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The Almighty Buck The Internet United States

The Cost Of Broadband In Every Rural Home 381

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-miss-real-internt dept.
dave562 writes "In an analysis of the effectiveness of the the 2009 stimulus program (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 or ARRA), one of the programs that was investigated was the project to bring broadband access to rural America. Some real interesting numbers popped out. Quoting the article: 'Eisenach and Caves looked at three areas that received stimulus funds, in the form of loans and direct grants, to expand broadband access in Southwestern Montana, Northwestern Kansas, and Northeastern Minnesota. The median household income in these areas is between $40,100 and $50,900. The median home prices are between $94,400 and $189,000.' So how much did it cost per unserved household to get them broadband access? A whopping $349,234, or many multiples of household income, and significantly more than the cost of a home itself.'"
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The Cost Of Broadband In Every Rural Home

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  • by grub (11606)

    So how much did it cost per unserved household to get them broadband access? A whopping $349,234, or many multiples of household income, and significantly more than the cost of a home itself.

    Why don't they just run a single line into the center of the trailer park and install a switch for distribution?
    • Your idea will get broadband to trailer parks, but what about farmland where there are a few homes per square mile? I would think that satellite or other wireless access would be more cost effective than wired Internet access in sparsely populated areas.
      • WiMax from water towers, silos, etc.

        • by rickb928 (945187)

          Plenty of spots in Upstate New York, Vermont, Maine, etc that have sufficient geography to kill WiMax on the top of anything manmade. And putting a WiMax tower on top of Mount Washington serves a bunch of deer, and little else.

          It's the geography, stupid. Hills kill wireless. WiMax in Montana, maybe for some of it. For Kansas, maybe better, for Minnesota, maybe not so good either.

          Just so we know this, if it were affordable, the telcos or cable cos or satellite guys would have already done it.

          • by yacc143 (975862)

            Well, living in a country with more than 80% of it's area being mountains, I can only wonder. The normal expectation is that I have HSPA mobile access anywhere, no matter if I'm sitting in the subway in the city, or skiing somewhere crazy. I mean how do you keep your kids quiet if they cannot surf youtube while you drive?

            So if you have no highspeed mobile access on some mountain in the Rockies, your mobile providers are cheapskates. Or more correctly your politicians are better bought. Our carriers not only

            • by rickb928 (945187)

              Having hispeed data for your kids while you drive seems to imply you were on a road. Even the major (and some minor) roads in Vermont get coverage. The problem is serving the small town of 5-600 residents, when it's 12 miles off the main highway. Even in Europe this may not be as common as you seem to be claiming, but I'll look for your assessment of that.

              And ski areas have surprisingly good access. Again, look for service 30 miles away, in the woods, in those very small towns.

              In Montana, some ranches a

          • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @08:03PM (#36756494) Journal

            If that were true why was there parts of downtown Nashville with No cable or DSL when I was there a few years back? is the middle of music row in a cornfield?

            No friend it is called 'cherry picking" and something the teleco duopoly has done for years. When my mom built her home more than 20 years ago the cable stopped exactly 2 blocks from her house. Now more than 30 households live on this small 2 mile stretch and how far is that cable now? Exactly 2 block from my mother's door, same as it was more than 20 years ago. They haven't moved a single inch in ANY direction in more than a decade here, despite ever more houses being built, because that would mean they would have to invest rather than put the money into their pockets and in the USA it is "damn everything but the quarterly report!" and has been for ages.

            No we are gonna have to open up the last mile to competition and we are gonna build it ourselves if the companies won't, just as they refused to run electrical lines and water to most of the rural areas. And how much of that "cost" is private contractors and no bid contracts? If one would let the cities and the states build instead of having them buried in teleco lawsuits which is ironic since they are suing for customers they refuse to serve even if they win, well then I bet you'd see that price plummet.

            The problem is the current system like the "stimulus" bullshit was done classic government style, which means it doesn't get done if Sen Porkus and Congressman Kickbackus don't get to throw some to their cronies who promptly raise their bids by 600% and act like they won the lotto. We should do it ourselves and demand that the 200 billion [newnetworks.com] we gave the telecos back in 96 for nationwide broadband (who said "Gee thanks! and then gave us the finger, just like GE who took a bailout and used it to send another factory to India) be paid WITH interest in 90 days or we seize the last mile.

            The ONLY way we are ever gonna catch up with the rest of the world is to stop tying the hands of the local and state governments and bust up the teleco monopoly on lines. They want a monopoly? Fine we'll give you 20 years for every currently underserved or unserved neighborhood you give FTTH. Make it 15 for every large city you change out, 20-25 for every small town. Otherwise all we are gonna get is ever nastier caps while the CxOs get extra hookers to snort blow off of while we get the short bus to the information superhighway.

      • by wvmarle (1070040)
        Yet they pretty much all have telephone cables leading right to their homes. And electricity. And possibly water, sewage and gas pipes. How come that is affordable, and broadband not? It's not that the cables are that more expensive, and you guys tend to have most of it above ground anyway. Just hang another cable on those phone poles.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ant P. (974313)

      Because the telecoms don't get to stick their snouts in the pork barrel by thinking.

    • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

      Nice stereotyping around the rural US, but in the areas they are talking about generally it's farm and ranch country very far from traditional telecom and railroad right of ways.

      If the US hadn't let the regional freight railroad for the Great Plains fail in the 1970s, most likely it would have been much cheaper to get good data connections out there.

      Example - I'm originally from north central South Dakota, the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroad began failing in 1964, was out of Montana and t

      • by myth24601 (893486)

        I suspect the high cost of stringing lines to rural homes now is a lot cheaper than it would have cost over the years to keep all the failing rail roads afloat.

      • by zill (1690130)

        running lines above ground is problematic because poles fall during winter storms.

        Isn't it mostly farmland there? Then there's no need for poles, right? Just lay the cables beside the roads.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        A very old and boring story. City dwellers have been subsidizing rural folk since the start of the county. Think rural electrification, farm vehicle tax benefits, ethanol subsidies not to mention outrageous price supports for important foods such as milk and sugar. Alas these disparities are built into the basic structure of the country for each United States Senator has but a single vote no matter how many citizens he or she represents.

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          Yeah. Those grubby farmers don't deserve modern Internet any more than they deserve lights or indoor plumbing.

          So it costs a ton of money to get everyone hooked up. So just suck it up and stop whining.

          This is infastructure for the next century.

          • Nobody's suggesting they should be banned from having the Internet, merely that they should pay what it costs.

            In any case, this isn't really about farmers, it's about people who choose to live in the middle of nowhere because they can count on government to build roads to the middle of nowhere, and for that government to insist that utilities serve those locations, at their efficient customer's expense. We live in a country that mandates the subsidization of suburban and rural living, for no good reason.

        • Re:Think harder... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Zan Lynx (87672) on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @05:53PM (#36755122) Homepage

          Personally, I think the subsidies for farmers should stop.

          Of course, the city folks won't like it much when the prices of food triple to reflect real costs, but that's life and a fair market economy.

          I suspect plenty of "blue" city congressmen and senators support farm subsidies for this very reason, because the current system takes the money from the rich folks and makes basic food stuff more affordable for the poor folks.

          • Re:Think harder... (Score:4, Informative)

            by brit74 (831798) on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @08:11PM (#36756590)
            Heh. Let's not forget that Republicans are also firmly behind farm subsidies. Heck, farm country is where a lot of Republicans get votes.

            Republicans dodge farm subsidy cuts
            June 15, 2011

            Republicans have quietly maneuvered to prevent a House spending bill from chipping away at federal farm subsidies, instead forging ahead with much larger cuts to domestic and international food aid.

            The GOP move will probably prevent up to $167 million in cuts in direct payments to farmers, including some of the nation’s wealthiest. The maneuver, along with the Senate’s refusal Tuesday to end a $5 billion annual tax subsidy for ethanol-gasoline blends, illustrates just how difficult it will be for Congress to come up with even a fraction of the trillions in budget savings over the next decade that Republicans have promised.
            ...
            Direct payments to farmers have been a frequent target of fiscal conservatives and other critics of farm programs because they are paid regardless of crop price or yield. They have survived for years, along with tens of billions annually in other subsidies for farmers, because a powerful coalition of farm state lawmakers in both parties has protected them.

            http://articles.boston.com/2011-06-15/news/29661688_1_farm-subsidy-cuts-farm-programs-direct-payments [boston.com]

      • by Svartalf (2997)

        Nice stereotyping around the rural US, but in the areas they are talking about generally it's farm and ranch country very far from traditional telecom and railroad right of ways.

        It might be far away from those right of ways...but not the POWER ones. More to the point, many of those selfsame power companies have dark fiber along their high and medium tension runs that were laid down during the dot-com boom, with them thinking that they could scoop up their own ISP type services in many cases.

        Sorry...NOT buy

    • can we do this with Social Security, too?
    • Yeah, but I would at least wonder about the methodology. Did they pick the most remote houses, difficult to lay infrastructure to, and then figure out what it would cost to lay a 100Mbps fiber line from the nearest facility? Or did they actually analyze the expenditures that have happened and determined what was actually spent? Even if there was $349,234 spent per household in some instance, is that representative of what was spent throughout the project, or is that an outlier?

      It also might not be entir

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @04:50PM (#36754156)

    Keep in mind that this study was conducted by Jeffrey Eisenach (former head of Newt Gingrich's political action committee and longtime conservative activist) and Kevin Caves of Navigant Economics (a bunch of professional "experts" who spend most of their time testifying in favor of various pro-big oil, pro-energy concerns). The article that cites it is by Nick Schulz, of the conservative think-tank American Enterprise Institute.

    And it also includes some data that I'm highly skeptical of, to say the least--like asserting that all but 1.5% of users in Montana had wired broadband access and all but 7 households in the whole state had access to 3G broadband prior to this funding. Those numbers are better than my own state, and we're not nearly as rural or mountainous as Montana.

    • by Vario (120611) on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @05:03PM (#36754366)

      This is clearly a study that is not worth much without the raw data open and accessible for everyone.

      Maybe a single household near a mountaintop would cost several million dollar to connect but quite a few others could be done for a thousand. So before someone can make any political conclusions it is definitely worth to look at the actual data behind this.

      Of course it does not increase trust, that the website (Social science research network [ssrn.com]) is currently down.

      • by wagnerrp (1305589)
        The study was on how the money was actually spent. Yes, there were some households in Montana which cost as much as $7M each to connect to. So, how does that make the spending better? In my opinion, that actually makes things worse. It's not like those areas were even lacking broadband, as they had 3G cellular access, and if nothing else could use Hughesnet. Because of how far those handful of families skew the average, that $50M spent on them could have instead been spent on some 250 other families.
    • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

      There is no way you can get 3G across Montana, even on the I-90 corridor its very spotty outside of cities to even get decent EDGE data.

    • by brit74 (831798)
      Shhhhhhhhh! This is part of the Republican 2012 election plan - the old story of painting Democrats as wasteful of tax dollars, and you should TOTALLY elect them to office. Strangely, other sources say that there's lots of people saying they either don't have broadband access or that there's no broadband service available.

      Article from last year:

      In a survey of more than 100,000 people in more than 50,000 households across the U.S., 40 percent reported no broadband or high-speed access to the Internet, w

      • by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @05:44PM (#36754976)

        Shhhhhhhhh! This is part of the Republican 2012 election plan - the old story of painting Democrats as wasteful of tax dollars

        The problem is, they're exactly right: Democrats ARE wasteful of tax dollars. Just look at all these stupid stimulus programs that amount to handing giant piles of cash to giant corporations, thinking they're going to do something useful with it, and then being "surprised" when instead they just take the cash and keep it.

        But the other problem is that the Republicans are ALSO wasteful of tax dollars. Did Federal spending go down during Bush's term? No way. The Republicans want to get us involved in as many wars as possible, so that their buddies in the defense industry can make more profit. Strangely enough, Obama is also a big fan of giant defense spending.

        What's the solution? Well, I think it should be fairly obvious the answer isn't electing more Democrats or more Republicans, but apparently this concept is beyond the ability of the voting public to grasp.

    • by hjf (703092) on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @05:22PM (#36754668) Homepage

      In a modern capitalist world, the role of the state is making sure that minorities (not in the racial sense, but in the economical sense) have access to the same tools and benefits the "majority" has. The problem with corporate thinking is that it tends to concentrate its resouces in developments that will offer an assured AND short-term return of investment. While this is an efficient policy for corporate, it leaves outside the game to basically everyone not living in a big city. Mid-sized are second, and small cities and towns are often ignored - but can easily be served by a small individual with enough capital.

      But rural areas are vast extensions of nothing. Long range WiFi access has been a blessing to many of these communietes - all over the world. These are often working with "lower" grade equipment. Sometimes MikroTik or many other economical wifi solutions (NanoStation), others run on off the shelf hardware. Very few run in true long-range outdoors solutions like WiMAX or Motorola Canopy, because the initial cost is too high for individuals to afford. And this is where "stimulus" funds should go.

      The growth (explosive growth) of the internet was ONLY due to the ease of access available through simple phone lines. It was an already-installed network, across the nation. HIGHLY REGULATED, which resulted in a service that was available in even the most remote locations. Broadband was never regulated that way, and as a result of that, there is a huge breach between people with access to broadband, and people still on dialup.

      Some argue if there should be stimulus funds at all. Leaving aside that most big companies receive money from the govenrment one way or another (tax breaks to money from their military/aerospace branches, to subsidies), there shouldn't be a discussion IF people in remote locations want or need broadband. They might not want it now, but they surely need it - or will, eventually.

      This is an online world. For most people in cities, Internet is a part of their lives, just like electricity and phone service. Do we want people from rural areas coming to the Big City for a better life, because we couldn't provide them with a good life where they lived? Do we want mom and pop farms to disappear because their kids and grandkids got fed up with the country lifestyle? Do we want all farms to be property of Monsanto? Because that's where we're heading.

      Disclaimer: I'm not american but here in Argentina we have the same problems. Big cities have good internet and phone service, while smaller cities often have 1 ISP, and small towns either don't have anything or have a single 1mbit connection (that cost $500 a month, really) shared between 100 people over wifi. Local farms either have been bought by corporations, or their owners have been pushed to plant only soybean (which isn't consumed in the country, but exported to China) instead of wheat (which, because of our italian roots, is heavily consumed: bread - which the chinese don't seem to eat), which is missing in supermarkets. Bread price has gone up considerably, and there are days when you just can't get flour.

      Pay no attentiont to anti-government conservatives. They all want what's good for companies - not for people. You have the right to bear arms, the civil rights, why can't you have "the right to broadband access" too? Oh yes, because it's the government spending money. We better spend it in warfare, right? Cause the US doesn't really have a big enough budget for "security" and military.

      • by es330td (964170) on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @05:46PM (#36755008)

        You have the right to bear arms, the civil rights, why can't you have "the right to broadband access" too?

        You misunderstand the definition of "right." In the US Constitution it means a person has the choice to do something free from government interference. You *may* own a gun, if you so desire. You may say, or write, whatever you wish without restriction. You may associate with whomever you choose. Nowhere in there does it say that the method to exercise that right will be provided, only that it is allowed without interference. I am free to publish a newspaper but I have to pay for it. A "right" to something that requires delivery of a service or product places everybody but the receiver in a position of slavery. If a person has a "right" to medical care, some doctor or medical profession MUST provide that service. If a person has a "right" to broadband, some company must string wire, another must provision access to their networking hardware and yet another must provide electricity to run it all.

        • You misunderstand the definition of "right." In the US Constitution it means a person has the choice to do something free from government interference. You *may* own a gun, if you so desire. You may say, or write, whatever you wish without restriction. You may associate with whomever you choose. Nowhere in there does it say that the method to exercise that right will be provided, only that it is allowed without interference.

          Not so fast. True, in certain instances, the understood "right" is as you describe. However, take the Sixth Amendment:

          In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

          Every "right" guaranteed in the Sixth Amendment is provided by the government to the citizen exercising them.

          Where does that have to do with broadband? I don't know. If The Constitution has anything to do with it, it is certainly going to be open to interpretation.

    • These are not the facts you're looking for.

      (These are not the facts we're looking for.)

      Move along.

      (Move along.)

    • by QuantumRiff (120817) on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @05:51PM (#36755078)

      Keep in mind, ISDN (and partial ISDN) is available almost everywhere.. and according to the Feds, 128Kb/s is broadband..

  • by Normal Dan (1053064) on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @04:55PM (#36754228)
    Is it really that necessary? Really?
    • If you heard Anne Coulter or one of her ken say this, you wouldn't give it moments thought. Schultz is hitching on the crazy train, perhaps hoping for a job at Fox.

      4 out of 5 dentists would recommend Crest - even if it were true, it isn't really in your dentists best interests to lessen your dental bills. But it also isn't true because it lacks any sort of rigour whatsoever. By avoid hard statements of fact, which Schultz does with the flair of a security software salesperson, he neatly gets to crea

  • by ichthus (72442) on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @04:56PM (#36754244) Homepage
    This is what happens when you send a government to do a man's (or woman's, or group of private citizens') job. We could stand to learn something from the successful, small WISPs and other small-time broadband providers (one of which I am a happy subscriber to).

    Check this out [engadget.com] for more information about how it's getting done Europe.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @04:58PM (#36754274)

    I live in Canada, but we also have this same sort of pledge to bring high speed internet (not broadband specifically) to rural areas. I've been looking at rural homes, and to be honest, it's a real pain.

    As someone who torrents heavily, games a lot, and generally uses about 300gb/month at least in traffic, I need a fast connection. There is literally nothing in most parts of rural Ontario that exceed 3mbps down / 1mbps up, and with unlimited (or at least, overage charges that won't make you go broke) caps. If you go the 3G/4G route (which I would love to), many areas don't actually have coverage even if they claim they do, and the caps are 5gb if you're lucky. If you go satellite.. well, it sucks. Latency is awful. And if you go Xplornet or something (wireless antenna), they all block torrents, are known to be highly unreliable, have low caps, and the speed is 3/1 at best.

    It's kind of sad, because I don't want to live in the city, yet there's no real options out there either.

    • by compro01 (777531)

      Sasktel's wireless broadband is semi-close. It's basically a neat hack of DOCSIS using dish antennas and some extra equipment bolted onto cell towers.

      It's not exactly fast (2Mb/256Kb, or 3Mb/384Kb if you pay the big bucks for the 4-hour-QoS-agreement business connection.) or cheap ($250 to buy the equipment, then $60/month, or $300/month for the business option), but it works well, and no caps, and therefore just blows the competition out the water.

    • Really? I'm from Alberta - in the small town I grew up in, the farmers had wireless 10 mbits/s internet, for $80/month, before the dsl and cable providers offered such deals. That was 6 years ago.

      Since then in other rural areas I have met crappier internet providers in terms of bandwidth caps ($10/GB overage charges, 20GB max, no we won't sell you a better plan. A camp I was involved with was spending over $1000/mo on internet in the summer), but speed has always been really good with antenna equipmen
    • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot@nosPam.keirstead.org> on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @06:24PM (#36755462) Homepage

      Seriously. People think they can have it all these days.

      Why should you get to live in the country, pay super low taxes, and have someone else in the city pay super high taxes to subsidize YOUR high speed?

      Move to the country and pay for your own broadband hookup. Or live with satellite access. Or stay in the city. But don't ask for my tax dollars to pick up the bill for your personal choice to live in an inefficient location.

  • by TheCarp (96830) <sjc@car[ ]et.net ['pan' in gap]> on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @05:05PM (#36754386) Homepage

    I am sure that the resident of montana really appreciated it.... both of them

  • The cost per unserved household has a big weasel word - "unserved." Considering the source, I'm surprised that they didn't declare that there were no "unserved" households in the state at all, which would drive that cost to infinity. They may have thought that an infinite cost wouldn't be as believable.

  • This seems perfect for the application of that broadband over power lines idea.
    They're getting power aren't they?.... if not..... then why would they need interwebs?

    • IIRC in the US not everyone is on the same grid. Small towns might have their own independent powerplant.

      • by FunkyELF (609131)

        So... then you get interwebs to that 1 power plant (if it doesn't have it already) and leverage the existing power transmission system.
        Then you're not running wire for every address that you want to deliver to.
        You need to connect 500 houses.... you can run 500 wires, or 1 wire.

      • by coolgeek (140561)

        Maybe someone could invent some kind of a routing box that would take traffic from one broadband network and send it on to another one, and vice-versa.

  • by CrAlt (3208) on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @05:07PM (#36754406) Homepage Journal

    1) Comcast/ATT/Cablevision/COX/etc all get their lobbyists push for this in the bill.
    2) The Gub-ment pays these mega corps billions to build out in the mountains.
    3) The people in these areas now have "access" to broadband... for only $79/month.
    4) They don't sign up... Comcast/ATT/cablevision/etc don't care. They already made $300K per house passed in the build out already.
    5) PROFIT!

  • Broadband is a way of sending data. Broadband does not describe the amount of data. not the bandwidth or latency. We need'ed to establish at least a minimum delivery rate.

    I have DSL, its the best I can get, just 3 miles from a brick and mortar Verzion switch. My data rate is mostly below 500 Kilo bits/sec. This is to slow to watch a video at 240p with out a lot of time wait time to fill the input buffer. Sometimes my line degrades down to 300kbs. I am sure there are things that are Broadband at much
    • Broadband does describe the bandwidth. However, I'm pretty sure congressional lobbying has changed the meaning a few times.
    • India requires any internet connection being called broadband to meet certain conditions, such as
      i) Always On
      ii)Minimum speed of 256kbps

      Arent there similar conditions in US??

  • They are using pure gold internet cabling with pure platinum connectors. That way your internet pictures, audio and video will have the highest quality without degrading over those long rural lines. Not to mention the sparkling clarity of your email messages! They're wiring rural America using genuine Monster(tm) brand cabling.
  • by imemyself (757318) on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @05:12PM (#36754498)
    I'm moderately liberal, but ultimately, why shouldn't people who want to live in rural areas have to pay more for services? It costs more to provide services to them.

    If people choose to live out in the sticks, they should be forced the understand and pay for their services. The reality is that it's a hell of a lot more efficient and less expensive to provide services (water, power, Internet, phone, cable, etc) to people in high density urban areas. That's what we need to be moving towards - not making it easier for people to live out in the middle of nowhere and subsidizing their services to prevent them from knowing the true costs of living out there. Country people talk about how expensive cities are - well living out in the sticks would be more expensive as well if they had to pay the true costs of obtaining phone and other services.
    • We all appreciate your offer to raise your share of food for your neighborhood, but right now we have a more pressing need for minerals. Please let us know when your quota of copper ore is ready for shipment to the smelter.
    • If people choose to live out in the sticks, they should be forced the understand and pay for their services.

      The people in the sticks grow the food you eat. You need them. It is not in your best interest to "incentivize" all of them into migrating to the cities. Your Randian ass would starve to death.

  • by xzvf (924443) on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @05:12PM (#36754514)
    While the source of this data is obviously biased, I wonder where the stimulus money was actually spent. Think what a trillion dollars actually is. A new aircraft carrier costs ~10 billion dollars, planes double that cost, meaning that the country could have purchased 50 with the stimulus (we currently have 11). In todays dollars the Apollo program cost 150 billion meaning that we could duplicate it six times with a trillion dollars. A highway bridge near where I live is being replaced for a cost of 300 million, thus a trillion dollars could have replaced that bridge 3000 times. It could have paid the 14 million unemployed, $35000 a year for two years. Where did it go, and what did it do?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jeffmeden (135043)

      While the source of this data is obviously biased, I wonder where the stimulus money was actually spent. Think what a trillion dollars actually is. A new aircraft carrier costs ~10 billion dollars, planes double that cost, meaning that the country could have purchased 50 with the stimulus (we currently have 11). In todays dollars the Apollo program cost 150 billion meaning that we could duplicate it six times with a trillion dollars. A highway bridge near where I live is being replaced for a cost of 300 million, thus a trillion dollars could have replaced that bridge 3000 times. It could have paid the 14 million unemployed, $35000 a year for two years. Where did it go, and what did it do?

      There wasn't a trillion dollars "Dedicated to stimulus of the economy through government spending", so starting with this is severely begging the question.

      Most of the money those who criticize government spending call "stimulus" was spent on issuing loans or buying equity in banks and other institutions, or on tax cuts, or on extensions of things like unemployment benefits (covering some of those 14 million your heart bleeds for.)

      Of the $200 billion spent or so spent on "spending", yes most of it was probab

      • by blair1q (305137)

        Or did they?

        Only if they're building HOV lanes on all the freeways in my town, because that's been going on since last year. Every freeway intersection is getting a new set of curves in its stack, and miles of new lanes are being laid down. So on a busy weekend I'm probably eyeballing $3-4 billion of that total.

      • by Svartalf (2997)

        I contend that most of that you're shrugging off was wasted (I'm sorry, I'm supposed to shoulder the fiscal irresponsibility of a bank that should have known better, whose executives should have done a perp-walk, and the like - just because the SOB is "too big to fail"? Not buying it. We got NOTHING from the Stimulus spending- while many lined their pockets with it for all intents and purposes...not just the "damn Saudis". At least when FDR did idiot things that prolonged the Great Depression (he didn't

    • The most expensive line item is salaries and benefits. The stimulus went to prop up the HR costs of state governments. You may have noticed that most public sector jobs were not lost during 2008 and 2009. That's where the money went.

      It's a different picture now. The private sector shed 8 million jobs. There's no more support for another bailout/"stimulus", so expect to see a wave of contraction in public sector jobs.

      • The most expensive line item is salaries and benefits. The stimulus went to prop up the HR costs of state governments. You may have noticed that most public sector jobs were not lost during 2008 and 2009. That's where the money went.

        It's a different picture now.

        Public sector employment is down 500K jobs from January 2009 to today.

        Now that the ARRA support for state and local jobs is expiring, there will be a lot more pink slips (the June jobs report is a start.)

    • by blair1q (305137)

      Finance and transport. Bailing out the auto manufacturers and airlines and banks, and rebuilding at least a small part of our literally crumbling roads and bridges. Funding new-tech ideas, even if the average slashdotter thinks their ideas are potty.

      The fact that you aren't seeing it in your pocket means someone else is, which is probably a good thing.

    • Keep in mind that 1) almost $300 billion of the $787 billion stimulus [wikipedia.org] (not $1 trillion) went to tax cuts, and 2) a good chunk of the stimulus (about $100 billion) hasn't been spent or (or is in the process of being spent).

      As for where the money went, check the wiki article I linked. I will not that a few thousand dollars of the stimulus went to my bottom line for a couple of wind turbine projects, which I promptly spent on buying equipment and services to expand my business.

    • I wonder where the stimulus money was actually spent.

      Not exactly hard to find out (per Wikipedia):
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Recovery_and_Reinvestment_Act_of_2009#Provisions_of_the_Act [wikipedia.org]

      Almost half ($288B) went to tax cuts, about half of that went to direct aid to the States ($144B), the rest in dribs and drabs to other things.

  • by Quantum_Infinity (2038086) on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @05:14PM (#36754540)
    Broadband should be considered as an infrastructure and not as a luxury. Good infrastructure leads to economic development. The cost of providing infrastructure might be high initially but in the long run it has tremendous benefits for the economy of the area where that infrastructure was provided. Providing broadband in rural areas will attact outside businesses, help local businesses grow, make easier to provide education. The benefit will far outweigh the cost in the long run. Oh and what about steaming HD pr0n? Don't people in rural areas have needs?
  • by Applekid (993327) on Wednesday July 13, 2011 @05:14PM (#36754542)

    So, how did the roads get built? How is the mail delivered? How is power transmitted? How about Plain Old Telephone Service? There used to be some bonafide investment in infrastructure in the US, so where did all that go?

    Granted, I understand that water and sewer isn't too common in rural areas, but it's not like it's a backpacking adventure through the rainforest we're talking about.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      so where did all that go?

      China.

      All we build in America are Wal-Marts and container docks.

      Because those help us sell the stuff we import from China.

  • The market will bear this out. I'm currently in Alabama, not even in a particularly rural area (western Mobile), but there's not cable or DSL on my road. Very frustrating to use 3G internet for internet, but I don't think it's the goverment's job to drop me a line, or for them to force comcast or ATT to do it. I'll wait. 4G is available, but I'm grandfathered in a 3G unlimited plan which I will loose if I get a 4G card. I'm currently using 7GB/month on 3G, as soon as we get 4G we'll start streaming li

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