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Cable Companies Debate Open Access

Posted by Roblimo
from the justifying-a-monopoly dept.
RareEYE writes "In this Excite article some cable execs try to explain why open access to their broadband networks would be bad for them." (Roblimo anti-cable access monopoly rant below.)

[RANT]I am a Comcast@home customer, and I think their service sucks. Their e-mail servers (running NT) are down at least once a week for periods ranging from minutes to hours.Their member page servers (also NT) are down so often that they are useless, but you are not allowed to run a server on their system yourself. They only support Mac and Windows even though any half-bright person can get Linux or Unix to work on their system. To get through to a human customer service rep takes three - five layers of stupid voice mail - and when you do, you will probably have to get transferred around several times before you get to someone who can actually help you.

Why do I deal with comcast@home? Because they offer the only consumer-priced broadband Internet access available in Howard County, Maryland, where I live. We're going to get DSL "in a few months," but I've been hearing this for over a year now. The Maryland Public Service Commission allows Bell Atlantic (our local "regulated" telco monopoly) to charge two - five times as much for ISDN in Maryland as it costs in some other East Coast states; it is simply not a cost-effective solution for home users or small 'net entrepreneurs, who are, unsurprisingly, more likely to set up shop in neighboring Virginia instead of in Maryland.

I would dearly love to have a broadband Internet access alternative. The idea of using the fiber in the cable TV system is good in a technical sense, but where I live there is but one cable TV supplier, and the County Council will not allow others to compete with it.

If cable Internet suppliers in other parts of the country give service similar to what I get, I can see why the industry is scared of competition. It is apparently cheaper to lobby for a continued monopoly than to do things like improve server reliability, extend support to operating systems other than Mac and Windows, and provide high-quality customer support and repair service.

As soon as I have a consumer-priced broadband alternative to comcast@home available to me, I will switch to it. And I bet I won't be the only one - unless there are sudden and major changes in the way this company treats its customers. [/RANT]

The opinions expressed above are mine alone. This is not an official corporate statement by either Slashdot or Andover.net.

- Robin "roblimo" Miller

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Cable Companies Debate Open Access

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