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Why don't our taxes pay for the internet?

Discussion in 'The Vapor Lounge' started by Caligula, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. Caligula

    Caligula Maximus

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    As the 21st century continues to unfold in front of us, the internet (or more accurately, access to it) is fast becoming a basic Human need. In fact a case could be made that Internet access is right up there with food, water, and shelter... and it is only getting more so as time goes on.

    In any case, this brings me to my point. I'm thinking it's time that we start to allocate monies to providing Internet for our citizens. I mean my tax dollars already go towards putting cameras on every street corner, why not WiFi hot spots instead (or as well?)? And it's not like we would need to socialize ISPs either... if you want faster access for whatever reason we already have the infrastructure and private business to provide that additional service at a fee. Time Warner, Cox Cable, AT&T, et al, wouldn't really feel much of a sting IMO.

    That way everyone can have basic access and those with the need and means can have their bandwidth. Win-win?

    In any case, I feel this would solve a lot of social inequality as well as to help bolster our (and every) nation seeing as how a well informed populous is a healthy one.

    What say you? Good idea or socialist liberal hogwash?
     
  2. RUDE BOY

    RUDE BOY Space is the Place

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    What about Food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and transportation ?


    Hogwash and Dogwater !
     
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  3. Caligula

    Caligula Maximus

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    Tax funding is actually allocated for all of those things. There are also many other factors other than funds at play, therefore the smart move is to focus on what we can do for the most people, within reason.

    Basically, WiFi hot spots will be an easier sell than, say... socialized health care.
     
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  4. RUDE BOY

    RUDE BOY Space is the Place

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    There are actually programs for the disadvantaged to have a phone and in some cases a computer and internet ya just have to be connected to hear of them.
    but i know or at least think you were really putting out Free mobile internet access for All, because we know that now using a computer/smartphone is a basic human right like owning a car and having a drivers licence.

    Not the govts. job imo.
     
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  5. Caligula

    Caligula Maximus

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    Im not talking about providing antiquated cell phones (Obama Phones) to the poor, or any hardware to anyone for that matter. Im talking about city wide access to the internet via whatever wifi or hardwired platform you happen to have access to. You know, like how we have bus lines which travel all over the city, or the roads they drive on, those water fountains you see in public parks... all of which our taxes pay for. Just like roads and freeways, internet access is now part of the basic infrastructure of our society.

    To distill this further... No, its not the government's job to give you a car, however this doesnt mean that they shouldn't provide roadways for the public.

    Also not sure that owning a car or having a drivers license is a "basic human right". How are you quantifying that?
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
  6. grokit

    grokit power cosmic

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    Good idea, I agree completely but the shareholders of these publicly-owned companies will absolutely not consider this a "win" because they want growth at any cost. This wall-street addiction to infinite growth for the sake of shareholders profits is driving inequality all over the world. Besides inequitable, capitalism is ultimately unsustainable in the long run because the resources it draws from are finite :2c:
     
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  7. Caligula

    Caligula Maximus

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    And that's why we cant rely on said companies to step up and offer basic services free of charge. Besides, its not like the cities aren't going to pay the ISP(s) for this basic service. Remember, my whole point is allocating tax money to pay for it, and I'm not talking about making some big government run ISP. There would be no need to sink the time and money into something like that since we already have the existing infrastructure built.

    As for the comment regarding resources being finite, you obviously haven't taken any returns into account (both social and economic). The returns are what would make this sustainable. I highly doubt anyone would argue that building the interstate freeway system wasn't good for us economically (in the long run), even though it took an amazing amount of time, resources and funds.

    BTW, there's nothing wrong with profit and capitalism as long as there are checks and balances.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
  8. grokit

    grokit power cosmic

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    It's happening, in certain cities. But in others, the isp lobbyists have gotten legislation passed outlawing public wifi. So it's like a lot of other things, everybody wants it but it will take time to roll out and many won't get access to it in the foreseeable future. Like some airports have it for free, and some you have to pay for internet access. Also this one is courtesy of bloomberg, so unfortunately expect a bit of censorship.

    Harlem to Receive U.S.' Largest Free Wi-Fi Network

    It will cover 95 blocks throughout Harlem

    New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is looking to attract new businesses and entrepreneurs to Harlem with the country's largest free public Wi-Fi network.

    According to Bloomberg's website, the network will cover 95 blocks throughout Harlem, offering free Wi-Fi to its 80,000 citizens.

    Bloomberg wants this service to draw new businesses and entrepreneurs to Harlem as well as serve visitors and current residents, including the 13,000 people currently living in low-income housing and may not be able to afford Internet.

    The new Wi-Fi network will offer 24/7 access to anything from educational tools for kids and adults to paying bills to checking sports stats.

    The Wi-Fi network will be rolled out in three separate phases, which will be completed in May 2014. Phase one will cover 110th to 120th Street (between Madison Avenue & Frederick Douglass Blvd.) and will be completed this month. Phase two will cover 121st to 126th Street (between Madison Avenue & Frederick Douglass Blvd.) and will be completed February 2014. The third phase will finish off with 127th to 138th Street (between Madison Avenue & Frederick Douglass Blvd.) and will be done in May 2014.

    The free public network will serve the community for an initial five-year term and is funded through a donation from the Fuhrman Family Foundation to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.

    This isn't the first time NYC has received free Wi-Fi. Back in January of this year, Google partnered with The Chelsea Improvement Company and design/installation company Sky-Packets to place free Wi-Fi between Gansevoort St. and 19th St. from 8th Ave. to the West Side Highway. It's also available in public spaces like the Chelsea Triangle, Gansevoort Plaza and 14th Street Park.

    http://www.dailytech.com/Harlem to Receive US Largest Free WiFi Network/article33907.htm
     
  9. Caligula

    Caligula Maximus

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    The same companies will fight to maintain monopolies and other economic/political advantages. Its the nature of the beast, and shouldn't surprise anyone... nor should it dissuade action or promote inaction regarding the topic at hand. I mean, how hard did tobacco companies fight public bans? Did it surprise anyone that they tried to fight that? Did it ultimately matter?
     
  10. RUDE BOY

    RUDE BOY Space is the Place

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    I may have just have a slightly different view of things if i moved up to an "Obama Phone" mine's still a "Bush Phone"! I also have no reason to be on line when i'm not at home. Don't know why i would need it, never mind help fund it with taxes
     
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  11. lwien

    lwien Well-Known Member

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    Man, sometimes the word "internet" and the concept of "well-informed" when used in the same sentence can be a classic example of an oxymoron, eh?
     
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  12. Caligula

    Caligula Maximus

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    You can lead a horse to water my friend.

    There's a slight difference between internet access and having a phone line. However, as I said, this is about the ability to access the intrawebz. Not where and how to access it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
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  13. EveryDayAmnesiac

    EveryDayAmnesiac Bad news from the stars.

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    Whatever is done, I just hope everyone is really careful with the internet. We can't risk it breaking, or falling into the wrong hands, or dealing with flash photography. It's a dangerous, fragile, shy little box, the internet.

     
  14. tuk

    tuk Well-Known Member

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    Paying private ISPs from public funds to provide free net access for everyone would mean the average joe-anna ultimately paying more for internet than they currently do.

    There would be virtually no competition to drive down prices, the private sector would overcharge the government like they always do on government contracts.

    Any kind of blind bidding for the contract would invite corruption. Consumer(not government) driven markets, as well as being more transparent will always return the best bang for buck for the end user.

    If we believe the internet is something people should have access to, like, libraries, running water, roads etc then the infrastructure should be removed from the open market all together, seized back from the private sector, I say seized back because it was tax money that created the Internet in the first place then it somehow got gifted to the private sector in the 80's along with an ocean of free government money for future expansion. ...Fuck the shareholders, snouts been in the trough long enough, compulsory purchase for $1 using the Patriot act.
     
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  15. Caligula

    Caligula Maximus

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    • In order for what you say to be a reality, we would need to assume that there wouldn't be cost offsets of any sort, and that there would be increases in overall taxation which would amount to more than the annual cost of private internet service for the average citizen. That's a highly unlikely scenario.
    • Have you looked at your cable and ISP options lately? They already have you by the short hairs, and there is very little to no competition to drive prices down. As a matter of fact ISP prices have been steadily increasing while operational costs have remained comparatively steady, since its constantly offset by better and more efficient technology.
    • There would be no "bidding" contracts if local governments were to use existing private infrastructure. As I stated in the point above, there are very few choices for different ISPs in any one location.
    • If you remove internet access from the public market, then the only option is total government control. What could possibly go wrong? Seems to work for the DPRK.

     
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  16. basement farmer

    basement farmer My face is melting...

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    And definately cheaper. I say it would be doable on the local level.
     
  17. Caligula

    Caligula Maximus

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    Although I didn't outright say it, I imagined this happening on a local/city level. I wasn't thinking the federal government was going to go out and WiFi up the entire country.

    Might also be a good selling point to get people to relocate to your area? LOL, worked for Starbucks.
     
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  18. t-dub

    t-dub Vapor Sloth

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    Two thirds of the world have no connectivity what-so-ever. Google is launching 180 satellites to change that. All of these government "giveaway" programs tax you $10 and after waste, fraud, overhead, and abuse only give back $3 to the people in need. Oh and fuck Comcast. They do have me by the short hairs and I hate my cable/internet/phone bill but I need "the wire" . . . :freak:
    http://singularityhub.com/2014/06/14/google-to-spend-a-billion-or-more-on-internet-satellites/
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2014
  19. nopartofme

    nopartofme Well-Known Member

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    It's working great for Chattanooga, TN. Their fiber network rivals those that Google's been building.

    I'd LOVE to have a municipal fiber network in my area.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2014
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  20. Caligula

    Caligula Maximus

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    LOL my neighborhood was built with fiber in place (built in 2008). Nowhere near close to having service on it though.
     
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