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WYO1016

It's time to re-examine internet access as a utility

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With many people being forced to go to school or do their work at home, it's time to revisit the 'internet as a utility' argument. The school situation highlights that. We are required by law in this country to educate our children. When schools closed in March, kids had to take classes online. That's a pretty clear indicator of internet being necessary for everyday life.

A school district in Dallas had to buy THOUSANDS of mobile data hot-spots for students that didn't have internet access at home. That is absolutely ludicrous.

https://www.wfaa.com/article/tech/digital-divide-internet-is-a-utility/287-c8b0bc38-2c36-4ee0-9f11-ba2229222d76

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I mostly agree, internet should be something set for every house, and every new house should have it de facto just like electricity and water.  If someone doesn't want to have it then they can just turn off the service.  

Most people used to all have home phones, and those lines were utilized for DSL.  And of course cable tv.  IMO in any city fiber optics should be used a lot more as well.  

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Just now, pokerider said:

I mostly agree, internet should be something set for every house, and every new house should have it de facto just like electricity and water.  If someone doesn't want to have it then they can just turn off the service.  

Most people used to all have home phones, and those lines were utilized for DSL.  And of course cable tv.  IMO in any city fiber optics should be used a lot more as well.  

We have fiber provided by our local power utility. The last ~15? feet have to be connected by a provider. We use a local provider and get 1000 mbps for 45 bucks a month.

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What would be the better option, to subsidize private internet providers for low-income users, or creating a quasi-public entity as the terminal provider and use the corporate internet providers like the distributors, similar to some public utility districts?  Do school funds go directly towards the minimal amount of internet speed needed for households with students?  I would certainly not want government to make a quasi-public firm out of the existing private companies like they do with power distributors like the TVA, WAPA or BPA.  But at this point, it is pretty inarguable the reliance on internet is almost mandatory, especially now.  

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On 7/14/2020 at 2:11 PM, modestobulldog said:

 No need to invest in buggy whips, Elon Musk will solve this problem soon.  Beta testing by employees has begun, public beta testing to begin soon. Sign up for notification here:

https://www.starlink.com/

My folks live in rural Nebraska with no access to anything but a Verizon hot spot, and signal is spotty at best. I had them put their name on the Starlink list as soon as they could. I have high hopes it will be what it claims it can be.

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17 minutes ago, WYO1016 said:

My folks live in rural Nebraska with no access to anything but a Verizon hot spot, and signal is spotty at best. I had them put their name on the Starlink list as soon as they could. I have high hopes it will be what it claims it can be.

Download speeds are fine for satellite but uplink speeds are the problem. 

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10 hours ago, WYO1016 said:

My folks live in rural Nebraska with no access to anything but a Verizon hot spot, and signal is spotty at best. I had them put their name on the Starlink list as soon as they could. I have high hopes it will be what it claims it can be.

have they tried that Hughes Net?  Has anyone here tried that? 

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30 minutes ago, pokerider said:

have they tried that Hughes Net?  Has anyone here tried that? 

I've supported customers with it in the past. It's come a long way, but it's still complete dogshit on uploads and barely passable downloads. It's better than dial-up, but comes with significant drawbacks. 

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26 minutes ago, pokerider said:

have they tried that Hughes Net?  Has anyone here tried that? 

It's pretty terrible, unfortunately. Max download speed is 25Mbps, and that rarely happens. My folks have a few friends that have tried it and were very unhappy with it. Their hotspots did a much better job.

The biggest difference between Starlink and Hughes Net is that Starlink satellites are MUCH closer. Hughes Net satellites are 22,000 miles above the surface. Starlink's are 342 miles. BIG difference.

As far as upload speeds for Starlink, they haven't disclosed it yet, but it looks to be 3-10Mbps. They're not gamers, so that's not really an issue. They just want to be able to stream Netflix, use the web for everyday purposes, and do some video calls from time to time.

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32 minutes ago, pokerider said:

have they tried that Hughes Net?  Has anyone here tried that? 

Everyone I know that has used Hughes Net is no longer using Hughes Net. They say it sucks ass.

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6 minutes ago, CV147 said:

Everyone I know that has used Hughes Net is no longer using Hughes Net. They say it sucks ass.

It's what you use if you absolutely positively have no other alternative.

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4 hours ago, retrofade said:

I've supported customers with it in the past. It's come a long way, but it's still complete dogshit on uploads and barely passable downloads. It's better than dial-up, but comes with significant drawbacks. 

 

4 hours ago, WYO1016 said:

It's pretty terrible, unfortunately. Max download speed is 25Mbps, and that rarely happens. My folks have a few friends that have tried it and were very unhappy with it. Their hotspots did a much better job.

The biggest difference between Starlink and Hughes Net is that Starlink satellites are MUCH closer. Hughes Net satellites are 22,000 miles above the surface. Starlink's are 342 miles. BIG difference.

As far as upload speeds for Starlink, they haven't disclosed it yet, but it looks to be 3-10Mbps. They're not gamers, so that's not really an issue. They just want to be able to stream Netflix, use the web for everyday purposes, and do some video calls from time to time.

Does the average user really need to give a shit about upload speed?

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10 minutes ago, renoskier said:

 

Does the average user really need to give a shit about upload speed?

These days, yes. Upload is starting to become more necessary as the internet evolves. 

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On 7/14/2020 at 3:11 PM, modestobulldog said:

 No need to invest in buggy whips, Elon Musk will solve this problem soon.  Beta testing by employees has begun, public beta testing to begin soon. Sign up for notification here:

https://www.starlink.com/

You don’t want your eggs in one basket for even national security issues. Satellites can be shot down by China, but most worrisome is the next geomagnetic solar storm from the sun that will take out every satellite and much of the electronics on the ground including the power grid. The last one was in 1859, and it actually caused telegraphs to catch on fire. We had a near miss of only 9 miles back in 2012. We will get hit again. So underground and shielded cable should survive. Not everyone will have their computers fried.

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On 7/14/2020 at 10:11 AM, happycamper said:

We have fiber provided by our local power utility. The last ~15? feet have to be connected by a provider. We use a local provider and get 1000 mbps for 45 bucks a month.

That's sweet. 

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My only thing about it being a utility is that a utility is usually regulated by the government as a natural monopoly. For instance you can't choose who gives you electricity, or who gives you water, or where you send your sewage to. Those things make sense as a monopoly.

Whereas with internet providers there are usually at least 3 or 4 providers in any given area. To have it be a utility would mean the government picks a winner and loser, which is contrary to capitalism and also to innovation and downward pressure on prices.

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17 hours ago, FresnoFacts said:

Starlink also is working to resolve the impact on astronomy. The low orbit and high reflectivity of the satellites makes them very visible to astronomers.

There is a night picture of how the satellites impacted Cerro Tololo observatory in Chile at this page:

https://www.space.com/spacex-starlink-satellites-astronomers-visibility-response.html

I'm right pissed off about the astronomy angle. 

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On 7/17/2020 at 4:51 PM, CV147 said:

My only thing about it being a utility is that a utility is usually regulated by the government as a natural monopoly. For instance you can't choose who gives you electricity, or who gives you water, or where you send your sewage to. Those things make sense as a monopoly.

Whereas with internet providers there are usually at least 3 or 4 providers in any given area. To have it be a utility would mean the government picks a winner and loser, which is contrary to capitalism and also to innovation and downward pressure on prices.

In urban areas, sure. In the vast majority of towns in the US there's only one choice. Cheyenne has Spectrum. That's it. They SAY we have CenturyLink, but only if you're on the business plan. Residential you can get a max of 1.5 Mbps in 90% of the city limits.

There are a LOT of population areas with less than 100,000 people. I would bet that almost all of them are in the same boat.

 

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