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    Comcast and Time Warner Cable: The upshot for us




    TOP STORY

    Comcast and Time Warner Cable: The upshot for us


    By Woody Leonhard

    Last month, cable TV giant Comcast announced it had agreed to buy Time Warner Cable for U.S. $45 billion, merging the largest and second-largest cable companies in the U.S.

    While the raging debate over the advisability of the merger focuses primarily on TV, ultimately the far larger question will be our future access to the Internet.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/comcast-and-time-warner-cable-the-upshot-for-us/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Is this article utterly irrelevant for the approximately 95% of the world population which lives elsewhere than in the United States?
    BATcher

    Dear Diary, today the Hundred Years War started ...

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    While I definitely share Woody's concerns over the Comcast/Time-Warner merger, it is hard to imagine that T-W's service could get any worse. As I wrote to Congressman Franken, indifferent (and sometimes insulting) customer service, speed that can slow to a crawl, constantly rising prices and added fees, and an inability to access management to resolve problems are all part of what made Time-Warner second from the bottom in a recent J. D. Powers customer satisfaction survey of our region's ISPs. (Alas, the only other option in our city at this time ranked dead last.) Every time T-W raises prices (and always far in excess of the inflation rate), they claim it is partially for investment in improved infrastructure, but few of us have seen evidence of that in our basic services. Rather, those dollars would appear to go for new products (like home monitoring systems) that are themselves revenue generators for T-W.

    There are stirrings in our area of an independent ISP trying to enter the market. My fear is that a Comcast/Time-Warner megalith could crush small entrants into our area by temporarily lowering prices only to continue jacking them up after the competition has been eliminated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BATcher View Post
    Is this article utterly irrelevant for the approximately 95% of the world population which lives elsewhere than in the United States?
    I hardly believe that 95% of the world population is suscribed or reading this newsletter. It is, in fact relevant to those who do.

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BATcher View Post
    Is this article utterly irrelevant for the approximately 95% of the world population which lives elsewhere than in the United States?
    No, it is definitely NOT irrelevant outside the US. What is happening inthe US is mirrored in fights between ISPs and regional regulators in the EU and East Asia, with Australia and New Zealand standing out as defenders of Net Neutrality and against bandwidth caps.

    Regional monopllies in any industry can affect commerce (and in this issue, communications) all over the globe. Our fight in the US is very relevant to the Worldwide Web and the future of the three-quarters of Humanity who have yet to get online in their homes.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pirireis View Post
    I hardly believe that 95% of the world population is suscribed or reading this newsletter. It is, in fact relevant to those who do.
    While Windows Secrets does not reach a very large percentage of people outside the US, those who do read this newsletter tend to be influential in their own countries. So this publication can serve interests outside the US, while focusing on US Windows users.
    -- Bob Primak --

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    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoSci View Post
    While I definitely share Woody's concerns over the Comcast/Time-Warner merger, it is hard to imagine that T-W's service could get any worse. As I wrote to Congressman Franken, indifferent (and sometimes insulting) customer service, speed that can slow to a crawl, constantly rising prices and added fees, and an inability to access management to resolve problems are all part of what made Time-Warner second from the bottom in a recent J. D. Powers customer satisfaction survey of our region's ISPs. (Alas, the only other option in our city at this time ranked dead last.) Every time T-W raises prices (and always far in excess of the inflation rate), they claim it is partially for investment in improved infrastructure, but few of us have seen evidence of that in our basic services. Rather, those dollars would appear to go for new products (like home monitoring systems) that are themselves revenue generators for T-W.

    There are stirrings in our area of an independent ISP trying to enter the market. My fear is that a Comcast/Time-Warner megalith could crush small entrants into our area by temporarily lowering prices only to continue jacking them up after the competition has been eliminated.
    Thank god I'm a AT&T DSL customer (/sarcasm) !
    -- Bob Primak --

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    Thumbs down RE: Comcast and Time Warner Cable: The upshot for us

    - http://windowssecrets.com/top-story/...upshot-for-us/
    Mar 19, 2014 - "... money from Comcast’s political action committee has flowed to all but three members of the Senate Judiciary Committee... the cable giant has donated in some way to 32 of the 39 members of the House Judiciary Committee, which is planning a hearing of its own..."

    The NYTimes reports higher numbers:
    - http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/21/bu...lanthropy.html
    Feb 20, 2014 - "... The correlation between giving and support for its deals extends to Congress: 91 of the 97 members of Congress who signed a letter in 2011 supporting the Comcast NBC merger received contributions during that same election cycle from the company’s political action committee or executives..."
    .

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    Thank you, Woody Leonhard.
    This topic hits a raw nerve with me, since the days when Adelphia brothers were hit with corruption charges (bank/wire/securities fraud) that landed them in jail and the their assets were partially purchased by [I think] TWC; about a dozen years ago. As a result, many consumers (including self) got the royal shaft on this deal and I had promised myself that I no longer wanted to have anything to do with monopolies in my search for entertainment options.
    Then I took off my rose colored glasses and realized that there is no alternative option(s); unless consumers want to go to with some vigilante tactics in feeding their appetite for entertainment.
    In the Part1 of your great article, you had mentioned something about
    “At this point, if you truly think the U.S. Congress will block the takeover, I have some offshore investments I'd like to discuss with you.”
    Per chance, do any of these “offshore investments” include any telecommunications (or entertainment) companies? Because it is getting very difficult to pick out the lesser of all evils (aka monopolies) for my addiction?

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    Star Lounger pseudoid's Avatar
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    @PC.Tech >> Yeah! Our public servants should be forced to wear the patches/logos of EVERY PAC contributor in the visible portions of their attire, so that we can truly have full transparency!

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoSci View Post
    ... it is hard to imagine that T-W's service could get any worse.
    Service for me has been pretty rock solid in the last 2-3 months, but it was pretty dismal before that. The worst month, I had outages more than half the days, ranging from minor (a few minutes) to major (8-12 hours at a time).

    Normally, there were outages several days a month, ranging from 5 minutes (several times in the same day) to 8 hours or more (quite often), to one outage that lasted 3 days. Since I have phone service with them, any outage means loss of Internet and phone services.

    Sure, they gave me some credit, but I'm just glad I had no health or other emergencies when the phone was down.

    When I had Comcast, service was just as flaky.

    Now, I never chose to get Comcast or TWC service. I started with Home.com about 17 years ago, and they sold out to another provider, who sold out to someone else, who sold out to TWC. The two in between were AT&T and Comcast (Verizon/Comcast?), but I forget the order. Each time, the service went from bad to worse, then got great shortly before they sold it to the next in line.

    I guess now I know why the service has been so good lately, and customer service has become pretty stellar...

    Two phrases come to mind: "musical chairs" and "putting lipstick on the pig"...
    Last edited by TexasT; 2014-03-20 at 13:33.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    No, it is definitely NOT irrelevant outside the US. What is happening inthe US is mirrored in fights between ISPs and regional regulators in the EU and East Asia, with Australia and New Zealand standing out as defenders of Net Neutrality and against bandwidth caps.
    <snip> ....
    Even in these countries the US is using communications as part of a free trade deal negotiation to try to get them to go along with the US' version of digital copyright and other "foreign" - for those countries - policies. And it's not government that's trying to defend Net neutrality, it's mainly non-government private organisations. Government is behind anything that gives them greater control, and will ride on the coat-tails of anything the US says/wants that will help them to achieve those goals. They publicly state otherwise, but the devil's in the detail, and the detail's secret unless Edward Snowden releases some more stuff.

    Regarding data caps in New Zealand: basic plan with some ISPs:

    1. http://www.orcon.net.nz/external/gen...hp?data_cap=30

    2. https://myaccount.snap.net.nz/signup/home

    $NZ1 = $US0.80c approx

    The plans may not be expensive, but the "over data" charges are $NZ2.00 per GB - unless one purchases another data block, if the ISP has that as an option - with Orcon that's not an option. With SNAP an extra 100gb (minimum size), is $NZ15.00 and the extra data dies at the end of the period it's bought in. Most of the major ISPs do not have data "overs", they either slow the speed down to dial-up, or charge the $NZ2.00 per GB.

    Don't know what Australia's like, don't live there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasT View Post
    Service for me has been pretty rock solid in the last 2-3 months, but it was pretty dismal before that. The worst month, I had outages more than half the days, ranging from minor (a few minutes) to major (8-12 hours at a time).

    Normally, there were outages several days a month, ranging from 5 minutes (several times in the same day) to 8 hours or more (quite often), to one outage that lasted 3 days. Since I have phone service with them, any outage means loss of Internet and phone services.

    Sure, they gave me some credit, but I'm just glad I had no health or other emergencies when the phone was down.

    When I had Comcast, service was just as flaky.
    Thankfully I live in the UK where there are some pretty efficient ISPs. Mine will even ring you back if you phone at a busy time and leave your number, and they are there 24/7. Outages are rare.
    Last edited by georgelee; 2014-03-20 at 14:19. Reason: added last sentence.

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    @ BATcher,
    Instead or wondering if this affects "the 95%", it could prove behooving to think about the utter lack of control you'll feel when Comcast inhales SW England's little bit of curd along the whey.
    Since we know 100% that Comcast is the largest Telecommunications Conglomerate in this Solar System, it's not so much an "if" thing as it is a "when" thing... so don't blink.
    REMEMBER--- "if you don't play well with others, you could end up playing with yourself."


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    "Don't know what Australia's like, don't live there."

    We look enviously at unlimited access in the US and UK. ISP plans in Australia have always been ferociously expensive and capped at low levels; by way of example, 50 GB per month is AUD73 (over 50GB, data is slowed to dial-up speeds); prepaid, using the "wireless"/ cellphone network for access, is AUD180 for 12 Gb.

    This makes the providers of the internet pipeline (cable, ADSL, cellphone) handsome profits. i would expect Comcast to want to enjoy the same rewards.

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