FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler

On Tuesday, a small group of protesters outside the Federal Communications Commission in Washington staged a mock tug-of-war between “The People” and “Big Telecoms.” The demonstrators called on the FCC to enforce net neutrality, the notion that all digital traffic should be handled equally. The FCC is currently considering new regulations that would allow fast and slow lanes for content, with higher charges for speedier Internet access. We discuss the draft regulations and the potential effects of growing consolidation among Internet providers.

Laura Sydell, digital culture correspondent for NPR
Corynne McSherry, intellectual property director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation
Jeffrey Eisenach, visiting scholar at American Enterprise Institute

  • Chemist150

    I pay for a certain bandwidth. I make a request to use that bandwidth and it should be illegal for a request to be blocked or slowed below the bandwidth that I’m paying for.

    There should be some class action lawsuits coming and I want in.

  • Chris OConnell

    FCC Chair Thomas Wheeler is not a dingo, he said so himself. Link to John Oliver segment:

  • Chemist150

    Please comment on Consumer’s rights here.

    She’s all over. If someone pays for bandwidth so Grandma can Skype into a wedding but Skype is metered down. It’s still slow.

    If the user is paying for bandwidth and make a request to netflix, they should meet the terms of the contract and serve as fast as possible but if they meter netflix.
    This is nothing but crooked.

  • Bloopsie

    There already are lanes on the Internet. Netflix, Google etc are already paying Content Distribution Network providers extra to speed up delivery of their content. So the net is already not neutral. So what does ‘net neutrality’ really mean?

  • Lance

    Lets also not forget the large providers have been getting subsidized
    (“Social Contract”) to upgrade their networks, and haven’t. Tiered internet is flat out anti-competitive, this only helps incumbent big business.

  • Ben Rawner

    What about specifically slowing down a site because they are not paying enough? Recently Netflix has been complaining about that.

  • Warren

    Jeffrey Eisenach needs to go away. I don’t want a world with his reality. What a joker.

    • Reid

      I wonder how people like this sleep at night – knowing they twist everyone else’s words to make their own false reality true.

      • bear_in_mind

        It’s very simple: he (and others at AEI) are paid very handsomely to make corporations appear warm and fuzzy, concerned about the public interest, defenders of “free markets” and competition. Virtually all of it is propaganda to deflect criticism and sow division about predatory capitalism. You need look no further than big tobacco, energy (esp. oil and coal), agriculture and so on to see their influence in helping shape popular opinion.

    • How do you have debate if everyone sings from the same hymnal? You sound horribly intolerant. I guess that cap you’re wearing explains why you’d be grumpy.

  • Shahab

    Netflix might be able to pay for faster access now, but the problem is the smaller companies and startups won’t be able to make such deals and wont’ be to offer new services. Remember when youtube was a fledgling small company? Without net neutrality, it wouldn’t have been able to take off.

  • Jesse Barnes

    Who is this guy? His misrepresentation of the market here is impressive. In most markets there is *zero* competition for high speed internet (where high speed is defined as more than a few megabits and with sub-100ms latency). Your cable company provides it or you don’t get it. This is a central part of the problem; monopolies have little incentive to build out their network or improve it. It’s much more efficient for them to simply charge their existing customers more, and add fees for other users.

    The FCC should re-classify these companies as common carriers, and the FTC should split them up and require local loop unbundling (and enforce it unlike when they did this for DSL).

    • Warren
      • dman101

        Hey.. John Bolton is there too, top video
        And most read article there is about Ann Coulter.
        hehe..what a fan base.

        • bear_in_mind

          Not to mention Lynne Cheney, Phil Gramm, Glenn Hubbard (recall his very awkward interview with Charles Ferguson in the Academy Award winning documentary “Inside Job”) and many other right-wing pols.

          I wonder why NPR continues to rely on AEI “scholars” for viewpoints because most are just reading of Frank Luntz’s talking points.

  • I work for Sonic.net, a Bay-Area based Internet provider that supports net neutrality. Internet caps are all artificial. Read Sonic.net CEO’s comments about the importance of net neutrality here: http://multichannel.com/news/broadband/sonicnet-ceo-tiered-pricing-doesn-t-make-sense/374915

    • Jesse Barnes

      I’d love to get Sonic fiber… maybe one day it will expand to the rest of Sebastopol and I can drop Comcast!

      • Hi Jesse – We provide our Fusion service to all homes and businesses within a 3 mile radius of downtown Sebastopol, and we’re building out our Gigabit Fiber Internet service in the West side of Hwy 116.

    • James

      I am a sonic customer for domain hosting. It’s an awesome competitor and delivers good service because there are tons of other options. I CANT get sonic fiber at my SF home and there is no way they can afford to invest to build the last mile. Comcast is a great business for their shareholders and a horrible economic distortion for customers. Government EXISTs to foster competitive marketplaces where market conditions create “natural monopolies”.

  • GiorgioOrwell2nd

    Your guest Jeff just completely dodged the question about the fact that it’s very easy to game the definition of a market, and that in many markets there is little to no broadband competition with the other guests example of Philadelphia. He comes back with some nonsense comment about Google. Answer the question.

  • Jesse Barnes

    Now he’s just lying. “High speed internet” as defined by him, where DSL is still acceptable somehow.

  • Colabi

    with deference to this *expert*, this guy is disingenuous that making internet a public utility is analogous to making google of Facebook a public utility. and here’s a demonstration of the difference in terms of monopoly. if i want to use bing versus google, here’s how. type in http://www.bing.com. if i want to change my internet service provider to something of similar bandwidth, i have no options. just comcast. i propose this. the government should take over the LAST MILE problem of hard lines to the house. and ISP’s should only be able to get to the HEAD distribution centers.

  • Fry-kun

    Netflix pays its ISP for broadband.
    Comcast customers pay it for broadband, but Comcast oversells it (like airline tickets). Comcast doesn’t want to expand its network to support its customers’ demand, so it extorts Netflix for the broadband that was already paid for by both sides!
    That’s what today’s “net neutrality” is all about.
    Nobody should have to pay extra for the service they already paid for!


  • Warren

    Jeffrey Eisenach is splitting hairs with his definitions and using it for his false argument. I highly doubt this guy isn’t propped up by donations from certain entities.

  • Andrew Whelan

    I live in San Francisco and the only service I’m able to purchase is Comcast. Is that not a monopoly?

  • GiorgioOrwell2nd

    I just looked up my San Francisco zip code on the broadband map website that your guest Jeffrey mentioned, and Comcast is the only one that offers speeds over 50 MBPS…the other five listed are between 10 and 25 MBps. Comcast has 100-1GBPS. That’s a big big difference, Jeffrey!

    • dman101

      Effective Monopoly.. effect, effecting, and effective

  • It’s a straw-man argument to use “Netfix is creating 40% of the internet’s traffic” to argue for such “fast lanes”. The popularity of services waxes and wanes with Netflix being the pioneer today which makes it an easy target – but there will be many, many more heavy-bandwidth services in use in the near future providing media streaming, internet of things data transfer etc etc.

    If ISPs allow “fast lanes” what if I, as a consumer, want to use an otherwise throttled provider that is too small to “do a deal” with the ISP, is based abroad or might even be peer-to-peer and technically unable agree peering.

    The Netflix argument is intentionally over simplistic to suit the corporate interest’s argument and fails to acknowledge how the internet really works.

  • DerekOfDublin

    The argument that google, Facebook, etc have a financial incentive – in savings from potential broadband fees – to support net neutrality seems very weak to me: their financial “gains” under net neutrality seems to be minor compared to the financial gains they would make if they could snuff out future competitors. They already made it big, they could afford higher broadband rates. Clearly, then, there is more at play in their support for net neutrality, and that is one based on the culture of Silicon Valley and innovation. They know this isn’t a mythical fixed pie, net neutrality protects innovation, which allows for new products and services that can benefit them down the road.

  • James McCullough

    It should be noted that there is something of a conflict of interest at play here. Is it really ethical to give a content provider like Comcast (who owns NBC) the power to levy discriminatory charges against other content providers like Netflix with whom they are supposed to be competing? Of course not!

  • bear_in_mind

    Our government is ceding regulation to corporate interests for the most important resource in our economy. All you have to do is see how poorly the U.S. rates versus other developed countries to see how Mr. Eisenach’s claims are nothing more than a protection racket to keep out true market-based competition.

  • eve

    currently public service organizations such as social security only offer some services (such as submitting or downloading forms) via the internet. Low income, elderly, and sick Americans need these services and yet can’t necessarily access the internet at all except at a public library. It needs to be a public utility.

  • Jeremy Culver

    Netflix does not use the bandwidth, I use it and I already pay Comcast $100+ per month for that bandwidth. Comcast is trying to double dip and trying to hide behind the technical complexity of the subject to get away with it.

    Since there is no real “market” here in northern CA and just a Comcast monopoly, please stop talking about free market, regulations, and other politically correct terms that make you feel righteous.

    • bear_in_mind

      It’s unfortunate NPR’s reporter, Laura Sydell, was caught off-guard when Mr. Eisenach countered her assertion that cable providers appear to be monopolies. He asserted that because monopolies are illegal, they simply cannot exist in the U.S. This is another red herring, if not a bald-faced lie.

      Look, we all know crime occurs every day in America and just because all criminals aren’t caught doesn’t mean their actions aren’t illegal. Look at how many TBTF Wall Street executives weren’t caught and prosecuted. That doesn’t serve as proof that no crimes occurred; rather, it’s simply proof they weren’t prosecuted.

      This is a crucially important distinction that seems to get glossed-over again and again. And yet, Mr. Eisenach successfully bullied Ms. Sydell into conceding that since monopolies are illegal, they don’t exist. AEI will use that sound bite at every opportunity to defend these corporate behemoths. Mr. Eisenach = Mission Accomplished.

    • So AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile have no customers in the Bay Area? The comments about the alleged Comcast Bay Area monopoly remind me of the remark movie critic Pauline Kael made about Nixon winning the presidential election in 1968: she didn’t think it was possible since nobody she knew voted for him.

      AT&T offers a very nice 45 Mbps U-Verse service in many Bay Area neighborhoods that has the highest JD Power customer satisfaction rating of any broadband plan in America. In addition to that, roughly 15% of America’s broadband users connect over a wireless service. Wireless isn’t good for TV reruns, but it goes with you everywhere and gets faster every couple of years.

      And yes, both you and Netflix use your bandwidth. When one service dominates the Internet to the extent that Netflix does, it has an obligation to cooperate with the firms that carry their load simply to keep the Internet working well for everyone. They still haven’t faced up to that responsibility.

      I work with Jeff Eisenach, and it’s clear to me that he understands how the Internet works an awful lot better than Corynne (who I’ve debated) or the NPR digital culture reporter, Laura. This is largely a factual debate, and those who want to treat the Internet as if it were a phone network don’t have the facts on their side.

  • eve

    and San Francisco has been effectively duopolized. Comcast and AT&T are the only choices for most people. Sonic uses at&t infrastructure, so if you can’t get at&t you can’t get sonic. Monkey Brains has extremely limited service areas. That leaves many with no choice but Comcast.

  • Reid

    Jeffrey Eisenach has some real stones to claim that we have real competition in the market. The fact is that the phone lines and cable runs to our houses represent natural monopolies. Don’t tell me AT&T DSL competes in “Broadband” when they want to offer me a 6Mbps connection versus the 105Mbps I used to get through Comcast.

    I say “used to” because Comcast was delivering such a terrible Netflix experience that I cut it back to 25Mbps. That’s barely tolerable for my uses; AT&T is simply not an option.

    Comcast changes the “deals” available constantly, and they “offered” to double my internet speeds to 50Mbps for $5 less per month.. as long as I submit and allow them to sign me up as a cable TV subscriber to bolster their numbers.. so they can get more money from their advertisers and pretend like cord cutters aren’t a problem.

    I’d gladly pay a non-Comcast provider more money for high speed service. But there are no other options.

  • Mark

    I live in Maui, only Time Warner is avail in Hawaii. Similar in other areas dependent upon how far from the hub you are & amount of other users online dictates speed on AT&T DSL which can bog down to a crawl. Comcast is only option in other areas. Satellite is not high speed.

  • Warren

    Thank you, Michael Krasny, for this show today. You’ve made me go and donate to the EFF. Folks like Jeffrey Eisenach need to be checked.

  • Chemist150

    Given that Amazon has web services. They’ll be able to legally, check competitors for similar products and then slow or block content to favor their own.

    Think about where this is going. All of this is designed to limit information so that propaganda will be more affective but it may enable trends toward monopolies.

    • bear_in_mind

      That’s an excellent point (i.e. limiting or shaping information), especially considering the stunt Facebook pulled on their customers!

  • bear_in_mind

    If the multinational corporations who control internet access in the United States will not allow an open marketplace, states and/or the federal government should treat internet access as a public utility and regulate it as such. There would still be profits made, but the predatory pricing models consumers now face would disappear.

  • dman101

    People seem to always confuse Internet access and bandwidth when comparing it to utility. The internet ISP pipe is not like the electricity wire, it’s a digital pipe, not analog.
    When netflix content travel over the internet it is digitally sliced into all the individual bits. What Comcast is doing is acting like a troll, collecting fees for bits to cross its bridge twice. All internet access are the same because it’s all bits. It’s not analog! It’s not like you can stuff a fat Netflix lady into the pipe! it’s sliced into bits! My email bits are same as your Netflix bits on the Internet pipe.

    • bear_in_mind

      Not exactly. There is an issue of capacity and infrastructure.

      In comparing bandwidth to electricity delivery, there are similar analogs: more amperage requires different diameter wiring, switches, fuses, etc. Same principle applies to digital routers, switches, etc., as there’s no way twisted-pair copper cable is going to carry as much digital bandwidth as Cat-6 ethernet cable, much less fiber-optic cable.

      So while I agree that the huge internet providers are serving as ‘trolls’ or gatekeepers, not all internet access is the same.

      • Jon Rodriguez

        Nitpicking, but Cat6 IS twisted pair; just 4 of them. I think you’re thinking of 2-wire copper from the old POTS era. You are correct in that there is a lot of infrastructure needed to carry larger data that requires higher priority. That’s not in dispute; what the issue is is that we as consumers are *already* paying for that infrastructure, and in other countries where labor costs are far higher, broadband is far better, cheaper, and more competitively diverse. I know you and I agree on this point, though; don’t mean to pick on you. 🙂

    • Jon Rodriguez

      You are right that that it’s a different technology, but it is actually like electricity or water in that there is a “volume” of data, and what you’re paying for is how big the “chunks” are per second that you can receive. In order for those “chunks” to be as big as possible, the equipment in between you and the company sending you the information needs to have high-capacity and fast processing. The more people want these chunks, the more equipment has to exist.

      *However*, we pay for this infrastructure. They promised a certain capacity, built half of it, now people want to use all of it, and they are scrambling to not end up just breaking even.

  • Mathew Lodge

    This discussion seems to have gotten deeply mired in Government wonk territory. Job #1 is to figure out what kind of Internet we want; Job #2 is the legal framework to get it. The key problem is that “fast lanes” give the power to broadband providers to tax Internet applications. There’s a fixed amount of bandwidth per subscriber so it’s a zero sum game: any bandwidth given to a “fast lane” reduces the bandwidth for anything else. They can go after every popular application and demand more money. New applications won’t be able to succeed unless they can pay that tax, which will undoubtably reduce the number of new Internet applications.

    Jeffrey’s claim that there is broadband competition might be true in some academic policy wonk definition. E.g. you can claim that AT&T DSL at 1Mbps is broadband and say “look, there’s competition”, but where I live in San Francisco, there is only one choice for Internet that is >1Mbps and that’s Comcast. So there is a “de facto” monopoly — I can get crappy AT&T at 1Mbps (or any other DSL provider — it all goes over the same copper wires and is the same gear), or I can buy Comcast. Claiming there is broadband competition at the local level at best naive — and he’s supposed to be an expert.

    • Warren

      Agreed. In a policy/scholar vacuum, it’s all nice and clean “on paper”. Unfortunately the real world exists.

    • bear_in_mind

      That’s by design – it’s a form of a red herring. The more “technical” opponents to Net Neutrality make the discussion, the greater the likelihood average citizens will tune-out. Also, our society have come to trust and venerate “experts” and as such, frequently defer to the opinions stated by “experts.”

      • Mathew Lodge

        Yes… I’d argue the value of Forum is to break the “framing wars” and get to the heart of the issue. Which it was patently failing to do this morning.

  • James

    Ask Jeff this EASY question. If we are fine without competition, why does the US have among the slowest service at the highest prices? Lack of competition?

    What is the motivation of Comcast/ATT to actually build FIBER to the doorstep? Competition. Duopoly does not result in investment.

  • Warren

    Jeffrey Eisenach: I suggest you get out in the real world and experience the true Internet, not the one reserved for your scholarly use.

  • Mjhmjh

    The UK does indeed have faster internet access! My son lives London and has a much faster internet connection than I do.He laughs at our slow Comcast connection – and that’s the fastest connection speed we can get here – on the edge of Silicon Valley, alleged hi-tech capital of the USA.

    • The fastest Internet connections in the UK are provided by Virgin Media, the cable company, but they only serve 48% of the UK population. In contrast, 85% of the US can get high speed cable connections, and phone company connections that are plenty fast. Your son’s experience notwithstanding, US broadband is faster than UK broadband, and it is used twice as heavily in terms of volume.

  • Jack Park

    Sorry it’s too late for the talk about net neutrality, but this concerns me: the use of the term “dumb pipe”. I’m reminded of the Banking fiasco where banks started doing other things. In the case of dumb pipes, it seems clear that, no matter how you define the term, Comcast cannot be considered a “dumb pipe”.

    • bear_in_mind

      It’s only “too late” if you’re apathetic and others embrace the same mindset. Just because your position doesn’t always prevail is no reason to not even make an effort.

      • Jack Park

        Sorry, I didn’t make myself clear since your response has nothing to do with what I meant by “too late”; I chimed in after the conversation on the radio ended. Of course, it’s never too late to hold forth in well-justified commentary on the subject, no matter the venue.

    • Jon Rodriguez

      I don’t understand your comment. The term “dumb pipe” simply means that broadband access is, and was always meant to be, a connection. That’s it. A connection that doesn’t care what crosses it, like water or telephone service. Thus, the term, “dumb”, or, in other words, not interfering with what it carries or trying to decide what gets prioritized based on who is more important. An analogy: if Company A has Blue Water and Company B has Green Water, and everyone is paying out the wazoo for access to just “water”, it doesn’t matter if most people prefer Blue Water, nor should the water company charge Company A more money to send it because it “comprises “40% of all the water sent through the pipes”. Especially when there’s only one water company, AND, the water company also happens to OWN Company B, and will be given the power to prioritize Green Water!

      • bear_in_mind

        I can’t know exactly what Jack Park meant, however, the cable companies don’t just provide “a connection” such as utility providers like electricity, water, garbage or sewage. Cable companies throttle access speed and quantity according to their business models. They also have the ability to treat certain digital packets differently than other packets, affording another form of restriction on the connection.

        I think the key discerning factor is regulation. Other countries treat internet access as a utility which is heavily regulated to ensure citizens have affordable access to the internet and the number of service providers have flourished. In the United States, a few corporate behemoths are serving a dual-role of corporate master and regulator.

        The U.S. has been through this cycle before during the build-out of other critical infrastructures such as the railroads, oil companies, telegraph and telephone, etc., but we Americans seem to have collective amnesia on what happened five years ago, much less in the 19th Century.

        • Jack Park

          I believe we are orbiting the same space. My lens is focused on the notion that the owners of ‘dumb pipes’ are taking on ownership of content as well; it becomes hard to imagine how any realistic definition of ‘dumb pipe’ can remain valid in that situation.

      • Jack Park

        Thanks Jon. You offer an explicit definition that, I think, helps make my point. Yes, the pipe should be just that. I made an analogy to the banking situation where the banks stopped being “dumb pipes” for people’s money and started making investments that went south; all that to day that the banks took a vested interest in people’s money in a similar sense that ISPs like Comcast became big owners of big content; in that view, they cannot maintain dumb pipes if they have a vested interest in other money making properties which use those same pipes. At least, that’s the lens behind my original statement. Of course, there is room for plenty of well-researched arguments, one way or another.

  • thisismyaccount

    “Consumers in Japan and France are paying less for broadband and getting faster connections. We’ve got work to do.” –Scientific American

  • Tim Emert

    In my neighborhood I only have access to ATT internet. When I tried to sign up for better internet, I was informed that I am “500 feet behind an ATT firewall.” I can only get access to other ISPs through ATT. I live in Richmond, Ca.

  • bear_in_mind

    Dear KQED: Can you please verify the FCC’s discussion thread? Could you add it to this page as a hyperlink?

    It appears to be: in the thread titled, “Proceeding 14-28 – Protection and Promoting the Open Internet”?

    This thread has just 133K comments, which means only a tiny fraction of Americans have made their voices heard.

  • Mike Gray

    Jeremy C (below) you are correct, we already pay Comcast for broadband, and Comcast throttles or has tiers of service, at least 2 so far. ATT also has tiers, like the old Baud rates for access. The problem is, Comcast is more than an internet access provider. Comcast offers TV on the same cable, and now sees customers moving away from Comcast TV to Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and others. In trying to compete, Comcast now offers it’s own movie service similar to Netflix, but their selection is poor and they have fewer customers. So what’s next? Comcast now is trying to collect money from Netflix (double-dipping) which will be a cost added on to Netflix, and in effect will make Comcast’s own movie service more attractive as they hope for market share. All of this is about Comcast’s GREED and about MONEY. It has nothing to do with bandwidth.

    I say, split up Comcast!! Ms McSherry is correct, there are no options to Comcast in the Bay Area, and I suspect most places. $70-$100+ a month for internet is outrageous, no wonder they amassed enough funds to buy Time-Warner, the company that was supposed to provide content to Comcast. It’s time to relegate the internet portion of Comcast as a utility. Stringing along a single strand wire with connectors and routers is not rocket science anymore. We own the franchise and we should only pay Comcast as a contractor, with a fixed cost plus profit markup, much like PG&E. The internet started as a US Government military installation, it belongs to the people, end of story!

  • Ian

    Just a naive question: How do ISPs currently charge content providers like Netflix? I was under the impression (or at least the assumption) that the charge was proportional to bandwidth used by the content.

    • Most content distributors pay a content delivery network (CDN) such as Akamai to deliver their data to ISPs, and the CDNs pay to connect. The norm on the Internet is that the carrier is entitled to collect fees for transporting data for any party that doesn’t provide comparable service to the carrier. Netflix used to pay CDNs, but a year ago it built its own CDN (to save money) and had to negotiate the kinds of deals that CDNs have had for the past 20 years.

      Before Netflix approached Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, et al., for carriage, it paid transit companies such as Cogent and Level 3 to carry their data to the ISP networks, and most analysts figure they’re saving money by paying ISPs rather than transit networks.

      Netflix is complaining because they know the average consumer has no clue how the Internet works, so they have a chance of getting an even better deal from the ISPs. But the costs of connection aren’t that big a deal for Netflix, content license fees are their major issue. So they’re trying to show Hollywood they’re a force to be reckoned with in hopes of getting access to a better content catalog. If you’re a Netflix customer, you’re aware that most of the TV shows and movies they carry for streaming aren’t as compelling as their DVDs.

  • bear_in_mind

    Since KQED has yet to post the link mentioned in the broadcast, you can lodge your thoughts and opinions via e-mail to: openinternet@fcc.gov; or proceed directly to the FCC page here: http://www.fcc.gov/page/fcc-establishes-new-inbox-open-internet-comments. All submissions will be public record.

  • Jon Rodriguez

    We, as consumers, pay for these services. A single block of homes, say, 20 houses, represents between $1,000 and $2,000 per month in revenue for an ISP like Comcast, and that’s NOT counting TV and other bundled services. We pay for that full capacity, but the ISPs calculate their infrastructure needs based on “statistics” about how much we ACTUALLY have used in the past, regardless of how much capacity we paid for. The less bandwidth we use, the more profit they see.

    Now, we are starting to use our connections at capacity, which we expect, as we paid for it. Now, they have to upgrade their infrastructure to keep up, because they didn’t build out for their advertised speeds in the first place. Because of this, they are now looking for other profit centers, and using video streaming services like Netflix as an example, to punish them for being popular because of the ISPs cost-cutting and poor planning. It’s a win-win for them if it works: the ISPs get more profit, AND they get to legally promote their *own* services with higher priority (larger percentage of those chunks we can get per second).

    A big enough company controlling the pipeline that carries our information can easily be coerced to shape not only what will profit them the most, but what any world government decides they don’t want us to see. Think I’m nuts? See: China, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Russia… places where entire blocks of internet locations are blocked from being received by citizens because they don’t jibe with the “national story”.

  • Ken Ng

    How can we trust this Dingo babysitting our internet?


  • If you’re curious about the broadband competition we have in the United States, it’s actually quite easy to check actual data rather than relying on your intuition. The federal government compiles statistics on this question, called the National Broadband Map. It says that 95% of urban America has 5 or more broadband options, and 90% of rural America has 3 or more.

    See: http://www.broadbandmap.gov/download/Broadband%20Availability%20in%20Rural%20vs%20Urban%20Areas.pdf, page 6, “Any Provider Availability”. This includes wired and wireless, but not the two satellite providers.

    Do facts matter, or is this issue simply a question of rooting for your political tribe, the way smart people root for the Oakland A’s and others support the SF Giants?

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