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Wed Oct 13, 2021, 10:50 AM

Just bitchin' about broadband again.

Last edited Thu Oct 14, 2021, 11:39 AM - Edit history (1)

There's a reason U.S. cable and broadband companies have some of the worst customer satisfaction ratings of any companies, in any industry in America. The one/two punch of lagging broadband competition and captured regulators generally mean there's little to no meaningful penalty for overcharging users, providing lackluster services and support, and generally just being an obnoxious ass.

Case in point: a new Charter (which operates under the Spectrum brand) marketing effort apparently involves threatening to ruin the credit scores of ex-customers unless they re-subscribe to the company's services. It basically begins with a letter that threatens ex-users that they'll be reported to debt collectors unless they sign up for service. It proceeds to inform them the letter is a "one-time courtesy" allowing them to sign up for cable or broadband service before the debt collector comes calling:

"A well-established credit history will more likely allow you to qualify for lower mortgage rates, better chances for obtaining credit cards and approvals for home rentals,” the letter says, suggesting that Schklair’s finances could be in serious trouble unless he returns to the Spectrum fold. "You have worked hard to build a great future for yourself and your family,” it says. “We look forward to welcoming you back.”

Leave it to a U.S. cable company to think up a marketing strategy that involves threatening the livelihoods of folks who don't actually owe it any money. My assumption is this kind of threat is levied heavily against lower-income communities where the constant fear of debt collection prods folks who may not even owe Spectrum to re-subscribe for fear of getting into trouble. ..

83 million Americans currently live under a broadband monopoly, usually Comcast and Charter. Between a lack of competition and captured regulators there's fairly consistently zero real repercussions for idiotic behavior like this, which is why historically things don't really change much. Increased competition in streaming TV has helped drive some improvements on that side of the coin, but the largely broken U.S. broadband market is a problem we don't seem intent on seriously addressing anytime soon--in part because we refuse to even acknowledge the core problem (monopolization and the corruption that protects it).


Just an example of what life under the corporate fascist state could be like, besides constant surveillance and warrants, journalist, teacher and dissident jailings, militarized 'law' enforcement, 'disappearances,' and minority rule theater in DC. Just generally annoyed, is all, and decided to pick this issue because I'm in a no competition area.

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Reply Just bitchin' about broadband again. (Original post)
ancianita Wednesday OP
jimfields33 Wednesday #1
ancianita Wednesday #2
ancianita Thursday #3
dalton99a Thursday #4

Response to ancianita (Original post)

Wed Oct 13, 2021, 11:26 AM

1. I have to say that as bad as Comcast is as a company,

Their broadband is top notch. I never have that stupid buffering nonsense that other internet providers caused me in the past.

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Response to jimfields33 (Reply #1)

Wed Oct 13, 2021, 12:01 PM

2. I had Comcast, too, up in Chicago, and found they were still overpriced

because they knew they have no competition. So maybe there's a continuity and control of service with monopolistic coverage, but when things go wrong, there's still no consumer market recourse except to go with the dish.

And our experience doesn't excuse that 80 million or more Americans don't even get broadband access, either; and it's all because broadband doesn't want to spend all its profit to make it available. Or that local politicians don't want to cut deals with broadband carriers. Which would help unify a more informed voting public.


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Response to ancianita (Original post)

Thu Oct 14, 2021, 11:38 AM

3. Update on one way broadband gets better for consumers. The other way is through Congress.

Cox Communications employs a 1,280 GB data cap, which, if you go over, requires you either pay $30 per month more for an additional 500 GB, or upgrade your plan to an unlimited data offering for $50 more per month. While Cox's terabyte-plus plan is more generous than some U.S. offerings (which can be as low as a few gigabytes), getting caught up in whether the cap is "fair" is beside the point. Because, again, it serves absolutely no function other than to impose arbitrary penalties and additional monthly costs for crossing the technically unnecessary boundaries.

And, mysteriously, when wireless broadband providers begin offering fixed wireless services over 5G services in limited areas, Cox lifts the restrictions completely to compete:

"With unlimited home wireless broadband from T-Mobile and Verizon starting to take a dent out of Cox Communications’ customer base, the cable operator is shoring up a defensive position by waiving its arbitrary data cap for existing customers signed up for gigabit speed service in select areas...The fact Cox is willing to waive its own arbitrary data cap for marketing and competition reasons further demonstrates that artificial limits imposed on internet service have nothing to do with congestion, “fairness,” or network management."

Like net neutrality violations, privacy violations, high prices, and terrible customer service, arbitrary, confusing, and punitive broadband usage caps are just another symptom of limited competition. But the majority of both U.S. political parties not only haven't been doing anything to fix that problem, it's fairly rare you can get anyone to admit the very obvious problem is even real. Instead, we get some nebulous hand waving about the "digital divide," billions more in tax breaks, subsidies, and regulatory favors thrown at entrenched regional monopolies, and little substantive change.


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Response to ancianita (Original post)

Thu Oct 14, 2021, 11:59 AM

4. Kick

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