Government-mandated ISP ratings, a new copyright symbol and a national poll database - just a taste of what you'll find in the new plan for America's next-generation broadband. The National Broadband Plan has been presented to the US Congress and covers everything from ensuring that schools get decent broadband to providing them …
"the FCC wants to make sure it's advertised honestly."
That would *NEVER* work here.
Neither ASA or Ofcom understands what honesty means, and therefore almost *ALL* advertising (broadband or otherwise) is unnecessarily but intentionally dishonest.
We have, for example. headlines such as "broadband for only £7 per month" and its only when you read all the small print that you find it doesn't include compulsory line rental (even though it's a criminal offence to show a misleading price to a consumer) and worse still, its only an introductory offer, and it's conditional on a contract which lasts for far more than the offer period, so in practice its not possible to get it at the advertised price.
Which is of course why both ASA and Oftel need to be replaced by properly elected ordinary people with the mandate to put their feet firmly down and absolutely prevent all misleading headline prices.
noone in the US government OR the ISPing busness knows what it means either.
I do note that they don't require explicite definition of what the limitations are that they start capping, injecting RSTs, faking pages with DPI...
In short, it's worthless
But they are not advertising Broadband + Telephone line now are they?
Broadband is a feature added to the top of a telephone line. It's like complaining you bought a washing machine, but the price didn't include the electricity to run it. Or buying a car on finance and complaining the cost doesn't include fuel. It's not misleading at all, it assumes that you live at least in the 20th century and have a phone line.
Having this sticker is a stupid idea. It's nothing to do with the ISP what the speed is, it's the geographical location of their customers that rule the speed.
If you choose a provider with higher speeds, all it means is that their customers generally live closer to the telephone exchange.
The Carriers In The USA...
...are just as dishonest in their ads.
The Las Vegas local voice carrier Sprint^H^H^H^H^H^HEmbarq^H^H^H^H^H^HCentury Link advertised a $24.95 "price for life" but the fine print mentioned that price was only when part of a $57 bundle.
Not to be outdone, Cox advertised their $99 bundle as having full featured phone service, the fine print and sotto voice over mentioned that this was the first year only and long distance was 5 cents per minute additional. It's not till you sign up that you discover the "full featured" phone did not have call forwarding.
This is not to demean either service. On the tech side they both do a great job. It's on the business and advertising end that they cheat and lie, though when i whined enough about the phone bundle, sprintembarqcenturytel gave me a phone number that spelled my name!
It'll never happen in the USA, either. I'll bet money on it!
It'll get swept under the rug as soon as the lobbyists start bending the politician's ears and buying them dinner and golf clubs.
The whole thing looks like generally a good idea.
Good for a laugh
I love the demo FCC broadband performance rating tag. They will all say max speed 1000/500 Mbps, average 3/0.3 Mbps. Oh, the 5 stars bit has me rolling. hahahahahahaha good one... cheers.
Still one thing missing...
That broadband rating sticker should also indicate if the ISP uses traffic shaping or treats all traffic as equal. Alongside misleading headline speeds and prices this has to be the biggest con going.
I agree, sad but true, it'll be a cold day in hell when we get such a system. I'm paying £25 a month for up to 25Gb of unshaped traffic on top of my BT bill (which is generally just line rental and a few odds and sods on top). It's worth every penny though we currently struggle to use even 50% of that.
Spot on. The current "regulation" is little more than window dressing.
Adverts are completely misleading and bear no relation to reality, but Ofcom/ASA say "meh" and that's that.
Competition doesn't work if everyone is lying!
That is the daftest thing I've ever heard.
They are not advertising Broadband + Telephone Line for £7 a month. Broadband is a feature that goes on top of a telephone line. They are assuming that you at least live in the 20th century and have a telephone line already.
Anyway, back to the land of people with multiple braincells.
This stickering idea is not properly thought through. All the average speed rating means is that ISP's customers live closer to the telephone exchange. More people out in the sticks are going to sign up to that ISP, lowering the average, causing the non clued up people to complain.
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Very good move from the Obama FFC. This would have *never* happened under Monkeyboy.
These proposed speed ratings are like the averaged MPG on new car stickers and EnergyStar efficiency ratings. Just helps consumers make better purchasing decisions.
I, for one, welcome our new FCC overlords!
Seriously, I tend to like FCC and what it does. I'm not stupid, not everything will happen as planned, but at least the plan is good! That's not what you can say about the UK's/aussie's/NZ's (...) plans/realizations.. *vomits*
It's good to know there is, in theory, a country with (more or less) a good ol' Internet if things go over the top here in Europe...
Good idea and I wish it was adopted here.
If it was then Virginmedia would be in big trouble at the moment as they are throttling us customers on their ADSL service at peak times and have been for over a month now.
If you get speeds over 0.5Mb/s at peak time you're doing well
It would be nice if something like The Register would take them to task on this issue. (hint,hint)
Not here yet
Keep in mind we don't have a system here in the States like that either. We also currently get the "Only $20 a month *" (*until it goes up to $60) and the (tiny tiny print) "up to" (HUGE PRINT) "20mbps!!!" here too (and then find the line either does 20mbps, or does like 2mbps, depending on how busy it is in your area -- especially cable where the cable nodes tend to be massively oversubscribed.) This good stuff the FCC is planning is still in the early early stages, there's plenty of time to water it down to nothing.
Honestly, the smart way to "wire" up the last 5% would probably be point-to-point wireless, but I'm sure what'll actually happen is collecting huge amounts of subsidies, spending some on running expensive fiber to those 5%, then pocketing the rest. If the 5% are hooked up at all.
To me the BIG issue here is cost! 1.5mbps DSL here costs $50 a month from Qwest ("only" $40 a month if you have some kind of landline phone service, which is useless since I have a cell phone -- very very reliable I might add.) (But $30 a month for the first 12 months). Wireless from Verizon Wireless is $60 a month, I get about 1mbps but it's mobile so I can use it on the road -- a new plan has a 5GB cap but mine is grandfathered in without the cap. I could get a newer EVDO Rev A card instead of Rev 0 and probably get closer to 1.5mbps. This is what I have right now since I travel a lot, I just use it both at home and on the road. Mediacom cable has (unadvertised in general) 3mbps, a 12, 20 and (limited availability) 50mbps service. 3mbps is already $30, and they charge $15 if you don't have cable TV from them, so $45 then.
They'll have like $20 a month for first x months plans but then it goes up of course. That's IT! There's NO broadband for less than $45 a month, other than switching back and forth between cable and DSL before the intros run out. Generally no contracts at least!
Honest ISP advertising - novel idea
I wish someone would explain this concept to the ASA, after the dolts let Virgin get away with marketing cable modems as "fibre optic broadband" because the backhaul is fibre optic even though the access network is plain old copper wire (exactly like ADSL).
The stuff Samknows is doing with Ofcom is quite promising and certainly a step in the right direction, actually monitoring the performance of end-user's lines to get a decent picture - yet still I get salesclowns cold-calling to offer me "N megabyte" broadband, inflating their network's performance by a factor of eight without any consequences. If a car manufacturer claimed the mileage in kilometres per gallon as being miles per gallon, they'd be flogged for it - yet a mistake five times as large goes unpunished?!
It's the one with only honest adverts in the pocket. Yes, empty...
"MyPersonalData.gov could allow taxpayers to create tax returns by importing data submitted to the Internal Revenue Service by employers and financial institutions into tax forms. This would save individuals time and money in the preparation of their taxes."
So... like the eTax system that's been available here in Oz for the last 5+ years then (I say 5+, because I myself have used in for the last 5 years - it may have been available before that). Download the software from the Tax Office, type in your TFN (that's be the SSN for you yanks), and the system pulls down your tax information as filed by your employer, as well as other info such as Medibank records (the local socialised medicine programme). The rest of the software has always been very user friendly, even to the point of asking you if you want to import and recalculate last year's list of depreciating assets (some of the stuff I buy is for work purposes, so I can claim/depreciate it). It even prints out the paperwork to PDF for you if you want to keep a paper record.
Average turn-around time between between e-posting my taxes and getting my returns? 10 workdays.
Because this plan is "eminently sensible" it ensures that none of it will ever be adopted by the US government or the FCC.