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Time Warner Boosts Broadband Customer Speed — But Only Near Google Fiber

timothy posted about a year ago | from the just-a-coincidence dept.

The Internet 203

An anonymous reader writes " Rob is a Time Warner Cable customer, and he's received two really interesting things from them lately. First, a 50% speed boost: they claim to have upgraded the speed of his home Internet connection. That's neat. Oh, and they've also cut his bill, from $45 to $30. Wow! What has prompted this amazing treatment? Years of loyalty and on-time payments? No, not exactly. Rob lives in Kansas City, pilot site for Google Fiber. Even though they have shut off people in other states for using too much bandwidth. Is Google making them show that it's not that hard to provide good service and bandwidth?"

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I don't know which is worse. (0)

mark_reh (2015546) | about a year ago | (#42750661)

Cell phone carriers or cable TV companies.

Re:I don't know which is worse. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42750721)

In Canada they are both the same company.

Re:I don't know which is worse. (1)

compro01 (777531) | about a year ago | (#42751115)

Only in the east. Shaw doesn't run cell phones. They had plans to and bought some AWS spectrum, but they've apparently decided against that and recently sold the spectrum off to Rogers.

Re:I don't know which is worse. (1)

supertrooper (2073218) | about a year ago | (#42751675)

If Google ever creates network in Canada (there is almost no competition there) I will switch to their service immediately.

Re:I don't know which is worse. (2)

Dan Ward (2828795) | about a year ago | (#42751687)

SHAW is no better than Time Warner in this regard. They whined and whined that they cannot keep up with the data needs of streaming video and then pushed through their new data caps. So we ended up paying the same amount as before - but now its capped. SHAW aggressively pushes their cable service and their On-Demand service. But its an obsolete business model - they need to get with the times. Lets asy I wanted to catch Game of Thrones on Shaw's On-Demand service.. I can't just subscribe to it - I have to pay for their Digital service .. then pay for the Movie Central service .. THEN pay for the On-Demand service. So $80/mo later I am able to pay the premium on-demand rental price which happens to be the same amount that I'd pay by renting from iTunes, Playstation, or XBox stores. Furthermore - I'd bet the farm that the only people that are being pestered about their data usage are the people using Netflix and competing services. Its Greed - plain and simple.

Re:I don't know which is worse. (1)

TimeandMaterials (2826493) | about a year ago | (#42750847)

The Devil can answer...

Re:I don't know which is worse. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42750977)

Devil's Answer:
They are both good minions. I can't favor one or the other like a father can't his two sons.

HA, my capatcha was "meanings".

Re:I don't know which is worse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42750859)

Cell phone carriers because there's no alternative to them, while cable TV companies are slowly heading for extinction and you can live without a TV.

Re:I don't know which is worse. (2)

smg5266 (2440940) | about a year ago | (#42750971)

But cable TV companies are often the only option for decent home internet.

Re:I don't know which is worse. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42750879)

Cable TV, hands down. If I wanted to, I could switch cell carriers fairly easily (though likely from bad service to worse service), whereas if I want cable (not satellite), my choices at my home are currently Comcast or.... Comcast

Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42750665)

We've known providers are capable of doing this for sometime.

Re:Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751909)

We've known providers are capable of doing this for sometime.

Snort. Just because they say the speeds are higher doesn't mean they did anything more than put a faster binfile package on the cable modem. How's that performance treating you during peak use times? How about those usage caps, you hitting them any faster than before?

Oh, one more thing most people forget about- how is your latency treating you?

Good (5, Insightful)

stewsters (1406737) | about a year ago | (#42750669)

This is what healthy competition is supposed to do to the market. Now, we need google fiber in more cities and the average speed and price of internet will get better for everyone (unless you live in a rural area).

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42750789)

This is an unsustainable race to the bottom. They both are losing money here and one of the two will eventually shut down their system in this area to stanch the flow of red ink. Then, the other will gradually start to raise their pricing back to the break-even point. Competition works well for fungible commodities, but not for things like basic public infrastructure which is extremely costly to build and maintain.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#42750877)

>This is an unsustainable race to the bottom.

Bullshit. It's been established that caps and rate limiting are just a cash grab. And the customer has been raped enough through billing ever since we threw billions of taxpayers' money at the network providers in the 90s only to watch it go out as dividends to shareholders and board bonuses.

Competition is *always* good.

--
BMO

Re:Good (4, Informative)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year ago | (#42751341)

Exactly, we already paid for these upgrades, but instead of doing them, the companies just pocketed it and claimed people were using too much and capped us.

They either need to do the upgrades or give back the tax money.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

SilentStaid (1474575) | about a year ago | (#42751995)

They either need to do the upgrades or give back the tax money.

Could you imagine if the world worked like that? How awesome would that be? Unfortunately, their lobbying pockets are a bit deeper than yours or mine will ever be.

Re:Good (1)

firecode (119868) | about a year ago | (#42752029)

US ISPs are money-hungry.

In Finland I pay 12 euros (16 usd) for having wireless 3G with speed 5 Mbps or more (ping 75ms) and I don't live in a big city.

Re:Good (4, Informative)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#42751033)

And that is why infrastructure is a government task (either direct or by government appointed company - which is how the POTS got rolled out and why it's available pretty much anywhere there is a public road), and everyone should be allowed to use that infrastructure at a fixed cost.

You want to run your car on a public road? You can do that, after you pay your vehicle taxes and get a driving license. You want to run a bus service? Sure, go ahead, just make sure you pay the vehicle taxes and have the proper licenses. Where those taxes are the same for everyone, and licenses are available for anyone who qualifies and passes certain exams. It's a level playing field.

I come from areas where data infrastructure is treated like that. Result? Excellent service at rock bottom price.

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751525)

The issue is that this attitude runs counter to the "government = bad, private enterprise = good" attitude that is so prevalent in today's society. Somewhere along the way, people forgot why government exists, why private business exists, and how to keep them separate.

Re:Good (1)

Krneki (1192201) | about a year ago | (#42751799)

This.

But I'll add something, forbid the government from owning (fully or partially) a company providing Internet services, or they will put anyone out of business using dirty tricks.

Re:Good (1)

Dan Ward (2828795) | about a year ago | (#42751813)

I totally agree with you. The other advantage is that by using a single infrastructure approach, we can limit (and standardize) wireless frequencies so we have less towers in our back yards. The two fundamental problems are: #1 - This gives the government complete access to the communications of the country. Even if they claim not to be monitoring it - how do we know? #2 - Governments are notoriously BAD at efficiency and innovation ... so while they could run it to solve one problem - they'd be creating at least two more in the process. Point #1 I can live with .. but point #2 would be hard to live with. On the other hand .. if they distributed the task and made each municipality responsible for designing, implementing, and managing their own communication network that may work. State/Provincial governments could mandate peering arrangements and dispute resolution within their jurisdiction and the Feds could mandate the states/provinces. This would eliminate both points .. as it would make the people of each municipality responsible for getting on their local government's backs to upgrade and improve the systems ...

Re:Good (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751049)

http://gigaom.com/2012/07/26/the-economics-of-google-fiber-and-what-it-means-for-u-s-broadband/

Analysts say $670 / customer to provide fiber-to-home. On a $40 plan, the break-even point is 1.6 years and on a $70, 9 months.

Add in a few extra additional expenses, and double it for kicks... 2-4 years to profitability, depending on the service amount.

Considering the copper / cable they used has been laid over 30 years ago, I think their* copper/cable lines have been well paid for and that some of that profit could have easily been used to create a fiber network that will be in use for the next 20+ years?

Race to the bottom. Yes, please.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | about a year ago | (#42751163)

Yep, look at the cost per Mbps for colo bandwidth versus last mile, they were on a roughly parallel trajectory until the media companies bought up the cable companies and decided to increase costs to protect their existing models, they can only do that because in most markets they have a monopoly/duopoly position, give them some real competition and suddenly things get back on track.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751183)

"race to the bottom"... What crack are you smoking? Google isn't losing any money in this. Sonic.net in California is offering 1Gbs internet with prices on par with Google and is saying that they are making money in their endeavor.

The only thing the end user has to pay for is the initial connection and then the monthly service. Google fiber is offering the same type of internet deals; pay for the one time connection to the network then pay your monthly charge. Unless you subscribe to the believe that the bits download are "wearing the wires out" then there really isn't that much maintenance cost to rolling out fiber. Provided nobody comes in and cuts the damn thing then the wire should take care of itself.

What companies like Google, Sonic.net, and the myriad of other companies in the U.S. that are offering 1Gbs internet (there are a few) are doing is showing the consumer that a 1Gbs internet infrastructure is feasible contrary to what the telecom and cable industry would have you believe.

And as bmo has pointed out these fiber networks that we were promised in the 90's but cost-so-much-money-and-are-not-possible-unless-we-go-bankrupt-oh-noes have already been bought and paid for through telecom lobbying and taxpayer money. . What a lot of people don't understand is that with this lobbying came deregulation of pricing which allowed them to jack up pricing under the guise of building out a fiber infrastructure. It wasn't until recently that they started claiming that it wasn't possible because the expense was to great. Unfortunately for the consumer the bean-counters never got that memo and have never dropped prices.

Re:Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751259)

Competition works well for fungible commodities, but not for things like basic public infrastructure which is extremely costly to build and maintain.

Why? Oh, wait, you thought you would just get to make a huge baseless assertion without any evidence and nobody would ask for some kind of support?

Monopoly power (1)

concealment (2447304) | about a year ago | (#42751331)

Competition works well for fungible commodities, but not for things like basic public infrastructure which is extremely costly to build and maintain.

I think this is true, and that's why the state grants monopolies to utilities companies.

This is an unsustainable race to the bottom. They both are losing money here and one of the two will eventually shut down their system in this area to stanch the flow of red ink. Then, the other will gradually start to raise their pricing back to the break-even point.

Generally what you are saying is true. After all, that's the reason Comcast isn't improving in most markets; they're already at the top, and offering a better service than the competition.

The one wrinkle here is that Google's business model is not to profit off the fiber, but to use it as a means to sell other products.

I'm not sure how that one will work out. I don't trust large corporations because they're made up of humans, and if humans screw up badly on their own, in groups they screw up by creating an echo chamber and following each other into oblivion like lemmings.

For that reason, large anything (corporation, volunteer group, government, empire) is prone to fail and fail hard. And with the increasing standardization across the industrial world, "too big to fail" becomes a prophecy of the vast consequences that occur when they do. To substitute a colloquial expression: "the bigger they are, the harder they fall."

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42750895)

Your comment reminds me of political corruption cases. When no cases appear on media/courts, some people (mainly politicians themselves) will say that's a good thing, because it means there are no corrupt politicians, so the system works. However, when corrupt politicians are caught and appear on media and courts, these same people will keep on saying that that's a good thing, because it means corrupt politicians are caught, so the system works. With such a mindset, it is nigh-impossible to argue that the system is in fact rotten. No matter how many corruption cases arise, they will try to argue that making them surface is a success of the democracy, and not a sign of anything being wrong with what they call "democracy" nowadays.

If all of a sudden a company like TimeWarner does something "right", forced by competition, far from being a good sign that competition does work, for me it's a sign that it doesn't. The reason being that it shows that for years they were allowed to do "wrong", so where was all this free-market competition goodness then?

Re:Good (2)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#42751157)

Healthy from whose perspective? Yours, mine and the rest of the consumer public? Certainly. But there's another side, a tragic side, of this you are not considering. Many dinners, golf games, gifts, donations and contributions were made to acquire the exlusive access to customers in an area which enabled them to maximize their executive bonuses, inflate their stock values and, when the time comes, fill their golden parachutes.

Now, thanks to this "healthy competition" the fruits of all that hard work is in jeopardy.

Thanks for nothing Google!

In truth, this is not really fair competition. This is unfair competition similar to Mozilla vs. Microsoft. Microsoft used its monopoly on the desktop to kill any notion of a web browser that costs money. We don't need to go into whether or not the damage to Mozilla was intentional or not. After all, the car wasn't invented in order to kill the horse ranching industry. So here we have Google trying to work around the problems presented by the carriers who have managed to restrict and reduce the effectiveness of Google's business models. So rather than continue to engage in fruitless discussions on the matter, Google is routing around the damage.

And while these carriers have historically sued and won against municipalities attempting a similar feat, charging them with unfair competition, they have obviously decided not to challenge Google's deeper, more powerful pockets to a duel in the courts over this.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751371)

Its about time someone with deeper pockets than the media corporations can stand up to them. Look at Europe and their bandwidth capabilities, we are slowly turning into a third world nation all in the name of profits.

Re:Good (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#42751581)

Google is "new media" the others are "old media." The old media has simply failed to adapt. Watch out for the new media... likely worse than the old media. For now, I applaud Google. Later, I will despise them.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751213)

A fine idea, but eventually google will up their prices like everyone else. When my area first got FiOS, TW dropped their prices and did a lot of promotions. Verizon wiped the floor with them initially, but then Verizon did what they always do, increase prices - a lot, and then created contact terms for the service, just like wireless. Cancel the service, expect a large early termination fee. People then moved back to TW, but the prices were no longer competitive, there were merely inline with Verizon's inflated prices. However, their bottom tier, which is suitable for most people, is very cheap. Verizon don't have one. Guess which service people are returning to?

Verizon's FiOS is rock solid here, and you get the full bandwidth advertised, unlike TW's, but they're pricing themselves out of the area. Surprisingly, they don't actually seem to care or wonder where their customers are going.

Re:Good (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about a year ago | (#42751647)

This is what healthy competition is supposed to do to the market.

Indeed it is. And this isn't even healthy competition -- this is just a small-n n-opoly in which one party has a personal interest in disproving the bandwidth whining and excuses by the others. If most places had a major ISP that didn't voluntarily participate in Six Strikes -- which would get them a massive share of the business in that region -- then I'd believe we had healthy competition.

Monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42750671)

A textbook example of why monopolies are bad for consumers.

Re:Monopoly (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about a year ago | (#42751585)

I would generally agree with you but also don't toss the baby out with the bath water.

Government's grant monopolies all the time -- usually for essential services. i.e. The Government has a monopoly on how the country is run.

Standards are a good thing. It is only when they are abused (and I'll agree that monopolies tend to be abused) is when the problem starts.

I got that message too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42750673)

Yeah, I got that message a while back. They claim a 50% boost, but I haven't seen it. Even after resetting the modem and router, everything seems to download at about the same speed as before. I suspect BS (hardly atypical for Time Warner).

Re:I got that message too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42750751)

I should add that I don't live near Kansas City, but in another part of the country. I suspect here it's to compete with AT&T U-verse, not Google Fiber or FIOS (which are nowhere near here).

Re:I got that message too (4, Interesting)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year ago | (#42751131)

Yeah, I got that message a while back. They claim a 50% boost, but I haven't seen it. Even after resetting the modem and router, everything seems to download at about the same speed as before. I suspect BS (hardly atypical for Time Warner).

Since you don't list what kind of router you have, what kind of firewall rule processing it's doing, and if you're using wireless it's hard to tell who the weakest link is.

I never use a ISP integrated modem/router(/wireless gack), too many of them suck and lock out too many options. If a regular router you can stick your own server on the WAN port and run something like http://www.speedtest.net/mini.php [speedtest.net] , across the LAN you should see 100Mbps (or more if it's Gb the entire way). If it's slower then 100Mb on wired your routers performance sucks. Test wired first then add your WLAN in, I have seen many wireless setups that where showing a 150Mbps (good) connection not even perform 30Mbps transfers.

Even more advanced tests would be to try to run 2 speed tests locally at the same time. Most equipment will starve one stream (one 99Mbps/one 1Mbps), some equipment will give bad jitter and the total speed will be less then 75% of line speed, and latency will be high, and very rarely the equipment will have decent queuing and the two streams will be close to even at around 95% of total line speed and latency will be decent.

Actually getting 20Mbps+ from the random internet host is not very common. Testing a close, fast host inside the TW network is the best way to tell. This might help.

http://www.timewarnercable.com/en/residential-home/support/speed-test.html/ [timewarnercable.com]

corporate assholes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42750677)

corporate assholes

yes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42750695)

yes

It's called competetion (5, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about a year ago | (#42750745)

It's called competition, which is something that has been sorely lacking in the broadband market. It's actually missing in just about any market that is dominated by a few large corporations. See the publishing industry etc.

Re:It's called competetion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42750915)

The publishing industry exists in a state know as "monopolistic competition" in which several (many? not actually sure how many book publishers there are, and couldn't find a number in quick Google) companies offer similar products, but not perfect substitutes. War and Peace != Fifty Shades of Grey, basically.
By contrast, the number of cable companies are considerably smaller since cost of entry is much, MUCH higher (can you say infrastructure?).

Re:It's called competetion (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42750987)

Infustructure

Infustucture

Infrustruchre

Infrustuckture

No, you insensitive clod!

Re:It's called competetion (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751459)

That's what happens in industries where mergers are unregulated. Good regulation preserves competition. No regulation kills competition as much as bad regulation.

Re:It's called competetion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751769)

Agreed!

It's amusing to see the so called capitalists come out of the woodworks here, and cry foul. Apparently even they don't know what *fair market competition is when it's right in front of them.

* - not necessarily legimiate in the US

Competition is overrated (5, Funny)

SpeedBump0619 (324581) | about a year ago | (#42750771)

I mean, look, it lowers corporate revenue and increases operating expenses! Competition lowers tax revenue and taxes are how corporations support our troops. This competition thing has *got* to stop!

Re:Competition is overrated (2)

RevDisk (740008) | about a year ago | (#42750959)

I did chuckle. Sometimes it does work, sometimes it doesn't. If the companies decide not to collude, then yes. Google has no interest in forming an unofficial cartel. Traditional carriers do, hence why they have.

Re:Competition is overrated (1)

englishknnigits (1568303) | about a year ago | (#42751255)

Colluding isn't a case of competition "not working." It is a case of there being no competition.

Re:Competition is overrated (1)

degeneratemonkey (1405019) | about a year ago | (#42750965)

Moderately funny, but more important, probably not an entirely inaccurate reflection of how the lobby-drones in Congress will some day try to swing the discussion as the dinosaur companies reel and flail and squirm and die.

Time Warner Cable should push HBO / cinemax (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#42750833)

Time Warner Cable should push HBO / cinemax (can't get that on google fiber) and the out of market sports packs.

Also does google fiber have ppv movies and events?

Re:Time Warner Cable should push HBO / cinemax (1)

michael021689 (791941) | about a year ago | (#42750871)

Who cares about those? Really, who cares?

Re:Time Warner Cable should push HBO / cinemax (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#42751063)

Some people care about ppv.

The rest knows about the existence of The Pirate Bay.

Pirate Bay does not work for live sports / events (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751299)

Pirate Bay does not work for live sports / events and stuff like NHL game center live has a poor frame rate

Re: Pirate Bay does not work for live sports / eve (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year ago | (#42751777)

Pirate Bay does not work for live sports / events and stuff like NHL game center live has a poor frame rate

Conversely, cable TV is becoming a niche for viewing live sports broadcasts.

Re: Pirate Bay does not work for live sports / eve (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42752187)

And they shove espn and espn2 into everyones package to pay for it.

I DO NOT WANT ESPN DAMMIT! Wheres my opt out for all the stupid channels i have no desire to ever see.... It's not even the paying for that bothers me... It's having to flip thru 30 useless channels with the cable company REQUIRED digital box i cant get around or replace.

Oh right.. monopoly...

And thats why piracy is king. It gets what i want with the least annoyances... Being free is a bonus on top of all that.

Re:Time Warner Cable should push HBO / cinemax (0)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#42751083)

Most of the country? You're silly little oddball habits are only important in the vacuum between your ears. The rest of the world works differently than your silly ideas of how it is.

To specifically answer your question, Joe_Dragon obviously cares, so the message you were replying to already answered your silly little questions. Your attempt at being snarky just made you look stupid.

Re:Time Warner Cable should push HBO / cinemax (1)

Kotoku (1531373) | about a year ago | (#42751111)

Not me.

Re:Time Warner Cable should push HBO / cinemax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751805)

Who cares about those? Really, who cares?

Not us, that's for sure.

And that's the point: There's a LOT more "not us" than there are "us", and "not us" is more willing to dispose of income for these things. You don't get out much, do you? Or do you just generalize the rest of the world's population as "a single problem" and dismiss it as a non-concern in your solipsistic view?

Re:Time Warner Cable should push HBO / cinemax (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year ago | (#42751097)

Huh? I have Google fiber and I can torrent that stuff just fine.

The speed increase was for all customers. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42750835)

It wasn't a response to Google, it was a response to a report that they were slow. But hey, the fact that it was nationwide doesn't destroy the theory, if you define the Kansas City "region" as big enough.

Re:The speed increase was for all customers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751219)

I searched the internet, but I couldn't find any news of a Comcast speed increase from this year. Did you just make this up?

Re:The speed increase was for all customers. (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year ago | (#42751607)

I searched the internet, but I couldn't find any news of a Comcast speed increase from this year. Did you just make this up?

I suspect that by "all customers," the first AC meant "all customers of TW," not "all customers of any ISP".

Re:The speed increase was for all customers. (1)

1000101 (584896) | about a year ago | (#42751569)

I tried sending an email to anonymouscoward@timewarner.com to get evidence of this but didn't get a response.

Defending TW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42750843)

I feel dirty but I have to defend TW a little. I've had 10Mb/s for quite awhile and the price has gone up $5/month every 3-4 years since 1998. About 3 months ago they upped us to 15Mb/s and I am no where near google or any other can of fiber (50 miles outside of Albany, NY).

Old Comparison (4, Insightful)

Bill Hayden (649193) | about a year ago | (#42750869)

I'm not at all one to defend the Cable/Internet/Cell monopolies that currently exist, but the linked story about people getting shut off is 4 YEARS old!

Re:Old Comparison (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | about a year ago | (#42752193)

That is because this happens still but it is old news and so is not reported anymore....

    People get into car accidents every day you do not see it on the news anymore because it happens all the time ...

Thin skins (-1, Flamebait)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year ago | (#42750923)

Aren't these Communists delicate little flowers? Amazingly thin skinned, even though they block anything even vaguely political from mainland China.

I think they are a bunch of stupid Third World pussies, with stupid Third World attitudes. No wonder they're Pakistan's only friend in the world. It takes a dirty, illiterate loser to know one.

Re:Thin skins (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751577)

Aren't these Communists delicate little flowers? Amazingly thin skinned, even though they block anything even vaguely political from mainland China.

Are you sure that this racist, xenophobic, chauvinistic and abusive post wasn't intended for a different discussion or website?

Yes, that is exactly what Google is doing. (1)

degeneratemonkey (1405019) | about a year ago | (#42750935)

It is in Google's best interest to have a world that is as fully connected as possible. Driving down the artificially inflated price of consumer-grade bandwidth is a win for Google and a win for everyone outside of the colluding or monopolistic telcos.

Re:Yes, that is exactly what Google is doing. (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#42751101)

It would be great if Google is taking up the task really seriously, and becomes an infrastructure provider. Where anyone who wants can get access to that infrastructure, at fixed prices (level playing field). So that where-ever Google's network is available, you also have a dozen providers that can sell you an internet service.

The trickiest part may be the last mile, the actual connection to the end user's home.

Cancelled today (5, Interesting)

methano (519830) | about a year ago | (#42750955)

I was one of the first Road Runner customers in the RTP, NC area. I've been a good customer. TW recently upped my rates and their remote is terrible. Unfortunately for TW, some real competition recently showed up for what once was a monopoly. I switched and just got off the phone to tell them that I am canceling. Amazingly, some promotions, that I was previously unaware of, became available to me. No way. A little competition can be a good thing.

Re:Cancelled today (1)

blahbooboo (839709) | about a year ago | (#42751013)

What did you switch to using?

Re:Cancelled today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751223)

Yes, please. Do share. Got rid of TWC phone and cable here in RTP area about a year ago, but kept the data service. Would love to hear about competition for the data service.

Re:Cancelled today (2)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#42751139)

I live in Cary. Canceled my service because they wouldn't give me a new subscriber rate on their own channels. First month after they sent me a letter, half the original price, more bandwidth, for one year. I had already switched to Uverse (which is shitty in my neighborhood unfortunately) so I didn't take it. The next month, as I as getting fed up with Uverse, I get a second letter. Sign back up and for $60/month will give you cable and Internet (second from the top tier) for 2 years.

I switched back.

In another year and a half, I will again cancel my service for as long as needed to get the price back down to where I accept it.

Having dealt with them intimately over the past few years, they make so much profit they could literally replace every single piece of equipment they own, EVERY SINGLE MONTH, and still make a comfortable profit. Can't lay new cables monthly, but its not off by month.

Re:Cancelled today (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751463)

I switched and just got off the phone to tell them that I am canceling. Amazingly, some promotions, that I was previously unaware of, became available to m

I do this about once a year. A lot of people don't realize that their cable price is negotiable. I was paying a fraction of what my friend was paying for the same cable. Told him about it, and he learned how to negotiate too. They will generally knock $20-$40 a month off your bill if you do it right. But you have to hang tough with them. I've spent as long as 45 minutes on the phone with them, and had them give me the "I'll talk to my supervisor and see what we can find" line several times before they finally gave me a decent deal. You have to make it clear to them that you're ready to walk, and it helps to cite specific competitors and the deals they're offering (like DirectTV, etc.).

The "promotions" they give you usually only last about a year though, so you have to remember to call back when they expire and wrestle with them again.

Re:Cancelled today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751859)

Having your triple-play provider raise your rates is avoidable in a competitive market. If you let your rates increase, you're leaving money on the table.

If you are beyond your "initial customer period" and want to save money, find the other provider in your area (if you have one) and price a comparable plan. Then call your current company's customer service and tell them you'd like to cancel on some specific future date. They transfer you to their "customer retention specialist" who will offer to lower your rates. The specialist will use FUD, perhaps even lie, to make you think you're going to be worse off. Don't fall for the FUD. Until they offer to lower your rates close to the introductory rates, continue to say that you still want to try the new provider. If you have second thoughts afterward, you can still change your mind before your service termination date.

If you don't live in a competitive market, well, what else can you do? Complain on SlashDot?

Not just Google. (4, Interesting)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about a year ago | (#42750957)

I had my Time Warner Cable bandwidth increased without asking about a month ago here in Cincinnati because of competition from Cincinnati Bell laying down their fiber service all over town. That being said, if I could kick Time Warner to the curb and get Cincinnati Bell's Fioptics service where I live, I would in about three shakes of a lamb's tail.

This isn't only happening where Google is doing their fiber experimentation.

Re:Not just Google. (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | about a year ago | (#42751197)

No, but it is only happening where TW has competition. I have no other option for high-speed Internet. I live too far from the DSLAM for DSL. TW has raised my rates from $35/mo to $56/mo in the last decade without any increase in speed or reliability.

Re:Not just Google. (1)

afidel (530433) | about a year ago | (#42751247)

Yeah, it was also happening anywhere that Fios was being installed, unfortunately Verizon has basically halted that project and sold off most of their landline holdings outside the densely packed east coast to Frontier which will never roll out another yard of Fios.

Re:Not just Google. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751267)

Cincinnati Bell FiOptics is the worst example of lambswool over your eyes... They offer up ridiculously cheap for the first year, then up your package 30-75% depending on your original agreement. After the service is turned on for you and your neighbors and they try to expand in your area, your service gets diluted because of the infrastructure they use...copper. You do not have a dedicated run back to their CO like you did with their DSL... Instead it's shared just like TW.

You will be running back to TW within 180 days of signing up on FiOptics. Guaranteed.

Yes and no (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751061)

I work for TWC. The standard internet was bumped up from 10/1 to 15/1 across the Midwest region (KC/WI/OH/KY/TN). The top end internet was bumped up from 50/5 to 100/5 in KC only. Can't really speak to the change in the bill though.

Can we please just get rid of the corporations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751095)

Seriously. The dominant American corporations have all moved into full-on rent extraction mode. They no longer produce anything, or benefit anyone except a small group of entrenched elitists who've captured large swathes of the economy and use the government like a sock-puppet. Just get rid of the damn things and let us get on with living our lives.

Captcha: needless

if Google comes to Austin I'll drop my isp quick (1)

Dan667 (564390) | about a year ago | (#42751121)

Years of abuse from time warner and att makes that a really easy decision to ditch them at the first opportunity.

Re:if Google comes to Austin I'll drop my isp quic (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#42751355)

AT&T and Austin Time Warner are in a battle for anti-customer supremacy. Both have bizarre and opaque pricing schemes that have stopped me from upgrading to higher speeds. AT&T wants to bundle their overpriced video service or they hit you with added up front fees. Time Warner won't even tell you what their actual prices are after the initial discount period. It's not on their web site, and when I called they said they could not tell me because "things change". They want a long term contract for an unspecified rate... no.

Bandwidth is cheap, cheap, cheap (1)

xtal (49134) | about a year ago | (#42751141)

Most people have been sold a bill of goods.

Bandwidth is cheap. Very, very cheap. Getting cheaper all the time. Once it's fiber to the home, the rest is all done. Top tier providers get bandwidth so cheap it's almost free.

It should be a national embarassment there's not gigabit infrastructure everywhere. Props to Google for helping out the shame.. and may they eat the lunch of all the incumbents.

I didn't realize Google Fiber was near Los Angeles (2)

PalmAddict (543382) | about a year ago | (#42751149)

I live in the San Fernando Valley, 20 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. It's a quaint 260 square mile community of 1.76 million of your closest neighbors. Two months ago I had my broadband boosted by 50% (the same 15 Mbps as the Consumerist article customer), I was given free telephone service free for a year (long distance included) and had by bill dropped by 20% as well (I am now pennies over $100/mo), without asking for any of it. My parents, living just a few miles from me, were offered the exact same thing. Does this mean that Time Warner is terrified that Los Angeles is next on the list to get Google Fiber?

Re:I didn't realize Google Fiber was near Los Ange (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year ago | (#42751479)

Does this mean that Time Warner is terrified that Los Angeles is next on the list to get Google Fiber?

Is there any other competition coming or recently arrived there?

(As an irrelevant but amusing aside, Chrome thinks "Los Angeles" is spelled wrong, but "LA" and "L.A." are not.)

Re:I didn't realize Google Fiber was near Los Ange (1)

jeff4747 (256583) | about a year ago | (#42751925)

They're rolling out those changes wherever they fear competition. For us, it was the nearby Verizon FiOS install that caused TW to change.

For ALL TWC customers not just near google fiber (2)

Brownian Motion (463959) | about a year ago | (#42751153)

This is a story from last month (Dec 12 2012), and it's for all TWC customers. http://news.yahoo.com/time-warner-cable-boosts-internet-speeds-50-standard-022153999.html [yahoo.com]

Re:For ALL TWC customers not just near google fibe (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year ago | (#42751537)

This is a story from last month (Dec 12 2012), and it's for all TWC customers.

What about the price cut? I didn't see a mention in the yahoo story, have you seen anything about that? Is it nationwide, too?

Competing with Verizon FIOS up here in NY (3, Interesting)

bratloaf (1287954) | about a year ago | (#42751199)

Its amazing. For the past 10 years TW has been steadily increasing rates, "confusing" their billing (Oh, sorry sir for the $12/mo mistake for the past 3 years that was hidden in your "bundle"), and their service of ALL types has been getting crappier and crappier. To the point where I was ready to just ditch them all together and do ANY thing else.

Crappy cable box problems. Internet outages. S L O W internet (at times) and OK others. Finally FIOS came around here about a year ago, and several people I know switched. Initially they had some technical issues but nothing really bad, and NO one I know including myself has had any issues at all in the past year.

I called TW 4 times, and got all the way to a management type 3 of those times, to ask about a billing situation after our bill went up $60 a month. For no reason. They were NOT interested in fixing the situation and retaining me at ALL. In fact, the last words they told me, when I said I prefered to stay with them but was going to just go to FIOS if they couldnt fix it, were "Well, you have to do what you have to do". From a manager.

When I turned in my boxes, the girl said "wow, you have been a customer a LONG time, why are you leaving?" I told her, she just rolled her eyes and apologized and said "Thats typical (of the TW customer support folks)".

Now TW is running these commercials on the radio around here 24/7 trying to get people to "come back". "See the difference" "Your money back if you are not satisfied" etc. Too funny really. As long as VZ - another HUGE company - keeps their customer service and value where they are now, Im staying. For sure.

Competition is a GREAT thing....

That's all well and good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751235)

... for the handful of people who live in that particular bit of the middle-of-nowhere.

But come on Google, how about laying fiber and slapping down the cable companies somewhere that matters?

San Francisco Bay Area? (Your own backyard!)
New York?
Boston?
Los Angeles?

Where are you, Google?

Re:That's all well and good... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751277)

Yeah, FUCK the middle of the country. There's nothing out there but uneducated retards anyway.

MCI of broadband? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751303)

Just like MCI broke the long-distance price stranglehold, I'm hoping Google does the same for broadband.
I live in KC and am patiently awaiting the Google trucks to roll into to my neighborhood.
My 1.5 MB AT&T DSL never even reaches 756KB when I'm home...and they call that "broadband"!?

Milk, milk, milk all you want AT you'll get my call to drop you soon enough...

how such low prices? (4, Interesting)

Jodka (520060) | about a year ago | (#42751315)

So I live in Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City. Google fiber is not in offered in Overland Park yet, but because it is close by and spreading I checked out the prices and signed up for email notification when their service becomes available in my area.

The prices. Holy cow. It's free. A one time $300.00 installation fee but then it is free. So I was wondering for months how is that possible? Is Google taking a massive loss? Did Google invent a new technology which allows them to undercut their competitors?

Then on a drive across town to the local Fablab I was listening to the local public radio station which just happened to be interviewing Susan Crawford, author of the recently published book Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age. As the summary at Amazon [amazon.com] states:

This important book by leading telecommunications policy expert Susan Crawford explores why Americans are now paying much more but getting much less when it comes to high-speed Internet access.

Well as you might guess from the subtitle of the book, what she finds out when she explores is that internet and cable service in the U.S. are regional monopolies. Even when multiple internet and cable service providers operate in the same city they divide up the city into regions of monopolistic coverage and only overlap on small percentages of territory.

So Google offers such spectacularly low prices by undercutting monopolists, having enough clout to overcome barriers to entry which block startups, and Moore's law has reduced the cost of providing internet service to something pretty close to free. The inflated prices for internet broadband service which we have paid in the U.S. have not followed Moore's law [technologyreview.com] because service provider are monopolies. Now with the disruption of that monopoly in one regional market prices are back on track with Moore's law there.

No, they are demonstrating that competiton works. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about a year ago | (#42751327)

So get your government to allow it. I have multipair cables (as well as fiber) belonging to two different telecoms crossing my property but the state will allow only one to offer me service. Your cable company has a "franchise" (i.e., monopoly) that they purchased from your local government.

Competition is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42751367)

In my area Verizon FiOS stops two towns over. Coincidentally, that's where Time Warners "Extreme" service stops as well. I've called and asked when my area might get a higher tier, and they don't currently have any plans to improve the infrastructure in this area. Without proper competition there is really no incentive for them either.

Hardly unexpected (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year ago | (#42751405)

I'm in KC and when "lower end" fiber services in the 24 Mbps range started appearing, so many people started flocking to them that the entrenched service provider started offering better deals. Of course, this didn't happen until they were hammered with defections.

Insulting Gesture (1)

backdoc (416006) | about a year ago | (#42751591)

I always resent when a company does this. This is akin to leaving a job for more pay, then your employer offering you more money to stay. It's insulting.

The truth (1)

CHRONOSS2008 (1226498) | about a year ago | (#42751965)

these so called experiments are so they can offer the high speeds and do what wired reported with 100 megabit connections

SPY on you in real time....
thus you won't see these speeds everywhere till they can....

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