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Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:27 AM

FCC Proposes Groundbreaking Free Public Wi-Fi Throughout United States; Mobile Companies Protest

Last edited Mon Feb 4, 2013, 05:58 PM - Edit history (1)

FCC Proposes Groundbreaking Free Public Wi-Fi Throughout United States; Mobile Companies Protest

by james321

Imagine telling AT&T you're done with dropped calls, or telling T-Mobile you're done with slow data. Yes, elections matter, and the FCC is proposing something spectacular for Americans...assuming that shitting-their-pants mobile phone operators don't kill the mammoth proposal:

The federal government wants to create super WiFi networks across the nation, so powerful and broad in reach that consumers could use them to make calls or surf the Internet without paying a cellphone bill every month.

The proposal from the Federal Communications Commission has rattled the $178 billion wireless industry, which has launched a fierce lobbying effort to persuade policymakers to reconsider the idea, analysts say. That has been countered by an equally intense campaign from Google, Microsoft and other tech giants who say a free-for-all WiFi service would spark an explosion of innovations and devices that would benefit most Americans, especially the poor.

The airwaves that FCC officials want to hand over to the public would be much more powerful than existing WiFi networks that have become common in households. They could penetrate thick concrete walls and travel over hills and around trees. If all goes as planned, free access to the Web would be available in just about every metropolitan area and in many rural areas.

Think about it -- how often do you actually use your smartphone to make phone calls or texts now anyway? For many folks, particularly the younger set, smartphones are about data, data, and data. They use Skype to make calls, Whatsapp to send texts, and Facebook to stay in touch -- all on data. This is why the likes of AT&T now force Americans to purchase unlimited texts and phone minutes -- or otherwise face outrageous per-text or per-minute fees -- because the wireless companies realize that Americans are really carrying around small computers in this day and age -- the 'phone' is only an inconsequential 'app' at the bottom of your screen.

This is a Big Ducking Deal, folks:

The new WiFi networks would also have much farther reach, allowing for a driverless car to communicate with another vehicle a mile away or a patient’s heart monitor to connect to a hospital on the other side of town.

If approved by the FCC, the free networks would still take several years to set up. And, with no one actively managing them, con­nections could easily become jammed in major cities. But public WiFi could allow many consumers to make free calls from their mobile phones via the Internet. The frugal-minded could even use the service in their homes, allowing them to cut off expensive Internet bills.

“For a casual user of the Web, perhaps this could replace carrier service,” said Jeffrey Silva, an analyst at the Medley Global Advisors research firm. “Because it is more plentiful and there is no price tag, it could have a real appeal to some people.”

Unsurprisingly, this is a policy move that would benefit both the wealthiest Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs and the poorest individuals in America's cities and rural areas:

Designed by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, the plan would be a global first. When the U.S. government made a limited amount of unlicensed airwaves available in 1985, an unexpected explosion in innovation followed. Baby monitors, garage door openers and wireless stage microphones were created. Millions of homes now run their own wireless networks, connecting tablets, game consoles, kitchen appli­ances and security systems to the Internet.

“Freeing up unlicensed spectrum is a vibrantly free-market approach that offers low barriers to entry to innovators developing the technologies of the future and benefits consumers,” Genachow­ski said in a an e-mailed statement.

Some companies and cities are already moving in this direction. Google is providing free WiFi to the public in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan and parts of Silicon Valley.

Cities support the idea because the networks would lower costs for schools and businesses or help vacationers easily find tourist spots. Consumer advocates note the benefits to the poor, who often cannot afford high cellphone and Internet bills.

This is a policy that could transform American competitiveness and create thousands of new jobs, as well as diminishing the burden of outrageous wireless phone bills on poor Americans. Waiting for the GOP to cry 'socialism' in 3,2,1...

11:07 AM PT: Email the Commissioners to Express Support for the Proposal:

Chairman Julius Genachowski: Julius.Genachowski@fcc.gov

Commissioner Robert McDowell: Robert.McDowell@fcc.gov

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn: Mignon.Clyburn@fcc.gov

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel: Jessica.Rosenworcel@fcc.gov

Commissioner Ajit Pai: Ajit.Pai@fcc.gov

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/02/04/1184523/-FCC-Proposes-Groundbreaking-Free-Public-Wi-Fi-Throughout-United-States-Mobile-Companies-Protest


Original updated with e-mail addresses




Note:

Kos Media, LLC Site content may be used for any purpose without explicit permission unless otherwise specified



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Reply FCC Proposes Groundbreaking Free Public Wi-Fi Throughout United States; Mobile Companies Protest (Original post)
ProSense Feb 2013 OP
Scuba Feb 2013 #1
CaliforniaPeggy Feb 2013 #2
theKed Feb 2013 #3
justabob Feb 2013 #4
alarimer Feb 2013 #104
justabob Feb 2013 #107
Scuba Feb 2013 #5
timdog44 Feb 2013 #84
obxhead Feb 2013 #88
timdog44 Feb 2013 #95
Scuba Feb 2013 #92
ChazInAz Feb 2013 #105
RC Feb 2013 #9
theKed Feb 2013 #11
Spitfire of ATJ Feb 2013 #23
xmas74 Feb 2013 #102
matt819 Feb 2013 #10
randome Feb 2013 #15
Left Coast2020 Feb 2013 #103
HillbillyBob Feb 2013 #54
matt819 Feb 2013 #81
mwooldri Feb 2013 #74
obxhead Feb 2013 #91
Coyotl Feb 2013 #25
Exultant Democracy Feb 2013 #28
mwooldri Feb 2013 #73
quakerboy Feb 2013 #85
grahamhgreen Feb 2013 #98
Fantastic Anarchist Feb 2013 #125
Kablooie Feb 2013 #6
Fantastic Anarchist Feb 2013 #127
NickB79 Feb 2013 #7
Angry Dragon Feb 2013 #13
bobclark86 Feb 2013 #47
Angry Dragon Feb 2013 #52
LongTomH Feb 2013 #87
stonecutter357 Feb 2013 #116
BadgerKid Feb 2013 #8
NickB79 Feb 2013 #20
NYC_SKP Feb 2013 #12
bobclark86 Feb 2013 #14
AllyCat Feb 2013 #24
aquart Feb 2013 #29
madville Feb 2013 #108
bobclark86 Feb 2013 #46
robinlynne Feb 2013 #89
AllyCat Feb 2013 #118
robinlynne Feb 2013 #128
AllyCat Feb 2013 #130
Festivito Feb 2013 #39
Berlum Feb 2013 #16
rocktivity Feb 2013 #17
Sherman A1 Feb 2013 #114
Apophis Feb 2013 #18
EastKYLiberal Feb 2013 #19
aquart Feb 2013 #32
annabanana Feb 2013 #21
NickB79 Feb 2013 #22
ohheckyeah Feb 2013 #59
NickB79 Feb 2013 #60
ohheckyeah Feb 2013 #61
NickB79 Feb 2013 #63
ohheckyeah Feb 2013 #70
annabanana Feb 2013 #65
ohheckyeah Feb 2013 #71
annabanana Feb 2013 #64
SemperEadem Feb 2013 #26
dembotoz Feb 2013 #27
Exultant Democracy Feb 2013 #30
libtodeath Feb 2013 #31
Flaxbee Feb 2013 #35
freshwest Feb 2013 #33
NickB79 Feb 2013 #45
thelordofhell Feb 2013 #34
drm604 Feb 2013 #36
WCGreen Feb 2013 #38
AndyA Feb 2013 #37
forestpath Feb 2013 #40
liberalmuse Feb 2013 #41
They_Live Feb 2013 #42
Ganja Ninja Feb 2013 #43
raging_moderate Feb 2013 #44
NickB79 Feb 2013 #48
raging_moderate Feb 2013 #51
Sherman A1 Feb 2013 #49
DallasNE Feb 2013 #50
jberryhill Feb 2013 #53
TygrBright Feb 2013 #55
DaveJ Feb 2013 #56
octoberlib Feb 2013 #57
robinlynne Feb 2013 #90
Bjorn Against Feb 2013 #100
napoleon_in_rags Feb 2013 #58
Lenomsky Feb 2013 #62
DaveJ Feb 2013 #68
YOHABLO Feb 2013 #66
L0oniX Feb 2013 #67
Lenomsky Feb 2013 #72
reverend_tim Feb 2013 #69
Peace Patriot Feb 2013 #121
reverend_tim Feb 2013 #129
Peace Patriot Feb 2013 #131
reverend_tim Feb 2013 #134
me b zola Feb 2013 #75
jimlup Feb 2013 #76
kentauros Feb 2013 #77
ProSense Feb 2013 #79
kentauros Feb 2013 #80
benld74 Feb 2013 #78
Heather MC Feb 2013 #82
Cynicus Emeritus Feb 2013 #83
rhett o rick Feb 2013 #86
decayincl Feb 2013 #93
ProSense Feb 2013 #96
blackspade Feb 2013 #94
spanone Feb 2013 #97
Auntie Bush Feb 2013 #99
Fedaykin Feb 2013 #101
Phillip McCleod Feb 2013 #109
Fedaykin Feb 2013 #110
Phillip McCleod Feb 2013 #119
Warren DeMontague Feb 2013 #122
Fedaykin Feb 2013 #132
Warren DeMontague Feb 2013 #135
Fedaykin Feb 2013 #136
Warren DeMontague Feb 2013 #137
Fedaykin Feb 2013 #138
Warren DeMontague Feb 2013 #139
MineralMan Feb 2013 #117
Warren DeMontague Feb 2013 #123
Fedaykin Feb 2013 #133
blm Apr 2013 #140
RKP5637 Feb 2013 #106
patrice Feb 2013 #111
Shankapotomus Feb 2013 #112
snort Feb 2013 #120
davidpdx Feb 2013 #113
harun Feb 2013 #115
Fantastic Anarchist Feb 2013 #124
Bucky Feb 2013 #126

Response to ProSense (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:34 AM

1. Proud to be 1st Rec! "..the 'phone' is only an inconsequential 'app' at the bottom of your screen."

This would be terrific!

"The airwaves that FCC officials want to hand over to the public" already belong to the public. Leasing them to the phone industry has been a disaster for America.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:35 AM

2. What a great idea!

It is just breathtaking. I hope it happens.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:37 AM

3. Never happen

The telecom companies have enough money to throw at this to make it go away.

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Response to theKed (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:42 AM

4. sadly, I agree

It would be a great thing, and there are a few places that have public wifi, but I don't think our "leaders" have the strength or the will to make it happen.

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Response to justabob (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:36 PM

104. Places like Texas have allowed the telecom lobbies to kill public wi-fi

There are actual bills in several states making it illegal to for municipalities to offer free or low-cost internet. Corpus Christi had such a system, until the telecom lobbyists got to them. It is now illegal for cities to compete with Big Telecom.

So yes, I think this proposed system will die once the lobbyists descend.

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Response to alarimer (Reply #104)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:00 AM

107. well, I do hope the techcos make the telcos have to fight for it

I think we are finally getting to the point where it isn't just Big Business vs People anymore. The Big Business/Industries have more or less handled the government and public sector by banding together loosely. To go further now, they are going to be fighting each other. It will be interesting, and nothing like the cola/burger wars of old because different industries will be at odds, rather than competitors in the same field. I am hoping that some of the giants will fall and some new opportunities will arise.... not just on the subject of wifi/net stuff, but across the spectrum. We'll see.

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Response to theKed (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:43 AM

5. Disagree. The telecoms will fight it, but every single other business sees this as a cost ...

... as does every single American citizen. The public will clamor for this and business will lobby for it.

It will happen. Kudos to the Obama administration for proposing it.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 06:53 PM

84. cost to business

I thought affordable care act would be a blessing to business, just as this, but that has failed. We can only hope this serves as a cost reduction. Problem is so many relationships between all businesses, what with shared board members and CEOs, etc.

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Response to timdog44 (Reply #84)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 07:41 PM

88. Really? The ACA has failed?

Funny, it hasn't even fully kicked in yet.

Saying it's failing businesses already is a little premature at best.

WiFi for everyone would not only save businesses money, but likely bring many new customers to their websites if they have them, which if they don't they're crazy.

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Response to obxhead (Reply #88)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:05 PM

95. ACA has not failed.

I just thought business would line up behind it more than it has. Especially if it leads to universal health care. I don't always suppose correctly.

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Response to timdog44 (Reply #84)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 07:54 PM

92. Businesses spend huge sums on telecom, as they rely more and more on mobile workers ...

... equipped with smart phones. This will be a huge savings for business.

I can't imagine how you thought the ACA would be a blessing to any business other than an insurance company.

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Response to Scuba (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:45 PM

105. I have high hopes.

Let's never forget what happened to that enormous, hidebound monopoly that was referred to as "Ma Bell". She became so huge and arrogant that her downfall was celebrated. She had so vigorously throttled innovation in telecommunications, that when her heavy hand was taken away, we saw the explosion of portable phones and new technologies that gave us our world today.

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Response to theKed (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:54 AM

9. Perhaps you missed this part.

 

The proposal from the Federal Communications Commission has rattled the $178 billion wireless industry, which has launched a fierce lobbying effort to persuade policymakers to reconsider the idea, analysts say. That has been countered by an equally intense campaign from Google, Microsoft and other tech giants who say a free-for-all WiFi service would spark an explosion of innovations and devices that would benefit most Americans, especially the poor.


Google is installing 1 gig Internet service here in Kansas City. AT&T and the cable companies have already up their speeds and services.
We am scheduled for sometime early Summer.

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Response to RC (Reply #9)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:03 PM

11. Nope, didn't miss it

Just pragmatic enough to know it won't change anything.

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Response to theKed (Reply #11)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:58 PM

23. They'll have a compromise that the speed will be slower than what you can buy.

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Response to RC (Reply #9)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:30 PM

102. I know

I'm envious. I can't wait for it to spread to the burbs and a bit beyond. Eventually we'll get it out here too, since we're a rapidly growing college town.

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Response to theKed (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:56 AM

10. Never happen - and if it does happen

You can be damn sure that those of us in rural areas will continue to be underserved, overlooked, ignored, or otherwise not be able to take advantage of this proposal.

I am in a rural area. The local cable company doesn't serve us. We're too far for DSL. The expansion of the phone company's high-speed service drops off about a mile from us.

Ain't gonna happen in my lifetime.

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Response to matt819 (Reply #10)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:34 PM

15. I'm not an optimist. But I think it can happen.

Google, Amazon, Microsoft and other companies are lining up behind it, too. I think it has legs.

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Response to randome (Reply #15)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:31 PM

103. Make that 2 optimists.

And yes damn-it, these airwaves do belong to US!!

http://signon.org/sign/restore-the-airwaves



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Response to matt819 (Reply #10)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:35 PM

54. In the sticks here too

We have a choice land-line , too far for optic and land line is pretty sorry at that. Comcrap stops at the town limit, I wouldn't buy from them. I have already had a 3 year battle over a bill..and I have never been a subscriber. We have Exede Satellite service its pretty good most of the time, but weather affects it badly at times.

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Response to HillbillyBob (Reply #54)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 06:23 PM

81. Re satellite

And the satellite services throttle back after a relatively small amount of usage. Ironic, since EVERYTHING is online - videos here at DU, YouTube, of course, streaming video for TV, etc.

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Response to matt819 (Reply #10)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:33 PM

74. What's happening with the frequency channels though will happen.

This new broadband service will be using frequencies that TV broadcast stations presently use. The FCC wants to re-jig the TV spectrum to fit in new broadband services.

Worst case scenario: the frequencies go to the telecoms companies, the FCC clears out the space, the number of terrestrial TV broadcasters goes down... and the telecoms companies don't build out their networks in the rural areas, despite having the frequency space. If they do build it out, expect to be charged an arm and a leg for it. So low income rural citizens will lose a couple of their local TV channels and still have no access to broadband because it either hasn't been built, or if it is built they can't afford it.

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Response to matt819 (Reply #10)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 07:48 PM

91. I think you missed the WiFi part.

I am one of those often forgotten rural residents too. No cable, dsl, fiber, nothing. Hell, in summer when the trees are in full growth a text is about the best I can expect out of my cell.

However, the only way we can efficiently get high speed internet to the places we live will be through the air. It's cheaper to install in the beginning and much much cheaper to upgrade when new technology comes along.

Will it happen? Not with our current government, but we can change that if there is a will.

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Response to theKed (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:16 PM

25. Too good an idea to fail, I'd say.

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Response to theKed (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:19 PM

28. There are a few cities already moving toards this on their own with google's help.

I actually do some consulting work with a non-profit that is making great headway toward rolling out free wifi in a medium sized city.

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Response to theKed (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:23 PM

73. Either way, TV broadcasters lose out.

Reference: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-12-118A1.pdf

The FCC wants to reallocate TV broadcast signals to be used for wireless broadband. As a result, some stations will have to change their broadcast frequency, become a .2 on another TV station, or cease terrestrial broadcasting altogether. This has effectively been decided that this will happen - sooner or later - and not just in the USA.

Right now it's a case of how to "repackage" the TV broadcast spectrum to keep as many existing stations who want to continue to be on the air broadcasting, and what the new frequency space will be used for. It screws over low-powered community TV stations (still reeling from the analog to digital transition), and reduces choice for the 10 million + people who get their TV only by an antenna. However if AT&T and Verizon get their way, they then have the ability to charge a lot of extra money for even faster 4G-LTE access. On a new device, of course.

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Response to theKed (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 07:05 PM

85. Do they have more money than Apple and Google?

And Amazon. And Netflix. And hundreds of other companies who's very basic being is tied into people having internet access, and who's audience expands dramatically in the possibility of universal internet access.

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Response to theKed (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:32 PM

98. Right AND A BLACK MAN WILL NEVER BE ELECTED PRESIDENT, FOLKS!!!!!!

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Response to theKed (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:29 PM

125. Google, Microsoft and other Tech Giants ...

... support the bill, so their money would counteract the parasitic telecoms'.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:44 AM

6. Dream on.

No way this could get through the rich lobbyists.
Nice thought but utterly impossible in today's government.

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Response to Kablooie (Reply #6)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:49 PM

127. Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and other tech giants ...

... have money, too. They support this proposal.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:44 AM

7. We built the Interstate Road System in the 1950's

And the economic benefits derived from it are almost incalculable. Just try to imagine what our country's economic system would look like today, if we didn't have these nice, straight, smooth, FREE highways to commute on, to ship our goods over, to travel on while on vacation. We would be little more than a 3rd-world nation, forgotten by the more developed parts of Europe and Asia.

Imagine what a nationwide "Virtual Interstate" wi-fi network would get us in the 21st century.

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Response to NickB79 (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:29 PM

13. A very different country in the 1950's

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Response to Angry Dragon (Reply #13)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:12 PM

47. So? Doesn't mean we can't try...

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Response to bobclark86 (Reply #47)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:19 PM

52. I never said it was not a good goal

The republicans of today are not the republicans of old

Corporations have also changed ........ they have become monopolies

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Response to bobclark86 (Reply #47)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 07:22 PM

87. +1000 I'm so, so tired of all the defeatist, we'll never do this, we'll never do that talk here!

We need to keep trying, on this, on single-payer health coverage, and on election reform.

Yeah, right now, we're fighting rear-guard, losing battles trying to keep from losing more ground. But, with the help of the young people coming up, we can change things. It may not be in my lifetime; but, it can happen.

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Response to LongTomH (Reply #87)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:34 AM

116. +1000 I'm so, so tired of all the defeatist, we'll never do this, we'll never do that talk here!

they are all trolls and paps.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:53 AM

8. Make it illegal to impose data plans

just because you have a data-capable phone.

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Response to BadgerKid (Reply #8)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:39 PM

20. Ha! That would be great

It would really put the corporations against this between a rock and a hard place then, because there's no way they could afford to provide unlimited data to all their customers, especially if people use their phones as Wi-fi hubs in their homes.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:05 PM

12. K/R! (nt)

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:34 PM

14. As long as my taxes don't go up $150 a month...

to compensate for my ditched cell phone and home internet, and the service is even close to as good as my Time Warner cable modem and my Verizon cell phone, I'd say build that bitch!

Good use for those Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics guys who won't have missiles to build once we cut the DoD budget to compensate for the project. We have some of the best and brightest engineering minds in this country (and guys from other countries come here all the time, too), so let's turn them from weapons of war to something useful.

Everyone keeps their jobs, taxes stay the same and we stop bringing home my classmates in body bags. How is this not full of teh win?

Oh, wait. It's "people socialism" and not "corporate socialism."

Actually, all the defense contractors find lots of work, so it IS corporate socialism. Just a small handful of companies get shat on, but they'll find other places to make money. It's what their boards pay them for.

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Response to bobclark86 (Reply #14)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:09 PM

24. But really, wouldn't $150/mo just replace what you are paying now to some

telecom giant? We have a basic data plan on one phone and a bare bones phone only plan on the other. We pay $125/mo. And that is separate from what we have to pay to keep the home PC running which we were just told will go up to $60/mo this week.

And with this plan, others (i.e. the POOR) would also benefit. I don't see that this would cost $150/mo but if it did, it would be a savings for our family.

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Response to AllyCat (Reply #24)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:19 PM

29. Actually, they could do it for less because the CEO wouldn't be getting that huge bonus.

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Response to aquart (Reply #29)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:21 AM

108. That $0.33 per subscriber per year will really make a difference

Just saying a CEO bonus doesn't cost the subscribers much. Verizon CEO got $23,000,000 last year, with 70,000,000 subscribers that's about $0.33 per subscriber for the whole year.

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Response to AllyCat (Reply #24)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:09 PM

46. I see the problem...

you see me actually being against this if my taxes go up. I'm not. I wasn't very clear on that point.

I'm cool with paying the same, as long as it works as well, but I don't see why it would have to as the non-profit system doesn't have to charge as much to make shareholders happy.

I would just rather hack down bullshit like the F-35 program and put those engineers, assembly workers and so on into this project at a neutral cost impact (on me and everybody else... we have the cash if we stop spending it on shit).

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Response to AllyCat (Reply #24)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 07:45 PM

89. There are much cheaper plans. You may have a lot of extras if you're spending that much..

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