Cable industry ads: insulting my intelligence

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by pseudobrit, Nov 2, 2006.

  1. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #1
    So At&T and other telcos are trying to manoevre some legislation into place that would allow them blanket access to deliver TV service over the phone lines without having to secure local monopoly licenses as cable must.

    Cable of course doesn't like competition (they almost killed satellite service in its infancy by lobbying and passing legislation that crippled availability and consumer choice). And so cable is running ads to make us feel good about cable and bad about telephones.

    One pisses on Old Ma Bell and her kids ("meet the phoneys - the Bell monopolies" they say), asking "how many years until we got a phone in any colour but black?" Another says something about how cable innovations are happing in "days, not decades," ignoring the fact that until maybe ten years ago you couldn't legally do something so simple as to use a splitter in your house without paying for an extra television worth of service. And if you didn't like your local cable company then you could always buy a 40' C-band dish or an aerial the size of a McDonnell Douglas because the cable service was -- and is -- a monopoly.

    Cable internet wasn't even available in my area until way too late and when it was they were just contracting it out. It wasn't until a year later that they offered their own service, and not until about 2003 (!) did they offer it in my parents' city. So telephone and cable monopolies both suck and are slow with innovation and lazy to roll out new technologies.

    But there's one that pisses me off a whole bunch. It's a warm and fuzzy spot that says "cable's ragtag dreamers made it possible." I mean, where do I start with this one? The fact that cable owes its existence to the research of Bell Labs, who were first to run a coax trunk and the first to deliver television over a coax network? Or can I take some time to point out that those "ragtag dreamers" were and are greedy, slimy giant businesses?

    We're not talking about Apple or HP in the garage. Or even an Intel founded by industry mavericks or Microsoft who hustled to the top with Gates' slick business savvy. That was a ragtag bunch of dreamers; the cable industry's just a cluster of conglomerated rich bastards who got richer by investing in a monopolistic sector and sitting on it with their big fat asses and their big fat lobbying budgets.

    I don't love the telecoms, but competition is competition, and anything to bust open the cable monopoly and their ****** service and skyrocketing prices is good for consumers.
     
  2. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    Location:
    Terlingua, Texas
    #2
    :) No argument from me.

    Some perspective about BSing and lying in the world of TV of whatever sort: When VHF TV first came to Austin, Texas, LadyBird got the first license, for Channel 7. It began as KTBC-TV and then was changed to KLBJ. They bought programming from all three networks. They bought the least-cost schlock. You needed a high antenna to get TV from Waco and San Antonio.

    Austin had only the one station, because of the small market size, said the FCC. A bit odd, that. Waco, half the size of Austin, had TWO TV stations. It was not until UHF TV was developed that Austin got more stations.

    $$$

    I worked for the City of Austin's electric department when cable first came in, in 1964. Two companies. LadyBird had an option to buy into the larger, better-funded corporation; it bought out the competition.

    Then came satellite TV. I bought a 10-foot dish rig in 1985, I guess it was, before scrambling. No other option, down here in the middle of nowhere. The package deal was around $2,000. Now, I have small-dish TV and no longer use the big dish. I also have satellite Internet.

    The latest deal for us rural people is el-cheapo satellite telephone.

    Anyhow, when you're talking sales to millions of people, all involved are gonna blarney their side of the deal. All interests do their best to get the controlling group--in this case, government--to "Do it my way!"

    You don't want to watch sausage being made, either.

    At first, I misread this thread's title. My first reaction was, "All advertising on TV insults my intelligence!" For that matter, so does the programming.

    That calls to mind a vignette from "Specimen Song", where author Peter Bowen has the lead character Gabriel DuPre in a conversation with his daughter:

    "I wonder why Americans shoot each other so much."
    "Television," said DuPre.
    "Television?"
    "Every time I watch television, it is so damn dumb, I want to go out and shoot somebody."

    'Rat
     
  3. someguy macrumors 68020

    someguy

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    #3
    Comcast wants $60/mo for BASIC cable in my area.

    Please, anyone, compete.
     
  4. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    Location:
    toronto
    #4
    the proper solution, as other countries like japan and s. korea know, is to treat information delivery as a gov't utility.

    that is, the fed gov't builds and owns the lines, then leases the bandwidth to private content providers: internet, phone, TV entertainment.

    other countries enjoy high-speed internet that's 10x what we get, for a fraction of the cost.

    AT&T and their ilk have been paid billions by the feds to build new infrastructure, but they didn't. they basically took the money as profit, and are pushing for anti-competition and anti-neutrality legislation, all under the guise of "so we can provide better service". but they were supposed to have done that by now.

    the fed needs to lay fibre to every single household in the US and open up the content to competition. keep net neutrality and don't favor the giants like AT&T and Verizon.

    that's how to fix this.
     
  5. it5five macrumors 65816

    it5five

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    #5
    I agree with you zim, but just wait for one of the libertarians/nutcases to come in here screaming about government ownership of the lines.

    Your solution won't happen until we have Dems in control though, and even then I'd say it'd still be hard to get it done, especially with the telecoms money lining the pockets of powerful politicians.
     
  6. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #6
    someguy, I pay $50/mo for DirecTV and some 120 channels. It's portable enough that I could take it along, if I get the travel trailer I'm looking at. Wild Blue satellite Internet is $50/mo for its basic 512k download; $60 for one meg--but I don't need a second phone line. My sat-phone required a $60 deposit; it's $5/mo for 300 minutes, but ya gotta be way, way rural to get that deal.

    'Rat
     
  7. benthewraith macrumors 68040

    benthewraith

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    #7
    Where the hell do you live?! :eek:

    Comcast would get run out of town if that was offered here.
     
  8. someguy macrumors 68020

    someguy

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    #8
    Michigan.

    I'd run them out of town myself if I could.
     
  9. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

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    New Zealand
    #9
    For comparison purposes, what sort of speeds and costs do you have? We've all been complaining over here, but a couple of guys that came over from England have commented about how cheap broadband is here.

    I'm paying US$30/month for "full speed" DSL (which I've speed-tested at 6.2 Mb/s down and 670 kb/s up), plus data at $8 per 10 GB. That price includes the DSL router, and also gives me 6.7c/min phone calls (both nationally and internationally, using a physical phone, not via the computer).
     
  10. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #10
    Here, we pay $60/month to Comcast for Digital Cable with 100+ channels, On Demand, and Free HBO. We pay another $50/month to Comcast for Broadband (6 Mb/s).
     
  11. nitynate macrumors 6502a

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    Clearwater, FL
    #11
    We get Bright House Digital Combo, All the channels (minus premium sports and porn) Digital Phone unlimited calls to US, Mexico and Porto Rico. And 6MB/s road runner internet all for $129 a month.
     
  12. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

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    #12
    I'm paying nothing for ~20 satellite channels, which provide most of the shows I would ever want to watch. Granted it's only 576p, but it's free! Plus I don't have an HDTV :p

    Does that $50 allow unlimited use?
     
  13. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #13
    As far as I know, yes.
     
  14. someguy macrumors 68020

    someguy

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    #14
    I get unlimited use for my broadband service. I don't know of any ISP's in Michigan that limit usage.
     
  15. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #15
    you don't happen to live in fred upton's district, do you?
     
  16. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    toronto
    #16
    i've got earthlink DSL, for which i pay $45USD/mo., which includes the modem rental.

    here's what i got just now, speed-test-wise, which is towards the high-end of what i usually see:

    [​IMG]

    AT&T, which is my phone company, claims they can't do DSL to my location (in the middle of a city, dontchaknow). my only cable choice is comcast, but they're even more expensive than the DSL.

    .....

    for those who've not seen it, i recommend the excellent Moyers on American piece about net neutrality,here. you can see the entire show, which i recommend. it's over an hour.

    it provides a good background on what's gone wrong w/ our telecoms, how far the US has fallen behind in connectivity, and what can be done to fix it.
     
  17. someguy macrumors 68020

    someguy

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    #17
    Forgive me for being ignorant, but I have no idea who that is.

    I live a couple miles outside of Flint, if that helps. :)
     
  18. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    toronto
    #18
    he's the congressman in the 6th district, which is the SW corner of the state. he's also the chairman of the subcommittee on telecommunications and the internet, and he's really dropped the ball wrt getting the telecoms to follow up on their promises of building new high speed infrastructure. quite the contrary, they've paid him a lot of money (over $200k just this election cycle) to support their legislation.
     
  19. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

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    #19
    We have flat-rate services here too, but the "pay as you go" model seems to be the most popular. The problem with unlimited is that it costs a lot to get data into the country (after all, we're surrounded by ocean) so there were limitations imposed, for example your download speed could be limited if you pulled down more than a certain amount in a day.

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, I'd better stop hijacking the thread :)
     
  20. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    Chicago, Illinois
    #20
    Come to Chicago. I'm paying 16.99 a month for 1.5 Mbps broadband with RCN. It's been absolutely flawless- no outages ever. And after my first year, the fees only go up to 24.95 and stay there.

    As for cable, ditch it. Get an HDTV with an antenna and your reception will be flawless for local channels. If you like some cable shows, download them from iTunes. It's far cheaper and you can watch then when you want.
     
  21. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    St. Louis, MO
    #21
    In Rolla, Missouri, through Fidelity Communications, a local ISP, here's what we pay:

    3 mbit down/256 up: $60.
    Extended cable TV: $43

    Now, here's some tidbits of info:
    We're damn lucky if we get anything close to 3 mbit down or 256 up.

    256 up for any broadband ISP is appalling. Coincidentally, Fidelity is also a provider of landline phone lines. So I think I figured out why the upload speed sucks: To make it damn near impossible to use a VoIP competitor such as Vonage.

    Extended cable is only about 50 or 55 channels. This excludes a lot of major channels that you'd think would be in extended, such as G4 and MTV2 (both channels suck, but thats besides the point) Compare this to Charter, in St. Louis, where extended cable is closer to 80 channels.

    There really are no alternatives for broadband. There's DSL from Embarq, but I hear it's even worse and even more expensive. Then of course, there's satellite, and that's a joke. The only viable option might be EVDO/EDGE, but that's expensive and high latency isn't suitable for any online gaming.

    Alternatives for TV, well, I suppose you have Dish or DirecTV, but you still need internet, and sadly, your best option in this town is cable internet from Fidelity, but if you don't have TV through them as well, you get slammed with fees for internet-only subscriptions

    So, we pay $103/month for ***** service. Back home in St. Louis, for around $120, we get the following from Charter:
    3 mbit down/something that's faster than 256 up that I don't know off the top of my head
    In the rare times speeds drop below 3, they're still above 2.5
    4 digital cable boxes (which are nearly 10 bucks each a month I think)
    1 standard cable box (yeah, we got an old school non-cable ready TV that we don't need digital service on)
    Basic, extended basic, digital cable only channels, HBO, Cinemax, Starz

    Why? Charter has competition. They are the only cable company in St. Louis, but SBC and other companies offer DSL at fast speeds and cheap prices, and SBC and DirecTV always have package deals where you can get a lot of service for cheap. Charter knows that if they don't want to go out of business, they have to provide good service and competitive prices. Fidelity can charge whatever the hell they please knowing there isn't really an alternative.

    I'm not one for government intervention and regulation, I usually believe that everything's fine until the gov't gets their hands on it, but in the telecommunications industry, something's gotta be done. Something like...prevent cable monopolies, force cable companies who have monopolies to charge decent prices for good service, fund things such as FiOS to bring competition....I don't know what exactly, but something needs to change
     
  22. aquajet macrumors 68020

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    Feb 12, 2005
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    VA
    #22
    $70/month for 3mb down and (IIRC) 384kb up. This is through Charter Communications. Verizon has recently put down new wiring in the area, and of course I was selected for a service box in the front yard. I've got a nice little area with no grass now, but if it means more options, it's no big deal, right? I'll be reconsidering my options soon.
     
  23. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    St. Louis, MO
    #23
    Holy crap :eek: That's what we have through Charter and I think it's $45
     
  24. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #24
    From what I understand, at least locally is that the telcos don't have to abide by a local advisory council and that is where the Cable industry is upset. In other words the Telco doesn't need to set up a franchise but instead can blanket a region and can set any price rate they choose and can just select what ever channel lineup they want.
     
  25. Roger1 macrumors 65816

    Roger1

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    Jun 3, 2002
    Location:
    Michigan
    #25
    How about Charter or Millenium Digital? I use millenium, and it runs me about $75 for cable Internet (low-speed) modem rental, and a hundred and thirty odd channels. I have been very happy with them.
     

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