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Comcast-Time Warner Deal May Hinge On Low-Cost Internet Plan

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the and-we'll-do-the-dishes-for-two-weeks dept.

Government 114

techpolicy (3586897) writes "Comcast Corp.'s proposed $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable Inc. has brought the issue of the digital divide and the federal government's failing policies to decrease it back onto center stage, according to an article by the Center for Public Integrity. Comcast has told the Federal Communications Commission that it will offer its discounted Internet program for low-income customers to residents living in Time Warner Cable's service areas — if the FCC approves the purchase. Comcast offered FCC the same deal in 2011 when it bought NBCUniversal. But the low-cost program, called Internet Essentials, has signed up only 12 percent of the 2.6 million families eligible for the service since it was launched nearly three years ago. While the FCC and other federal agencies have spent billions of dollars trying to provide broadband access and training programs to the poor to close the divide, so far the policies haven't worked much. The percentage difference between Americans earning below $30,000 who have an Internet connection in their home and those earning $75,000 or more who have an in-home connection has narrowed only 4 percentage points from 2009 to 2013. As the Comcast purchase moves through its regulatory approval process, the center reports that it may be time to revisit the policies that will get more poor Americans connected, especially because to function in society today you have to be online."

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It is logarithmic (-1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 5 months ago | (#47116675)

The polypeptides will nopt fold in time to competitively inhibit MSNBC before oxidation occurrs in the bunghole of a caterpillar.

Slashdort is a forum of geniuses who listen to my advice about cars and love.

Don't do it!

Re:It is logarithmic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47116777)

I've got a frog in my hat you god damn nigger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IMPOSTOR (2)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 5 months ago | (#47116811)

Racism is not tolerated by class conscious workers. No joke, get the fuck off my Slashdort, you pathetic turd goat. You have toads in your hat, and even the toads don't like you, because you are so lame.

Fuck Comcast (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 5 months ago | (#47116691)

People say "six of one, a half dozzen of the other", but I'll still take Google fiber of anything relatd to Comcast. And don't fool yourself, all broadband providers track and profile their users, I might as well get decent high-speed out of the deal.

Re:Fuck Comcast (4, Informative)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 5 months ago | (#47116863)

Privacy can be controlled (e.g. VPN), so the lesser of two evils is still Google Fiber.

*sigh* - if only I could just use the fiber and be my own ISP with one single IP and firewall. Too bad they only do blocks for that sort of thing (IIRC).

Re:Fuck Comcast (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | about 5 months ago | (#47120635)

I have an IPv6 block, I think the're freely available.

Actually there is a name for this behavior (5, Insightful)

eclectro (227083) | about 5 months ago | (#47116705)

It's called empty promises. The primary purpose of this merger is not nor will it ever be to take care of the poor. It merely serves to unhook the approval process that would create an internet oligarchy.

Cheap internet for anybody is the last thing that these guys want.

Re:Actually there is a name for this behavior (1)

meerling (1487879) | about 5 months ago | (#47116751)

They've only gotten 12% of those eligible.
So, what's the 'discounted' price, and how many of them have even heard about the 'discount'?

Re:Actually there is a name for this behavior (2)

firex726 (1188453) | about 5 months ago | (#47116933)

It's $10/mth, and you have to have a child eligible for free/reduced cost meals, and not have had Comcast service for 90 days. So if you dont take advantage right away, you'll have to cut off service for three months to become eligible.

Re:Actually there is a name for this behavior (2)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 5 months ago | (#47118029)

It's $10/mth, and you have to have a child eligible for free/reduced cost meals, and not have had Comcast service for 90 days. So if you dont take advantage right away, you'll have to cut off service for three months to become eligible.

And you have to know about this, as they will go out of their way to not promote it. And you will have to find a customer service representative that knows about it and is willing to fill out the additional 7 forms to qualify for this. Yes, I've heard this song before played after another big ISP merger.

Re:Actually there is a name for this behavior (5, Informative)

MonkeyTrial (713192) | about 5 months ago | (#47116773)

The Internet Essentials program Comcast offers is $9.95/month, and to be eligible, you have to have a child who participates in the Free and Reduced Lunch program. No kids? Not eligible.

Re:Actually there is a name for this behavior (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | about 5 months ago | (#47117473)

So basically, when assured a demographic (and limited term) of a student, they deign help who they please. Not just the poor or needy citizens, but just the virgin meat: Children easily influenced by their advertising and enticements to pay per view, are their prey.

When Comcastula gets its virgin fetus guarantee, they offer to do the government's job, and protect the best interest of its third world citizens. Never mind the fact, as was stated, that they fail to deliver as promised.

Stop paying Comcast now. Don't vote for incumbents. If the wealth is not shared, then just take it back. Start with opening up the market to anyone who wants to compete with an la carte menu.

Re:Actually there is a name for this behavior (2)

geekmux (1040042) | about 5 months ago | (#47117489)

The Internet Essentials program Comcast offers is $9.95/month, and to be eligible, you have to have a child who participates in the Free and Reduced Lunch program. No kids? Not eligible.

So Comcast clearly feels that for anyone under the age of 18, the internet is important.

For everyone else, get off your wallet you can't afford and pay me full price.

If it's so critical to "be online" in today's society, they should stop dividing it even further within the poor.

Oh, and 2009 - 2013 was not exactly the best time to be interviewing anyone to find out why they haven't blown money on wireless routers, laptops, and high-speed internet when people were losing their jobs left and right, so the statistics might be just a tad skewed.

Re:Actually there is a name for this behavior (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47118095)

So Comcast clearly feels that for anyone under the age of 18, the internet is important.

The Internet is for for porn.

Re:Actually there is a name for this behavior (1)

weszz (710261) | about 5 months ago | (#47118559)

So out of curiosity... any idea on the speeds this gives? I make too much to qualify myself, but as a foster parent we regularly have kids in the house we take care of that would qualify... We take advantage of some things the WIC checks offer like discounted museum memberships, since the food checks don't even come close to covering what kids eat.

If it is a decent speed this would be interesting to me.

Re:Actually there is a name for this behavior (1)

pnutjam (523990) | about 5 months ago | (#47119961)

from the website, it's 5 down / 1 up. It's not easy to find.

Re:Actually there is a name for this behavior (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 5 months ago | (#47120423)

Oh, and 2009 - 2013 was not exactly the best time to be interviewing anyone to find out why they haven't blown money on wireless routers

Hell, I'm still using a WRT54G.

Re:Actually there is a name for this behavior (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 5 months ago | (#47117509)

It's called empty promises. The primary purpose of this merger is not nor will it ever be to take care of the poor. It merely serves to unhook the approval process that would create an internet oligarchy.

Cheap internet for anybody is the last thing that these guys want.

Yes, it's one hell of a bribe (let's call it what it is), and I hope the FCC can see the statistics through the trees to call them on their bullshit.

Not sure I'd put that much faith in the government to be that intelligent or anti-corrupt. Comcast already has several monopoly areas. I fail to see how this would ever pass on those grounds alone, but we no longer give a shit about monopolies. Corruption rules.

And when Comcast gets their way that will be validated once again.

Happy voting.

Re:Actually there is a name for this behavior (1)

SpockLogic (1256972) | about 5 months ago | (#47118229)

It's called empty promises. The primary purpose of this merger is not nor will it ever be to take care of the poor. It merely serves to unhook the approval process that would create an internet oligarchy.

Cheap internet for anybody is the last thing that these guys want.

Remember the AT&T 768Kbps $10.00 a month naked internet service that was almost impossible to find. It was the short term bribe to get the BellSouth merger passed the regulators. This is Comcrap's version of the same three card monte.

Ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47116709)

So they want the only segment of the US they can't monitor (because they can't afford it) to be online! Stroke of genius! Free Snowden!

Re:Ok... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47116743)

Why not include mandatory Internet service with ObamaCare.

Re:Ok... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47116789)

More like NiggerCare

CamelCase for teh sand niggers in the audience.

--
BMO

Ethanol Fueled

"you have to be online" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47116721)

Tell that to the Amish. See how far you get. I fucking dare you.

Re:"you have to be online" (1)

Xenx (2211586) | about 5 months ago | (#47116977)

Considering the Amish (obviously a generalization based on a segment of the group) are in fact willing to use the internet for work related purposes... It does in fact seem to be fairly neccesary.

Re:"you have to be online" (3, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 5 months ago | (#47117417)

It depends on the specific group, but they generally have a council that decides on the acceptance of new technology and any restrictions on use based on two criteria: Self-sufficiency and the impact on communal lifestyle. They may approve internet use for business purposes if they deem it essential, but they'll also set strict rules to prevent it creeping into non-business use, like requiring the computer be located in an office area and not permitting them in residences.

It won't matter (1)

Plocmstart (718110) | about 5 months ago | (#47116741)

They'll probably just raise prices for no improvement in service, making more of us commoners poorer. In the end they win, the public looses.

So much bad is going on now (2)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 5 months ago | (#47116747)

If Comcast gets to legally extort and shake down sites for profit, the bad is going to worse. I hear they should be classified as a type 2 common carrier. We know Comcast bought off FCC officials back with Meridth Atwell Baker. A lot of people are looking at this Blake Wheeler guy doing whatever Comcast wants even though the public is rallying against him, and going,"Man, the system really isn't in it for the people like they should be. I didn't know corruption was established that they can be this transparent and get away with it." For a while a lot of people would go,"It isn't such a big deal that the politicians can be bought out by wealthy individuals and corporations since corporations need to service us." But they're finding out now that if corporations go unchecked by the government, they can do damages far worse than the old telephone companies which actually had some check against them. But where does this go when our politicians and public servants go to the highest bidder? Do we go the road of Mexico where their politicans are not only bought out by druglords, but they live under the veil of fear? Or what? It is interesting that not even all the money that are buying out politicians even comes from the USA. Foreign wealthy entities should not have the ability to have their say in American Politics. When your government says it is sold to the highest bidder, corruption can bring down any empire.

I love the USA. I love our education system. I love the people you get to meet and make friends with. I just wish we didn't have legalized bribery of politicians.

Re:So much bad is going on now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47116755)

I love the USA. I love our education system. I love the people you get to meet and make friends with.

There's something seriously wrong with you.

Re:So much bad is going on now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47116891)

Care to elaborate on this comment?

Jesus H. Christ, I hate Comcast (4, Funny)

paiute (550198) | about 5 months ago | (#47116761)

You are in a room with Hitler, Stalin, and the CEO of Comcast. You have a gun with two bullets. What do you do?

You shoot the CEO twice.

Re:Jesus H. Christ, I hate Comcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47116895)

You would kill Hitler and Stalin you dope.

Re:Jesus H. Christ, I hate Comcast (4, Funny)

digismack (262459) | about 5 months ago | (#47116925)

Hitler and Stalin are already dead. Might as well make sure the CEO joins them.

Re:Jesus H. Christ, I hate Comcast (1)

paiute (550198) | about 5 months ago | (#47117751)

You would kill Hitler and Stalin you dope.

If an interviewer starts to ask you a question which begins with a tortoise on its back, flip the table and run like hell, man.

Re:Jesus H. Christ, I hate Comcast (1)

RavenLrD20k (311488) | about 5 months ago | (#47118831)

What if it starts with "The baker gives you a sweetroll..."?

Re:Jesus H. Christ, I hate Comcast (3, Funny)

Andrio (2580551) | about 5 months ago | (#47118169)

That reminds me of a joke by John Mulaney, where he told his friend how he wasn't sure if he believed in the death penalty. His friend goes (This is all a rough paraphrase, couldn't find a transcription "So you're telling me, if you saw Hitler walking down the street, you wouldn't kill him? You wouldn't kill Hitler?"

"Well, what do you mean by Hitler? Do I see some guy who looks like Hitler walking down the street, with the uniform and mustache and everything? Then I would assume it's just a guy on his way to a costume party. I wouldn't kill that guy. His costume is a little insensitive, but nothing worth killing him over. Or do you mean like, an old version of Hitler? Like an old man that I think might be Hitler? I wouldn't kill him either, because I'm often wrong."

"You killed this man!"

"He looked like Hitler!"

"Yeah a little, what's wrong with you?"

Re:Jesus H. Christ, I hate Comcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47116961)

Double tap yourself. This is fucked.

Re:Jesus H. Christ, I hate Comcast (1)

Chas (5144) | about 5 months ago | (#47117031)

No. You shoot Stalin and Hitler in the head, just to be safe.
Then you pistol-whip the CEO to death with the heated muzzle.

MUCH more emotionally satisfying! =)

Re:Jesus H. Christ, I hate Comcast (1)

meglon (1001833) | about 5 months ago | (#47117043)

You line them up, and shoot all three of them in the head twice.

Re:Jesus H. Christ, I hate Comcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47117485)

You use the room as a jail cell to hold them indefinitely.
You threaten each of them with the gun and bullets to keep them from leaving the room.
Use the gun to club one of them to death as example for the others.

Retain the two bullets to shoot the other two later if they try to resist or escape.

Re:Jesus H. Christ, I hate Comcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47120689)

What's the difference between Hitler, Stalin, and the CEO of Comcast?

Only the CEO of Comcast has golfed with the President of the United States.

It is not relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47116835)

Why does a higher % of the low-income need dedicated, wire-based internet? I can only speak anecdotally, but a significant portion of those 'uncovered' do have access via their pre-paid cellphones.

Internet at library (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#47116861)

From the summary: "to function in society today you have to be online." But why exactly do you have to be online at home to function? Why can't you, say, do all your Internet use at the local public library?

Re:Internet at library (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47117307)

Simple convenience.

Re:Internet at library (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47117335)

Libraries are socialism! Hence they are being shut down and closed in many communities or have their hours of operation severely restricted, especially in poor communities in red states.

Re:Internet at library (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47117441)

Why do you need a stove, fridge, shower or, WC at home, why can't you just go to the local store/library/petrol station?

Why have a bed? Why can't you just sleep on the street?

Re:Internet at library (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47117469)

Everyone in this room is now dumber for having read that..

Re:Internet at library (4, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | about 5 months ago | (#47117599)

Have you ever tried to do this? Without your own car? Perhaps with a disability? Are you lucky enough to live in a city that has a library? How far is it to walk to it from where you live? Do you have cold winters there, or hot and humid summers? Is there public transportation that goes from near your house to the library? If so, how many buses does it take? What's the fare, and how much does that add up to if you do it once a day? How long does the ride take? Do you have someone to watch your kids while you do it, or do you bring them along? Did it even occur to you to consider any of these questions?

Re:Internet at library (1)

xvent (2615755) | about 5 months ago | (#47117907)

Not to mention the whole point of electronic communication is to communicate great distances without moving molecules. To suggest that someone walk to the library to use the internet is as asinine as suggesting that he walk to Hollywood to watch a movie.

Anyway, personal story here. I'm so goddamn broke that when faced with the prospect of endlessly increasing services fees I said fuck it and read up a little bit on WEP cracking. I'd be throwing away money paying $9.99 a month now. Haha. Anyone else do the same?

Re:Internet at library (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47118323)

Anyway, personal story here. I'm so goddamn broke that when faced with the prospect of endlessly increasing services fees I said fuck it and read up a little bit on WEP cracking. I'd be throwing away money paying $9.99 a month now. Haha. Anyone else do the same?

It's 2014, you're a bit behind on the times if you're trying to crack WEP, of all things.

WEP and Nintendo DS (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#47118687)

WEP cracking was relevant before GameSpy shut down. For the past several years, the biggest reason to still run WEP was multiplayer in Nintendo DS games. But with GameSpy closed, Nintendo DS games can no longer set up a match. Now if you see WEP, it's someone who set up WEP once, saw the lock, and forgot about it.

Re:WEP and Nintendo DS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47119231)

My wireless at home is WEP. It is basically a "Keep Out" sign. I use other techniques to make my wireless safe.

Re:WEP and Nintendo DS (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#47119397)

"A keep out sign" is a good way to describe WEP, which acts as a speed bump to demonstrate evidence of unauthorized use [pineight.com] . In theory, a breach is prima facie evidence of an intentional offense under state theft of service laws, the U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or foreign counterparts. And I used to use WEP with a MAC whitelist. But as home ISPs start instituting caps, and governments start holding operators of open APs liable for the traffic that goes over them, you may need to improve technical measures to shut out WEP crackers who would use your bandwidth to trade images glorifying child abuse or to perform mass copyright infringement.

Re:Internet at library (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#47118749)

Let me give you a whole bunch of personal information: I currently don't have a car. I have a disability in the sense that years ago I used Indiana's vocational rehabilitation services. Indiana weather has both "cold winters" and "hot and humid summers". A monthly pass on the bus service here costs $45 per month* but is useful for things other than Internet access, such as getting to and from work and the supermarket. I just wanted to know whether the convenience of not having to commute to a library was a luxury and why.

* Passes for people who are under 18, attend school, are old enough to draw Medicare, or have a disability severe enough to draw Social Security are half off.

Re:Internet at library (1)

Petron (1771156) | about 5 months ago | (#47119275)

If we have to bend over backwards for every single rare instance of some ultra-hard-luck case... we will never have anything nice.

Does that poor person with no car, no legs, living in an area with -74 degree winters and no way to get to a public internet location (such as a library) get to the store to get food? Could that resource also stop a community center, library, city hall, etc to use a computer?

There will always be a hard luck case.

Re:Internet at library (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47119411)

What if your library doesn't have internet access available?

Re:Internet at library (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#47119505)

What if your library doesn't have internet access available?

Which library might that happen to be?

Re:Internet at library (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 5 months ago | (#47120527)

Some don't, the smaller the library the less likely they have it.

Could it really be about Content Delivery Network? (1)

Walt Sellers (1741378) | about 5 months ago | (#47116871)

With such a huge number of customers (competition aside), the resulting company would become a huge CDN player. Maybe the biggest?

Would Netflix or anyone else need Akamai or others?

I have a better idea: (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 5 months ago | (#47116873)

How about Comcast has to offer the low cost internet plan to any of their customers that wants it.

Re:I have a better idea: (2)

geekmux (1040042) | about 5 months ago | (#47117551)

How about Comcast has to offer the low cost internet plan to any of their customers that wants it.

(Comcast support, 3 hours later...)

"Ah, yes, I see you're on our fuck-you-very-much plan. Oh, you say your speeds are horrendous? It feels like dial-up? Wow, I can't imagine why, but if you're unhappy with your plan, you can always upgrade..."

Re:I have a better idea: (1)

Andrio (2580551) | about 5 months ago | (#47118191)

Comcast would make a lot less money.

Granted, they would still be profitable, but they would make less money.

The speed for the plan isn't too terrible, either. 5 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up. That's usable for everything except HD video streaming.

Re:I have a better idea: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47120733)

720p can work on 5Mbps. 'Course, a lot of people just download entire videos and watch at their leisure.

And the X makes it sound cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47116907)

Comcast / Netflix has proved that extortion works.

And we're about to hand comcast even more bargaining power.
How stupid are we...

If you use the internet you should be against comcast and TWC merging.

It's going to happen tho. It's a done deal. The bribes have been paid. The FCC is a little bitch for the cable industry.
And we're ALL going to be fucked.
Just not quite as fucked as TWC customers. But still. Pretty fucked.

captcha:crystal (ball)

Already here? (3, Insightful)

Mycroft-X (11435) | about 5 months ago | (#47116951)

Time Warner Cable already offers 2MBps service for $14.99 across its footprint.

It isn't hard to find, it's right next to all the other speed options on their web site.

Customers can buy their own modem from Best Buy or wherever or they can lease a TWC modem for $6 a month.

I have a feeling that most customers who need a $9.99 or $14.99 internet plan probably aren't going to front $300 for Google Fiber to be installed, or even own the place they would be paying for it to be installed in.

Re:Already here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47119159)

Felt I had to respond to this. You can pay those $300 over the course of the year at $25/month and then get an additional 6 YEARS of internet for free.

Re:Already here? (1)

coryhamma (842129) | about 5 months ago | (#47120209)

Now that Comcast is using existing internet cable boxes to offer wifi to other Comcast customers, I think they should have an even cheaper option to allow eligible people (not just those with children) access via WiFi for a one-time fee of $9.99. This would ensure that people living in close proximity have a chance to get online, especially if they don't have a consistent living arrangement. Part of the cost for Comcast is actually producing a paper bill to mail to these folks, and processing payments ... so if there was no monthly payment, Comcast would probably be effectively saving money.

Worst company in America award winner 2010, 2014 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47116965)

They'll say anything to get the merger to go through doesn't change the fact they were awarded the Worst company in America this year (and 2010). What could possibly go wrong?

Time for ObamaNet (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 months ago | (#47117001)

Make purchase of Comcast internet a mandatory thing for all americans.

Now the poor have internet, and are only somewhat more poor!

Hey, it worked for the insurance industry and healthcare policies.

Although to be fair the analogy is not really complete unless you also make all americans purchase HBA/Showtime/MLB packages.

Re:Time for ObamaNet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47117039)

"In my country, it is not free! Not free! I finally decide, it is not right! No way I'm paying for Internet access!"

Remember NetZero. NetZero used to be free.

Re:Time for ObamaNet (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 5 months ago | (#47117575)

"In my country, it is not free! Not free! I finally decide, it is not right! No way I'm paying for Internet access!"

Remember NetZero. NetZero used to be free.

Yeah, NetZero was "free", if you enjoyed dial-up speeds and didn't mind your browser being reduced to the size of a game boy screen due to ads.

In other words, it was about as free as you are from being tracked today with any other "free" shit.

Re:Time for ObamaNet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47117327)

To be fairer, you would have to completely bankrupt or kill a large % of the pre internet purchase households, and stop doing it afterwards.
Maybe you should look up insurance sometime when your not so busy sucking off the local republicans.

Re:Time for ObamaNet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47117411)

You gotta love the right wingers. Every time, every where, and on ever issue on internet some troll on the internet has to compare it to the ACA. It's the new Goodwin's law.

Re:Time for ObamaNet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47119679)

OK then please point out those large-scale government programs that are run efficiently, are not rife with waste and fraud, that do not treat their 'customers' so badly Comcast actually looks good by comparison (as hard as that is to do, the government can).

Low cost. (2)

Chas (5144) | about 5 months ago | (#47117023)

So, basically, instead of making Comcast, y'know IMPROVE THEIR FUCKING NETWORK AND PEERING, we're going to go for a "cheap internet plan".

Oh boy. A 1mbit/1mbit plan for $20 a month! WOO!
Oh, in the fine print. Going over the 5MByte cap more than twice in a 6 month period gets you upgraded to the more expensive basic plan!

Oh, and at any point did anyone discuss the problem with Comcast's horizontal monopoly being extended to a few million more people? Yes, even if they spin those people off, it's still majority owned by Comcast. All their competitor is doing is getting a revenue share to shut them the fuck up.

No.

No.

NO!

Re:Low cost. (1)

dysmal (3361085) | about 5 months ago | (#47120785)

Meantime every ass-hat website is adding more and more bloatware (advertisements) which makes websites feel SLOWER than dial up.

Has anyone truthfully tried to use dial up recently? It's awful. Websites have gotten so bloated that you need broadband just to have a functional web browsing experience.

Internet essentials requires a child in the house (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 5 months ago | (#47117033)

So it's no good for poor seniors living on social security and the unemployed.

Re:Internet essentials requires a child in the hou (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47117065)

Do they come to your house to see the child? What are they, pedophiles?

Re:Internet essentials requires a child in the hou (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47117561)

Don't be an idiot: You need to apply, and provide documentation (including the federal ID# (aka SSN)) of your assistance-eligible child.

Re:Internet essentials requires a child in the hou (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 5 months ago | (#47117581)

Do they come to your house to see the child? What are they, pedophiles?

Do they come to your house to see the child? What are they, pedophiles?

No, they would likely do it a much easier way, with tax records.

Kids may be home-schooled, so the school records may not find them, but chances are you're not going to find too many parents hiding them when the taxman comes around.

This has to be offered to third parties (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 5 months ago | (#47117105)

For this actually work, comcast hast offer these rates to third parties using their lines. That is, comcast must offer a discounted rate to third party providers that are offering content to low income or poorly served areas.

If it only goes through comcast directly then comcast has the ability to control costs by limiting service.

And you know that would be fine only they seem to be offering congress this deal to pay for their monopoly rights. Well, I don't want them to be a monopoly and I'd just as soon tell them to screw themselves. However, if they are going to get their monopoly rights then at the very least we should get them to pay for it with what they SAY they're going to pay.

If congress doesn't force this as an open provider policy then they've been suckered.

Screw the poor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47117117)

How about we stop fooling ourselves with this "oh, we'll distribute the wealth" bullshit? If the poor want internet service, they can pay for it - or use it at the local library.

We're already paying for that library access on all our phone bills, etc... I'm sick of paying more to give away stuff to other people. If they want it, let them work for it like I do.

If they don't like the divide, it's time for them to pick up a shovel and start filling it in on their own. I'm tapped out.

Re:Screw the poor (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | about 5 months ago | (#47117541)

If they don't like the divide, it's time for them to pick up a shovel and start filling it in on their own. I'm tapped out.

Here's an idea, we'll eliminate Comcast and AT&T so you can have your basic internet and cable for free, just like the poor.

That's what I want to hear from our political campaigns. Don't elect anything less - demand more. The worst company in America should get jail time, not market guarantees. Kill this malignancy of corporate cancer.

Re:Screw the poor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47117547)

Ayn Rand is still alive, and posting on /.?

The poor just don't use land lines (2)

msobkow (48369) | about 5 months ago | (#47117121)

From what I've seen, people on a tight budget get a smart phone with a data plan and use that to get online, not a landline cable or DSL connection. That way they hit two birds with one device: phone service and internet.

Sure it's not as "good" as a landline internet connection with a good computer. But it is far cheaper -- at least at first.

Re:The poor just don't use land lines (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | about 5 months ago | (#47117583)

Every little bit helps. But lets face it, they just love to put that electronic leash on the doomed.

If the poor can't maintain a valid ID, they'll just be issued one (shaped like a phone). We can just call it an alibi for the innocent, or for those guilty, a witness for the prosecution.

File comments with the FCC here (5, Informative)

raymorris (2726007) | about 5 months ago | (#47117167)

If anyone cares to take the time write up a comment that may assist the FCC in evaluating or deal or possible concessions to be demanded of Comcast, the link to file those comments is here:
http://www.fcc.gov/mergers [fcc.gov]

Two types of comments can be productive. It can be helpful to file a well-written comment that includes.numbers, citations showing exactly how Comcast's position has been detrimental. It can also be very helpful to file a comment with a suggestion for a compromise that mitigates bad effects from allowing the deal to go through. For example, a comment posted three weeks ago suggesting that they be required to keep TWC's discount program could have been helpful. What doesn't do any good are "fuck Comcast" or "fuck the FCC" comments. Those only make it look like those opposing the acquisition don't have any articulable reason for doing so.

Yes, it's a bit like a homework assignment, to be effective you need to either cite your sources or present a new idea that the FCC hasn't already thought of. That involves more work than writing "fuck Comcast", but such is life in the real world, where grown-ups are making grown-up decisions.

Re:File comments with the FCC here (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | about 5 months ago | (#47117579)

No No No

FUCK COMCAST FUCK COMCAST FUCK COMCAST

I just can't give that up. That's the only payoff we get so don't tell me to stop

FUCK COMCAST just feels so right!!

mmm competition (1)

ConfusedVorlon (657247) | about 5 months ago | (#47117221)

Here's an idea.

Rip up all the local monopoly deals and enforce (via legislation) meaningful competition.

That'll bring prices and service more into line with the rest of the developed world.

That'll get people (even the poor) signing up.

poor adults not eligible (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 5 months ago | (#47117539)

This "Internet Essentials" program might help some poor people, but it's only available to people with children (eligible for school lunch programs). It's a typical example of how we consider children who live in poverty to be "innocent victims", but adults who can't work due to disability or lack of jobs are treated as if they were unworthy of assistance. In this case, internet access could make a huge difference for them in terms of quality of life and/or additional cost savings (giving access to low-entry-price services, such as VOIP and Netflix instead of POTS and CATV), or the ability to effectively try to re-enter the workforce (incredibly difficult without in-home internet access).

Pentagon Spending (1)

iiiears (987462) | about 5 months ago | (#47117615)

With the first internet we had waste fraud and abuse.

The government should own it all. We would pay as much and get as much. With a government "service plan" you get bloviating politicians at no extra cost. (Funny is guaranteed)

  In a for profit system shareholders demand increasing returns and care nothing about "suitability for purpose" it's a race to divide services and collect revenue. The "Useful" parts are increasingly claimed. fenced and charged for until everyone not in on the scam throws up their hands in disgust.

Netflix deal should mean no merger (4, Insightful)

Solandri (704621) | about 5 months ago | (#47117731)

One of Comcast's arguments for the merger is that current Comcast and Time Warner customers won't be affected because the two companies compete in very few markets. Consequently, customers will not suffer from reduced competition if the two companies should merge.

But by forcing the Netflix deal, Comcast has turned every Internet site out there into a (potential) customer. Netflix has to pay Comcast = Netflix is a customer. In the market for access deals with web sites, Comcast and Time Warner are competitors (Netflix does not need to make deals with both of them, and can leverage the better service on one ISP to pressure the other into making a cheaper deal). Therefore, a Comcast and Time Warner merger reduces competition.

There is going to end badly for everyone. (1)

Agares (1890982) | about 5 months ago | (#47118231)

If I remember right, correct me if I am wrong, if this merger happens Comcast will have 70% of the market. This is just ridiculous since they will obviously have geographic monopolies all over the country with this move.

Bait and switch (1)

Squidlips (1206004) | about 5 months ago | (#47118283)

The weasels at Comcast will promise anything to get the merge and then forget all the promises.

uhhh... (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about 5 months ago | (#47118503)

especially because to function in society today you have to be online.

First of all, no you don't. Second of all, what percentage of low-income families without home broadband have at least one smartphone with a data plan? Voila; they're online.

A new age of print media (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47118739)

It looks like I will be cutting another cable here soon.

Customer service (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about 5 months ago | (#47118883)

Comcast barely provides customer service to people who pay for their expensive offerings. What kind of service can the low cost internet plan customers expect to receive?

You know another way we could get a low cost plan? (1)

AnontheDestroyer (3500983) | about 5 months ago | (#47119581)

Bust their monopolized asses up into multiple overlapping entities and make them compete. We'd get a few more perks, too if they are suddenly given a real incentive to improve their product.

This is your Government (1)

Hevel-Varik (2700923) | about 5 months ago | (#47119611)

Yes corporate interest x, you can have any power you wish as long as we, the governing class, are unaffected, compensated appropriately, and given political cover. Oh a low income internet service --- perfect! For the people! There's no turning back. The left and the right establishment care nothing save for there own interests and we will live under a soft dictatorship with pretend elections before any real traction will be given to a class of political reformers. The tea party was the best hope. But we the people have no chance. Power consolidated is never willingly relinquished.

This seems obvious. (1)

digitalPhant0m (1424687) | about 5 months ago | (#47120493)

has signed up only 12 percent of the 2.6 million families eligible for the service since it was launched

Perhaps only 12% of those 2.6 million want internet service? I know it's unthinkable to be without broadband but there are people that don't want it. Why the crusade to get to 100%? ... Oh yeah, more sheeple for advertisers.

Alternative corporate structure (1)

dcooper_db9 (1044858) | about 5 months ago | (#47120533)

I've been thinking about an alternative structure that might allow a viable alternative to the hegemonic networks we have today. Every time I try to write this out I struggle to explain it, and never submit. I'm going to do my best to write this and hope that some of the folks on slashdot could help flesh this out. I'm trying to do something along the lines of writing a GPL license. Using a contract to turn the business of networking upside down, making people owners of the network they use.

As I see it, the major obstacle to competition in this market is the massive red tape involved in connecting a network to the internet. Pretty much anyone could wire up their neighborhood with ethernet, but they can't cross the public right-of-way without paying the troll under the bridge. Local governments have tried to build publicly owned networks only to have their growth blocked by state legislation. The organization I'm thinking about attempts to bypass these obstructions.

I'm thinking of a non-profit cooperative whose members agree to a contract that requires them to cooperate. For instance, the contract would require members to allow other members to connect to their network. Members would also be required to support some level of throughput. The organization would have an elected board and elected officers, The contract would be updated by vote of the members.

This way, I could wire up my neighborhood with ethernet. If the next neighborhood over does the same we could connect to each other. We can share the cost of connecting to the larger internet, and leverage our network to get reasonable terms. If businesses in the downtown want to build a Wifi network they can cooperate to do so. The city can help organize the effort but wouldn't own the network.

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