How ISPs “Compete” With Municipal Networks: Lobbying and Campaign Donations That Block Them

How ISPs “Compete” With Municipal Networks: Lobbying and Campaign Donations That Block Them

Say you’re mayor of a small city. Your city is small enough and far enough away from other cities that the big cable companies don’t want to spend what it would cost to run wires through your town, because the amount they will make in return isn’t worth it. That’s reasonable, from a business perspective. So you and the residents of your city get together and come up with a plan to make a public broadband utility instead. Makes sense, right? You’d happily pay someone else to do it for you, but since they don’t want to take your money you’ll do it yourself. Only — surprise! In come those self-same cable companies to block you from doing that, too, and they get your state’s legislature and governor to pass a law against you for good measure, so you can never try again. [More]

Sterling Davis

Here’s What Netflix, Dish & Others Said To The FCC About The Comcast/TWC Merger

The period for leaving a comment about the Comcast/TWC merger with the FCC closed on Monday. Roughly a zillion members of the public — individuals, nonprofits, state and federal politicians, telecom companies, tech trade groups, and consumer advocates — have weighed in, including several big names in pay TV who are staunchly against the deal. [More]

Initial Questions Offer Hope That FCC Isn’t Going Easy On Comcast/TWC Merger

Initial Questions Offer Hope That FCC Isn’t Going Easy On Comcast/TWC Merger

While the FCC’s public comment period for the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger remain open through Monday, the commission has already sent off its first round of questions to the companies involved. And judging by both the quantity and quality of the things being asked, it looks like the FCC isn’t ready to rubber-stamp the deal. [More]

52 Ill-Informed Mayors Agree: The Comcast/TWC Merger Is Greatest Thing Ever

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter may not be in a position to objectively evaluate Comcast.

The gleaming USB drive that is Comcast HQ towers above the rest of the skyline here in Philadelphia, and the company is set to build another gleaming spire as a monument to its greatness right across the street. Just a few blocks away from the nation’s largest cable and Internet provider sits Mayor Michael “Why do people always laugh at my last name?” Nutter, who recently rounded up a bunch of other mayors to tell the FCC how awesome Comcast’s merger with Time Warner Cable would be. Of course, missing from that list of mayors were the leaders of New York City and Los Angeles, the two cities that would be most affected by the deal. [More]

4 Reasons Consumers Union Has Asked The FCC To Block The Comcast/TWC Merger

4 Reasons Consumers Union Has Asked The FCC To Block The Comcast/TWC Merger

The full regulatory approval process for the Comcast/TWC merger has months left to go, but we’re getting down to the wire on one part of it: the deadline for public comments is Monday. Our colleagues down the hall at Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, have now officially asked the FCC to block this thing, and with good reason. [More]

Comcast Hoping Free Campus Cable Will Stop Cord-Cutters Before They Start

(bluwmongoose)

With their ever-changing schedules, yearly changes of living situation, it’s easy for a college student to realize there’s little value in a pricey pay-TV package they may rarely ever get to use. Throw in HD wireless devices and ready access to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu — hell, even Crackle — over public WiFi and you’ve got a petri dish for growing an entire generation of consumers who have no need to 13 Discovery Channels and 27 variations on Nickelodeon. That’s why, in the hopes of getting the hook into students before they learn they can live without MTV’s new Tuvan throat singing channel, Comcast has partnered with a handful of colleges to include a cable package in the cost of room and board for students. [More]

Now’s Your Chance: FCC Public Comment Period For Comcast/TWC Merger Ends Monday

Now’s Your Chance: FCC Public Comment Period For Comcast/TWC Merger Ends Monday

Comcast and Time Warner Cable announced their intention to merge into wedded corporate bliss back in the middle of February. Now, six months later, the process is still rolling along. Monday — August 25 — is the deadline for members of the public to leave comments with the FCC about the merger. Got thoughts? You have three days left to make them heard. [More]

Netflix Is Also Paying A Toll To Time Warner Cable To Improve Speeds To Users

The latest Netflix speed data shows that TWC downstream speeds improved after it quietly reached a paid-peering deal with Netflix in June. Meanwhile, FiOS still sucks, in spite of its peering arrangement with Netflix.

Months after Comcast and Verizon allowed Netflix data to bottleneck so badly that the streaming video company had no other option but to pay for a more direct connection to end-users, Time Warner Cable has confirmed that it too is now collecting a toll from Netflix. [More]

Former Comcast Employee Makes Best Argument Yet For Blocking Time Warner Cable Merger

(STERLINGDAVISPHOTO)

Since Comcast announced it would be buying Time Warner Cable, we’ve brought you story after story highlighting the various reasons that the merger should be stopped. But for all the thousands of words, charts, graphs and maps we’ve used, none has summed up the reason for blocking the merger than a recent quote from a former Kabletown staffer. [More]

Comcast Says Mobile Data Is Competitive, But It Costs $2k To Stream Breaking Bad Over LTE

Comcast Says Mobile Data Is Competitive, But It Costs $2k To Stream Breaking Bad Over LTE

Comcast keeps on claiming that mobile broadband is real competition for wired home broadband. But for most users, it’s just plain not. Not only is the speed and reliability of mobile broadband still hugely variable depending on location and time of day, but also mobile data is still clearly not competitive on price. And how much more expensive is it to keep your phone on 4G instead of grabbing the nearest wi-fi signal? Our math says that trying to use your mobile data the same way you use your home wi-fi will cost you about twenty times more per month than your wired broadband bill. You’d have to be Walter White to be able to afford to watch all of Breaking Bad over your wireless network. [More]

3 Myths Comcast Is Telling The FCC About TWC Merger

(Kevin Burkett)

Comcast has been justifiably criticized for blatantly trying to curry favor with the FCC by trying to spend $110,000 to sponsor a fundraiser honoring FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, but while the Kabletown Krew shrugged off those allegations, Comcast EVP David “The Merger Whisperer” Cohen was meeting with the FCC to push the company’s slate of semi-truths about its pending acquisition of Time Warner Cable. [More]

Comcast Agrees I Didn’t Run Up $343 In Overdue Charges, Still Demands I Pay It Anyway

(Steven DePolo)

Consumerist reader Kim has been spending a lot of time on the phone lately. Why, you might be asking? It’s not for the joy of listening to Comcast’s hold music and recorded messages, no, that’s not it. It’s because she says her mother was told to pay a previous tenant’s overdue bill, or not get new services set up for herself and have her account sent to collections. [More]

Comcast Decides To Not Spend $110K On Party For FCC Commissioner

Comcast Decides To Not Spend $110K On Party For FCC Commissioner

Comcast — no stranger to lining the pockets of those who can help the company get what it wants (or rewarding them afterward with high-paying jobs) — was befuddled earlier this week when it and Time Warner Cable were heavily criticized for plunking down a total of $132,000 to sponsor a dinner honoring FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn… who just happens to be in the process of reviewing the two companies’ pending merger. Realizing that maybe this might look like something just short of bribery, the cable giants have decided to pull their money — sort of. [More]

Watch A Guy Sit On Hold With Comcast Until They Close

3:22:35 and counting...

The saga of what happens when you try to cancel your Comcast account continues this evening with a recording of the tail end of a more than three-hour wait on Comcast’s retention line. As far as we can tell, sitting on hold with Comcast for upwards of three hours isn’t a unique experience, but not everyone is creative enough to call Comcast with another phone while still on hold… only to hear a recording informing them that the company has closed for the day. [More]

Comcast Spends $110k On Award Dinner For FCC Commissioner, Doesn’t See Why Anyone Thinks That’s A Problem

Comcast Spends $110k On Award Dinner For FCC Commissioner, Doesn’t See Why Anyone Thinks That’s A Problem

Comcast really wants to buy Time Warner Cable. Really really. And they have no shortage of ways, both subtle and obvious, to try to push the odds farther in their favor. Targeted philanthropy and sponsorships are definitely a part of that, and Comcast is usually happy to take the credit. So while spending six figures to sponsor an event honoring a sitting FCC commissioner who gets to make decisions about things like media mergers might seem a little out of bounds to the likes of you and me, Comcast is shocked, shocked that we would think they could possibly have an ulterior motive. [More]

(d-deee)

Unholy Alliance Of MLB, NHL, DirecTV & Comcast Lose Bid To Derail Fans’ Antitrust Suit

A goalie, a shortstop, a satellite dish repairmen, and a Comcast tech all walk into a courtroom (well, the Comcast tech comes a few hours late but tells his boss he arrived on time). This oddball mish-mash of sports leagues and pay-TV giants have been trying to convince a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit brought against them by sports fans unhappy with rules they believe allow the leagues to make a pile of cash by limiting access to out-of-market games. But last week, the judge ruled against the sporty alliance, bringing this case one step closer to trial. [More]

Comcast Tells Customer The Only Reason He’s Getting Bogus Charges Refunded Is Because He Recorded Call

Comcast Tells Customer The Only Reason He’s Getting Bogus Charges Refunded Is Because He Recorded Call

Most of us have been in this situation, and probably once or twice with Comcast. You’re told by the first person that something is free, then you get a bill for it and when you call to find out why, everyone you talk to tells you you’re up Turd Creek sans rowing equipment. If only you had recorded that first call, right? [More]