Yup; the Internet is screwed up.

Even Cracked realizes this:


That can't be good.

-- jra

I would describe this as "local market failure". It's common even in highly populated areas, not just rural ones here in the US.

What I have observed is the roll-out of the AT&T U-verse service (aka internet-lite as it is not possible to disable some of their ALG on the gateway) skip areas along the way to hit higher density neighborhoods. They are getting better with their pair bonding, but many people are unable to get access at the edges of these populated areas.

- Jared
(who would have rather seen google roll into an entire county that faces these challenges vs major cities)

Once upon a time, Jared Mauch <jared@puck.nether.net> said:

> Even Cracked realizes this:
> http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-reasons-internet-access-in-america-disaster

I would describe this as "local market failure". It's common even in highly populated areas, not just rural ones here in the US.

I'd go so far as to say "user failure". If I wanted cable TV
(especially if I needed it at home as part of my job), I wouldn't
buy/rent/lease/whatever a home without checking that cable TV is
available at that location. I live in a city with two cable providers,
each of which covers the "whole" city, yet there are pockets where one
(or even both) don't provide service.

Before I bought my house, I made sure I could get my preferred Internet
service at my house.

There are definately things wrong with the state of last-mile Internet
access in the US, but moving somewhere without checking is IMHO your own

I think the point is the ubiquity of access isn't what it should be.

Yeah, he messed up, but the social problem is still real. The
Internet is now more important than electricity or water -- you can go
off the grid or dig your own well, but more and more you can't get a
job or talk to the government without web access and email.

The umbra of it all. We have jobs though.

~Jay "We move the information that moves your world."
“Engineering is about finding the sweet spot between what's solvable and what isn't."
“Good engineering demands that we understand what we’re doing and why, keep an open mind, and learn from experience.”
                                                                                                                                                                            Radia Perlman
"If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather than dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow to their capabilities."
 Please consider the environment before printing e-mail

I think there were several good points made in the article.

1) Data caps and how they impact software updates (or downloads) - hughesnet was mentioned but ..

Looking to the near future, Apple is selling a 4GB download for $30 in the next month or so. That will have a large impact on networks that day IMHO. If you have a 3G/4G/LTE/whatnot device it makes it impossible to pull down the image without hitting your 5GB or 10GB cap compared to a fixed access network.

Even assuming you go to the local Panera/McDonalds/Starbucks/Library access, if you get 2MB/s (16Mb/s) you're talking about 20-25 minutes. Those locales don't usually have that fast of a network though.

2) Last mile is expensive to install and hard to justify for people. This is because of a long history of universal service and subsidization/regulation.

In Michigan you could get a phone line installed for $42 (not sure, haven't installed POTS in a long time, may have gone up) regardless of the cost to the carrier. This isn't the case when you want to extend other utilities (eg Gas, electric, water...). People are willing to pay 10k+ to install these services as part of their construction expense. Their other utility cost is masked in part due to the past 100+ years of telecom history. The cost of lighting a 20km strand of fiber at 1Gb/s is somewhere in the $600, including ONT, etc. Many people here on nanog would happily pay that amount. Now, the 12-100k per mile to build the fiber is the hard part to eat.

3) Certainly he did a poor job of site selection. Perhaps he was misled or even lied to. I've faced similar challenges when working with both hardware vendors and carriers out there. The sales peoples eyes get big once you start talking about "doing" something, but the engineers at the table generally start asking serious questions. (I certainly will not move anywhere that doesn't have a HFC or PON/FTTH network. Sorry AT&T/Centurylink/others but the plusses don't justify the minuses).

I have an off-the-grid location I can go to. I can get internet access there with a VZ MIFI at speeds of 1Mb/s. What I can't get is a software update over that service to keep my devices secure. The 5GB data cap gets in the way.

The current set of iphone/ipad firmware updates are about 700mb per device. Not counting the latest combo updater (or incremental) for MacOS. (Hopefully with the 5.0 software announced they will do OTA updates on a different APN that doesn't count against ones data limits).

I don't use windows so not sure what those weigh in at, but they're bound to be a few hundred megs.

- Jared

Funny, how in the title refers to the Internet globally when the article is
specific about the USA.

I live in europe and we have at home 100Mbps . Mid sized city of 500k
people. Some ISPs even spread WiFi across town so that subscribers can have
internet access outside their homes.

Cablevision does that somewhat.


Jay Ashworth wrote:

Even Cracked realizes this:


That can't be good.


"up to 10 percent of the country can't even get basic broadband"

I think I saw much larger numbers a few years ago when I read some hype stories about how broadband access in the USA sucks. I am positively surprised the gap has narrowed that much.

I wonder, what's wrong with dialup through ISDN? You get speed that is about the same as low end broadband I'd say. And I think it'd be available at these locations where DSL is not.

To quote Broadband - Wikipedia

"A basic rate ISDN line (known as ISDN-BRI) is an ISDN line with 2 data "bearer" channels (DS0 - 64 kbit/s each). Using ISDN terminal adapters (erroneously called modems), it is possible to bond together 2 or more separate ISDN-BRI lines to reach bandwidths of 256 kbit/s or more. The ISDN channel bonding technology has been used for video conference applications and broadband data transmission."

My low end home DSL connection has similar bandwidth.
With regards to the writer's main gripe, if your telecommute work typically consists of ssh sessions and email then even y'olde dialup will do just fine.


Try ordering one. If I wanted one here I couldn't order one today. Years ago I had a bonded BRI serving my first server and and it took 3 months to get it working. I am not sure central offices have that capability any more. There was also a distance constraint from the CO (kinda like the distance issue from the DSLAM demark)

I have a fishing cabin out in the middle of nowhere and I get broadband via a small ISP that serves via Canopy coresiding on 300 ft cell towers. This provides 1-20Mbps service even when the cell towers only provide Edge


I love how articles like this seem to convienently ignore the fact that the
US is a BIG COUNTRY, and countries like Korea and Japan are very small
countries comparitively. I haven't done any research to backup the
following claim, but I suspect that the Russian Federation's internet
probably isn't on the level of these much smaller, denser countries.
Anecdotal evidence from friends in Russia about the quality (or lack
thereof) of their connections would support this claim though.

The FCC numbers say "10% can't get it", computed on a per-county basis. However,
if *one* person in one corner of the county closest to a major city can get broadband,
then *everybody in the county* is counted as "can get broadband" by the FCC, even if
99.8% of them are 15 or 20 cable miles away from actually getting anything usable.

So the *actual* numbers are much worse than the FCC numbers.

Be that as it may, when I moved to the States I had to give up DSL back in the Netherlands. But since I got flat rate dialup in return in the USA it wasn't such a big deal, for me the internet worked just fine on 56K dialup between 2002 and 2006. The reason I really wanted DSL in the first place is to get rid of those excessive phone bills. Increased speed was just an added bonus.

Since most countries do not offer flat rate local phone calls I'd say that makes it a more urgent matter for them to move to broadband.

Maybe flat rate local phone calls is one of the reasons broadband lags behind here. Because your bills actually increase with broadband. From a mere $10 to something like $30 and up per month. That's a considerable difference for many households.


2) Last mile is expensive to install and hard to justify for people. This

is because of a long history of universal service and

Not only that, it makes it even worse when you hear firsthand accounts of
"yea, this customer's DSL is screwed because at&t was too cheap to install
proper guage wires like they did down the street in the same neighborhood!!"
from an actual at&t digital technician.

And yes, this was in the middle of a US city with almost 500k population.

So much for "rethink possible", I guess we'll just have to live with "reach
out and touch someone"......

That *is* a consideration for many, but it's generally not regarded as one of
the biggest issues. The lack of an enforced build-out similar to what Ma Bell
had to do 50 years ago for telephone service, and related regulatory issues
that result in most areas having essentially one telco and one cable operator,
both of whom are free to pick-and-choose their service areas, is a bigger

(Biggest single issue? Probably that some companies got really big incentives a
number of years ago to deploy broadband, and were allowed to pocket the money
without actually deploying. Will take quite a bit to reverse *that* fiasco...)

(Biggest single issue? Probably that some companies got really big
incentives a
number of years ago to deploy broadband, and were allowed to pocket the
without actually deploying. Will take quite a bit to reverse *that*

It sounds, Valdis, like you've been listening to Bruce Kushnick.

The good news is that, after years of windward urination by Bruce, renewed
scrutiny resulting from the recent T-Mobile gambit has brought more than one
investigative journalist to his door. One hopes for major coverage soon.

Hi List,

Farmer Don here... Wonder if I could get some help please?

  40°46'42.77"N - 73°58'0.83"W

I found a bit of land that I like the look of, with what appears to be a nice water reserve so my animals can drink and I can water the grass.

Being from New Zealand (a farming community a bit below and east of Australia), I'm sorry but I don't know much about regulations to install irrigation systems in the area that I'm quite keen to set up my next farming venture. I'm wondering if anyone can give me some pointers?

Being from Christchurch (site of two massive earthquakes) I know a reasonable amount about demolition now, so I'm not worried at all about the adjacent buildings as we can deal with those as we need to expand the farm.

I'm attracted to this area for a number of reasons, mainly because of the abundant wireless broadband options across the entire property.

I've done some factoring and the cash I can save by not having to invest in my own wireless network spanning across the country will mean I can pay for my new dairy milking shed within 3 years, (unlike the investment I've had to make on a family property in New Zealand where our property was out side of the reach of the local Telephone companies high speed DSL service and we were going to be limited to sub ADSL1 speeds!)

After reading this post on NANog and following the link provided, it really struck me as a great place to ask for assistance.

Some may be wondering why I don't want a more rural setting?

I want to be able to enjoy a city life style every day, and I really don't feel that's unreasonable given the rant I hearing about the right to enjoy a rural life style while also having all the quality refinements that an urban city provides.

Further, I don't see why I should have to invest in my community and why others shouldn't be focused and tasked with just doing it for me!

I do hope that my desire to use some of your land for my smelly cows doesn't offend any of you, but I really think my right to enjoy looking at tall buildings every day has to be respected!

Cheers Farmer Don

Well, it "was" available. I had one ~15 years ago, and a Cisco 801 to
boot. There was a big build-out in some areas, the small-town local
Bell (not yet Borg'ed into the conglomerate) went all digital (well,
"digital" at the time) on their new nnx CO. Still recall the Northern
Telecom "network interface" boxes on the sides of houses.

Closer to the city, it was "order and wait" as you had to be crossed
over or patched to the nearest ISDN CO. They weren't "wholesale" digital.

Most of that has converted over to DSL. But ISDN is still available (we
have some video conferencing gear that uses bonded ISDN).