Cable Internet Will Slowly But Surely Turn Us Into a Third World Nation

I pay extra for supposedly a better Internet connection from the execrable bastards at Time Warner, may they all rot in hell after enduring years of pustulous boils, sulphuous, uncontrollable flatulence, and impotence brought on by an infestation of testicular guinea worms. This morning, their expensive service was crawling along like a mid-nineties dialup connection, so I began an odyssey that took me to BestBuy to get a new modem, and had me on the phone with 5 different tech support agents. It wasn’t until an hour (literally) into the last tech support call with an extremely pleasant and knowledgeable young woman that she was informed by one of her co-workers that “oh, yeah, we have an outage in that area”.

Like most of the US, there is no “market” for Internet providers for home service in my fair city. You can buy DSL, which is too fucking slow, wireless or satellite, which is relatively slow and has a tiny bandwidth cap, or you can take your hat in hand and get it filled with whatever scheiss is on offer from the cable TV operator, in this case Time Warner. Time Warner is actually not quite as bad as Comcast, since they don’t cap bandwidth, and they’re better than some smaller operators, since they will actually sell you service based on a technology invented in the last decade (DOCSIS-3). Of course, they charge way too much for it, but the only way those monopolistic fucks will lower their prices is if Google brings fiber to your town.

So after this outage is over (seems to be, since I can log here), I’ll be plugging in my old modem, having it re-provisioned (which, unless I talk to the same intelligent woman I spoke with earlier, will take 2-3 tries) and returning the new modem to Best Buy. Then I will be having a couple of stiff fucking drinks because we are all doomed by a system that celebrates oligopolies as markets.

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73 replies
  1. 1
    Cervantes says:

    I live in East Boemfuque and I have Verizon wireless 4G. It’s on the expensive side and yes, they ripped me off compared to what they told me it was going to cost, but it’s been reliable and it’s fast enough for my modest needs.

    When I lived in Boston of course we had fiber and plenty of options for blazing fast, not so expensive Intertubes. But country living comes with a lot of inconveniences.

  2. 2
    HelloRochester says:

    Any chance you have Virgin Mobile coverage in your area? You can buy a hotspot for your house for ~$99 and the monthly fee isn’t too bad. I know some cord-cutters who use it and say it’s not bad as long as you’re not watching a ton of streaming and don’t expect it to actually provide signal coverage for the whole house. I live in PA’s Galtian paradise of a duopoly between Comcast and Verizon who actively and openly collude with each other to maintain their market positions. They blow, but I’m too much of a media junkie to act on my own behalf to do anything about it.

  3. 3
    Mr. Longform says:

    This is another area in which evil, socialist Europe is kicking our free market asses. But who wants reliable, decent, inexpensive basic utilities when you can have broken sewers and all the assault weapons you want? FREEEEDUM!

  4. 4
    Pooh says:

    Another example of free markets solving everything.

  5. 5
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    Living here in East Anklescratch Misery (the reddest county in the state!), we still wouldn’t have any kind of broadband access (I don’t count satellite since it’s overpriced and woefully unreliable) if it weren’t for a local outfit, totally independent. They’ve erected their own wireless towers around the area.

    It’s not great but it’s local and they do seem to take into account something basic like, oh, their customers.

  6. 6
    MosesZD says:

    Yeah. They always lie and say it’s your router or your modem. Usually it’s their bad wires, their bad equipment and their bad service.

    In 14 years of on-and-off trouble with Earthlink, Comcast, Charter and ATT only one-time was it on my side. And with ATT, it’s their lousy router you have to use their fast DSL service. It just keeps stepping down so I had to run cables all over the house to keep my connection speed up.

    Of all of them, Charter was the worst. They would throttle the hell out of me at night. My 20MPS service would hit 2MPS by 8:00PM.

    Oh, and they’d lie to me and lie to me and lie to me… They’d tell me that they weren’t throttling me and that they had no capacity issues…

    Jeeze…

  7. 7
    mistermix says:

    @HelloRochester: I have two Rokus in my house and sometimes both of them are in use streaming. I would buy 1 GB fiber if I could get it. Wireless isn’t going to cut it, unfortunately.

  8. 8
    Butch says:

    When I had the chance to move home to the Upper Peninsula a couple of years ago it took me five telephone calls just to locate the only company that services my area, and my “choice” in Internet providers is a company called Alphacomm, which has about 4,000 subscribers total. Fortunately, it’s actually pretty good, although the “help desk” is one overwhelmed guy who usually needs a while to get back to you.

  9. 9
    Paul W. says:

    I just have Verizon Fios, with some sort of speed boost. It gets me 150/15 MBS, that translates to about 17 MBS downloads on the wireless network and even though I share this with 4 roommates I don’t have problems even with everyone running Netflix and other streaming services.

    We had some issues recently trying to change out the cable box for a better one, which was a REAL problem, but in general our internet is awesome.

    Time Warner can suck it, they were my last provider and had constant problems.

  10. 10
    chopper says:

    that’s my same experience with TWC (spits).

    only half the days of the month does my connection not slow down or stop altogether. i’ve replaced my modem and had the guy come by and fix the wiring 5 times now. and when it goes out, the automated system doesn’t say anything about an outage and i spend 20 minutes on the phone with some dork only to find out that yes there is one, or i have to make an appointment to have some dude come out and check the modem and oh, we don’t have any appointments until 3 weeks from now.

  11. 11
    liberal says:

    In some sense, provision of internet is a natural oligopoly. It wouldn’t make economic sense to build enough infrastructure to provide you with 100 different choices of provider.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean the status quo is OK; rather, these a-holes should be regulated on the utility model.

  12. 12
    liberal says:

    @Paul W.:
    That’s my experience: Verizon is the most despicable provider, except for all the others (with apologies to Churchill…)

  13. 13
    RareSanity says:

    This will continue until the the federal government runs fiber to every outpost and outhouse in this country. Then makes all of these ISPs compete with each other to provide service over those lines.

    The government would provide a very basic (maybe DSL equivalent) internet service, for very cheap…I’m thinking $10 or less a month…and then private companies can fight with each other to offer services above and beyond that.

    If the cable operators want to continue to operate their separate networks, in addition to the “public” fiber network, they are welcome to. However, the “Bells” are shit outta luck. They are only what they are today because of the government subsidizing them for almost a century now. We’ve still not seen the network improvements that the Universal Service Fee was supposed to provide…bastards just pocketed it and government didn’t do shit about it.

    They will still have their wireless businesses that they can gouge people with.

  14. 14
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Cervantes:
    How much does 4G wireless cost in East Boemfuque*, Hew Hess Hay? It costs me 129 ringgit — about US$43/month — in Kuala Lumpur, with an ample (for my needs) 25Gb/month cap that I can top up if need be.

    * Charming name. French, right?

  15. 15
    Cervantes says:

    Amir — costs me about 4 times as much, but I expect everything costs more here. I get phone service with it, but that obviously doesn’t have any marginal cost to them.

  16. 16
    Jim says:

    Or you could be lucky enough to live in Mammouth,Pa (seriously it isn’t) and there the tiny little phone company out in the middle of farm country runs fiber to your house ! This is Citizens Phone Company that’s small enough you know almost the whole staff by name. They invested in plant big time they probably have more fiber penetration than Verizon FIOS.

  17. 17
    Mnemosyne says:

    @RareSanity:

    Government funding and creating needed infrastructure? What are you, some kind of pinko commie who loves communism?

  18. 18
    Alison says:

    Okay, I have a question that I’ll probably feel dumb for asking once I get the answer, but ever since I updated to iTunes 11 I can no longer see the total number of songs and size of my library – it used to be at the bottom of the window when looking at your music list, but now it’s not there and I can’t seem to find that info anywhere. Anyone know?

  19. 19
    piratedan says:

    OT but semi-related…. why is every bleeping cable network turning into a copy of the USA Network?

  20. 20
    taylormattd says:

    Awesome.

  21. 21
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @Alison:
    Go to Views > Show Status Bar.

    (And thanks for making me get around to doing that on this machine!)

  22. 22
    Trooptrap Tripetrope says:

    If you want to get REALLY pissed off about the crappy Internet service we’re stuck with in the USA, read The Fine Print: How Big Companies Use ‘Plain English’ to Rob You Blind by David Cay Johnston. In it you’ll see that most European and East Asian nations are getting vastly superior Internet service at a much lower price.

  23. 23
    Lex says:

    There are very few facts and a ton of speculation in this piece, but it raises the possibility that Google may be planning a wireless network. That might — might — be the answer to the prayers of those of us stuck with Time-Warner, Comcast or even lesser providers.

  24. 24
    catclub says:

    @RareSanity: “I’m thinking $10 or less a month”

    I think that is what they pay in South Korea for Fiber.

    Of course, S. Korea is densely populated, but our densely populated areas do not have $10/mo FIOS.

  25. 25
    Alison says:

    @Jay in Oregon: Aha! Haha, okay I do feel a bit dumb for not trying that but oh well :) Thank you!

  26. 26
    Walker says:

    When I was buying a house here in the Ithaca area, I had to take high speed availability (and cell coverage) into account. As I was also looking for acreage, it cut my options back significantly.

  27. 27

    we had AT&T U-verse, and their crappy router wouldn’t support more than four simultaneous wireless connections. With iPads, phones, and computers, we exceeded that by quite a bit.

    Of course, they wouldn’t TELL us that was a limitation. They just let us suffer on, re-booting our equipment, waiting for technicians, wasting time on phone techs, until finally one morning at about 2 AM, I got one guy to admit there was a limitation and we couldn’t do anything about it.

    I called Time Warner the next day; they set us up with faster service, that costs less than we were saving when we broke up the ATT bundle. Yes, we had to buy our own router, but I bought a business-class unit that has plenty of security features, excellent range and reliability and was easy enough to set up. And when I check, TWC’s speed exceeds what they promised us.

    Look, I am as surprised as you are.

  28. 28
    catclub says:

    @Amir Khalid: “Boemfuque”

    Sounds Dutch/Afrikaans to me.

    Bloemfontain.

  29. 29
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @Lex:
    And you know what? As intimidating as it is to have so much of my life tied into Google (Gmail, Calendar, Android phone, etc.) I’d cheer having Google roll fiber into my neighborhood if it meant no longer dealing with Comcast.

    That’s how much I hate dealing with them.

  30. 30
    trollhattan says:

    Time-Warner is where Comcast employees go for bad customer service bootcamp. Then, and only then can they move on to a career of ruining people’s lives at Comcast.

    Never imagined South Korea would be a model for “how things should be.”

  31. 31
    RareSanity says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m just a guy that wants to watch his por…uh…streaming video, in HD, without it stopping every 2 seconds to buffer!

    @catclub:

    It’s basically throwing a bone to the “free market” crowd. The same basic ideal of the HCA…government program using private companies, with a public “fallback” option.

    If I had my druthers, the federal government would just provide (at least) 100Mbps symmetrical service to everyone, and just tax us for it at cost.

    Contract the maintenance and support to private companies, with customer satisfaction and performance thresholds in which the contract could be cancelled, should the company fall and remain below, for a defined amount of time.

    I fella can dream, can’t he?

  32. 32
    JWL says:

    You can look it up. In 2007, John McCain announced he would support pay-per-program for cable viewers. He shortly thereafter renounced that idea, and endor$ed the $tatu$ quo.

    As a campaign strategem it was a brilliant piece of extortion, almost Nixonian in touch.

    I once stayed on hold for 4-5 hours to speak with an AT&T overseas customer service rep. When he finally came on, I could barely understand his accent, lost my cool and got rude (it was 1 o’clock in the morning by that point).. So he hung up on me.

    You name me any senator who would fail to enjoy massive popularity if he/she championed pay-per-pay. Or a POTUS, either. Talk about wagging the dog. Just think- if people came to realize they ultimately possess the power to demand better rates for TV reception, it might prove just the jolt they need to remind them where the real power lays.

  33. 33
    Pinkamena Panic says:

    @trollhattan: Why so surprised? It’s South Korea, not Glorious Leader’s Republic of North Holy Fuck We’re Starving.

  34. 34
    cmorenc says:

    WHAT’S WORSE is that in many states, TelCom firms have successfully lobbied for legislation prohibiting municipalities from building high-speed networks for their citizenry (that are also faster and better than what the TelCos offer). For example, North Carolina in 2011 passed such a law, grandfathering in exceptions only to the small handful of cities (such as Wilson and Davidson, NC) which had already established such internet service. South Carolina has also passed a similar law. These laws were pushed not only by large TelCo contributions to state lawmakers, but with the help (surprise!) of ALEC.

    Had the electric companies been successful in the 1930s in exercising such clout against establishment of the TVA, one can only imagine how much longer, spottier, and poorer electric service extension into many rural areas of the south would have been. In modern times, the TelCos are literally handicapping much of the United States from effectively competing with companies operating in Europe or Japan, which do have MUCH faster, more consumer-affordable internet service than anything offered in the US outside a few select areas.

  35. 35
    kindness says:

    I have DSL at home via AT&T and it’s fast. It isn’t fiber optic fast. That would be the subdivision across the street from my house. My neighborhood was built in the 60’s and isn’t hooked up via fiber optic yet. But it’s fine unless I want to upload video.

  36. 36
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    @catclub:

    [Boemfuque] Sounds Dutch/Afrikaans to me.

    Nah, more like Belgian: half-Dutch, half pardon-my-French.

  37. 37
    kindness says:

    @Alison: itunes. Yup, I thought the same thing. Go to the top part of your screen and click artists. What killed me was I wasn’t getting the section that used to appear on the left side of the screen showing your library and all the different playlists I have for the different devices. That I finally figured out to go through VIEW and key in the older view style.

  38. 38
    22over7 says:

    @JWL:

    IIRC, the xtian leaders were all for this idea, so as to keep the devil cable shows out of their precious bodily fluids, or whatever. The whole thing fell apart after they did some polling, which showed clearly that the first thing people would get rid of are the xtian channels.

  39. 39
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    @Alison: @kindness: This is the first version of iTunes where I can sincerely (and often with cursing) say that it worked better before they fixed it.

  40. 40
    Freemark says:

    I am very lucky where I am at. I have Comcast. Service and speed have been great. I live at the end of the line in a rural area of York County PA and almost never lose service even when we lose power as we often do; we have an automatic ng generator. When I have needed service a tech always came out in less than 24 hrs. All that being said I would like to have choice. The wireless carriers barely work out here and we are too far for dsl. If Comcast starts sucking I’m screwed.

  41. 41
    Freemark says:

    I am very lucky where I am at. I have Comcast. Service and speed have been great. I live at the end of the line in a rural area of York County PA and almost never lose service even when we lose power as we often do; we have an automatic ng generator. When I have needed service a tech always came out in less than 24 hrs. All that being said I would like to have choice. The wireless carriers barely work out here and we are too far for dsl. If Comcast starts sucking I’m done.

  42. 42
    Freemark says:

    I wanted to say I’m scrood but phuking wp thought was too obscene.

  43. 43
    Freemark says:

    It actually did publish even though it said it wouldn’t. FWP.

  44. 44
    themann1086 says:

    We have RCN in Philly to compete against Comcast, and they actually use to have the better wires; they laid down the first fiber in the area. I’m not sure what the situation is now exactly, but we stick with RCN because we can get the same prices as Comcast for the same services (“well, Comcast is offering this deal and it is cheaper-” “We’ll match it!”) at roughly the same quality, and with a company that’s a million times less evil!

  45. 45
    JustRuss says:

    I tried DSL for a while lured by the not-exorbitant price. Oy. Netflix was constantly buffering, and when my service died I spent over an hour on the phone with them, then had to spend half a Saturday waiting for their tech. Who determined the problem was in their building, but the building was locked for the weekend so wait til Monday.

    Unfortunately, they closed my help ticket when they dispatched the tech, nobody fixed the problem on their switch, so I had to do the whole frickin dance over again. I did learn from tech number two that the distance to my house was beyond the DSL spec, accounting for my crappy performance. And my compensation for having over a week of no service plus devoting over 8 hours with their phone support and live techs to get them to fix a problem in their building was…..zilch.

    So now I pay way too much for somewhat decent service from Comcast. Yay free market.

  46. 46
    gelfling545 says:

    I have Verizon “high speed” internet which is pretty slow but ok for most of the things I do. In some parts of the house it tends to drop off occasionally (like twice last night while I was downloading a software update) and likes to take its time about some things. They are trying to strong-arm me into getting FIOS which would mean $90 a month in place of the $30 I now pay. When they tell me I have to change I’ll probably go back to Time Warner although we use that at work & it’s had a lot of problems lately which is really a problem for us as our phones there are VOIP. I warned them that it was a bad idea but does anybody ever listen? It seems to me that by now there should be some way to get reasonably priced internet service with a reasonable speed & reliability to most areas. Surely we have the technology. Is it solely a question of political will?

  47. 47
    TooManyJens says:

    I got a flyer in the mail this week saying that AT&T U-Verse is now available in my area.

    I just checked, and we started getting internet service from Comcast in April 2010. We switched to Comcast from AT&T DSL because, almost two full years after they ran the fiber in our neighborhood, we’d gotten tired of waiting for U-Verse to be available.

    So now, four and a half years after running the fiber, they’ve finally got the service running. Glad I didn’t wait.

    The Comcast service in our area isn’t bad, honestly. It beats DSL or vaporware fiber, anyway.

  48. 48
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    I have TWC; and other than the cost (120/month for tv/phone/internet) it’s worked great. I could give a rat’s hairless ass for TV, but the S.O. watches, so there it is.

    Customer service sucks, but I’ve hardly had to use it because it’s generally worked great for me.

    YMMV, etc. etc.

  49. 49
    justdale says:

    You can often get great speed and service from your cable provider — as long as you are willing to pay for business class service.

    I’ve had Comcast business class in two home offices. It’s great, with a real service level agreement, static IP, and provisioned bandwidth with no throttling or other restrictions. It also costs 3x what my neighbors pay for Comcast or ATT Uverse consumer Internet. Before Comcast BC I paid a similar (high) price for Speakeasy/Covad for the same reasons (reliability and static IP).

    Don’t misunderstand, I’d *love* to get the same quality of service at 1/3 the price. But the consumer providers are being judged on peak Mbit per $, not for reliability.

  50. 50
    Maude says:

    @gelfling545:
    I read an article that some businesses are getting rid of their landlines and going wireless. I wonder about the wisdom of that.

  51. 51
    A Ghost To Most says:

    My DSL (century link) gets 10 mbps down, 1 mbps up, good enough to work from home (oracle DB programmer), are you too far from the hub to get decent thruput ?

  52. 52
    PurpleGirl says:

    I have Time-Warner for cable and internet. When I moved to Woodside from Astoria I decided to drop dial-up service and get broadband. I went to see what Verizon had available but my new neighborhood hadn’t been wired yet for internet. So I went with Time-Warner. Now, understand that I only began Time-Warner Cable service in 1989 or so, some 25 years after they began wiring Manhattan for cable service. But for my wait I got more than 100 channels! (At the time my friends in Peekskill only had some 30 cable channels.) Ah, politics is fun — cable in the outer boroughs was held captive to which company would wire Manhattan above 96th Street.

    I get pretty good service from TWC. I’ve called Tech service a few times and been helped quickly. The automated phone line has outage reports at the beginning of the tape. I’m pleased with my TWC service.

  53. 53
    danielx says:

    @liberal:

    I don’t want a hundred choices, I’d be satisfied with three or four – which woould be enoughto keep them on their toes. Unfortunately I live in Comcastland – they acquired the last of the independent providers in the area seven years ago and service and prices have sucked ver since. Although ATT U-verse is making serious inroads…AND they’re running fiber optic to homes.

  54. 54
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @RareSanity: surely you don’t mean a… Public option?

  55. 55
    Gravenstone says:

    Ah yes, the mythical “high speed” internets. My blood has come to full boil several times over the years because of this lie. Like many, I live in East Bumfuck and my options are quite circumscribed. I can’t even take advantage of the local wireless purveyors because every. last. one. of them. decided to mount their nearest antennae atop the water tower of the town west of me. Alas, there is a wooded ridgeline between my place and there which prevents any of their signals from reaching me. I’m told I could erect a 75′ tower (at my own expense) which might let me access their signals. No thanks. I had satellite for the first couple years after I moved out here, but what a fucking joke that is. Poor speed and inherently high latency due to the signal travel distance, with intense weather susceptibility added for good measure. Fortunately, a regional cell carrier decided to put in a 3G speed network a handful of years back, with an antenna only a couple miles north of me (and not affected by the blasted geography). Unfortunately, as their services have become more popular, they haven’t bothered to build out the capacity so they’ve taken to throttling speeds in the evenings when everyone wants to partake. They’re starting to roll out 4G, but it currently has an absurdly low useage cap, so I’ll continue my blood pressure raising rants in the evenings even as I recognize this is the best I can manage. At least until I move closer to an actual town where I might have the luxury of a crappy cable company instead of a mediocre cell company.

  56. 56
    Campionrules says:

    I’ve been moderately surprised by my new ATT Uverse internet. I’d had ATT DSL for years prior but for $30 a month for 3MPS down, I needed something faster.

    I threatened to quit my service so ATT hooked me up with just Uverse Internet at 18MPS – nothing else, just the internet – for 34.00 bucks a month. Of course that came with an ‘installation fee’ but I screamed some more about quitting and they waived that fee as well. Can’t complain, got a nice free wireless router(leased technically)and faster internet for 4 bucks more a month than I was paying. Since I don’t have cable or home phone, that works for me.

    Haven’t tried to run more than four wireless devices off the router yet though. Have to see about that.

  57. 57
    SarahT says:

    Can you get RCN ? We switched 6 months ago & are wondering what the hell took us so long : Less than half the cost of Slime Warner for 2 boxes & internet, including HBO, Cinemax & Showtime, plus NONE of the service issues (boxes constantly re-booting, pixillated channels, On Demand not loading, channel guide freezing up, etc., etc…).

    If you can live without NY1 & Ovation (which TW might cancel anyway), by all means try RCN. Plus, the switch took less than an hour. PLUS you get the deep satisfaction of calling TW & telling them you’re firing their incompetent asses.

    And yeah, Comcast is even worse, hard as that is to believe…

  58. 58
    Michael Finn says:

    Our community had a PUD (Public Utility District) from the era of the great depression that built a fiber network with an end to each house. They changed the purpose of the fiber network to get around the issue of the government building a network by saying that it was to check the power consumption and so they could get rid of meters at the houses. Novel approach worked.

    I get 100/100 for $70 a month without any limits and free installation with tech support service from the same city.

    The local providers get to lease space from the PUD and then we get internet access from them. It would have been cheaper to go through the PUD but the Cable companies and Phone companies sued to stop that on the grounds they didn’t want to compete against a government agency. It’s a small price to pay for it.

  59. 59
    Michael Finn says:

    @HelloRochester: Virgin goes through Sprint’s congested network which doesn’t have the greatest coverage in rural areas.

  60. 60
    gbear says:

    I’m using DSL and find it to be fast enough 95% of the time, and I don’t want the Comcast goons stapling cable wires all over my 1885 house.

    The lesson I’ve learned from 17 years with US West-now-Century Link is to never ever take them up on any offer to upgrade. I’ve got a landline with no features and my DSL. I don’t need cable because I don’t own a TV. I’ve looked at the literature and listened to the calls about how I could save money by bundling services, but every single bundle ends up costing me lots more than I pay now, even whe I add in my cost for a T-Mobile pay-as-you-go phone for long distance and road calls. C-Link must hate my guts.

  61. 61
    Gozer says:

    I live in the Philly area (Lehigh Valley) and we love our RCN service. Just got a speed boost too with no notification. Much better than the suck that was DirecTV and far better than the shitfest that was COX that we had in DC.

  62. 62
    liberal says:

    @danielx:
    Well, that’s the thing: running pipes to each home is going to be a natural monopoly. Why in the world would it be efficient to have 4 sets of pipes running to each house?

    Of course, one could argue that radio/satellite could make a difference. But there’s rents there, too—there’s a fixed amount of EM spectrum.

    I still think the right thing to do is to have a heavily regulated utility model. Of course, you could counterargue that that ain’t gonna happen anytime soon.

  63. 63
    liberal says:

    @Michael Finn:

    They changed the purpose of the fiber network to get around the issue of the government building a network…

    Yeah, how unfair of the government to prevent those job creators from sucking rents out of us like leeches!!eleventy!

  64. 64
    liberal says:

    @RareSanity:

    This will continue until the the federal government runs fiber to every outpost and outhouse in this country. Then makes all of these ISPs compete with each other to provide service over those lines.

    That would first require an understanding of monopoly rent and why it’s evil.

  65. 65
    Lex says:

    Two other points: Here in N.C., the telcos got together to get the legislature to make it illegal — yes, you read that right — for municipalities to establish their own broadband networks.

    Also, forget South freakin’ Korea — in Lithuania, of all places, you can get 10Mbps down/1Mbps up for $14.72 a month and 40/40 service for $55 a month with no caps. Their top speed, 300 up/40 down, apparently is not available in the U.S. at any price.

  66. 66
    Mnemosyne says:

    @liberal:

    That would first require an understanding of monopoly rent and why it’s evil.

    Not necessarily. A simple understanding that the private sector has failed and the government now has to step in to fix its mistakes would suffice.

    Of course, since we’re still deep in the throes of Reaganism, coming to that understanding is about as likely as ending private property rights.

  67. 67
    Geoduck says:

    CenturyLink DSL works pretty well for me, but maybe I don’t know what I’m missing. Faster than dial-up at least.

  68. 68
    Michael Finn says:

    @liberal: There is no such thing as a shortage of EM. Stop saying it.

    “Too much spectrum is controlled by companies that are not planning on rolling out services or face business and financial challenges. And, larger carriers cannot readily convert a substantial portion of their spectrum to 4G services, because most existing spectrum provides 2G – 3.5G services to current users.”

    3G Towers have a bandwith of 36MB/s while LTE can get them up to 258MB/s. The wireless carriers just don’t want to spend the money to update their equipment.

  69. 69
    Freemark says:

    @Michael Finn: Do you live in Chattanooga? I read about what they did and how the savings in electricity due to the smart meters has practically paid for the fiber install.

  70. 70
    Groucho48 says:

    I have Time Warner, here in Buffalo. Expensive, but, I’ve been happy with them. The few times I’ve had to talk to them they’ve been pretty decent. recently got a Kindle Fire HD and discovered I needed to upgrade my creaky 6 year old Linksys router if I wanted to stream HD stuff to it. Got a dual band router. Had a bit of trouble setting it up, called TW and the woman walked me through the process. Even helped with the wireless part, which isn’t really a concern of TW.

    Verizon has been sending me emails and snail mail for several years now telling me to switch to FIOS, but, they still don’t have it in my area. Not sure how much I want to trust a company that is incompetent like that.

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    beergoggles says:

    I switched from Comcast broadband to Clear (4G) Wireless for my home internet and I have noticed an increase in download/upload speeds and lower latency. It’s also 10 bucks cheaper a month than the Comcast plan I had.

    So, yeah, maybe the competition won’t be coming from where we think it will.

  72. 72
    bill says:

    OT, but speaking of cable, my wife and I like to talk about the big news back in the late 50s/early 60s about this new thing called “cable TV,” which was going to supplant broadcast and cost next to nothing.

  73. 73
    Michael Finn says:

    @Freemark:

    Wenatchee, WA

    They do’t pay for themselves like that .

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