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I have DSL

And even though I live in central NJ surrounded by telecomm giants, my internet connection is pathetic.  It takes me a lonnnnng time to download a youtube video.  If I want to rent a movie or download a book, I have to plan in advance or steal bandwidth from a neighbor. I have never been able to upload a video to my youtube account.

My neighbor has Comcast.  The cable connection is super fast.  I would love to have an internet connection as fast as that but in order to get the cable modem, I have to purchase a package of Comcast TV.  I’ve considered Comcast but it’s really, REALLY expensive and doesn’t come close to competing with my satellite provider for the stuff I would be forced to buy as a package deal.  Besides, Comcast is a behemoth and I don’t like to support behemoths.  I think diversity is healthy in a free market economy.  If I succumb to the temptation of fast internet and buy TV from Comcast, I just make it bigger and more likely to satisfy its own needs as a mammoth cable provider and not my needs as a subversive blogger.

I already have DiSH.  I LOVE DiSH.  The package deal for satellite TV I have can’t be beat.   It comes with all kinds of DVRs and HD and 200+ channels of programming at a great deal. But DiSH doesn’t offer affordable super fast internet.  No, for that, I have to go through Sprint, Embarq, Century Link.  The company keeps changing hands but alas, the service is still sucky.

In the mall, there is a Verizon FIOS booth.  It is cool and shiny and sexy.  “OOoooooooOOOOoooo!”, I exclaim every time I pass it, “When is FIOS coming to <<township name redacted>>?”

“Soon”, they have told me for the past two years.

“But Princeton got FIOS.  Paul Krugman just got his a couple of months ago.”

I got tired of that “soon” answer so I just badgered them one afternoon to level with me.

“Never.  Your township made a deal with Comcast for their municipal needs so Comcast kinda has a lock on your internet options.  We’ve been trying to negotiate with your township but they ain’t budgin’.”

So, essentially, I am stuck with sucky internet.  If I want fast internet, I can dump DiSH and buy the entire Comcast package at an outrageous price.  If I want to preserve some semblance of competition, I stay with DiSH and Century Link, the DSL component of which is soooo far away from my terminal endpoint that I will never get decent download/upload speeds.

What I don’t have is competition.  No, I do not have the option of picking my provider and they in turn do not have the obligation to provide me with decent services at a reasonable price.  I am a captive audience.

It’s a good thing that no one is *forcing* me to buy this crap.

117 Responses

  1. In Va. you can get internet only. It costs almost as much as with the TV package but you can get it stand alone from Comcast. Disclosure: We have their package plan.

    We have the same problem with competition here though. Cox and Comcast have split up the region and both have agreed not to poach on eithers area so they can each have their own monopoly in regions.

    • Nope, does not come unbundled here. I’ve already checked.

      • I don’t know why neighbors don’t get together and share the internet via wi-fi. Share the cost and share the bandwidth. Unless you are streaming huge downloads, it would be adequate to have an access point and share it and the price. It takes a village to force these monopolies to lower their price. I noticed FIOS forces people to use a secure wi-fi…..mostly to prevent people from sharing the signal. Give your neighbor the code and then you can share. If it beomes a problem, stop doing it. Most people are away from home most of the time anyways. And the “secure” line just cuts down on the speed.

  2. (knowing full well that you are just bursting with free time)

    You should call city hall and get (verify) the scoop from them. Then write a letter to the editor & call the local television stations — write up a story about it.

    You can’t be the only one in town lusting every time they pass Verizon’s kiosk. (I’d even say that — draw people in with a personal experience)

    Make it a scandal!

    • Er, it’s an extended metaphor.
      Besides, this township is run by Republicans. They make all kinds of sweetheart deals and this cable monopoly s^&* has been going on for decades all over the country.

  3. Nicely done, rd.

    For the first time, polling is showing that more people would rather Congress do nothing than pass health deform.

    • Hi Wonk, my first chance to congratulate you on your new mayor. Well done!

      • thank you!! I think some fauxgressive heads have exploded over that too… it has been fun to watch. (Time magazine had a bizarre writeup for example.. at one point the article says Annise Parker looks like Barbara Bush.)

    • Not to be picky, but the poll says they’d rather do nothing than have this reform. I don’t think they are opposed to reform of any sort, just not this crap that’s being done now.

    • Support for Health Overhaul Wanes

      According to the poll, 44% of Americans said it is better to pass no plan at all, compared with 41% of Americans who said it’s better to pass the plan. In early October, 45% of respondents preferred passing a bill, while 39% preferred passing no bill. Uninsured people were among those who have grown less supportive of the plan.

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126100520481094557.html?mod=article-outset-box

      • Health-care bill wouldn’t bring real reform
        By Howard Dean

        If I were a senator, I would not vote for the current health-care bill. Any measure that expands private insurers’ monopoly over health care and transfers millions of taxpayer dollars to private corporations is not real health-care reform. Real reform would insert competition into insurance markets, force insurers to cut unnecessary administrative expenses and spend health-care dollars caring for people. Real reform would significantly lower costs, improve the delivery of health care and give all Americans a meaningful choice of coverage. The current Senate bill accomplishes none of these.

        In short, the winners in this bill are insurance companies; the American taxpayer is about to be fleeced with a bailout in a situation that dwarfs even what happened at AIG.
        In Washington, when major bills near final passage, an inside-the-Beltway mentality takes hold. Any bill becomes a victory. Clear thinking is thrown out the window for political calculus. In the heat of battle, decisions are being made that set an irreversible course for how future health reform is done. The result is legislation that has been crafted to get votes, not to reform health care.

        I have worked for health-care reform all my political life. In my home state of Vermont, we have accomplished universal health care for children younger than 18 and real insurance reform — which not only bans discrimination against preexisting conditions but also prevents insurers from charging outrageous sums for policies as a way of keeping out high-risk people. I know health reform when I see it, and there isn’t much left in the Senate bill. I reluctantly conclude that, as it stands, this bill would do more harm than good to the future of America.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/16/AR2009121601906.html?sub=AR
        —–
        White House Defends The Senate Bill, Rebuffs Dean’s Criticism

        White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer posted this response on the White House blog this afternoon. His main points are that the insurance industry doesn’t actually like the bill and that it’s “hugely successful” in containing costs.

        http://politics.theatlantic.com/2009/12/white_house_defends_the_senate_bill_rebuffs_deans_criticism.php

  4. RD, my sentiments exactly. I have Century Link which seems to be getting slower. I refuse Comcast because of the price and monopoly it has. Glad to hear you’re holding out too.

    Perfect analogy to the health insurance prospect. I can imagine being forced to purchase connectivity with water/sewer/ trash service – cable TV even resembles the latter two!

    • I’m glad I wasn’t imagining that RD meant this as an analogy. I’m sometimes literal-minded especially first thing in the morning!

      I can already see what a nightmare this is going to be, because in MA we have forced health insurance (which I haven’t found time to sign up for yet–it’s complicated) and our car insurance rates are controlled by the state too. You can’t really shop around for better rates on either health or car insurance.

      Even though my town allows cable competition there aren’t significant differences in price–so what’s the point. I stick with Comcast because the service is good and reliabile. They are even nice to you on the phone and if you go to their office. Maybe that’s because they do have to compete with other cable companies?

      • DiSH is really nice on the phone and the satellite signal is MUCH better than anything I ever had with cable.
        What I don’t have is choice.

        • DirectTV (same as Dish) but through Horizon has a satellite internet (I have looked at it but not tried it), that costs $50 – $100 depending on usage.

          • I ditched my DirecTV for DISH because of really poor customer service. So far, I have LOVED DISH. They go way outa their way to be helpful and polite. Last week my remote control died and I called them. Not only did they send me a new one free it was 3 years old) I got it the NEXT day.

      • BB, with similar prices, it’s a toss up for you. I lust after high speed, maybe someday, but at what cost?

        • My TV picture is wonderful. I get HD thru Comcast. But I considered cancelling my TV package, but I wouldn’t save that much, since they have these package deals. They definintely hold us captive–so I take the TV because it’s only a little more per month than I’d have to pay for just the internet service.

          I don’t have a land line anymore–I just use my cell phone. I wouldn’t get dish, because I seldom watch TV. The only thing I care about is internet.

          As for the health care, I have no idea what I’ll do. I know I won’t be able to afford the kinds of prices I’m hearing about–even with the subsidies. I’ll probably have to be euthanized. I also have to worry about paying my students loans.

          • BB, forget about euthanasia, I don’t think it’s covered. 😉

            Seriously, I’m hoping that the reality of our inadequate and inequitable health care coverage will unite enough people to make something better become a reality – in our lifetime!

  5. Good Morning, RD!

    I have Comcast internet, but I don’t have to buy the TV package to get it. My town has lots of competition. We have RCN and Verizon FIOS available. That is something the town or city you live in controls. I considered switching to Verizon, but it wasn’t really any cheaper than what I get from Comcast and we already have fiber optic cables through them.

    I know I shouldn’t give my money to a company like Comcast, but I really really like my fast internet and that is just about the only luxury I have in my life. Plus, the other companies are huge conglomerates too.

    But are you using this as a metaphor for what is happening to health insurance? Because we are going to be *forced* to pay about 20% of our income to some insurance company that will have a monopoly in addition to government subsidies.

    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2009/12/16/captive-consumers-and-oligopolies-do-not-make-effective-markets/

    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2009/12/16/the-mybarackobamatax/

    • But are you using this as a metaphor for what is happening to health insurance?

      I’m not rd, but look at the Filed Under and Tags. 🙂

      • I’m not that dense. But I don’t mind if you think I am.

        • I applied for Social Security late last night. I decided I’d better start getting at least some of my money back from the government before it competely collapses.

          • I applied for mine November 1–the first day it was allowed. A friend of mine, who has been receiving SS for years, initially had his financial consultant do some number crunching for him. The number crunching showed that taking SS at 62 is definitely the way to go rather than waiting until 65. The only drawback is that wages are limited to $14,000 per year, plus SS, until you are 65. After 65, there is no annual earnings cap. (Go figure.)

          • Yes, but if I discovered that if you keep working and they take the money out of your SS checks, you end up getting it later on. You don’t lose the money–they readjust the payments for you when you can’t work anymore.

          • Excellent!

        • I didn’t think you were dense–I just thought it was early and was trying to be helpful. Sorry.

  6. A very timely article, both as an analogy for the health care situation and because a news article today says that the government will begin allocating money for more broadband.

    Personally, I’ve always found that regulating utilities is more important than competition. I’m old enough to remember how great AT&T used to be when it was a highly regulated monopoly.

    As it happens, I still have AT&T for phone and internet. I only use a land line, and my reception is always superb. I pay $30 per month for fast DSL, because for my work I often need to download lots of PDFs or go to graphic-intensive web sites. Service has been excellent *and* the company has gone back to employing U.S. customer service reps. Apparently, the complaints about rude Indian service reps whose English no one could understand anyway finally hit home. (A service tech confirmed for me that the decision had been made two years ago but has only recently been fully implemented.)

    Comcast here has poor tv selection and outrageously high prices so the decision for me was an easy one, especially since I haven’t watched tv for the last 5 years. Sounds like you need to do some lobbying down at city hall.

    • The DSL signal is inversely proportional to your distance from the signal generating office. I am too far away to get decent service. So, really, my only option is comcast.
      BTW, my only landline phone option is Sprint and every call not in my immediate township is long distance.
      It’s a racket. It’s New Jersey.

  7. I always made a point to have my TV, phone and computer from different companies – that way, when one goes out I am not totally isolated. Of course, this is becoming impossible as the what I thought reliable phone cable went down. Verizon is so busy with other stuff, it took them 3 days to fix them and we discovered we were th only people in the building to even notice. So, we got Vonage – which means that if the computer is down, we lose the phone too, but at least – for now – not the TV. I can see how our choices get fewer and fewer.
    And yes, DSL is quite slow nowadays.

  8. No! Boycott!! It’s the better way.

  9. I have DSL sans any cable or satellite (although the cable and satellite companies are desperate to get me back) however, I live in Canuckistan. I also have health care – contrary to all popular opinion on both sides of the border, it is not free, and although not the best in the world, it works for me and mine. I’m amazed that 40+ years after we got health care, our American cousins are still fighting for it and even more amazing is that in New Jersey, you cannot get one thing without buying a whole lot of what you don’t need/want/can’t afford. It’s an eyeopener to read about your experiences – truly, and I’m not being patronizing, or funny, or ironic – it’s scarey.

    • If I got a job offer in Canada I’d move to your country in a heartbeat. I’m tired of living in a country where the government has absolutely zero concern about the lives of its citizens.

      • We have the same problems with jobs here, although it’s not as severe because we have some pretty severe banking regulation. I have a problem getting a job, although that could be because of my age and the fact that I haven’t worked in five years – early retirement, nasty health problem and all that.
        Wait for awhile. I’m sure that it will open up again – check out monster and other sites. Believe me, we need and welcome people who are willing to contribute, but be prepared for our taxation system. That is what fuels our medical care and other programs, and Americans always find that difficult to digest. Also, check out blogs, such as We Moved to Canada, for the experiences of your ex-pats. If you are serious, good luck – and come visit!

        BTW, our number one ranked radio host is an ex-pat American. Andy Barrie has been here for 40 years, and most of us love him. (We do have a percentage of the population who reflect your neo-cons – but they aren’t significant – why else has Mark Steyn and David Frum and Mandos moved to your country – they couldn’t make money here)

        • I’ve been to Windsor, Stratford, Montreal, and Quebec City and think what I’ve seen of Canada is beautiful. I really want to visit Toronto soon. Thanks for the advice!

          • oh my gosh. You have seen a miniscule part of our country. Toronto is terrific, and if you do decide to visit, I live within 20 miles and you can get my e-mail from the administrators.
            Just like your country, we have a diverse population, and a wondrous panopoly of natural habitats. For example, I love coastal Maine, however, it’s become too commercialized. Newfoundland/Labrador, Cape Breton, New Brunswick are still relatively free of the commercialization, although more and more Americans are buying up the properties. Same thing happened to PEI, and I hate to say it, but Americans looking for investment are tantamount to sharks. Americans looking for a place to relax in are an entirely different species.
            Come visit, but don’t forget the prairies and west coast, nor the norther parts of our beautiful country. \
            Sorry, I sound like a travelogue. I love my country – it is majestic and beautiful, and most of all, it is home to a wonderful group of people who are learning that we all matter. We still have a great deal of work to address the aborigine issues – and frankly, after this many hundreds of years, that is a huge stain, but we will get there. And btw, if anyone brings up the tar sands – that is the work of the government in conjunction with american interests. Most Canadians deplore the situation.

        • A Canadian member of a special interest forum I belong too lost his job at a wheel factory when the automakers went south. He was complaining about losing his insurance, when I asked about their health care system being paid for with taxes he clarified what he meant. He was losing his dental and vision insurance policies. He doesn’t have to worry about losing everything he has if he gets sick.
          As to your high taxes I get $165 a month taken out for insurance that doesn’t pay for office visits and has a $500 deductible. So either way you pay but we can be denied when we need to collect.

          • Bingo, Mr Mike. We pay taxes to support the health system. The Dental and Vision is not covered – that is usually a negotiated settlement with individual employers. I am fortunate, in that I worked for a major global corporation for many years, and even in retirement, have dental, vision and drug coverage (yes, even in the land of the cheaper drugs, we have drug coverage in some contracts to offset the costs). I will never die from neglect, or lack of insurance. That’s a plus. Insofar as your insurance premiums are concerned, I don’t know what mine are, however, I suspect that they aren’t much more than yours, however, I can walk across the road to a clinic, there is no deductible, and I can be referred for all kinds of tests – again with no deductible. I go for a physical every year, which includes a papp and mamogram. Every second year, I have to put up with a bone density test – it tough, but I do it. (I hate that Fosamex, and those calcium pills).
            I am the first to admit that my country is fortunate to have had the politicians with the vision to get this done.

          • Thanks to our media down here people don’t realize what health payment coverage is elsewhere.
            Too bad Obunko didn’t keep his promise about debates on C-span, perhaps the populace would realize we aren’t all that.
            The repubs throw up (literally) words like rationing or socialism and with nobody (OK a few) on the D side to counter it with facts and figures from an unbiased source it becomes the reality.
            Oh and one thing about deductibles, this year mine is $500 (next year it will be higher) but that deductible isn’t billing dollars but what the insurer thinks the charge should be.
            If the hospital visit costs me $501, I haven’t met the deductible and they pay a buck, because the insurer will say the customary charge should have been $250 so I’m still on the hook for another $250 before they pony up. anything.

          • MrMike, check and see if your insurance has a contract with the hospital when that happens. If they do, then the hospital CANNOT charge you for the difference in what their charge is vs. what the insurance says the “customary” charge is. it is illegal.

            When a provider signs a contract with an insurer, they agree to the fee schedule the insurer sets. They CANNOT bill the patient for the difference, but they do it all the time, and if the patient doesn’t know any better, they pay up, and no one’s the wiser. If caught, they say it was (oops!) an oversight”.

            If your insurance mails you an explanation of benefits (EOB) that show what they paid, and what you owe, (usually noted as “patient responsibility” or something), then that’s the figure you owe, REGARDLESS of what the hospital bill says. Tell the provider, “my EOB says I owe this, so evidently you have a contracted fee schedule with my insurance. Billing me for the difference is a violation of your contract, and illegal”. You’d be surprised how fast they say “Oooops! Sorry, must have missed that..”

      • This was what I was going to suggest as the ultimate solution. Move to a country that has quality socialized “internet” such as Canada or some European countries. Of course, that would mean leaving your loved ones behind, starting over, learning a new language, new culture, and giving up everything you’ve ever loved about your country. Really it is sad that it has come to this. Either stay here and be victimized by our government and giant corporations or move away. I don’t know when our country and our government officials all decided that being on the take and being rich is more important that being real public servants looking out for their constituents. Apparently, most things that were good about this country died sometime in the early 80’s and isn’t coming back.

        • I’m with you, GregoryP. I think someday soon there will be a significant exodus of Americans to other countries. If you want affordable internet access, affordable education, and affordable health care then the US is not for you. It might even become necessary for Americans to learn a foreign language in case they are forced to move to India, China, or Germany to keep their job. There will probably be a resurgence of foreign language study at universities in the next several decades. Universities should start making foreign language study required if they want to help their graduates find jobs. It is so sad that it has come to this.

    • By “not free”, are you referring to living in a province that charges premiums, or to the higher taxes, or to the few aspects of care (vision, dental, prescription, ambulance) that aren’t covered?

      Because I’m from Alberta, and when you consider the difference between provincial premiums and what Americans pay for insurance, it really might as well be free.

      And research shows that Canadian health care is as good or better than American health care, at least. My personal experience living in the States bears that out. Although I do admit that there are problems with the Canadian system.

  10. ((HT))

    We’re so screwed over here. Don’t know why we have so little value. But we do.

  11. We have the fios package. It’s pretty good value, and when our bundle expires or has expired in the past, we have just opted to join / re-sign with whichever new bundle plan they have.

    I think we’ve had it for almost three years now. We signed up as soon as they finished laying the fiber optic cables into the ground.

    Internet is super fast and picture quality is superb. Our land line is basic service because we mostly use cell phones

    • Comcast keeps giving us new deals too–again, I guess that is because they have competition here. They don’t want everyone switching to Verizon. The thing is, since we already have FIOS with Comcast, what would the attraction be. I hated Verizon when I had their phone service.

  12. I just switched my TV from DirectTV to FIOS. Internet has been FIOS for over a year. I’m quite impressed with Verizon’s customer service. It has been top notch for me. Because we now have everything bundled with Verizon, our internet connection has been upgraded so now it’s crazy fast. I think switching occasionally is important. It’s great getting those introductory deals and competition is the only hope we have to control the ever-increasing costs.

    • I have to agree re: Verizon’s customer service. Been top notch here so far. But we have alot of competitors here (Comcast, DirecTV, Dish, Cox, maybe a couple more) for TV, telephone, Internet or some combination.

  13. Internets and teevee may go away anytime now. Digital conversion sucks right now. Very frustrating. It’s freeing, yet frustring, yeah,

  14. Is this an open thread for daily links?

  15. Can you see the Dem brand eroding?

    Success on health reform holds risks for Democrats

    Unlike many other pundits and political experts in both parties, I think that passage of a bill by the Democrats at this point will be politically damaging to both the president and congressional Democrats. Conversely, defeat of the legislation is much more likely to hurt Republicans in Congress.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/16/AR2009121601880.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

    • Democrats’ Blues Grow Deeper in New Poll

      For Mr. Obama, who has relied on his personal popularity to retain the clout he needs to enact his legislative agenda, the survey pointed to troubling signs.

      A majority for the first time disapproved of his handling of the economy. And the public’s personal affection for the president, a consistent strong suit, has begun to fray. Fifty percent now feel positive about him, six points lower than in October and an 18-point drop since his early weeks in office.

      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126100346902694549.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFTTopStories

      • Funny how the WSJ states the obvious in very tentative terms. Makes me wonder what those powers that be really think about Obama, the economy, the future of the U.S. standing in the world.

      • That poll was taken BEFORE the public option/Medicare buy-out was dropped

  16. I am really disappointed in Krugman these days—he is just another dogmatic partisan, intent on the same narrative and blind to evidence that doesn’t fit into it. He is right about the Republicans role in deregulating markets, and their attempts to block reform now, but there is not one single mention of Obama & Co’s complicity. Not a single mention of Geithner, Summers or Dodd. Instead, it’s up to the “noble” Dems to make things right? He’s also living in an alternate universe with that attitude.

    Disaster and Denial
    By PAUL KRUGMAN

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/14/opinion/14krugman.html

    • This is Krugman’s take on healthcare as of Dec. 16th

      There’s enormous disappointment among progressives about the emerging health care bill — and rightly so. That said, even as it stands it would take a big step toward greater security for Americans and greater social justice; it would also save many lives over the decade ahead. That’s why progressive health policy wonks — the people who have campaigned for health reform for years — are almost all in favor of voting for the thing.

      • How can it promote social justice if it takes 20% out of the salary of someone making a middle-class income. Imagine if you make less than average. The subsidies are very weak, and the insurance is going to be basically crap.

        It’s a shame we’ve lost Krugman as an advocate for liberal policies.

        • There is also nothing there to keep the insurance companies from just jacking up the premiums, subsidy or no subsidy. Hey, they can get the money from you, PLUS from the taxpayer via Uncle Sam, on top of it! Sweeet.

    • I haven’t been over to Krugman’s blog in a while. I don’t find much of what he has to say about the administration or their “health care” plan refreshing or better than the commentary I can find here, at Corrente, The Reclusive Leftist, or Ian Welsh.

  17. Don’t know what is up or down now a days. I remain skeptical. Convince me boobies.

  18. I want to have hope!

  19. fif, I’m sure that he got a though hand slapping at the last meeting with O and that’s why he’s not come clean on some of the financial stuff.

    RD – I understand your frustration – we had Comcast – it became so expensive that as soon as Fios was offered here we grabbed it – but guess what – it’s almost (not quite, but almost) as costly as Comcast – and it is fast.

    Great rant, by the way – they get us coming and going.

    • The only internet connection I have ever had is cable. It wasn’t owned by Comcast when I first got it. But it has always been superfast. I don’t even know what it would be like to have to wait for things to download. It has never happened. I really have to say, I don’t regret having cable all along. And we also have fiber optic cables thru Comcast. I wish all the other services I pay for were as good and reliable.

  20. Too little, too late:

    Howard Dean: I won’t vigorously support Obama’s re-election.

    Wait another year, and he may be “vigorously” supporting someone else. LOL.

    • I’ve agreed with what Dean has said recently but I know he says it because he feels betrayed by Obama more than the fact that he really cares about solving America’s problems. If he really cared he wouldn’t have helped Obama steal the nomination. And if Obama had given Dean a position in his administration he’d be touting the bill along with the rest of them.

    • “I’m going to support President Obama when he runs for re-election,” Dean, also a former DNC Chair, said. “Not vigorously. I’m going to vote for him.”

      this isn’t even decent theater

    • Ruh-Roh. That means he’s taking the Deaniac contingent with him. Unfortunately, that cohort has absolutely no respect for the one person who can actually do the work.

    • Anyone know how to send Ho Ho a card of congratulations, etc ?

  21. It’s the same everywhere. The cable companies have a lock on our politicians and the citizens are secondary. Here in NYC, the city has been broken down between CableVision and Time Warner Cable. Time Warner having all of Manhattan, Staten Islalnd and Queens and CableVision having most of Brooklyn and the Bronx and Long Island. There’s no choice. For what it’s worth, the cable companies are deathly afraid of the competition from FIOS but it’s still not available in many areas.

    In another life, when I worked for a cable company, one of my customers told me that a law had been passed which would allow cable customers to choose on the channels they want, no more or no less. I wasn’t aware of that law at the time and haven’t heard anything more of it since. does anyone out there know whether this person was correct?

    • About two years ago or so there was a bill in Congess to allow that then the lobbyists came out with their stats to “prove” that it was cheaper for customers if they continued their bundling of programs so the bill was never defeated.

  22. oops!!! that should be”only the channels they want”

  23. Hi RD…..feel yer pain.

    In Portland, Or….my experience has been, that Comcast occasionally offers sign-up deals, and if they aren’t currently, you can sometimes get one anyway, depending on who answers the phone or who comes to your house to do the install. Yes, sometimes the Cable Guy will change the paperwork. Most of these are short-term deals that convert to an exhorbitant contract later, but one time I got really lucky and had a great rate for over a year, and then I moved. (and no I didn’t do anything unseemlly to uh…persuade him ; ) You can also threaten to leave if they try to expire the deal, sometimes that works.

    I recently “downgraded” my speed to “slow cable” instead of fast, to save $15/month. My budget is incrediblty tight these days….and for the most part, it’s ok. Youtube poses the biggest problem, not really loading, but choppy playback.

    My bill is 45/month – 12 is for basic cable tv, about 12 channels + CSPAN.

    Have you checked out Clear? I find their pricing really confusing but I’m curious if anyone uses them…..

  24. Just wrote one of my Senators will write the other soon, I asked if we will be forced to buy a Ddge or a Chevy next to save the bankrupt automakers.

  25. I have been where you are but worse. My option since I had I had Dish was to go with ATT for phone and internet. Talk about supporting a monopoly. I had dumped ATT years ago promising never to go back, NEVER! I wanted to keep Dish too. When I lived in the country they had saved me with good TV when no cable provider would run a line to my home even though I offered to cover the costs.
    I had Dish since it began but they would not upgrade me with HD or a DVR either unless I paid top dollar although it was offered free to new customers. That pissed me off. I finally went to Comcast. I got phone, TV and internet for under $100 cutting my bills by more than half. Its only good for a year but will buy me time. Surely there should be competition and municipalities making deals for exclusive use by citizens should be unconstitutional. Plus, we pay for damn shopping channels and I could care less that I have 250 sports channels. But I love the DVR. Dish made me use their DVR equipment although its TIVO and pay an extra 20 per month???? I don’t even want to discuss why I had to pay extra for HD channels. Who regulates this stuff? I seem to remember all that but with everything else, my brain is scrambled just like the Federal Gov’t hoped.

  26. Nicely done RD. Oh so subtle.

    Bottom line, we’re so completely and utterly screwed by our “representatives” both local and national on everything from healthcare or lack there of to internet or lack there of. They all suck completely.

    And what’s really extra sucky is how much better almost every other 1st world and many 2nd world countries are than us. It’s fricken embarrassing.

    Most everything that is for the social good of everyone, should be run and controlled by the society as a whole. Yes, socialized. That’s healthcare, that’s every basic utility, internet included, education, and yes, the military. Among others. It’s so damn obvious and logical. And the fight against for monopolistic profit and power is just as obvious.

    Beam me up scotty.

    • By the way, I too have Dish and WhatTheFuckNameThisWeek-Link. Luckily for me the DSL is actually good at around 10Mbps because Sprint had previously run fiber throughout the entire county including to my abode.

      Sadly the solutions for high speed internet for everyone are incredibly easy and cost effective it’s done together. Some cities and towns figured that out and worked to make free wireless internet available to all. But guess what, the government, and the behest of their masters, stepped in and said that would be illegal and unfair to competition. Ha, what fricken competition.

      Did we mention today how much we hate them all? 🙂

  27. Obama blogs as vote drivers but not constituency builders.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/1209/Obama_and_the_blogs.html?showall

  28. In the last post last night, someone commented with a link about our fighter jets in Yemen attacking citizens there. It was an OT link. I read the link to a Saudi paper and then noticed this article in the index:
    http://www.sauditelegraph.com/news/newsfull.php?newid=312597
    If you bother to read it, notice who one of the sponsors that paid for the statue was. HINT: They should be feeding and clothing victims of disasters.

  29. RD, a friend got AT&T U-verse and it is so incredibly better in speed and quality than the other Dallas choices, so I went to an ATT store yesterday. If it is available in your area, check it out. I got fiber opitc DSL TV, and a new phone line for less than I was paying for a single phone line.

    They’re already reading all my emails, so I figured WTF.

  30. I forget where I read it but a poster was complaining about having his cable internet service cut off because he downloaded a movie illegally. Apparently they can monitor your downloads and bandwith usage and cut you off.

    • They don’t know what you’ve downloaded. They’re just assuming because it’s big and could be a media file. First it’s none of their business. And second if they’re in the business of policing, then they should be libel when they don’t catch someone too. And third, they can’t harass you for downloading “home” movies or movies you’ve already paid for.

      Sadly what they can do even though they’ve sold you unlimited bandwidth, or some such, is actually be lying through their teeth and drop you or slow you down if you’re “using too much”. Because they’re evil. Pay an extra $20 for xxx bandwidth. Oh dear, I’m sorry, you’re actually using that bandwidth, we’ll have to drop you…

      • We used to get throttled. We don’t have TV, we buy all of our shows off of Xbox live and we stream Netflix. It’s (mostly) all legitimate downloads, but heavy on the bandwidth. It drives me fucking crazy. You pay for a service and then as soon as you start trying to use it they say “Too Bad”.

        http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/5/1/

  31. This is a perfect analogy with healthcare, because just like with ISP’s when you actually want to use your purchased bandwidth they drop you, if you actually need to use your insurance, if they can’t say pre-existing condition or if they can’t just drop you (both of which will probably be there in some clever loop-hole), they’ll just raise your rates to a gazillion dollars a month. Oopsie, you don’t have a gazillion dollars, guess you should not nave elected the great O. Suckers.

  32. I always had trouble with videos when I used ATT. I never could watch any of them as they were shown. It would be choppy or stop. That was throughout the primaries when you guys were putting up videos right and left. I went bonkers.

  33. ahhhh, the joys of a captive rigged market, and that’s WITHOUT the force of law compelling you.

  34. ON FOX NOW:
    Ben Nelson just announced that the HC bill does not have enough abortions in it and he will NOT vote for it.

  35. I’ve only had high speed internet for about a year and a half…before that it was $12.95/mo for the impossibly slow dial up. Only when I became eligible for MEDICARE and stopped paying $850/mo health insurance could I afford to pay for a faster connection.

    Since I rarely watch TV, and Quest, despite sending me direct mail ads every week for 3 years, still has not wired my hood for internet, my only “choice” was Comcast. So I pay $59 for so called hi speed which is getting slower by the day.

    Since I no longer needed a landline for a dialup connection, I went mobile only, on budget plan for $39/mo. So nearly 100 bucks/mo versus old $42 for dialup+ landline so I can read blogs like this and finally see all the gifs and videos in emails I receive.

  36. OMG lmao…. this is some good old fashioned koolaid…

    TNR:

    Disappointed progressives may be wondering whether their efforts were a waste. They most decidedly were not. The campaign for the public option pushed the entire debate to the left–and, to use a military metaphor, it diverted enemy fire away from the rest of the bill. If Lieberman and his allies didn’t have the public option to attack, they would have tried to gut the subsidies, the exchanges, or some other key element. They would have hacked away at the bill, until it left more people uninsured and more people under-insured. The public option is the reason that didn’t happen.

    And if public option supporters lost in the Congress, they won in the country as a whole. The underlying political problem for liberals remains what it has been for a generation: profound and widespread distrust of government. But polls consistently showed voters thought the public option advocates were right–that, at least when it comes to health insurance, government can be trusted. It was a small victory, but it’s on top of such small victories that political movements are built. Someday in the future, that movement may be powerful enough to win more sweeping changes. Who knows, maybe those changes will include a government-run insurance plan

    • Look at that Fierce Urgency of Someday!

    • OMG. I got ignored, trampled, scorned, and used, and did nothing to stop it, but it really means I am more respected now, and they will be more likely to listen to me next time. Sacrificing a weak position on the altar of insurance company dictates really makes it EVER so much more likely that an even further left position will be taken seriously in the future.

      Surrender is strength. Anger followed by capitulation builds respect. And moving that Overton window from “Lots of people are uninsured, and those that are, are at the mercy of the insurance companies” to “Now EVERYONE has an equal shot at being at the mercy of the insurance companies” is cause for celebration on the Left.

      Now pass me that Hopium bong while I sing Kumbayah.

  37. Perfect analogy RD.

    IIRC, the amendment to allow the crossing of State lines to “choose” your HC was withdrawn.

  38. BTW I have DSL here too. I pay between 20-25euros a month to the telephone company. But it’s awful slow around dinner time when e1 comes home from work and gets on line.

  39. I guess I’ll be a dial-up curmudgeon a little longer. I want C-span to be FREEEE. and part of a government service. I want debates on PBS!!. Otherwise I will continue to take any TV I get from the air. ATT is not ATT unless you are still on the legacy service like I am in CA. For most of you, it’s SBC as it is here in CA. SBC sucks, sucks, sucks. Every time I changed office locations with them, (3 times so far) they found some stupid bill I never heard of and put it on my credit. Last time, they never even told me about it. They let other companies steal my long distance and charge me for something I never did. If I want to go DSL with ATT I have to change from Legacy, pay a bill I don’t owe and live with the uncertainty that I’ll sign up and it will go away in month, just like when I signed up last time in the fight over the airwaves here.

    Likewise with Sprint. Sprint suck,suck,sucks – unless you are on the legacy Nextel like I am.

    Sprint, Verizon and MCI were the worst phone line stealers. Why should I reward that?

    From the perspective of dial-up and the back yard medicines, things are looking like Big Brother has really arrived.

  40. RD
    I have dish tv and they have a satellite internet connection called WILD BLUE. I have it. I got it because I was fed up with verizon. The t v and internet pkg cost $120.00 monthly.
    My phone bill that is with Southern California Telephone was cut in half because I do not use phone lines for internet.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  41. riverdaughter,

    Sorry to hear about your DSL speed being limited. I can check to see if there’s anything we can do to provide you with a faster speed. I can’t make any promises, but I’ll surely check. Embarq, and now CenturyLink’s Customer Outreach has been around for over two years. If you send me your information via email I can look into things. My email address is Joey@CenturyLink.com.

    You can go on Twitter and see other customer’s we’ve helped here: http://twitter.com/EMBARQ/favourites

    Thanks,

    Joey H.
    CenturyLink Customer Outreach
    Reachout@CenturyLink.com

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