Town Rejects Comcast and Chooses to Build Its Own Broadband Network

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by cageymaru, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. thejokker

    thejokker Gawd

    Messages:
    821
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    About ten years ago I was working for a company and we had a difficult customer who seemed like a wacko-liberal. My boss bet me lunch at an expensive French restaurant if I could guess where the customer was from (adding he was not from California). It took me a moment and I guessed Massachusetts. My boss was pissed...

    (disclaimer: My dad was born and raised in Massachusetts and I am a Comcast customer and I have had nothing but great service from Comcast.)

    It is a rare occurrence when government can outperform a private for profit company. I suspect the decision was made by the same anti-free market quasi-marxists who support Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. I suspect this will be a bitter lesson for the people of Charlemont, MA who supported these (presumed) progressive democrats who believe government is the solution to all problems.

    Best case scenario: the town will produce an adequate internet service initially at a greater then estimated cost. Maintenance will far exceed their expectations. In a few years the citizens will demand the return of Comcast. Charlemont's folly...
     
  2. wareyore

    wareyore Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    218
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2014
    The Right is calling for competition in this space, not just the entitled Leftists. Where the private sector won't go the public sector may. So, yeah, good for the city that's building their own. Lots of good stories out there where it's working. Some bad.

    Just those same leftist elites who run the entertainment industry who see the masses taking a right turn, impinging on their rape stash monies in the process. They are doubling down in this space and it shows.
     
    Armenius likes this.
  3. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

    Messages:
    28,023
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2000

    Your kool-aid drinking ignorance is astounding.

    If you honestly believe that society does not need anything that the individual can't provide on their own without societal cooperation (which requires taxation to pay for it) then go live in the forest and drink your own pee.

    Stop keeping the rest of us stuck in the 18th century.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
  4. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    7,843
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2012
    Hey I live in a totally socialist country too, just I know its a red flag to may across the pond.
     
  5. Smoked Brisket

    Smoked Brisket [H]Lite

    Messages:
    99
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2013
    Can we stop with the name calling, some of you make some good points but are we not better here than keyboard flexing?
     
  6. thejokker

    thejokker Gawd

    Messages:
    821
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Too bad blue states are virtual cesspools and unless you are one of the super rich your quality of life will be much better in a Red State. The failure of those blue state corporations to due their civic duty and maintain and grow the middle-class was a primary reason for the election of Trump. There is a growing perception in fly-over country that the end-game for blue state progressives is totalitarianism and an enforcing police state.

    No thanks... I'll remain in a red state...
     
  7. theBrownLlama

    theBrownLlama Gawd

    Messages:
    794
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2017
    what happens when the town goes bankrupt....( as they allow that to happen in the US, for some wacky reason) and pretty sure someone has a cut by going with another far-more obtuse 3rd party
     
  8. BloodyIron

    BloodyIron 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    3,443
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Hoping this can catch on as a trend! Nice!
     
    Armenius likes this.
  9. repoman0

    repoman0 [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,034
    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2006
    Please do. Your cluelessness is not needed here. Totalitarianism and police state ... LOL.
     
    chris7191, travisty, SuperAnt and 3 others like this.
  10. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

    Messages:
    28,023
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2000
    I've been to red States. Those are the ones I'd consider cesspools. Nothing of value there at all, and for all their preaching of free market values they are the ones that economically are a drag on the rest of the country.

    I couldn't imagine living in such a sorry place.
     
    chris7191, travisty, SuperAnt and 2 others like this.
  11. wareyore

    wareyore Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    218
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2014
    And when they do they may be able to negotiate a better deal for the people. I hope it works out for them.

    I had so-so service from Charter/TWC and used the shitty city service in that market to keep the pricing on my service reasonable.

    What the people won't have to do is pay $150 a month for basic internet service, which is what the major cable companies are shooting for to replace their shitty TV packages they've been "bundling" for years.

    Even shitty alternatives can work when it comes to negotiating rates.
     
  12. DNMock

    DNMock Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    399
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2015
    You are correct at a regional and federal level, on a local level of say, a municipality, I don't see why this would be a bad thing in the least. As with basically everything, a majority of the total cost of infrastructure repairs is in a small number of projects. As in a 2 mile stretch of 6 lane interstate repairs is 100's of times more expensive than a 2 mile stretch of city street repairs.

    Obviously those need to be taken care of, but a local municipality who doesn't have jurisdiction over any of those major infrastructure areas can easily keep their local infrastructure up and add a fiber network.
     
  13. thejokker

    thejokker Gawd

    Messages:
    821
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Sorry but you need to crack open a few history books. There are other ways to create societal cooperation besides big government. Our country grew into the richest, most powerful, most technologically advanced country in the history of the world with a small de-centralized federal government and laissez-faire capitialism. Funny how as we move away from that proven model the middle-class shrinks and the elites grow richer.
     
  14. repoman0

    repoman0 [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,034
    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2006
    We also poisoned the environment, used child labor and had no worker protections, and had the advantage of establishing the world order over the past 70 years which we are now quickly giving up. Also a significant part of our technological advancement is thanks to the federal government investing in it from the 40s onward. Elites are growing richer and middle class is shrinking due to automation primarily, and useful idiot republicans voting to give tax cuts to the extremely wealthy and corporations so they pay a smaller percentage than the average worker while they are unable to keep their own schools open (Oklahoma and Kansas, I'm looking at you). Keep voting against your interests though while claiming it's others that need to open the history book.
     
    Wierdo likes this.
  15. Thunderdolt

    Thunderdolt Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    183
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2018
    That's how liquor sales have worked in MA for decades. Liquor lobby controls the laws regulating competition (licensing, distribution, shipping, etc). There's no reason the same thing won't happen with ISPs.
     
  16. Thunderdolt

    Thunderdolt Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    183
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2018
    It is quite remarkable how willingly people have allowed corporations to govern the government. They even seem proud of that most of the time. SMH.
     
  17. repoman0

    repoman0 [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,034
    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2006
    The state was a different place decades ago and I've heard that liquor law rewrites are under consideration. There was a big state-commissioned report on it late last year.
     
  18. bagelnagel

    bagelnagel n00b

    Messages:
    40
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2013
    I live in a HOA and our building is exclusively Comcast/Xfinity. I pay $25 and get 400/15 internet, free cable (HBO free, other channels I would have to pay for). I could pay nothing and get 60/10. In the situation that you speak of, it's not the developer, it's the HOA's fault for signing off on a terrible deal. I'm also in Philly (like, Center City), so maybe we get a hometown special.
     
  19. Thunderdolt

    Thunderdolt Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    183
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2018
    The last time modernization came up (in the context of allowing out of state shipments IIRC), the liquor lobby paid off the Somerville chief of police to be in a commercial talking about how that will lead to child alcoholics, chaos, cats and dogs living together, etc etc.

    Even now, MA's liquor laws are archaic both publicly (ie, happy hour being illegal) and behind the scenes (ie, a store with two locations is not allowed to move inventory between those two locations without being specially licensed as a distributor).

    It is kind of funny to think about though: happy hour is illegal, but recreational MJ usage is not. It's the prototypical example of a generational divide.
     
    Armenius likes this.
  20. DNMock

    DNMock Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    399
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2015
    If you don't mind me asking, how much do you pay in HOA dues? My sneaking suspicion is that you are paying just as much as everyone else for that and it's just rolled into your HOA fees.

    From my anecdotal experience, Alcohol is orders of magnitude more destructive than weed. I've never seen someone spend 3 days in an ICU just to detox from weed, nor have I been party to or heard of someone's life or the lives of their family members being torn apart by a stoner.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
    SuperAnt and Armenius like this.
  21. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

    Messages:
    28,023
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2000

    Our country grew into the richest, most powerful, most technologically advanced country in history for one reason and one reason only, and it has nothing to do with our exceptionalism or form of government (though free markets and competition probably helped a little)

    The reason? We were the only large industrialized nation that didn't have their industry annihilated by WWII. (Swedens industry also escaped relatively unscathed, and also did very well in the post war period as a result, but with their small population they weren't much competition to our explosive growth)

    That's how we went from being a "slumbering giant" in the pre-war era, to being absolutely dominant in the post war era. The industry everywhere else that had one was wiped out and had to be reconstructed. Due to the benefit of our geographical distance from the conflict, we didn't suffer the same fate, and took massive advantage of it in the post-war period, an advantage that only now is starting to see real threats from other nations.

    China will eventually overtake us. This inevitable due to their enormous size and population. Note that they are doing so without de-centralized government and free-wheeling capitalist system.

    Having a public infrastructure is not antithetical to having free markets. While free markets generally drive the best advancements through competition, there are some areas (notably healthcare, power generation, water systems, sewer systems, roads, etc) where the capitalist free market model falls flat on its face. The ideal system uses a capitalist free market wherever it can, and government intervention to address its shortcomings.

    Yes, we know Soviet style planned economies are terrible and eventually collapse under their own weight. 100% unchecked laissez-faire unbridled capitalist systems also result in all sorts of problems. This is why every free society on earth uses a combination of the two. Our system in the U.S. leans heavier in favor of free market principles than most, and that is partially to blame for many of our problems. Unbridled capitalism inevitably leads to extreme wealth concentration among the few, and a permanent underclass. This in turn results in crime, drug use, depravity and societal collapse.

    A balanced hybrid system is an absolute must for any system to work. Cut out the capitalism and society fails economically. There is no more incentive to perform. Cut out the safety net and social programs and you wind up in highly unequal systems with high crime and all sorts of social problems. There must be balance.

    That balance can be tough to find though. How do you know when you have found it? How do you know when you have gone too far in one direction or another? Well, one way of looking at it is doing a little comparison. We have 50 states in the U.S. Look at any comparison in economic well being and social metrics (unwanted pregnancies, poverty, drug overdoses, alcoholism, crime, etc. etc,) and in just about every regard states with a more liberal state legislature over time perform better. (Yes, San-Francisco looks bad, but that is one problem spot that is hyper-focused on in an otherwise not too shabby state)

    If we look at revenues, how much each state takes from the federal government, compared to how much each state returns, the picture is very clear. We - in Fox News parlance - have taker states and maker states, and the blue states are the maker states: Without Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and California, the economic fate of this country would be very very different. The pattern here is, these are all the most liberal states. The only exception in the top list of productive states economically is Texas, and that is turning more and more purple by the second if the last election is any indication.

    This seems to very strongly suggest that the U.S. as a whole currently does not have balance, and that we'd be better served by expanding our social programs, improving education, healthcare, social safety nets and infrastructure, and yes with this there is an associated cost in taxation, but if that results in the nation as a whole being better off, well then it is a cost of doing business.


    Which brings me to this:

    It has to do with the differences in how we define "socialism".

    When you say "socialism" in the U.S. traditionally, people think of Soviet style planned economies, and the stuff that is going on in Venezuela. Socialism has become a very dirty word here. The likes of Bernie Sanders have tried to change this, and it has had some success among young people on the left, but old attitudes and definitions prevail.

    The type of Socialism practiced in Scandinavia is probably better called "Social Democracy", at least in U.S. English. It is fundamentally a free market capitalist society, but unlike here in the U.S. the free market capitalist system is used as a means to pay for programs that ensure the well being of ALL in society. This is the type of system that the likes of Bernie Sanders and his followers would like to see here in the U.S. Fundamentally a capitalist system, but a more proactive and well run government to protect those hurt by capitalism.

    Of course the political landscape is full of those who intentionally misinterpret this as wanting the Soviet style planned economy and point to Venezuela as an example of why it doesn't work. Any straw-man argument works if you want to discredit your opponents, right?
     
  22. PantherBlitz

    PantherBlitz Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    421
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2011
    What makes me pause is that they are already planing to institute a tax to make this work if less than 72% subscribe. Not really fair to those who don't want the service. They should publish a price range based on adoption rate.
     
  23. sfsuphysics

    sfsuphysics I don't get it

    Messages:
    13,684
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    It's not that they don't like internet, it's that paying extra for something they don't need is probably not their way. If they have phones that may be enough internet for a handful, if they already have some existing structure for internet dsl or even *gasp* dialup they have internet and as long as that offering is cheaper there's no need to go Gigabit, or if they have been completely devoid of the internet then yeah they probably don't care too much about paying $70-90/month for it. Bottom line there wasn't a whole lot of detail in the article other than they had a vote to not get cable from Comcast, maybe they are a little rural town who does want internet but hasn't been connected.

    Bottom line is I had to make a choice for fiber too, I currently have 150Mbps for about $60/month or I could get 1Gbps service from either AT&T (or resellers) and Comcast (but with only 35Mbps up... lulz) for $90/month, and I just decided it wasn't a necessity. I mean I don't think I do anything that maxes out my existing speed (close sometimes) but it's fine, maybe if I download a game from Steam or an update from Windows, and I don't think there's a VPN out there than can possibly get close to those speeds, so why should I pay a 50% premium for something I more likely won't use?
     
  24. BlueFireIce

    BlueFireIce [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    6,121
    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    And what are you comparing it to? Water is either fully local government control, or local government granted monopolies. What they charge is delivery, and water in most states are heavily subsidized, shows very well in Cali, where heavy water users in areas that have little to no rain fall get water for almost free, resulting in water shortages, water problems are not uncommon because of lack of upgrades for growing populations or proper pricing models because the infrastructure is paid for with tax dollars. It's easy to run a "business" when most of your expenses are covered by someone else.

    I am glad you picked Chattanooga, though it's not surprising you did as it's the one people always bring up, though like your link is always long on mantra and short on actual facts or hard data. Things like UTOPIA no longer covering the debt service on its bonds and as such had their bond ratings cut. OR places like Marietta Georgia, Quincy Florida, Provo Utah etc etc that have all sold their networks at a loss to private network owners because it was bleeding the city dry.

    But lets get back to Chattanooga, and the link you posted about it. First thing that needs to be covered are some of the flat out lies in the link, such as "Not a single taxpayer dollar was used for the scheme". When almost the whole cost of the network was covered by tax dollars, sure, not LOCAL tax dollars (not yet at least), which is all he is talking about, the city just pushed off the tax burden to the federal level (in some ways), as the network was paid for by a $111 million stimulus grant from the department of energy, 220 million in local revenue bonds and a 50 million loan from EPB, all of which (outside of the grant) have the to paid back. The other thing he doesn't talk about is what I said, being solvent, which they are not, even though the network cost was paid for by everyone else. That is how poor of a job they are doing, they have a much lower debt burden of actually building the business due to the huge federal stimulus, and they STILL can't break even, thats pretty bad, and yet, even by your own link, only match Google and ATT fiber in value. And that doesn't factor in other federal and state subsidies they still receive. And even with all of that, cash flow for Chattanooga is so small, that just recovering project costs would take them over a century, when most networks have a life span of 30-40 years. That also does NOT include the funding from the federal grant, add that in and all other debts for the project, at current cash flow from the last 5 years it would take them 412 years to pay off the debt of course that does not account for increased cost of maintenance as the network ages, or replacement and upgrade costs once the network is past it's usable life span. Also, it's "value" in relation to Google and ATT only changed recently, as when it first launched the Gig fiber service was $350/mo, and all of 9 people and 2 business actually subscribed to it for the first 2 or 3 years. They have finally reduced prices to be competitive with Google and ATT.

    "A closer look at EPB’s financial returns does raise some concerns about EPB’s future. EPB’s fiber operations did generate over $2 million in positive cash flow during the five-year period from 2010 to 2014. Unfortunately, this number is dwarfed by the $162 million in bond indebtedness that EPB undertook to finance this venture. In addition, an examination of the annual cash flows from 2010 to 2014 reveals that although cash flow was positive for 2010 and 2011 and for the entire five-year period, it was negative in 2012, 2013, and 2014. The instability of cash flows caused by major financing deadlines makes it difficult to determine whether this represents a broader trend that is likely to continue. Moreover, the Chattanooga bond requires a $71.7 million principal payment in 2033, which represents 44% of the total indebtedness. Backloading the repayment of principal is quite common. It envisions that the bond will be refinanced with another a new issuance. That said, because the cash flows from 2010 to 2014 do not include a proportionate share of the repayments of principal, if anything these data understate the difficulties that Chattanooga may face in covering its project costs.

    A final note of caution comes from the fact that EPB achieved these returns with the support of $111.5 million in stimulus funding that future projects are unlikely to be able to duplicate. Including the stimulus money in the project cost would increase the time needed for the project to break even from 412 years to 683 years, assuming that cash flow remains at the rates realized during the period from 2010 to 2014."

    All of which is tax payer funded. Longmont is a very small city, and even still received over 20 million in DOLA grants for building out the network, along with many other subsidies. The debt they owe has not been paid back, even with most of the bill being footed by the tax payers, no one said they can't build a fiber network, what I said was building a network that doesn't bleed money that tax payers end up having to cover, as very few of these networks are solvent, the ones that are will still take hundreds of years to pay off the debt (meaning they really aren't), and doesn't take into account the grants that tax payers have to cover to build the network in the first place.


    You mean media coverage that praises the networks but doesn't actually look at financial results or costs? How they ignore grants and subsidies for the networks in the cost to build it? Being happy with the service also has nothing to do with it being solvent, lots of people are happy with government programs that are bleeding the country dry, I myself can also be very happy and rack up debt for quiet some time, but at some point, it has to be paid back.

    What you are saying here is that because government granted monopolies don't work the best, we should let government take control of it all. So, just hand over the keys the those who are the main reason for the problem in the first place, rather than just allowing ROW and pole access to more providers and stop taking kick backs for only granting license to a single company. The logic behind this is mind boggling.
     
    bbartlett, PantherBlitz and Armenius like this.
  25. DNMock

    DNMock Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    399
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2015
    First, how dare you take an even keeled fair and honest look at things and try to turn this argument into a discussion!

    Only part I call into question is the taker vs maker states thing. I very much doubt the political leanings of states has much if anything to do with it, especially since the difference between the policies of a red state and blue state are tiny at best. Reality is that the "maker" states just happen to be where the wealth has accumulated over time for a multitude of reasons. A lot of those "taker" states are also the breadbasket that feeds the country. Just because farm land doesn't generate as much tax revenue as NYC doesn't mean it's less important or vital.
     
    Revdarian and Zarathustra[H] like this.
  26. mrp

    mrp n00b

    Messages:
    47
    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
    Good for them, hope to see more of this in the future. We are limited to Spectrum and ATT, not bad but not great and no improvements in the future (no fiber plans).
     
  27. Wierdo

    Wierdo [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,776
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    As a Cali transplant that came from WV, having lived there for 15 years, I can concur from personal experience.

    One thing I will say though, sorta in defense, is that I'll probably come back for retirement since the land is cheap, one benefit of economic stagnation is you get to venture out and earn more money elsewhere and then come back to pick up cheap property, so it's not all bad.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
  28. Zarathustra[H]

    Zarathustra[H] Official Forum Curmudgeon

    Messages:
    28,023
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2000
    Valid points.
     
  29. SamuraiInBlack

    SamuraiInBlack [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    5,677
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2003
    Ugh.

    Government vs. Shitty company battles always leave me torn on who to root for.
     
  30. Armenius

    Armenius I Drive Myself to the [H]ospital

    Messages:
    17,411
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    In the case with ISPs it is government-run service vs. government-backed monopolies, and in this case I support the former. Crony capitalism is one of the most insidious parasites in the US.
     
    Revdarian, SuperAnt and BlueFireIce like this.
  31. Master_shake_

    Master_shake_ [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    8,629
    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2012
    you'd be surprised how far bribes whoops i mean kickbacks shit i mean "campaign contributions" will get you.
     
  32. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    7,377
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2004
    With us, it's all the 6 figure salaries and pensions at the water districts.
     
  33. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    7,377
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2004
    +1

    It all depends on the meaning of the word "contributions"
     
    Wierdo and Master_shake_ like this.
  34. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    7,377
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2004
    Don't worry.
    Many from the middle class in those blue states are moving to your red state, and they will vote for the same type of politicians and turn your state blue.
     
  35. BlueFireIce

    BlueFireIce [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    6,121
    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Indeed, few understand that ISP service is not a free market in the US. And both situations (government-run service vs. government-backed monopolies) are bad for consumers, they just happen to be bad in different ways, and the costs of one tends to be well hidden under layers of subsidy and grants or out right debts, or in some cases not reported on at all. Which is the main reason for support for them, as one you get a higher bill you see at face value, the other you get a lower bill but pay for it on the back end, or pass the debt on to the next generation when they default on the bonds.
     
  36. El Derpo

    El Derpo Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    220
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2018
    Comcast is Satan. Good on them.
     
    Armenius likes this.
  37. Shotglass01

    Shotglass01 [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,918
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2005
  38. BlueFireIce

    BlueFireIce [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    6,121
    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    You have not linked any study. You linked a blog post and a posting by CLIC that is a activist group for government provided services. One doesn't even cover the most basic costs of the system, and outright lies about where the funds came from, and the other doesn't refute the costs or payments for the networks, it only tries to blame the economy, timing, or short working period of the networks in question.
     
  39. Shotglass01

    Shotglass01 [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,918
    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2005
    You're right, they're awful. Someone like Comcast should service their town.
     
  40. Bigbacon

    Bigbacon [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    15,645
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    then comcast swoops in and buys the network for a fraction of its worth.
     
    Armenius likes this.