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View Full Version : Comcast/NBC must provide cheap broadband to the poor in order to merge



OnePimpTiger
01-20-2011, 10:36 PM
Comcast: $10/month Internet—and cheap netbooks—for the poor (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/01/low-cost-broadband-key-to-comcastnbcu-merger-deal.ars)


The union of Comcast and NBC Universal has been given the green light by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice, but it comes with a host of detailed concessions from Comcast. Among them: cheap broadband for the poor, nondiscrimination rules that protect Internet video companies, and several limits on Comcast's newfound Hulu leverage.

Here are three of the merger conditions most likely to have an impact on the 'Net.
2.5 million x $10

The deal requires Comcast to provide "approximately" 2.5 million low income households with high speed Internet for less than $10 a month. To this population the ISP must also sell PCs, netbooks, or similar computer equipment at prices below $150, and offer a host of "digital literacy educational opportunities."

In addition, Comcast must grow its broadband networks to about 400,000 new homes, get fast Internet service to six additional rural areas, and offer free video and ISP offerings to 600 new "anchor institutions" in low income regions ("anchor" here means schools, libraries, and such).

This just sickens me. I know most will say it's a good thing, that the poor "deserve" broadband internet...which sickens me even more. What bothers me, though, is the federal government forcing provision to the poor as a condition for doing business. What if McDonald's and Burger King wanted to merge, but the federal government said they had to provide free meals to 2.5 millions people per year in order to do so. Actually, that would make much more sense to me...food is a necessity. I'm sorry, but broadband internet is nothing if not a luxury.

duane1969
01-20-2011, 11:23 PM
I agree 110%. I take major issue with the govt. putting business restrictions in that require welfare be part of the deal.

Furthermore, I work hard for my paycheck, why should I have to pay more for the same service? I am sure there is a lawsuit in the future on this.

brandonbarnett
01-21-2011, 12:46 AM
wow wonder how this would/will effect my county who just put a decent amount of money paying people to but in the proper stuff to reach all areas of the county??

shortking98
01-21-2011, 09:37 AM
When they have mega mergers like this I don't have a problem with some government restrictions to prevent the company from being too powerful but I'm not a big fan of these welfare restrictions. Preventing Comcast from ruining Hulu seems OK to me and providing broadband for schools seems noble even though some of the true free market types will probably disagree with me. Like you said, broadband internet is a luxury, if people who can't afford it would like to use broadband then isn't that why they are forcing them to put it into libraries and schools?

pghin08
01-21-2011, 09:52 AM
Comcast: $10/month Internet—and cheap netbooks—for the poor (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/01/low-cost-broadband-key-to-comcastnbcu-merger-deal.ars)



This just sickens me. I know most will say it's a good thing, that the poor "deserve" broadband internet...which sickens me even more. What bothers me, though, is the federal government forcing provision to the poor as a condition for doing business. What if McDonald's and Burger King wanted to merge, but the federal government said they had to provide free meals to 2.5 millions people per year in order to do so. Actually, that would make much more sense to me...food is a necessity. I'm sorry, but broadband internet is nothing if not a luxury.

Agree completely.

Williy@anker
01-21-2011, 10:04 AM
It's ok, it just means they will pass even further rate hikes onto the rest of us . Chances are they are going to heavily invest in new infrastructure to get these people their low cost internet.

I want my $150 PC and netbook. And my $10 a month internet. Oh wait we squeeze out a lower middle income living.

pr0phet
01-21-2011, 10:18 AM
Hmm. Ok OPT. I will play the part you hate to see here, to an extent.

I am happy that the GOVT is making SOME restrictions based on our current economy. To see them force a faster Internet connection in areas that don't get it is very nice. While Internet is a luxury, it is slowly becoming a necessity. In many jobs outside that point it has reached a necessity all ready. I know my father couldn't do his job without a good Internet connection as he is forced to do net meetings and find new products almost daily for his stores.

I DISAGREE with the fact that there would be price provisions on the service. How about all the people who have paid their bills on time and been a customer(can't say loyal because most don't have an option). Why are we still getting stuck with a price tag that boosts company profits.

I agree with the idea because it should help create some jobs. Even if its temporary, I can't see how there won't be some new hires out of the deal. Yes, the GOVT is forcing this, but its at least SOMETHING in a time where SOMETHING needs to be done.

The equipment and tech limits are nuts, I can't even fathom an attempt to defend those.

duane1969
01-21-2011, 11:28 AM
While Internet is a luxury, it is slowly becoming a necessity. In many jobs outside that point it has reached a necessity all ready.


However, it is highly unlikely that people who are living in poverty need hi-speed internet to do their jobs since they apparently don't have one.


I know my father couldn't do his job without a good Internet connection as he is forced to do net meetings and find new products almost daily for his stores.



A continuation of my previous comment...my guess is your dad is not living in poverty and drawing welfare, so this doesn't really apply to him. He is one of the people who will have to pay full price for his services while the welfare recipients down the street get cheap netbooks and virtually free internet.

The reality is that this is a government ploy to backdoor free internet to the poor. While some will argue that it isn't free, the truth of the matter is that many people will pay for their $150 netbook and $10 internet out of their welfare check which amounts to taxpayers providing free internet to the poor.

pghin08
01-21-2011, 11:30 AM
However, it is highly unlikely that people who are living in poverty need hi-speed internet to do their jobs since they apparently don't have one.



A continuation of my previous comment...my guess is your dad is not living in poverty and drawing welfare, so this doesn't really apply to him. He is one of the people who will have to pay full price for his services while the welfare recipients down the street get cheap netbooks and virtually free internet.

The reality is that this is a government ploy to backdoor free internet to the poor. While some will argue that it isn't free, the truth of the matter is that many people will pay for their $150 netbook and $10 internet out of their welfare check which amounts to taxpayers providing free internet to the poor.

The poor need food and shelter, not eBay.

duane1969
01-21-2011, 11:34 AM
The poor need food and shelter, not eBay.

They don't have money for ebay but porn is free. I find it hard to imagine that Joe Blow will be sitting at home using his free internet to search for jobs that he is too lazy to get up and go look for in person.

OnePimpTiger
01-21-2011, 01:10 PM
The main argument for high-speed internet for the poor (that I've seen at least) is that school children need it for schoolwork and by not having access to it, their education is hampered. Baloney. No doubt high-speed internet can enhance education, it by no means automatically does so and is certainly not required for a quality education. I would wager high speed internet actually does more harm to one's education....are Poor Billy and Betsy more likely to use high-speed internet for schoolwork or for video games, online videos, movies, music, social networking, etc, etc, etc?

As for the job searching, I have yet to see a job search site that needs, let alone requires, high-speed internet. They are usually very basic pages that dail-up can load just fine.

The business arena is the only aspect where I can see a case for the need for high-speed internet...but, if you'll remember, business was conducted successfully for hundreds of years before it, I'm sure it can still carry on without it. I will allow that, while not a business necessity, it can certainly be to a company's advantage to have it. Aside from that, however, there is nothing that can be done on high-speed internet, but not dail-up that is required for a successful and positive educational, career, or life experience.

pr0phet
01-21-2011, 02:23 PM
While I understand your point. I can tell you that poor and poverty have a huge difference for me. While poor can be interpreted as many things, I can say that in my small towns(we have one area with a pop. between 7500-10k people but most areas are under 5k. Jobs are all minimal wage. I would think people working minimal wage jobs are poor but most are not in poverty.

I will also state that businesses up here need to be in the heart of a town/city area to get decent internet. Living as close as 5 miles from town means you get no cable/broadband internet

Star_Cards
01-21-2011, 04:52 PM
Seems like they will just pass the expense on to the regular customers. Like stated above. Internet service is a luxury.

andrewhoya
01-21-2011, 06:13 PM
IMO the people who would be getting the $10 internet wouldn't have a computer in the first place.

OnePimpTiger
01-21-2011, 11:16 PM
IMO the people who would be getting the $10 internet wouldn't have a computer in the first place.

Good point. I'll go one farther and say they shouldn't have a computer. If you're living at or below the poverty line, a computer should be one of your last priorities. If you're having trouble getting a job, take the money you would spend on a computer and a Blackberry and spend it on a few courses at the local JC and some decent clothes for interviews. The priorities of most Americans are so far out of whack it's disgusting.

andrewhoya
01-21-2011, 11:20 PM
Good point. I'll go one farther and say they shouldn't have a computer. If you're living at or below the poverty line, a computer should be one of your last priorities. If you're having trouble getting a job, take the money you would spend on a computer and a Blackberry and spend it on a few courses at the local JC and some decent clothes for interviews. The priorities of most Americans are so far out of whack it's disgusting.

Well said. Or even a good razor to clean yourself up a bit.

duane1969
01-22-2011, 12:50 AM
While I understand your point. I can tell you that poor and poverty have a huge difference for me. While poor can be interpreted as many things, I can say that in my small towns(we have one area with a pop. between 7500-10k people but most areas are under 5k. Jobs are all minimal wage. I would think people working minimal wage jobs are poor but most are not in poverty.

I will also state that businesses up here need to be in the heart of a town/city area to get decent internet. Living as close as 5 miles from town means you get no cable/broadband internet

I agree that poor and poverty are two different things. The reality is that the people who qualify for $10 internet and $150 laptops will be either the working poor or welfare recipients. My guess is that a qualification for getting the internet/laptop discount will be a register receiver of public assistance, in effect making it an extension of the welfare program. And I stand on my position that internet service is not a welfare program.

Here in WV we have the same issue with broadband. I lived within rock throwing distance of the elementary school for 3 years but had no broadband. It didn't stop us from having internet, it was just dial-up, and my kids did their homework just fine on dial-up. Broadband is a luxury of life, not a necessity of living.

--------------------------

OPT, per your comment about the argument that kids need broadband and the internet to do homework. I agree with your position 110%. Last I checked virtually every library in America has free use internet and computers. If the parents really feel that their kids need the internet for their educational success then it is just a short drive away.

*censored*
01-22-2011, 11:38 AM
I have no problem with cheap/free internet being made available for homework and learning assistance. As has been said, schools and libraries have it. Do you work there. Getting it in the home is all well and good, but is it going to be used for that purpose? Let's get real here.

Frankly, I think the cost of internet for the speed you get in this country is ridiculous compared to what I've heard they have in Europe. Don't quote me on this as I don't have the stats on hand, but I seem to remember reading that high-speed internet service there is both faster and cheaper than in the US.

duane1969
01-22-2011, 01:21 PM
I have no problem with cheap/free internet being made available for homework and learning assistance. As has been said, schools and libraries have it. Do you work there. Getting it in the home is all well and good, but is it going to be used for that purpose? Let's get real here.

Frankly, I think the cost of internet for the speed you get in this country is ridiculous compared to what I've heard they have in Europe. Don't quote me on this as I don't have the stats on hand, but I seem to remember reading that high-speed internet service there is both faster and cheaper than in the US.

I coach wrestling with a supervisor for our local internet/phone provider. He tells me that the big issue with expanding hi-speed to everyone is that all of the current lines are copper. Being a Technology System Specialist I can tell you that copper doesn't carry a signal as far or as consitent as fiber does.

The cost of changing all copper wires over to fiber in a country the size of the U.S. versus the cost of doing it in a country the size of those in Europe is vastly different.

*censored*
01-22-2011, 03:45 PM
It may be expensive and it may be time consuming, but it's something that needs to be done. Even just chipping away at it bit by bit is better than just letting it stay as the same old.

That's my argument with the US's third-world power grid as well.

duane1969
01-22-2011, 05:13 PM
It may be expensive and it may be time consuming, but it's something that needs to be done. Even just chipping away at it bit by bit is better than just letting it stay as the same old.

That's my argument with the US's third-world power grid as well.

They are gradually putting in fiber everywhere. I think in my area they are scheduled to have all main copper wires converted to fiber by July 2012. The kicker is that homes are built with copper wiring for phone lines so having fiber run by your house doesn't mean that you will get blistering speeds in your home. Home owners will have to pony up the cash to have fiber ran from the pole to their house and to have their house re-wired with Cat5e or Cat6 cable to achieve the fastest speeds.