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CenturyLink: Comcast Is Trying To Prevent Competition In Its Territories

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the my-kingdom-for-a-non-monopoly dept.

The Internet 110

mpicpp sends word that CenturyLink has accused Comcast of restricting competition in the development of internet infrastructure. CenturyLink asked the FCC to block the acquisition of Time Warner Cable to prevent Comcast from further abusing its size and power. For example, Comcast is urging local authorities to deny CenturyLink permission to build out new infrastructure if they can't reach all of a city's residents during the initial buildout. Of course, a full buildout into a brand new market is much more expensive than installing connections a bit at a time. Comcast argues that CenturyLink shouldn't be able to cherry-pick the wealthy neighborhoods and avoid the poor ones. CenturyLink points out that no other ISP complains about this, and says allowing the merger would let Comcast extend these tactics to regions currently operated by Time Warner Cable.

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what's wrong with cherry picking? (2)

Kohath (38547) | about 2 months ago | (#47770055)

Why shouldn't companies be able to cherry pick wealthy neighborhoods and offer their services there?

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (5, Insightful)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 months ago | (#47770077)

Because it creates competition and drives down the profit margin?

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47770169)

No, because it would mean only Republicans would be allowed Internet access. Here in Seattle, Comcast was granted a monopoly without the requirement that hey actually offer service to everyone. So what happened is that they refuse to offer service to anyone that isn't weathly and typically white. The Republicans are stupid so they buy bundled services that they don't need. They know the reset of us will do research because we're smarter and because of need since we need to spend our money more wisely, so they refuse to offer us service.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (3, Insightful)

Bradmont (513167) | about 2 months ago | (#47770369)

If there is research to do regarding what service to choose, how does comcast have a monopoly?

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (0, Flamebait)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 months ago | (#47770537)

If there is research to do regarding what service to choose, how does comcast have a monopoly?

I'm not sure what they were saying, I live in Seattle and the areas that aren't covered by Comcast are covered by other cable companies. And as far as I know, Centurylink can access all those various areas because as for DSL centuraylink doesn't have any competition. Yep, while Centurylink is bitching about comcast monopoly, they, at least here in Seattle, is the only DSL provider. Of course, they say they don't offer internet, they just rent the connect to you and MS is the one giving you internet.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (3, Informative)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 months ago | (#47770735)

Okay, after I did this post, I did some research and we apparently have other DSL providers. It's possible that you can get them in the same area's as Centurylink, i'm not going to bother to ask them If i can get there service.

So maybe my post is wrong. Sorry.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (2)

Nyder (754090) | about 2 months ago | (#47770763)

Okay, me again. I actually decided to do a search and this is what I came up with.

I live on the edge of Downtown Seattle and Capital Hill. Not even a mile from the heart of downtown Seattle.

I have the internet choices of:

Cable: Comcast
Satelite: HughesNet
DSL: Centurylink

So my middle post doesn't matter. I don't have a choice of providers, I just have a choice of how I get the internet. Sat, DSL or Cable.

So sure, we might have other DSL providers in Seattle, but they can't overlap with any other providers. Total bullshit system. Time to open it up.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (2)

Tangwei (704210) | about 2 months ago | (#47771239)

You do have a choice of providers. You have Comcast, HughesNet, and Centurylink.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (1)

Sique (173459) | about 2 months ago | (#47773017)

So my middle post doesn't matter. I don't have a choice of providers, I just have a choice of how I get the internet. Sat, DSL or Cable.

Hm. So you were saying, that you don't have the choice of fast food chains, because Domino's only serves pizza, while McDonald's only serves burgers?

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47773207)

If only there were other chains and stores than Domino's and McDonalds. That would be an amazing world... but no, if you want to have pizza you can only pick Dominos... right?

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (1)

drainbramage (588291) | about 2 months ago | (#47773273)

No.
They all server the same food, dude.
The choice is delivery by car, bus, or air mail.
Each delivery system has acquired exclusive rights to that delivery system in specific regions.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 2 months ago | (#47772551)

If there is research to do regarding what service to choose, how does comcast have a monopoly?

Well... Comcast could be the only wired internet service provider in an area, BUT they might only offer service that is so expensive and slow, that someone has to choose between Comcast, cellular, and satellite.

If your mother just wants to check her e-mail and download a few pictures every once in a while, then the ever-increasing speed of Comcast's cheapest tier is wasted, and saving a few dollars by going with something like T-Mobile's $30/month 5GB cellular plan might be cheaper and just as good.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47770523)

Dear Brilliant AC: When you're writing a long post about how everybody is stupid but you, you might want to spell check it.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47770957)

No, because it would mean only Republicans would be allowed Internet access. Here in Seattle, Comcast was granted a monopoly without the requirement that hey actually offer service to everyone. So what happened is that they refuse to offer service to anyone that isn't weathly and typically white. The Republicans are stupid so they buy bundled services that they don't need. They know the reset of us will do research because we're smarter and because of need since we need to spend our money more wisely, so they refuse to offer us service.

Jumping Jesus H. Christ On A Pogo Stick. Can we not have ONE single article anymore where one of you left-wing nutjobs don't go through endless mental gymnastics to somehow turn the discussion into "teh republikkkans are teh ebil and r destroying teh kuntry! hahaha teabaggers are teh stoopid and i r teh smart cuz i r democrat lololololol"?

Seriously. We get it. You've been coddled from birth to believe you're a speshul snowflake who is always right no matter what and you're the smartest, prettiest princess in your whole entire class! Mommy always said you were speshul so that means you're more importanter than anyone else so you're right and everyone else is wrong. The sky is green, not blue, the grass is purple, your lady-parts are beautiful even after you haven't washed in a month, and your poop smells like a rose garden.

Now kindly sit your pampered ass down, shut your fucking overly-entitled mouth, and stop masturbating your ego. The adults would like to have a conversation without your incessant whining and foot stomping.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (2)

ediron2 (246908) | about 2 months ago | (#47771273)

Ad hominem from an AC. Priceless.

Incidentally, fuck you. Plenty of grownups are bored with Republican corruption and egoism: Corporate conservatives have had 30 years (1980-present) of steady control during which they've removed more and more regulations. In that time the economic situation has steadily worsened for most of us. IMHO, it's counterpoint to Soviet communism: your little experiment failed because it was undermined by one of two defining human traits: Greed and Laziness. In between, a regulated market mechanism exploits the tension between these to create wider prosperity and enough incentive to get ahead / get rich.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47771545)

There are plenty of REPUBLICANS (i.e. not neo-cons like McCain, et al) who are tired of Republican corruption. But I'm also sick of the whiny ass liberals trying to turn literally every single goddamn article on this site into a "Left r smart, right r stoopid" shit-flinging mess. I'm sure that point flew right over your head in your indignant rage, however.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47772501)

I'm sick of republicans always having this fetish for painting people they don't agree with as whiny, limpwristed, "coddled from birth", special snowflake et. al.

Both typically leftwing and typically rightwing positions have their merit and deserve to be discussed seriously but for every "whiny" liberal there is an overly aggressive conservative and both are asshats who, for some reason, can't stop shouting at the other side in order to re-evaluate their own beliefs.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47771305)

How does one masturbate their ego considering masturbation is stimulating a physical part for the purpose of orgasmic pleasure? Egos have no physicality. Also it is both parties fault. Had Clinton not had his balls in Monica's mouth, Comcast wouldn't have gotten this big and had Bush not been busy trying to crush Iraq we would have the infrastucture to rival Japan. We built it for fuck's sake and we are 13th fastest in the world now? At this point only two things are possible, let the two ton gorilla beat the crap out of the 800 lbs gorilla and block the 2 800 lbs gorillas from mating. (2 ton is google)

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47773235)

Thank you for your comment Mayor Ed Murray. Insightful as ever.

Re: what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47770361)

I'm not sure I care about cherry picking since I live in one of the "rich" neighborhoods. I just wish CenturyLink would screwing with my Netflix connections. In pay for 20M service but for some reason can't get even 480i consistently.

As far as i'm concerned they can all goto hell.

Re: what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

thunderclap (972782) | about 2 months ago | (#47771327)

Ahahahahahahahahahaha. Um DSL (digital subscriber line) uses twisted copper. You are lucky of you pull 20M. You should only be able to get a max of 13. Thats why you can't get Netflix. Centurylink is pissed because it can't make money on an dying 1980s technology. No one should be on DSL anymore.

Re: what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47771433)

But... But AT$T offers to sell me DSL under the name of Uverse , twice a week. Up to 768Kb oh baby it 1999

Re: what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47771793)

I would be very happpy with 10M DSL, and I can run netflix over that, two sessions to be precise, and browse the web at a quick pace!

Re: what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47772827)

Ahahahahahahahahahaha.
Um DSL (digital subscriber line) uses twisted copper. You are lucky of you pull 20M. You should only be able to get a max of 13. Thats why you can't get Netflix.
Centurylink is pissed because it can't make money on an dying 1980s technology. No one should be on DSL anymore.

You clearly have no conception of what those bandwidth numbers mean do you? I'm using 7Mb from Century link, I could pay for far more if I wished, and watch Netflix all the time with no stuttering while also cruising the net and it looks great.

Also; Century Link is one of the very few ISPs that are NOT a part of that copyright tattling group that Comcast is in that reports on you. I've also never gotten an overage complaint letter from CL but used to with Comcast. -- So anything that allows me to get Century Link access instead of Comcast wherever I move is a good thing. Oh, also; I can get far higher than 20Mbit from CL if I fell like it.

Re: what's wrong with cherry picking? (1)

Sique (173459) | about 2 months ago | (#47773067)

I have a DSL line on twisted copper with 30 MBit/sec. I've seen demonstration installs with 230 Mbit/sec on twisted copper. NSN has demonstrated 825 Mbit/sec on DSL via twisted copper in 2010. So where does your 20 M come from?

Re: what's wrong with cherry picking? (1)

genner (694963) | about 2 months ago | (#47773417)

Ahahahahahahahahahaha. Um DSL (digital subscriber line) uses twisted copper. You are lucky of you pull 20M. You should only be able to get a max of 13. Thats why you can't get Netflix. Centurylink is pissed because it can't make money on an dying 1980s technology. No one should be on DSL anymore.

VDSL or bonded DSL can easily handle 20M.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (2)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 months ago | (#47770081)

"Sorry, Son. You're only allowed to operate your lemonade stand in the 'hood."

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 months ago | (#47770091)

As long as they can't stop community/municipal build out in the poorer neighborhoods, it would be perfectly ok. But, they want it all, on their terms, and we're giving it to them through the electoral process. Not cool...

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (4, Interesting)

apraetor (248989) | about 2 months ago | (#47770153)

To clarify, you mean municipalities building their own, community-owned networks, correct? I think the solution to this is for the towns to take a step back; the people of the community should create a co-op to build and maintain the infrastructure, and the towns should back the bonds.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47770399)

Well, they have been actively trying to block exactly that [arstechnica.com] for some time as well.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 months ago | (#47770535)

But municipalities are essentially co-ops, if the citizens bother to vote.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (2)

ediron2 (246908) | about 2 months ago | (#47771209)

Thanks, was coming to say something about like this... somewhere along the last few decades, conservatives have managed to trick us into thinking that 'the government' is Them, not Us.

Yup, what this project needs is a good co-op. Plus an oversight board. And technical staff to maintain it. A consistent, balanced funding mechanism where everyone has to chip in. Oh, and a process for citizens to provide feedback and retain control. In short... town government.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 months ago | (#47772029)

The conservatives used to have the story that the remote and distant federal government were the bad guys, and to trust the local people. Now they don't like local governments either.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 months ago | (#47772493)

They are quite happy to support 'big government' when it advances one of their more specific agendas, though.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47771341)

But, they want it all, on their terms, and we're giving it to them through the electoral process. Not cool...

No you are actually getting it from them. The 'it' is a large wooden shaft jammed into your anal orifice.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (2)

apraetor (248989) | about 2 months ago | (#47770123)

They shouldn't be allowed to "red-line", but serving only part of a town definitely is legal. Only the original, incumbent provider is barred from doing that, under Universal Access provisions. That's their obligation in exchange for having the limited monopoly, and the dirty pool Comcast has been playing is nothing more than proof they don't care about the customer as much as profit (as if there was a doubt).

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (4, Insightful)

Port1080 (515567) | about 2 months ago | (#47770125)

The reasoning is this - if Comcast builds out to the entire city, they're building out to highly profitable areas and to less profitable (or even unprofitable) areas. They do the build into the market with the understanding that they will make money on average, looking at the whole city, even if they lose money in some neighborhoods. Now Centurylink comes in and builds only in the expensive neighborhoods - well, guess what? They can offer cheaper rates in those neighborhoods, because they don't have to offset their losses in the poor neighborhoods. If they snipe away enough Comcast customers, eventually Comcast has to pull out entirely because they're losing money. At that point, who serves the poor neighborhoods? I am not a Comcast fan, but they absolutely have a point here. Competition isn't fair if one provider is being required to serve the whole city, but the other is not.

The solution, of course, is municipal broadband.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (4, Interesting)

msauve (701917) | about 2 months ago | (#47770197)

The other solution is to allow partial buildouts, but ensure each phase is balanced between "rich" and "poor" areas. That lowers the cost of entry while ensuring fair competition.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (5, Insightful)

ewieling (90662) | about 2 months ago | (#47770319)

If it took 10 years for Comcast to provide internet service to the *entire* city, then CenturyLink should have 10 years to do the same. Seems fair to me.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (2)

tysonedwards (969693) | about 2 months ago | (#47770385)

What CenturyLink states in their complaint isn't with regards to "rich" and "poor" neighborhoods, it's about being able to build in one geographic area concurrently without needing to hire exponentially more staff. Building concurrently across a large geographic area requires a large amount of resources in terms of surveying, project management, construction, validation, installation, testing, engineering, laying pipe, road work, pole work (in many cases with cooperation with various other organizations and their respective labor), possible availability of heavy construction equipment, lead time on supplies (copper, fiber, ...) ... And when in certain regions of the country when you only have 6 months of the year to do such work due to frost concerns, it makes things much more difficult when considering very large projects spanning an entire market. Comcast's insistence of concurrency or nothing means "same season for everyone in a market or you don't do it."

In one case, it's a nice aspect of Universal Access to say that *everyone* must receive access from incumbent carriers for a reasonable cost, in a reasonable timeframe for the same price as other customers in that market. It is also nice that someone is pressing for things like that to take place, however the spirit was always intended for rural areas to receive connectivity that would normally be ignored due to the high costs of doing so relative to major metropolitan areas, not as a way of stifling competition between two incumbents.

The intent behind these rules has become lost. While electricity or phone lines have remained fungible, additional telecommunications services have been added to "phone lines" with one breath so that said lines could be subsidized by tax dollars, and yet declared "entertainment services" in another breath so that they could be unregulated.

Through updating the law to remove either of these loopholes, the first of many steps can be taken towards improving the situation. Ultimately, major telecommunications policy reforms must be adopted to reflect the way the world functions today.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (1)

Kohath (38547) | about 2 months ago | (#47770245)

It's fair because Comcast is the incumbent provider and has had the benefit of many years of running a monopoly.

But even if it weren't fair, so what? Since when are things fair for people? Why should Comcast's assertions of unfairness get an audience ahead of any other unfair thing that happens to anyone? Because Comcast is so nice to everyone?

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 months ago | (#47770259)

The solution, of course, is municipal broadband.

That is one solution. But there are others:
1. Charge an "access fee" (really a tax) on all internet connections, and use that money to subsidize service to rural and/or low income people. We already do this with phone service, and the universal access mandate is basically a backhand way to do the same thing.
2. Get rid of the notion that some people should have their internet service subsidized by others. Instead, everyone can pay the real cost, and we can alleviate poverty in other ways, such as higher income tax credits, rather than with a large number of market distorting subsidies for specific goods and services.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (2)

Kohath (38547) | about 2 months ago | (#47770269)

Also, if there are multiple providers that want to offer broadband service in an area, that sounds like a great reason not to have municipal broadband. My town can barely keep the streets paved -- why would I trust them to provide reliable broadband service?

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (2)

Rich0 (548339) | about 2 months ago | (#47770363)

The solution, of course, is municipal broadband.

Agree. The problem here is that we want to have socialism, but we don't want to actually fund it via taxes. So we make companies jump through hoops with the same effect, but usually in a less-efficient manner.

Drug development is the same thing. We have this patent system because we don't want to fund end-to-end drug R&D and make drugs license-free. The problem is that then we end up with poor people not being able to afford medicine. Then we talk about price controls and all kinds of other measures, when the simple solution is to just have the government develop royalty-free drugs end-to-end and make them cheaply-available. But, that involves lots of taxes, so we stick with the current system.

We need to get rid of all these universal access fees and all the other nonsense. Just charge an income tax and if you want poor people to have phone service, then pay for them to have phone service. Inevitably all these fees distort markets, and often they end up falling on people with low-to-moderate incomes who can least afford to pay them.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (1, Interesting)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about 2 months ago | (#47771269)

If the government developed and manufactured drugs, what criteria would determine which diseases are targeted for cures? It would be those diseases with the largest and most obnoxious lobbying groups. The incompetent government labs would be toiling away for cures to AIDS, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and maybe bowel cancer for Barney Frank. MS, heart disease, ebola? Not a chance.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (2)

webnut77 (1326189) | about 2 months ago | (#47771429)

Good point. I would also add that our government doesn't have a good track record at being frugal with our tax money.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (1)

mjtaylor24601 (820998) | about 2 months ago | (#47771623)

If the government developed and manufactured drugs, what criteria would determine which diseases are targeted for cures? It would be those diseases with the largest and most obnoxious lobbying groups.

I'm not sure that's any worse than what we have now where the deciding factor seems to be "will rich people buy it". So we'll spend billions researching the next Viagra but almost no one manufactures malaria medication anymore because there's no money it. We focus on symptom relief rather than cures because "repeat business".

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 2 months ago | (#47772713)

I think it is probably worth having both models. Don't get rid of the patent system, but go ahead and have public end-to-end R&D with the government holding the patents and offering free licenses to US-based manufacturers (or those in countries that reciprocate and make comparable investments).

Private companies could still invest in Viagra and sell it for $5/pill, and if the government drops the ball then at least people have an expensive option instead of no option at all. When the government eventually comes out with its own cure, then prices will fall.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47773229)

If the government developed and manufactured drugs, what criteria would determine which diseases are targeted for cures? It would be those diseases with the largest and most obnoxious lobbying groups.

I'm not sure that's any worse than what we have now where the deciding factor seems to be "will rich people buy it". So we'll spend billions researching the next Viagra but almost no one manufactures malaria medication anymore because there's no money it. We focus on symptom relief rather than cures because "repeat business".

Viagra (Sildenafil) was initially studied for use in hypertension (high blood pressure) and angina pectoris (a symptom of ischaemic heart disease), it just found a use in erectile dysfunction. They didn't start out just researching drugs for a cure to erectile dysfunction.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 months ago | (#47772505)

Given that heart disease is one of the biggest causers of natural death, I'd think there would be plenty of pressure to research that.

Ebola, for all the scaryness, doesn't actually kill many people. That's why there's no drug for it: Not enough dead to be worth the research investment. It's generally too lethal to spread, baring the occasional outbreak.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 2 months ago | (#47772721)

Ebola, for all the scaryness, doesn't actually kill many people. That's why there's no drug for it: Not enough dead to be worth the research investment. It's generally too lethal to spread, baring the occasional outbreak.

The problem with things like Ebola and such is that this is true today, and maybe there is a 95% chance that it will be true 5 years from now as well. The problem is that if there ever is a major outbreak we're going to be stacking the bodies in the streets. It is almost certainly worth having a treatment available, even if it never turns out to be necessary.

The same is true about having reserve antibiotics. They should ideally never be used, so you'll never see private dollars spent on them (who develops a product with the intent to not sell it?). However, if we do get some outbreak of antibiotic-resistant whatever we can now do something about it.

This is really the ideal domain of government - developing drugs that have the potential to benefit everybody but for which no market exists today.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (2)

xeoron (639412) | about 2 months ago | (#47770567)

I know a family that recently paid Comcast 15k to run a Comcast line down a private road and to their home, and most the the town already had service if they wanted it. So, Comcast does not connect everyone, unless they are willing to pay if you live in a area deemed not profitable enough to run cable to the homes.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47772141)

That's no surprise. They ran the line on the public roads, but not on the private roads. The private road is really no different than a driveway, except you own your driveway whereas an HOA owns the private road.

When cable came to our city in the 80s, we had to pay to have them bury cable in our front yard. It was called "installation cost". This cost would have been higher if we had a 5 mile long driveway (eg: something akin to that private road). The family you know probably could have buried their own cable on their private road and just paid a small amount to have comcast connect the cable to their other lines. But they didn't. They wanted comcast to do the whole thing for them. I'm not surprised it was $15k.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47773065)

If they had century link they would have gotten no option to install service. At least cable operators are open to the idea of allowing the customer to use the service if they really want to foot the cost, centurylink would have told them it is not even open for discussion.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 months ago | (#47770595)

Except that comcast builds out crappy service to the undesirable areas and declares it good enough and then lets it deteriorate over time.
Basically the citizens want better internet and the local monopoly refuses to provide it, then goes a step further and refuses to allow anyone else to provide it.
That's why these should be categorized as common carriers, so that they really provide universal access instead of the facade they have now.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (1)

webnut77 (1326189) | about 2 months ago | (#47771403)

If they snipe away enough Comcast customers, eventually Comcast has to pull out entirely because they're losing money

If Comcast or anyone has been the monopoly provider for a few years, then they have already re-cooped the cost of their build out. After that it doesn't matter if you're in a "rich" or "poor" neighborhood; the operating costs are the same.

Re: what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47772275)

The solution which worked quite well in many countries is forcing companies to lease the last mile.

In some countries it did cause a situation where ISP's lost interest in developing the infrastructure so you have to consider how you implement it though.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (1)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 2 months ago | (#47772453)

The reasoning is this - if Comcast builds out to the entire city, they're building out to highly profitable areas and to less profitable (or even unprofitable) areas.

Okay, except that's not what Comcast did when they first entered most markets. They built out the highly profitable areas long before they built out into less profitable areas. I mean, wow, in what other industry to you get a government enforced (not just allowed) monopoly without all the pesky regulation that other monopolies (like electricity and water) get?

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47772871)

The reasoning is this - if Comcast builds out to the entire city, they're building out to highly profitable areas and to less profitable (or even unprofitable) areas. They do the build into the market with the understanding that they will make money on average, looking at the whole city, even if they lose money in some neighborhoods.

That's Comcast's special view of the situation. It might be more accurately described as "Comcast has built out to the entire region over the last 30 years, using massive profits in starting neighborhoods to pursue government subsidies and ever more marginally profitable subscribers." Because they're already huge and unwieldy, they think any potential competitor should have to be huge, too.

The major ISPs are functional monopolies partly because of regulatory capture, but partly because of the enormous capital infrastructure they've built up over the last 30-50 years. You can't create a behemoth like Comcast from angel investors and venture capital. Forcing their potential competition to simultaneously wire every house in the city, or to wire every house in the city before they can offer service to any of them raises the rollout costs and barrier to entry by 10-100 fold. Nevermind the marginal profitability of customers. (and honestly, for a new ISP, it is probably going to be the lower-class, more densely populated neighborhoods that are more profitable. Gone are the days when only rich people had cable, computer or phone, and people on the low side of the income scale are much more sensitive to price pressure.)

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (2)

Tailhook (98486) | about 2 months ago | (#47770183)

This goes back a hundred years when we built "universal access" into our phone system monopoly. Comcast is using it to beat it's competitor over the head — two government created monopolies squabbling with each other over their regulatory obligations.

Now... pan around the responses to this story and count how many times this all gets blamed on "capitalists" and "free market," and how by damned we need the government to Do Something!!!!1

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 2 months ago | (#47773485)

This goes back a hundred years when we built "universal access" into our phone system monopoly. Comcast is using it to beat it's competitor over the head

If Comcast's stance is using universal access from the phone system, then they are tacitly admitting they are subject to federal regulation when it comes to internet service.

They can't have it both ways. If they're not subject to regulation because they are a data service, they can't now complain when CenturyLink wants to intrude on their territory while trying to use regulations for a service which they're not subject to as their cudgel.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47770199)

Nothing is wrong with it when Comcast does it... In my area they got the county to agree to let them put in cable modems into less than 1/2 of the county... So if you live more than around 2 miles outside of downtown you don't have any option to use Comcast for internet and are forced to use dial-up internet from whoever you can get it from still!

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (1)

trout007 (975317) | about 2 months ago | (#47770315)

I don't see it as wrong. This is how all technology gets developed. Early adopters pay for the tech and those that wait get the benefits. You can get the latest phone for several hundred dollars or get one 4 years old for a tiny fraction of that. Same with car tech. Every little standard feature on an econobox started as optional equipment on luxury models.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47770499)

Yeah, cable internet is a up and coming technology that needs more time to develop. Those public resources are best left up to Comcast to (dis)use as they see fit.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47770395)

Because Comcast says so, that's why.
Now shut up before you get throttled back to 28.8k

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47770407)

because phone companies are given exclusive (usually) franchise agreements and government funding to provide universal service to everyone. not super speedy fast data, swanky new pay tv service and crystal clear voice in certain parts of town, but on the wrong side of tracks.. congested 1.5mbit data, voice-over-100yo copper, and no cable tv competitor, and are lucky to even have 9-1-1.

by the same token, cable companies are also given exclusive franchise agreements.. and should not be able to cherry pick either.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (1)

Kohath (38547) | about 2 months ago | (#47771059)

But this is a second provider. There's no exclusive franchise agreement.

Re:what's wrong with cherry picking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47772459)

Why shouldn't companies be able to cherry pick wealthy neighborhoods and offer their services there?

Because they took money from the government to build their network. That comes with a certain responsibility.

If they had paid for their network themselves then I agree, they should be able to limit their market as much as they like. (Assuming that they don't reach monopoly status, if they do I expect the government to break them up to ensure competition.)

They're both wrong (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47770089)

CenturyLink is simply attempting to roll out their IPTV platform in markets where they already maintain their ILEC status. They are a KSO for DirecTV, meaning they already have the ability to provide their customers with a video product. Offering DirecTV doesn't require a franchise agreement because it does not involve the public right-of-way.

Seems odd they are crying foul over not being able to roll out IPTV to a select few neighborhoods because it requires a franchise agreement (which most franchise agreements specifically require a provider to offer this to 'x' amount of homes within a mile radius).

If this is in fact for CenturyLink's ILEC territory, they already cover every home. Problem is, their coverage is not consistent, they still have 1.5mbps DSL in a lot of areas, thus they could never claim their IPTV product can reach everyone.

So instead of focusing CAPEX on improving their territory, they choose to fight a battle with Comcast over rolling out IPTV to select areas.

Just another foolish fight between two companies that will distract consumers from the real issue.

Isn't that what all ISPs do already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47770105)

I thought that's what the Universal Service Scam was supposed to pay for.

Re:Isn't that what all ISPs do already? (1)

mellon (7048) | about 2 months ago | (#47770449)

That's phone service, not internet service.

Re:Isn't that what all ISPs do already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47770585)

Considering ADSL2/VDSL2 can be offered over twisted pair, same infrastructure used to deliver voice, they have the ability to offer internet service throughout their portfolio as an ILEC. It's simply limited in certain areas due to the copper loop length (exceeding 20,000ft in some areas, from the customer premise to the CO).

CenturyLink (4, Insightful)

strstr (539330) | about 2 months ago | (#47770177)

Should be forced to build out to poor areas. Reason is they will do exactly as Comcast says, they will not upgrade the rest of their piss poor infrastructure leaving it like it is now, where many houses even in nice neighborhoods can only get 1.5Mbps shit. Lucky for us Comcast is around because cable is the only viable Internet solution currently available because companies like CenturyLink fell back on promises of delivering proper broadband and deploying fiber ages ago.

Did you know in the 1990s these phone companies said the definition of broadband was 40Mbps and they would deploy it if given what they wanted? We never saw it and they got what they wanted.

What we gotta realize is that these companies aren't around to be purely profit driven and they have a mandated duty as a utility company to properly deploy fiber to each and every home which is consistent with keeping their systems modern and capable, which the public has an interest in. If we don't add important requirements for them to follow they shit on people and never do their job, which their job is to do what the communities around them want.

I am also for making it so whom ever deploys fiber first can do it, even the city, state, federal government, or private company, even if existing franchise agreements disallow it. BECAUSE WE SHOULD HAVE HAD FIBER DEPLOYED 14+ FUCKING YEARS AGO BUT IT DIDN'T HAPPEN BECAUSE OF THIS NON SENSE AND PRICKS IN POWER THAT LET THE COMPANIES MILK THE SYSTEM.

Re:CenturyLink (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47770375)

. For example, Comcast is urging local authorities to deny CenturyLink permission to build out new infrastructure if they can't reach all of a city's residents during the initial buildout. Of course, a full buildout into a brand new market is much more expensive than installing connections a bit at a time.

While I read your points on CenturyLink this is exactly what CON-cast does to prevent other providers from invading their space. They essentially buy off local politicians and offer them every service they provide for free, in order to keep anyone from a cities council, commissioners, supervisors, mayor, from making the public aware that they could have another provider with cheaper (quality, high speed) rates.

Even the pathetic local newspapers refuse to run any sizable ad or story on the fact there are other providers that want to come in and compete, even our largest city and their moron news casts do the same. These providers would have to mail every single resident a flyer to get any attention, and since few bother to read anything outside of their junk mail it would fail to garner any needed attention.

You probably already knew all that!!! But Century seems to be the only one to call CON-cast out on its monopolistic bulls**t!

Re:CenturyLink (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 months ago | (#47770541)

problem is COMCAST CHERRY PICKS thats why its infrastructure is SHIT

Re:CenturyLink (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47771227)

1.5 would be a nice upgrade, I have .5 and I'm on centurylink

doesn't comcase do the exact same thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47770185)

im pretty sure they don't build their network out into "low-density" areas unless they have too, and from my personal (anecdotal) experience, they certainly weren't in any rush to bring cable service into the poor areas of my town when they first came in.

Re:doesn't comcase do the exact same thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47770227)

they ignored entire sections of our area as they didn't meet the 50 drops per mile of cable... they would have had to add about 50 miles of cable to service 100% of the region and they opted not to do that but did opt to double up the lines through existing areas... figure out that logic!

Re:doesn't comcase do the exact same thing? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 months ago | (#47770553)

its not just low-density, I lived in a pretty poor part of a metropolitian for a few years and the only option was clearwire and dish

comcast whining about having to put lines out in poor areas is just retarded cause they do the exact same thing

Try? There is no try. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47770209)

It is preventing competition, flat-out, non-stop.

What do you think their legislation is about? They're not paying those lobbyists all that money to NOT get results.

Research inside! (WARNING) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47770229)

My experience in this stems from this research:

There's talk that the city of Munich, Germany-a bastion of open-souce idealism-will give up hope and move from its LiMux-brand of Linux to Microsoft Windows. Everyone is trying to understand this with a lot of online complaining.

I like Linux and would love to just go all-in with it as the mavens tell me I can do. But I cannot. I use these computers to make a living by writing and podcasting. I also produce photographic art as a hobby. I can't accomplish any of this with Linux.

Yes, I can kind of "get by" but that's about it. There are a lot of products that I need that will run on WINE, a chunk of code that allows Windows software to run on Linux. It's not perfect. It takes tweaking, there are all sorts of issues, and, more importantly, what's the point? If I have to run Windows applications, I want Windows, don't I?

It's like vegetarians who crave meat and eat meat-"flavored" tofu burgers instead. Again, what's the point?

I want native applications on Linux. While there are thousands of functional applications that run great they do not cut it in the end.

For example, I tried with the help of Linux experts to get a podcasting rig to run a simple digital-to-analog converter and pre-amp over Skype. Forget it. Nothing worked right. Linux did not like the gear and Skype on Linux stinks.

I also noticed a curious phenomenon within the Linux expert community of making suggestions that don't work. When called out for the fail, the expert would always say, "Well, I never tried it, I just heard that it worked." This commonality is deadly and seems universal.

Then we have Photoshop, Illustrator, and the entire Adobe universe. None of it runs on Linux natively and people "have heard" that it runs okay on WINE. This is no good. Then GIMP enters the conversation. Yes, as a Photoshop clone it's actually pretty good. But the name says it all: hobbled.

Now we move on to the Office Suite from Microsoft. There are many good competitors in this space, many free. They all seem perfect for the small office or even a city government, like in Munich. The word processors, in particular, are very much like the reliable versions of MS-Word-you know, before the appearance of the "ribbon" interface.

People in the Windows world can find these suites on Windows, too, namely Libre Office and Apache OpenOffice. Both are fully functional office suites.

Microsoft does not like these things and performed format changes, such as adding the .docx format. That was a setback for the clones because .docx became the default "save as" format for Word and too many users could not figure out how to save any other way; docx became a fly in the ointment for clone suite users. I always told people it was rude to use .docx, because it is. Not every computer user in the world can read this format.

Ironically, Microsoft didn't need to change anything. Word is just better. Excel is better. PowerPoint is better. It's that simple.

When I tried to get my own family to use the alternative Office Suites, they rejected every option. My wife, for example, likes the Windows way of tracking and saving all changes in a document, and the ability to reclaim old text. Why anyone wants to keep what I consider junk is beyond me.

Nobody was going for it. And I admit that while I do not care about tracking changes, I do like the grammar checker on Word. It needs improvement, but it does a good superficial sweep and catches little errors. This is particularly handy for professional writers, many of whom are sloppy and expect the waning army of editors to fix things. I also think the Microsoft spell checker is better than the alternatives.

Unter gleeben glauben globen. If I want a word processor to create e-books, for example, or to organize large texts I use Scrivener. Does Scrivener run on Linux? Maybe someday. I still do the original writing in Word, then run it to Scrivener for organizing and compiling. Linux is not part of the scheme.

Now there may be something that shows up on Linux that everyone will have to have and we'll all have to buy a Linux box or dual boot because of it. Visi-Calc sold a lot of Apple II computers in its day-1979-because it alone ran Visi-Calc. That was then, this is now.

Time has run out for there to be a must-have killer software package on Linux. Anyone writing such an application writes it for Mac or Windows, because that's where the customers are. All the super applications for Linux are on the server side and that ends the discussion. Yes, this could change someday. But that someday is not on the horizon.

Right now Linux on the desktop remains a cheap curiosity, that is kind of fun to play with when you are bored, or nerdly.

There is no competition... (2)

Kenja (541830) | about 2 months ago | (#47770237)

The only other options are satellite and DSL... they successfully prevented competition when they threw their "we no share our cables" fit awhile back.

Re:There is no competition... (1)

antdude (79039) | about 2 months ago | (#47770659)

Or worse, can't get DSL/fiber. Frak satellite (too slow and expensive).

Comcast doesn't want Competition, meh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47770275)

Dog bites man.

Good for the goose... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47770349)

Oh, so ComCast doesn't want CenturyLink doing exactly what it does with its own infrastructure?

1st hand experience (2)

pseudorand (603231) | about 2 months ago | (#47770355)

I switch from century link to comcast, but when my 6-month trial price expired and I tried to switch back, century link said they couldn't offer me broadband service because their lines in my neighborhood were at capacity (i'm supposedly on a waiting list). Meanwhile comcast more than doubled their introductory price on me.

Xcel just replaced all the gas pipelines throughout the entire neighborhood last summer and the city just repaved most of the streets, so I was SURE there would be some opportunity for century link to put in new infrastructure relatively cheaply at the same time. But no, they STILL can't offer me service.

Up until now, I figured century link was just too cheap to build infrastructure in my neighborhood. Now I wonder if it isn't really their fault. I love to hate century link, but I'm even more eager to hate comcast.

And for the record, I'm white and middle class (as is most of my neighborhood, though I am notoriously cheap and unwilling to pay for stupid bundle I don't need). Not that racism or poorism doesn't contribute to their decisions, but don't blame on malice and -isms what greed or stupidity can explain.

Re:1st hand experience (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47770849)

Just an FYI, if you are on a waiting list, it is likely not due to the last mile copper (your reference to building out new infrastructure). They would need to add additional ports (DSLAM/VRAD) which is not cost-effective for a single customer.

OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47770455)

I would expect nothing less out of the mouths of Comcast.

Nationalize em. (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 2 months ago | (#47770467)

If comcast wants to have monopoly power, if they want to act like a monopoly.. We should turn them into a monopoly. A government owned, government run, public service monopoly.

Or threaten to carve them up like Ma Bell.

Dollars to doughnuts they'd start playing nice as far as competition goes, post haste. Either way, we as consumers win.

Re:Nationalize em. (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | about 2 months ago | (#47771187)

They'd need a new name: Ministry of Truth.

Re:Nationalize em. (1)

Andrio (2580551) | about 2 months ago | (#47771245)

We could carve them up like mabell, but that would just slow them down for 20 or so years while all the baby Comcasts recombine.

Just like the T1000 from Terminator 2.

Stupidest Argument Ever (0)

Edis Krad (1003934) | about 2 months ago | (#47770755)

Under the same logic, Ferrari should start making affordable cars for people that earn less than 40k a year.

not taking sides here, but... (1)

SinShiva (1429617) | about 2 months ago | (#47771349)

I switched to CenturyLink 10mbit DSL because I suffered a dramatically reduced income, after having been on the 50/10 Comcast tier. I even had to spend some time in a pretty poor town. I had my full 10mbit there. Most of my neighbors there we're on centurylink, many using their IPTV-based PRISM service because it was cheaper than comcast and more reliable than satelite. I even worked with CL Engineers in diagnosing a broken fiber run into town. The way I see it, CL is still mostly an ATM based DSL provider and they ultimately have a lot more work cut out for them and with not nearly the resources Comcast has, in upgrading their entire networks.

I live right next to a CenturyLink switch (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 2 months ago | (#47771857)

Two years ago, my street was torn up between the main highway into town and the CenturyLink switch, so that large-diameter orange cable could be extended to it. Yes, fiber! Fiber that could solve our area's ISP duopoly problem, where our choice is between CenturyLink's poky 10M service and that nice fast SuddenLink 50M service that is near-useless because of a low usage cap.

I checked, and CenturyLink has no intention of using that fiber to offer faster service anytime this century.

Re:I live right next to a CenturyLink switch (1)

freeze128 (544774) | about 2 months ago | (#47772103)

So that means they are "Not in this CenturyLink"?

the solution is easy (1)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | about 2 months ago | (#47771885)

Allow them to cherry pick and mandate them to expand to the poor.

Comcast won't have a leg to stand on, and the cherry picker will be forced to expand and compete.

Alternatively, comcast should be forced to make high speed internet inexpensive when the consumer decides to not take them up on television or phone service.

If Comcast shuts up about someone competing with them, then maybe both of them can avoid getting legislated.

Pot calling the kettle black (1)

qubezz (520511) | about 2 months ago | (#47772227)

Centurylink (which in this territory acquired Qwest, which was the local baby bell USWest after the AT&T breakup) does their own slimy anti-competitive tricks with their monopoly.

While DSL providers were required to allow third-party ISPs as a choice to customers (where the copper is Centurylink but the ISP is your choice), they limited the third party ISPs to 7mbps connections while rolling out their own ISP service at 30mbps. Whereas the ISPs provide professional and business class service, Centurylink's service is of course crummy PPPoE dialup with constant dropping and changing IP address, making it pretty much useless for anything except looking at web pages and impossible to use with most off the shelf network hardware.

They are hardly the ones to be speaking about preventing competition.

CentruyLink did this to me (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 months ago | (#47773327)

About ten years ago they replaced the copper phone lines along my street with fiber. It made the land line phone connection a lot more reliable (cell service here still sucks), but they said we were too far from town to get DSL. Then about 5 years ago they called and asked if I wanted DSL. Cable is still a few miles away but they'll never bother running it out here because everyone who wants it has a dish and DSL already. Not the fastest broadband, but plenty fast for us up here in Appalachia.

Its time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47773347)

Its time that Internet Service wasa made a non-profit public utility with prices capped at $29.95 a month for 50mb upload/download speeds. Electricity, gas, water, and sewer services should also be made non-profit, with rates being limited to actual cost of those services.

Also, others here seem to be missing a point. Once built (if done properly) there is only low maintainence cost for Internet delivery infrastructure. So it only needs to be built once, then maintained (at a much lower cost that the initial build-out). I do agree that allowing any ISP to "cherry pick" where to offer service is wrong. Any ISP that wants to offer service in an area must service that entire area.

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