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Mediacom Scares Emmetsburg, Iowa Away From Community Broadband
by Bill Neilson 12:46PM Thursday Dec 19 2013
Last week, Karl noted that Mediacom was just "tired of hearing about" Google Fiber. Now, Community Broadband Networks takes notice that Mediacom is now tired of hearing citizens in Emmetsburg, Iowa point out Mediacom’s lack of investment in their local infrastructure. Recently, a majority of voters in Emmetsburg supported a proposal to issue bonds to build a local fiber network. But due to Iowa rules with obligation bonds, they were not able to get enough votes to have the proposal pass.

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Part of the reason for the failure to pass the measure was due to Mediacom to dropping misleading pamphlets across the community. Scaring locals with misleading data or push polls is a bit of a long-standing tradition in the competition-phobic U.S. broadband industry.

In one pamphlet (pdf), Mediacom VP Dan Templin insists that the city already has gigabit service via fiber in the area and that Mediacom will be expanding it shortly to businesses. Of course, availability and price is not mentioned, and this excludes residential service. Templin puts out a call for users to help Mediacom "leverage their investment" by e-mailing a general Mediacom address (whatever that means).

Another pamphlet (pdf) features a local Mediacom employee scaring residents with phantom tax increases and largely irrelevant FCC statistics, while claiming local competition for the company is "fierce." The focus, as is usually the case, is on all the instances where these projects fail (and like all business proposals, especially when designed poorly, many do fail) -- not where they succeed.

It's worth noting that Mediacom was ranked dead last in a 2012 Consumer Report's ISP rankings, and their recent decision to put all of their users on mandatory metered plans are courtesy in large part to no serious competitive market pressure. As always, it's worth repeating that towns like Emmetsburg wouldn't be building their own networks if they were satisfied with what's available.

But, we shouldn’t beat up on Mediacom too much as they obviously will be forced to pay election expenses for the pamphlets. Oh wait, nowhere in the pamphlets is an official “Vote No” statement, which means that Mediacom gets to avoid reporting it as an election expense.

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Technicholas
Premium
join:2010-11-11
Winterset, IA

I got one of the Gigabit+ Fiber solutions in the mail

I work at a local school and I got one of those Gigabit Fiber solutions in the mail.

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

1 recommendation

Cedar Rapids has an overbuilder

My hometown of Cedar Rapids, IA has an overbuilder (I'mOn, formerly McLeod USA) but they don't pass every address in town. They were offering triple plays back in the late '90s/early 2000's by building a hybrid coaxial/PSTN network. It was basically a twisted pair system next to a coax network bonded together and they used twin lead RG11/6 pair drops for subscribers. That had the advantage that the phone portion didn't require premises power.

Having that in town kept Cable rates pretty cheap. Moving to Springfield, MA the cable bill shot up a good $15-20. So having an over builder in town really does keep cable rates in check.
--
I've experienced ImOn (when they were McLeod USA), Mediacom, Comcast, and Time Warner and I currently have DirecTV. They are much better than broadcast TV.

I have not and will not cut the cord.
silbaco
Premium
join:2009-08-03
USA

Re: Cedar Rapids has an overbuilder

Interestingly Imon is rolling out FTTH now in some areas in Cedar Rapids and Marion and are now advertising as being uncapped.

IowaMan
Premium
join:2008-08-21
Grinnell, IA
Reviews:
·Mediacom
I'm very surprised that Des Moines doesn't have an over builder in the city to compete with Mediacom. Hopefully more towns jump on board and start there own FTTP service as Windstream can't compete on anything and Mediacom charges up the wazoo because they can. I'm VERY HAPPY with my service, price eh...
silbaco
Premium
join:2009-08-03
USA

Mediacom

Mediacom plays dirty when it comes to competition. I was disappointed when I read this one did not pass. Although I am not a big fan of muni's, Mediacom needs to be put in their place.

Bonds

@ip-198-27-64.net

Re: Mediacom

said by silbaco:

Mediacom plays dirty when it comes to competition. I was disappointed when I read this one did not pass. Although I am not a big fan of muni's, Mediacom needs to be put in their place.

Complaints against Mediacom need to be filed with appropriate agency - the FTC. But the 60% law to pass general obligation bonds is a good one.

Iowa requires a 60% majority when general obligation bonds fund all or part of a proposed project.

This law wasn't designed as part of an anti-muni broadband effort. It was just a law to prevent government agencies from taking on obligations that can raise taxes unless their is broad support for a project. Too many bond votes are automatic approvals at 50% because the voters don't understand what they are approving. At 60%, an educated committed activist minority can prevent wasteful spending by government.
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1

Re: Mediacom

Oh no doubt private corporations pushed through that law for the communities' own good. Even though no other community proposals require a 60% majority.
Thank the heavens for those corportions looking out for the well-being of these hapless communities.
openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
Germany
kudos:2

Re: Mediacom

You think it's a bad thing to require 60% or more of affected voters to pass measures to raise property taxes to cover the cost of new debt? I don't. I personally think it should be 2/3 or more. Not everything is a horrendous attack on municipalities by money-grubbing corporations.
Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1

Re: Mediacom

60% is a good thing IMO. I do think corps should have no right to take muni projects to court to stop them though if the do pass public vote. This has happened in other states, The people say yes and the incumbents go to court and get the project shut down... Which should not happen.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports
openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
Germany
kudos:2

Re: Mediacom

I believe that as long as municipalities follow the law and don't grant themselves any special favors not available to the private sector that they should be allowed to invest in infrastructure.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink
Munis and their backers "play dirty" as well, and munis are not "competition".

While I'm ok with local property owners voting, on a super-majority basis, to tax themselves for infrastructure, including broadband, as soon as you give it over to the local government to build and administrate, you're asking for corruption and failure.

The taxpayers will end up footing the bill, whether they want or receive the service, or if it even survives, and they'll be paying not only the explicit tax, but cross-subsidizing operations from general revenues.

Mediacom did Emmetsburg a favor.
Thistool

join:2013-12-05
Auburn, WA

Re: Mediacom

Elray my old troll how have you been?? In all seriousness muni-fiber or utility fiber does work very very well. Take for instance the city of Leavenworth Wa. Red lined by big red, they took it upon themselves to fiber the city and eventually the county. Bring that forward from the time it was voted in till today. They offer faster service cheaper cost then some larger cities in Washington state that do offer FTTH. Muni Fiber can also manage video without licensing black outs and some of the problems larger companies run into. Muni/Utility fiber is also done in many other states successfully as well. PS the tax payers are not subsidizing the build still. Hey Elray i am sorry those are facts. Ill let you go back to spinning your web of fiction.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA

Re: Mediacom

Sorry, but I'm living those facts.

For over a decade, I've been paying taxes to support muni fiber that runs right outside our door, yet is only available to the elites in this town.

Oh sure, its doing "really well".
itguy05

join:2005-06-17
Carlisle, PA

Re: Mediacom

If it's structured like other municipal owned utilities rates will be lower than for profit companies.

We moved from a house that had water service provided by a for profit company (the largest in the USA) and we paid them $30-40 a month for service. And I hear they are raising rates ~ $3 month. We're now at a house with municipal water and pay $30-40 a QUARTER! Why? Cause the municipality can't make a profit!
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

Re: Mediacom

That's the theory. Not reality.

Our municipal water company isn't permitted a profit either, but water bills run in the hundreds of dollars per quarter, when they're not "estimating" your bill and overdrawing your foolishly auto-paid account with 4 and 5-figure bills, and they're taxed to boot. The muni then transfers about 20% of their revenues to the city, which conveniently approves the rate increases.

Government is not transparent. They cover up financial transactions and internal failure. So while they may offer "lower rates" for a short period, those rates are only achieved by hidden subsidies. Years later, when the meltdown occurs, the locals will be left with the debt, but no service.

Private companies have issues, make mistakes, commit fraud, and don't necessarily have to disclose everything the public might want to see. But they're risking their money, and they don't have the right to tax us for their failures.

I may be in the minority on this forum, but I prefer freedom of choice - including, the right to opt-out of the financial obligation for a system I didn't ask for. When the government takes over, you lose that choice.
Thistool

join:2013-12-05
Auburn, WA

Re: Mediacom

»skylin3.net/rates/residential/

Muni fiber can be done right check out the rates. Not speculation or fiction just plain facts. Try it Elray stop serving the koolaid.

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT

Re: Mediacom

No kidding. Maybe he should visit Powell sometime and ask how their muni is doing, which is still running quite well.
itguy05

join:2005-06-17
Carlisle, PA
quote:
Our municipal water company isn't permitted a profit either, but water bills run in the hundreds of dollars per quarter, when they're not "estimating" your bill and overdrawing your foolishly auto-paid account with 4 and 5-figure bills, and they're taxed to boot. The muni then transfers about 20% of their revenues to the city, which conveniently approves the rate increases.
You're in luck. I looked up Santa Monica's water rates and they are conveniently posted online. It's a tiered structure and starts at $2.48 per Hundred Cubic Feet (748 gallons) of water. That's good for 0-14 HCF of water. It works out to $0.00331550802139 per gallon. If you're having multiple hundreds of dollars of bills you've got issues. And only a moron would do auto pay for anything.

Our rates with a municipal water company are as good as my parents in the next state over also with a municipally run water company. What you're not paying for in a municipal utility is a CEO, the costs of compliance with rules like SOX, SEC compliance, other perks, etc.

Look, I'm no fan of government at all - I think at the federal level it needs to be gutted and only provide for the basics. But at the state/local level there should be a good government structure that provides the infrastructure. And today broadband is pretty much a necessary infrastructure like sewer, water, electricity, and natural gas.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

Re: Mediacom

I was referring to LA DWP.

Santa Monica's water company isn't as corrupt, but they still charge a fortune, even after enjoying huge subsidies courtesy of our ambulance-chasing city attorneys negotiating 9-figure settlements from oil companies for well-water pollution.
34764170

join:2007-09-06
Etobicoke, ON

1 recommendation

said by elray:

I may be in the minority on this forum, but I prefer freedom of choice - including, the right to opt-out of the financial obligation for a system I didn't ask for. When the government takes over, you lose that choice.

Except half the time you're arguing against having more choices and having people stuck with no choices. It makes me laugh that you can say what you said above with a straight face.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

1 edit

Re: Mediacom

Even with only one local wired provider, you still have a choice, and most of the folks you're referring to have a choice of at least two.

When the government comes to collect, you don't.

You seem to ignore the fact that I'm not against a collectivist tax for broadband infrastructure financing, even one I didn't vote for it, so long as the super-majority of property owners did, and the project isn't built or administered by the government. A cooperative or overbuilder achieves that end.

Municipal utilities, unfortunately, operate as extensions of government, and thus often practice the same misdeeds and fraud against the taxpayers and ratepayers. We should be very cautious and critical if they are to be permitted to build and sell broadband.

anon_anon

@comcastbusiness.net
If a private corporation such as Google opts to built a fiber network in a community, you will only come up with excuses as to why they should be legally blocked from building it as well. You consistently oppose anything that disrupts the status quo of the cable/telco duopoly.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

Re: Mediacom

Nope. I am not against Google overbuilding fiber in any community, so long as they do so on the same terms as any other private company.

The cable/telco duopoly, as you call it, delivers a decent product at a fair price, without making us pay for it, whether we want it, receive it, or not.

Such cannot be said for municipal projects.
34764170

join:2007-09-06
Etobicoke, ON

Re: Mediacom

said by elray:

The cable/telco duopoly, as you call it, delivers a decent product at a fair price, without making us pay for it, whether we want it, receive it, or not.

Wow, corporate shill or what.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink

Re: Mediacom

Or what.

There is this pesky thing called "math", compadre.
It doesn't change.

We've seen price-per-bitrate drop 99% since the Internet went commercial, and our real-world cost of entry for broadband access is a pittance compared to what it was at the turn of the century.

That is the result of corporate "greed" - investors and shareholders losing billions, corporate bankruptcy severing costs, and the remaining players competing for customers, not government.

My local and state government, in the same time period, has spent a ton of money on various internet-related "investment", which I continue to pay for, without a shred of benefit. For over a decade.

You confuse "corporate shill" with Taxpayer.

djm61
Change? HAH

join:2001-06-20
Simi Valley, CA
This from someone who lives in The Peoples Republic of Santa Monica. Still shilling for the corps ,eh?
--
You shouldn't draw a line in the sand unless you own the beach! Mark W.

woody7
Premium
join:2000-10-13
Torrance, CA

hmmmmmmmmmmm

I am from Iowa, and what a bunch of rubes, do your home work.................there should be a law against dropping bu//$hit pamphlets, but hey SCOTUS said it is ok to lie so what can we do
--
BlooMe
k9iua6

join:2004-05-23
Dubuque, IA
kudos:1

1 recommendation

Not a claim until they will lay fiber to the home

Who cares about businesses only? Or even businesses, schools, and government buildings only? Until they will bring fiber to a home customer (and not have to bill at business rates), I will be skeptical of Mediacom's claims. Every cable ISP employing a hybrid fiber-cable network (HFC), which is probably most of them in any community of size, can claim to have brought fiber to the community. But until customers beyond a limited few well-placed locations along the fiber routes can get a direct fiber connection, Mediacom (or any other cable HFC) is exaggerating their claim.

Our city received notice this fall of competition supposedly coming in the form of Alliance Technologies out of Des Moines who have filed notices in a number of Iowa cities to provide video/cable services. I haven't heard anything since.

ghosti

@mchsi.com

1 recommendation

Re: Not a claim until they will lay fiber to the home

Considering Mediacom's adverts claiming 100% fiber are still running rampant, they obviously have no problem with lying to peoples faces. The cable for our city was ran over 20 years ago, and virtually no upgrades have come through from that side. Obviously nodes and such have been upgraded, but barely as our area is still analog, with max 20 down speeds. The funniest part is one of the local techs parks his van on the street in front of his house.....with a nice direct tv dish mounted on the house. When your techs dont want to use your service, you know there is something really wrong.

JohnDoe

@mchsi.com

Progress...

Mediacom just completed an upgrade to their Internet product in Emmetsburg, migrating it from a point to point unprotected network to a ring protected network from their Emmetsburg facility to their Internet service provider.

For me personally, I don't know what I'd do to use more than 50Mbps at home, and I consider myself a "techie". I'm sure that'll change over time but Mediacom seems to be keeping up with ACTUAL needs.

Fiber to the business sounds like a reasonable first step and regardless of this debate on whether or not it will cost tax payers to add another supplier, they're offering it today.
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1

Re: Progress...

Competition would result in lower prices and uncapped service. How does that "cost taxpayers" who are currently paying a monopoly tax to mediacom?
openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
Germany
kudos:2

Re: Progress...

The general obligation bonds the municipality proposed to use require all taxpayers' backing, not just Mediacom customers.
WhatNow
Premium
join:2009-05-06
Charlotte, NC
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

Re: Progress...

That is the only problem I see with muni fiber non subscribers being responsible for the debt. If the project is feasible then a private company or coop should be able to fund the project. They need to come up with a crowd sourcing plan.
Looking at Google Map the town looks like it is about 30 blocks by 30 blocks with a population of 3900 of 1620 families. They need to decide if they are going to pay up or just complain.
I don't know how many customers minimum it would take for success at a reasonable monthly price.
Technicholas
Premium
join:2010-11-11
Winterset, IA
Reviews:
·Mediacom
·CenturyLink

I'm happy with my Mediacom Service


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