[TAG] ISP email goes down in flames
sluggoster at gmail.com
Tue Nov 15 00:41:17 MSK 2005
On 11/13/05, Adam Engel <bartleby.samsa at verizon.net> wrote:
> I have heard/read that certain cities are caving in to Cable/Comm interests
> and "illegalizing" or discouraging small dial-up network access.
I have not heard of any city banning dialup. Telcos don't like dialup
for a different reason: the lines were built assuming most calls would
be five minutes or less. Having lots of modems running several hours
a day ties up the lines; then you get the "fast busy" signal when
there aren't any available. But now that a large chunk of users have
moved to broadband or cell phones, and thousands of phone numbers
disappeared in the dot-com crash , and the telcos have had ten
years to adjust to the widespread use of modems, I don't think this is
an issue any more.
 Western Washington split from one area code to four in the 90s.
They were about to add a fifth -- an overlay for the entire region --
but postponed it due to the crash. It still hasn't been activated.
Philadelphia set up a municipal wireless network. The Pennsylvania
legislators responded with a law banning any more such networks
because "government shouldn't compete with private enterprise". Of
course, government is less efficient than the private sector anyway --
so you'd think they wouldn't need a law, people would vote with their
feet. But apparently the cablecos are afraid of government being too
efficient in this one sector. God forbid it should turn out like
Tacoma, Washington, where the municipal cable/Internet system is
cheaper than the cableco's.
The cablecos/telcos also argue they put a "substantial investment"
into their infrastructure and shouldn't have to open their lines to
"competitors". One can respond that they've probably recouped their
investment anyway, and they knew all along that the lease was only for
X years. Much of the telco infrastructure was paid by the public:
that "universal service fund" fee on your phone bill, among other
> on the other hand, seldom send out an article that can't be handled over
> Pine or any other text-based mailer, and most of the sites I read are
> text-based and well within the capacities of Lynx. True, it's quicker to
> download applications and source material over DSL, but it's not like I
> can't work on other things while I'm downloading a file. In short, I
> didn't even understand the "need" for universal broadband until I left my
> text-based world and saw the types of graphic-heavy site designs being
> pushed over the mainstream -- most mainstream newspapers, for instance, as
> well as "alternatives" offer video and audio clips as if they were TV news
> broadcasts rather than web sites.
I eschewed graphical browsers and GUIs until well into the mid 1990s.
But I finally realized the graphical fonts are easier to read, many of
the images really are important, and having multiple windows on the
screen makes a big difference when you're entering into one window
based on what's in another window.
If you have the ability to set up a community wireless network, it
would certainly be worthwhile even if it's small. You would learn
tons about running an "ISP". The downside is you'd have to put a
microwave antenna on your roof, and everybody in the network would
have to be line-of-sight with an antenna. If you live in a hollow or
in an apartment, you may need to move. Those are the main reasons
wireless networks aren't more widespread. You'd also need an Internet
connection of some sort. If you have enough people you can pool your
resources and get a commercial-level connection, and that will
eliminate many of the barriers and limitations you otherwise have to
deal with. (Most importantly, the telco will actually respond to your
outage complaints rather than just sitting on them.)
Mike Orr <sluggoster at gmail.com> or <mso at oz.net>
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