Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

FCC Orders Comcast To Stop Labeling Equipment Rental a Service Fee

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the getting-mugged-is-just-a-toll dept.

The Courts 97

An anonymous reader writes "The FCC denied an appeal by Comcast, which argued that its practice of charging customers separately for a DTA (digital terminal adapter) -- a converter box that allows cable subscribers with older televisions to receive digital channels, which the company said would be provided at no charge -- is not subject to rate regulation, because it is a service fee. The ruling was issued on March 19." Also from the article: "In an e-mail last week to the Star Tribune, Comcast vice president of corporate affairs Mary Beth Schubert said the case “involved a relatively minor dispute about the way certain items are presented on the rate card but has no effect on overall pricing.” But, [Michael Bradley, an attorney whose firm represented Minneapolis-area franchising authorities in the dispute] argued the FCC’s decision sets a strong precedent for transparency within the cable industry."

cancel ×

97 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

1st post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46674309)

Ha great thing about Saturday night is the comments come more slowly!

f Comcast (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46674333)

f comcast. They are thieves who come into your home, pillage, rape, and (again) try and steal your $ and your children under the guise of legality.

thieves.

f comcast. and the mod who deleted this the first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46674341)

f comcast. and the mod who deleted this the first They are thieves who come into your home, pillage, rape, and (again) try and steal your $ and your children under the guise of legality.

thieves.

Re:f comcast. and the mod who deleted this the fir (1)

TWX (665546) | about 6 months ago | (#46674359)

f comcast. and the mod who deleted this

You really don't know how Slashdot's comments moderation system works, do you?

Re:f comcast. and the mod who deleted this the fir (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46674393)

My real name is Anonymous Coward.

Re:f comcast. and the mod who deleted this the fir (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46674621)

screw you no you're not that's my name, i am the real Anonymous Coward.

Re:f comcast. and the mod who deleted this the fir (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46674713)

Screw you both! I'M the REAL Analmost Coward!!!! Oh wait....

Re:f comcast. and the mod who deleted this the fir (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46675981)

Will the real AC please stand up?

Re:f comcast. and the mod who deleted this the fir (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46676637)

go fuck yourself.

Re:f comcast. and the mod who deleted this the fir (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46676959)

It's AC all the way down.

Re:f comcast. and the mod who deleted this the fir (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46674715)

And I approve this message

Comcast does what they want (3, Interesting)

pete6677 (681676) | about 6 months ago | (#46674363)

Comcast does not care what the FCC says. They have legislators in their pockets to make sure no real action will ever be taken against them. They will flat out ignore FCC regs and know that nothing will ever come of it.

A simple solution (5, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | about 6 months ago | (#46674385)

How about cancelling cable TV and finding something else to do with your time?

We had cable. "Extended analog cable" if I remember, which was to say, no premium channels, no "digital" channels (this was as DTV was kicking off but was not yet mandatory), so about 80 channels of content, perhaps 60 channels that weren't some variation of an OTA broadcast.

With eighty channels there were times when we couldn't find anything that we wanted to watch. We would end up watching complete and total crap, because we were paying for it and felt obligated to watch it. One day I realized that I was coming home from work, watching four or more episodes of CSI, and going to bed. Eventually I started seeing the same episodes over again, and realized that this needed to stop.

We got rid of our cable TV subscription. Still have Internet, still have phone, but now I don't have to pay to find that there's nothing on TV, and since TV doesn't cost me anything I don't feel guilty about not turning it on. I go play music or work on something or read or even surf the Internet.

Just let it go. Trust me, it will be okay.

Re:A simple solution (5, Insightful)

Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) | about 6 months ago | (#46674413)

Live Sports. The only reason I keep cable is to watch live sports. Until the pirates figure out a way to stream live sports in high quality, I'll be sticking to cable. Beyond that, I don't need it

Re:A simple solution (1)

luther349 (645380) | about 6 months ago | (#46674449)

those are called torrent streams but it does take some digging to find those.

Re:A simple solution (2)

Mashiki (184564) | about 6 months ago | (#46674481)

Oh...you want to *watch* live sports. Well you could always listen to live sports, I understand it works pretty well too.

Re:A simple solution (3, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | about 6 months ago | (#46674497)

Oh...you want to *watch* live sports.

He could also play live sports. That would be entertaining and a lot healthier than sitting on the couch listening to how someone else runs around with the ball.

Re:A simple solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46674721)

Oh...you want to *watch* live sports.

He could also play live sports....

You're new to /. aren't you???

Re:A simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46674707)

Oh...you want to *watch* live sports. Well you could always listen to live sports, I understand it works pretty well too.

That doesn't always work. Try to listen to Formula 1 race broadcast outside of the UK. F%!king Brits!!!

Re:A simple solution (4, Insightful)

Bengie (1121981) | about 6 months ago | (#46675635)

Using pure logic is a slippery slope because "fun" is not "logical". While we're on the subject, ethics aren't logical either. Nutshell, don't bring logic into an argument about entertainment. If someone wants something, that's all that matters. He wants to watch sports, then don't sarcastically point out that he could just listen.

Re:A simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46674731)

The "pirates" as you refer to them, already have it figured out. I'll say it for the umpteenth time:

XBMC ... and it's only getting better.

You can also subscribe to NFL Gamepass, NHL Gamecenter ... you get the drift? Every major sport has a subscription service which gives you variety, versatility ... and costs far less than cable. You want footie, cricket, aussie rules, F1, nascar ...? It's all there.

Re:A simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46676047)

Plex [plex.tv] is the new XBMC. Server runs on BSD, OS X, Linux, Windows, and certain NAS boxes. It is sort of like having your owe Netflix server/client setup.

Clients: Any modern web-browser, Android, iOS, Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, FireTV, Windows Phone, and Metro App.

Stream or sync content to your devices, and even invite others to enjoy your content.

Re:A simple solution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46676503)

Plex [plex.tv] is the new XBMC...

Actually, it's not. But thanks for playing.

Now run along and masturbate to your winbloze and apple boxes.

Re:A simple solution (1)

DJ Particle (1442247) | about 6 months ago | (#46677263)

The sport agencies' subscriptions will log your IP though, and if you're in the area where the game is taking place, they will block you to make you watch it on TV. Those services will only work for you full time if you use a VPN.

Re:A simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46677843)

Except the sports agencies' plugins for xbmc manage to spoof your ip to be in outer-mongolia, so you get to watch everything you've paid for, even the ones supposedly in your black-out area.

Also, search-foo "proxies": vpn is overkill.

Re:A simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46679119)

Local blackouts...

Re:A simple solution (live sports) (2)

satch89450 (186046) | about 6 months ago | (#46675213)

For the times I want to watch live sports, I go where there is no cost to watch: a sports bar. Living where I do, another possibility is the sports book. The only disadvantge is I have to share the bathroom, and the drinks cost more. I've been off cable for more than ten years. Really haven't missed it.

Re:A simple solution (live sports) (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 6 months ago | (#46675241)

Most bars get annoyed if you sit there and not purchase anything to eat or drink.

So there is a cost, but you can combine it with a meal too.

Value meals for sports fans.

Re:A simple solution (live sports) (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 6 months ago | (#46675645)

I was going to say: No loitering + higher costs != "no cost to watch"

Re:A simple solution (2)

Amouth (879122) | about 6 months ago | (#46675247)

I remember a few years ago when they did the black out of the world cup in the US. we had a computer setup back in my area streaming the World Cup in ASCII. It was actually quite good and you could follow the game fairly easily.. At one point we had 3-4 of us standing around watching it..

http://ascii-wm.net/ [ascii-wm.net]

Re:A simple solution (2)

David Jao (2759) | about 6 months ago | (#46675815)

wiziwig.tv does a pretty good job of pirating most live sports, albeit only in standard definition quality.

I think HD quality is overrated. Yes, I can tell the difference. Yes, I appreciate HD quality. But up until 2003 or so, I happily watched live sports in standard definition quality without feeling in the least bit cheated. So I see no reason why high quality is mandatory today.

Re:A simple solution (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 months ago | (#46675881)

I gave it up because I realized that the $100+ I was saving bought a LOT of beer at the local sports bar.

And then came the kids, which make watching sports almost impossible anyway, because it isn't purple and doesn't sing or dance. Well, maybe the Ravens. The $1000+ saved over the course of the year means I can justify going to an actual stadium from time to time without grousing too much about the overpriced beers.

Re:A simple solution (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | about 6 months ago | (#46679875)

And then came the kids, which make watching sports almost impossible anyway, because it isn't purple and doesn't sing or dance. Well, maybe the Ravens.

Did you know that it burns when you snort beer out of your nose? Guess how I just found out? Thanks for that then.

Right (1)

justthinkit (954982) | about 6 months ago | (#46676391)

Got live cricket on right now, on ESPN of all places.

TV is also my radio. Optional background "noise".

ESPN is my channel of choice because it is the real world, as opposed to fake sit-coms, even worse "dramas", hideously depressing CSI type shows, and trailer trash reality shows.

My father played cricket, so there is a back story that adds to this live event.

I've played numerous sports, and love a few of them enough to watch them on TV. For the rest, it is about the human spirt. Amazing feats of endurance, athleticism and will.

Besides, TV is part of our "bundle", coupled with two things we absolutely need -- iNet + WIRED [just-think-it.com] phone service.

To each his own. TV is not needed by some (especially those who are not interested in sports). TV works for others who find something good in it.

This thread is really about Comcast, and Comcast is really about monopoly. If there wasn't one, Comcast wouldn't be playing billing games. They would be offering things customers want, in a bid to _earn_ customers.

Re:A simple solution (1)

antdude (79039) | about 6 months ago | (#46678681)

You can subscribe and watch sports from MLB, NHL, NBA, etc. Although, blackouts suck.

Re:A simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46680855)

They have. You just haven't done enough research. I have watched both London and Sochi Olympics completely online without bother to deal with the NBC crap. So you can find any live sports you want. You just have to dig. Also quit worrying about drive bys. Do use the crap like macaffe and Norton either. Use a free one that do its jib without being intrusive.

Re:A simple solution (1)

N0Man74 (1620447) | about 6 months ago | (#46683327)

Live Sports. The only reason I keep cable is to watch live sports. Until the pirates figure out a way to stream live sports in high quality, I'll be sticking to cable. Beyond that, I don't need it

Live Sports is always the reason that I hear people say that they subscribe to cable. It seems like a lot of people are willing to be abused to get their sports fix.

Re:A simple solution (2)

luther349 (645380) | about 6 months ago | (#46674445)

yep my personal tv never gets turned on other then when im playing on a console. if my old man didn't watch the main tv all the time i would have cut the cable cord a long time ago. he does enjoy Netflix but hes not quite to the point of using the internet full time to watch all his shows.

Re:A simple solution (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 6 months ago | (#46675045)

We got rid of our cable TV subscription. Still have Internet, still have phone, but now I don't have to pay to find that there's nothing on TV, and since TV doesn't cost me anything I don't feel guilty about not turning it on. I go play music or work on something or read or even surf the Internet.

We also got rid of cable TV. And the landline telephone (we're all carrying cellphones, why bother with a landline?).

However, we never felt guilty about not watching TV when we had cable. If there was something to watch, we did, if not, not. Which is what led us to ditching cable - we'd sometimes go a month without turning the TV on, and we decided it was pretty silly to pay for something we used less often then we paid the bill for it

Re:A simple solution (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | about 6 months ago | (#46675685)

With Comcast, at least locally, it's cheaper to keep whatever their bottom tier of cable is than to get just Internet service by itself.

Re:A simple solution (1, Insightful)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about 6 months ago | (#46675691)

We would end up watching complete and total crap, because we were paying for it and felt obligated to watch it.

That says more about you than it does about television.

Do you have an unlimited plan for your cell phone? Do you feel obligated to use it constantly and feel guilty about not using it? Probably not.

Do you have unlimited internet? Do you download large files constantly in order to maximize your usage? Probably not.

Do you go to all-you-can-eat buffets and eat as much as you possibly can and make yourself sick? Probably not.

If you get out of the "gotta get my money's worth!" mindset and you'll find that a lot of things are more enjoyable, but you'll never escape that mindset until you stop blaming everything else and accept that the problem is your mindset.

Re:A simple solution (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | about 6 months ago | (#46679901)

Do you have an unlimited plan for your cell phone? Do you feel obligated to use it constantly and feel guilty about not using it? Probably not.

Do you have unlimited internet? Do you download large files constantly in order to maximize your usage? Probably not.

Do you go to all-you-can-eat buffets and eat as much as you possibly can and make yourself sick? Probably not.

Dude, this is /. You're probably 0 for 3 here.

Cut the cable and quit smoking (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | about 6 months ago | (#46675785)

I cut the cable about 8 months ago, and (almost as healthy) quit smoking 1 month ago

Re:A simple solution (1)

JRV31 (2962911) | about 6 months ago | (#46675885)

A few years back when gas hit $4.00/Gallon I added it up and I was paying more for bandwidth than energy. Energy: Gasoline (2 cars), Natural Gas, Electricity. Bandwidth: Cable TV, 2 Phone lines, Internet, Wife's Cell Phone. My first move was to cut the cable (Comcast), then we dropped the second phone line and my wife got a cheaper cell plan.

Re:A simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46676387)

Gas is $4.00 a gallon - well, OK, it was $3.99 this morning. But it does depend on where you live. In many parts of California in the USA it is right at $4.00 right now.

Re:A simple solution (1)

SebNukem (188921) | about 6 months ago | (#46684093)

Ah. I've never had a TV. When I go visit friends and their TV is on, I always end up asking myself the same question: how can people pay for this? It's a total waste of time, resources, and money. You have to *pay* *me* to watch TV. And a pretty good sum too. It's mind numbing. I'd rather go to the dentist than watch TV, because I can't stand to be utterly unproductive.

The box is pretty much mandatory (2)

supersat (639745) | about 6 months ago | (#46674477)

The summary says it's "a converter box that allows cable subscribers with older televisions to receive digital channels," but now that the FCC allows cable companies to encrypt ALL channels, it's pretty much mandatory. Sure, you might be able to convince them to give you a CableCARD for your compatible TV, but I've heard that they make it difficult to get.

Re:The box is pretty much mandatory (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46674531)

I hate to defend Comcast, but I had to get a CableCard from them for my HDHomeRun Prime tuner and it was very easy. I went to the local Comcast office, handed over my DVRs, and told them I wanted a CableCard. They verified that I was looking for an "M" card (some older Tivo models only support "S" cards apparently, so they keep both on hand), then gave me a card and updated my account/billing information. When I got home I plugged the card into my tuner, called Comcast support, and in under 30 minutes had everything working perfectly fine.

Re:The box is pretty much mandatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46674957)

I hate to defend Comcast, but I had to get a CableCard from them for my HDHomeRun Prime tuner and it was very easy. I went to the local Comcast office, handed over my DVRs, and told them I wanted a CableCard. They verified that I was looking for an "M" card (some older Tivo models only support "S" cards apparently, so they keep both on hand), then gave me a card and updated my account/billing information. When I got home I plugged the card into my tuner, called Comcast support, and in under 30 minutes had everything working perfectly fine.

...is that all?! Wow, why doesn't everyone do that? I mean, in the bad old days you had to first connect the cable from the wall to the TV's built in tuner, then you had to turn the TV on, and *then* you had to switch the input to "cable". This could require upwards of 2 minutes to accomplish. Good thing we've made progress in the past 20 years.

Re:The box is pretty much mandatory (1)

swb (14022) | about 6 months ago | (#46675053)

How long ago?

I have two M cards (multiple-tuner) in my HD Tivos and both of them REQUIRED on-site appointments to install, which was completely stupid because all the tech did was put the card in, call the activation center and report some numbers either off the card itself or what was reported by the Tivo's maintenance screen.

The first card I mostly understood; I got the HD Tivo soon after it came out and cablecard availability and support from the cable companies were both spotty. The Tivo forums were filled with issues, so I more or less figured it was new enough that they wanted to avoid self-help nightmares.

The last one, less so, even thought it was in 2010.

Re:The box is pretty much mandatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46675195)

This was about a year ago; March or April 2013.

Re:The box is pretty much mandatory (2)

SCPRedMage (838040) | about 6 months ago | (#46677215)

The FCC now requires cable companies allow self installs of CableCARDs, whereas that requirement did not exist back in 2010.

Re:The box is pretty much mandatory (1)

unitron (5733) | about 6 months ago | (#46677845)

I hate to defend Comcast, but I had to get a CableCard from them for my HDHomeRun Prime tuner and it was very easy. I went to the local Comcast office, handed over my DVRs, and told them I wanted a CableCard. They verified that I was looking for an "M" card (some older Tivo models only support "S" cards apparently, so they keep both on hand), then gave me a card and updated my account/billing information. When I got home I plugged the card into my tuner, called Comcast support, and in under 30 minutes had everything working perfectly fine.

The original Series 3 TiVo (the TCD648250), on the box of which TiVo placed the letters HD rather conspicuously, was released before the specs of the M cards were absolutely completely ironed out and nailed down, so when the M card did come out, it was the same deal as the old "Pentium Ready" 486 motherboards--they built to a spec that got changed on them after it was too late to accommodate the change.

So the original S3 can use 2 S cards, one in each slot, or 2 M cards, one in each slot, but it can't use just one M card to service both tuners.

So it doesn't fully support the M card (though to be fair it would be more accurate to say the M card doesn't fully support it), but can use one the same way it would use an S card.

The later Series 3 models--and here TiVo created all kinds of confusion by calling one (the TCD652160) the HD (and the slightly fancier version the HD XL)--can use 2 S cards or one M card.

Those who have TiVo questions can find knowledgeable and helpful TiVo owners at tivocommunity.com

which is not an "official" TiVo, Inc website.

Re:The box is pretty much mandatory (1)

cuncator (906265) | about 6 months ago | (#46677371)

Yeah, they sent me a box instead of a cable card. Too much of a hassle to drive all the way to Comcast just to swap it. My main beef is requiring the equipment since they started encrypting all channels including OTA and then charging a monthly amount for it. It's not a large amount but the principle stinks. Picked up an HDTV antenna and am looking forward to ditching cable TV. 99.99% of what everyone in the house watches is via Amazon Prime, Netflix or Hulu now anyway.

I can see their response already (4, Funny)

mysidia (191772) | about 6 months ago | (#46674533)

$0.99 - Convert box rental (Equipment fee)
$18.99 - Converter box software update and 30-day license installation (Service fee)

Re:I can see their response already (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 6 months ago | (#46675727)

They can probably charge however much they want for it and call it anything they like.... they just have to be up front about the charges that are actually incurred... saying that you pay no rental fee while still paying something every month called a "service fee" is misleading and potentially fraudulent.

Like my HD Channel Service Fee (1)

PortHaven (242123) | about 6 months ago | (#46688197)

Cause I pay $15 extra to use an HD box. Because there are oh so many TVs that don't display HD being sold.

I am of the opinion, FCC legislation should mandate that Comcast cannot charge any surchage fees for anything that is standard, and define standard as at least 50% of the TV sold.

So in this case, since more than 50% of the TVs sold are HD, they should not be allowed to charge extra for the HD service. They could for 3D. Until 50% of TVs sold offer 3D.

That's a nice rule of thumb that eliminates being charged extra for a standard conveyance.

Re:I can see their response already (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 months ago | (#46675965)

Yes, this is the same company that upped the rental for my cable modem. The same cable modem that I've had since I started with them. First, it went from 3 to 7, and finally 8 dollars before I had enough and purchased my own. I can't believe the gall they have to raise the rent on a depreciating asset. I cancelled all but their legally mandated $10 tier for cable while I was at it. Brian Roberts can bite me.

Re:I can see their response already (1)

Lodlaiden (2767969) | about 6 months ago | (#46677001)

I realized before I signed up with comcast that break even point on buy/rent modem is 2 years. Best Buy offers a 2 year extended warrantee on most electronics. It's been 3 years and my modem is still ticking (rent free).

Re:I can see their response already (1)

SCPRedMage (838040) | about 6 months ago | (#46677237)

Comcast charges $8/month for a cable modem rental, and I bought my DOCSIS 3.0 modem for $80, which puts the break even point at ten months, for me. Considering that they'd likely jack up the price before then, the break even point could well come before ten months.

Re:I can see their response already (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 months ago | (#46677379)

Yeah, Newegg just had a sale for around $60 on a DOCSIS 3.0, so it was a no-brainer when the rent went up.

Re:I can see their response already (1)

Macrat (638047) | about 6 months ago | (#46678143)

Also keep in mind that Comcast keeps the serial number for that modem in their database, so if you try to sell it or give to someone else to use on Comcast they will refuse to activate it and accuse the new owner of being a thief Even when you are no longer a Comcast customer and haven't used the modem with them for over 12 months.

Re:I can see their response already (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 6 months ago | (#46677663)

I realized before I signed up with comcast that break even point on buy/rent modem is 2 years.

Chances are, if there are any problems --- the technician will blame your non cable-co provided modem.

Otherwise i'd go grab an Arris Surfboard sb6141 for $80 instead of paying the $8 a month rental fee.

In my experience... the cable co. overcharges for buying a modem also... like $200 to buy the modem; which is not brand new, but has been in use for over 4 years.

Also... the ISP's website only lists a small number of modems, and their representatives explicitly stated must use one of their modem's -- can't use your own: it's not supported by us and won't work, they say.

Re:I can see their response already (1)

rhodium_mir (2876919) | about 6 months ago | (#46677605)

I had Comcast internet installed last week. Instead of paying $8/mo for a modem I went down to Goodwill and bought a used modem for $4. When I called to activate it I was warned that the modem was EOL and would stop working in "a month or two". I think it'll be a whole lot longer than that, but it only has to last more than two weeks for it to have been a good investment.

fujck beta for all time forever 100 years fucking (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46674601)

vfujck beta for all time forever 100 years fucking beta just you and me beta fucking beta fujck beta for all time forever 100 years fucking beta just you and me beta fucking beta

Greedy Corporate Assholes (2)

Required Snark (1702878) | about 6 months ago | (#46674635)

Any business as big and monopolistic as Comcast is going to be completely corrupt. They don't make money, they steal money. This applies to all the big corporations, no matter what business they are in.

This example shows how low they will go to defraud their users. Just how many cable subscribers are using non-HDTV sets? This is obviously their lowest tier customer class, so it is likely that they are making the least amount of profit from these users. That is why they picked this group to gouge.

There no real relationship between what they charge and what the delivery cost is. The content charges are just as artificial. The only competition is how the profits from the overpriced service is divided up. The only looser is the customer.

This situation is normal when there is no real competition. It's identical to the telcos and the banks and the pharmaceutical companies and ...

No capitalism here, just move along.

Re:Greedy Corporate Assholes (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46674941)

THis isn't the only thing the FCC has ignored, while they claim Comcast shouldn't applying fess to equipment that you can go out and buy since the conversion to digital. The fact remains under FCC law, if they apply a rental fee to any equipment a consumer has every right to by that equipment themselves. However since Concast has monopolized the equipment manufactures the manufactures refuse to sell that equipment, and as far I could tell/find no one else is allowed to make the equipment, so unless by chance you come across another manufacture, before Concast or Motorola files court complaint, your stuck. And yet the FCC in which I sent a letter, and copy of their regulations, over a thousand times refuse to do anything, they won't even direct it to the other Fed Agencies that are suppose to handle this type of crap.

But I can buy the equipment for DirecTV without any problems.

Re:Greedy Corporate Assholes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46675043)

If you have Medicaid, and if limited basis went encrypted or is planning to go encrypted, you may be eligible for something.
http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/cable-tv/limited-basic-encryption/

Still, no replacement for what should be free boxes. Personally, I think they should provide four free DTA (and HDDTA) boxes per household. Otherwise, it's like charging per-TV. Wasn't there a commercial long ago that said unlike satellite, that we don't need a box between our wall and TV?

If you must have Comcast, and if you feel secure in your finances, get on a contract that lowered the price. And it doesn't hurt to call up and ask for promotions. Just remember to keep records incase something goes wrong, and so you don't forge to cancel before the promotion ends. Try the "loyalty" department for contracts and potentially better deals.

If you have kids on free lunch and haven't had Comcast within 30 days, there's this: http://www.internetessentials.com/

Fuck Comcast! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46674735)

You are a dammed fool if you don't oppose the comcast and time warner merger. If it happens all those TWC customers are screwed! More than they currently are. Their service will drop. The prices will go up.

Think it doesnt hurt you since you're not with TWC or comcast? Just wait. I thought that way too. Until comcast bought up my cable provider (R.I.P. Adelphia) and tripled my price while the service went to SHIT.

Comcast needs to be bitchslapped down to the pavement. Hard. Force them to give a fair price for reasonable service levels.

And don't even get me started on the 'free' DTA's they handed out. "is this really free? forever?" "yes." i was told yes. flat out lied and are now making 30 bucks a year on devices that only costed $8 to make. There isn't even an option to BUY one. Since they use their own encryption. If you want tv you're giving comcast that fee every month. There's no option for your own hardware anymore. Arguing over what the fee is called is stupid! It shouldn't even be there!

Say no to comcast. Whatever the fuck they currently want.. The answer should be a giant NO! FUCK NO! GO FUCK YOURSELF NO! until they improve service and drop prices.

"Damm everyone hates comcast." "Lets change our name to xfinity!"

FCC & FTC need to get their heads out of their asses and force comcast to compete. Because this monopoly crap is TERRIBLE.

A simple solution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46674843)

          HTML co ban [thietkewebsite6886.com]
        HTML la gi [thietkewebsite6886.com]
        hoc HTML co ban [thietkewebsite6886.com]

As a guy from Europe (5, Insightful)

InsultsByThePound (3603437) | about 6 months ago | (#46675175)

I'm never ceased to be surprised by your guys prices never match the advertised price. Surcharges/Fees/Taxes/Tips flying everywhere. About the only time I paid the price adverted was buying gas. And it's not like it's predictable "Oh, things will be 10% over the price", nope every industry from hotels to airlines to cellphones has it's own rules and offsets. Why hasn't there been a consumer revolt yet?

Re:As a guy from Europe (0)

Shados (741919) | about 6 months ago | (#46676129)

Because aside for landline/cable providers (no competition and "revolts" haven't done a thing), and health care (revolt is a daily thing...), things in the US are overall so much cheaper than anywhere else, its a bit hard to complain.

Re:As a guy from Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46679095)

Enjoy your $400/mo for bronze Obamacare with it's 6,000 dollar deductable then 20% copay. Yeah, that completely makes up for cheaper iphones, blurays, and flat screen tvs!

Re:As a guy from Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46689845)

I will smartass! I use my iphone, bluray, and flat screen everyday. I do NOT go to the doctor everyday.

Re:As a guy from Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46678919)

I'm never ceased to be surprised by your guys prices never match the advertised price. Surcharges/Fees/Taxes/Tips flying everywhere. About the only time I paid the price adverted was buying gas. And it's not like it's predictable "Oh, things will be 10% over the price", nope every industry from hotels to airlines to cellphones has it's own rules and offsets. Why hasn't there been a consumer revolt yet?

There is, but they are blaming the government. Where I live, prices in bars are no longer honest. The local government always taxes bars, but it was included in the price. They recently changed the rules to allow the bars to add the tax on instead. When the price went up, the bars blamed the government. The tax did got up, about 1%, but the prices went up about 5%. It was easy to find the truth (the law) on my cell phone while sitting at the bar. I don't blame the bartender for telling me a lie. She didn't know her boss was lying to her.

Every time I complain about a posted price not being an actual offer at the price, conservative free market people flip a lid. It seems that if taxes are "hidden" no one will notice them any more and they'll got up even more. Which is bull. Most business taxes are not directly passed on to consumers. Just ones where the business makes a deal with the government so they can lie on prices.

And tips. What a stupid idea.

Re:As a guy from Europe (1)

mgcarley (735176) | about 6 months ago | (#46697689)

Especially when "tips", as it turns out, are supposed to legally make up the actual hourly rate paid to the server to meet minimum wage, for example, the server's hourly pay is $2.50, it is expected they will make at least $6 in tips per hour causing their total hourly rate to equal the $8.50 minimum wage (numbers loosely based on Illinois, I don't know specific wage rates for other states)... so if customers stiff the server on their tips, the server gets screwed.

As a non-American though, I agree with you: tips (and prices being advertised without taxes, for that matter) are bloody annoying - I used to get caught out all the time when I first came to the US. I'd hate to be in the service industry here.

Re:As a guy from Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46680595)

That's the free* market for you.

* Charges apply.

Wow! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46675255)

The comcast shill astroturf machine is in full swing here!

Look at all the downmods to valid complaints.

Too bad comcast won't spend that kind of effort to IMPROVE THEIR SERVICE.

:Miranda: (-1, Offtopic)

nurb432 (527695) | about 6 months ago | (#46675353)

Y0ntPGuOXhSBzB5FVmzESibs/Yx1UdXH9YstpbdgAUUdADmVBLP+07A/BfhNQ5rg/SsjDKHj6gsjVSGu
yZVW80pu201MJ1v7v42OA7lmWgw=

Own a cablebox WITHOUT any fees? (1)

swb (14022) | about 6 months ago | (#46675409)

Can you even own a cable box without any rental fees associated with it?

I know there are cablecard-based devices that you can own, but you still pay a rental fee associated with the cablecard.

It seems like if they are going to charge you for the service and the device to access the service there should be some way to own the equipment outright without paying an add-on fee.

Re:Own a cablebox WITHOUT any fees? (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 6 months ago | (#46675739)

My ISP uses Ethernet based Cisco set-top boxes. You can't buy these devices anywhere unless you're an ISP, and they're proprietary. I must say though, they work great and I'm paying $15/month for Basic 1080p TV + time shifting + Free VoD, which includes 3 of such devices. They have got to be worth $100-$200 per device, and I'm only paying $15/month for 3 of them plus the services. It's going to take my ISP 2-3 years just to break even.

Wife has to watch Dancing with the Stars and Bachelor/Bachelorette and the time these shows run conflict with raid time and ABC.com no longer works for us for streaming. Now she can watch it up to 48 hours after the show airs with our time-shifting.

Re:Own a cablebox WITHOUT any fees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46676529)

Is there a reason you don't just tell us who your ISP is and what city you live in? This is so annoying. I don't care at all about your wife's daily routine, but some minimal bibliography is a primary reason for reading /. comments.

Re:Own a cablebox WITHOUT any fees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46685257)

You can get the Ethernet Cisco boxes here in Canada from Rogers Cable. And you can buy to own from frequent sales on Home Shopping Channel.

The boxes are probably locked to carrier much like a cellphone (this is speculation, but wouldn't be surprised), but I'm sure an industrious person could unlock `em.

So, do a reverse of what we do with Amerifriends, and Canuckafriend one.

Re:Own a cablebox WITHOUT any fees? (1)

mgcarley (735176) | about 6 months ago | (#46697861)

In many countries (especially in Europe) modems/cable boxes/etc are included in the price of the service - I don't seem to recall being charged extra for ISP-supplied equipment in France, Japan, Finland, Georgia, Ukraine or New Zealand**, but either perhaps I didn't notice or it's simply built in to the price over the term of the contract (that is, it's an implied overhead so it's accounted for by locking you in for 12-24 months)... but typically you're on a term contract in the US as well so there's no difference there anyway.

And I seem to remember Free & Neuf boxes being valued at something in the vicinity of 200 euros at one time as well, so they're no cheaper.

**May also vary by ISP but may also be entirely wrong about the whole situation in some or all countries - correct me if I'm wrong.

Re:Own a cablebox WITHOUT any fees? Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46675793)

Can you even own a cable box without any rental fees associated with it?

I know there are cablecard-based devices that you can own, but you still pay a rental fee associated with the cablecard.

No, you don't (offer not valid in all areas).

Different providers and even different regions within a provider handle it differently. Verizon FIOS always charges a (very high) fee, but while some TWC and Comcast areas charge a small monthly fee other TWC and Comcast areas pay the customer a monthly rebate per-each CableCard. That outcome (and the variation in outcomes) is possible only because it's pricing is subject to rate regulation which was the entire point of this FCC ruling.

Re:Own a cablebox WITHOUT any fees? (1)

jo7hs2 (884069) | about 6 months ago | (#46678495)

Cable modem yes, cable box no. Makes zero sense.

Re:Own a cablebox WITHOUT any fees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46690911)

*Warning* - This ends up turning into a long rant against Charter.

The bastards at Charter Communications won't even let you own your own cable modem anymore. As of a year or two ago, all new customers (and any current customers who make changes to their service) are required to use Charter's "free" supplied modem. It's not really free, as was admitted to me by the supervisor (Mark) I got in an argument with over this bullshit change. He admitted that the rental fee is just hidden in the cost of the service. Apparently the change was made because "Charter is taking back their network". Yes, that is the actual line of bullshit he spewed out. He couldn't explain just what the fuck "taking back their network" even meant. A sibling was signing up for cable internet at their new apartment, because that was pretty much their only choice for anything reasonably fast. I'd given them a SB6141 to use (as I was unaware of this BS change prior to this event), which was the latest/greatest DOCSIS 3.0 8x4 modem by ARRIS/Motorola, and which the supervisor even stated was a modem that they sometimes give to customers. He never could give a logical answer to why "taking back their network" meant that I couldn't use a DOCSIS standards compliant modem, that they even sometimes use, just because I owned it.

He even stated he never heard of anyone else who was unhappy about this change, and couldn't understand why this upset me. I pointed out to his was obvious bullshit, because there are plenty of post over on DSLReports/BroadbandReports alone complaining about this stupid change. Charter has plenty of representatives active on those forums, so it isn't exactly unknown to them that people are unhappy about the stupid change.

If you are what the supervisor called a "legacy customer", you're still allowed to own you own modem if you originally did and make no changes to your service. However, according to him "soon" (he gave no time line, and this was about six months ago) all "legacy customers" will also be required to switch to a Charter supplied modem.

On a side note, the modem that Charter supplied to my sibling was some ARRIS Telephony Modem (has a built in ATA for use with Charter's insanely overpriced VoIP service). No idea why Charter supplied that modem, as my sibling didn't sign up (and doesn't receive) VoIP from Charter (who would? you can get VoIP service from plenty of quality providers for FAR cheaper). The worst thing about the modem is that it broadcast insane amounts of noise in upper VHF and lower UHF range. My sibling lives in the city and is able to receive a surprisingly large number of broadcast/OTA stations using a simple indoor antenna. However, when the modem is plugged in, nothing except for 2 channels in the very upper end of the UHF range used for broadcast TV (and they tend to cut out occasionally). Unplug it, and some 20+ additional, and the 2 from before, all come in perfectly.

One last testament to the stupidity of Charter. When the internet service (only internet, no TV) was installed at my siblings apartment, it was just three days before this area was scheduled to go all digital (which in typical Charter fashion ended up being delayed for an extra week), so the tech (actually it was two as one was in training) who did the install and made the physical connection at the apartment correctly didn't install a filter because it soon wouldn't be needed as it would soon be impossible to receive TV without a cable box or CableCARD (this did mean that my sibling was able to get free analog cable TV for a little over a week since the digital switch over was delayed). Anyway about a month ago they received a nasty letter accusing them of receiving TV service they weren't paying for. Best guess is that some Charter tech was (dis)connecting a neighbor and saw there was no filter installed, was too stupid to realize one wasn't needed, installed one and reported it. The fact that the tech fucked up is kind-of understandable, but that no one else up the chain was able to realize the error is just a testament to the stupidity of Charter. For the record, I've known a few different people who've worked for Charter, they all agree the place is filled with morons. That's probably why Charter is constantly rated #1 WORST Cable TV and Internet Service Provider.

spo8ge (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46675413)

One reason for the hate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46675565)

These billing deceptions are among the reasons why cable TV and cell-phone companies are so hated. If I buy orange juice at a supermarket, the receipt does not say "checkout fee."
I gave up on TV about eight months ago, deciding to limit myself to DVDs from a public library and what I could find online. I've not regretted the decision.

Wait... (2)

Jon Schneider (3503939) | about 6 months ago | (#46675883)

Wasn't Comcast one of those companies that used to advertise their digital phone service by talking about all of the phone companies' junk fees?

let isp's crumble. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46675955)

Government needs to stay out of this and it's a good thing that got rid of net neutrality. Let these big ISP's crumble under their own weight and let new ISP's with friendly user policies spring up. I seriously hope these big ISP's like verizon, TWC, comcast start charging their customers high prices with obscure services so everyone could drop them. If not, well, Fuck the internet, we lived without it in the past we can do it again.

Pink Floyd said it best. (2)

Avantare (573582) | about 6 months ago | (#46676171)

"13 channels of shit on the TV to choose from."

Re:Pink Floyd said it best. (1)

PPNSteve (1287174) | about 6 months ago | (#46677885)

Let's update that to 2014..
"913 channels of shit on the TV to choose from."

Okay, so they have to explicitly state charges... (2)

Cantankerous Cur (3435207) | about 6 months ago | (#46678457)

but this doesn't stop them from charging whatever they want. There's no indication the FCC is going to attempt to regulate the pricing for them.

A real win for customers would be the ability to buy them.

Re:Okay, so they have to explicitly state charges. (1)

speedlaw (878924) | about 6 months ago | (#46679979)

Buy them ? You can get a tivo, but there is a rental. The last "non rental" box was the Sony HDD series, which lasted six months in 2007 or so. I surmise there is some sort of "must be individually addressable" rule under the Cable card rules. There have been DVR since then, but they either are OTA only, or rental basis (TiVo). The companies have lobbied successfully to get all signals scrambled-save the OTA local market. Since they used to stream in analog the change to digital was used to restrict things...there is zero reason the QAM signals can't be open, and read by most HDTV sets with no issues...save the desire to bang everyone $8 per box, or more for a DVR.

Great business model (1)

speedlaw (878924) | about 6 months ago | (#46679949)

I'm amazed that they sell you a signal. They scramble the signal. They then make you rent a box to descramble it. What a scam.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?