There are pretty good odds your neighborhood is subject to a monopoly on broadband. It stinks and needs to change, but we’re used to it. We think about it. It’s right there every month, when we get our bills or have a crappy customer service call and still can’t switch providers even if we want to. But there’s a whole other monopoly telecom market that’s still probably costing you a couple hundred dollars a year, and it’s basically invisible to must of us. [More]
There’s a story we hear far too often: someone is buying a house. Before they put any money down, they do their research. They call the local cable/Internet provider to make sure they can get broadband service at this new address. They double-check. They triple-check. They search the property for wires, call back, and make sure they’ll be okay. Then they take out the mortgage, move in, and… surprise! There’s no broadband service after all, there won’t be any, and now they’re up a very expensive creek. [More]
A lawsuit by a rabbi, who says that Northwest Airlines booted him from its frequent flyer program for complaining too much, can go forward. The case had initially been dismissed by a lower court that said federal deregulation law pre-empted the man’s claim, but the 9th circuit reversed that decision on Friday. [More]
Cliff and his wife recently purchased a house–hooray for them! Strangely, Cliff tells Consumerist, this house exists in a tiny pocket of space and time that their broadband provider of choice, AT&T Uverse, cannot reach. Well, that, or they live in a newly constructed area that doesn’t have the infrastructure for it…even though it should. [More]
Reader Jim writes in to let us know that he feels mislead by a pushy salesperson for Vectren Source, a gas supplier in Ohio. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this business, gas suppliers are independent companies that you can choose to purchase gas from instead of your utility. [More]
Comcast is the biggest cable provider in the United States, and now a U.S. Court of Appeals decision states that it can grow even bigger. Yay! Yay?
Do you want to know if AT&T boosts your rates? Maybe you want to pay only for services you ordered or explicitly authorized. Tough! AT&T’s new 2,500 page “guidebook” is the latest spawn of California’s failing experiment with deregulation, one that is in “direct violation” of the law, according to the Public Utilities Commission.
Today, in an attempt to anger fans of both regulation and deregulation, the FCC approved two new rules. The first one restricts cable companies to owning no more than 30% of a market; the second one “gives owners of newspapers more leeway to buy radio and television stations in the largest cities.” One nice thing about the first rule is that Comcast can’t buy any more cable companies. One bad thing about the second one is that it will likely mean that Rupert Murdoch will win “permanent waivers to control two television stations in New York, as well as The New York Post and The Wall Street Journal.”
Media conglomerates are preparing to feast on a banquet of local media outlets thanks to a resurrected proposal from FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. The Chairman wants to relax decades-old rules that bar media companies from owning both a newspaper and TV or radio station in the same local market. A similar proposal was presciently struck down three years ago by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Currently, a company can own two television stations in the larger markets only if at least one is not among the four largest stations and if there are at least eight local stations. The rules also limit the number of radio stations that a company can own to no more than eight in each of the largest markets.
The crumpet dropped from our gnashing maw when we spied these portents.
It’s early, so you might be reading this while drinking a morning glass of apple juice. We advise you to swallow that and put the glass far out of reach before you click the link.