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Comcast: We Block Competition...to Help the Poor!
by Karl Bode 10:44AM Thursday Aug 28 2014
In the company's filing with the FCC opposing the Comcast merger (via Ars Technica), CenturyLink accuses the cable giant of making it difficult to obtain franchise agreements and compete with the company across numerous markets. CenturyLink complains that Comcast has been "uniquely and extraordinarily aggressive" in blocking the telco's expansions into new markets, sending letters to the handful of local franchising authorities where CenturyLink is trying to expand its Prism TV services.

Comcast, historically opposed to local laws requiring even and full deployment of services to entire towns or cities, is pushing to make that a requirement for CenturyLink. To hear Comcast tell it, they're really just worried about redlining and poor people:
quote:
“We believe competitors should have to live under the same requirements as incumbents, that means no redlining poor communities, no cherry picking of only providing services to wealthier communities – it means service to the entire community. This has been our consistent position, that new entrants should be prepared to live under the same rules we have for decades."
Of course with the entry of Google Fiber those rules have changed, and redlining (or whatever you'd like to call it) is quite fashionable, with companies like AT&T, CenturyLink and many others now deploying their best, cheapest speeds only to very select markets. It's worth noting CenturyLink is no saint on this front either; the company has waged war against municipal broadband operations for years, and would be making the exact same arguments were they in Comcast's dominant market position.

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IPPlanMan
Holy Cable Modem Batman

join:2000-09-20
Washington, DC
kudos:1

1 recommendation

To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher....

They would rather the poor be poorer than have competitors get a share of their revenue.

»youtu.be/pdR7WW3XR9c
pandora
Premium
join:2001-06-01
Outland
kudos:2

Re: To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher....

Comcast is expressing it's love for the poor in a self serving way. What modern company or politician doesn't do this today?
--
Congress could mess up a one piece jigsaw puzzle.

Karl Bode
News Guy
join:2000-03-02
kudos:39

1 recommendation

Re: To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher....

I love the poor.
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

2 recommendations

Re: To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher....

Well if I am an economist, I have to take a serious look at universal franchise agreements versus redlining and I would make the assertion that is makes ZERO economic sense to have more than one operator in a "low uptake" area because why should companies need to throw capital out the door. Now this is not poor, I am talking uptake. Maybe there is correlation, maybe not.

This all goes back to the utility model where one provider can own/operate the capital plant, and let other operators compete on the operating model--this would work swimmingly.

For "high uptake" areas (meaning profitable) let the best technologies and innovation and competition flourish--multiple vendors and technologies. There is no rule in America that every community must have the same connectivity or should for that manner. Money still talks in this country. The services I have in the burbs are far superior to the city, but my taxes are also 2x. My choice.

I think that we are stuck in the 1800's utility model where we have to just choose one method. We can actually do two methods and customers win on both.

The $10 comcast school lunch program while is appealing to the communities right now, is NO FREE LUNCH. Comcast can't afford to lose money on services and plant forever in these neighborhoods...without subsidies. And now this bypasses competition and service is to the LCD and the price of the subsidy set by Comcast.

Will these governments ever learn?
brianiscool

join:2000-08-16
Tampa, FL
kudos:1
I'm poor after each pay check I have to pay my debt. Which leaves me with $0 a month.

FastiBook

join:2003-01-08
Newtown, PA
I am the poor, and i find the bypassing tactics, especially in rural areas, to be cheap at best, and unethical at worst.
--
LETS GO METS!

rottnpup

join:2000-08-04
Minneapolis, MN
Now I have an old Dead Kennedy's song stuck in my head!

IPPlanMan
Holy Cable Modem Batman

join:2000-09-20
Washington, DC
kudos:1

Re: To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher....

Oh? Which one?

Juan Doe

@107.192.88.x

2 recommendations

Comcast is my shepherd, I shall not want!

God bless capitalism and the Corporate States of America! Ain't we grand?

DaveDude
No Fear

join:1999-09-01
New Jersey
kudos:1

Re: Comcast is my shepherd, I shall not want!

Sorry this isnt capitalism. Capitalism means competition. No capitalist would support francise agreement. Do you really think a company like google wouldn't mind wiring philly if they wanted to ?

RWSI

join:2012-11-27
Albuquerque, NM

1 edit

Poor

The poor can't subscribe, is it food, shelter or Comcast that can be afforded. Watch out for crimes increasing not because of drugs but of the Comcast bill.

Comcast does not build in some of these areas anyway.
bcltoys

join:2008-07-21
Lost today

Poor people.

No poor people live on my road that must be why they won't come down my road.

Flyonthewall

@206.248.154.x

Talking out of their wallet.

Clearly they won't service those areas due the areas being poor, so of course they'd rather force a competitor into having to service it since it would not make them much money, and keep them out of the areas they already are in. That's not free enterprise, that's a monopoly, or worse, one company dictating how another should run. Seems strange how anyone would follow that logical train wreck, since why would THEY not service those areas if they were truly concerned about the poor?

Does anyone not vet their public release statements? This wouldn't even pass as a bad joke.
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

Re: Talking out of their wallet.

What is being missed in the liberal toolkit "poor", is that density is also a HUGE factor in this as well. It costs a tremendous amounts of money to wire sparse areas and makes no economic sense for 2 or three providers to put a physical plant in.

I think wireless (not LTE--but maybe) will have a huge influence in these areas if the government doesn't simply dial in on the poor and concentrates on the uptake AND density issue. For low density areas, wireless is a huge winner OR fiber run in the ground for all to share, or a combo. We are not going to have coax, DSL, and fiber run to every house in this country in the current franchise model.

As I have been saying I have FiOS but a similarly or more affluent community to my east and north does not because they are not DENSE enough. If Verizon were able to wire the dense portions or the town only they would, but alas they are not. So 80% of the population lives in the dense parts, however that is only 20% of the wiring.

While Google Fiber model is controversial, their fiberhood redlining makes PERFECT sense economically and their free model also takes care of the "poor" liberal toolkit. If anything the flurry of 1GB announcements is testament to them setting the bar.. If you see however, Google is not entertaining sparse areas.
OptiFi

join:2014-08-24
Charlotte, NC

Re: Talking out of their wallet.

The redlining is an issue - and we thank Google for that as they've found a way to make it "legal". And it's not free. Those people still have to pay to have the service installed, and we're back to can they afford the install payments or not? And most can not afford the extra $30 per month just to get "free" internet.

What Google is doing should be illegal as well and the DOJ needs to stop it.
elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

1 recommendation

Re: Talking out of their wallet.

The service IS free. Someone has to pay for the equipment to be installed and the cost of the equipment. You're not suggesting Google should take a loss on the service AND the equipment. No company should be subject to that, lest they wont be in business. And it is $25 a month for only a year. The cost doesn't go on forever.

Even TWC with their barebones service is $20 a month, and that is forever.

I'm sorry but $25 for ONE YEAR for internet IS NOT UNREASONABLE, its more than reasonable because Google is taking a loss.

Also if say that person moves out and someone else in, Google doesn't double dip. Once the equipment is paid off, its still free.

And I'm sorry but is costs Google way more than $300 to install that equipment and trench, so they are already taking a loss.

I know lots of people who can barely rub two coins together but have XBO, PS4, and iphones up the yinyang on full postpaid. It's a matter or priorities.
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
·ooma
·Optimum Online
·Verizon FiOS

count De MO-NAY

these incumbents play out an ancient repetitive drama..

although this is a time of change around the palace courts that is not on the time of protecting incumbency. municipalities are looking to break free of state guaranteed franchise monopoly. mainly, what these companies are interested in COUNT DEE MO-NAY.. not mun--eee.. MOW, NAY... and don't you forget it..!

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=sztf4hcGrB4


build 21st century broadband for the poor?, how outrageous!
biochemistry
Premium
join:2003-05-09
92361

What rules?

Exactly what rules is Comcast referencing? Some parts of my town have Comcast and some parts are stuck with wireless internet.
--
The harvest is nigh past, the summer is nigh ended. Are you saved? bibleprophecytruth.com
asdfdfdfdfdf
Premium
join:2012-05-09
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Verizon Wireless..

1 recommendation

Comcasts fairness argument is nonsense and will permanently remove ...

... any chance of competition.

A competitor trying to enter the market should NOT be treated the same way as an incumbent. By definition an incumbent dominates the market, has first mover advantage, and all the benefits of network effects. Comcast did not suddenly pop up in the market with universal coverage and build out. It is a result of decades of slow build out and frequent absorption of other companies. They also didn't have universal build out requirements from their beginning. That was something that evolved over time as market consolidation took place and their power grew. Saying that any other company that wants to enter the market must suddenly pop up with universal coverage and build out is a false concept of fairness and would make it impossible for any other company to ever enter the market.

Incumbents SHOULD be regulated differently. There is nothing unfair in this. They dominate the market and they have most of the power. The powerful SHOULD have constraints upon them that are not necessarily imposed on those who don't have power. It's sleazy to try to maintain your power by pushing simplistic conceptions of fairness that would have the opposite effect of anything sensible people think of when using the word fair.

PaulHikeS2

join:2003-03-06
Manchester, NH
Reviews:
·Comcast

Just eliminate franchise agreements, I guess....

Odd. I've been a reader of this site for some time, and I don't recall Comcast being opposed to standard franchise agreements regarding wiring of communities. I guess Karl thinks it's just wrong for Comcast to want potential competitors to adhere to the same rules that they are bound to. Or maybe he feels that franchise agreements should be null and void if a competitor wants to service a community. Or maybe I'm just confused
--
Jay: What the @#$% is the internet???

DaveDude
No Fear

join:1999-09-01
New Jersey
kudos:1

1 recommendation

notice all the democrats

Now notice all the democrats going after comcast. Lets see allowing competitors in philly. Statewide franchise agreement for competitors. Oh thats right that was a fantasy.
greatshow09

join:2013-07-07
Minneapolis, MN
Reviews:
·CenturyLink

Eh the ISPs and I can agree..

I may be liberal, but screw the poor. If you're homeless I feel your burden, cause most jobs wont accept you. However poor people that can pay for Comcast have a chance to get a life. They have a roof over their heads, and a slight bit of chunk change. Go to McDonald's, flip some burgers for a college fund, once you got enough go to a cheap college get a degree and finally have a life you failures.

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

Re: Eh the ISPs and I can agree..

A lot of people are homeless because of alcohol/substance abuse so there are many issues that they need to address before they can even start looking for a job. And half of the sex offenders here have the local homeless shelter as their residence on the sex offender registry so many of them did it through their own fault.

I have two different views on the poor, those who are poor through no fault of their own (job loss due to layoff/plant closing, recession, disability, illness) and those who are at fault for their situation (substance abuse, criminal history, job loss due to performance/conduct).
--
Stop the Comcast-Time Warner merger, I'd rather Time Warner buy out Comcast.

Robert Bohan

@65.30.210.x

Re: Eh the ISPs and I can agree..

How did you forget Mental Illness? Of course it's one of American societies biggest problems that's continually hidden and swept under the rug, so that makes sense.

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

Re: Eh the ISPs and I can agree..

said by Robert Bohan :

How did you forget Mental Illness? Of course it's one of American societies biggest problems that's continually hidden and swept under the rug, so that makes sense.

At least here in Massachusetts we have a mental health coverage law where an employer's health plan/private health insurance HAS to cover mental health like any other illness.
--
Stop the Comcast-Time Warner merger, I'd rather Time Warner buy out Comcast.
grabacon9

join:2013-08-21

They don't know what poor is.

Don't you agree?

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

Running out of excuses

Just a matter of time before this company is broken up. Bell System didn't survive antitrust regulators, Comcast probably won't either.

What's to say the political landscape doesn't change 5-10 years from now. Court rulings handed down, changing of the guard in governors offices/White House, turnover in congress/state houses. Then the pay TV bubble may burst, which may be inevitable.

I find it completely unethical to use certain groups to push certain agendas. I'm disabled and if they use the disabled as a ploy, that's against my views. Many disabled people live on fixed incomes and would welcome affordable internet. I can afford my Comcast internet but many disabled individuals can't because these companies charge 10 times what the service is worth. I support subjecting broadband internet to state DPU control, with one of the controls being wireline broadband providers having to justify pricing through rate cases and bans on bundle pricing. And yes, I support reclassifying broadband as a utility. It's becoming as essential as telephone service.
--
Stop the Comcast-Time Warner merger, I'd rather Time Warner buy out Comcast.

train_wreck

join:2013-10-04
Antioch, TN
Reviews:
·Comcast

scooped

not gonna say I scooped this, but....

»[Merger] CenturyLink asserts anti-competitive behvaior by Comcast

llllllllll

@67.242.29.x

Re: scooped

I was in the cable biz. Of the cable ops I've known, only FIOS thinks about rich/poor/redlining. Most will tell you they want to protect their borders to prevent competition. The headend is the big expense. The cost per mile of plant is about $25k which is peanuts.