-MT), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Cory Gardner (R-CO) is almost hilarious in its deep misunderstanding about how people actually use the internet and what they need. The senators say that the 25Mbps standard is unnecessary because, for example, Netflix only recommends a download speed of 5Mbps for HD video, and Amazon only 3.5Mbps. (The recommendation for 4K video from Netflix is actually 25Mbps, but we suppose lawmakers agree that nobody should enjoy Ultra HD content yet.)

The senators say they are "concerned that this arbitrary 25/3 Mbps benchmark fails to accurately capture what most Americans consider broadband," and that "the use of this benchmark discourages broadband providers from offering speeds at or above the benchmark." If these sound exactly like talking points from Verizon, Comcast, and other major ISPs, that's because they are: Comcast loves to tell Americans that they don't need faster internet, and ISPs join together every time they are about to be regulated to say that regulations will chill their future investments. Ars Technica reported that Republicans in Congress echoed ISP spin about network investments in hearings over net neutrality, but then just three months after the net neutrality rules took effect last year, Comcast posted earnings that showed its capital expenditures actually increased by 11 percent. So the idea that creating a standard will discourage ISPs from meeting that standard is total nonsense.

What about you lot? Does your connection meet the new broadband definition? Mine matches the download side but fails by two thirds on the upload side.


Original Submission

Related Stories

Politics: FCC Guards Eject Reporter 37 comments

John M. Donnelly, a senior writer at CQ Roll Call, said he was trying to talk with FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly one-on-one after a news conference when two plainclothes guards pinned him against a wall with the backs of their bodies.

Washington Post

“Not only did they get in between me and O’Rielly but they put their shoulders together and simultaneously backed me up into the wall and pinned me to the wall for about 10 seconds just as I started to say, “Commissioner O’Rielly, I have a question,” Donnelly said Friday.

Donnelly said he was stopped long enough to allow O’Rielly to walk away.

Los Angeles Times

Donnelly, who also happens to be chair of the National Press Club Press Freedom team, said he was then forced out of the building after being asked why he had not posed his question during the news conference.

O'Rielly apologized to Donnelly on Twitter, saying he didn't recognize Donnelly in the hallway. "I saw security put themselves between you, me and my staff. I didn't see anyone put a hand on you. I'm sorry this occurred."

Politico

According to the publication for which the reporter works (archived copy),

Senators, including Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley, are warning the Federal Communications Commission about its treatment of reporters after a CQ Roll Call reporter was manhandled Thursday.

“The Federal Communications Commission needs to take a hard look at why this happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again. As The Washington Post pointed out, it’s standard operating procedure for reporters to ask questions of public officials after meetings and news conferences,” the Iowa Republican said. “It happens all day, every day. There’s no good reason to put hands on a reporter who’s doing his or her job.”

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  • (Score: 0, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @08:40AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @08:40AM (#293550)

    People do not need faster Internet. Greedy asshole torrent freaks want faster Internet.

    Children are expected to learn the difference between need and want. Grow the fuck up or get off my fucking lawn.

    • (Score: 2, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @08:43AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @08:43AM (#293551)

      But I NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Mod down the troll for hurting my feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelllllllllings.......

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @09:11AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @09:11AM (#293558)

      There are very few things people truly need. Humans don't even really need human rights at all to simply exist, but many things are needed to live a good life. Network connection speeds that match their intended usage and not being fleeced by local monopolies may be small parts of living a good life.

      Spamming troll comments on a low-volume news aggregator certainly is not part of living a good life.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @09:20AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @09:20AM (#293565)

        Spamming troll comments on a low-volume news aggregator certainly is not part of living a good life.

        And just who the fuck do you think you are to tell me how to enjoy living my life?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @09:38AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @09:38AM (#293575)

          A less shitty Anonymous Coward than you, scum.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @08:48AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @08:48AM (#293552)

    Summary is Flamebait.

    Article is Flamebait.

    "Old people are complacent!" "Young people are demanding!"

    You expect not to have a flame war today? You're the stupid.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @02:41PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @02:41PM (#293616)

      > You're the stupid.

      No you are the stupid, stupid.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by skater on Saturday January 23 2016, @04:27PM

      by skater (4342) on Saturday January 23 2016, @04:27PM (#293637) Journal

      I mentally translated the summary into, "Congresspeople are in the pocket of the industry." Business as usual, then.

      • (Score: 2) by driverless on Saturday January 23 2016, @11:23PM

        by driverless (4770) on Saturday January 23 2016, @11:23PM (#293747)

        Same here. What they're actually showing is remarkable business sense, not stupidity. Comcast and others paid them to say that, and they're earning their keep by saying it. Not saying what they've been paid to would be stupidity, because the supply of contributions would dry up.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @08:57AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @08:57AM (#293555)

    Hahahah! Senators are old people, and old people are no good at anything. So stupid! Hahahahahaha!

    Dude that's so funny like yeah.

    Oh right. The speedtest. Lemmee do one.

    4.32 Mbps down / 1.06 Mbps up

    Da fuk! My ISP be robbin me!! I gotta callz 9/11 on they asses!!!!! WHAT THE fucking FUCK fuck man I don even. SHiiiiiiiit.

  • (Score: 1) by anubi on Saturday January 23 2016, @09:03AM

    by anubi (2828) on Saturday January 23 2016, @09:03AM (#293556) Journal

    Be careful of what you ask for because you might just get it.

    Already, with a pretty sluggish AT&T link, I can be owned before I know what hit me.

    --
    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @09:16AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @09:16AM (#293562)

      Yeah! That's right! Faster consumer Internet means faster hackers! Thank you, citizen, for giving all the evidence the authorities need to cap everyone at 500kbps. None of this Mbps. It's a national security risk now!

      • (Score: 1) by anubi on Sunday January 24 2016, @03:39AM

        by anubi (2828) on Sunday January 24 2016, @03:39AM (#293798) Journal

        I was thinking more down the line of matching a transmission to an engine and differential.

        When they are mismatched, one takes all the burden and breaks. Usually the transmission. Expensive.

        We have been going all-a-gaga over high data transmission speeds, however our internet security and knowing exactly how our stuff works has been sorely lagging, to be exacerbated by all sorts of piss-ass laws restricting public knowledge of how stuff works in the name of "protecting intellectual property".

        There was a time, once, I felt I knew everything needed to run a secure network. There were only a few protocols, and I was privy to the source code of the stack I had - as I usually wrote it. I did not implement ALL of the protocol stack... just the parts I needed to make my datagrams and submit/retrieve them from the router. This is old-school... Jeremy Bentham has a book out there "TCPIP Lean" that shows exactly how to do it.

        When something did not work, it was obvious where it was, as nothing was hidden or protected by "electronic lock" that I was forbidden to probe and some other party, protected by "hold harmless" clauses was supposedly responsible for.

        But things got real complicated real fast, and security went out the window as long as what came back looked pretty to management. One thing they loved is they could have the same thing everyone else had, computer expertise was an off-the-shelf trade-school commodity where race-to-the-bottom mentality was easy to foment, and any concerns for security would fall under someone else's "hold harmless" businesstalk.

        We have all seen the cost of ignorance, whether it be in maintaining your car or maintaining your computer. The computer is far more difficult as there are factions out there who are deliberately trying to break in.

        I stand corrected as my intent was that we really need to - in the worst way - pay a helluva lot more attention to internet security and the spread of malware if we are going to enable faster paths for it to spread.

        --
        "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
    • (Score: 2) by tibman on Saturday January 23 2016, @10:10PM

      by tibman (134) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 23 2016, @10:10PM (#293733)

      Ah, that happens when you live down in a valley. You need an internet pressure reducer installed.

      --
      SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
      • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Sunday January 24 2016, @07:04AM

        by mhajicek (51) on Sunday January 24 2016, @07:04AM (#293841)

        Wouldn't that overpressure give him really fast downloads but really slow uploads?

        --
        The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
  • (Score: 4, Disagree) by GungnirSniper on Saturday January 23 2016, @09:17AM

    by GungnirSniper (1671) on Saturday January 23 2016, @09:17AM (#293563) Journal

    This isn't a free market but an overly-regulated one. Not in the speed-standard sense, but in the wide swaths of ISP monopolies in much of America. In a competitive market ISPs would be trying to offer better, faster service to gain customers. Since there is no competition thanks to regulation, there's no reason to improve things unless more regulations are threatened.

    I'd love to see a campaign contributor breakdown that shows just how far into the pockets these politicians have sunk.

    • (Score: 2) by goody on Saturday January 23 2016, @01:40PM

      by goody (2135) on Saturday January 23 2016, @01:40PM (#293606)

      What regulations specifically are preventing competition? The only regulation-oriented market limitations I can think of are cable company territory franchises. Even then it's limiting carriers from deploying cable service in the area. In general, carriers can still deploy other services (like GPON) in areas where there is existing cable coverage. The still have to deal with municipalities and the normal stuff like right-of-ways and pole attachments. Why isn't GPON everywhere? Why aren't the ILECs offering something more than DSL? It's not regulations or lack of a free market, it's because the economics don't work in a good portion of the US (outside of urban areas).

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by hash14 on Saturday January 23 2016, @01:56PM

      by hash14 (1102) on Saturday January 23 2016, @01:56PM (#293609)

      Just one small and inconvenient fact for you: the United States is the country which has the LEAST REGULATED broadband industry of any developed world. In fact, it is almost ENTIRELY UNREGULATED! Are your broadband providers obligated to resell their infrastructure at wholesale prices? Are there publicly financed competitors? Are there price/profit controls? Of course not - I'd love to know where all this phantom regulation you're talking about is coming from. And how much have your competitors consolidated lately? [1]

      This has absolutely nothing to do with regulations... unless you're referring to state-wide bans on municipal broadband, which makes things _worse_, not better.

      It has only to do with the fact that the barrier to entry is so absurdly high [2]. Go ahead, try and start an ISP business. First, you'll have to build all the infrastructure out (easily costing close to a billion dollars _per city_). And then on top of that, the incumbents have been known to sue any potential competitor to stay out of their territory [3]. And lots of the time, they're frivolous lawsuits aimed entirely at forcing cash-strapped competitors to waste money on legal fees that they don't need - essentially, a form of legal racketeering. And these companies can get away with it of course, because having a loser-pays legal system would fly in the face of the American Right to be a Litigious Asshole.

      The plain and simple truth is that a privately-owned profit-seeking entity cannot responsibly provide a public service. Time and time again, you see that when they have to choose between serving themselves and serving the public, they will screw over the public and defend their profits using whatever means possible. As such, there's no free market - the barrier to entry is too high and there's all kinds of (legal, but unethical) racketeering going on to keep competitors out. If you want the situation to get better, you're going to have to _start_ regulating them, not continuing the status quo of absolute unregulation.

      You can look at the rest of the world for an example - and when you do, you'l realize how far behind you are.

      [1] http://bgr.com/2016/01/19/time-warner-cable-charter-merger-price-increases/ [bgr.com]
      [2] http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/04/one-big-reason-we-lack-internet-competition-starting-an-isp-is-really-hard/ [arstechnica.com]
      [3] http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/08/comcast-allegedly-trying-to-block-centurylink-from-entering-its-territory/ [arstechnica.com]

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by bzipitidoo on Saturday January 23 2016, @03:09PM

        by bzipitidoo (4388) on Saturday January 23 2016, @03:09PM (#293626) Journal

        Look at history too. There are plenty of examples of a market developing into an oligopoly and stagnating, rather than competing and advancing faster and providing better products and service than if there was a publicly controlled option. In particular, highway systems share many properties with networks. The first significant advance in roads since the Middle Ages was the railroad in the late 18th century. Around 1820, improved surfaces for wagon trails were developed: macadam, AKA the gravel road. Cement was also developed in the 1820s, but the idea of concrete took another 50 years, and tarmac (asphalt) was about 1900. Brick roads were impractical, too expensive for any but the most high traffic areas. So railroads had a significant technological edge through the 19th century. There were also canals, but their properties are different enough that the competition between systems was modest.

        Railroads are private corporations. At first, they spread rapidly and competition was fierce. Then, as the market matured, they consolidated, began to evolve into monopolies. And of course, the monopolies played dirty. In the context of the 19th century, the term "robber baron" refers to railroad owners for good reason. What made Theodore Roosevelt such a great president was that he took the side of the people against these monopolists of the Gilded Age, and the railroads were one of his primary targets.

        With the advent of the automobile, private automobile roads began to spring up. There was the Lincoln Highway, Dixie Highway, Jackson Highway, Bee-Line Highway, Grand Army of the Republic Highway, etc. One of their biggest problems was a basic conflict of interest: squeezing travelers for more money by giving them the runaround, profiting from delays. It was total Broken Window Fallacy. Travelers who took the wrong road would need more gas, more meals, might have to spend an extra night on the road, and suffered more wear and tear on their cars, might need more maintenance. There were several responses to this. The AAA took on the task of making accurate road maps. Finally, as public pressure mounted, the federal government took over the highway system to clean up the mess these private companies had made, and to expand into areas that the private road companies had neglected, rolling out the numbered highway system Possibly the private companies lacked resources and time, but maybe these regions weren't profitable enough. Sound familiar?

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @08:30PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @08:30PM (#293704)

        I agree.

        What most people are seeing is what is called regulatory capture.

        Basically thru lots of little deals the companies basically defacto do not compete with each other. All the while saying it is free.

        I have exactly 2 companies to chose my ISP from, AT&T and TWC. I can get earthlink but that is in fact TWC resold (2-3 dollars less). There is no real competition. Why is that? Because both of those companies cut a deal with my city *and* the ones around me to be the single provider for phone and TV.

        So when people talk about regulations they are talking about that contract.

        Basically even *if* someone can pony up the cash to overbuild no one is doing it because of those contracts.

    • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Saturday January 23 2016, @07:02PM

      by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Saturday January 23 2016, @07:02PM (#293673)

      This isn't a free market but an overly-regulated one. Not in the speed-standard sense, but in the wide swaths of ISP monopolies in much of America. In a competitive market ISPs would be trying to offer better, faster service to gain customers. Since there is no competition thanks to regulation, there's no reason to improve things unless more regulations are threatened.

      What makes you think an unregulated industry would have provided fair and balanced pricing due to competition? The profits were not there to build the initial infrastructure without monopoly control and without granting those monopolies initially there would be wide swaths of much of America without any broadband at all. You can claim that regulations need to be overhauled, but to claim that the mythical free market would have made anything better is like claiming a [insert generally poor minority of choice here] Santa would make sure poor kids got just as nice presents as rich kids.

      You can also go to Open Secrets or any of the other websites to see who is donating to who.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @07:48PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @07:48PM (#293688)

      I'll just leave this [wordpress.com] here.

      Kisses!

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @09:32AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @09:32AM (#293572)

    The overwhelmingly positive response to Binge On proves beyond any doubt that T-Mobile customers want 1.5Mbps. If 1.5Mps is good enough for Magenta-blooded Americans, 1.5Mbps is good enough for America.

    Uncarrier up and away!

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Francis on Saturday January 23 2016, @02:57PM

      by Francis (5544) on Saturday January 23 2016, @02:57PM (#293619)

      Nice trolling.

      The positive response to Binge On is mostly because A mobile providers have ridiculous data caps and 2 because they don't realize that all those other videos are being degraded. As in not just the ones that are supported by Binge On.

  • (Score: 2) by Gravis on Saturday January 23 2016, @10:43AM

    by Gravis (4596) on Saturday January 23 2016, @10:43AM (#293586)

    some people say regulation can only be bad or "necessary" but i think regulating what can be advertised as broadband has actually worked out quite well. we do without the regulation (so it's not necessary) but we are much better off with it. this is good regulation!

    now if only we could get congress to regulate themselves to cut the strings of corporate puppets.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by ilPapa on Saturday January 23 2016, @12:33PM

    by ilPapa (2366) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 23 2016, @12:33PM (#293599) Journal

    Steve Daines (R-MT), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Ron Johnson (R-WI), and Cory Gardner (R-CO)

    All those senators have something in common, but I can't quite put my finger on what it is.

    --
    You are still welcome on my lawn.
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by redneckmother on Saturday January 23 2016, @06:16PM

      by redneckmother (3597) on Saturday January 23 2016, @06:16PM (#293663)

      Perhaps it's related to where the senators' fingers are...

      --
      Mas cerveza por favor.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by requerdanos on Saturday January 23 2016, @12:43PM

    by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 23 2016, @12:43PM (#293600) Journal

    My ISP, a local telephone membership corporation [atmc.com] owned by its customers, offers 6Mb/s DSL, and cable internet from 15Mb/s - 100Mb/s. If you live in the right neighborhood, they have gigabit fiber, 1000Mb/s down - 100Mb/s up, for $115/month.

    I am currently on an introductory offer (~$55 instead of ~$70/month) of their 30Mb/s down - 5Mb/s up plan, and I frankly love love love it. When my girlfriend and her daughter are over, we can all comfortably stream separate video, even while downloading other things--and I have found that with that download speed I have been able to try a lot more operating systems/distros because it takes only a few minutes to download an install cd (or dvd!). Netinstalls also go really quickly.

    But is 30Mb/s fast enough? Ha ha, no.... When the trial rate is up in a few months, I plan to go ahead and get the 100Mb/s down - 20Mb/s up, which is the fastest speed available in my area. If and when the fiber hits my apartment complex, I am pretty sure I will get the 1000Mb/s.

    But even the 30Mb/s kind of still boggles my mind; before this new cable modem was installed, I had never had access to internet even half this fast. Now having tried it, I wouldn't want to go any slower than this for sure.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Francis on Saturday January 23 2016, @03:01PM

      by Francis (5544) on Saturday January 23 2016, @03:01PM (#293622)

      30mbps is plenty fast for most people right now. The issue with their assessment is that it assumes that people won't need more bandwidth in the future. 25 years ago 30mbps would have allowed you to fill your entire HDD several times over in a matter of a seconds. Now we expect to be able to be able to stream videos that would have filled a 48MB drive and do so fast enough to have an enjoyable viewing experience.

      But, more than that, right now there's a huge problem of latency and scripts that either intentionally or accidentally delay the site from loading. Last summer I moved up from 7mbps to 40mbps and things don't load much quicker than they did previously. Sure, larger downloads download faster, but most of the surfing is just as slow as it used to be due to the incompetent web designs that are all the rage. Why does any site need dozens of scripts from random 3rd parties to function?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @12:50PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @12:50PM (#293601)

    good lord it's taking ages to upload those hi-res cracks-in-a-dam surveying pictures.
    just wonderin if it will hold together long enough for them all to be uploaded ...
    ...
    also i have to shedule who can when watch tiny tinas hilerious birthday
    party because uploading the vid from my local port 80 server wont
    allow aunt mai and uncle bob to watch the hileraty at the same time ... thank you 1 Mbps
    upload rate.

    not to mention that future occulus content cannot be real-time and aunt mai and uncle
    bob wont be able to see through the hovering-about drone on tiny tinas
    next birthday...

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @05:39PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @05:39PM (#293658)

      Dude, I know a lot of snow fell, but really, you need to get away from the computer for a while and go out and shovel.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by SDRefugee on Saturday January 23 2016, @01:49PM

    by SDRefugee (4477) on Saturday January 23 2016, @01:49PM (#293607)

    When it comes to ANYthing highly technical, its been my observation that ALL 50 Senators are basket-case morons, and have ZERO understanding of exactly what they're voting on..

    --
    America should be proud of Edward Snowden, the hero, whether they know it or not..
    • (Score: 3, Touché) by Bill Dimm on Saturday January 23 2016, @02:33PM

      by Bill Dimm (940) on Saturday January 23 2016, @02:33PM (#293613)

      ALL 50 Senators are basket-case morons

      There are 100 senators (2 per state).

      • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @05:43PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @05:43PM (#293660)

        LOL. That's right, it is the SENATORS who are the stupid ones. Good thing he didn't disparage all 13 Congressmen too!

  • (Score: 2) by useless on Saturday January 23 2016, @03:00PM

    by useless (426) on Saturday January 23 2016, @03:00PM (#293621)

    Does anyone have a link to the actual letter? None of the websites of the senators mention this in their PR/news sections, and Vox Media is a clickbait shithole (the fact they didn't link to it in the article makes me dubious of their claims of it's contents)

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by useless on Saturday January 23 2016, @03:08PM

      by useless (426) on Saturday January 23 2016, @03:08PM (#293625)

      Never mind, found it (http://thehill.com/sites/default/files/letter_to_fcc_chairman_wheeler_-_broadband_definition.pdf)

      And after reading it, it's not as portrayed at all. What a shock.

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by stormreaver on Saturday January 23 2016, @04:36PM

        by stormreaver (5101) on Saturday January 23 2016, @04:36PM (#293640)

        And after reading it, it's not as portrayed at all. What a shock.

        For those who didn't read it: it basically says that the FCC is being inconsistent in how it defines broadband, requiring some entities to provide 25/3 or higher speeds, and allowing other entities to meet the broadband definition with much slower speeds. The letter calls for consistency in application and definition by the FCC.

        So yes, the summary is misleading and inflammatory. It quotes out of context in order to inflame political ideologies, and is a shameful example of political gamesmanship.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by NotSanguine on Saturday January 23 2016, @08:10PM

          For those who didn't read it: it basically says that the FCC is being inconsistent in how it defines broadband, requiring some entities to provide 25/3 or higher speeds, and allowing other entities to meet the broadband definition with much slower speeds. The letter calls for consistency in application and definition by the FCC.

          So yes, the summary is misleading and inflammatory. It quotes out of context in order to inflame political ideologies, and is a shameful example of political gamesmanship.

          Everything you say is correct. However, you left out an important (IMHO) bit of information from the letter. To wit:

          Looking at the market for broadband applications, we are aware of few applications that require download speeds of 25Mbps. Netflix, for example, recommends a download speed of 5 Mbps to receive high definition streaming video, and Amazon recommends a speed of 3.5 Mbps. In addition, according to the FCC own data, the majority of Americans who can purchase 25 Mbps service choose not to.

          This paragraph elucidates several things, to me at least:

          1. The senators involved don't really understand the use cases for internet access, in that even if video streaming is taking place, there may well be a demand for *multiple* concurrent video streams as well as other data intensive connections.

          2. Why is it that most folks don't purchase 25 Mb/sec access (or higher)? Could it be that demand is limited by the abusive TOS, throttling and outrageous overpricing of such offerings? Consider T-Mobile and Verizon's recent activity WRT to unmetered data downloads from sites which *pay* them for such access. If, as the senators imply, that people just don't want/need such high-speed access, then why are these anti-net neutrality offerings so popular?

          In any case, even if TFS attempts to fan the flames of partisan feuds, it seems that these guys really don't get it. Or, if they do, they are acting at the behest of their corporate masters. Just to clarify, if this letter had come from those with 'D' after their names, I wouldn't have been surprised either.

          --
          No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 24 2016, @12:39AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 24 2016, @12:39AM (#293762)

            I thought T-Mobile didn't charge for the data cap exemption, but Verizon did.

          • (Score: 2) by stormreaver on Sunday January 24 2016, @02:22AM

            by stormreaver (5101) on Sunday January 24 2016, @02:22AM (#293778)

            However, you left out an important (IMHO) bit of information from the letter.

            Yes, I did leave that out, since it was already in the summary. And also because I view that as ancillary to the main point of the letter, even though it is clearly a paid-for misdirection by the senators.

            • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Sunday January 24 2016, @04:37AM

              Yes, I did leave that out, since it was already in the summary. And also because I view that as ancillary to the main point of the letter, even though it is clearly a paid-for misdirection by the senators.

              Fair enough. As I said, you were quite correct.

              My motivation wasn't to take you to task for not including that part. If I gave that impression, you have my apologies.

              I wanted to expound on the fact that this was likely, as you say, "clearly a paid-for misdirection by the senators."

              --
              No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @03:57PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @03:57PM (#293634)

    Is it ok if only the Senator's TV can watch a movie?
    (Or if the Senator himslef can't watch the SuperBowl on is new super HD TV?)

    To some extent B/W seems a bottomless pit with more b/w breeding a need for more, more b/w.
    This is natural as classic things like cable TV transition to the Internet.
    (Perhaps much to the dismay of some of these Senator's supporters.)

    How much a house needs depends on how far down this transition curve the folks in the house have traveled.
    I'd bet if he looked closely, even the Senator would find he is past 5Meg.
    It would be fun to actually check and see if they actually walk the walk they talk.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @07:59PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23 2016, @07:59PM (#293693)

    I agree: 5Mbps upload speed should be enough for anybody.

    Oh wait, they were speaking about the download speed!

  • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Saturday January 23 2016, @09:57PM

    by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 23 2016, @09:57PM (#293729) Journal

    Whenever someone tries to blame "big gubmint" and "burr-dun-sum reg-yoo-lation," oddly enough they're usually not understanding that a good deal of the trouble is caused by incestuous mixing of government and business. They get very flame-y when this is pointed out to them.

    This is very much like someone saying that the problem in Flint is the water, full-stop, and getting defensive when it is pointed out that the problem is things IN the water. s/water/government/ and s/things in the water/corruption/ and we have the analagous situation.

    The term we are looking for here is "regulatory capture," the legislative equivalent of a space marine getting a facefull of alien wing-wong. The marine is not the problem; the parasite implanted in him is. But the kneejerk anti-government types can't seem to make this distinction.

    --
    I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
    • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Saturday January 23 2016, @11:50PM

      An excellent point.

      A few passing thoughts on the ideas presented:

      For the cable/last mile broadband market, the problem of regulatory capture is much less a Federal gub'mint issue than it is a state/local gub'mint issue.

      As my 10th grade maths teacher (correctly, IMHO) pointed out, not only is it important to involve yourself in the political process (i.e., voting), as an individual you can have a much bigger impact on state/local gub'mint affairs, since there are fewer people involved.

      However, this also means that it costs less for businesses seeking to dominate a market in these instances as well. I don't have the numbers handy, but I imagine that it's order(s) of magnitude less expensive to buy a city councilperson or a state assemblyperson than it is to purchase a U.S. senator or congressman.

      AFAICT, this hasn't been lost on the likes of Comcast, TWC, AT&T, Verizon and others.

      My point is that, at least in this case, FCC regulation is much less impactful than state/local legislation. So if you're unhappy with the broadband status quo in your area, look to your local/state gub'mint as either the problem or the potential solution, or both.

      So. If you spend your time harping on Federal regulators and the U.S. Congress (of the party you know is in league with Satan's filthy minions; your choice), you might think about spreading your ire onto some of the folks who may be more directly involved in making your life more difficult.

      That's not to say that Federal legislators and regulators aren't also being bought, but as an individual you have much less chance to make a difference by focusing on the scumbags in Washington, DC than you might if you focus on the scumbags in your own state/county/municipality.

      --
      No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
  • (Score: 2) by darnkitten on Sunday January 24 2016, @04:04AM

    by darnkitten (1912) on Sunday January 24 2016, @04:04AM (#293807)

    According to a Library Technology class, I recently attended, there is nowhere in my state that averages even 5Mbps down, which is half the FCC standard for rural communities; My town has FTTP and is supposed to get 5Mbps, but averages 3.6Mbps most days.

    But on the plus side--we finally got cell service restored this month...