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Free Broadband Internet in Public Housing.

 
 
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 06:53 am
Quote:
The Tampa Housing Authority has secured a $2.1 million federal grant to provide broadband Internet access to 23 public housing sites. Details are being finalized with Bright House Networks, which will provide the service, and residents will be connected beginning March 1.


http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/dec/23/coming-soon-to-tampa-public-housing-free-internet-/news-metro/

The rationale for this is that the internet is essential in today's society, for activities such as studying, research, etc. To some extent, I agree. I have a problem though, for our tax money going to people who may use the internet for:

porno sites
facebook
twitter
other social sites.

In addition, the people in the projects will be offered a new computer for $125- The free broadband will be good for 2 years. After that, the people will be charged $18 and change per month. I would suppose that people who are paying for dial-up would be resentful about people getting broadband at no cost.

IMO, if the internet is to be used for job hunting and studying, the sites that one could visit should be limited. Like "parental controls", I am sure that a program could be developed that would restrict certain websites.

What do you think?

As an addendum, Bright House (cable) has been losing business for the last two years to FIOS (optical) I am wondering if this is simply a good deal for Bright House.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 20 • Views: 3,906 • Replies: 107

 
boomerang
 
  5  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 07:27 am
I'm sure there will be people who abuse it, people will abuse anything, but overall I think it's an excellent idea and I think they'll get a lot of bang for their bucks.

There are lots and lots of kids that live in public housing. Their poverty alone will account for many of them dropping out of school, maybe ending up in jail, maybe having kids they can't support. If giving kids internet access makes it easier for them to stay in school then I think it's money well spent -- even if it only helps keep a handful of them in school.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 07:43 am
@Phoenix32890,
I'm sitting here toggling back and forth on the issue. I think broadband should be available at a reasonable price, but why free? My logic for saying this is ok is that it is a benefit to society at large if children have the opportunity to advance in school, take advantage of online resources in the safety of their home and have entertainment opportunities that keep them off the street. My experience with my children is that Internet access allows children of all races and income levels to network and once you're a friend online, the color of your skin or the size of your house don't matter so much. Also, once people are exposed to what is available, they will know enough to find access if they need it like in public libraries. Still, there are families out there shelling out $500/year for broadband and paying taxes to support this as well. I guess I would charge a small, nominal amount ($5/month) so that the users are at least aware that they are receiving something valuable. I would also define in advance a series of metrics to study the impact of donating access. I'd look at crime rates and school performance as a start.
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 07:49 am
@engineer,
Quote:
I guess I would charge a small, nominal amount ($5/month) so that the users are at least aware that they are receiving something valuable. I would also define in advance a series of metrics to study the impact of donating access. I'd look at crime rates and school performance as a start.


I heartily agree. I think that when people get something for nothing, is is less valued. I would charge more than $5- (maybe 15-20), so that the person will have a personal stake in the internet.

Those who want it to better themselves, would find a way to pay the money. Those who want it for free, IMO, would not use it for the purpose for which it is intended.
boomerang
 
  8  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 08:06 am
My problem with making them pay anything is that it adds so much to administrative costs. All the money would be eaten up by someone who had to handle the payments.

I get where you're both coming from with asking people to pay something but in the long run I don't think it's worth it.

And seriously, $5 a month is the difference between eating and not eating for a couple of days, for some families.
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 08:24 am
@Phoenix32890,
I think the ones paying are not the ones who will benefit anyway. Children interact with the Internet completely differently than adults. My thought is that this really has minimal impact on the adult population and I don't want to price adults out of the market when I'm targeting the opportunity at the children. The comment about the cost of collecting small amounts is a valid one. I don't want to make it completely free, but it doesn't make sense to spend more tax dollars than you receive. I'd have to see some cost numbers from someone with experience to make an informed decision.
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 09:15 am
@boomerang,
Quote:
And seriously, $5 a month is the difference between eating and not eating for a couple of days, for some families.


True, Boomer, but I'll bet that some people who cry that they don't have money for food, still can find a way to get their "smokes".

It is a matter of priorities. If a person wants something badly enough, he will find a way. And I would suspect that those who want to better their and their children's education, will believe that the internet is a priority.

I think that I have mentioned that I have a relative who gets all the "entitlements", doesn't have a pot to piss in, but always manages to have her nails done professionally.
boomerang
 
  3  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 09:46 am
@Phoenix32890,
"Entitlements" is a maddening word, isn't it?

There are always people who abuse any system put in place to help people.

I think that in this particular case the program is being put into effect to help kids -- kids who don't have any control over how the money gets spent in their homes.

Maybe only families that have children enrolled in school should get free internet service?

Then again, you've increased the administrative costs. It's probably simply cheaper to give it to everyone.

I think I'm a bit biased, though, because I've been poor. Poor as in dad's out of town, mom's at home with 4 kids, no car, no money and no food so we're having popcorn for dinner, kind of poor.

But I've never been so poor that we had to live in public housing.

I can't even imagine that kind of poor.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 09:52 am
@Phoenix32890,
Phoenix32890 wrote:
I have a problem though, for our tax money going to people who may use the internet for:

porno sites
facebook
twitter
other social sites.


is that what you use the internet for?

not sure why they'd charge $125 for computers - seems like they're hoping to make a profit on this as puters can be purchased for third world countries at about 1/10th of that cost.

what do I think? it's a good, small step
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 10:42 am
@ehBeth,
Agreed.

However, I'd like to see the computer's access limited to a narrow few job search sites and a few general info sites.
Phoenix32890
 
  3  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 10:53 am
@Ragman,
Ragman- I agree. I think that a program that would allow someone to access educational and employment sites would be appropriate. Anything more is a luxury, and not an appropriate use of taxpayer money.

Beth- What is it with you? Any time I write anything, you seem to want to slam me. I can almost anticipate the negative cracks from you anytime I write something that is even mildly controversial. We obviously have political differences of opinion, but I respect the right of you to hold yours, even if I don't agree with it. I would expect to get that same respect from you.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 12:50 pm
maybe poor folks receiving any sort of entitlements should have software installed on their computers to block everything but job sites and "essentials" anyway.

that will make them hurry up and work harder to quit being lazy...
Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 12:59 pm
@Rockhead,
Of course, the ones who decides who should have what Internet privilege is a fairly undemocratic and hyper-authoritarian act...don't you think?

Maybe we can also sterilize them too?

Anyhow, enough hyperbole. I'm clearly for giving a limited-use computer access to those poor who live in projects or low-income housing to help promote finding work and helping them get bootstrap type of help..not entertain themselves at the public teat.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 01:00 pm
@Ragman,
now you're talkin'...
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  5  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 01:01 pm
@Phoenix32890,
I don't know that it is a good use of taxpayer money to pay extra to prevent people from getting something that isn't harmful. If you go through all the trouble to set it up, you might as well allow full access. The second you try to limit access, you set up a thriving business in getting around the limits anyway.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 01:03 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

not sure why they'd charge $125 for computers - seems like they're hoping to make a profit on this as puters can be purchased for third world countries at about 1/10th of that cost.

Keeps them off Criag's List. In the US, you could probably resell these for $50, so if you give them away, some people will take them and then sell them for profit. At $125, these are at a significant discount to what you would find in a store here, but too expensive to turn a profit reselling.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  3  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 01:04 pm
@Phoenix32890,
Beth can certainly speak for herself but, for me, the negative visceral reaction I have to the arrogant tone of your presentation far exceeds whatever willingness I have to granting you the respect you expect for expressing it.

Quote:
...people who cry that they don't have money for food...


No one should have to "cry" that they don't have money for food.

DrewDad
 
  3  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 01:06 pm
@Ragman,
Ragman wrote:
However, I'd like to see the computer's access limited to a narrow few job search sites and a few general info sites.

Since I help administer services like this for businesses, I can tell you that this kind of filtering has to be purchased. If you're going to provide the service, then filtering is just a waste of money.

(Businesses do it for a variety of reasons, the best of which is to protect themselves from sexual harassment suits. Trying to keep people from wasting time is a futile effort, IMO. If they can't waste time on the Internet, then they'll waste it with a magazine, or by working the crossword, or chatting in the break room.)
roger
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 01:22 pm
@Phoenix32890,
I'm on dial up. It is a money issue. It's 19.95/month. Now, why on earth would I resent someone getting broadband for free?
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 Dec, 2010 01:42 pm
@roger,
That sounds like a really bad deal.
 

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