President Obama Wants Cheaper, Faster Broadband for Everyone

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President Obama Wants Cheaper, Faster Broadband for Everyone

The President's broadband initiatives will be a key topic during his forthcoming State of the Union address.

After making his stance on net neutrality crystal clear, President Obama is tackling the challenge of broadband Internet access in the United States. Not only does POTUS want it cheaper, but he wants it faster, and seemingly with less state-level red tape.

In a plan that will be laid out in detail tomorrow at a state of the Union preview rally, the President will focus on several key points (also laid out on the White House website) for accomplishing his plan for cheaper Internet tubes. Along with calling for an end to state-specific laws that might hinder broadband competition, the President will start aggressively advocating for "local choice in broadband," like the municipal broadband networks found in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

To further the local broadband movement, President Obama will host a Community Broadband Summit this Summer, where "mayors and county commissioners from around the nation who are joining this movement for broadband solutions and economic revitalization."

POTUS Internet Speeds 310x

Along with bolstering existing local broadband networks, a new BroadbandUSA initiative will offer tech support to communities rolling out such services, host workshops, and offer support in "infrastructure planning, financing, construction, and operations across many types of business models. Along with the outlined support, the Department of Agriculture will be rebooting its broadband loan program, which helps rural carriers with financing.

Lastly, President Obama is calling for the feds to do some red tape-trimming of their own, specifically "to remove all unnecessary regulatory and policy barriers to broadband build-out and competition..." Part of his proposal on the federal level will also see the creation of a Broadband Opportunity Council, which will bring several government agencies together "with the singular goal of speeding up broadband deployment and promoting adoptions for our citizens." The BOC will also take public comment on certain moves, similar to the FCC.

The best way to sum this up? The President wants more federal money in broadband rollout, and wants less restrictions on competition, especially competition formed by local government entities. Are you buying? Or selling? Let us know on the forums.

Source: WhiteHouse.gov

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The President fails to understand where "cheaper faster" anything comes from. And that it is universally never from "more government rules and regulations". You want cheaper and faster internet? Instead of declaring it a public utility that allows local monopolies to overcharge and establish crony fiefdoms ala Comcast, instead shatter the local monopolies and let vendors compete to each house.

Interesting ideas. I would love nothing more than all he says to happen, but I can't think of one thing government bureaucracy has ever fixed. Too many hands in the pot already, putting more in there hardly seems like the right answer. We'll see though, I'll remain optimistic.

Uh, huh. My guess is the technology would end up being out dated before they get half done with the project. Then, since the bill is already pasted and money involved, they would have to keep going and laying unnecessary, out of date tech down that costs more money than the newer, better tech. By the time they actually finish the tech will be so out of date it will actually be a hindrance and require another contract to remove it all.

I how all the conservatives are trying to turn an effort to improve the US' abysmal internet speeds into a bad thing, because they irrationally hate Obama. Trying is better than doing nothing, people.

Haru17:
I how all the conservatives are trying to turn an effort to improve the US' abysmal internet speeds into a bad thing, because they irrationally hate Obama. Trying is better than doing nothing, people.

The problem is always in the method. Promoting municipal broadband is something that moderate conservatives would likely agree to. On the other hand, inventing a new oversight committee (like we need any more of those) will be ineffective at best and further complicate the problem at worst. Asking states to overturn their broadband laws is similarly ineffective, and he doesn't have the clout to get Congress to threaten to pull funding to back up the threat (and conservatives tend to hate when Congress does that).

All in all, while he can say that it'd be nice to have, there's really next to nothing he can do to affect change without Congress, and creating a new regulatory board will not end well.

Really, nobody who is sane will say that the objective of faster, more accessible internet is an inherently bad thing. The problem, as always, is how to get it.

deth2munkies:
The problem, as always, is how to get it.

An excellent point, which begs us to examine how broadband is currently spreading, and improving in the United States.

Right now, the only areas where established ISP powers are offering gigabit broadband are areas where limited competition (Google Fiber) are offering it. This is too slow of a pace to tolerate. While much of the President's plan focuses on rural expansion, I think he and I feel the same way about broadband: the current model is failing, so we need to try something new.

How about breaking up monopolies that control broadband infrastructure to begin with. It would be nice if some of these anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws were actually upheld.

aawww he's trying to explain stuff XD

Baresark:
Interesting ideas. I would love nothing more than all he says to happen, but I can't think of one thing government bureaucracy has ever fixed. Too many hands in the pot already, putting more in there hardly seems like the right answer. We'll see though, I'll remain optimistic.

Considering that it's more profitable for the cable cartel to spend money on preventing others from laying improved infrastructure rather than improving it themselves, the U.S. ISP market is already in the worst case scenario, short of total collapse.

What I'm saying, is that it would be quite a feat for Obama to actually make the situation worse than it already is.
The private market certainly won't fix the issue.

Atmos Duality:

Considering that it's more profitable for the cable cartel to spend money on preventing others from laying improved infrastructure rather than improving it themselves, the U.S. ISP market is already in the worst case scenario, short of total collapse.

What I'm saying, is that it would be quite a feat for Obama to actually make the situation worse than it already is.
The private market certainly won't fix the issue.

...and THAT, more than anything, is the key point everyone should keep in mind.

Man, how I wish the Australian government would have that attitude towards the internet as opposed to "copper wires work fine".
Just moved to Canberra (Australia's capital city) and am loving the "blazing fast" 2.5Mbps.

What's shocked me is that there's not more comments on such a subject. It would seem something that would effect gamers and what not.

harvz:

Just moved to Canberra (Australia's capital city) and am loving the "blazing fast" 2.5Mbps.

That's still faster than mine. I get 2.5 Mbps if I'm lucky, no other cable company is working on another house on the street, and my parents aren't using anything online. The best part, we get to pay about $110 a month for that. :D
The average speed for is use 1-1.5 honestly, and if we call to complain to our ISP, they say that it must be on our end and to send a technician over would cost $50. That is one of 2 ISPs that are available in my entire city, but hell at least I don't have Comcast. You tell them to send a technician over and you'll be lucky if they show up in that month.

and i wish that Obama would actually do at least half of what he talks big about. i guess neither of us are getting our wishes.

Also lol at his graph thinking that average person in new york has access to 500mbps.

faefrost:
The President fails to understand where "cheaper faster" anything comes from. And that it is universally never from "more government rules and regulations". You want cheaper and faster internet? Instead of declaring it a public utility that allows local monopolies to overcharge and establish crony fiefdoms ala Comcast, instead shatter the local monopolies and let vendors compete to each house.

because letting vendors compete without regulation has worked so great in the past, right?

The ONLY way to make things better at this point is to force the ISPs to do their job well, because obviuosly self regulation does not work.

Baresark:
Interesting ideas. I would love nothing more than all he says to happen, but I can't think of one thing government bureaucracy has ever fixed. Too many hands in the pot already, putting more in there hardly seems like the right answer. We'll see though, I'll remain optimistic.

too many hands where? the US regulation of companies hasnt been laxer since the 20s and remmeber what happened back then? (hint: it starts with the word great)

Kameburger:
How about breaking up monopolies that control broadband infrastructure to begin with. It would be nice if some of these anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws were actually upheld.

BUt upholding laws that are contrary to corporate interests is not american! where is your patriotism!?

Devin Connors:
Along with the outlined support, the Department of Agriculture will be rebooting its broadband loan program, which helps rural carriers with financing.

I'm curious about this. Because I live way out in the sticks, and our Internet providers are AT&T and Time Warner, literally two of the biggest Internet providers in the country. They don't need "help"; they need to be bitch slapped and told to upgrade their damn lines or else. Is it different for other people? Are there still "baby Bills" out there that haven't yet been swallowed back up by a national carrier?

Kameburger:
How about breaking up monopolies that control broadband infrastructure to begin with. It would be nice if some of these anti-trust and anti-monopoly laws were actually upheld.

I'm not convinced that this would really fix anything. Even after the breakup of AT&T back in the '80s, all we got was a bunch of local phone companies that still held monopolies in their own areas, because that's kind of how telecommunication systems had to work back then, and in the meantime could only afford to keep up the infrastructure in proportion to how wealthy their customers were, much like how poor parts of the country have shitty schools because they're locally funded. (And then went on to get bought back up by AT&T once the government's back was turned and yet still haven't upgraded their lines in rural areas; see above.) And it's a bit hard to break up local monopolies since there's still only one line for each service. Maybe a system where the actual lines are owned and maintained by the government just like the poles they're strung on, but the switcher at the "last leg" is set up to connect to any ISP that has a presence in the area. That could end up cutting back even further from two or three lines to just the one, doing away with analog land lines and forcing DSL providers to switch to cable.

Came here for the inevitable complaints about Obama/regulation etc, wasn't disappointed.

harvz:
Man, how I wish the Australian government would have that attitude towards the internet as opposed to "copper wires work fine".
Just moved to Canberra (Australia's capital city) and am loving the "blazing fast" 2.5Mbps.

I used to be on the Southside and I only had 2.5Mbps uploads, but now I live in Gungahlin and I get 10Mbps downloads (still only 1Mbps uploads though) on the cheapest NBN plan with iiNet. I hope they finish the rest of Canberra on fibre and not the string-can NBN they're proposing instead...

This will always be relevant so long as telecommunications continue as they are. Substitute "cable" in for "phone" and it works just as well.

I'm on ATT right now because the only alternative is Comcast so ATT is the closest thing to a "lesser" evil.

wow, free school, and faster cheaper internet, what other nice stuff is he going to talk about next? handjob robots?

Instead of applauding pres obama for launching a new initiative that benefits gamers, we have a thread full of cynics criticizing anything they can think of about the man. Obama has tried to improve many things and often times the limiting factor is the republican party outright refusing to help him because preventing obama success > helping america.

Geez, I can tell from the video how being a president really affected the guy. I remember when he was on the campaign, he looked quite young for his age, looking like late 20's early 30's. Now almost near the end of his second term, he looks like he's in his late 50's. Take a before and after, and you can show kids that when they say they want to be president. Perhaps we will never have a gay president, not because of homophobia, but because they want to stay fabulous, and being president won't help that (apologies to anyone offended by that).

On topic, Either the city I live in has exceptional internet (Houston), or if it like many of the lower places, I don't seem to have problems with the internet. I only now just got a laptop for PC games, but so far the longest it's taken me is 30 minutes to download something (Bioshock, RE4, and Dishonored). When it comes to just regular internet usage, it seems to be fine.

Is there a need to increase speed overall? I can understand cheaper internet, seeing how the world relies on it and being cheaper is good, but does it need to be faster for reasons I don't understand? I can maybe see areas that have exceptionally low speed to be improved, but from my understanding, the city internet speed should be fine enough for regular use.

faefrost:
The President fails to understand where "cheaper faster" anything comes from. And that it is universally never from "more government rules and regulations". You want cheaper and faster internet? Instead of declaring it a public utility that allows local monopolies to overcharge and establish crony fiefdoms ala Comcast, instead shatter the local monopolies and let vendors compete to each house.

Hello, Europe here; you're wrong. Competition is almost always a good thing, but only with adequate regulatory oversight, most EU countries strike a balance(many with the emphasis on the regulatory aspect) and the result is much faster broadband at fairly reasonable prices - you pay as much as three times what we do for the same speeds for fast connections. In the UK, two of the "big three" broadband providers(Virgin and BT) are substantially upgrading their networks on a regular schedule - I pay the same(accounting for inflation) for my broadband package as I did when I first moved to Virgin a decade ago, and in that time my connection has gone from 35Mb to 100Mb at no cost to me.

Now, whether classifying it as a utility or not is necessary in the case of the USA, I'm not 100% on, but from what I've been reading on the matter doing so may be the only practical way the Federal government has to do the things you suggest they do. You also seem to be slightly misunderstanding the President's intent; the classification as a utility for regulatory purposes and the setting up of locally owned and managed microproviders(something I thought a small-state type would be in favour of) are two distinct things; he's not suggesting nationalising broadband infrastructure and provision, rather classifying it as a utility gives them authority to impose competition even in cases where State laws have been mangled by industry lobbyists, and the local microproviders give communities the chance to set up an entity to compete in areas where there is presently only a single provider(because the companies have a tacit agreement not to compete) or places where companies don't consider it "worth it" to set up; there's no suggestion I've seen of replacing the present corporate monopoly with a public one.

Shamanic Rhythm:
Came here for the inevitable complaints about Obama/regulation etc, wasn't disappointed.
I used to be on the Southside and I only had 2.5Mbps uploads, but now I live in Gungahlin and I get 10Mbps downloads (still only 1Mbps uploads though) on the cheapest NBN plan with iiNet. I hope they finish the rest of Canberra on fibre and not the string-can NBN they're proposing instead...

As someone from Sydney I can't believe there's still anyone under 9mb, even my friends with their 'slow' net get atleast 12. Average is 20mb. I had 9mb way back in 05, went upto 30 around 08 and now have 100mb/s and have for years. Stranger still being Canberra, would have expected the politicians to ensure their net speed was top rate.

Atmos Duality:

Baresark:
Interesting ideas. I would love nothing more than all he says to happen, but I can't think of one thing government bureaucracy has ever fixed. Too many hands in the pot already, putting more in there hardly seems like the right answer. We'll see though, I'll remain optimistic.

Considering that it's more profitable for the cable cartel to spend money on preventing others from laying improved infrastructure rather than improving it themselves, the U.S. ISP market is already in the worst case scenario, short of total collapse.

What I'm saying, is that it would be quite a feat for Obama to actually make the situation worse than it already is.
The private market certainly won't fix the issue.

Thing is, there's plenty of regulations in-place keeping the super ISPs in power, and when there's not they just buy out legislatures or congressmen to make new ones. Read this for a start. Heck, even without getting into the fact that time warner/comcast/etc. can pretty much sue any little guy they want out of business due to their insane profit margins, did you know that 40% of the US has laws on the books making it nigh-impossible to start a new broadband company? And when google fiber started showing up, cable company executives tried create a bill which would have made it illegal for a town to start offering broadband to its residents, or partnering with a company to do so? Or did you know AT&T is legally allowed to forbid Google Fiber from use its polls for the wiring?

"Google has the right to attach to our poles, under federal law, as long as it qualifies as a telecom or cable provider, as they themselves acknowledge," AT&T Public Affairs VP Tracy King told the American-Statesman. "We will work with Google when they become qualified, as we do with all such qualified providers."

source

You are correct that at present the private market can't fix the system, but that's because the cable companies have lobbied for years to stack the deck against any form of competition ever arising. Scrap three decades worth of bought and paid for legislation and let competition start happening and things would improve overnight. And I mean literally overnight. You know what's happened everywhere google fiber or some other large source of competition started sniffing around over the last few years? The cable companies instantly contact all their customers in the area and the existing networks are suddenly magically able to support higher speeds for the same or lower price.

Super Cyborg:
Is there a need to increase speed overall? I can understand cheaper internet, seeing how the world relies on it and being cheaper is good, but does it need to be faster for reasons I don't understand? I can maybe see areas that have exceptionally low speed to be improved, but from my understanding, the city internet speed should be fine enough for regular use.

I'm currently downloading a game. Download speed is averaging 400KB/s. Yes, 400 kilobytes per second. It has 9.61 GB to go - so I won't be playing for another 5 hours at best.

So yes, faster speeds would be welcome; where I live is in a Comcast monopoly zone, so the only way that's happening is if some competition shows up (something that hasn't happened in over 10 years) or the government intervenes somehow.

Strazdas:

Baresark:
Interesting ideas. I would love nothing more than all he says to happen, but I can't think of one thing government bureaucracy has ever fixed. Too many hands in the pot already, putting more in there hardly seems like the right answer. We'll see though, I'll remain optimistic.

too many hands where? the US regulation of companies hasnt been laxer since the 20s and remmeber what happened back then? (hint: it starts with the word great)

That is a complete fallacy. I would never argue that there hasn't been some laxing of really old policies in certain industries, but the idea that US regulation is lower than it's almost ever been is just plain wrong. Every single year congress votes on more regulation for more burgeoning industries. Just because a few outdated and unused banking regulations have been taken off of the books does not mean that it's less regulated than ever in the US, there is more net regulation than there ever has been in the US.

Also, I'm not sitting here blaming regulation, I'm blaming the whole bureaucratic process, which is long and winding and suffers from more red tape than currently exists in the industry. I said I was optimistic about his ideas, but bureaucracy has never made anything better that I have ever seen. It doesn't help new industry, it doesn't make it easier to set up shop, it makes it harder. It will make new rules that most likely work to edge out competition because they have to be observed by everyone, more fees that will drive rates up and the little bit of competition that prospers will probably end up making things only cents cheaper rather than noticeably cheaper and affordable.

But you seem to at least think you know better than I do since you read on the internet that the world financial woes is due directly to the fact we stopped regulating any of our industries.

PS. That post sounds way more serious than it's intended to be. I'm not that invested in this. I'm lucky, I live in NJ and my internet is pretty damn great. Just imaging I said it all in Emperor Palpatine's voice.

Given that Obama appointed Tom Wheeler as head of the FCC, I'd say that his position on Net Neutrality isn't very clear at all. He wants to say the right things, but keep the corporations happier than the people.

That said, I don't know what the excuse of the UK government is...

ailurus:

Thing is, there's plenty of regulations in-place keeping the super ISPs in power, and when there's not they just buy out legislatures or congressmen to make new ones.
*snip*
You are correct that at present the private market can't fix the system, but that's because the cable companies have lobbied for years to stack the deck against any form of competition ever arising.

I know. Believe me, I know better than I'm letting on, because I worked in the networking business here for several years.
The main reason I didn't elaborate is because I didn't want to start on a rant so late into the evening and lose sleep.

I've seen the local carrier hardware, I've seen the backbone throughput, and I know that ANY of these scumbag companies could easily provide over three times the current speed for my region without having to replace any hardware; let alone the two order of magnitude increases in speed that fiber optic could offer...if anyone were actually allowed to offer it in my region.

Breaking up the monopoly would only be step one. Regulation of the lines and carrier regions would be step 2, because that's what currently allows the cable cartels to effectively keep their little fiefdoms.

Sounds good.

Also sounded good the last three bloody times he said it.

Wake me up when he stops saying how nice things could be and actually gets around to doing them.

Obviously a good idea, although it reeks of 'give the plebs what they want to distract them from cops shooting black people and other important issues'

FogHornG36:
wow, free school, and faster cheaper internet, what other nice stuff is he going to talk about next? handjob robots?

That sounds... risky.

And here we have a topic where Obama proposes less regulations messing with the process, and more federal money set aside for infrastructure upgrades (This is a big deal, most companies wont upgrade unless someone else is footing the bill, regardless of end user experiences) and everyone complains.

America is a magical place and their kneejerk opposition to seemingly everything the man proposes is an enigma to me.

Li Mu:
Obviously a good idea, although it reeks of 'give the plebs what they want to distract them from cops shooting black people and other important issues'

So I'd like a detailed explanation of how these two issue are at all related to each other. One would require a massive overhaul on my countries impossibly shitty criminal justice system from the ground up. This change that would be resisted by the really ignorant voter base that is easily convinced that police can do no wrong by conservative news outlets. I've never felt so sickened with my own countrymen than during this recent tragedies. (both emotional and legal).

The other is a massive change to telecommunication monopoly idiocy that, in the end, will fall short of having any impact on the bought and sold qualities of a American politics.

The first I believe conflating these two issues is a oddly off topic Red Herring argument, not that you're wrong but relating the two issues isn't very honest so I had to point it out.

(From this point is wildly off topic but addressing Li Mu since I'm guessing we are off the same mind on the issues brought up)

The cops in this country need a massive kick in the ass, policies involving police shooting need to be scraped and rewritten to include standing a real trial for acts of obvious (often on camera) murder rather than hidden, backdoor deals involving specially selected "Grand Juries" often, if not always, made up of police selected cronies. We need to start looking into gun control if not just gun restriction so we have no need for an armed, militant police force. I can't suggest this though because if I do I'm some kinda communist, hippy, queer-liberal according to the apparent majority over here in the freakin' wild west...

Notation: I basically all of those things so I dunno maybe redneck types are just really good at noticing the gay, pot smoking, socialists in their society... But I doubt it.

faefrost:
The President fails to understand where "cheaper faster" anything comes from. And that it is universally never from "more government rules and regulations".

*multiple European nations burst out into laughter*

Oh America, will you ever learn? What I find especially funny about your post is that the article literally quotes "remove all unnecessary regulatory and policy barriers" and yet there's your post. Good one on that.

Regardless, I hope that things change for my American friends. The internet situation seems indeed pretty screwed up over there. I thought Belgium was bad compared to The Netherlands but the US takes it a whole new level it seems.

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