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Life in the fast lane

Brad Dick's blog entry “Do you have a right to fast Internet? When is fast, fast enough?” on May 7 generated several interesting comments. Here are a few of them.

Dear editor:

Universal broadband availability is a cyberwar national security issue. Think about this the next time you are spammed or your computer is infected with nasty and destructive spyware or bot. In my state of Florida, the Public Service Commission allows the phone companies to offer a badly crippled form of dialup service in areas that are broadband deprived. At crippled dialup speeds as low as 19.6kb/s (with 28.8kb/s typical), forget about being able to download large security-related critical updates from the likes of Microsoft or Symantec. Even at full dialup speeds of 53.3kb/s, most essential websites are marginally usable. Forget about multimedia distance learning. Moreover, copper dialup lines today are extremely poor values compared with VoIP offerings from the cable company. Up in Maryland, my sister's copper-based dialup service from Verizon became staticky and died. Verizon was going to take over a week before it would schedule a repair trip. Fortunately, she had cable modem service from Comcast and finally decided to take the plunge and switch phone service to Comcast, which was out the very next day to install it.

Without broadband availability, she would have been really stuck. It is the only meaningful competition to old-fashioned phone company offerings. For the same $30-per-month service, the standard feature list would have raised her phone bill to as much as $80!
Louis Carliner

Dear editor:

First, why does broadband access automatically mean wireless? Wireless broadband, like more and wider interstates, is a bottomless pit. The actual highways and the information highway both fill up to and beyond capacity very shortly after they are constructed, and we are back to where we started except for our pocketbooks. We may find enough spectrum for wireless for two to five years, but when every Internet page has 3-D high-res video from corner to corner, each element changes every time the mouse is moved even one pixel and everybody is watching video on demand,then 100Mb/s will be totally slow and completely unsustainable. And we will then need … what, Gb/s access, Tb/s access? Where does the next batch of spectrum come from, the X-ray region? Do we then grab spectrum from the doctors' and hospitals' X-ray machines?

I see no harm in most computers being tied to land lines, optical of course, but land lines. You can always run more. Thousands of optical cables will fit in a square inch, and each will have far more spectrum than wireless will ever have. Wire (with fiber) the students' desks. Wire every room in the house. Wire any place where a person can sit down: restaurants, theaters, waiting rooms, bus benches, even restrooms; fiber jacks everywhere. This would be a far better and lasting solution. Leave the wireless for truly mobile situations such as airplanes, buses, autos, space shuttles, etc.

As for paying for it, why shouldn't the folks who are responsible for and who benefit from the increased Internet usage pay? I am talking about the Internet advertisers who force every spectrum-gobbling gimmick you can think of on us. Perhaps if they paid by the actual spectrum usage of their pages they would suddenly decide that a simple text page would work instead of tons of videos and pop-ups.

And what's wrong with TV advertising anyway?
Paul Alciatore

Dear editor:

Remember the [baloney] we got when 56kb/s was an amazing development only possible in a lab? Even though, if I remember, the basis for the T1 carrier concept was 24 65kb/s lines or 25 64kb/s lines? 56kb/s should have been easy. Next, only large companies could afford DSL. Hmm. Those bums at the phone company will do as little as possible. It stunk then and will do the same in the future unless the infrastructure is modernized. If not, we will have high speed feeding low speed.
Robert Brooks