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FCC Considering Free Internet For USA 502

jbolden writes "According to the Wall Street Journal, the FCC is considering a plan to provide free wireless internet. The plan would involve some level of filtering, but might allow adults to opt out. CTIA has argued that this business model has traditionally failed (see Slate magazine's analysis as to why)."
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FCC Considering Free Internet For USA

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  • Free internet? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by neokushan ( 932374 ) on Monday December 01, 2008 @12:49PM (#25946451)

    Two entries down on the front page, there's an article speculating that the internet will meltdown due to some change an application is about to make, yet here's an article proposing FREE wireless internet to everyone?

    If the infrastructure can't handle what people are paying for, how on earth do they plan to give it away for free?
    Even with severe bandwidth restrictions, it's going to cause a hell of a lot more usage.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm all for this kind of thing and I'd love to see Free Wireless internet for everyone, I just wish people would make up their minds - is the internet ready to expand or collapse on top of itself?

  • by MosesJones ( 55544 ) on Monday December 01, 2008 @12:55PM (#25946607) Homepage

    Seriously folks, can't the greatest power in the world today do some form of prioritisation? Free internet access, brilliant a free utility, a basic fundamental right of every american guaranteed by the constitution and our founding fathers.

    Free Healthcare of course is a communist plot to subvert the country and destroy everything America stands for.

    Free Healthcare should be a right, the internet should be a utility just like power and water... something that you pay for.

  • by jamesmcm ( 1354379 ) on Monday December 01, 2008 @01:13PM (#25947001)
    I don't get the whole private school love. I live in the UK and go to one of the worst schools in the county. But I work hard and am doing well (interview at Cambridge tomorrow :O ) It is certainly NOT worthless. I think money should be spent on making state schools much better to provide good education for all - that is what propels a nation forward. They could get some more money by removing the charity status from private schools.
  • by Nicolas MONNET ( 4727 ) <nicoaltiva AT gmail DOT com> on Monday December 01, 2008 @01:20PM (#25947113) Journal

    There wouldn't be enough IPv4 to provide such a large scale service.
    Just make the all thing IPv6, possibly with proxies to access the IPv4; that would instantly provide a massive incentive for third parties to start supporting IPv6.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday December 01, 2008 @01:29PM (#25947289) Journal

    They could get some more money by removing the charity status from private schools.

    Private schools do not have charity status. Public schools do. They are run by an educational trust and do not run at a profit. Private schools are privately owned and (aim to) run at a profit.

  • by mi ( 197448 ) <slashdot-2017q4@virtual-estates.net> on Monday December 01, 2008 @01:59PM (#25947849) Homepage Journal

    WOW! Something that my tax dollars pay for that MIGHT actually benefit me? Neat-o.

    You are, certainly, correct, that public roads are enough of a disaster, that you may not benefit from them. But what makes you think, the free WiFi will be any better?

    At least, with the roads, the excuse for government's involvement is that there can't really be competing private roads for the same destinations, and thus free market (which requires competition) can't be used to build and maintain them efficiently.

    There is no such justification for WiFi.

  • Re:Free internet? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by neokushan ( 932374 ) on Monday December 01, 2008 @02:02PM (#25947907)

    Nobody actually needs to use a phone 24/7, it's physically impossible to do so, but the internet is a different kettle of fish. When you say "Home internet service is designed to be used on-demand, not maxed out 24/7", I can happily say "Well it's been designed wrong".
    At the very least, the advertised service plans are a disgrace, don't advertise what you can't provide, it's as simple as that. Why would it be so difficult for an ISP to advertise a truly unlimited 4Mbit connection instead of a severely oversold 15Mbit connection?
    I believe some ISPs sell a certain speed connection (lets say it's 10Mbit), but what they do is throttle each connection after a few seconds. So for maybe 30s, you do get the full 10Mbit, then the speed drops down considerably, to like 2Mbit. I have no problem with this, except that they'll advertise it as a 10Mbit connection rather than a 2Mbit connection that occasionally jumps to 10Mbit. This needs to change and the sooner, the better.

    Ideally, I'd like ISPs to use a system like this, but advertise the sustained speeds you're likely to get. So for "Mum & Dad" users that only need basic browsing and email, they'll get nice, fast, speedy connections and for those who want to constantly download, they'll get slower sustained speeds (Without compromising day-to-day browsing since each new connection gets full speed for a few seconds) but without the "fair use" crap that we've been forced to deal with, lately.

    Or, better yet, have ISP's better regulated so if they offer you that 10Mbit connection, you GET that 10Mbit connection for however much and however long you like.

    The system is broken and it needs fixed, the internet has evolved beyond the bandwidth necessities of the 90's, now we're in the multi-GB era and thanks to the likes of On-demand streaming, even "average joe" users are going to need more and more bandwidth - enforcing caps will only delay the inevitable, ISPs need to seriously upgrade the entire infrastructure or the whole country will fall behind.

  • by loafula ( 1080631 ) on Monday December 01, 2008 @02:24PM (#25948323)
    I actually thought they should give control over this to the USPS. This would guarantee everybody an email address, and we can all use less and less paper mail.
  • Re:Tax Dollars (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mister Whirly ( 964219 ) on Monday December 01, 2008 @03:00PM (#25949065) Homepage
    One of my friend's grandparents did this. Didn't trust banks so they literally hid their entire life savings in the walls of their house. Then one day it burned to the ground, with their entire life savings. No way insurance would cover huge sums of cash left in the house. When is the last time you heard of a bank burning to the ground???
  • Re:Tax Dollars (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RalphBNumbers ( 655475 ) on Monday December 01, 2008 @03:17PM (#25949367)

    No, it really isn't.

    Free filtered internet means that all the people paying for a broadband line to read email, and occasionally browse the web, can now do so for free. Without the ~95% of customers who underuse their connections subsiding the cost of the ~5% who actually need broadband, ISPs will have to increase prices dramatically.

    The end result is that only the financially well off will have access to anything the government feels like censoring on their network. And that's making the optimistic assumption that the censorship stops with government networks, and isn't extended, voluntarily or not, to the big ISPs.

    What will happen to political speech when that happens? Given what we've seen of these kinds of filters thus far, they tend to pick up on key words, block entire sites for single pages, and generate a lot of what a reasonable person viewing a site would consider false positives. Will any site the agitates for the rights of sex workers, or transsexuals, or gays risk being marked as sexual content, and blocked from the vast majority of american voters? Will any site that discusses a hate crime risk being labeled as hate-speech, and excluded as well? How much harder will it be to get a major party to take up such causes in that kind of environment?

    I think that free ubiquitous basic internet access is a great idea, that could do a lot of good for a lot of people and the economy overall.
    But I'd gladly forgo it, if the cost is freedom of speech on the internet.
    Any government supported network needs to be an unfiltered. Even forcing people to register with the government as adults to receive an unfiltered connection is far too burdensome, in that it destroys users' privacy and any potential anonymity for whistleblowers and the like. Any parents who want to restrict their kids' browsing have plenty of options to do so on their own devices, without unconstitutionally and unduly compromising adults' freedom of speech.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday December 01, 2008 @04:13PM (#25950395) Journal

    Government screws up everything it touches. Roads, military (talk to someone in the military and you'll get a million stories), mail

    Right, because that privately funded interstate highway system has been so successful. Also, what's wrong with the USPS? AFAICT, it's cheap, convenient, fairly reliable, and definitely more secure than the private alternatives.

    Right now I fail to see the pros outweighing the cons when it comes to both govt-controlled internet and health care.

    You sound like someone without a pre-existing condition.

  • by jcnnghm ( 538570 ) on Tuesday December 02, 2008 @09:49AM (#25958521)

    Given that the sea level is only projected to rise by 9 to 88 cm before 2100, I'm not holding my breath. Don't believe the propaganda, especially when the guy that's pushing at it has a ton to gain trading carbon credits.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.