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Is Comcast Heading the Way of the Dinosaur?

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the giving-your-customers-what-they-hate dept.

340

CasualRepartee writes "Comcast has been one of the most successful cable companies in the world; in many parts of the U.S., Comcast sits pretty on huge user bases that don't have many viable high-speed internet alternatives. However, poor customer service, slow speeds and generally poor business practices could make the once-great internet giant another extinct dinosaur, no ice age required. The fact of the matter is this: Comcast is no longer the biggest and the best. Cable is taking a distant back seat to Verizon's FiOS (fiber optic service), which delivers speeds up to 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload speeds. Unlike Comcast, FiOS delivers the full range of bandwidth to each user, whereas Comcast users are forced to share bandwidth with other users on the same coaxial cable, causing speeds to fluctuate dramatically with usage."

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You'll share a pipe somewhere (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21551725)

And if the pipe is before your destination, then you're going to be sharing bandwidth, FIOS, Cable or DSL.

SUCK MY DOG!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21551811)

Her name is Lassie.

Re:You'll share a pipe somewhere (3, Informative)

nxtw (866177) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551955)

With HFC (hybrid fiber coax) networks where the "coax" part is shared with more than one customer, you've got one more leg of the connection that's subject to problems -- and not as easy to upgrade. Cable companies already pack as much as they can into their limited bandwidth, balancing analog, digital, and HD channels; they can't just add more bandwidth on the coax for data services without rearraning other things. So they either have to upgrade infrastructure to DOCSIS 2/3 or expand their fiber out so that each HFC node serves less customers.

DSL / Fios services do not share this issue. If congestion happens between the cable/DSL/Fios node and the Internet, operators need only increase the bandwidth available between those locations - which shouldn't be nearly as hard to do, since they'd be adding another connection alongside or better utilizing an existing fiber connection.

Re:You'll share a pipe somewhere (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552011)

OK why are folks just plain stupid.

FIOS connections are shared between a max of 32 home or nodes. They are rolling out GPON which will allow gigabit to the home (though no home will likely have it any time soon)

currently most FIOS users are BPON and could get nearly 100MB bidirectional. As it is Verizon has maxed out currently at 50/20 plans for the home user, and yes you can get full speed 24/7. They have built out the back end to support high speed bidirectional traffic and this can be seen by the lack of complaints by users on sites such as dslreports.com and others. Also they are demonstrating they can migrate from 40 to 100Gbps links with relative ease.

Cable on the other hand will roll out DOCSIS 3.0 later next year....but ...it will cost them 4 6MHz channels....and the resulting channel loss. Sure they will reclaim analog channels as well but FIOS has no such issue. And when FIOS converts over to all IPTV well game up call it day. They will have the ability to use two light streams to the home to manage tv and internet with speeds cable can only dream of with more bonding of channels and high revs of DOCSIS.

So sure do you share a node at some point but for FIOS users its at the CO and not 20 feet from your front door and not likely to be congested.

I know...i can dl from an internet service that cannot be spoken of...at 30mbps any time of day and i get 30mbps every time....

Re:You'll share a pipe somewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552193)

Cable on the other hand will roll out DOCSIS 3.0 later next year....but ...it will cost them 4 6MHz channels

And this is the key part of the issue, when you hear some people crying about how bandwidth usage is fucking up the tv service, this is what they're talking about. When you hear idiots asking why anyone needs more bandwidth to the home, this is why they're idiots.

Re:You'll share a pipe somewhere (mod up parent) (5, Informative)

$pace6host (865145) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552305)

Thanks for posting this - I was in the middle of posting the same thing. Sure, you share a pipe - but the difference is the size of the pipe and how many other high bandwidth users you're sharing it with (and how oversubscribed it is). Around here (Philly burbs), Comcast offers "Speedboost" or "Powerboost" because they can occasionally allocate you the bandwidth, but they can't possibly give it to you all the time (they don't have it). DOCSIS 3.0 will help, but they're also trying to jam in all those new HDTV channels... FiOS, on the other hand, I NEVER see less than my rated speed, unless I'm going to a slow server or a server on a slow link. I might be sharing my downlink with up to 32 others on the BPON, but whatever they have at the CO and out is definitely not overloaded. My Mom on Comcast, though, sees a slowdown every day when the kids get home from school and log on to Xbox live.

Re:You'll share a pipe somewhere (4, Informative)

Kiaser Wilhelm II (902309) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552169)

Of course. However, the difference between coaxial networks and DSL or FIOS is that the coaxial network is in a bus toplogy, meaning that the coax segment you are on is shared with everyone else on that segment. This is a major issue because the total bandwidth over the coax is limited and not very scalable as far as subscriber capacity is concerned. Get a few people maxing our their connection and you will have problems quickly.

DSL and FIOS are examples of star toplogy; you do not share your incoming line with anyone else at all. The bandwidth converges only at the local node where high bandwidth fiber is provided to the node.

Do you see why cable is at a disadvantage here?

Re:You'll share a pipe somewhere (2, Funny)

Covener (32114) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552313)

you do not share your incoming line with anyone else at all. The bandwidth converges only at the local node where high bandwidth fiber is provided to the node.

Do you see why cable is at a disadvantage here?



I just pulled the spark plugs out of every car on my block. How much faster will my commute be?

Re:You'll share a pipe somewhere (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552205)

True, but almost all the time it's the last mile deciding what you can get. I'm capped to rather slow DSL (2Mbit/400kbit) because of the distance from the central, no cable (old system not ready for Internet) and no fiber. If I had a fat pipe to the central, they'd be ready to sell me 20/2 Mbit+ ADSL2/cable, and even then it's the modem speed holding them back. Upgrade cetnral-to-central capacity to offer me another 100Mbit? No problem. Upgrading my end-mile connection to offer me another 100Mbit? Big, big problem. Seriously, if the fat pipe is in place aka the costs are sunk, you bet they'll offer you good speed on it.

I hate Comcast (4, Insightful)

The Breeze (140484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551729)

Dealing with their bureaucracy is a nightmare - especially if you are trying to get a clarification on whether their commercial TOS allows paid WiFI hotspot access. Inconsistent policies, customer service from hell, a pricing structure more suited to the "we're the phone company - we don't care - we don't have to" days...I can only hope that Comcast is indeed due for a long permament swim in a nice tar pit.

Re:I hate Comcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21551761)

I agree. Until about two years ago, I had Adelphia cable, and they did and surprisingly good job as an ISP. Then Comcast took over, and my monthly bill about doubled, my service became more inconsistent, abysmal customer service, and tech support was a friggin' nightmare.

So I switched to Verizon DSL. Now I have inconsistent reliability, abysmal customer service, and friggin' tech support nightmares, but at least it's cheaper.

Re:I hate Comcast (1)

pyrrhonist (701154) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551949)

Until about two years ago, I had Adelphia cable, and they did and surprisingly good job as an ISP.

Surprisingly [msn.com] good. [adelphiare...turing.com]

Re:I hate Comcast (1)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552327)

I never had much of an issue with Verizon, although when I upgraded to the 3.0/768k service they switched the line to interleave mode, which increases latency. I called the basic support line and they had no clue what I was talking about, but I found out there was a higher tier tech support line for who ever had the Verizon Freedom package, there was little to no hold time, and they turned off interleave. I also had a problem with them having the wrong distance information for my location from the co, so they only let me have 768k/128 for awhile, but they updated all the distance measurements a month or two after. Other than that no issues, and so far FiOS hasn't given me any problems at all, not once have I lost internet or TV, which was a routine occurrence with Comcast and they don't cap my connection for downloading too much.

Re:I hate Comcast (0, Offtopic)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551911)

I have Cablevison (Boost which is 30 Mbps up, 5 down) and FIOS available to me. FIOS is slightly less expensive, has lower bandwidth, and doesn't permit servers. Cablevision does allow servers. Cablevision also offers more HD channels and better VOIP options. People who I know who have switched to FIOS complain bitterly about Verizon's billing practices and poor customer service.

I don't see how FIOS is going to put Cablevision out to pasture anytime soon.

Re:I hate Comcast (1)

goaliemn (19761) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552067)

And what does this have to do with comcast? The article was centering on Comcast..

Re:I hate Comcast (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21551921)

You are not alone. Everyone hates comcast, Even the employees (except for the Executives at VP and above.. and they have at least 180-190 VP's.) I left 2 years ago because I saw a sinking ship, and even then All my coworkers hated the company and it's business practices. They made incredibly stupid decisions like spending freezes on the operations side but the executives could hire new assistants and remodel their offices at $30,000-$50,000 a pop. Customer service is touted all over the place yet when you as an employee try to implement it you are told no. I know of field techs that were let go for trying to make the customer happy.

They seemed to promote the idiots to management and let go those that were valuable to the company. In other words I saw lots of people getting screwed, so I jumped ship. Because the screwing was so bad I could map out and see it was heading for me and my department.

The last straw for me was instead of hiring one of the guys in the department that knew the job and systems or a new manager position they hired a friend of one of the executives for it that did not know squat about the department, what we did, or even the business process. And this is a very common thing at comcast, hiring of managers based on the buddy system not capabilities and knowledge.

Posting anon as peole at Comcast that know me know my Slashdot ID.

Stuck with the dinosaur? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21551735)

Well, maybe in some areas you have a choice. But here, I have either Comcast (which I am happy with BTW) or DSL. I've had Comcast now for about 9 years and it has been fine. I mean, once, we had a big storm and a lot of things flooded and their routers were under water so it was down for 2 days, but other than that - it's been fine). I am not sure when this mystical FiOS thing will come to my house, but when it does I may switch to it. But for now - I guess I am stuck in the Jurassic with Comcast.

Re:Stuck with the dinosaur? (2, Interesting)

nizo (81281) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551815)

And here, I have the choice of DSL from Qwest or cable internet from Comcast. Dsl is cheaper, but significantly slower (since I can't get anything but the basic service due to distance issues).

Note to Comcast: I am sorely tempted to switch back to Comcast, but there is no way I will until you quit screwing with traffic; believe it or not, I use torrents to get legit software (linux distros and some commercial software that *gasp* I have paid for), and I can't afford to have this kind of traffic disrupted. So for me, slow dsl is the only viable alternative.

Re:Stuck with the dinosaur? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552241)

I'm guessing you're talking about getting commerical copyrighted material that you download due to DRM, ease of use, etc. Course you still end up helping the majority unscrupulously get stuff for free, still making you the bad guy.

Re:Stuck with the dinosaur? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551817)

Well, I think part of it is because you have the option of DSL. Most people I know that have Comcast as their only ISP tend to have issues. When I have called Comcast support, if I don't get the answer I want to hear I just mention the "D"-word and magically they get more cooperative.

A bit dated on the FiOS speeds... (4, Informative)

strredwolf (532) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551739)

Something to note -- Verizon has deployed a symmetric plan. In select areas it's 25Mbps both up and down. In other areas it's 15Mbps up/down. Check dlsreports.com for details.

Re:A bit dated on the FiOS speeds... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551969)

And despite availability in the Tampa Bay area for quite sometime, FiOS is still not available where I live in Pasco County. But even in Tampa Bay, the primary concern people actually care about is download speed, not upload speed. Unless you're planning on running a server FiOS doesn't have much of an advantage of Bright House Networks, which is the local cable provider for most of the Tampa Bay area. They offer 15 Mbps down, with 512 Kbps up. And, of course, for those of you who are planning on running a server, Verizon isn't going to support you anyway.

Re:A bit dated on the FiOS speeds... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552279)

Good luck on BitTorrent with that 512k uplink. The protocol is designed to send more data to the people who upload more. Not to mention the whole network effects thing: By supporting ISPs with crippled uplinks you encourage their proliferation and the more of them there are the less people there are to let you download at 15Mbit. If you want a fast download, get a fast uplink.

Re:A bit dated on the FiOS speeds... (2, Informative)

imasu (1008081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552315)

FiOS is still quite slow in comparison to the home fiber options in Japan. NTT's B-Flets is 100Mbit and has been available there for a while for less than $50/mo. Not sure about the upstream, I *think* it's symmetric based upon what friends tell me, but I have no cites to back that up.

Talk about choosing between two evils. (4, Insightful)

COMICAGOGO (1055066) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551749)

I have at various times been both a Verizon and a Comcast customer. I must say that having to choose between the two for fast internet service is like being give the choice of having you right arm and leg cut off or your left arm and leg (not talking price per say.) You are pretty screwed no matter what you pick.

Any body else have the dubious honor of having been with both of these companies?

Re:Talk about choosing between two evils. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21551939)

Oh yeah, I've had the unfortunate opportunity of dealing with both of these extensively.
They are both horrible.
However it took verizon 60 days to turn on my DSL. Solely because of poor customer service. It took that long to get a competent person on the phone who understood that if the modem isn't getting a signal when you plug it into the box outside the dwelling.... it's not your internal wiring.

Not to mention the 2 weeks it took to repair a fallen line on another occasion.

While Comcast is way too expensive, unreliable, does evil, tells you your unsupported the moment you tell them the only devices you own are Linux/UNIX... They are unfortunately still better than Verizon.

censorship? (1)

rpillala (583965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551773)

I realize the tagging is in beta, but why censorship?

Anyway, I'm interested in fiber optic internet too but it's not available in my area and no one seems to have any more information than that. Their price seems pretty competitive (at least against Comcast) and you'd think they'd be interested in rolling it out as widely and quickly as possible. What kind of infrastructure needs to be developed for this? I thought there was already a ton of fiber in the ground that no one was using.

Re:censorship? (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551795)

Because any subscriber can add whatever ass-stupid shit they want.

Re:censorship? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21551871)

Indeed. Tags are the new graffiti. (Anyone know what algorithm is used to decide what tags are actually shown? Does the system just look for several people entering the same tag? Is there some karma-weighting?)

Re:censorship? (1, Troll)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551879)

I realize the tagging is in beta, but why censorship?
Because Comcast throttles BitTorrent, and the pirate kiddies can't tell the difference between the right to free speech and the ability to steal. It's pretty sad.

Re:censorship? (1)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552099)

I wasn't trolling. I was answering grandparent's question, correctly. Metamoderators, on your mark.

Re:censorship? (1)

maniac/dev/null (170211) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552223)

Because Comcast throttles BitTorrent, and the pirate kiddies can't tell the difference between the right to free speech and the ability to steal. It's pretty sad.


You kinda were trolling. There are far more uses for BitTorrent than just piracy. It's the only way I get any large download anymore (game demos, linux isos) if I can help it. And to wrap it all back to the topic at hand, I've never noticed a slow down when getting torrents over my Comcast internet service.

Re:censorship? (1)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552271)

You kinda were trolling. There are far more uses for BitTorrent than just piracy.
I never said there weren't. The connection is hoary, I agree - that's why I seemed so put off by it. Nonetheless, what I'm answering is why the censorship tag comes up on a comcast article. I'm not making any commentary on the nature of BitTorrent; you're seeing things that aren't there. All I did was to point out something stupid that a specific group of people think.

Pirates think anti-piracy is censorship. Simple as that. That's just where the tag came in. I'm not saying BitTorrent is about piracy. I'm saying that in a pirate's eyes, Comcast's anti-BitTorrent stuff is censorship. I'm also saying that in reality, that's not censorship at all.

I'm discussing a group's opinion. Please spend less time defending against things I didn't say about BitTorrent.

I've never noticed a slow down when getting torrents over my Comcast internet service.
Most of the pirates pretending anti-P2P is censorship aren't even ComCast customers. I was just answering the question "why is this story tagged censorship?"

I get really tired of BitTorrent non-arguments.

Re:censorship? (1)

Karzz1 (306015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552257)

You were probably modded a troll because BitTorrent does not necessarily equate to piracy.

Re:censorship? (1)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552303)

You were probably modded a troll because BitTorrent does not necessarily equate to piracy.
I never said it did. What I said was that some people think anti-piracy throttling is censorship, about which they're wrong. Please read what I said again - at no point did I make any such suggestion. Both of the people who've replied, and I presume the person who modded me troll, have made that same mistake.

Sometimes I wonder why it is that when I make fun of pirates, so many people go "bittorrent isn't about piracy." All I was doing was pointing out one reason that stupid people might have added a tag to a story. Take off the rose colored glasses and read what I said again.

Re:censorship? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552255)

copyright infringement != stealing

Where is FIOS? (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551781)

I still have no idea where FIOS is available or what their deployment plan is.

The only thing I know is that it's not available here.

Re:Where is FIOS? (1)

Tom90deg (1190691) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551903)

I don't know where it is either, and I believe that to be one of the main, if not only advantage of Cable internet, namely, most everyone has a cable hookup, or at least a way of getting cable simply. Fiber Optics, to my limited knowledge, requires a whole new system to be laid out, new pipes laid and everything. That takes time and money, and that's why we'll probaly still have these old dinosuars for a bit longer yet.

Re:Where is FIOS? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21551917)

Thats the idea. They just want to make noise in the market, but they are NOT about to let their competitors know what they really have. I've had the same 768/356 DSL from Verizon for 10 years. When I call and inquire about FiOS, they REQUIRE I give them my current Verizon account # from my bill to even continue the conversation. I've gone as far as I can up the totem pole to complain about this, but they're sticking to their "policy". The result? It is not available in my area. When will it be available? They don't know. Consider yourself lucky if its available in your area within the next 10 years.

If only we had a map with current FIOS coverage we might be able to put a little fire under their asses. (I will resist ranting about what their CEO got paid last year...)

Anybody up for building an online FIOS coverage registry? I'll handle the backend and page design if someone can workout a nice map app for the whole of the USofA. Perhaps using Google Maps API? (I do have a slashdot account password somewhere...)

Re:Where is FIOS? (1)

MT628496 (959515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551977)

I have FIOS on Long Island, and it really is pretty fast.

Re:Where is FIOS? (4, Informative)

rfunches (800928) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552001)

Two sources:

  1. http://www.dslreports.com/ [dslreports.com] . Their Verizon Fiber Optics forum is usually updated with information about the latest rollout areas and they also have a Google Maps application where users with FiOS service "pin" their location on the map and offer a user review in some instances. The forums also include some info on overall deployment, but it's usually secondhand info so take it for what it's worth.
  2. The Verizon website for your state at http://www22.verizon.com/about/community/ [verizon.com] . For instance, Verizon Virginia [verizon.com] has a monthly FTTP construction list in PDF format.

Choice of evils (2, Insightful)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551783)

As if Verizon's customer service somehow *isn't* atrocious. Ugh. There's no good option here.

So stop bitching (2, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552273)

And set up your own telecommunications company.

Oh wait... It's easier to sit back and complain.

 

Mistakes in reasoning (4, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551785)

This story assumes two things:

1. That FIOS is available for people. The actual availability is limited.
2. That, since you are really interested in the latest Comcast news about P2P, a majority or even a large minority must also be interested. They aren't.

That second one is a hard lesson for people to learn. Just because you care about something doesn't mean anyone else will care or should care. Don't mistake your wishes for reality.

Re:Mistakes in reasoning (4, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551989)

I don't agree. Number 1, you have a good point, I would love to know when FIOS is coming to Seattle, and which parts will receive it first when the service does come available. More likely we're going to be blessed with clearwire, comcast, DSL providers and wimax, with the last one being projected for next year.

I'd love to be able to add FIOS to the list, because all of those suck except for DSL and conceivably wimax when it gets here.

As for number 2, I think the majority of people ought to be interested in this. I wouldn't have cared until they were allowed to buy out the local cable provider and turn the service from pretty good into completely unusable crap. The facts that they feel entitled to charge high prices for garbage service and have a propensity to buy out smaller companies is a good reason to be concerned. Just not necessarily people outside the US, but if we're going that route, there's a lot of news that shouldn't be posted here because it only applies to other countries.

Advertising an always on connection and being wholly unable to make it through a day without interruptions, let alone a week is pretty pathetic. The expectation that we would have to call them daily for a credit was completely absurd. I've never been treated that way by either Earthlink or Qwest.

Re:Mistakes in reasoning (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552235)

"I would love to know when FIOS is coming to Seattle..."

They put FIOS in the Snohomish area last Spring. Now I have a choice between Comcast and FIOS. FIOS uses PPPoE so if you build your own gateway router and don't want to use the one supplied by Verizon you'll have to adjust to that protocol.

Re:Mistakes in reasoning (1)

tribecom (1005035) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552041)

And a lesson you should learn is to look beyond the immediate. You might be right that many don't care about the bittorrent throttling, but try asking them a more legitimate question such as "do you agree with comcast determining how you should use the bandwidth you pay for ?" and I suspect people might care a whole lot more.

Why censorship? (1)

neltana (795825) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551797)

The article has nothing to do with censorship. I know that there are censorship issues associated with Comcast, but does that mean we have to categorized every Comcast article as such?

I would like to illustrate the ridiculousness of this by making a car analogy, but I can't think of one. Feel free to fill in something suitable in your own minds.

But my experiences with Comcast's customer service have been Kafkaesque at best. We had a glitch with our cable box a few weeks back and it took a loooong discussion to convince the representative that we even had a problem. There was no picture on any channel! How could we be misinterpreting that?

Re:Why censorship? (-1, Troll)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551913)

I know that there are censorship issues associated with Comcast
No, there aren't. Censorship is when a government forbids you the ability to publish a document. Comcast, and all telecomm infrastructure providers, are incapable of censorship, and there is nothing of censorship in throttling P2P. Quit being such drama queens - choking bittorrent isn't even close to censorship, and you should feel primitive for having suggested otherwise.

You do not have the inalienable right to theft, and don't even bother wasting my time telling me about all the other legitimate uses of BitTorrent which account for less than one tenth of one percent of all BitTorrent activity.

Re:Why censorship? (2, Insightful)

TomHandy (578620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552019)

Where do people get the idea that censorship is the sole domain of government? A business/school/church/organization/publication/etc. are all capable of censorship. I've never understood this idea where people come and say "it isn't the government doing it, so it can't be censorship".

Re:Why censorship? (5, Insightful)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552081)

Where do people get the idea that censorship is the sole domain of government? A business/school/church/organization/publication/etc. are all capable of censorship.
No, they aren't. Censorship doesn't mean "we choose not to run your piece." Censorship means "you may not run your piece anywhere." No business, church, school, organization or publication can prevent me from publishing my work; all they can do is decline their own involvement. The word comes from the latin "censura" meaning judgement, and became attached to the judgement of morals and ethics in 1592. The role of censura in Roman government was to evaluate whether or not a piece may be distributed: a publisher would go to the censura, and ask whether they may disseminate the author's work, after they'd decided that they wanted to. This was one of the mechanisms of suppressing anti-governmental or anti-praetorian text, and was frequently the means by which revolutions were crushed.

Of course, given that you're insisting that something you believe is true, ignorant of reference work, I'm willing to bet you're a descriptivist, and that you have no idea what descriptivism is. Giant shock: the language doesn't change just because you're no good at it. You can, in fact, be wrong; just because a group of people misuses a word doesn't mean its meaning has changed.

If what you said about censorship was true, then American censorship law would make no sense whatsoever. How could the government say that censorship would never, ever happen in this country, if any random company could censor?

Where do people get the idea that censorship is the sole domain of government?
From having a familiarity with a word borne of literature, legal context, or just knowing what they're talking about. Where do you get the idea otherwise? Your buddy Stan?

MOD PARENT UP (1)

Agarax (864558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552183)

An intelligent and well supported response.

Sir, you do realize you are challenging the Groupthink?

Re:Why censorship? (1)

TomHandy (578620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552209)

I'm sorry, but what you are talking about is government censorship specifically. But again, my point is, governments are not the only body capable of censorship. It seems like you have a very narrow description of censorship. There are plenty of other scenarios that can be seen as censorship as well; corporations, religious bodies, etc. are all capable of this. And why are you insulting me? Looking this up in any number of dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc. indicates that "censorship" has a broader meaning than what you are referring to.

Re:Why censorship? (1)

TomHandy (578620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552219)

Just to clarify; censors who examine and modify music/literature/etc. to remove anything objectionable/etc. are clearly engaging in an act defined as censorship. Just because they don't do it on behalf of a government doesn't mean the activity isn't censorship. Censorship and censoring both have clear meanings that refer to any number of acts that have nothing to do with governments specifically.

Re:Why censorship? (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552129)

Where do people get the idea that censorship is the sole domain of government? A business/school/church/organization/publication/etc. are all capable of censorship. I've never understood this idea where people come and say "it isn't the government doing it, so it can't be censorship".
People hear bits and pieces of things, but never bother to actually figure out exactly what they've heard. The more common misunderstanding of censorship is the notion that censorship is unconstitutional under the first amendment. The correction of this misunderstanding is "it's only unconstitutional if the government is engaging in censorship".

Interestingly enough, what we have here if a second degree of misunderstanding, a misinterpretation of the correction: someone thinking that if the government isn't the one doing it, it's not censorship! As you noted, the correct observation is: "it is censorship no matter who does it, but it is only unconstitutional if it's the government doing it."

Re:Why censorship? (1)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552225)

I find it amusing how you've fallen into the very thing you're discussing. Censorship was an official Roman government post more than two thousand years ago, and there is no language authority which has ever cited it as anything other than a government action. The very notion of censorship is the absolute forbidding of the ability to publish; very rare is the society in which anything other than the Government, or possibly a religious body, would even have the ability to do so.

You and I get along, and you are taking the laudable position of formality and correctness. I invite you to produce an authority (you and I both know that means no wikipedia) which makes any claim to censorship being something other than the centralized forbidding of a publishment across all points, or the explanation of a situation in which something other than government or religious government would have the ability to create such a situation.

The word censere was created for a specific purpose. Unlike most ancient words, we know who coined this term, when, and why. The office "censere" was established by the General Pompeii to restrict the traffic of documents which were spreading the idea that he might rise up against the Caesars, since having that sort of suggestion made about you - even by a third party - was punishable by death (indeed, that's the official reason they crucified Jesus, too, for being the "king of the Jews." Never claim authority in ancient Rome.) Pompeii wanted to make it very clear that he was prosecuting people making those suggestions because he had been entrusted to take a legion and quite a bit of support military to trim up the edges of the empire; you can even see commentary on the importance of the censura in the Biblical discussion of the Maccabees. Read that part of the Bible. It won't make any sense unless it's governmentally driven.

Indeed, none of American censorship law makes sense unless censorship is government-only. It's not enough to say "but they just mean governmental censorship", as the law isn't actually written that way. The law makes plain that no censorship is tolerable in any form. Companies aren't off the hook for law because of some unspoken tacit understanding that "it only means these people" or what have you, and there is no point in the law wherein anything to the effect of "we only mean government censorship" is actually said.

It's great for you to posit alternate theories, and it's great for you to suggest that many of the misunderstandings are the repetition of things that people heard. However, this time that isn't the case. Censorship in the historical context is something I've paid great and diligent attention to. You and I get along because we share a fascination with people who take personal beliefs over reference material when bitterly arguing the denotation of words.

The problem is, I've got history and reference on my side.

You're a smart and a convivial guy. I invite you to find reference that suggests I am incorrect, when I say the following clearly: "The concept of censorship only makes sense when coming from a central authority, such as government or governmentalized religion. Censorship is the act of preventing the publication of material wholesale. A publisher declining a work is simply a business decision, as one can have the work brought to another publisher. No business, school, civic office or similar device in American culture has the privilege of censorship, or even a sensible mechanism therefor."

However, to be plain - and I risk seeming standoffish here - your entire point seems to be that people have a tendency to argue from impression and belief, as opposed to reference, history, context or weighted argument. I put forward the idea that in fact that is exactly what you have done, albeit in a very convincing and interesting fashion. This is, in essence, a red herring: you have used personal misapprehensions about what may or may not be the validity of someone's statement to argue their statement.

You're right - in the previous posting I could have been more thorough. I have now done so. I don't actually see any reference backing you up. Could you be doing what you decry?

Re:Why censorship? (1)

TomHandy (578620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552287)

From the Britannica Concise Encyclopedia:

censorship Act of changing or suppressing speech or writing that is considered subversive of the common good. In the past, most governments believed it their duty to regulate the morals of their people; only with the rise in the status of the individual and individual rights did censorship come to seem objectionable. Censorship may be preemptive (preventing the publication or broadcast of undesirable information) or punitive (punishing those who publish or broadcast offending material). In Europe, both the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches practiced censorship, as did the absolute monarchies of the 17th and 18th centuries.

So there we have an acknowledgement of religions practicing censorship, not governments.

From the Columbia Encyclopedia:

censorship, official prohibition or restriction of any type of expression believed to threaten the political, social, or moral order. It may be imposed by governmental authority, local or national, by a religious body, or occasionally by a powerful private group. It may be applied to the mails, speech, the press, the theater, dance, art, literature, photography, the cinema, radio, television, or computer networks.

Re:Why censorship? (1)

TomHandy (578620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552331)

The more I read what you're saying, the more I don't get it, I guess. You seem to be insisting that censorship as a term only refers specifically to a government forbidding the publication of a document. But it seems pretty obvious that censorship as a term and censors exist in plenty of other scenarios. Most dictionary and encyclopedia definitions acknowledge that censorship is not so narrowly defined as you are saying, so why are you insisting on this? Censorship and censors and censoring have clearly come to mean far more than just governments forbidding the publication of documents.

Re:Why censorship? (1)

Soulfader (527299) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552185)

You do not have the inalienable right to theft, and don't even bother wasting my time telling me about all the other legitimate uses of BitTorrent which account for less than one tenth of one percent of all BitTorrent activity.
...but which accounts for 100% of my bittorrent activity. I should be complacent and happy to be penalized for the misdeeds of others just because there are a lot of them? Does this philosophy of yours extend to the justice system--most arrested people are criminals, so they can all be imprisoned?

No, it's not even close to the same scale of consequence. But a little intellectual consistency would be nice.

FiOS? Ha! Yea, if you live next to Verizon offices (1)

Doug52392 (1094585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551803)

I wanted Verizon DSL and FiOS a few years ago, and was getting VERY tired of dial-up. Guess what? 3 years ago, I could not get it! My friend, who literally lives 3 houses down from me, had it, and my aunt, who lives at the next street had it! After a whole year of waiting, I got tired of waiting and got Comcast. Just for kicks, I just checked to see if I can get DSL, NOPE! For 3 years I have not been able to get it. The way I see it, Comcast's customer service is the holy grail compared to Verizon: I got 5 different reasons why I can't get DSL. Finally I got the right one: you MUST live within a mile or two of the Verizon centeral offices. Guess what? About half of my city does not live that close!!! What a trainwreck for large cities or cities spread out geographically. I still have Comcast, and am considering calcelling it. Why? I CANT DOWNLOAD LINUX DISTROS FROM BITTORRENT! They censor bittorrent! Thank God I don't play WoW, I would probably sit there for hours getting updates. But Verizon has its fair share of censorship issues, remember that concert a few months ago?

Parent is an idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552139)

FiOS isn't DSL, fucknut.

In NY and CA maybe, but other places not so lucky (1)

mdmkolbe (944892) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551809)

It's great that in heavy population centers like New York and California we are finally getting fiber to the curb. But in cities that aren't part of the "Top 20 most populous cities in the USA", fiber is still a pipe dream. So cable internet can still keep a rather large user base with heavy losses to FiOS. Until fiber starts deploying to cities of less than 100,000 people, don't try to claim cable internet is dieing.

Re:In NY and CA maybe, but other places not so luc (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551991)

Even in CA, it's not all that it's cracked up to be.

I used to live in San Francisco, right in the middle, on the west side of Twin Peaks. Moved in in 1998. It took 3 years to get DSL to my house. I moved out in June (got tired of the Empire and moved to Canada) and when I left the FASTEST I could get out of my DSL was 384k. !!!! 384k !!!!

A friend of mine in the Haight only 2 km away had DSL and was getting 1.5m.

There I was: literally in the middle of The High Tech City of America, and I couldn't get better than 384k DSL.

The internet infrastructure in the USA seems as haphazard as the electrical system. FWIW, here in Toronto I get 1.5m and it works pretty well. The modem they gave me is flaky as shit - it needs to be repaired or replaced - but when it works (which is 90% of the time) it works fine.

RS

What is Verizon's Provisioning for FIOS ? (1, Interesting)

mbone (558574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551813)

Unlike Comcast, FiOS delivers the full range of bandwidth to each user, whereas Comcast users are forced to share bandwidth with other users on the same coaxial cable, causing speeds to fluctuate dramatically with usage.

This sounds like Verizon press puffery to me. What is Verizon's provisioning on the FIOS back end ? How much do they underprovision ? It is a very safe bet that there is not 10 Mbps of Internet transit reserved for every FIOS customer, so there is still sharing of bandwidth, and still a likelihood of bandwidth reductions during heavy use periods. This could be better or worse than Comcast, but you don't know and can't tell just from the bandwidth of the edge circuit.

Re:What is Verizon's Provisioning for FIOS ? (1)

AdamReyher (862525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551925)

Don't quote me on this as I was unable to find the source, but from what I last heard (back when the maximum was 30Mbps), Verizon was able to guarantee 28Mbps with their current equipment to every customer if every house in the area was using FiOS and everyone was downloading at the same time. They've since upgraded a lot of their equipment (to provide 50Mbps service), so I wouldn't be surprised if this hasn't been upped as well. The article hints on this as well.

That's something that Comcast just can't guarantee given their current network. Everyone knows that cable services have always had bottlenecking issues. That's the problem that a fully fiber net solves at this point in time.

- Adam

Re:What is Verizon's Provisioning for FIOS ? (1)

Alrescha (50745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551999)

" Verizon was able to guarantee 28Mbps with their current equipment to every customer if every house in the area was using FiOS and everyone was downloading at the same time."

To me that implies that the bottleneck will be upstream of the local loop. As the previous poster said, it's highly unlikely that Verizon has 28mbs * number of subscribers worth of bandwidth to the general Internet.

A.

Re:What is Verizon's Provisioning for FIOS ? (5, Informative)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552007)

This sounds like Verizon press puffery to me.
Why, of course. If there's something you don't know about, it's got to be a media lie, right? Well, welcome to reality: cable is a shared backbone. It's an artifact of the design of cable television networks, and it's cable's biggest problem. This isn't "press puffery," it's a real problem for these people. Right now it doesn't come up much because the backbones can handle 5 megabit times 1500 customers. However, the big reason it took so long to deploy ADSL2 was because it required the phone companies to gut their infrastructure and lay down more capacity. DOCSIS 3 is going to do the same thing to the cable companies.

Please stop pretending to know things you don't actually know. Grandparent was quite correct - cable is a shared connection, and it's going to hurt the cable companies pretty badly in about two years. This is the nature of the technology. Read a book.

What is Verizon's provisioning on the FIOS back end ?
There's no such thing as a "FIOS back end". Fiber is a discrete network like ethernet. If you and your neighbor have FIOS, and you connect to your neighbor, it goes from you to your phone pole to their phone pole to them. It doesn't go to any "back end". Unlike DSL and cable, it never goes back to a central office, which I assume is what you mean by "back end", since that term does not come up in telecomms infrastructure. Namedropping doesn't make you clueful, even if the word sounds really convincing to you.

How much do they underprovision ?
They don't. It's a brand new network. They won't be cutting bandwidth for at least five years. Also, please stop putting spaces before your question marks. It's obnoxious, it causes problems with line wrapping, and you look like a reject from third grade.

It is a very safe bet that there is not 10 Mbps of Internet transit reserved for every FIOS customer
No.

so there is still sharing of bandwidth
It's a discrete network. Bandwidth sharing isn't possible. You probably mean network bandwidth arbitrage, which is very different. Do you go into your car mechanic and talk about Carnot cycles because you read about it in a slashdot article about engine efficiency? No? Then don't do that here, please, because the only difference is that, unlike the lucky greasemonkey, I am unable to laugh in your face to display for you just how much of an ass you're being. Just because you're used to calling your web server code deployments and your sql choices "back ends" doesn't mean that every time you've imagined yourself up the arbitrary need for some service provision that it's automatically called a backend, nor does it mean that the arbitrary service provision even exists.

Doesn't it bother you to get so high up on a soapbox about a network you know nothing about?

This could be better or worse than Comcast
The only reason you believe that is that you know literally nothing about either technology. Doesn't it bother you to say "because I don't know jack, there is no way to differentiate between the two offers?" Verizon just dumped billions into a brand spanking new network. They hit this choke wall five years ago, because they were running on a much older general case network. Verizon is off of this hook for at least five years, and probably a decade. Comcast is just having the same set of problems that Verizon had in 2001, and the same set of problems that Verizon will have again in (checking crystal ball) approximately 2018.

but you don't know and can't tell just from the bandwidth of the edge circuit.
Jesus H. Christ. NEITHER of these networks has anything even resembling an edge circuit. You have no idea what you're talking about. Why don't you just do us all a favor and stop pretending otherwise? The cable network is a trunk and junction network, and FIOS is a discrete cloud. Neither one of those has any concept of edges even in a logical sense, let alone physical edges or edge circuits. Stop being so full of crap - you're making my lawn greener, and it's pissing off my neighbors.

Re:What is Verizon's Provisioning for FIOS ? (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552159)

I've got FIOS, and I've had no problem saturating my connection to the full 15Mbps, as long as there's been enough bandwidth on the remote end to actually send that much data to a single client.

The theoretical maximum for a 15Mbps connection is 1.875MBps/sec, and I've come close enough to that number on enough occasions to safely conclude that Verizon's advertised speeds are indeed accurate. (No connection actually saturates itself to 100% due to TCP overhead, error-checking/correction, etc...)

If you'll read up on the underlying tech [wikipedia.org] , you'll also see that the FiOS network itself isn't quite as vulnerable to over-provisioning as cable networks are, as a unique optical signal gets sent out to each residence from the CO (plus a broadcast video signal).

32 residences are served via a single fiber extending from the CO or OLT. Each residence has its own set of optical wavelengths, that get passively split out from the main fiber (analogous to the physical layer of a bus topology, although the similarities end there...). In other words, ever residence always has exactly 1/32 of the OLT's bandwidth available to it, regardless of how much bandwidth the other 31 residences are using.

Although this isn't the most efficient way to distribute bandwidth, it is certainly the most equitable, and is also immune to the pitfalls oversubscription, as you can't simply tack on another residence (and then another, and another....) without adding an additional OLT.

This of course, assumes that there is sufficient bandwidth to the CO and OLT, which may not be the case. However, similar bottlenecks exist on every broadband system, and experience seems to indicate that Verizon's backend network is adequately robust.

Cable, on the other hand, suffers the pitfalls of being a "shared" system. Although you could theoretically allocate a massive amount of bandwidth to a single customer, there wouldn't be anything left for the remaining customers attached to that circuit, even if you had an infinite amount of bandwidth at the CO. Plus, every customer that gets added to the circuit decreases the bandwidth available to everyone else.

Assuming that a FiOS CO has infinite bandwidth, there's no difference between maxing out a single connection, or maxing out every connection running out of that CO, as every customer effectively has a direct line into the CO.

Slashvertisement (4, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551825)

Oh, well, I'd better go get Verizon right now!

*sigh*

They don't even really try to hide it any more, do they? This "article" reads exactly like a DSL ad.

Anyway, no, Comcast isn't going anywhere. They have a monopoly in several markets like a lot of other cable companies and so they wouldn't be going anywhere regardless of their level of suck.

Re:Slashvertisement (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551959)

Indeed, it sounds right out of the DSL tech support training indoctrination manual. They bullshit their employees even more than their customers, probably because they want their techs to sell service upgrades. That was just one of many reasons why I left after only a few weeks.

Until these companies offer stand-alone ("naked") DSL service, and stop trying to scam their customers ("variable speed" service, look up what that REALLY means) , I won't consider them a viable competitor to the likes of Comcast.

Bah! (2, Informative)

Ben Dayho (1197271) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551831)

comcast used to not piss me off. Then the other day my hd/dvr 4 year old box died. Now they want to charge me 32.50 to come and fix their equipment.

Re:Bah! (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551881)

Why don't you just take it to their office and swap it out with a new one? Don't tell me they charge you for in-office replacements. If you're asking for a service call then the guy needs to get paid somehow even if he's a glorified UPS driver delivering a package.

Re:Bah! (1)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552031)

That's easy to fix. Call the business department, or whatever they call the department that deals with signing up new customers. Tell them "I am renting equipment from you, and this equipment is dead. Unfortunately, service people believe that I am liable to pay money to repair rented equipment. Under federal rental law, you are required to come repair your equipment, and I don't have to pay you for the rest of the service that I'm receiving until you've done so; this tactic is used on a regular basis against slumlords to enforce the maintenance of apartment buildings, but unfortunately it seems your service department thinks that that's limited to real estate. I will continue to enjoy my cable and internet at your expense until you've come to repair your equipment. If you shut me off for following my federally guaranteed right to withhold your money until you've fulfilled your obligations, I will inform the state attorney general's office. When may I expect my federally required free serviceperson for my rented equipment, please?"

Don't give them an opportunity to speak until you've gotten to the last sentence. If they try to interrupt you, raise your volume, start anew at the beginning of your current sentence, and speak slower. Every time they try to interrupt you, repeat this behavior. You will get your service for free.

Re:Bah! (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552109)

Good luck with that "withholding rent" strategy. Ever tried it? I doubt it. What you are claiming isn't true and landlords know it. You will find yourself in court with a nice judgement against you and probably evicted as well.

The eviction takes time. The judgement not as long.

Comcast will never change (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551835)

Nor will Verizon, which while better than Comcast in the customer service department is still not so great. Not atleast until consumers are offered with more than a boolean choice (Comcast or Verizon, choose your poison).

However, if those two companies built (or bought) the infrastructure, then good luck getting that choice. Maybe some sort of (nonexistant) very fast and long range, not to mention secure, wireless access... but then SOMEONE has got to own the towers or satellites... and I am guess that the owners won't be a group of hippies with altruistic social intentions.

Well, it's all about accessability... (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551847)

The fact of the matter is this: Comcast is no longer the biggest and the best. Cable is taking a distance back seat to Verizon's FiOS (fiber optic service), which delivers speeds up to 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload speeds.

The fact of the matter is that I *can* get cable (well, not Comcast is this area but Charter instead) but I cannot get FiOS. I still find it hysterical that McLeod fiber runs less than 100 feet from my backdoor (nothing in between me and it) and I cannot get any Internet benefit from that cable.

Unlikely (4, Informative)

bconway (63464) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551855)

A.) Comcast has over 12 million High Speed Internet users. They aren't going away anytime soon.
B.) DOCSIS 3.0 roll-outs, which are already started in test areas and expected to hit 25%+ in competitive Comcast markets in 2008, allows 450+ Mbps download and 125+ Mbps upload per channel in a node. For those not in the know, a node is where bandwidth is shared, and can feature many channels. Comcast is already planning to roll out 50 Mbps speeds, followed by 100 Mbps as it becomes competitive.

Bandwidth will continue to be competition-based, and Comcast is far from down and out.

Re:Unlikely (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551941)

The same words were said about @home.

Never underestimate the power of incompetent management. It can take down even a company the size of microsoft.

Re:Unlikely (1)

Elbarfo (1197279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552141)

In my area, @home was simply absorbed by Comcast. Comcast isn't going anywhere anytime soon here. They're the only game in town in 3/4 of the state (TN).

DISTANT backseat... (2, Insightful)

Samurai Cat! (15315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551859)

...not "distance". :P

That's odd... (5, Funny)

edunbar93 (141167) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551863)

It's been my experience that every ancient monopoly with horrid customer service, horrid technical service, and outdated technology typically stays around forever. If their market starts to shrink, they'll just flog the ever-dwindling market harder and harder. It's as if they exist to extract some kind of penance from the populace for sins committed in past lives or something.

The world? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21551867)

The world? Have you even looked at one country in the world besides the USA and possibly Canada? No? Then please say "in the USA", not "in the world"; your assumption that the USA are automatically the first, best, and greatest in everything not only makes you look arrogant but also reinforces the general stereotype of loud, obnoxious, arrogant US-Americans in general.

I wouldn't bet on it (3, Interesting)

leftie (667677) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551873)

Comcast is getting OnDemand TV out to their subscribers. They also have their eggs in more than one basket with increasing revenues coming in from arena management and programming with VS. and several regional sports nets challenging Fox Sports Net.

Comcast is my cable provider. I don't like the way they operate, but I'm not switching and losing OnDemand TV and my local NBA team games as a result.

Comcast CEO sees 160Mbps internet in 2008 (3, Informative)

ewilts (121990) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551877)

From Engadget:

http://www.engadget.com/2007/11/30/comcast-ceo-sees-160mbps-internet-in-2008/ [engadget.com]

See also LightReading:

Comcast Closes In on 100 Mbit/s [lightreading.com]

Comcast may not be the fastest today, but they don't appear to be sitting around doing nothing either.

.../Ed

This seems a bit jaded (1)

CatOne (655161) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551885)

Especially with the tags.

To answer your question, no, I don't think Comcast is about to go under. I had DSL prior to cable and used to think it was superior. I was rocking along at 1.5 Mbit down/768 up. My buddy had comcast and I asked him what speeds he was getting -- he had used both and noted to me that cable was substantially faster and that he preferred it. This was of course in conflict with all the advertising that SBC had been putting out saying how much the shared network slowed things. So when I moved I got cable to try it out.

Well I use it all day for work, and just ran a test and I get 22 Mbit down/1.5 Mbit up with Comcast's "high speed" plan. I never really notice any big slowdowns during the day (or in the evening), so these fears are really unfounded.

Now I hear about FIOS and that some of my coworkers (who also work remotely) have it and it does seem to be faster, but is it THAT much faster that I'd need it? Not really sure when any Comcast subscriber can get these kinda speeds for $30-$40/month and they already HAVE a cable bill.

Oh please, performance isnt everything... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21551895)

OK hands up comcast users on slashdot, how many of you are technically aware enough to realise your being sold short?

The fact of the matter is, just like in the UK, most of one's userbase on a typical mainstream ISP are oblivious to the fact they're only getting 2mbit/s of their 8mbit/s ADSL broadband. One of the big players of the cable industry in the UK (virgin media) have placed severe caps on many of their cable broadband products, but joe public doesnt really know whats going on.

To say comcast will suddenly disappear because the vast majority of their consumers suddenly become technologically concerned with their connection speed is stupid to say the least. Quality/speed to most isnt important, the always on factor is.

"Comcast users are forced to share bandwidth..." (1)

DragonPup (302885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551915)

"Comcast users are forced to share bandwidth with other users on the same coaxial cable"

To quote Lex Luthor, "WRONG!"

In the Boston area market, the coax switches to fiber at the taps. In other words, outside the customer's house at the pole.

Here we go again. (4, Insightful)

TrailerTrash (91309) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551933)

One of the most annoying aspects of internet culture is the constant following of this formula:

1) Determine who is the market leader, or at least very large and strong
2) Declare them DEAD. EXTINCT. HISTORY.
3) ???
4) Profit!

How exactly is ComCast supposed to die? Everyone gets rabid about their service, and goes... where? FIOS is only in a tiny percentage of Verizon's US installed base. If you're not in a major metro area, you may never get it.

Cable has solved the last mile problem. DSL is pretty much everywhere, too, because POTS laid the last mile as well. Alternatives? Municipal wireless? Seems to be dying rapidly. Satellite? Very slow.

OK, that's enough. Back to the blind, knee-jerk, ill-fated shrieking of doom already in progress... ("Microsoft? DEAD. MPAA? EXTINCT. RIAA? DINOSAUR. Proprietary software? HISTORY.")

Verizon Love Fest (1)

sciop101 (583286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551951)

The author (Triston McIntyre) is a one man love fest with Verizon.

Point To Remember: A blogger IS NOT a journalist.

A blogger IS an editorialist.

A blogger states opinion.

Too bad so many of us live in AT&T land (5, Interesting)

Brian Stretch (5304) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551961)

Yes, any idiot can see that FTTH is the way to go, but Comcast and AT&T aren't run by just ANY idiots. Running fiber is a one-time expense, a big one to be certain but once it's in place you're good for the foreseeable future. Now, Comcast could get away with milking their hybrid fiber/coax plant for a while longer if they'd simply devote more bandwidth to Internet instead of TV, especially if DOCSIS 3 modems work, but AT&T has no such excuse. Spending lots of money on fancy electronics to get their antiquated copper plant to provide a measly 27Mbps aggregate bandwidth from the fiber node to the home (FTTN) rather than do things right the first time is going to go down in the B-school books as one of the most penny-wise, pound-foolish decisions in history. Hello, regular HDTV feeds are 20Mbps and recompressing those so you'll have enough bandwidth left for Internet, VoIP, and one measly SDTV channel makes HDTV look like an overgrown YouTube video (I exaggerate... slightly).

The sad thing is that the measly 6M/1M "Elite" tier Internet service AT&T U-verse [uverseusers.com] offers is usually superior to Comcast and cheaper too. If they'd have been a little smarter they'd have skipped TV entirely (and those expensive settop boxes, TV channel fees, etc) and used all the bandwidth for Internet... assuming that they absolutely, positively won't run fiber like Verizon.

I have to disagree with the notion that we have to wait for the existing monopolies to correct their rectal-cranial inversion. It is possible for a new company to build FTTH. Having a separate company run fiber that various competing companies can plug into, as CANARIE [canarie.ca] describes, makes a lot of sense. Such a dark fiber net could be municipally run, or maybe the electric companies would like another revenue stream.

Re:Too bad so many of us live in AT&T land (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552325)

Don't forget that the major difference from Comcast vs. FIOS is that FIOS has a fiber drop line. Comcast is an HFC (Hybrid-fiber coaxial) system and uses fiber to a point. FIOS customers are hardly getting a gain from their fiber drop when the rest of the house remains coax. The difference in speeds is coming from the low amount of customers per node and high-provisioning speed for FIOS. This will change on both ends.

Well Fiber is similar to coax.... (1)

Piranhaa (672441) | more than 6 years ago | (#21551979)

Unlike Comcast, FiOS delivers the full range of bandwidth to each user, whereas Comcast users are forced to share bandwidth with other users on the same coaxial cable, causing speeds to fluctuate dramatically with usage."
Well fiber bandwidth is based around the same idea that coax cable is, except using light. Of course there is a considerable much larger amount of bandwidth to throw down the pipe, but each person on a street (or area) receives a certain timeslot to send down his or her information on. Right now BPON (Verizon's current fiber network running at 622mbit down and 155mbit up) is probably over sufficient, but it does still carry the risk of oversubscription the same way coax does. To fix this issue, Verizon needs to take the next step and upgrade its infrastructure to GPON which provides 2.488gbit/s download and 1.244gbit/s upload (which is what TELUS in Canada is currently testing).

Re:Well Fiber is similar to coax.... (1)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552259)

To fix this issue, Verizon needs to take the next step and upgrade its infrastructure to GPON which provides 2.488gbit/s download and 1.244gbit/s upload (which is what TELUS in Canada is currently testing).

They seem to be one step ahead of you because they only use GPON these days although they originally started off with BPON.

comcast customer service is fairly good (2)

snsh (968808) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552047)

From my experience, the anecdotal complaint about Comcast's customer service is simply not true. Compared to other technology service providers, I'd rate their customer service 'excellent'.

When you move into a building and order Comcast, they get things set up and working that day. When I have a problem and call them, within 2-5 minutes I always get a tech with enough clue to test the line and debug from the command prompt. If my problem requires a truck rollout, I can usually get one the next day. They generally don't finger point. If the problem is their equipment, they end up fixing it.

Compare that with DSL, T1, and even Fios, Comcast makes things very easy. DSL is a hack that seems more likely to not work than work on new setups. T1's are painful to provision. FiOS installation can be really screwy if you don't have a Verizon landline (I had eight tech visits, and one of them even ran a 2nd fiber loop when I added FiOS TV to FiOS internet), if FiOS is available at all.

That's not to say that Comcast's policies (P2P, bandwidth limits), pricing, speed, and monopoly power are not evil. But as far as customer service is concerned, I think they're ahead of the curve.

Huh? Slow? (1)

Elbarfo (1197279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552071)

I have had cable internet since it was Intermedia back in 1999. FIOS isn't even available in my state (AFAIK, I tried many addresses, even in urban areas, and none came up as available), let alone in my rural area. I regularly get 12Mbps down and 768k up today. The slowest I've ever seen my connection is 4Mbps, and that was years ago. I live so far out that DSL (as slow and wonky as it is) isn't even available to me. Yes, their customer service is a bit crappy, but after going through the hell that is Verizon Wireless for a year (CANCELLED!), Comcast seems like a pretty field, where naked women tend to my every need. Besides, the downstream bandwith I get on my cable modem is equivalent to the FIOS package that would cost me twice what I pay now. I don't really use the up much, so I'm not bothered in the least by it. Sub 30ms latency to 3/4 of the U.S. is pretty nice, too. Was this article written by someone who works for Verizon? They obvioulsly haven't seen anything related to DOCSIS 3. Can't wait for that nice fat pipe to be opened up, for sure....

Re:Huh? Slow? (1)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552181)

Comcast seems like a pretty field, where naked women tend to my every need.

Until you try to seed torrents, then they tie you down and use a strap-on on you.

A technical question (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21552077)

It seems that one of the largest expenses in providing FTTH is the digging sidewalks part... Where I live, in Brazil, the gas company is making available the use of "street gas", and the curious part is that they won't be breaking no one's sidewalk, seems they have a machine that, with a 2x2 hole in the ground can simply go down and dig the holes from below. Is this tech used/feasible in fiber deployment?

Time Warner. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552091)

I have to say for the most part I am happy with Time Warner Cable the only issue is if there is a problem they will be there between 8:00Am-4:00PM meaning you need to take a day off just for them to check your cable. But RoadRunner Internet in my area is at 10Mbs and the speed is mostly consistant. They haven't blocked ports or tried to strong arm me, from using Vonage.

Variablity in customer experience (1)

StarsEnd (640288) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552123)

Some of the posts hear blast comcast support. In the past (2+years ago), their customer support had problems. Their support has been very good, in my opinion since then. I live in their primary region (Philly area), which might explain the customer service variance.

I have had some painful technical problems in the past. They have been able to track down and solve the problems successfully (significant packet loss during gameplay, VOIP problems etc).

I started checking into FIOS in my area (always willing to put pressure on and keep competition alive in the area). What I found kept me from considering the move at this time. In particular, the fact that they require you to use their router (which is only G, so I've been told). Of course, I can use my router behind theirs, but I don't think this is optimal.

Typical Slashdot sensationalism (1)

Wister285 (185087) | more than 6 years ago | (#21552211)

Slashdot posters seem to have a way of skewing things and then the rest of the community just piles on the gang-tackle. Let's get a few things straight here:

- Comcast is still has strong growth
- People underestimate the strength of the Triple Play and how people are more likely to keep their service
- Comcast is working with Sprint to offer a "quadruple play" that includes cell phone service
- Comcast has been signing up telephone customers at a rate of something like 9 for every 1 cable customer that they lose
- DOCSIS 3.0 takes away the advantage that Verizon's FiOS has in the short-term
- Most people can't even use the speed that Verizon FiOS offers
- Most bandwidth bottlenecks are at the server, not the client
- Verizon FiOS isn't even available in most places
- Comcast has a fiber backbone that allows them to run fiber for the "last mile" if they need to offer fiber speeds
- Satillite TV didn't hurt Comcast
- Comcast has many media and sports properties such as E!, The Golf Channel, and the Philadelphia Flyers
- Cable industry companies are friendly towards each other where Verizon has to work with a hostile environment
- Comcast has historically been good at monetizing their assets
- Don't underestimate Comcast's CEO Brian Roberts

The list of positives for the company goes on and on. Don't count Comcast out. Competition will only help them charge forward.

Disclosure: I had an internship with Comcast over the summer. I am also a Comcast shareholder.
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