NNSquad - Network Neutrality Squad

NNSquad Home Page

NNSquad Mailing List Information


[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[ NNSquad ] Big ISPs to Customers: Bend Over and Close Your Eyes

             Big ISPs to Customers: Bend Over and Close Your Eyes


Greetings.  It's no longer a matter of handwriting on the wall -- the
equivalents of big billboards and skywriting are now making it
abundantly clear what big telecom has in store for us, and Time
Warner's new bandwidth cap plans ( http://tinyurl.com/tw-caps ) are
but a mere taste of toadstools to come.  No matter how creatively they
try to spin their press releases, telecom is taking the elevator to
profits, and subscribers are being left with -- that's right boys and
girls -- the shaft.

What we seem to be looking at here in the U.S. -- in direct contrast
to many other countries in the world -- is a race to the
*bottom*, with ISPs doing their damndest to chain up customers in
ways that will help assure preferential use of ISPs' own video and
other offerings, which themselves are typically free of all bandwidth

The apparent lack of capping plans so far where *effective*
competition is present (e.g. FiOS overbuilds) would seem to be about
as obvious of a smoking gun as Lt. Columbo himself would ever wish to
see.  It's all about driving down demand for outside Internet services
and herding customers (with a cattle prod) into the walled gardens.

The vast variations in proposed caps between different service
providers are creating *exactly* the kind of situations that
telecom communications regulation could help avoid -- enormous
differences for customers based solely on where they happen to be

Bandwidth caps are too important of a parameter, not just for usage
today but for what sorts of Internet innovation and usage we'll see
tomorrow, to be arbitrarily set and changed by ISPs in the current
extremely limited competition U.S. Internet environment.

It's well past time for Internet users from the size of Google down to
grandmothers in Ogden, Utah to start *demanding* effective 
positive changes.

By the way, Time Warner in my neck of the woods has increased prices
on everything yet again this month, and their customer service reps
have become utterly uncooperative -- unless you'll go for a massive
up-sell.  That's assuming you can understand what they're saying.  The
TW Colorado Springs call center at least has clear connections.  But
much of the time -- even during the day -- you can end up routed to a
call center in Argentina, apparently connected through a VoIP system
running at 110bps -- at least it sounds that way.  The audio quality
is always so incredibly bad that one longs for two tin cans with a
string as an alternative.  It's just another thorn to ramp up anger
through the roof.  I'm told that a lot of customers complain about
this.  But hey, when you own the balls and there's no referee you get
to play however you want, right?

Just like the banks who are now *massively* jacking up credit
card interest rates after getting vast government bailouts -- at a
time when many ordinary middle-class citizens can hardly keep the
lights lit and food on the table -- big telecom has us all in their
sights, just like deers in the crosshairs of a hunter's high-powered

There's no polite way to say this: We are indeed getting 
royally screwed.

Lauren Weinstein
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800
Co-Founder, PFIR
   - People For Internet Responsibility - http://www.pfir.org
Co-Founder, NNSquad
   - Network Neutrality Squad - http://www.nnsquad.org
Founder, GCTIP - Global Coalition 
   for Transparent Internet Performance - http://www.gctip.org
Founder, PRIVACY Forum - http://www.vortex.com
Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com
Twitter: LW1