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ECT News Community   »   E-Commerce Times Talkback   »   You can't have it both ways.



Re: FCC to Say Yay or Nay to Free Nationwide Broadband
Posted by: Leslie Cauley 2008-12-02 10:12:41
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Free broadband for America has inched closer to reality: The plan, after two years of debate, is finally on the calendar for a full vote by the Federal Communications Commission. Assuming the plan is approved at the FCC's Dec. 18 meeting, one of the agency's last before President-elect Barack Obama takes office, free broadband could become reality within a year. First proposed in 2006, the plan calls for a chunk of airwaves called "AWS-3" -- now idle -- to be used for wireless broadband across the USA.


What would you do if offered free broadband?
Posted by: dwjoutra 2008-12-02 10:28:22 In reply to: Leslie Cauley
Realistically speaking, if any of us were offered the choice between free broadband (Any broadband is fast enough for most people I've found)and the current paid broadband, we'd ditch the current monthy bill in an instant and do all our calling (IP phones), web browsing, music downloading, texting, etc over it.

Which would, of course, cause an immediate drain on the "free" ISP's resources and dry up their income. So for it to succeed in real life, I suspect there would have to be some limits placed on it in order to make it worth it for those of us able to affort it to pay up for the "premium channel" so that those truly in need or without access (poor and / or rural) could have access.

As to what would be fair limiting factors, my opinion would be something on the order of weekly download limits (x GBs worth) any use above which automatically generates charges or a reduction on the speed of your pipe. Thus it would quickly become economically cheaper to use the usual paid broadband if you are a bandwidth hog (Music, videos, you tube, etc) while allowing reasonable use (web browsing, shopping online, banking online, homework assignments)for the rest.

I would suspect that geographic / economic limits (ie. not free if at least 2 decent ISPs in your area with low cost plans) might also be needed to keep the "free" band out of cities that are well supplied with ISPS and actually paying for all this and keep it mostly in use where there is a need, but not much income (rural areas, less traveled roads, economically depressed areas, etc).

There's no perfect solution and I personally would love "free" broadband, but realistically to be fair I suspect something like what I mentioned above is really going to be needed.

You can't have it both ways.
Posted by: Skye 2008-12-12 17:43:49 In reply to: dwjoutra
This is a real sore spot with me. I can not feel sorry for these companies that have for years only had an interest in finding news ways to drain our pocketbooks. They always lure you in with an unlimited offer than they want to penalize you for using it as offered. I started with the internet back in 1986 when there was by comparison a very few people on the net. I communicated through a college based hub called “The Well”. It was pretty expensive for me to use because you paid by the packet and I had to pay long distant fees. It was novel. It was techie and it was interesting. Everyone was exactly who they said they were and outside of a bit of yelling (All caps) and a bit of flaming (much milder by comparison in those days) everything and everyone was civil. I will never forget the turning point in internet communication. I was given a new super speed 300 baud modem as a gift. Included in the packaging was an offer for Q Link; a revolutionary way of communicating over the internet. It was unlimited usage and much cheaper. It was a three month free offer so you had nothing to lose for trying. We didn’t know it at the time but the flood gates had been opened. Q Link became America Online and the rest of the history is still being written. They always promise you the moon and then slam you back to earth whenever you reach for it. We are not talking rocket science here. People were content, not ecstatic about there regular TV sets and their free reception. You wanted better you bought a bigger and more elaborate appliance but this had no affect on the reception that your neighbor received. The problem with the use of free reception only comes into play when the greedy companies try to control the source and to keep you from receiving the transmissions unless you pay them for the signal. Right now air is still free and so should the air waves. The cost should be and the payment should go to those that actually broadcast the signals not to those that attempt to restrict and control them. Maybe I am over simplifying but I know that you can’t have it both ways. You can not charge people for unlimited service and then penalize them or arbitrarily limit their service. At least that is how I feel about it.
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