You Think You Know Shitty? You Ain’t Seen Shitty Yet

All of the big Cable and Telco ISPs have fired back at the FCC’s hint that they might, maybe, just possibly give the slightest thought to making ISPs common carriers:

Think you hate your Internet service provider now? Pretty much all the top ISPs in the country just told the Federal Communications Commission that if they face extra regulation, they will stop investing as much as they do today in network upgrades, and they will have to stop being so innovative.The threat came today in a letter signed by the chief executives of AT&T, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Frontier, Suddenlink, Time Warner Cable, 15 other companies, and industry groups such as the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the Telecommunications Industry Association, and the CTIA Wireless Association.

I can’t imagine how Comcast et. al. could be less innovative–tin cans and string?

If you want an example of how Time Warner innovates today, here’s a story of how a small town has no regulatory leverage when it comes to having TW provide service to all the town’s residents:

[…]Time Warner has been generally adamant about not expanding service to residents like Alan Austin, who lives on a street where 11 houses are built within a half-mile, technically the same ratio required by Time Warner Cable.
“We’ve asked them to bring the service and they won’t,” Austin told the newspaper.
Actually, Time Warner is willing to expand into Austin’s neighborhood — for the right price.
Time Warner agreed it would install cable service if the 11 homes collectively paid a $12,000 installation fee.

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173 replies
  1. 1
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I have difficulties seeing how ISPs logically can fight the idea that they are common carriers.

  2. 2
    dr. bloor says:

    This is pretty much on par with Cleavon Little pointing a gun to his head in “Blazing Saddles” and threatening to shoot the n*****.

    Sadly, the government will most likely respond just as the townsfolk did.

  3. 3
    Hunter Gathers says:

    Free Market, bitches.

    These shitheels need more money. Last time I checked, the price of hookers and blow keeps going up. And if Comcast’s Executive Vice President of Dynamic Marketing Outside The Box has to spend one more night with a 5 Diamond Whore (as opposed to a 6 Diamond Whore) snorting coke that’s not quite Peruvian Blue, he’ll withhold his productivity.

  4. 4
    low-tech cyclist says:

    From the link:

    In fact, had the community successfully revoked Time Warner Cable’s franchise, no other commercial provider would be willing to step in. That remains common in every community considering its future relationship with the area’s cable company. An informal understanding between cable operators keep them from competing outside of their defined territories.

    Bolding mine.

    If that is true, isn’t that exactly the sort of collusion that needs to be addressed by an antitrust suit? That sort of thing used to be illegal as hell, but for all practical purposes, antitrust seems to have gone the way of buggy whips.

  5. 5
    Randy Khan says:

    Not to be a contrarian, but the speed of my cable modem service from Comcast just went from about 30 Mbps to about 100 Mbps without an increase in price. (I checked the speed, in case you’re wondering if I’m just a credulous sap.) Some of that undoubtedly is the result of competition from FiOS, but regardless of the reason right now I’m paying the same amount I paid about 5 years ago for 10 times the speed I was getting then.

    The change in speed is, at least partly, the result of Comcast adopting a new technology for its cable modem service. The next iteration of that technology is going to permit speeds up to 1 Gbps. Could it all be happening faster, with even higher speeds? Sure, but I still think it’s better not to make believe that there’s been no progress under the current system.

  6. 6
    kindness says:

    It’s a joke by the internet providers. All one has to do is look at Europe who have much faster internet speeds and more regulations than we have here. It’s a very bad joke.

  7. 7
    Kylroy says:

    @low-tech cyclist: That, and this is precisely the kind of market that needs common carrier regulation. Even without active collusion, the fact is most areas only have one company that’s already sunk money into laying cable – as a cable company owner, would you really *want* to spend huge money installing your own lines just to start competing with a company that’s got a huge head start on you?

  8. 8
    Morzer says:

    @kindness:

    It depends on where you are in Europe – just as it depends on where you are in the USA. As a rule, more remote/rural areas and smaller communities tend to get shafted because the heroic free market can’t make a big enough or quick enough buck off expanding into them.

  9. 9
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @dr. bloor: This is such an old game. Verizon held up Gingrich and Clinton for millions in the late 90s to build that information superhighway. Well, they pocketed the money, and they laid off and union busted a lot of highly skilled technicians and linemen, and no fiber optic cables to be seen.

    The other thing I love is how these companies have managed to get statewide (ALEC!) laws passed so local municipalities can’t control their rates any more. But no requirement to go to rural areas or provide service. Deregulation!

    Everybody hated ATT. But look–they had to wire every household and keep those wires up. So it’s all about what your goals are. Do you want a wired, competitive nation, or some cities striving against each other and the countryside gone to seed? And who gets ultimate control?

    I hope pols today realize how they rely on the neutral internet to get their funding done and attack attempts to jack them up by cable co’s with great prejudice.

    What nobody seems to be getting, also, too, is that the “pay-way” is going to target anything with traffic or profitability or even income stream, fuck profit, one by one. So it’s not the super little guy who gets jacked up for money. It’s New York Times online or your local paper or broadcaster. Because they want their rent. It’s all about rent-seeking. So argue about “hurting competitiveness”. But in the end it will be a rent extracted from every household on the grid. Which is a form of corruption that will retard the entire US economy.

    But we can’t talk about rent-seeking. That might embarrass some job cremators donors.

  10. 10
    Randy Khan says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    That paragraph is something of a non-sequitor. If the Time Warner franchise were revoked, then the “informal understanding” described in the paragraph would not apply. And, in any event, telephone companies like AT&T have competed pretty actively with cable companies in places that they think are desirable.

  11. 11
    dubo says:

    @low-tech cyclist: In the great state of Michigan Comcast entered into a contract where the government would fund the building of communications infrastructure for Comcast, and in return Comcast would provide heavily discounted communications for public operations like libraries and schools.

    Once the government paid for and built the infrastructure, Comcast sued them to get out of the contract because their own exclusive access to government contracts violated anti-trust laws!

    Communications companies are ratf*ckers who need to be nationalised, yesterday

  12. 12
    Pee Cee says:

    @Randy Khan:

    now I’m paying the same amount I paid about 5 years ago for 10 times the speed I was getting then.

    And here in the land of Time Warner and AT&T, I’m paying more now for slower speeds than I was getting five years ago.

  13. 13
    JMG says:

    If a presidential candidate were to propose nationalizing the cable industry and all ISPs and imprisoning their CEOS, he or she might get 70 percent of the vote.

  14. 14
    Gene108 says:

    Laying cables into the ground costs a lot more than cellular towers, with respect to the cost of providing internet access per customer.

    Cable, like telephone lines, is at a point of diminishing returns versus wireless.

    There’s a lot that needs to be done to get the telecom industry to be more effective. Unfortunately government backed methods of expanding rural electrification, which worked in the past, are not feasible in today’s political climate.

  15. 15
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Kylroy: This is exactly why municipalities and regions instituted transit monopolies during the early, very profitable “traction” era.

    They thought it was wasteful (aha, people that understood that broken windows WAS a fallacy!) to run competing transit lines on the same street. So they gave different companies charters to run different lines. There were even super-terminals where you got handed off from one company to the other. In some regions companies instituted a global fare policy but in others you had to have different tokens for different operators (which sucks).

    People don’t realize this when they see a county-wide agency operating transit today. Oh, sure, it’s the government, it loses money, etc. Well, it used to make money just like the energy company (heck, a lot of traction was developed by the power plants until overly zealous anti-monopoly crusaders made that illegal, hastening the end of streetcar service in many cities).

    During that early period, and despite a lot of political and neighborhood wrangling about subway construction and financing, cities were very successful in getting good, comprehensive transit service provided through the charter system.

  16. 16
    Kropadope says:

    So, all the innovation is in new ways to squeeze people for money?

  17. 17
    jayackroyd says:

    @low-tech cyclist: The idea, embodied in the Telecom act of 1996, was that the private sector would deliver the services, and then be regulated in such a way that this kind of thing wouldn’t happen.

    The problem, of course, is the market solution to the last mile is sub-optimal; it’s crazy to have three or four entities pulling cable. Common carrier is designed to deal with this–that the most efficient way to deliver a line creates a monopoly–so carriers aren’t allowed to exploit it it.

    An obvious solution is a baseline of govt provided service–pulling fiber to post offices and public libraries that can be used for wifi. Then competition is to deliver something better, like delivery services vs post office.

    But our technocratic elites are ideologically committed to “private sector” solutions that don’t involve competition. Like charter schools, the PPACA, banking, prisons, and telecom.

  18. 18
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    The Worst Internet In The First World, brought to you by The Free Market.

  19. 19
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Gene108:

    Unfortunately government backed methods of expanding rural electrification, which worked in the past, are not feasible in today’s political climate.

    Well, as long as some suckers are there voting R while the same R politicians are on the take and ensure they’ll never get rural service. Hell, they’ve given up waiting.

    But it’s always projection–they think this is how “urban” voters vote. Even though the really corrupt ones are in 85+ districts the Rs helped create though ‘packing’. Most “urban” voters I’ve met have a better grasp on how the political system works than most rural white anger bears, who seem to be living out their own fantasy novel.

  20. 20
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @jayackroyd: ding ding ding

  21. 21
    Punchy says:

    Google Fibre is competing quite well in the KC metro area. If these greedy shitbags wont risk a $0.02 hit on earnings to wire the hayseeds, I’m betting Google will and will quickly develop a insanely loyal customer base.

    I’m not sure any industry has more assholes per capita than the cable industry.

  22. 22
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Another Holocene Human: and they laid off and union busted a lot of highly skilled technicians and linemen

    I’ve dealt with telcos and ISP’s a lot, for a long time, and from what I’ve observed the overriding “high skill” possessed by the old-line telco guys was maximizing their income to work-performed ratio. The classic example was a crew of five union linemen and one supervisor coming in to pull about 300 feet of high-end fiber from the demarc, up one floor and across the building to the equipment room. Most of a day for crew of six. Except the cable had an “A” and a “B” end. They installed it backwards, which was discovered by the next crew, only three (different) guys who came in to install a piece of equipment on one end. But they couldn’t remove and re-install the cable, because that wasn’t their job, so the original crew had to come back for another day. Anecdata, I know, but I have a notebook full.

  23. 23
    Linnaeus says:

    In the context of this thread, this YouTube video of The First Honest Cable Company can’t be posted enough.

    (heads-up: contains profanity)

  24. 24
    Gene108 says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    Yeah, a lot of rural voters just vote for someone most in their tribe, but it does not eliminate the fact cable providers are now competing against wireless carriers, with regards to being ISP’s.

    If people can switch to wireless providers for internet access, all the fiber optic cable will be as worthless as the telephone wires are today.

    Any telco reform has to be more comprehensive than just regulating cable companies as common carriers, because with the rate of technological development there is no way government can insure people will have to use cable companies as ISP’s for any significant length of time.

    AT&T at least had a several decades run as being the phone company to recoup their investment of wiring the country. Cable companies are not guaranteed a similar window of steady business.

  25. 25
    Roger Moore says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    The Worst Internet In The First World, brought to you by The Free Market Rentier Capitalism.

    FTFY.

  26. 26
    Belafon says:

    @Randy Khan: While that’s a good increase, look at Europe. And I don’t buy for a moment “We’re more spread out.”

    I’m really liking how, in Texas, the management of the electrical lines has been separated from the selling of the electricity. I think any system where there’s major infrastructure should require this separation.

  27. 27
    evolved beyond the fist mistermix says:

    @Randy Khan:

    Not to be a contrarian, but the speed of my cable modem service from Comcast just went from about 30 Mbps to about 100 Mbps without an increase in price. (I checked the speed, in case you’re wondering if I’m just a credulous sap.) Some of that undoubtedly is the result of competition from FiOS, but regardless of the reason right now I’m paying the same amount I paid about 5 years ago for 10 times the speed I was getting then.

    FiOS is the reason. This set of ISPs who are threatening to be worse if regulated pull out their best service the minute a fiber competitor comes to town. AT&T is beating Google to Austin with gigabit fiber. TimeWarner increased their download speeds to 300 Mbps down at no extra charge in Austin as soon as Google showed up.

    If you live in a town where fiber isn’t coming, you have to pay $99/month for the service you have.

  28. 28
    The Moar You Know says:

    Cox tried to nail (proper term would be “extort”) my company for $8000 to run 75 yards of cable to our offices. I told them they could go fuck themselves.

    We are paying the most for some of the worst service in the world. America, fuck yeah!

  29. 29
    Cliff in NH says:

    Fu to the ISPs of the world who f’ their customers with lies while refusing to upgrade their internet connections

    http://blog.level3.com/global-.....-internet/

    http://blog.level3.com/global-.....middleman/

  30. 30
    Lee says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    The other thing I love is how these companies have managed to get statewide (ALEC!) laws passed so local municipalities can’t control their rates any more. But no requirement to go to rural areas or provide service. Deregulation!

    Not only that but there are several states that prohibit local municipalities from starting their own ISPs to provide better service.

  31. 31
    Roger Moore says:

    @Gene108:
    I think you have the situation backward. Fiber can provide much higher speeds for much lower cost than wireless, but only if it’s forced to. Look at what people are getting from Google Fiber and tell me why anyone would see wireless internet as a practical alternative. People are only considering wireless because our wired service is so crappy and expensive. We need to work on that crappy and expensive part rather than giving up.

  32. 32
    Hunter Gathers says:

    Wait until the data caps come. You’ll really love your provider when the caps come. Sure, you’ll be pissed off that your up/down speeds get cut by two thirds 3 days into a new billing cycle, but hey, a Trust Funder gets to buy a new BMW! The Free Market always provides!

  33. 33
    Pee Cee says:

    @JMG:

    If a presidential candidate were to propose nationalizing the cable industry and all ISPs and imprisoning their CEOS, he or she might get 70 percent of the vote.

    While that would surely get 60% of the vote, to get your numbers the candidate would need to propose tying the CEOs down over fire ant mounds before imprisoning them to crack 70%.

  34. 34
    Baud says:

    Pretty much all the top ISPs in the country just told the Federal Communications Commission that if they face extra regulation, they will stop investing as much as they do today in network upgrades, and they will have to stop being so innovative.

    This is a pretty standard argument industry makes just about every time an agency considers regulation.

    ETA: And anytime Congress considers new legislation.

  35. 35
    Cliff in NH says:

    @Gene108:

    From that link I posted… just a snip

    To honor the promises they make consumers, these ISPs must then connect their networks to the other networks that can supply any Internet content the ISPs cannot provide themselves (which is most of it). It also means that as overall Internet content gets bigger (think of HD movies versus e-mails), all providers must “augment” their networks – making them bigger to accommodate the exponential growth due to the Internet’s success.

    Some ISPs, however, have refused to augment their networks UNLESS the content providers they connect to agree to pay them to do so. Viewed in the light most favorable to these ISPs, they want content suppliers to pay not only for their own increased costs of supplying more robust Internet content, but also for any increased network costs of the ISPs too. This is not only unreasonable on its face, but it is entirely inconsistent with published reports indicating that returns on invested capital for ISPs are excellent, and are expected to improve even further, driving considerable additional growth in economic profits. More cynically, these ISPs simply view these arbitrary tolls as new sources of revenue for their last mile bottleneck monopolies or as a way to unfairly discriminate against content that competes with the content the ISPs themselves supply.

    So what if content providers refuse to pay? Some ISPs agree to augment capacity on reasonable terms. But other ISPs try to strong arm the content providers into paying by playing a game of “chicken” with the Internet. These ISPs break the Internet by refusing to increase the size of their networks unless their tolls are paid. These ISPs are placing a bet that because content providers have no other way to get their content to the ISPs subscribers, that they will cave in and start paying them.

    And none of this is new. These last mile ISPs know full well the consequences of what they are doing.

  36. 36
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I have difficulties seeing how ISPs logically can fight the idea that they are common carriers.

    Traditional common carriers (traditional phone companies) provided only communications. ISPs arguably provide communication and information. How one views the nature of their service is at the heart of the classification dispute.

  37. 37
    Cliff in NH says:

    @Gene108:

    If people can switch to wireless providers for internet access, all the fiber optic cable will be as worthless as the telephone wires are today.

    The fiber is the backbone, It’s not useful to install fiber to a house without paying for fast enough interconnects to the rest of the fiber backbone that they Need to connect to to get the content.

    ps. fast wireless is useless if the ISP providing it refuses to pay to upgrade the interconnects to the rest of the fiber network.

  38. 38

    Too bad Congress doesn’t have the guts to fire back that if they did that, the Federal government would pass an initiative to start bringing free wi-fi to major markets.

  39. 39
    Anybodybuther2016 says:

    7 reasons Hillary Clinton’s 2016 nomination is far from inevitable
    As in 2007, she has vulnerabilities other candidates simply don’t. Could Elizabeth Warren steal the ticket?
    GUY SAPERSTEIN, ALTERNET

    In December 2007, just as the 2008 presidential primaries were beginning to heat up, and with Hillary Clinton 26 points ahead in national polling of Democrats, I wrote an article for AlterNet arguing that she was beatable, that she had vulnerabilities the other candidates did not have, that she had historically high “unfavorables,” that she polled poorly against Republicans and that Democrats should rethink the “inevitability” of her candidacy. Apparently, they did and we know how that turned out.
    Once again, Clinton is riding high in polling of Democrats; once again, her supporters are claiming she is “inevitable;” and once again, she has vulnerabilities other candidates lack, including extremely high “unfavorables,” as well as additional liabilities in 2016 she didn’t have in 2008 — some of her own making, some not.
    1. Worrisome Polling
    Hillary Clinton has maintained consistently high “unfavorable” ratings since at least 2007 (ranging from 40 to 52 percent). In December 2007, they were running 45 percent and are still hovering in the 45 percent range today. In 2007, I wrote that her unfavorable” ratings “currently are running 45 percent — far higher than any other Democratic or Republican presidential hopeful and higher than any presidential candidate at this stage in polling history. Hillary may be the most well-known, recognizable candidate, but that is proving to be as much of a burden as a benefit.” That still seems to be true.
    Before Chris Christie melted down in the Bridge-Gate scandal, Quinnipiac, a well-respected poll, had him running ahead of Hillary Clinton 43-42 percent. That doesn’t, in my opinion, mean Christie is a strong candidate — people hardly know who he is — but it suggests Clinton is a weak, or at least vulnerable, candidate. She is someone who has been on the national scene prominently for 20-plus years, people know her, yet a relatively unknown Republican runs even with her? Not a sign of strength.
    In an April 24, 2014 Quinnipiac poll in Colorado, a state with two Democratic senators and a Democratic governor, Rand Paul is out-polling Clinton 45-40 percent and she is running 42-42 percent against the scandal-ridden Christie. Colorado is a blue state Democrats need to win in 2016 and having a well-known Democrat running behind a virtual unknown Republican is not good news.

    2. New Liabilities
    By every metric, voters are in a surly mood and they are not going to be happy campers in 2016, either. Why should they be? The economy is still in the toilet, not enough jobs are being created even to keep up with population growth, personal debt and student debt are rising, college graduates can’t find jobs, retirement benefits are shrinking, infrastructure is deteriorating, banksters never were held accountable for melting down the economy, inequality is exploding — and neither party is addressing the depth of the problems America faces.
    As a result, voters in 2016 will be seeking change and there is no way Clinton can run as a “change” candidate — indeed, having been in power in Washington for 20-plus years as First Lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State, she is the poster child for the Washington political establishment, an establishment that will not be popular in 2016. This problem is not really her fault, but it creates serious headwinds for her candidacy and makes her susceptible to any Republican candidate who does not appear to be crazy, who can say a few reasonable things and who looks fresh, new and different. The status quo is not going to be popular in 2016 and if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic presidential candidate, even though she will try to harken back to the relative prosperity of the 1990s, she will not be able to escape being the candidate representing old ideas and an unpopular status quo.
    3. Democratic Party Base
    On nearly every important issue, except women’s issues, Clinton stands to the right of her Democratic base. Overwhelmingly, Democrats believe that Wall Street played a substantial role in gaming the system for their benefit while melting down the economy, but Clinton continues to give speeches to Goldman Sachs at $200,000 a pop, assuring them that, “We all got into this mess together and we’re all going to have to work together to get out of it.” In her world — a world full of friends and donors from Wall Street — the financial industry does not bear any special culpability in the financial meltdown of 2007-’08. The mood of the Democratic base is populist and angry, but Clinton is preaching lack of accountability.
    According to an April 29, 2014 Wall Street Journal/NBC poll done by Hart Research, only four percent of American voters have a great deal of confidence in the financial industry, while 43 percent have “very little or none at all.” With Wall Street at a historic low in popularity and respect, with her close ties to Goldman Sachs, Bob Rubin and the financial industry, Clinton will be perceived as Wall Street’s candidate.
    Clinton has not explained why she supported the repeal of Glass-Steagall legislation, which deregulated banks during the Clinton administration and contributed significantly to Wall Street speculation, the meltdown of big banks and the trillion-dollar federal bailout. She has not explained her support for NAFTA, which has eroded the manufacturing base of America and cost American workers a million-plus well-paid jobs; nor her support as Secretary of State for the Trans Pacific Partnership, which has been described as “NAFTA on steroids.” On all these core financial issues, Clinton is well to the right of the Democratic base, so how is she going to fire up the base the way Obama’s promises of “Hope and Change” fired it up in 2008?
    Clinton is no more in-tune with her Democratic base on foreign policy issues than on domestic issues. She is not simply a hawk at a time when the Democratic base (and the country) is sick of expensive and counter-productive foreign adventures, she is a superhawk, consistently trying to outflank Republicans on foreign policy issues. We all know she voted in favor of invading Iraq in 2003, despite the fact that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and despite the fact that evidence of WMDs was sketchy at best. She has never recanted that vote, shown any remorse about not examining classified reports about Iraq, reports that were made available to her before the vote nor expressed any qualms about the fact that the U.S. blew $3 trillion down a rat-hole in Iraq and Afghanistan with nothing to show for it. Then, five years later, with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan collapsing, she strongly urged new President Obama to escalate the commitment of troops in Afghanistan, advice that proved disastrous. It is no surprise that General David Petraeus has endorsed Clinton for President. He knows a military hawk when he sees one.
    More recently, she supported invading Libya and bombing Syria. And, at a time when Obama was trying to moderate Putin’s behavior in the Ukraine and get our European allies to support economic sanctions against Russia, Clinton threw gasoline on the fire by comparing Putin to Hitler, a comparison which is ridiculous on many counts, but which played very badly with our allies.
    Ironically, Rand Paul represents the concerns of the Democratic base far better than Clinton about foreign interventions and the excesses of the National Security State and if he were the Republican presidential candidate, would undermine her support among Democrats in an unprecedented way.
    4. Assets
    Clinton’s biggest asset, in my opinion, is that she is a woman, and America is long past the time when a woman should be elected President. But Democrats already win the women’s vote and lose the vote of men, so what is the net advantage? She also has the highest name-recognition of any candidate, which is why she is polling so highly in Democratic polls, but name-recognition evaporates in any high-profile campaign and is an ephemeral asset.
    Indeed, that is the essence of her problem: She has a small and active hardcore base of feminist supporters and donors; a large core of conservatives who hate the Clintons; and among others, her support is a mile wide and two inches deep — which is why a relative unknown ran her down and beat her in 2008.
    5. Bill’s Legacy
    Hillary Clinton’s campaign will harken back to the glory years of the Clinton administration, but how much is that going to help? Certainly, Bill Clinton deserves credit for some things. He increased taxes on the rich, wages grew in his second term and jobs were created in his eight years as President (helped in no small part by the tech revolution and the financial bubble he helped create and which ended in disaster 10 years later). Bill also expanded the earned income tax credit, which helped working people. But there are a lot of things his administration did which don’t look very good in hindsight.
    With help from Newt Gingrich, he enacted a Draconian welfare reform program; he overrode the opposition of labor to enact NAFTA, again with mostly Republican support; and, he repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, which deregulated Wall Street. As he described himself to Bob Woodward, “I hope you’re all aware we’re all Eisenhower Republicans. We stand for lower deficits and free trade and the bond market. Isn’t that great?” Conservative Alan Greenspan, whom Bill twice appointed to chair the Federal Reserve Board, said, “Bill Clinton was the best Republican president we’ve had in awhile.”
    So here we are, 20 years later, with wages of average workers in decline, CEO pay and Wall Street bonuses accelerating at obscene rates, pensions disappearing, the loss of millions of jobs to developing countries thanks to NAFTA and exploding wealth inequality. Yes, we can blame Bush/Cheney for their contributions to these trends, but the major policy changes that started the ball rolling steeply downhill for workers and the middle class began in the Clinton administration.
    6. Accomplishments
    There is no question Hillary Clinton is smart, hard-working and competent. She does her homework, shows up for work every day and works long hours. Yet she has been on the world stage for more than 20 years, so it is fair to ask what are her accomplishments over those 20 years. She led a healthcare task force in Bill Clinton’s first term, but that effort failed, largely because she was not collaborative and failed to involve Congress, despite the fact Democrats controlled it. She repeatedly claims credit for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, passed during Bill Clinton’s second term, and while her role has been disputed even by the bill’s sponsors, she played an important role in supporting it within the White House and later publicly.
    In 2008, however, she tried to bootstrap many accomplishments of her husband by exaggerating her role as First Lady and got roundly mocked for her exaggerations. She had a term as U.S. Senator, and was re-elected, but can anyone identify anything of consequence that she accomplished during that period other than facilitating Republican idiocy by supporting Bush’s war in Iraq? Then she spent four years as Secretary of State, which certainly improved her public profile, but can anyone identify any substantial accomplishments she had as Secretary of State?
    Clinton came to the role of Secretary of State with a huge asset — her strong relationship with AIPAC and the Israeli government. She, like President Obama, supports a two-state solution, opposes Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory and seeks peace with the Palestinians. There was hope when she was appointed that she would leverage her strong relationship with AIPAC and move Israel away from aggressive settlement activity and toward the peace process. That did not happen. Clinton is cautious, by nature, and I have little doubt she feared angering her wealthy Jewish donors by pushing them hard on peace negotiations. So she didn’t act and whatever leverage she had was wasted; it was not until John Kerry replaced her as Secretary of State that peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine resumed. Likewise with Iran, as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was a consistent advocate of tough sanctions and serious peace negotiations did not begin until John Kerry replaced her.
    7. Foreign Policy Credentials
    The Arab Spring exploded on her watch, but Clinton and U.S. foreign policy drifted. There were no long-term strategies and with her stewardship, America supported whoever looked like a winner. When it was Mubarak, she supported Mubarak. When he was going down, she supported elections. Then when they had elections and the military tossed out the winners, she supported the military. Of course, she is not the only person responsible for the policy drift, but where did she leave a positive imprint on the direction of American foreign policy?
    In my opinion, she has been wrong about almost every major foreign policy question in recent American history. She probably lost the Democratic presidential primaries and the presidential nomination due to her ill-advised vote to start a war in Iraq, a vote which ultimately gave Obama’s candidacy substantial impetus, and it is reasonable to assume she will face some amount of accountability with voters for her consistently hawkish and unpopular views on foreign interventions.

  40. 40
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Anybodybuther2016:
    Your comment confuses me. Is Hillary Clnton planning to start her own ISP in 2016?

  41. 41
    Baud says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Now you’ve invited a comment on 7 Reasons Hillary Clinton is Worse than Comcast.

  42. 42
    Gindy51 says:

    @Hunter Gathers: I already deal with data caps. I am one of those rural folks who has to use satellite internet. The optic fiber is 1/2 mile from my house and no go for taking it from there to my door and the doors of the 11 neighbors who would love to have it. As far as speeds go, try getting bumped down to dial up speed, that’s what you end up on if you go over your limit. That’s why we can’t have movies or TV shows over our internet service but must rely on DirectTV for that.

  43. 43
    The Moar You Know says:

    Look at what people are getting from Google Fiber and tell me why anyone would see wireless internet as a practical alternative.

    @Roger Moore: You really need to take a trip to Korea and try a 5G phone. Then ask what it costs. They have pretty good medical care there for the inevitable stroke you’ll have.

    I don’t give two shits if the infrastructure has wires or not. I just want it to work as well as it can.

  44. 44
    Gindy51 says:

    @Anybodybuther2016: Just post the link next time, asshole.

  45. 45
    raven says:

    @Anybodybuther2016: goofy motherfucker

  46. 46
    qwerty42 says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    If that is true, isn’t that exactly the sort of collusion that needs to be addressed by an antitrust suit? …

    Yeah, isn’t that what used to be called (in quainter times and in legal filings) a “conspiracy against trade”?

  47. 47
    scav says:

    The Free Market wonderland sure has been building — neglecting to improve, maintain or coordinate — us a crap, aging and increasingly fragile infrastructure on a lot of fronts. National Electrical grid is dodgy and poorly coordinated. Pipelines anyone? gas water or other? Things that go Boom! Go Team Invisible Hand and the Blessings From Same.

  48. 48
    Cliff in NH says:

    @Baud:

    BS they only provide a Service, called the Internet. You may have heard of it.

    The service they provide is data transfer and nothing more. Exactly the same as a phone that provides a data transfer of the voice you want to talk to anywhere on the voice network.

  49. 49
    mai naem says:

    OT, I was flipping channels and caught Ricky Santelli going off on Mel Watt on the FHA. Something about reforming loan standards. I caught the tail end. Anyhow, watching this idiot today, I think he’s going to have Breitbart ending. Lots of anger. His blood pressure’s got to be off the charts everything he goes off on his rants.

  50. 50
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Cliff in NH: Hello? Who owns NBC/Universal?

  51. 51
    Belafon says:

    @Anybodybuther2016: I can think of one reason why her candidacy is not inevitable: It’s not August, 2016.

  52. 52
    different-church-lady says:

    @scav: To be fair, the lesson we’re learning is that it’s a lot easier to create infrastructure on a blank canvas than maintain it or replace it.

    They’ve been working on a new water main into Manhattan for 40 years now. And the reason they’re doing it is because they’re afraid to try to close the two existing pipes for inspection because they think the aging valves will malfunction.

    Building a bridge where there isn’t one is a lot easier than building a bridge where there’s already a bridge — and all the traffic that bridge already carries.

    Which ain’t to say that corporations aren’t lazy and customers don’t get gouged — it’s just to say that it’s not as simple as snark would suggest.

  53. 53
    lol says:

    @Anybodybuther2016:

    Elizabeth Warren isn’t going to run against Hillary Clinton. Full stop.

  54. 54
    Baud says:

    @Cliff in NH:

    That’s one view.

  55. 55
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @Gindy51: They’re going to bring the awesome service you receive to the rest of us. I’m honestly surprised that they haven’t done it already. The IPS’s could really give a fuck. They absolutely, positively have to seek more rents. They have to take the huge pile of money they already have and make that pile bigger. ‘Cause Freedom.

    If you combine the ISP’s greed, the general ignorance of the public at large of how the internet works, and the upcoming explosion in domains, we’re going to end up with a cluttered internet that is slow as fuck, unless you pay the extortion fees demanded by your local Mobster, I mean service provider.

  56. 56
    low-tech cyclist says:

    @Kylroy:

    That, and this is precisely the kind of market that needs common carrier regulation. Even without active collusion, the fact is most areas only have one company that’s already sunk money into laying cable – as a cable company owner, would you really *want* to spend huge money installing your own lines just to start competing with a company that’s got a huge head start on you?

    Oh, I agree with you totally.

    But even without that, the idea had been that after the initial term of their contract with the cable company ended (20-30 years, for the cable co. to recoup their investment), they’d be able to take competitive bids to determine who would be their cable company for the next decade or two, building on the original company’s cables. So at least there would be intermittent moments of competition between cable providers in each locality.

    Collusion like this does away with even that sporadic bit of competition.

  57. 57
    Lee says:

    @Baud:

    This is where a court system that is even a smidgen technically knowledgeable would be great because it is all just data. Old phone, internet, cell phone, etc.

  58. 58
    different-church-lady says:

    @Anybodybuther2016:

    Could Elizabeth Warren steal the ticket?

    No. Because Warren’s not interested in running.

  59. 59
    Roger Moore says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    You really need to take a trip to Korea and try a 5G phone.

    Maybe I will, but it won’t be possible until 2020, because that’s when they’re talking about starting commercial 5G service. Next generation services that are limited to the lab are really cool, but they aren’t a meaningful comparison to what’s available now. In practice, almost everyone in Korea has land line internet because it’s much faster and cheaper than mobile. I don’t see that changing even when they roll out their 5G mobile service, because they will have updated their fiber service by then, too.

  60. 60
    different-church-lady says:

    @lol: Correct. However, we should prepare ourselves for the relentless presence of this particular troll for the next 2+ years. Because only three things are certain in life, and internet trolls being deliberately annoying is all three of them

  61. 61
    Roger Moore says:

    @Cliff in NH:

    The service they provide is data transfer and nothing more.

    Not really. Most of them also provide email and personal web hosting together with their bit moving services. They’re usually packaged with content delivery like cable TV, and they’re trying like hell to add other services to the package. I’d be perfectly happy if they were forced to separate their bit moving services from the rest of the stuff they offer, but that’s not how it works today.

  62. 62
    different-church-lady says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    The IPS’s could really give a fuck.

    They could?

  63. 63
    MikeJake says:

    Earlier this year, my mother’s Time Warner internet and phone went out for 11 days, and she absolutely could not get them to come out on a service call. It wasn’t until my stepdad called the mayor’s office and complained that they finally came out. The issue? One of their service people months before had come out to dig around the box on the back of the house, during some crummy winter weather, and had half-assed whatever he was doing and didn’t have something in the box set right. It took their techs like 15 minutes to find and fix when they actually came out. But in the meantime, they were probably more concerned about signing up new customers for whatever promotion they were running than they were servicing their existing customers, and they didn’t want to free any of their techs up deal with my mother’s issue.

    The worst part is, she actually has some competition out where she lives.

  64. 64
    different-church-lady says:

    @Gene108:

    If people can switch to wireless providers for internet access, all the fiber optic cable will be as worthless as the telephone wires are today.

    Hell, it’ll be a miracle when wireless providers can handle audible phone calls.

  65. 65
    Baud says:

    @Lee:

    I don’t agree. I support reclassification because the courts have said the FCC can’t do what they need to do without it. But I believe that the issue is legally and technically complex, and that the outcome is really about which policies we are going to choose to promote as a nation.

  66. 66
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @different-church-lady: Pretty well OT, but your comment about the third water tunnel is an opportunity to mention the fascinating (to me, anyway) work done to determine the cause of a major leak further up the NYC water tunnel system. Read up on the Rondout-West Branch Tunnel project. These guys worked 700 feet under ground, and spent a month sealed in a pressurized chamber breathing 97% helium, working 12 hours on, 12 off. You think your job is hard? The Seattle-based dive company that had the contract built a complete mock-up of everything they needed to make sure it would fit in the tunnel, because down there you may as well be on the moon – if you didn’t bring the right tools, you can’t go out to get them.

  67. 67
    Cliff in NH says:

    @Roger Moore:

    voice data is different from other data? WTF, data is data and that’s all they transfer. Why the fuck would that make them Non Common Carriers, since they are commonly carrying all that DATA encoded as 1’s and 0’s.

  68. 68
    Scout211 says:

    @Gindy51:

    Ditto here. We are rural, with no cable or other options other than satellite.

    We are less than a mile from a development of homes that has cable internet service (Comcast).

    We have had to increase the speed twice, due to the broadband “limit” on the levels we previously were paying for. So we pay 79.99 for slow internet, with no possibility of streaming any movies, videos, etc, or we will hit our limit and then they slow you down to dial-up speed to punish you.

    We have our service bundled with Dish Network and save $10 a month. Big whoop.

    I can’t believe they can get away with not laying less than a mile of cable.

  69. 69
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @different-church-lady: They have a pocket full of fucks, and if your life depended on receiving just one fuck from their pocket full of fucks, well, you’re fucked. ‘Cause they aren’t in the business of handing out fucks. How can they pay out quarterly dividends and bonuses if they keep giving out fucks?

  70. 70
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Cliff in NH: They are not just data carriers, they are content providers. Unbundle that, and you have an argument. NBC/Universal, Time Warner, they produce content. Old Ma Bell never did.

  71. 71
    different-church-lady says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Less OT than you might think — it really highlights the point that infrastructure updates don’t just happen with the wave of a hand.

    I’m kinda in a mood about this today, because I just read an idiotic news articl… sorry, blog post disguised as news at Boston.com… about the fare increases on the MBTA. Which are (wait for it) — a dime a ride. It was a real treat to watch people bitching about a dime rubbing shoulders with other people bitching about the outrageous salaries T workers get.

    I know it’s just the nature of the net, but as I journey further and further away from my youth, I have less and less tolerance for metallic screech of those burdened by First World Problems.

  72. 72
    Cliff in NH says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    WTF does that have to do with anything?

  73. 73
    different-church-lady says:

    @Hunter Gathers: Oh! Sorry, I didn’t get how you were using that phrase. I thought it was the very common misuse of “couldn’t give a fuck”. It never occurred to me your use could be correct the way you used it.

  74. 74
    scav says:

    @different-church-lady: Well, gee golly, maybe we better come up with a better way of managing the difficult and critical tasks that undergird functional society. It’s not as through greenfield versus brownfield development isn’t a known issue, nor that maintenance is difficult and dull and pricy, and that wringing the last possible penny out of aging technology doesn’t often bind you into ultimately even worse paths whereas getting the hell blown out of your infrastructure and having to build it afresh, actually fucking invest turns out not to be such a bad thing after all. This isn’t really utterly unexpected and novel information. We’ve just increasingly arranged it so short term and localized benefits are driving the whole apple cart and some of those apples are really important ones and not just the latest hot brand of shampoo.

  75. 75
    different-church-lady says:

    @scav: All those things are true, but snarking about doesn’t make those things easy.

  76. 76
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Cliff in NH: It has everything to do with your argument. Comcast *isn’t* just a carrier of bits, it produces and distributes content. Some ISP’s just carry bits; some don’t.

  77. 77
    scav says:

    @different-church-lady: You’re snark meter is way overturned. I’m fucking serious about nationalizing baseline critical infrastructure.

  78. 78
    Cliff in NH says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Fuck You troll, I’m paying time warner for internet access And content (it’s called cable) Fuck you troll.

  79. 79
    different-church-lady says:

    @scav: Your supposed seriousness about it doesn’t make it easy either.

  80. 80
    Cliff in NH says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    So, people paying comcast for internet access are not paying for access to the internet? bet that’s news to them.

  81. 81
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    OK, fuck this shit.

    Nationalize the ISPs and the backbones. No compensation for the corporations that control them now.

  82. 82
    p.a. says:

    @Roger Moore: and more SECURE (at least were). with the NSA, well…

  83. 83
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @Cliff in NH: To you and me, nothing. It all travels by packets. From Comcast and Time Warner’s point of view, the indignity of carrying content that they don’t own demands that they seek higher and higher rents from everyone that they can extort money from. Data is data. Because the ISP’s can throttle certain protocols, they’re going to demand rents or they’ll be ‘forced’ to drop packets. Comcast and Time Warner were dropping Netflix packets for months until they got their shakedown cash. Even if Netflix were to figure out a way to switch to peer to peer, the ISP’s will find a way to throttle that traffic as well, eventually. These fuckers will bleed every red cent they can from anyone that they can. ‘Cause Free Markets.

  84. 84
    VOR says:

    I’ve been on Comcast for phone, TV, and Internet for about a decade. Service used to be dodgy until they improved my signal strength by cutting the length of the cable run by about 80%. That took multiple service calls and an admission of failure for various workarounds (for example, multiple amps!). But now service is reliable and performance consistent. Well, except for streaming Netflix.

    They have improved speed over the decade, no question about that. But their email continues to be embarrassing, their website is best avoided, billing and customer service stink, and prices for cable TV keep inching up.

    Meanwhile my local phone company has upgraded from 1.5 Mbps DSL to 1.5 Mbps DSL. Although they keep sending me mailers advertising the 100 Mbps speeds which are not available in my area.

  85. 85
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Cliff in NH: Have a nice day, Cliff.

  86. 86
    scav says:

    @different-church-lady: Well, good luck with waving your hands piously intoning it’s difficult and this is the best of all possible worlds. Because I’m not that into pleasing you.

  87. 87
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cliff in NH:

    since they are commonly carrying all that DATA encoded as 1′s and 0′s.

    I thought Microsoft patented that and we should all be paying rents to them, not to Comcast and Time-Warner.

  88. 88
    different-church-lady says:

    @scav:

    Because I’m not that into pleasing you.

    I’m gonna call that a win-win.

  89. 89
    scav says:

    @different-church-lady: Well, at last we’ve agreed on that critical “tone” that is all important.

  90. 90
    different-church-lady says:

    @scav: P.S. Nowhere did I claim this was the best we could do.

  91. 91
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Hunter Gathers:

    These fuckers will bleed every red cent they can from anyone that they can. ‘Cause Free Markets.

    Adam Smith would have a thing or two to say about these fuckers. He would call them fuckers in an extremely genteel way that would no doubt be misinterpreted as approval by the usual suspects who have never read his fucking book.

  92. 92
    C.V. Danes says:

    Considering that we pay more for slower access than than the rest of the industrialized world, I’m not sure what kind of innovation they are talking about. And as for the threat of not upgrading their systems, we already know how to deal with that attitude. Just ask any other regulated utility.

  93. 93
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I thought Microsoft patented that and we should all be paying rents to them, not to Comcast and Time-Warner.

    Wait until Google owns the patent on the word ‘Glass’. Because if the word glass isn’t automatically associated with their $1500 face computer ( or, alternately, a $1500 way to broadcast to those around you that you are a massive douchebag ), Free Market Jesus will cry.

  94. 94
    Roger Moore says:

    @Cliff in NH:

    WTF, data is data and that’s all they transfer.

    Data may be the only thing they transfer, but they do more than transfer data. They provide additional services on top of the basic data transfer, and they’re aggressively pushing those additional services as a profit center. They want to claim those additional services as justification for not being counted as common carriers. They also want to be able to give their services priority over regular traffic, which is the core reason they’re opposed to network neutrality.

    As I see it, the underlying problem is that the ISPs want to have it both ways. They want a common carrier’s liability protection against the way their networks are used, but they don’t want the restrictions that come with common carrier status. I think it’s time we make them pick one or the other.

  95. 95
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cliff in NH: One of the problems here is that the provide both the transport service that moves the bits, and they provide some of the bits, in the form of content. This creates an inherent conflict of interest between parts of their organizations, and with other organizations, like Netflix, that provide nothing but content that competes with their content.

    The problem with a “fast lane” approach is that it creates the specter of a two-tiered internet…one where the ISPs favored content is delivered faster than non favored content. Usually, of course, at a price to whoever is receiving the content. This is the essence of what net neutrality strives to avoid…pay to get faster content delivery, and the sky is of course the limit as far as parasite corporations like Comcast and Time-Warner are concerned.

  96. 96
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @C.V. Danes: The rest of the Industrialized World is not run by Ferengi shitstains.

  97. 97
    JGabriel says:

    mistermix @ top:

    I can’t imagine how Comcast et. al. could be less innovative–tin cans and string?

    Exactly. As it is now, we already rank 10th* in global internet speed, down from 9th last year and 8th the year before. Which places us right behind such well known global telecom innovators as Ireland at 9 and Latvia at 8.

    Yeah. We’re two notches behind fuckin’ Latvia.

    And we have ridiculously high rates compared to the rest of our peers in the top 10. US Internet service is like US Healthcare before the ACA: We pay way more for worse service. Comcast and Verizon both rank in the top five of the country’s worst customer service departments.

    And then Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner, et.al., have the unmitigated gall to threaten to make our internet service even more execrable?

    Fuck them. Fuck them up the ass with a jackhammer. It’s time to regulate these fucking assholes and get them under control.

    * Akamai State of the Internet Report (Warning: PDF), pg. 17 (19 by actual page count)

  98. 98
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cliff in NH: A troll isn’t simply someone with whom you disagree.

  99. 99
    Eric U. says:

    I was around for when cable first showed up. It was amazing how shoddy the work was that they did to lay the cable. I’m sure the cost of the cable was paid for in the first year. Some markets may not have been that way, but I’ve never lived in a market like that. And apparently the cable lasts forever, even though they only buried it about 3″ down. So any infrastructure argument they have is pretty ridiculous.

    Ohio used to have open season where the cable companies would have to bid to provide the service. The schools used to get a pile of computers out of the deal. That ended when the law was “improved”

  100. 100
    p.a. says:

    re: rural ‘internetification’, telcos have always had subsidies (gvt. approved customer fees) to provide voice to rural areas. Don’t know if the subsidies carry over to data/entertainment providers or cellular operators. P.S. you can say what you will about pre-divestiture dinosaur ATT, maybe the split increased innovation and the technology available to the general public, maybe ATT’s resources would have provided the same or better if left alone, but residence service was subsidized under their monopoly. 1FR (flat rate residential) service was never a break-even proposition. It was heavily subsidized by 1MB (measured business), data services (D4 T1’s mostly), and coin. Coin was a huge money maker. Anyone think their basic service in any form is subsidized now?

  101. 101
    catclub says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: “The rest of the Industrialized World is not run by Ferengi shitstains. ”

    And you have evidence for this in the 25% unemployment in Spain and 36% unemployment in Greece?

    I would suggest this is simply a case of US based Ferengis being more efficient. USA!!1!!

    American Exceptionalism

  102. 102
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Eric U.: One of the things about cable, and telcos, is that they cannot deliver their service without obtaining easements for rights of way for the physical plant that delivers the content. One of the reasons why telcos are “natural monopolies” (as well as cable companies) is that it becomes ridiculously inexpensive (and grossly inefficient) for every single telco or cable company to run wires all over the place to provide service to businesses and residences. THEN, in order to protect the hookers and blow of the CEOs, they skimp on maintaining and upgrading that physical plant, because, like paying their employees more, it negatively impacts the supply of hookers and blow for executives…the stockholders being a secondary consideration, at best, in the modern US MBA run corporation.

  103. 103
    Cliff in NH says:

    @Roger Moore:

    They charge extra for everything that isn’t internet access Who the f are you talking about .

  104. 104
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @catclub: Look at Sweden. Germany is better, but they still have a bankster infestation that rivals our own.

  105. 105
    Cliff in NH says:

    the whole post is about INTERNET ACCESS Not additional services you trolls.

  106. 106
    catclub says:

    It is a shame that the solution of paying more for higher speeds/ more data is not tried very often.
    One price service seems about all that is manageable.

    This would also help with the net neutrality problem. The customer chooses to pay more and gets more,
    or faster.

  107. 107
    Cliff in NH says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    We all know how you like changing the subject with distractions, f’ off

  108. 108
    JGabriel says:

    Someone should take a shotgun to one of major ISP CEO’s – Verizon’s CEO, Comcast’s, I don’t care – and put a bullet through his head.

    A little, literally murderous, outrage might make the rest of them sit up and realize that if they keep it up, the rest of the country isn’t going to take this kind of shit from them anymore.

    At this point, I can’t that imagine that anything but the threat of death would convince them to stop behaving like robber baron psychopaths.

  109. 109
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    @Cliff in NH: Jesus, who pissed in your cornflakes this morning?

  110. 110
    different-church-lady says:

    Is it a full moon tonight or something?

  111. 111
    p.a. says:

    @Eric U.: expected lifespan of direct buried underground (copper) cable whether coax or painted copper is 10 years. Aerial is 20 years. And repairs underground are more expensive: manhole access, pulling through duct or digging it up, digging up direct buried. Just locating it can be an issue after a few years.

  112. 112
    dollared says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Actually, this letter is a public admission that the correct business model is publicly owned common carrier, or at the extreme right wing, privately owned, regulated utility.

    If they can’t make investment decisions without operating as a monopoly, then we need to own them or regulate them.

    It was true in 1900, it’s true now.

  113. 113
    Eric U. says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: my understanding is that the easements for these cable companies are mainly provided by municipalities and that back when, the municipalities used this as leverage over the providers.

  114. 114
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @different-church-lady: Yes, in fact.

  115. 115
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @dollared: No disagreement here.

  116. 116
    Baud says:

    @different-church-lady:

    It’s Balloon Juice. It’s a full moon every night.

  117. 117
    Baud says:

    @Eric U.:

    That’s how public access channels were born.

  118. 118
    p.a. says:

    PAIRED copper. Can’t edit in phone’s Chrome.

  119. 119
    different-church-lady says:

    @p.a.:

    Can’t edit in phone’s Chrome.

    FUCKERS! ONLY A BULLET IN THE HEAD WILL TEACH THESE ASSHOLES HOW TO CODE!

  120. 120

    @jayackroyd: Yup.

    Serve the corporations while in public office, collect the rewards from them when you’re done screwing the populace.
    ~

  121. 121
    Walker says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Programmers consider UI design beneath them.

  122. 122
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    So, the physical delivery plant that provides the basic access needs to be divorced from the providing of content. When one corporation/entity/PERSON (/rmoneyspeak) controls BOTH, they can leverage that to pick the public’s pocket in a more ruthless and predatory manner.

    This has an, in theory, simple solution: The physical connections are either publically owned, or a heavily regulated corporation. The content is provided by someone else, not the provider of the physical connection. In theory this is simple, but in reality, with a dominated by money political system, it’s very hard to implement without using the JGabriel/VDE solution of lethal incentives for CEOs.

  123. 123
    MikeJ says:

    @Walker: I’ve been a programmer and a UI designer, and I’ve managed both. I’ve never met a programmer who thought it was beneath him. They just aren’t very good at it. It’s hard to think like somebody who doesn’t know anything about the program when you know everything about it.

  124. 124
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Eric U.: Indeed that is true. The problem of course is that every municipality will handle this and regulate it in different ways, which does in fact create inefficiencies for a national corporation to deal with. They would much rather deal with one set of rules, everywhere, and seek to impose it via “the market”. They do in fact owe their very existence to the government that they hate.

  125. 125
    chopper says:

    @Cliff in NH:

    i think maybe you need to go get a ice cream to help calm yourself down.

  126. 126
    srv says:

    You liberals who think the government knows more about the intertubes than the intertubers.

  127. 127
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @MikeJ:

    It’s hard to think like somebody who doesn’t know anything about the program when you know everything about it.

    DING DING DING DING DING!

  128. 128
    Baud says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I believe that’s the model for the electric power grid. It separates the transmission from the power generators. No lethal force required.

  129. 129
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @srv: I know that’s snark, but there are dudebros/IT glibertarians and others who actually think this and believe that computers and the internet both emerged from the brow of Zeus or something.

    No, the evil collectivist government got them both started.

  130. 130
    chopper says:

    @Cliff in NH:

    jesus titty-fucking christ, you are thick.

  131. 131
    Baud says:

    @chopper:

    i think maybe you need to go get a ice cream to help calm yourself down.

    Works for children.

    @MikeJ:

    Ergo, beta testing.

  132. 132
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Baud: That model was pioneered in a more civilized age. Before the dark times. Before the Empire.

  133. 133
    different-church-lady says:

    @chopper: Luckily, there are lots and lots of delightful opportunities for good ice cream in New Hampshire.

  134. 134
    Roger Moore says:

    @Cliff in NH:

    They charge extra for everything that isn’t internet access

    My ISP doesn’t. They provide some extra crap beyond just moving bits (e.g. email, web hosting, “security” software) as part of the basic package. ISTR they throw in some cheap subscriber-only content, too, though I don’t think I’ve ever taken advantage of it. All of the cable internet providers do this. They would bundle more crap and raise rates if they thought they could get away with it.

    The bigger problem, though, is that internet service providers have specific statutory protections of the kind that are normally given only to common carriers. The whole point of common carrier status is that the common carrier treats everything it sends the same, and in exchange it receives legal protection if it winds up moving illegal stuff for one of its customers. That legal protection is valuable enough that many common carriers actually prefer to be treated that way and don’t fight the designation. Since internet providers get that protection automatically, they desperately don’t want to be made into common carriers and are fighting tooth and nail to avoid it. We basically handed them the good part of being a common carrier without requiring they abide by the bad part.

  135. 135
    srv says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: This is just another one of the countless examples of Regulatory Capture as explained by Hayek 70 years ago in his opus, The Tube To Surfdom

    Solution:
    1) Vote only for libertarians
    2) ?
    3) Better internet

  136. 136
    Joel says:

    @MikeJ: Very hard to do UI when you know how everything works. You wouldn’t ask the engineer on an MRI to write the instruction manual for medical technicians, would you?

  137. 137
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @srv: Regulatory capture has been greatly enhanced by Rethuglican strangling of funding for regulatory bodies so that they simply do not have the resources to do what they’re mandated to do.

    The regulators need to be well compensated (certainly not at CEO levels) SMEs who can’t be hired away by the very bodies they are called upon to regulate. Human nature must be taken into account in administering this.

    Greed must be fought at every level, actively (or proactively, if you INSIST).

  138. 138
    chopper says:

    @Roger Moore:

    same with my ISP. all the extra bullshit that i don’t want to use comes with the service anyways. i can’t only pay for access. i have to pay for all of it.

  139. 139
    joel hanes says:

    @Roger Moore:

    As I see it, the underlying problem is that the ISPs want to have it both ways. They want a common carrier’s liability protection against the way their networks are used, but they don’t want the restrictions that come with common carrier status. I think it’s time we make them pick one or the other.

    Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.

    This, a thousand times this.

  140. 140
    Roger Moore says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Regulatory capture has been greatly enhanced by Rethuglican strangling of funding for regulatory bodies so that they simply do not have the resources to do what they’re mandated to do.

    And choosing industry insiders every time they have a chance to appoint somebody. Regulatory capture goes a lot faster with an inside man.

  141. 141
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @joel hanes: Yup, and they need to be forced to make a decision.

    I’ve always thought that common carrier status for ISPs is an absolute no brainer. Of course, when I was in the ISP business, it was the wild west of the 90’s, where small ISPs were far more numerous than they are now, and were facing the potential of all sorts of legal nightmares if some broomstick up the ass godbothered twit was offended by UUencoded gifs or something carried on USENET. In fact, a broomstick up the ass woman caused us all sorts of problems because she objected to titty pictures and didn’t want us to provide any access to them. Our attitude was parents need to know, and monitor their children’s surfing accordingly.

    Nowadays, the pr0n flows like water, no technical skills beyond pointing and clicking required.

  142. 142
    Baud says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    no technical skills beyond pointing and clicking required.

    Is that what the kids are calling it nowadays?

  143. 143
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore: That’s why you need strongly enforced revolving door rules. May cause some problems for individuals, but we’re talking about a collective asset.

    Of course, I was in the Army for years. I grew used to an understanding that my position, even as a member of the top 5%, was not a customer at Burger King. Which was one of my various first sergeants favorite ways of telling troops where they stood.

  144. 144
    TomParmenter says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: No doubt they are common carriers and suspicious characters, but Comcast just quadrupled my download speed to nearly 100mbytes/sec at no charge, eliminating all blips and beachballs.

  145. 145
    Roger Moore says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Yup, and they need to be forced to make a decision.

    On second thought, they don’t need to be forced to make a decision. A decision should be made for them; they are common carriers whether they like it or not.

  146. 146
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore: Agreed. They should have no choice if they want to stay in the ISP business in any way, shape or form.

    They can always walk away and retire to Aruba or something.

  147. 147
    burnspbesq says:

    @dubo:

    Communications companies are ratf*ckers who need to be nationalised, yesterday

    I suppose that if I asked how you proposed to pay for that (which is required, in case you’ve forgotten about the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment), that would make me a corporate stooge, a troll, and a douchecanoe.

  148. 148
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cliff in NH: In theory, yes.

    Reality is that the same corporations provide the connection and the content, which, as I’ve discussed previously in thread, leads to role confusion, to be mild, or greedy opportunism and predation, to be less mild and more precise, on the part of the corporate entities that control both sides.

  149. 149
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @burnspbesq: No payment. It’s like slavery.

    Fuck them. They’ll be fortunate if we let them live.

  150. 150
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @burnspbesq: That is why common carrier or utility status needs to be provided for them asap. No takings, just regulations.

  151. 151
    burnspbesq says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I may agree with that, but I’m curious as to where you think the 218 votes in the House are going to come from.

  152. 152
    Ben Cisco says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Heh. I was doing support for a dialup ISP in the late 90s and had a similar conversation with an admittedly harried mother who was desperate to limit her children’s internet access time but couldn’t stop them from going online AFTER SHE WAS ASLEEP.

    I suggested taking the power/vga cables to bed with her. She, on the other hand, felt we were responsible for making sure the internet wouldn’t work after lights out….ohhhkayyyy then…

  153. 153
    burnspbesq says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    So the Constitution is just toilet paper. Good to know.

  154. 154
    JoyfulA says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Ma Bell didn’t wire every house. It wired only urban areas. Rural and less urban areas were served by little local phone companies that wouldn’t connect farmhouses that weren’t on a main road, unless the customer paid for the telephone poles. They weren’t quick to modernize either; we had to call the operator and ask for the party we wanted into the 1960s in my town of 2,500. And party lines—we had 12 parties on our line and had to count the rings.

    Which reminds me, my parents had a vacation home until the early 2000s, and the only phone service available was a party line.

  155. 155
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @burnspbesq: The 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments were repealed under the deserting coward administration, with the full support of the conservative majority on SCOTUS.

    They provide a good example of why people misinterpret Shakespeare’s quote on lawyers.

    Were slaveholders ever compensated for the loss of their property, when Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation? We know that loyalists never got compensated when they were driven to Ontario, but that was prior to the adoption of the current Constitution, of course.

  156. 156
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @burnspbesq: No idea where they’ll come from. We need to retake the House, for sure, to fix things, because they’ll never get fixed as long as the teahadis are dictating the agenda.

  157. 157
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    provided for them asap. No takings, just regulations.

    You know Verizon has argued that net neutrality would violate their First Amendment right, don’t you?

  158. 158
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Alternatively, we can compensate the corporations for fractions of pennies on the dollar, and use elaborate accounting tricks (that corporations use to dodge taxes) to justify doing so.

    These parasites deserve no succor. They already have their Bentleys, yachts, and sweet sweet memories of hookers and blow to sustain them.

  159. 159
    Lee says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The ISPs created this problem. IIRC, it was Time Warner that did not want to be held responsible for the content of their network (a protection provided to common carriers) yet did not want to be classified as a common carrier. Providing data (analog or digital) to a home is falls clearly under a common carrier. All of the other bells and whistles they want to provide in addition to that data they can certainly charge for but those service fall outside of of the realm of being a common carrier.

  160. 160
    Roger Moore says:

    @burnspbesq:
    Wasn’t the whole reason for rearguing the case on network neutrality a recent court case? ISTR the ruling was that the FCC didn’t have the power to enforce network neutrality as long as ISPs were considered whatever category they’re currently in, but that the FCC did have the power to classify them as common carriers.

  161. 161
    🌷 Martin says:

    Think you hate your Internet service provider now? Pretty much all the top ISPs in the country just told the Federal Communications Commission that if they face extra regulation, they will stop investing as much as they do today in network upgrades, and they will have to stop being so innovative.

    Let them. They’re going to lose clout with Congress and the FCC, and companies like Google are eager to get in there. Tired of being held hostage by these assholes.

  162. 162
    Lee says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Yes that pretty much sums it up.

    It started back in 2007(?) when the FCC chose not to classify them as a common carrier. Everything since then has been directly related to that poor choice.

  163. 163
    Roger Moore says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Were slaveholders ever compensated for the loss of their property, when Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation?

    They weren’t because they were treated as enemies and the slaves were legally contraband. Any questions about the legality of the freeing of the slaves were taken care of by the 14th Amendment, which explicitly denied compensation for emancipation of slaves.

  164. 164
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @kindness:

    All one has to do is look at Europe who have much faster internet speeds and more regulations than we have here. It’s a very bad joke.

    And yet they can also point to mobile operators in the US who have faster networks than those in Europe thanks to a much larger and less competitive landscape (contract lock, difficulty of changing carriers without changing phone, etc.) that gives them lots of money to spend on infrastructure.

    It’s a false analogy, of course: cable companies are tight bastards who ship shitty old set-top boxes and refuse to spend money on core network infrastructure because it’s not part of their higher-margin product. But it’s one they’ll make.

  165. 165
    meander says:

    This in the second linked article jumped out at me: “Selling a home in a broadband blackout zone can also be difficult as savvy buyers increasingly now insist on Internet accessibility.”

    How long before standard real estate disclosures have a section about internet access?

  166. 166
    J R in WV says:

    We live in a rural county with a combination of Frontier land lines and a small Telco left over from the beginnings of rural telephone service, Strongarm, to coin an anonymous name. We have the dreaded Satellite Internet service, and have a router set up with quotas and times entered to help keep us from blowing our caps. It still happens sometimes, and we’re back to dial-up speeds.

    But everyone up a hollow on Strongarm has DSL. Frontier has some broadband, perhaps fiber, and they come half way down the mountain into our hollow. No plans to extend to us, yet.

    I don’t understand how the very small local telco, Strongarm, can run high speed connectivity way up sparsely populated hollows and ridges, and make a good profit, while Frontier, a nationwide communications giant, can’t provide service to the only part of the county that’s part of the suburban neighborhoods of the state capital. Very strange.

    We’ve called Frontier and offered to pay part of the cost of running fiber out here, but they have no institutional method of accepting contributions, or even of billing us for installation costs!! Very strange!!

    I agree that all companies that move data, whether VOIP, plain old telephone audio, which still can support dialup data transfers, or just high speed fiber-optic, all these companies are common carriers, and should adhere to the rules that govern how such services must operate.

    If they want to provide other services that piggyback on their data transfer services, that should be allowed. They should even be able to charge for those services, if customers elect to use those services at the price the data transfer companies want to charge.

    If these companies want to be producers of dramatic shows, or sports shows, or whatever, that’s fine… but they can’t charge me an arm and a leg for those shows if I don’t want them, and I don’t. The fact that they want to engage in other lines of business doesn’t mean that their data transfer services aren’t common carriers, because they are, by definition. No amount of campaign contribution can change the definition of “carrier”, nor the definition of “common”.

    We used our cell connection for internet access briefly before we got satellite service, and it was nearly as good as the sat service. It is amazing to have internet access driving down the interstate. This is all wonderful, but the price is not worth it – roughly $150/month for two phones and a data router – with a small cap! Plus the cost for the sat dish service AND the land line here at home, where cell service will never exist due to the shape of the geography.

  167. 167
    Walker says:

    @meander:

    When I was shopping for a home three years ago, I wanted a home with acreage (so a bit outside of town) but it had to have high speed internet access. I drove my agent crazy schooling her on the major differences between the various options. The place I ended up choosing had vanilla TWC, but I was also looking at symmetric microwave options.

  168. 168
    W. Kiernan says:

    On several billboards I see on my way to work each day, and every time I engage in any kind of communication with Verizon, they regale me with ads telling me how incredibly awesome their FIOS service is, how it’s so much better and faster than the slow, crappy internet connection they’re currently supplying me with, how once I upgrade I’ll be saying “Wow! This is terrific! What a vast improvement!” and the price is quite reasonable too, so why not switch to FIOS today!!! click here to enter your address and see if it’s available in your area!!! So I click there and type in my address and every time it tells me, sorry pal, tough luck, try again next month. Well, the last time I did this, after getting the usual “sorry tough luck,” I put in the address across the street. Guess what, they can get FIOS. But not me, because they’d have to run a wire all the way across the street!

  169. 169
    Fred Fnord says:

    @Roger Moore: Data may be the only thing they transfer, but they do more than transfer data. They provide additional services on top of the basic data transfer, and they’re aggressively pushing those additional services as a profit center.

    Umm… sure. And B&O also sold sandwiches. It didn’t stop them from being called a common carrier.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they’re arguing that, but it’s not like it is even the slightest bit relevant.

  170. 170
    Xboxershorts says:

    I know the TW Cable Backbone Engineering team. Personally.

    They are upgrading from aggregated 10GB links to 100GB links

    You noobs think that shit grows on trees?

    try 80K a Card for optical shelf. Then, factor in40k per router/switch port.

    Most of you really have no clue the cost of innovation in this realm.

  171. 171
    johnny aquitard says:

    @Baud:

    ISPs arguably provide communication and information.

    It’s all just electrical energy in a morse code of ‘on’ and ‘off’ states as it moves along a wire (or along a fiber optic cable as light or through the air in the radio wavelengths).

    They want to pretend voice, ‘the internets’ and text are all different physical products because that gives them cover to charge different rates for the same thing.

    Like the record companies when mp3s decoupled the data they were ostensibly selling from the medium that was actually at the core of their business model, they are responding to business challenges not by innovation but by leglislation.

    I noticed AT&T charges me for per message for text messages sent and recieved. The reason for the special pricing for text messages is because there’s lots of wind resistance pushing all those letters back and forth through the air.

  172. 172
    johnny aquitard says:

    @J R in WV:

    This is all wonderful, but the price is not worth it – roughly $150/month for two phones and a data router – with a small cap!

    This is why you will see no improvement. It is very profitable for them as things are, and there is nothing to induce them to change it. You will still pay. Everyone in your area will. You can’t say no, and you can’t make them say yes.

  173. 173
    Tripod says:

    So basically, we got some TPC paranoia, and some exurbanites SHOCKED that their lifestyle choice comes with a higher cost of living.

    I will say the technical knowledge on display here is akin to what you find in climate change denialists.

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