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(Yahoo)   Three million lost souls still trapped in AOL dial-up Hell   (news.yahoo.com) divider line 88
    More: Sad, dun, Marie Curie, modems, Cicero, Illinois, business days, dong, baud, DSL  
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6024 clicks; posted to Geek » on 28 Jul 2012 at 12:33 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-07-27 07:45:29 PM
But even so, who exactly is still stuck on AOL dial up these days, and can we organize a satellite service rescue charity to help these poor suckers out?

I'm sure a substantial portion are legacy customers, but lots of locations don't have broadband service. My experience with satellite service is that it's faster, cheaper and easier to send a letter.
 
2012-07-27 08:47:27 PM
My parents still have AOL dial-up. She refuses to pay the $6 more a month for the DSL. It really farking sucks that I have to lean over their porch and have a 50/50 shot of stealing their neighbor's open wi-fi.
 
2012-07-27 10:17:27 PM

St_Francis_P: But even so, who exactly is still stuck on AOL dial up these days, and can we organize a satellite service rescue charity to help these poor suckers out?

I'm sure a substantial portion are legacy customers, but lots of locations don't have broadband service. My experience with satellite service is that it's faster, cheaper and easier to send a letter.


That sums it up nicely

/I live in am area where you either go satellite or dial up
//thankfully, I can get 3G wireless
///somewhat less sucky
 
2012-07-27 10:29:43 PM
I have some friends that live in a really rural area and they still use AOL. Satellite isn't an option for them since they live in a heavily wooded area with none-to-very limited line of sight.
 
2012-07-27 10:46:50 PM
My friend Kevin acquired enough AOL CDs to cover the entirety of the walls of his computer room
 
2012-07-27 11:33:43 PM
I had no idea people still did this.
 
2012-07-27 11:34:45 PM
Every last one of them is going to be over the age of 65 too. You just know it.
 
2012-07-27 11:45:27 PM
I remember the day the Coco LaFemme household dropped AOL dial-up and got DSL. Oh, what a joyous day it was. My boyfriend could finally watch Internet pornography without spending five hours waiting for a single video to load.
 
2012-07-27 11:49:18 PM

Ghastly: Every last one of them is going to be over the age of 65 too. You just know it.


My friends are just a few years older than my son (he'll be 32 next month). They would love to have another option, but there isn't one unless they move from the gorgeous rural house and acreage the husband inherited. Their young children love the place too.

As you can imagine, cell phones don't work too well, or not at all where they live either
 
2012-07-27 11:49:57 PM

Coco LaFemme: I remember the day the Coco LaFemme household dropped AOL dial-up and got DSL. Oh, what a joyous day it was. My boyfriend could finally watch Internet pornography without spending five hours waiting for a single video to load.


I don't know about your household, but in mine it meant collection callers were getting busy signals that entire time, too

/it did have a few small benefits
 
2012-07-27 11:55:16 PM

Bathia_Mapes: Ghastly: Every last one of them is going to be over the age of 65 too. You just know it.

My friends are just a few years older than my son (he'll be 32 next month). They would love to have another option, but there isn't one unless they move from the gorgeous rural house and acreage the husband inherited. Their young children love the place too.

As you can imagine, cell phones don't work too well, or not at all where they live either


Forget it, he's rolling
 
2012-07-28 12:04:36 AM

MaudlinMutantMollusk: Coco LaFemme: I remember the day the Coco LaFemme household dropped AOL dial-up and got DSL. Oh, what a joyous day it was. My boyfriend could finally watch Internet pornography without spending five hours waiting for a single video to load.

I don't know about your household, but in mine it meant collection callers were getting busy signals that entire time, too

/it did have a few small benefits


Unfortunately, my boyfriend thought it would be smart to install a second line, just for the Internet, so that our main landline wasn't tied up when someone was on the computer. I told him we had cell phones, if someone needed to get a hold of one of us bad enough, they'd just call the cell if they got a busy signal. He said that was silly. Fortunately, we didn't get too many collection callers/telemarketers/pollsters.
 
2012-07-28 12:43:37 AM
One of my relatives is on AOL and is also running on Win95.

::headdesk::
 
2012-07-28 12:44:53 AM

St_Francis_P: But even so, who exactly is still stuck on AOL dial up these days, and can we organize a satellite service rescue charity to help these poor suckers out?

I'm sure a substantial portion are legacy customers, but lots of locations don't have broadband service. My experience with satellite service is that it's faster, cheaper and easier to send a letter.


This. Satellite is absolutely no better than AOL dial-up.

Actually, it's worse. The phone line doesn't stop working when there's clouds overhead.

/we need to stop traditional terrestrial TV and FM radio transmissions and open that spectrum up for broadband
 
2012-07-28 12:55:06 AM

Kittypie070: One of my relatives is on AOL and is also running on Win95.

::headdesk::


As long as it's doing what you need it to do at a speed that you find acceptable, why spend the money to upgrade?

/I think that's actually a written policy where I work
//problem is they don't specify whom the speed should be acceptable to
///it ain't me
////but I digress
 
2012-07-28 12:57:04 AM

Kittypie070: One of my relatives is on AOL and is also running on Win95.

::headdesk::


When was the last time they updated (hell, even cleaned out?) their PC??
 
2012-07-28 01:02:54 AM

Gwendolyn: My parents still have AOL dial-up. She refuses to pay the $6 more a month for the DSL. It really farking sucks that I have to lean over their porch and have a 50/50 shot of stealing their neighbor's open wi-fi.


Y'know what... bless people who have open wifi access points. I've been saved from many a day of boredom or inconvenience by a good person's open wifi access point.
 
2012-07-28 01:08:53 AM
I was on that train for awhile. I'm glad I hopped off.

Kittypie070: One of my relatives is on AOL and is also running on Win95.

::headdesk::


If it makes them happy. let them be happy.
 
2012-07-28 01:10:50 AM
img687.imageshack.us
You know you want one.
 
2012-07-28 01:13:17 AM
Heh. My mom was on AOL dialup until last month. I must follow up to make sure the cancellation of service went through.

/Cool story, son
 
2012-07-28 01:31:18 AM
You've got fail.
 
2012-07-28 01:39:08 AM
When I was in college, it was some time in 2003, I logged onto some website and I had to give an email address from a site that wasn't hotmail, yahoo or any of the other free emails. I got creative and figured that since AOL has free email and is an IPS, that it would get me in. It did and all was good.

A couple of days later my phone rang. It was a rep from AOL who noticed that I signed up for an email address. He figured that since I wanted that free email address that I would also want AOL provided internet. I declined. He went into his next sales pitch. I explained to him that I was in the dorm at my college and was getting free broadband internet. This guy STILL tried to convince me to leave that for AOL's broadband service.

As far as the typical AOL customer. I know of one guy who actively sought out AOL. He explained to me that it's internet was superior to any other internet out there. I asked him to repeat that statement, to make sure I didn't hear it wrong. Yes, AOL had it's own internet. He also tried to download a CD-RW and a DVD-ROM drive. Though to be fair, he was successful in downloading the driver software for those two items. Not being successful in downloading the actual hardware made them pointless. And I was the guy who had to explain to him WHY it wasn't going to work.

I did end up getting paid for my efforts. Just not directly. He offered to pay me for helping him out in installing his downloaded DVD drive. But when I explained to him in person that it wasn't going to work, he refused to pay me (I explained that he was paying for my time, not for doing an impossible job), and it took over an hour to explain to him why it wasn't going to work. So while he was taking a shiat, I wrote a small batch file that read as a fake virus, copied it into the start folder fifty or seventy times so they'd all go off upon rebooting the computer, and it just displayed a prompt (for each copied batch file in the start menu) saying that there was a virus and the hard drive and memory was not going to be accessible. I offered to fix it for $200. He asked me to take him to the store to have their tech support staff look at it. I told him that by law, those guys are required to report all illegally downloaded music, movies and porn. So for the price he agreed to pay me, plus an additional $50, I told him to leave me alone while I fixed he problem he downloaded while trying to download optical drives. Tech supporting idiots can be rewarding some times.
 
2012-07-28 01:39:24 AM
About half of them must visit my store. I have constant complaints. It feels like if I sell 10 computers, 1 of them comes back with a whine about how it didn't come with a dial up Modem, followed by a complain about the cost of a USB modem (to the point that I have to ask if they have an internet connection and how they access it - it's lovely watching some idiots try not to admit their own ignorance).
 
2012-07-28 01:50:00 AM
Don't worry, they're going to die in a few years anyway...
 
2012-07-28 01:53:27 AM
They be oldsters, yo!
 
2012-07-28 01:55:08 AM
I used to work for AOL, in the department that monitored their cancellation phone lines. Contrary to popular belief, people did get fired for lying to customers and leaving accounts open, but honestly the company was set up to reward doing everything up to that point to keep accounts open.

I can tell you a few things about the typical AOL customer. They are a) old or b) poor or c) live in the boonies. That's about it. The majority of calls to cancel that didn't get cancelled were usually people who couldn't afford the service, and they got a couple months of free service from the rep who was paid a bonus for every account they left open... These are people who would do what's called bicycling - they would use a CD and get service for as long as possible...up to about 6 months free if you got a the right rep on the phone when you called to cancel, and then they would create a new account and start over. Most were southern as well, which always made it fun to listen to calls that were routed to India - two thick accents that were both hard to understand.

If you want to know one of the major reasons AOL tanked, it's because they completely farked up how they handled broadband. When broadband was relatively new, they put together a program called AOL Broadband...AOL providing high speed cable or DSL service and the AOL interface for one price, usually around $50. Of course, they didn't go build all the fiber optics and so forth - they leased service from other providers (including Time Warner Cable...which owned AOL...keep that in mind). The problem was, AOL's legal geniuses didn't think to include non-compete clauses and so the providers basically used AOL's membership list as free sales leads. They would go in with a $40 offer, and boom, AOL gets cancelled. The biggest offender? Time Warner Cable. Figures, huh?

So AOL was hemorraging broadband accounts, which really sucked because they were on the hook for the leased providers regardless of how many subscribers they had. They basically got taken to the cleaners by every major broadband provider. In response, they dropped the program and went with BYOB, Bring Your Own Broadband, which was basically giving you the AOL interface over your own broadband. It cost $14.95 a month...and all you got was the AOL program. No dial-up access, nothing but basically a fancy overlay of Microsoft Outlook. Now, some folks did jump at this...because hey, I went from $21.95 to $14.95! These people are morons...as they could have just cancelled and saved the whole deal.

Needless to say, BYOB didn't take off. AOL also tried to give its reps a way to see what highspeed was available for a person in their area and even set them up with an AOL bundle...this also was a huge mistake. The bundles would be something like $45 for the service plus AOL...well, the first bill would come and the customer would see something like $15 for AOL and highspeed at $30. Highspeed for $30?! Well fark AOL, let's drop that and keep the $30! Most of the time this led to their bill staying the same because it was only $30 because of the bundle deal, but every so often it worked because the providers certainly liked screwing over AOL. Biggest offender there? Take a guess...yep, Time Warner Cable.

In the end, the brass gave up and just made AOL a free service...because free services make TONS of cash. This worked out about as good as the previous broadband plans and...well, I was out of a job along with 2700 others in that round. Way to go, executives. Way to earn that ridiculously large paycheck.

/Wall of text crits you for 100000. You die.
 
Slu
2012-07-28 01:59:25 AM

Great Janitor: When I was in college, it was some time in 2003, I logged onto some website and I had to give an email address from a site that wasn't hotmail, yahoo or any of the other free emails. I got creative and figured that since AOL has free email and is an IPS, that it would get me in. It did and all was good.

A couple of days later my phone rang. It was a rep from AOL who noticed that I signed up for an email address. He figured that since I wanted that free email address that I would also want AOL provided internet. I declined. He went into his next sales pitch. I explained to him that I was in the dorm at my college and was getting free broadband internet. This guy STILL tried to convince me to leave that for AOL's broadband service.

As far as the typical AOL customer. I know of one guy who actively sought out AOL. He explained to me that it's internet was superior to any other internet out there. I asked him to repeat that statement, to make sure I didn't hear it wrong. Yes, AOL had it's own internet. He also tried to download a CD-RW and a DVD-ROM drive. Though to be fair, he was successful in downloading the driver software for those two items. Not being successful in downloading the actual hardware made them pointless. And I was the guy who had to explain to him WHY it wasn't going to work.

I did end up getting paid for my efforts. Just not directly. He offered to pay me for helping him out in installing his downloaded DVD drive. But when I explained to him in person that it wasn't going to work, he refused to pay me (I explained that he was paying for my time, not for doing an impossible job), and it took over an hour to explain to him why it wasn't going to work. So while he was taking a shiat, I wrote a small batch file that read as a fake virus, copied it into the start folder fifty or seventy times so they'd all go off upon rebooting the computer, and it just displayed a prompt (for each copied batch file in the start menu) saying that there was a virus and the hard drive and memory was not going to be accessible. I offered to fix it for $200. He asked me to take him to the store to have their tech support staff look at it. I told him that by law, those guys are required to report all illegally downloaded music, movies and porn. So for the price he agreed to pay me, plus an additional $50, I told him to leave me alone while I fixed he problem he downloaded while trying to download optical drives. Tech supporting idiots can be rewarding some times.


I was kind of a dick in college too.
 
2012-07-28 02:18:42 AM
My dad uses this for internet
www8.pcmag.com
it's not as bad as AOL, but damn is it slow. He also apparently has netflix and says it works fine at that speed, I have no idea how, though he is a very patient man
 
2012-07-28 02:23:49 AM
Not sure what kind of satellite internet you folks have down south, but since viasat-1 went up, my connection has been pretty good. Better, by far, than dialup. But, it's still kind of pricey, if I didn't need (read: want) all the bandwidth, I'd still be with dialup for the price.

Also, I also see that the grass is always greener. I can download faster than holy hell compared to dialup, but now I see a bunch of online games that look like a hell of a lot of fun. But, still... Steam no longer makes me want to become a super villian and burn the world down. So there's that.
 
2012-07-28 02:42:53 AM
beeedeeedeeedeeedeeedeeedeeededaaadaaadaaadaaadaaa BEEDEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHBEEDZSZSZSZSZZSZSZSZSZSZSZS
 
2012-07-28 03:02:25 AM
The first internet my family had was AOL dialup, back when AOL pretty much WAS the internet. We had it for about 2 years, then switched to MSN dialup. Had that for a couple years, then we got DSL. I remember being happy because we finally had "fast" internet. Then we finally got cable internet a few years after that because it was finally affordable for us. Cable internet was expensive when it first came out and I was jealous of people who had it and could download stuff super fast.

But yeah, some day, I'm going to be telling my grandkids about how we used to get our internet through the telephone line. And then I'm going to have to explain what a telephone line was.
 
2012-07-28 03:20:04 AM

Dr J Zoidberg: He also apparently has netflix and says it works fine at that speed, I have no idea how, though he is a very patient man


Netflix will play at like 240 kbps if you make it. It looks like Internet video from 1998, but it does "work".
 
2012-07-28 04:35:04 AM
 
2012-07-28 04:36:29 AM

Marine1: we need to stop traditional terrestrial TV and FM radio transmissions and open that spectrum up for broadband


That's not going to happen for a number of reasons.

The VHF bands used by television and radio would be difficult for mobile and residential data transmission. The bands are not very wide (54MHz total for the adjacent VHF bands I and II, 42MHz for VHF band III), are prone to significant RF interference, co-channel interference and require large antennas.

The UHF band used by television would be much better to cannibalize. But then you're removing 37 channels from the airwaves. The FCC is currently receiving a huge amount of grief just for proposing the reallocation of channels 35-51 (596-698MHz) for mobile cellular use. So unless you're also proposing to launch a nationwide fleet of X band or Ku band satellites to replace over-the-air television, you will meet overwhelming resistance.

TV stations would run ads on senior friendly stations saying that the government is going to take away their free TV. Seniors vote. They like their free TV. They will fight to keep it. Even if we all moved to minisat broadcasting, they'd piss and moan, even if a new dish, receiver and installation was paid for.
 
2012-07-28 04:44:05 AM

Dinjiin: Marine1: we need to stop traditional terrestrial TV and FM radio transmissions and open that spectrum up for broadband

That's not going to happen for a number of reasons.

The VHF bands used by television and radio would be difficult for mobile and residential data transmission. The bands are not very wide (54MHz total for the adjacent VHF bands I and II, 42MHz for VHF band III), are prone to significant RF interference, co-channel interference and require large antennas.

The UHF band used by television would be much better to cannibalize. But then you're removing 37 channels from the airwaves. The FCC is currently receiving a huge amount of grief just for proposing the reallocation of channels 35-51 (596-698MHz) for mobile cellular use. So unless you're also proposing to launch a nationwide fleet of X band or Ku band satellites to replace over-the-air television, you will meet overwhelming resistance.

TV stations would run ads on senior friendly stations saying that the government is going to take away their free TV. Seniors vote. They like their free TV. They will fight to keep it. Even if we all moved to minisat broadcasting, they'd piss and moan, even if a new dish, receiver and installation was paid for.


Seniors also die at a rate significantly higher than the overall population.

Seriously, though, I don't know much about the mechanics of radio transmission... I do appreciate the clarification on some of that stuff. But just transmitting one type of media over those frequencies... just seems like a massive waste of resources.
 
2012-07-28 05:45:20 AM

Dr. Whoof: /Wall of text crits you for 100000. You die.


If this were slashdot I'd mod you informative.
 
2012-07-28 06:27:56 AM
Yeah my brother has sattelite service, and dial up is faster.
 
2012-07-28 06:50:34 AM
Marine1 "we need to stop traditional terrestrial TV and FM radio transmissions and open that spectrum up for broadband"


My father is a ham radio guy, and he claims the feds have been trying for years to grab some of their frequencies. Although I think they want those for cell phone use. Not sure how successul they've been.
 
2012-07-28 07:18:26 AM
When I realized that a number of my in-laws were STILL paying for AOL "access" despite already having cable internet access, I told them that they could keep their AOL email addresses and no longer have to pay the $9.95 (or whatever the amount was) monthly fee.

They thought I was a liar.

I'm not kidding, my father-in-law closely watched me go through the process, step-by-step, in converting his "paid" AOL account into a free one.

And he STILL WAS SKEPTICAL.

He frightened me at that moment by saying: "If this goes wrong, you're gonna be sorry."

/Father-in-law has "immediate family connections to those who are otherwise known as being involved with the criminal enterprise known as the "Mafia." "
//Still alive after changing his account 4 years ago or so.
///breathes a sigh of relief.
 
2012-07-28 07:43:57 AM

Dr. Whoof: I used to work for AOL, in the department that monitored their cancellation ... In response, they dropped the program and went with BYOB, Bring Your Own Broadband, which was basically giving you the AOL interface over your own broadband. It cost $14.95 a month...and all you got was the AOL program...


Mom's first internet was AOL, and she still has an AOL account. It's her only e-mail address in active use. As she has gotten older and less capable, the siblings and I have begun managing the day-to-day tasks of her life, including bill paying. She has her DSL through the local POTS phone company, and yes, she was paying AOL $14.95. every. darn. month.

Not any more, and she still has her AOL address and AOL software.

As for me, I had a very big sad when AOL bought Compu$erve. I can still remember that address.

/lawn, etc.
 
2012-07-28 07:48:05 AM
red5ish:
[img687.imageshack.us image 600x350]
You know you want one.


If that is an electric ballista made of Lego that shoots AOL and Bieber CD's... yes, yes I do want one.

Dr J Zoidberg:
My dad uses this for internet
[www8.pcmag.com image 275x250]
it's not as bad as AOL, but damn is it slow. He also apparently has netflix and says it works fine at that speed, I have no idea how, though he is a very patient man


At first I thought that was just a USB memory stick, and you maybe meant he brought it to the public library (or your house), downloaded what he needed, and took it home. A high-bandwidth, high-latency sneakernet if you will. It wouldn't be at all the dumbest idea ever.
 
2012-07-28 07:48:39 AM

Marine1: Dinjiin: Marine1: we need to stop traditional terrestrial TV and FM radio transmissions and open that spectrum up for broadband

That's not going to happen for a number of reasons.

The VHF bands used by television and radio would be difficult for mobile and residential data transmission. The bands are not very wide (54MHz total for the adjacent VHF bands I and II, 42MHz for VHF band III), are prone to significant RF interference, co-channel interference and require large antennas.

The UHF band used by television would be much better to cannibalize. But then you're removing 37 channels from the airwaves. The FCC is currently receiving a huge amount of grief just for proposing the reallocation of channels 35-51 (596-698MHz) for mobile cellular use. So unless you're also proposing to launch a nationwide fleet of X band or Ku band satellites to replace over-the-air television, you will meet overwhelming resistance.

TV stations would run ads on senior friendly stations saying that the government is going to take away their free TV. Seniors vote. They like their free TV. They will fight to keep it. Even if we all moved to minisat broadcasting, they'd piss and moan, even if a new dish, receiver and installation was paid for.

Seniors also die at a rate significantly higher than the overall population.

Seriously, though, I don't know much about the mechanics of radio transmission... I do appreciate the clarification on some of that stuff. But just transmitting one type of media over those frequencies... just seems like a massive waste of resources.


'Murkin 'septionalism.
 
2012-07-28 08:07:43 AM
Went from dial-up to HS.. comcast.. after a few glitches, mainly from lousy cable terminations by 'techs' that didn't have a clue, haven't had any problems. I have a friend that lives in the boonies.. just outside clearwire range, way out of dsl range.. they use dial-up and compuserve.. tried to talk them into satellite, but they don't let the kids watch tv, except for movies that they bring home on dvd.. can't say I disagree with them.. no fattie couch potatos there.... and the kids know way more about nature than most...
 
2012-07-28 08:18:47 AM
I'm pretty sure I'd cry if I had to still use dial-up. I didn't get to use broadband until going to college in 2003, so an ethernet cable and 2 seconds for your internet was amazing. Going home still sucked since my parents couldn't be bothered to spend that much money when dial-up worked just fine.

Now though? Geez. My phone is streaming music, my TV is streaming Netflix, and I'm uploading files to a web server while browsing the internet and checking my email. Yes, at the same time. Yes, I am bored.
 
2012-07-28 08:33:46 AM
I remember in the 90's the main reason I went with AOL was because they had the best system for chatting up the ladies.
 
2012-07-28 08:40:56 AM
I've had cable since 1998. Don't think I've used dialup in 10 years. My in-laws had AOL dialup until maybe 5 years ago, and it was maybe 2 years ago I set up their AP so I could get online in their house.

I'm pretty sure they pay for an AOL account but it's not worth the angst to cut them over.

/sitting on their couch now, so getting a kick, etc.
 
2012-07-28 09:20:28 AM
2.99999 million of them want to cancel but can't get anyone at AOL's call center in India to complete the process. Back when I cancelled it took three calls. The first guy hung up on me after I said i didn't want a free month. The second guy kept saying he couldn't understand my request. Finally the third guy cancelled my account but only after quite a bit of back and forth on whether I was obligated to justify my decision to him.
 
2012-07-28 09:26:16 AM

Ghastly: Every last one of them is going to be over the age of 65 too. You just know it.


In all seriousness I suspect the majority are (with a few outliers obviously), that generation of people in particular tend to do very poorly against the sort of hard-sell-retention type tactics companies like AOL employ. Often bowing to the 'voice of authority' who obviously knows more about the matter than they do.

Of course, I'd also wonder how many of those "3 million active subscribers" are actually actively using the service.
 
2012-07-28 09:40:27 AM

Wretschko:
/Father-in-law has "immediate family connections to those who are otherwise known as being involved with the criminal enterprise known as the "Mafia." "


And I'd have called bullshiat on him, the amount of face he'd loose calling in favours to deal with you... over that... would have made him a laughing stock to his peer group. Especially, with such connections you'd already be providing the local Don with tech support; they like to keep things in the family as it were.

shiat hot legal people as well.

/Just sayin.
 
2012-07-28 09:44:04 AM

Basily Gourt: Marine1 "we need to stop traditional terrestrial TV and FM radio transmissions and open that spectrum up for broadband"


My father is a ham radio guy, and he claims the feds have been trying for years to grab some of their frequencies. Although I think they want those for cell phone use. Not sure how successul they've been.


Well to be fair to Sat internet service clouds do not obscure the golf ball sized signal (had it for 5 miserable years and now on much better DSL).

VZW is considering selling off some of the 700 mhz spectrum they own as they're having issues with different blocks of that particular spectrum. The A and B blocks are smaller, in the upper reaches of the 700 mhz band, which is more suited for urbanized areas but interfere with a few terrestrial channels. Their C block is much larger but lower in the band so it lacks building penetration.

We could start muxing existing spectrum and get far more capacity out of the finite bandwidth allocation but we need to get the FCC under control first and thats not going to happen.
 
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