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183 comments

frist psto (-1, Offtopic)

troll001 (1842316) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729254)

drink frosty piss

Re:frist psto (-1, Offtopic)

troll001 (1842316) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729508)


why offtopic?
this is (-1) troll
T.R.O.L.L I I repeat

The Troll

Detroit is broke (2, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729286)

This is probably more about shaking down deep pockets than anything else. Yeah, I RTFA.

Re:Detroit is broke (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729354)

Except for the fact that nothing in the article states they are seeking money?

Re:Detroit is broke (1)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729416)

Not directly but they are wanting Comcast to provide a lot of free services. Looks like they signed a new contract and now have buyers remorse and want the terms of the old one. FTA: The city said that since imposing a new franchise agreement in April 2007, Comcast has violated the 1985 franchise by ceasing to provide free drops and service to municipal school buildings, failing to provide a data network for communication between city buildings, ceased making payments to support local public and educational programming, and closed local public and educational video studios and ceased providing mobile units, equipment, staff and maintenance.

Re:Detroit is broke (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729462)

Yet another person who didn't bother to read the fucking article. Detroit/Comcast did NOT sign a new contract. The old 1985 agreement is still in full force (according to Detroit) whereas Comcast claims a Michigan law nullified the contract. Detroit's argument is that Michigan has no power to nullify contracts (per the MI Constitution). I think Detroit is correct.

Re:Detroit is broke (3, Insightful)

Balthisar (649688) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729956)

It's not really Detroit vs. Comcast, but Detroit versus the state. Detroit argues that it has local franchise authority. Comcast argues that the state law supersedes that authority. Detroit argues back that federal law and/or the Constitution overrides the state law. So really, it's the city of Detroit versus the state of Michigan, here. I wonder why Detroit just doesn't sue the state in the first place?

Re:Detroit is broke (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32730516)

No it is Detroit against Comcast. Comcast is choosing to ignore the original contract and their argument is that the new state law allows them to do it. Sounds like Detroit is playing the public relations card. The city wants to show that Comcast is cutting on free services that every subscriber pays for. There is a fee collected from every subscriber to pay for these free services. Did Comcast stop collecting that fee ?

There is a conflict between laws here and a court will sort it out.

Re:Detroit is broke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32732022)

Who's this Comcast? I thought this great new company called Xfinity was offering cable services in Michigan.

Re: Detroit's history of corruption - shakedown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32731696)

If you look back at Detroit's cable history (BARDEN CABLE) you will see why this is happening. They cannot shakedown Comcast the way they normally get to with most city businesses - the pay to play system is deeply engrained in motown. Statewide rules mean no special slush-funds to the good old boy plan. (even though some are starting to get caught and jailed)

Re:Detroit is broke (1)

snarfies (115214) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731826)

Because the state of Michigan has NO MONEY - Comcast has tons.

Re:Detroit is broke (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731908)

Yeah but who knew there were still people living in Detroit?

Re:Detroit is broke (1)

bundio (925940) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729438)

No the articles implies it. They are mad because Comcast no longer offers the certain services to governmental agencies for free. So yes it is about money.

Re:Detroit is broke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32730632)

The services are not free. Comcast collects a franchise fee from every customer to provide these services.

Re:Detroit is broke (2, Interesting)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729408)

Probably, but it looks like they have a case. It will hinge on whether Comcast is considered a "public utility".

Michigan Constitution, Article 7, Paragraph 29:

No person, partnership, association or corporation, public or private, operating a public utility shall have the right to the use of the highways, streets, alleys or other public places of any county, township, city or village for wires, poles, pipes, tracks, conduits or other utility facilities, without the consent of the duly constituted authority of the county, township, city or village; or to transact local business therein without first obtaining a franchise from the township, city or village. Except as otherwise provided in this constitution the right of all counties, townships, cities and villages to the reasonable control of their highways, streets, alleys and public places is hereby reserved to such local units of government.

Re:Detroit is broke (3, Insightful)

michael_cain (66650) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730830)

It will be more complicated than that. FCC rules have the force of federal law, so trump the Michigan state constitution. In recent years, the FCC has stripped local franchising authorities of considerable authority. At least some of the provisions in this paragraph are clearly no longer enforceable; eg, under certain conditions the federal rules allow a company to use public right of way to provide video services even though they failed to reach a franchise agreement with the local authority. Since this paragraph can't apply to companies providing video services, it is at least arguable that state-wide video service franchising is okay. In addition, Comcast provides communications services (voice and Internet) over the same fiber-coax infrastructure, and franchising authority for those kinds of services have been outside of local control for a long time.

As for the free service for schools and municipal buildings: the latest FCC rules nullify that if those "in kind" services are being used to circumvent the federal cap on franchise fees.

Re:Detroit is broke (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731806)

>>>It will be more complicated than that. FCC rules have the force of federal law, so trump the Michigan state constitution.

Yeah but the National Constitution trumps federal law and nullifies it. See the recent case where the Supreme Court said the Constitution gives the FCC no power to regulate Comcast's Net Neutrality. The National Constitution grants no power to the national government to regulate cable lines *inside* a state, or inside a city (Detroit), so the Feds have no power in this matter.

All the power to regulate inside a state (per the 10th amendment) is reserved to the Michigan State Constitution. And the MI constitution reserves the power of establishing utility contracts to the cities.

This matter is purely between Detroit City and Comcast Cable, and whether or not the contract was breached. It appears it was.

Re:Detroit is broke (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729426)

Clearly you didn't read enough of the fucking article, because the real issue is that Detroit's contract requires Comcast to provide free cable to their schools, public buildings, and other benefits, in exchange for being granted a monopoly within the city. On the flip side Comcast claims it no longer has to provide those freebies thanks to a 2007 Michigan law. Detroit's argument is that the MI Law violates the MI Constitution, and as far as I can tell, Detroit is correct.

Comcast could solve this issue, without cost, simply by honoring the Detroit Contract they signed rather than ignoring it.

As for "shaking down" I pretty much hate comcast right now. My brother's analog comcast was $65 when discontinued, and raised to $85 digital cable. Difference? Analog cable was a flat fee regardless how many TVs you had, where digital charges $5 per set. Per month. I call that GREED on the part of comcast.

Re:Detroit is broke (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729534)

Comcast then (2 months ago): "We don't want to be the worst company in america again..."

Comcast now: "Well we signed a contract but the law says we don't have to actually make good on our promises! ^_^ So you're screwed!"

Assholes.

Re:Detroit is broke (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729582)

i used to live there. i tel you even after i moved cable rates still suck.im a dish network fan now. let those fools keep playing 85$ for there cable ill keep paying 40$ for my dish. and my contract has a lifetime price lock meaning my rates can never go up. you gotta rember wile comcast will bend over to any fees networks make up the guys at dish are always fighting with networks to keep the price down. normally Viacom cousin shit.

Re:Detroit is broke (1)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729758)

Agreed, a contract is a contract. If one side violates it, the other is no longer held to the agreement and can sue for breach of contract. Detroit has that ability, unless it's determined that Detroit violated their contract because of the Michigan law.

Re:Detroit is broke (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729816)

well if a court declares comcast a public utility that could go a long way in making some necessary changes.

Re:Detroit is broke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32729876)

> Comcast could solve this issue, without cost,
> simply by honoring the Detroit Contract they
> signed rather than ignoring it.

Really? I am pretty sure those services cost
*something* to provide and support. One can
argue as to how much (we are talking about more
than just a cable drop here, we are also talking
about studios and trucks and staff to run them).

In the end, this case is really between the
city and the state, and whose contracts apply.
Comcast is just the convenient company onto
which you can hang a lawsuit. Could not happen
to a nicer company....

Re:Detroit is broke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32729986)

the box is illegal comcast knows it. and they are whoring it as long as they can before the box gets shut down again. how is the box illegal? oh yeah they determined it in the 80's

Re:Detroit is broke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32731444)

You are only partially correct. It was determined illegal to require "the box". Comcast does not currently require "the box". You can use a tv without it by using cablecards. They are required to provide you one if you ask, however, they don't need to do so for free. I believe the cablecards are $5 in my area.

per box / outlet fee is about $8 now $16 HD dvr (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730028)

per box / outlet fee is about $8 now and $16 HD dvr per box. MRV $20 /m for the main box.

I think soon all cable card users will also have to pay comcasts new HD fee as well but only 1 time per home and cable uses may also pay the outlet fee makeing card rent + outlet cost about the same as renting a box but less then renting a HD DVR.

Re:Detroit is broke (2, Insightful)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730070)

Detroit kinda had it coming promoting a monopoly like that. Did they really think that they could tame the beast? Comcast operates off profits... not goodwill. Even if Comcast honored the original contract, the issue still remains that there is a monopoly. Its only a matter of time before something like this happens again or worse.

Re:Detroit is broke (2, Interesting)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730788)

I hear a lot of people saying Comcast is "ingoring the contract they signed". I'd like to hear a few more facts before jumping on that bandwagon.

The contract was pretty old. A contract with a term that long usually has termination clauses. Have you read the contract to know if it has such clauses? Do you know if Comcast exercised them properly?

Granted, if they did, and if the law on which they were relying when they decided to abandon that contract gets overturned, then they'll likely find themselves needing to negotiate a new contract with the city.

I'm no fan of most cable companies. I've not dealt with Comcast but am not impressed with their reputation. However, I don't think you can reasonably hold that they're responsible for knowing that the state law isn't valid (if indeed it isn't). I've argued the other side of that issue when there were obvious individual rights violations going on (e.g. AT&T allegedly cooperating with illegal wiretaps), but that isn't the case here.

If they assumed it was a valid law and granted them authority to operate in Detroit, then the original contract becomes superfluous to them and as a for-profit business their only option would be to try to jettison it. The only thing left to blame them for would be if their original contract really didn't have a termination clause (or they didn't follow the rules of that clause). Even then it's a murky area; if Comcast was no longer getting meaningful consideration from the contract (because what they get is something they already have - authority to operate as a momopoly in Detroit) then arguably it was no longer a valid contract.

IMO the correct course of action for Detroit would have been to challenge the law directly, then sort things out (preferably non-adversarially) with Comcast once the status of the law was determined.

Re:Detroit is broke (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731174)

It's just like every other franchise contract.

  the contract is in effect until there is competition, until then the Monopoly shall follow the terms of the contract.

Comcast did this to protect themselves by making the cost of entry for competition to detroit (and other communities) very expensive. In some places like my home town it's actually "illegal" for me to start my own cable company as it is in the franchise contract.

Learn about Franchise contracts, and fight against them.

Re:Detroit is broke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32731260)

The contract was only 4 years old, that's really not the long. Secondly, contracts like this typically have a severability clause that comes into play in situations like this. A change of this magnitude would justify a complete redo of the contract. That's assuming that Comcast has a legitimate right to claim that they don't have to hold up their end of things. Which is doubtful as they've apparently interpreted things such that they don't have to pay for the privilege that they bought.

Re:Detroit is broke (2, Insightful)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731616)

No, the state law that Detroit is trying to overturn is about 4 years old. The contract Comcast is said to be ignoring, on the other hand... From TFA: "The city is seeking to overturn Comcast's current franchise agreement with the city and reinstate its 1985 franchise." And: "...since imposing a new franchise agreement in April 2007, Comcast has violated the 1985 franchise..."

That makes the contract in question 25 years old. Thanks for playing.

Re:Detroit is broke (1)

u-235-sentinel (594077) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731558)

I hear a lot of people saying Comcast is "ingoring the contract they signed". I'd like to hear a few more facts before jumping on that bandwagon.

The contract was pretty old. A contract with a term that long usually has termination clauses. Have you read the contract to know if it has such clauses? Do you know if Comcast exercised them properly?

Granted, if they did, and if the law on which they were relying when they decided to abandon that contract gets overturned, then they'll likely find themselves needing to negotiate a new contract with the city.

I'm no fan of most cable companies. I've not dealt with Comcast but am not impressed with their reputation. However, I don't think you can reasonably hold that they're responsible for knowing that the state law isn't valid (if indeed it isn't). I've argued the other side of that issue when there were obvious individual rights violations going on (e.g. AT&T allegedly cooperating with illegal wiretaps), but that isn't the case here.

If they assumed it was a valid law and granted them authority to operate in Detroit, then the original contract becomes superfluous to them and as a for-profit business their only option would be to try to jettison it. The only thing left to blame them for would be if their original contract really didn't have a termination clause (or they didn't follow the rules of that clause). Even then it's a murky area; if Comcast was no longer getting meaningful consideration from the contract (because what they get is something they already have - authority to operate as a momopoly in Detroit) then arguably it was no longer a valid contract.

IMO the correct course of action for Detroit would have been to challenge the law directly, then sort things out (preferably non-adversarially) with Comcast once the status of the law was determined.

Whether the contract was old or not, it was the contract signed by Concast and is in force unless there was a sunset added to the contract. The company love to pull these kind of stunts. Which is why after 3 years we still haven't gone back to them (despite the weekly advertisements we're still getting to our mail box).

In my contract the company stated we had unlimited use for a flat monthly fee. Then people started saying it was unlimited access not use. Uhhhh... That's NOT what the written contract says. But then again they have the cables and cut it for 12 months and now they want us back? After treating us like this they have some serious stones there.

I don't blame Detroit for wanting what was agreed upon in the contract. If Concast doesn't like it then they can break the contract and let Detriot take care of itself. I'm sure they have no problem with that.

Re:Detroit is broke (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731886)

>>>Uhhhh... That's NOT what the written contract says.

Yeah but it probably includes a clause that says XYZ Company can change the terms any time they feel like it. Your only recourse is to either accept the new terms, or terminate the service.

Re:Detroit is broke (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731484)

Comcast charges a fee per cable box, DVR or cable card. If you have a digital cable ready TV, it works just fine and there is no per month charge.

I have a TV in my guest room and in my garage that both have QAM tuners and get all the digital channels (including HD) just fine without any per-set fee.

Did you expect them to give you hardware for free?

Re:Detroit is broke (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731490)

Comcast can charge $999 a month or whatever the market will bare. Doesn't mean you should like it. No, just don't subscribe. I don't except for their Internet service.

The real heart of this issue is PR. If Comcast continues down this path, the competition will have their lunch once G4 wireless Internet/IPTV services roll out. Don't make a bad name for yourself. And if you do, just change your name to something like Xfinity... And remember. If you can't polish a turd, roll it in glitter.

Re:Detroit is broke (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731926)

>>>Comcast can charge $999 a month or whatever the market will bare

What market? Comcast was given a government-granted monopoly inside Detroit. No other company can provide cable TV. No choice == no free market

Re:Detroit is broke (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729596)

Oh, but they'll argue that it's for the consumer! Of course, you're right. It's not "We want more choice and freedom, for the benefit of the people," more like "Hey, we want our cut!"

Re:Detroit is broke (2, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729618)

Yeah, the deep pockets of the American taxpayer. You have any idea what a state-sanctioned monopoly is worth to a company like that?

Re:Detroit is broke (2, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730008)

It would appear to be a very clear interpretation of their constitution. Even if Comcast had not backed out of their original contract to provide free services to public institutions, it would not matter. The MI state constitution clearly says that franchises are the responsibility of the local governments, then the state stomped on that by signing a state wide deal with Comcast. It is a clear matter of constitutional law, and very much a valid case.

They have a point (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729384)

The statewide franchises were a huge bone thrown to the megacorps AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon. I know in my previous residence we would have never received cable internet if the local franchise agreement hadn't required it by a certain date with significant penalties for non-compliance.

Re:They have a point (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729580)

THESE statewide-granted monopolies and the recent (yesterday) decision to eliminate channels 31 to 51 on broadcast television is telling me that the Nobility are no longer serving the People. They are serving the corporations. ----- For digital television 2-6 are worthless (as people trying to watch WPVI6 can attest). And channels 14-20(?) are reserved for land mobile. So what's really left is 7-13 and 21-31 - simply not enough room for all the networks, especially in high population areas like the I95 corridor and east coast.

And again to reiterate: We're talking about going from FREE television to ~$1000/year wireless internet television. In other words damaging the people. The FCC and White House are no longer serving us - they are serving the bottom line of ATT, Google, Microsoft, and other corporations.

And now I read this nonsense about Michigan and other states giving exclusive monopolies to Comcast and other megacorps. Unbelievable.

Re:They have a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32729664)

And now I read this nonsense about Michigan and other states giving exclusive monopolies to Comcast and other megacorps. Unbelievable.

Remember, this is something that happened 25 years ago! It's good that you're getting pissed off about it, but it's long overdue. Those of us who were saying things about this for years were labeled "paranoid" and "anti-corporation". Now that there's a populist wave of anti-establishment sentiment going around, it's the cool thing to do.

Re:They have a point (2, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729676)

When did the nobility EVER serve the people? The Golden Rule ("He who has the gold makes the rules") is one of the oldest axioms of politics.

Re:They have a point (1, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729882)

>>>When did the nobility EVER serve the people?

Yes well, this is why the idea of Constitutional government was invented in the 1600s - to shackle the nobility and only allow them to exercise a FEW limited powers. All other powers would be reserved to the People (where all legitimate authority lies):

The People (top)
|
Member State Constitution (a few limited powers)
|
Member State Government (shackled by the constitution)
|
US Constitution (a few limited powers)
|
US Government (bottom)

Re:They have a point (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730048)

Yeah, except it NEVER worked that way in practice. The founding fathers of the U.S. put in safeguards to protect their own interests (*representative* democracy instead of direct, the electoral college, etc.) and ensure that the rabble could only send their betters to represent them. And their "betters" have been taking bribes and abusing their power ever since.

Re:They have a point (2, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730562)

Democracy is a Tyranny of the majority (2 wolves and 1 sheep deciding what to have for dinner - goodbye sheep). Of course the Founders didn't want that. They remembered what happened to Socrates when the Athenian Democracy voted to kill him, simply because they didn't like his public speeches.

Instead they wanted to create Rule by Law, which would protect the individual from being crushed by the majority. The Law (constitution) obliges the Nobility to behave itself by limiting their power to just a few express items. It's a Republic not a democracy.

Re:They have a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32731318)

The founding fathers of the U.S. put in safeguards to protect their own interests (*representative* democracy instead of direct, the electoral college, etc.) and ensure that the rabble could only send their betters to represent them. And their "betters" have been taking bribes and abusing their power ever since.

Representative democracy was the better way to do things compared to direct democracy _at that time_.
It was very hard for most people to travel any real distance so using representatives meant that people only needed to travel to vote on occasion as their elected representatives would be acting in their interests.
Now it's easier to travel so that part isn't so important.
Now the concern would be that people would need to be more informed and more actively involved. It would take a lot of time for people to keep up to date, especially with the legalese used in the wording of bills and laws. Still much more of an option now than it was at the time of the governments founding.

Re:They have a point (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731744)

The electoral college was not designed to be self serving in the way you imply. IT was designed to help keep 'the whims of the crowd' in check. Its a moderation device to defend against the tyranny of the masses. When I was younger I railed at the electoral college too, until I matured and realized that the masses cannot always be trusted. Never forget, first and foremost we live in a REPUBLIC. The will of the people will always be tempered with the inalienable rights of the republic. Unchecked democracy is as extreme a system of governance as anarchy.

Re:They have a point (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731312)

No it did not. you never learned US history did you.

The Us revolution was to make a bunch of rich guys here no longer pay taxes back to GB. Nothing more.

It was not about freedom, it was not about anything but greed and power.

You didn't read it either. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32731788)

You didn't read it either. It was about some corporations not having to pay taxes. I.e. a huge tax break for the British owned companies. Just like huge tax breaks on the rich today, except that is being demanded by the people who are proposing themselves to be the tea party...

Re:They have a point (3, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32732140)

>>>It was not about freedom, it was not about anything but greed and power.

I see the Government Monopoly school system has brainwashed you very effectively, in order to make you reject freedom and more trusting of government control of your life. There are all kinds of things wrong with your statement, but I'll just pick one:

The US Founders were not rich.

Ben Franklin was but all the rest were poor and deep, deep into debt (kinda like us today). They were commoners who rose to the level of politicians, but they still remained poor in their personal lives. Hell when Thomas Jefferson died (July 4, 1826) his estate was immediately partitioned by the British bankers, because he owed them the equivalent of $200,000. His slaves were sold-off, his possessions confiscated, and there was nothing left for his children to inherit.

That story was true for virtually all of the Founders. They didn't do it for wealth - they didn't have any. They did it because they were tired of UK police entering their homes for warrantless searches (to enforce the Stamp Act), tired of soldiers stripping their farms for food, tired of government-granted Monopolies that took-away freedom of choice, and tired of regulations that stole what little income they earned as fishermen, traders, doctors, and so on.

Re:They have a point (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729690)

Actually, they aren't exclusive franchises they are statewide franchises which takes all control out of the hands of the local municipality. Basically the megacorps were finding too expensive/inconvenient to lobby and bribe^h^h contribute to campaign funds for local officials in each municipality so they just applied their money at the state level and made the problem easier to manage. Of course that works against the public interest in a number of ways not least of which is removing clauses like the ones that Detroit is complaining about that were in their 1985 franchise agreement or the cable modem requirement I mentioned previously.

Re:They have a point (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729814)

>>>they aren't exclusive franchises they are statewide franchises

If the franchise agreement Comcast signs with the member state (Michigan, France, or whoever) gives them sole control over cable TV across that whole area, how is that not "exclusive"?

Re:They have a point (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730086)

I think he means they're not municipal-level franchises.

Re:They have a point (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730124)

It doesn't give them an exclusive franchise, at least the one in Ohio doesn't. Verizon and AT&T both got statewide franchises and are able to offer video services in any area they have a footprint regardless of any existing franchise agreement for exclusive video rights.

Re:They have a point (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730586)

And what if AppleTV comes along and wants to offer Fiber-based video & internet to Ohio residents? Are the blocked from entering?

Re:They have a point (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729808)

For digital television 2-6 are worthless (as people trying to watch WPVI6 can attest). And channels 14-20(?) are reserved for land mobile. So what's really left is 7-13 and 21-31 - simply not enough room for all the networks,

Geez. How many broadcast networks do you guys get? Even throwing out the 2-6 you mentioned (though my channels in that range work fine), 7-13 and 21-31 is still 18 channels. I'm on the east coast we get ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CW, and WB - I didn't even think there were really any more networks besides those that did OTA broadcasts :S. Learn something new everyday I guess.

Re:They have a point (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730172)

TV channels are easier to tune well with at least one "open" channel between transmitted channels.

As for the channels in question, I think you'll find maybe the digital channels may say they're in the 3-6 range, in reality, they aren't necessarily using the analog equivalent of that channel. My local channel "3" is actually assigned to digital channel 8, they keep the callsign and the number.

Re:They have a point (1)

tweak13 (1171627) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731146)

A quick FCC search shows that the station he refers to is in fact transmitting on channel 6. Having a local station that is also in the VHF-Lo band, I can attest to how utterly worthless it is for digital.

Re:They have a point (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730178)

>>>7-13 and 21-31 is still 18 channels

You forget that broadcast TV extends across a 200 mile radius. In that context 18 channels is not a lot. For example Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Baltimore, and Washington DC are all part of the same region, and they must all share those channels in such a way that they don't overlap. So really it's just 4-5 channels each, and that's not enough to carry all the networks.

>>>How many broadcast networks do you guys get?

ABC
CBS
FOX
NBC
CW
PBS
PBSarts
PBSworld
PBSkids
MyNetTV
Univision
Telefutura
TBN
ION
Wellness Channel
thisTV movie channel
Retro Network
Global (foreign language shows/movies)
Link (foreign news)
MiND (mostly educational)
JCTV
Smile-of-a-Child Network
Qubo
IONlife

plus 9 independents showing syndicated shows (Rome, Star Trek, Deadliest Catch, etc) and movies

Re:They have a point (1)

tweak13 (1171627) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731030)

And channels 14-20(?) are reserved for land mobile.

Nope. There's a broadcast station near me that had analog on 17 and digital on 16. Analog is of course now gone, but the digital channel hasn't moved from it's assignment. Where my parents live there's a digital channel on 15. And yes, those are all really the channel assignments, not just keeping the old branding.

A quick search suggests that those land mobile assignments apply only to a list of 13 metropolitan areas. I don't get why the FCC hasn't given those guys the boot and let broadcasters take those frequencies. Those frequencies are just part of the Business Radio Pool, and there's plenty of other frequencies available, even in the 400MHz range. Hell, in recent history they've forced relocations for services far more important than that.

eliminating 31 to 51 (1)

s122604 (1018036) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731084)

Did the decision yesterday really say that?
I'm just asking, because all I saw was 500MHZ additional to wireless services, but they didn't say where those 500Mhz were coming from. I assumed it would be carved out of sub 5Ghz spectrum, but not the UHF TV band

Was there additional info published?

Re:They have a point (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731274)

And now I read this nonsense about Michigan and other states giving exclusive monopolies to Comcast and other megacorps. Unbelievable.

This has went on for decades. When CableTV started in the 70's it was done to make community TV setups illegal.

WE had a Community TV when I grew up. the neighborhood had a single 200 foot tower with a gob of antennas and the whole neighborhood was wired with coax. it worked great. we paid $50.00 a year for it and got over 13 channels clear as day.

TCI cable came into town and after they got set up they signed a franchise contract with the city. The city then deemed our community TV system a business and forced it to either be torn down or pay $50,000 a year to the city for a franchise fee.

Thus making it illegal by making the cost excessive.

Re:They have a point (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731440)

THESE statewide-granted monopolies and the recent (yesterday) decision to eliminate channels 31 to 51 on broadcast television is telling me that the Nobility are no longer serving the People.

The decision to eliminate 31-51 isn't a done deal. It'll take an act of Congress, and there's a whole lot of folks who screamed enough about the original digital transition to delay it for another six months even at the bitter end when even the broadcasters weren't on their side.

Only game in town and ... (3, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729410)

" ceased making payments to support local public and educational programming, and closed local public and educational video studios and ceased providing mobile units, equipment, staff and maintenance"
They still cant do the isp/telco basics. Did the feds also hand out tax breaks for the above too?
Could be time to roll and dig your own, see if a little community organizing gets dark fiber found and schools supported.

Re:Only game in town and ... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729514)

Or even better:

Have the city of Detroit run 100-fiber bundles under all the streets, and then offer to lease 1 fiber per television or internet company. Just imagine: Customers would be able to choose from Comcast or Cox or AppleTV or Time-Warner or Cablevision or whatever. True competition. True choice.

Re:Only game in town and ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32729566)

Detroit can't even keep it's streets in good repair. What makes you think they'll dig them up and completely replace them?

Re:Only game in town and ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32729970)

Well, it sounds like there would be no better time to dig up the streets than now, then. I mean, you had to dig up a new, beautiful street.

Re:Only game in town and ... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730282)

Why would you need to dig-up anything? A 100-fiber or 50-fiber bundle would fit through the existing underground pipes. For example Verizon didn't have to dig anything when they upgraded my coworker from DSL to FiOS.

Re:Only game in town and ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32730290)

Which unfortunately costs money, and takes time. As someone else pointed out, there is only 8 or 9 months out of the year that any construction can be done, and we all know Detroit's financial situation...

Re:Only game in town and ... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32729630)

Have the city of Detroit run 100-fiber bundles under all the streets, and then offer to lease 1 fiber per television or internet company. Just imagine: Customers would be able to choose from Comcast or Cox or AppleTV or Time-Warner or Cablevision or whatever. True competition. True choice.

Without federal assistance, the city of Detroit can't afford to buy 100 strings and pairs of cans at this point. They aren't even processing rape kits because the city is too far in debt. Sure the former mayor is in prison now, but the whole city is still screwed.

Re:Only game in town and ... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730660)

Detroit could hire someone, like Google, to do the job for them. In exchange google would administer the leasing of the 100-fiber network to other companies over the next ten years. It would be a government-regulated private corporation, and then Detroit would take over that corporation in 2021.

Re:Only game in town and ... (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731264)

Perhaps the good city of Detroit could just outsource the city government to some well meaning Corporation?

I'm sure I've seen some thoughts on this somewhere ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093870/ [imdb.com] ).

Re:Only game in town and ... (1)

michael_cain (66650) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731468)

Detroit is b-r-o-k-e, broke.

They sold their water and sewer system [michiganmessenger.com] to a neighboring county because they couldn't afford to operate it. There is consideration being given to filing Chapter 9 bankruptcy [crainsdetroit.com] . The mayor has seriously proposed bulldozing a quarter of the city [cnbc.com] . Detroit can't afford to build anything. And, IMO, a company would be nuts to put any significant money into infrastructure in that environment.

Re:Only game in town and ... (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729718)

How about we just get rid of these government granted monopolies (franchise agreements) and let whoever wants to and can get right of way permits provide cable service? Then we could maybe find out if the free market could fix the problems we have with cable tv and high speed internet service. As a bonus, we would also find out if all those people who keep talking about "natural" monopolies are right or not.

Re:Only game in town and ... (1)

PublicBore (1342919) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730182)

I am interested in right of way permits. Please tell me more.

Re:Only game in town and ... (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730960)

There are two ways to run wire or pipes. Method one is to go to the property owners over whose land you wish to run the pipe and negotiate a right of way to allow you to run your wire or pipe over/under their land. The other is to go to a local or state government and get them to use eminent domain to obtain the right of way for you.

Re:Only game in town and ... (1)

PublicBore (1342919) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731960)

Some people might believe that invoking a great power can embue them an ability to take ownership of what isn't theirs. But only within that power's domain of providence will they not be seen as thieves. And great powers also exist among one another; And great powers also, at times, make invokations.

Re:Only game in town and ... (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730294)

How about we just get rid of these government granted monopolies (franchise agreements) and let whoever wants to and can get right of way permits provide cable service?

It isnt just the permits. Literally everyone (aka current and future competition) can cost the project time/money with lawsuits, which is why towns and especially cities often go with the force-of-law franchise method. Otherwise it seems to never get done.

Re:Only game in town and ... (1)

archangel9 (1499897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729738)

my brother in law is a Civil Engineer for the City of Detroit, and considering they only get 8-9 good months of project work in per year (read: frozen ground, too much snow) rolling out new fiber to Detroit would probably take far longer than it is worth. He has had a Water Main project to reroute supply near 17-18-19 mile, and it has taken the better part of three years.

What about towers and point-to-point wireless?

Re:Only game in town and ... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730336)

>>>What about towers and point-to-point wireless?

Yeah because the wireless spectrum is limitless. Plenty of room for growth. /end sarcasm. Wired service is better and there's no limit to how many spectrums you can have (1 whole spectrum per cable).

Re:Only game in town and ... (1)

archangel9 (1499897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730566)

Wired service is better and there's no limit to how many spectrums you can have (1 whole spectrum per cable).

+1 obvious.

you're confusing usability with availability. P2P wireless may be slow/restricted, but it would take 2 years to get fiber to a series of schools, therefore slow/limited beats non-available every time.

isn't .gov working to expand wireless ranges available anyway, or is that just for mobile?(real question)

Comcast Victims (3, Insightful)

Kylere (846597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729418)

I think it is too early for the Comcast victims in Michigan to rejoice, they purchased one set of politicians years ago and it is clear that the bribes have worn off. New Bribes in 3...2...

It's not "bribes" it's "free speech"! (4, Insightful)

Benfea (1365845) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729518)

At least according to our US Supreme Court.

Re:It's not "bribes" it's "free speech"! (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730464)

The Supreme Court made the mistake of thinking Corporations have the same rights as human beings. They don't. The people inside the corporation have rights, but the actual corporation has no more natural, innate rights than a tree or rock.

Re:Comcast Victims (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32729662)

Of course the 'bribes' wore off they didnt bother with them in the first place. They have a state wide franchise now so why bother with small fry local govs.

Looks like that gov just want what was agreed to under the 1985 contract. Instead comcast is saying some other law supersedes that and they do not have to provide what they said they would under the contract.

Just because there is new law that gives you other rights does not automatically abridge your rights under other contracts. For example federal law may have things that say what you do safety wise at work. Your workplace is free to enact even more strict guidelines as a condition of employment. This sort of thing happens all the time.

It sounds like 'negotiations' broke down and Detroit whipped out the nuclear option. That is more to bring comcast back to the table with a 'lets be reasonable about this'.

Re:Comcast Victims (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729704)

comcast has been running wiled sense excite@home died. and now the state its self is felling the rape the avg customer gets. but i don't see the point in the lawsuit. if you wanna hurt comcast terminate thee state wide monopoly. let the competition move in and destroy them with cheaper cable. all they will do is settle bribe a few more people and nothing will change,

Mayor McBride, is that you? (0, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729612)

So Detroit is taking the SCOX route?

Agreement... (0)

rrayst (857205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729708)

...about what?

free drops and service to municipal school buildin (0, Redundant)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32729784)

free drops and service to municipal school buildings. Can comcast still do that and bill them up the ass for boxes? Fine free drops and $8 /m per room for the box.

it's comcastic! (0, Redundant)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730314)

it's comcastic!

We are the cable co if you don't like this then get a dish!

Ha, a bad interpertation by Detroit (1, Interesting)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730530)

The United States Constitution is the charter for the federal government. It creates an entity known as the "United States". In numerous statutes, the "United States" is confined to federal possessions: D.C. and its territories. There is also no such thing as federal "common law". The Constitution governs itself, interstate commerce (see "commerce clause [wikimedia.org] ") international trade, wars, etc, state's limitations. It does NOT create a parent government. It creates a government that only operates under certain conditions, namely interstate commerce (The FDA, FCC, FTC, SEC, etc, all are created under the commerce clause) Additionally and originally, the bill of rights was used to supply rights to citizens fo the federal government. But after the civil war, the 10th and 14th amendments brought everyone under the protection of the constitution. That was validated yesterday in the McDonald case...

Here, Detroit is saying that intrAstate commerce (the state franchise is illegal) because of federal law. That is preposterous, The federal government does not have jurisdiction. If you claim it does, then that is an educated reading of Article IV Section 2.
"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. "

What they fail to mention is the 10th Amendment [wikimedia.org] . The Detroit interpretation is ignoring the fact that unless there is an enabling statute, the federal law is void. It would make the 10th amendment at odds with the article, and void both provisions. It would be impossible to reserve any power to the states if federal law trumps state law. We've avoided this so far by having the federal only govern international and interstate commerce.

Re:Ha, a bad interpertation by Detroit (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32730734)

You're looking at the wrong constitution.

Like the United States of America, each of the member States also has a constitution.

Re:Ha, a bad interpertation by Detroit (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731902)

Read the article more carefully. They're saying that the state's constitution specifically delegates selection of franchises to the municipalities, yet the state also awarded a franchise to Comcast, overriding Detroit's existing franchise with the same. The article clearly cites chapter and verse of the Michigan constitution that's relevant here, so it's hard to see what the state thought it was doing.

The US constitution bit has to do with the laws the govern the contract signed by Detroit and Comcast. It sounds very much like a secondary point.

Why are franchises even legal? (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#32730614)

They are nothing more than restraints on trade that protect incumbents. Why should Cox need a "by your leave, sire" from Detroit to wire up its own infrastructure and compete against Comcast? Why can't AT&T just make its own agreements with property owners and wire up a competitor to FiOS?

Oh right, because some asshat thinks that he can regulate these businesses "in the public interest" to get concessions "for the community" like the freebies to local government and schools.

It's not worth it. Break it all up and open up the market so these companies will have no excuse to not compete with each other.

Re:Why are franchises even legal? (5, Insightful)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731170)

DC tried this, and it just resulted in one company tearing up a street that the previous company tore up and re-paved. You've never seen so much redundant construction and horrible patch-jobs. Oh, and when Company A "accidentally" drops the backhoe bucket on Company B's fiber, Company B will be along shortly to dig up the street (again) to repair their infrastructure.

There's merit to having a common infrastructure, but it probably needs to be a municipal resource. That's a completely different type of monopoly, and is subject to a different type of corruption. I personally think "communications as a utility" is less evil than a communications infrastructure that's privately owned (and can be withheld on a corporate whim.)

Re:Why are franchises even legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32731538)

because some asshat thinks that he can regulate these businesses "in the public interest" to get concessions "for the community"

In all honesty the situation exists because its mutually beneficial. What if AT&T went out to "make its own agreements with property owners" and discovered that they're being boxed in by competitors paying homeowners not to allow them to cut across their property surrounding their gear? It's hard to imagine now because all the wiring has been done thanks to government intervention, but places without franchises have all sorts of crazy weird issues, like cable companies that serve exactly one apartment complex, and are the only way to get cable there.

Re:Why are franchises even legal? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731720)

Because "wire up your own infrastructure" requires ripping up the streets, blocking traffic, entering on and using public property (and public easements on private property) to hold your wires, etc.

Local jurisdictions go the "public utility" route to make the net cost to the public low. Having several companies doing the same infrastructure installation would have an economic cost far larger than the economic benefit of direct competition.

To compensate for the lack of competition, the local jurisdiction contracts with the "utility" to provide the services at less than the true monopolistic price.

Of course, this entire system is wide open to corruption of all kinds, including allowing the "utility" to make a few extra shekels off the private subscriber in return for providing "free" service - that essentially costs them nothing - to public subscribers (i.e, government entities like schools).

So it's not perfect, and it's easy to find the flaws, but overall it comes out somewhat cheaper to let one cable company own a city or a county than to let four of them dig up the pavement over and over again.

The trick to keeping it that way is to elect competent, credible, conscientious members to the corporation commission or whatever body regulates the utilities in your 'hood. But of course "election" means "graft", so guess who the CC members really answer to? Hint: it's not you, unless you agitate and vote.

You have 20 days to comply. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731504)

I'm glad to see that ED-209 found new work as a lawyer.

Quick summary of Michigan peoples' view of Comcast (1)

Nebulious (1241096) | more than 4 years ago | (#32731652)

Fuck Comcast. Prices are too high, repair services are too slow, and Internet service is extremely unreliable.
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