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Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY

1 recommendation

reply to pnh102

Re: Fight On Comcast

said by pnh102:

I've always contended that Comcast's $10/month service should be available to all of its customers, and I hate to defend Comcast here but why should they be forced to provide service to deadbeats who don't pay their bills?

Make it $20/mo and extend it to everybody. $20/mo is more than fair for 3mbit/s service, and it's blatantly unfair to compel them via force of law to offer a "basic" or "essentials" tier that's only available to a select few at the expense of everybody else. The law also compels them to offer a broadcast only tier for those people who can't get OTA reception, and access to that tier is not limited to the poor.

No State shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

14th Amendment, United States Constitution. This violates the spirit, and likely the letter of that clause. There is no reason why the poor (however you define them) are more worthy of access to a lower tier of broadband service than the rest of us. Many people could get by just fine with 3mbit/s service. Too bad most of them are in the middle class and will be compelled to pony up $40/mo or more for a higher level of service they don't need.

And, btw, concur wholeheartedly on the bit about customers in arrears. The electric company is not compelled to turn on people in arrears without a payment arrangement, why should Comcast be? If nothing else they could offer a three or six month repayment plan, which is what the electric utility would do in most jurisdictions.


pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

I could definitely agree with a $20/month for 3mbit service price point. But I do feel they should have had more stringent conditions imposed in exchange for approval of the NBC merger (which I think should never have been allowed in the first place).

Assuming a customer is in good standing, the "for the poor" argument conveniently allows for Comcast to wiggle out of fulfilling this commitment. If the requirement was for "everyone in good standing" then this would not be an issue.
--
Romney/Ryan 2012 - Put a couple of mature adults in charge.


Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY

2 recommendations

Well, I'd concur on the merger, this type of vertical integration is disconcerting to say the least. Time Warner spun off Time Warner Cable to separate the production and delivery aspects of its business, which is what should be happening in this business. On an unrelated note, as a GE shareholder, I think it was a boneheaded move on their part to sell NBC, but that's a different discussion altogether.

I do think they should be compelled to offer a basic tier of internet service, alongside the basic tier of cable (e.g., broadcast only) service they've always had to offer. Heck, they should also have to offer a basic tier (e.g., local calling only, no special features like call waiting or caller id) of phone service, since they are well on their way to driving the ILECs out of the landline market.

These basic services should be available to everyone, regardless of income or other special circumstances. For the internet and phone service they should have to accept a reasonable (say three months) payment plan for customers in arrears, these are essential 'utility' services that shouldn't be outright denied to anyone, so long as the customer is willing to make a good faith effort to repay what they owe. Heck, you could even allow them to ask for a deposit, as the phone and power companies can, repayable in full with interest after 12 months of timely payments.


CXM_Splicer
Looking at the bigger picture
Premium
join:2011-08-11
NYC
kudos:2

They are not compelled to do anything... much like the employee who is free to quit if they don't like being exploited & the customer is free to go somewhere else if they are being taken advantage of, Comcast has a choice they can make: They are free to get out of the cable TV/Internet business and open a different type of business instead.


Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY

1 edit

said by CXM_Splicer:

Comcast has a choice they can make: They are free to get out of the cable TV/Internet business and open a different type of business instead.

That's a false choice, they've invested billions of dollars into this business, their human capital understands this business, and they have contractual obligations in this business.

Besides, I don't think you read my post before you replied. My issues are two fold:

1) They should have to offer basic tiers of service to everybody, not just low income households. You work for Verizon in New York State, can you imagine if they tried to say that message rate service would henceforth only be available to households that qualify for school lunches? Everybody else has to have Verizon Freedom for $50+/mo.

2) No company, not Comcast, Verizon, or anyone else, should be compelled to offer service to people who owe it money, absent some sort of payment arrangement. Three months is reasonable, if you can commit to paying new charges on time, while repaying what you owe over three months, then you get turned on. Otherwise you go without the service. Asking them to forgive what you owe is asking too much, if you need debts forgiven you should be filing bankruptcy, not complaining about how awful the utility company is.

CXM_Splicer
Looking at the bigger picture
Premium
join:2011-08-11
NYC
kudos:2

1 edit

My issue was mostly with the 'compelled' argument which you brought up in two posts. The 'false choice' is used very often to coldly defend a corporate upper hand in situations all the time (don't like a pay cut? find a different job). It is certainly worth pointing out the false choice that business has in the face of regulations they don't like. And since Verizon is gutting its copper business as we speak it is questionable if it really is a 'false choice'.

When it comes down to it, Yes everyone should have lower tiers available to them willingly by the provider. If the provider refuses to offer a lower tier, I don't have a problem with them being required to do so for low income people as a condition of engaging in their business. If they refuse to offer it to you too, I would blame the company... not the low income mandate.

As for Verizon's low income service... they actually do have dialtone (I think it used to be free) for low income people who qualify. I will find out if they still offer it and what the details are. They are also required to allow 911 calls even if they disconnect you for non-payment (although admittedly that isn't much 'service').

Edit: It is called LifeLine service. It is not a mandate to the phone companies but a federal subsidy to help pay for the line. They also offer it for wireless.

»www22.verizon.com/cs/groups/publ···_v10.pdf