search instagram arrow-down

Dear Big Cable Co: You can’t have it all

At some point we have to say enough is enough.

And in this case, we need to say it loudly and clearly when it comes to broadband and the Internet. 

Today Comcast is trying to weave together a vertically integrated company with content (acquiring sports teams and NBC Universal) as well as consolidating the last mile broadband network (Time Warner Cable acquisition). 

In addition, they give us a closed, awful set top box, a low performing router, poor internet speeds compared to rest of world, significant pricing hikes and tireless attempts to destroy network neutrality. And consumers have little choice because we don’t have the same level of competition as we see with wireless carriers. 

Just like I tell my kids: you simply can’t have it all. It’s not a healthy thing period. You need to choose what’s most important to you and what’s best. 

We need to make our message heard. We simply cannot allow one company to be this grabby when it comes the key element of our nations infrastructure.

Want to own content and the last mile? Fine but you can’t own all of the last mile nationwide. Want to consolidate the last mile? Fine, then sign up to network neutrality with a commitment to better coverage and performance. 

I’ve heard people compare Comcast’s challenges with the our nations highways. The story goes at some point the highway will be so congested that we need trucks to pay more. 

My response: we already do. We as subscribers pay more year after year. We have no choice. There are many places even in metro areas where consumers are given exactly one choice.

I’m even open minded to data caps as we have with wireless. What I find unacceptable is the idea that Comcast or any ISP should dictate which bits can and can’t flow over their network. Content and application discrimination will stifle innovation. 

(The other problem with the highway example: the government does not discriminate which trucks can and can’t use the highway. They don’t reject Toyota trucks and accept Ford trucks because of a special deal)

Another thing: we can’t forget that Comcast wants to own content and apps as well. What happens when they don’t want the protection money because they are rolling their own 1st party service. 

Some people are saying regulation isn’t the answer. We need more innovative alternatives. Generally I completely agree (see my earlier thoughts on the MSFT/DOJ antitrust case from years ago). But until we have those alternatives we need to keep our internet open to all.