Comcast Keeps Claiming Competition Abounds, Despite Mountains Of Evidence From Planet Reality

Comcast Keeps Claiming Competition Abounds, Despite Mountains Of Evidence From Planet Reality

In August, as part of the merger oversight process, the FCC asked Comcast and Time Warner Cable for more information about their operations and their plans. In answer, Comcast has submitted 735 pages of documentation. That’s a lot of information, but Comcast’s responses have one key theme: the Comcast/TWC merger will not harm competition, because broadband competition is plentiful… no matter what the rest of us, including the FCC, seem to think. [More]

AT&T: Municipal Broadband Should Be Banned Anywhere Private Companies Might Want To Do Business Later

AT&T: Municipal Broadband Should Be Banned Anywhere Private Companies Might Want To Do Business Later

It’s no secret that AT&T and other big ISPs are no fans of municipal broadband projects. There are laws on the books in many states that block the expansion of municipal networks, but the FCC is considering using its authority to override those laws and let communities build networks if they wish. AT&T is also no fan of this proposal. In fact, says AT&T, not only should public networks be barred anywhere there is already a private option, but also they should be barred in any place there might possibly be a plan to build a private option in the future. [More]

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Coffee Companies May Have Already Cracked DRM On Keurig 2.0

When we say that someone has cracked the DRM on something, usually it means a pirated song, game, book, or movie is about to make its way through the less-than-legal back channels of the internet. But this time, one company is announcing that they’ve cracked the DRM on another company’s coffee tech. [More]

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]

Lawmakers Wade Into Fight Over FCC Chair’s Potential Plan To Overturn Bans On Municipal Broadband

Lawmakers Wade Into Fight Over FCC Chair’s Potential Plan To Overturn Bans On Municipal Broadband

Not very much happens in Washington, D.C. in August. But even as the city slows down, FCC chair Tom Wheeler continues to make strong noises about using the FCC’s authority to preempt state laws that prohibit the expansion or creation of municipal broadband utilities. And now, some members of Congress are joining him. [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]

Barnes & Noble, Google Partner To Take On Amazon With Same-Day Book Shipping

Barnes & Noble, Google Partner To Take On Amazon With Same-Day Book Shipping

The spirit of competition has a tendency to create odd bedfellows. Or so seems to be the case for Barnes & Noble and Google, whose partnership to offer same-day shipping could prove to be a formidable rival to Amazon. [More]

Time Warner Cable Keeps Charging Customers More For Internet Because They Can

Time Warner Cable Keeps Charging Customers More For Internet Because They Can

Time Warner Cable customers have been seeing their bills climbing at a pretty steady clip over the past few years. For all that TWC might complain about needing more negotiating power with content companies, though, the cable half of the equation isn’t the problem. Instead, all that nickel-and-diming comes right from the cord most consumers won’t be able to cut: broadband access. [More]

From the FCC report on pay-TV pricing.

FCC: Basic Cable Prices Increased At Four Times Rate Of Inflation

If you just had a hunch that your basic cable pricing was going up more rapidly than the other things you pay for, you’re probably not mistaken. A new FCC report on the cost of pay-TV services says that during 2012 the cost of a basic cable TV package increased at more than four times the rate of inflation in the U.S. [More]

Why Starting A Competitor To Comcast Is Basically Impossible

Why Starting A Competitor To Comcast Is Basically Impossible


The mega-rich can dabble in pretty much any business they want to. Warren Buffet owns everything from furniture stores to ice cream chains. Richard Branson started a commercial spaceflight company, for crying out loud. And yet with demand for high-speed, affordable internet access going only up, up, and up, no new business or venture capitalist seems to be stepping into the fray to provide it. People passionately hate their current cable companies — so what’s stopping an enterprising entrepreneur from making a giant wad of cash entering the telecom game? [More]

The Comcast Merger Isn’t About Lines On A Map; It’s About Controlling The Delivery Of Information

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Comcast and proposed merger partner Time Warner Cable claim they don’t compete because their service areas don’t overlap, and that a combined company would happily divest itself of a few million customers to keeps its pay-TV market share below 30%, allowing other companies that don’t currently compete with Comcast to keep not competing with Comcast. This narrow, shortsighted view fails to take into account the full breadth of what’s involved in this merger — broadcast TV, cable TV, network technology, in-home technology, access to the Internet, and much more. In addition to asking whether or not regulators should permit Comcast to add 10-12 million customers, there is a more important question at the core of this deal: Should Comcast be allowed to control both what content you consume and how you get to consume it? [More]

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The Average Burger King Outlet Earns Half As Much As A McDonald’s. Why?

Competitors McDonald’s and Burger King sell similar food to similar customers, and both use a franchise business model. Yet, on average, a McDonald’s restaurant takes in about twice as much as the average Burger King restaurant. Why is that? Well, for starters, that creepy king mascot of theirs was driving women and children away. [More]

Here’s What Lack Of Broadband Competition Looks Like In Map Form

Here’s What Lack Of Broadband Competition Looks Like In Map Form

When announcing Comcast’s intention to buy Time Warner Cable, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts called cable a “highly competitive and dynamic marketplace.” Dynamic it might be, but competitive it isn’t. Most of us live a local monopoly, cable-wise: it might be a Comcast city or a Time Warner town, but we don’t have that much choice with our providers. And those companies also, hugely, provide our broadband access. So what does 75% reach or a 15% market share really look like, to a city and the people in it? [More]

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Utah Lawmaker Apparently Tired Of Residents Having Fast, Competitive Internet Access, Proposes Law To Stop Expansion

Municipal fiber networks might just be the wave of the future when it comes to speedy internet access. The cable companies already providing internet access, though, aren’t always so keen on the competition–and those companies have deep pockets and access to lawmakers’ ears. And so now Utah becomes the latest state to try legislative measures to bar its cities, towns, and counties from diving into the ISP market. [More]

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Kansas Legislature Wants To Stop Any Other Kansas Cities From Getting Google Fiber

The Kansas state legislature is currently considering a bill that would prohibit municipalities in that state from building out their own municipal broadband networks. Completely coincidentally of course we’re sure, Kansas City is home to the country’s first Google Fiber municipal network. [More]

Evil Ice Cream Truck Stalks Competition, Offers Customers Free Treats, Gets Arrested

Evil Ice Cream Truck Stalks Competition, Offers Customers Free Treats, Gets Arrested

If you come at the ice cream truck king of Gloversville, N.Y., you best not miss. When another mobile ice cream vendor dared wander onto his territory, the owner of a local frozen treat franchise wouldn’t stand for it. Police say that he tailed a rival’s truck, offering free ice cream to anyone who tried to make a purchase from the other vehicle. The ice cream man was determined to be the only turkey in this straw. [More]

Verizon Wants To Take On Netflix In Entertainment Streaming

Verizon Wants To Take On Netflix In Entertainment Streaming

Dipping its toes into the waters inhabited by Netflix and Amazon, Verizon is planning to launch its own streaming video system. The company’s aggressive plans call for its service to potentially reach 85 million households. [More]

Facebook Backs Down In Its Challenge To Groupon

Facebook Backs Down In Its Challenge To Groupon

Facebook Deals, the four-month-old effort to compete with Groupon and LivingSocial, is on the way out. The social networking site plans to sever its daily deals arm in the coming weeks. [More]