Comcastic!

There’s obviously something going on when the consumer simply can’t save money by moving to another provider:

WASHINGTON—The Justice Department is conducting a wide-ranging antitrust investigation into whether cable companies are acting improperly to quash nascent competition from online video, according to people familiar with the matter.

Justice Department officials have spoken to several online video providers, including Netflix Inc. and Hulu LLC, those people said. Investigators have also questioned Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable Inc. and other cable companies about issues such as setting data caps, limits to the amount of data a subscriber can download each month, these people said.

Representatives of all those companies and the Justice Department declined to comment on the investigation.

Cable companies provide both television channels and high-speed Internet access for many consumers in the U.S. With broadband Internet, consumers can watch individual programs or channels through online video services like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon, bypassing the cable company’s traditional bundles of channels.

Having invested billions of dollars building their networks, some pay-TV companies have shown little inclination to get out of the business of packaging television channels and become mere conduits for other companies’ data. Some major entertainment companies also have an interest in preserving the current model of television viewing because they want cable companies to take bundles of their channels, rather than just cherry-picking the most popular ones.

2 thoughts on “Comcastic!

  1. I wrote to the FCC years ago asking about anti-trust violations when I was unable to watch TV except by forking over an enormous percentage of my meager income to Comcast. There was no other choice (except no TV at all, which I tried for a while). I got a lame letter back. I’ve switched to the only other provider available in my area, with no savings whatsoever, but at least they are not shutting off my service every other month EVEN THOUGH I PAY ON TIME EVERY SINGLE MONTH! Comcast charges in advance and considers your payment as late whenever it suits them to do so.
    Ugh. When will the monopoly be broken? Probably never…

  2. My cable provider, Cablevision, has great broadband — and a high price for it. I only have broadcast basic (I can’t get PBS and some other stations without cable), and when Cablevision went high def they wrote that those of us with analog would experience no increases in cost or loss of service (well, no more additional loss of channels…). HA!

    First, they began cutting channels offerd on broadcast. Just a few. Then, while they said we didn’t need a $7/mo cable box to get HD broadcasts (the extra channels broadcasters are offering on digital) if we had QAM (Or whatever it’s called) tuners, and would continue to get analog of the broadcast basic (and Family level for cable), they began to not offer the addtional stations for the QAM tuners to pick up. Now they’re going to discontinue all analog transmissions — so they can offer more “services” via the digital bands which are opened up, they say.

    Every TV has to have a cable box now (ugly!!!), but to lessen the blow they set a letter saying that for two years we could have a free cable box for each TV.

    When I called to set up the shipment, they asked how many TV’s I had (more than two), and only then did the rep tell me that Cablevision will only give two to a customer location, and I would have to pay that $7/month for any additional cable boxes. No way, Cablevision.

    Grrrrr.

    Then the rep stsrted to tell me that all those analog customers were messing up Cablevision’s plans for the digital customers who pay a lot more per month. Okaaay. Loyal employee.

    Now, I am saving money by getting my phone service through Cablevision, and the broadband is much better than the DSL I had with Verizon, but, damn, I’m getting really ticked off. I hate being tied down in one area when essentially listening to, say, NewsHour. I hate those set top boxes big time.

    So, what to do.

    For decent broadband there’s only cable in my area. I checked into Magic Jack and Ooma, and both sound dicey for main phone service. Dish? Direct TV?

    Right now, broadband is my biggest part of my cable bill, and the one there’s no substitute for.

    Whhaaaaaaa!

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