back to article Bless their hearts: Democrats want $40bn to spruce up America's bumpkin broadband

The Democratic party has asked for an amazingly naive ambitious $40bn investment in broadband internet for broke low-income Americans out in the sticks. The completely useless minority party in US Congress on Thursday issued a waste of paper bold proposition [PDF] for the government to invest the 6,441 Abrams tanks $40bn of …

  1. Tikimon Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    OMG more please!

    When I read articles like this, I usually have to fill in the True Story myself. Unfortunately, doing so makes me feel like a bitter old curmudgeon. Which I am, but that's beside the point. To have someone do it for me lets me revel in the rewrite and laugh with a carefree heart.

    Many thanks! Can this be a semi-regular occurrence, like Dabbsie's rants?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: OMG more please!

      I wish I could upvote you a dozen times at least.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Besides

    Tax evading Congressman Charles Rangel's district Harlem alone would suck up the $40B.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why on earth would you worry....

    ....about providing Broadband to rural areas?

    I thought Breitbart spread by word of (crooked and toothless) mouth.

    Or are they going to include a priority T3 to Veles?

    https://www.wired.com/2017/02/veles-macedonia-fake-news/

    1. Lysenko

      Re: Why on earth would you worry....

      They need to find some way to combat AM radio and they don't want to have to use party funds to do it.

  4. DougS Silver badge

    Broadband is coming to rural areas

    Google 'fixed wireless LTE'

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IT'S FRICKIN EASY

    Just end the geographic monopolies the cable companies have.

    Right now there is no real competition, as one cable company is prevented by law from offering service in another companies area.

    Give the money to the local cities / towns....

    Force the telcos to sell the cable lines to the local cities / towns (they can use the money from the Feds)....

    Open things up and shut down the geographic monopolies....

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: IT'S FRICKIN EASY

      @AC - You need to look at a map. Many of these badly served areas are literally miles from a small city let alone a major metropolitan area. Radio and TV broadcast reception in some areas is problematic. Running the lines to these areas is very expensive; probably an order of magnitude more than what numerically challenged donkeys pull out of their ass.

      To put some perspective, it takes about 8 hours or so to drive from Cornwall to northern Scotland in the UK, about 1 day to drive. To drive from northeastern Maine to San Diego is 48 hours or so according to Google Maps, about 5 to 6 days.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: IT'S FRICKIN EASY

        Eight hours if you ignore speed limits and are driving KITT, yes.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: IT'S FRICKIN EASY

        it takes about 8 hours or so to drive from Cornwall to northern Scotland in the UK

        Huh? Have you ever tried it? Between the tourists, roadworks, psychotic road-users and traffic jams you'd be lucky to do it in 24 hours.

        And that's not factoring in food/comfort/de-stressing breaks.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: IT'S FRICKIN EASY

          "Huh? Have you ever tried it? Between the tourists, roadworks, psychotic road-users and traffic jams you'd be lucky to do it in 24 hours."

          Not to mention that once you get past Perth there's not much in the way of dual carriage-way. It's improved over recent years, but not that much. North of Inverness, forget it.

      3. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: IT'S FRICKIN EASY

        To drive from northeastern Maine to San Diego is 48 hours or so according to Google Maps, about 5 to 6 days.

        Having done approximately this a few times now in both directions, Maine to LA, I've got it down to 4 days with 12+ hours of driving the first two days so the last two are shorter. That said, it's a much nicer trip if you have the time to explore some of the more interesting places like some of the national parks and forests. Much of it is a bit off the main highways but easily worth an extra few days or a week if you've got the time.

    2. caitlin.bestler

      Re: IT'S FRICKIN EASY

      Ending legal monopolies does not lower the cost-per-mile of providing service in rural communities.

      It barely pays to provide service to low density areas when you get 100% of the local market.

      Competition will not cure that, although it would be useful in most urban markets.

      As a minority party Democrats can propose schemes like this with impunity. Once they have the

      majority back they'd have to answer questions on why we're spending more per broadband customer

      for rural voters than we do for urban voters. But you don't have to answer questions like that for proposals

      that will never even get voted on.

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: IT'S FRICKIN EASY

        As a minority party Democrats can propose schemes like this with impunity. Once they have the

        majority back they'd have to answer questions on why we're spending more per broadband customer

        for rural voters than we do for urban voters.

        The whole idea of this proposal is to woo back some of the rural voters that they alienated in the last two elections*.

        Once they grab the majority again, (stop laughing, it always cycles between the two parties unless something cataclysmic happens) They'll never pay it anything but lip service: "We tried, but those &$^#$% Republicans blocked it!"

        *House/congress have two year terms, but neither party pays attention to those unless one party starts suffering major losses.

      2. Mr Underhill

        Re: IT'S FRICKIN EASY

        Why would anyone question why we're spending more per broadband customer for rural voters. That's the case for almost every other service whether it's delivered by government or business.

        Your comment about the Democrats AND that of the original poster sounds just like the Republicans and their "proposal"s to repeal ObamaCare.

      3. Mr Underhill

        Re: IT'S FRICKIN EASY

        News Flash! Ending legal monopolies by itself does not lower the cost-per-mile of providing service in rural communities BUT it does get the monopolies out of the way of allowing others with different ideas, or newer cheaper technology to provide service. It can also allow taxpayers in rural counties to fund higher levels of internet service if it will bring jobs or keep jobs. The monopoly providers may get bigger returns in the cities and they may be required to charge the same price everywhere. This means that they get a better return on investment in high density areas. People or businesses in rural areas may have different investment criteria and accrue additional benefits that the multi-state monopoly can't.

    3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: IT'S FRICKIN EASY

      as one cable company is prevented by law from offering service in another companies area

      How the hell does that accord with 'Muricas addiction to raw capitalism? I would have thought that the Elephants would have got rid of that law in a heartbeat.

      Then I realised two things - the Republicans don't have hearts and secondly, their corporate paymasters would be displeased if such a blatantly anticompetitive law was axed.

    4. Mikel

      Re: IT'S FRICKIN EASY

      Easier than that: just expand the definition of "broadband" to include 9600 baud dialup. Done and done. That's the Pai plan, and costs nothing.

      1. Mr Underhill

        Re: IT'S FRICKIN EASY

        Not true. If telephone service is using pair gain, you'd have to spend money. Expand the definition of "broadband" to include 9600 baud dialup? Is that what you do in Kazakhistan, comrade? Do you have a job opening for Pai?

  6. davenewman

    Many of these rural areas are full of Republican voters. So this plan will get support from rural Republican congressmen.

  7. DoctorNine
    Go

    But really, though...

    After reading this, I am pretty sure I'm either bilingual or have had both halves of my brain surgically separated, because that made perfect sense.

  8. Long John Brass Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Isn't the USA the land of the fee?

    The same place that when local city/town councils say something like...

    We are going to implement a town/area municipal broadband service to get affordable broadband into the hands of the local folk

    And then promptly get sued out of existence by some Telco Monopoly for stealing their profits because communism?

    1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: Isn't the USA the land of the fee?

      Not to mention the states that have passed laws banning their cities and towns from offering municipal broadband...

      1. Mr Underhill

        Re: Isn't the USA the land of the fee?

        Yes, this happened in Colorado. In a recent years, an increasing number of cities and counties have been opting out by holding a public vote. Here are a couple of links:

        https://ilsr.org/media-outlets-cover-2016-colorado-broadband-ballot-initiatives/

        http://blogs.denverpost.com/tech/2015/11/05/44-colorado-cities-and-counties-voted-yes-to-municipal-broadband/19534/

        In 2015, I think that most of the votes came out in favor of opting out of the restriction by more than 70%.

  9. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Truth is a three-edged sword

    So the article covers both legs of the bifurcated US political mentality - but where's the truth...?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Truth is a three-edged sword

      "So the article covers both legs of the bifurcated US political mentality - but where's the truth...?"

      The little but in the middle sandwiched between the fat thighs of lies?

  10. perlcat

    Why thank you Subliminal Man

    I enjoyed your informative article.

  11. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

    I voted for Cthulu. Got sick and tired of choosing the lesser evil!

    1. Swarthy Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Vote Cthulhu!

      If you vote for Cthulhu, He promises to eat you first!

  12. Fatman Silver badge

    Rural broadband

    As a couple of posters have already pointed out, the cost of stringing cable to locations in sparsely populated areas climbs toward the stratosphere. Which, in and of itself, is a deterrent to profit oriented business (read as cable monopolies).

    Then, to expect the government to throw in huge sums of money to 'rectify' the situation is simply inviting the telco/cableco monopoly to an all they can eat feast..

    Those of you who are familiar with the Telecommunications Act of 1996, may recall that federal subsidies were on the table to carry out exactly what is being proposed. And the monopolists just sucked up the cash, and left the rural areas wanting.

    In the 1930's the Rural Electrification Act made it possible for isolated communities to bring electricity to areas that lacked electricity. Now, if the Feds want to perform the exact same thing with broadband, then I am for it, but, keep the telcos out of it. They had their chance.

    Rural Electrification Act: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rural_Electrification_Act

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