Let’s (Not!) Play Comcast Monopoly

ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION TV CONSUMERS? If you are, then you have GOT TO SEE the anti-competitive, monopolistic, anti-internet moves that Comcast is making. If you’re not, OPEN YOUR EYES AND START SCREAMING at your Congresspeople and Comcast themselves.

I didn’t fly off the handle and get really steamed today just because…it was this tweet from the guy that invented the World Wide Web, Tim Berners Lee, and it was a link to this page at Marketwatch. Seems that Level 3 Communications, one of the biggest backbone providers on earth, today released a statement about a MAJOR move by Comcast to put a big ‘ole “Collect $200” every time an internet TV company passes “Go!”:

On November 19, 2010, Comcast informed Level 3 that, for the first time, it will demand a recurring fee from Level 3 to transmit Internet online movies and other content to Comcast’s customers who request such content. By taking this action, Comcast is effectively putting up a toll booth at the borders of its broadband Internet access network, enabling it to unilaterally decide how much to charge for content which competes with its own cable TV and Xfinity delivered content. This action by Comcast threatens the open Internet and is a clear abuse of the dominant control that Comcast exerts in broadband access markets as the nation’s largest cable provider.

Are you serious Comcast? I truly hope that all the big kids with really deep pockets line up against you with their Howitzers. Maybe you’re itchin’ for a fight and methinks you’re gonna get one. Since you’ve got such little value-add or customer loyalty (I’d switch in a nanosecond if Qwest would get their sh*t together and drop fiber to my house which is only 1,000 feet away now) that I’d bet most people could care less if you tanked.

I’ve been writing about Comcast’s monopoly moves for a loooong time here and another site I run called Minnov8. See thisthis, this, this, this and this for more if you’re interested (and yes, there are even more posts).

Somehow this company thinks that THEY OWN the internet connection in to your (and my) house. That they get to control what comes over that pipe and that they should be able to charge Hulu, Apple, Google, Boxee, Revision3 or anyone who wants to deliver video content that somehow competes with what they offer.

I don’t care how much Comcast whines about the volume of streaming video bits that people are supposedly downloading. EVERYTHING COMCAST IS DOING IS ALL ABOUT PROTECTING THEIR MORE THAN $2B IN REVENUES FROM CABLE TV and not what they claim all the time: “Oh…it’s all about network management.” Again I call “bullshit” since Comcast is building out HUGE STORAGE CENTERS in Colorado, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Philadelphia so they clearly don’t want any of these other providers to get a foothold before they bring these centers fully online.

If anyone (especially someone representing Comcast in any way) tells you that this isn’t all about Comcast-protecting-Comcast they’re full of sh*t. Also, please oh please don’t comment with one of those, “But it’s good for the consumer” lines of crap. It’s not. It’s all about competition and let’s see if our paid-for new Congresspeople let the free market rein or if they protect their pals at Comcast.

You know what Comcast? I’ll bring over whatever bits I want to and I’ll pay you for your dumb pipe. That said, I really don’t want your crappy cable TV, your weak xFinity service or your on-demand that takes minutes to come up while your worthless and noisy previews run in the background. Your Scientific Atlanta DVR boxes are a joke and are worse than TiVO was 10 YEARS AGO; your on-demand pales in comparison to Netflix, AppleTV, GoogleTV, Boxee, PlexApp, Hulu…shall I go on?; and I’m sick of paying for TV that I don’t watch but have no choice in taking so you can promise households to ESPN and others.

Wow…I had no idea I was so pissed off at Comcast but there it is. What are YOU going to do or say or are you just going to lie there eating chips figuring someone else will figure it out?

6 Comments

  1. Eric M. Larson on November 29, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    When the Qwest rep knocked on our door a month ago and offered 12Mb/s for a few bucks less than what we were paying Comcast, we couldn’t sign up fast enough.

    And I explained to her that, here in our neighborhood, offering that kind of deal would have about the same response rate as going door-to-door with a one question survey of “Do you think puppies are cute?”

    She admitted that business had been pretty good.

    The thing that got my attention (and, granted, I don’t know for sure if it’s really true) is that Qwest had no bandwidth cap. I think it was one of your posts somewhere, Steve, that pointed out that even moderate geeking out on Netflix or such can push you over Comcast’s 250GB limit?

    (And now that you’ve got ME going on this… I find it interesting that Comcast’s official “Oh, it’s not that bad” post at http://www.comcast.net/terms/network/amendment/ mentions only “standard-definition movies (at 2 GB/movie)” — because nobody would think to desire a “high-definition movie” in 2010, right? It couldn’t possibly be because quoting HD numbers would make that limit seem a whole lot more limiting, right?)



  2. Steve Borsch on November 29, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    You’re right Eric…Qwest has no bandwidth cap.

    Wanna know something interesting? I’m not quite six full days into my current Comcast billing cycle and we’re at 49% of our bandwidth cap!! In not quite six days!

    My college age daughter moved home and Netflix movie watching was modest but all of us watched movies and shows streamed through Netflix, Revision3 and other offerings during the Thanksgiving holiday. I often office here at home so transfer lots of big files for clients and our own stuff to printers. All four of us have iPhones, I have an iPad, and we each have a computer (I know, I know….how much tech does one family really need?). But the point is that we’re not all that atypical: it’s the video and music streaming that’s chewing up all the bandwidth.

    I have the Comcast Business class service (50 down/10 up) at the office so I could always upgrade our home service, but if Comcast makes me do that I’ll definitely cut off my cable TV service even if I have to get my news when the traveling salesman comes by with his horse and wagon.

    So I’ll bet we’ll hear a lot about people getting warning notices yet this year. I only hope people get mad as hell and take it out on Comcast and their elected representatives.



  3. John Zimmerman on December 24, 2010 at 2:21 am

    I too have had problems with comcast, my apartment building only allows comcast to residents. Didn’t they pass a law recently stating that is no longer legal? They charge me $78 a month for BASIC cable- so if I want ESPN or FX I have to pay. Thinking about dropping TV just out of principle? What can I do? Thanks



  4. Steve Borsch on December 24, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Hi John — Nope…no law was passed on anything like that. Seems the only way to save is to ‘bundle’ internet/phone/cable. Keep an eye out for “cutting the cord” articles by doing a Google search for that phrase and see if others have ideas.



  5. Bryon on March 1, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    There are a lot of concerned people now that the merger has been approved. More and more providers are preventing programming from being streamed over the internet to continue to keep advertising revenue flowing. NBC/Universal’s TV stations may be “restricted” to other companies, or outrageous price tags may be attached for re-broadcasting. DISH Network understands the consumer’s concerns because no one should have to pay more for TV and that’s why we continue to fight for lower prices and have consistently win for our customers. I say our because I work for DISH but I am also a customer and enjoy the competition in my city between Comcast and Qwest for internet. Not everyone is as fortunate and that is why we must continue to write our congressmen and women and insist on fair competitive practices.



  6. Jasøn Cøns†antíne on April 17, 2013 at 5:36 am

    Thanks for blogging about crapcast its refreshing to see someone shedding scrutiny upon cc’s antics and wrongful business practices. I wish there were at least 5 competitors to choose from and bring them down in terms of isps.



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