Will Fast, Cheap Internet Ever Come to New York?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

In his latest column, David Sirota, author and columnist with The International Business Times, profiles a fight in Tennessee over plans to make super-fast Internet cheaper and more accessible. He talks about the battle with Comcast, the proposed merger with Time Warner, and what it may mean for New York.


David Sirota

Comments [28]

Howard Weinberg from NYC UWS

Six times since I signed up for Time Warner Signature Home Service in April, I have been without phone or internet service. Tuesday I had neither for 12 hours. TWC promised to call me back when the Outage was fixed. Never did. After my wife called TWC, I had to crawl around on the floor to reboot the modem and was told that my wifi router might be interfering with TWC's router! Blame the victim! I previously contacted Verizon which has several sales offices on the UWS. There is no meaningful competition for Internet service which has clearly become a utility. We need public wifi, competition between ISPs, and faster broadband for everyone.

Jul. 24 2014 05:11 PM

VERIZON successfully pulled this on me. After 2 years at 89 a month, they jacked it up to around 180 a month. The connection sucks too even though it's FIOS.

Unlike the clever dickens on this call (as I understand, an AOL nerd who knows these tactics all too well) I gave in after 2 calls/ 1.5 hours and we still have Verizon. I thought I canceled but "they had no record of the call."

We are paying 135 for reduced service ala cart. (We don't even have a TV!)

Jul. 24 2014 04:05 PM
Joel from NYC

Don't conflate Google Search with ISP's -- the economics are totally different. Search faces competition without physical barriers (anyone can compete), while ISP's get monopoly's on physical right-of-ways in municipalities!

Jul. 24 2014 10:59 AM

I live in Chattanooga and I can say that EPB fiber optics internet is great -- not that i use the speediest option which does cost more. But better, EPB offers excellent customer service -- for both cable and internet -- fast and courteous response to any issues. Also EPB has a smart grid so if there's a power outage service is restored very quickly. Amazing for a small city.

Jul. 24 2014 10:54 AM
Tom from UWS

In response to caller from Brooklyn, it seems Fios only goes into large buildings with many potential customers. They laid fiber on my street (W 72 in Manhattan) at least a decade ago, but haven't connected to my building, a brownstone with 9 units. It gets my goat every time I see one of their ads.

Jul. 24 2014 10:50 AM
Vakarias from New York by Gehry

I can barely wait until Google Fiber comes to New York. I won't have to deal with abusive cable providers any more. And download speeds would actually be reliably high!

Personal anecdote: Time Warner Cable's subterranean lines are so old and dusty that they can catch fire in the middle of the fall. Since TWC only replaces those lines when they are damaged, there is never any improvement in their internet provision. Users are stuck at 1 megabyte per second. Years from now, the same issue will apply to Verizon, after all their cable lines have been installed in the areas of the state that they care about.

Monopolies are supposed to be illegal. We need to keep it that way.

Jul. 24 2014 10:50 AM
R Lewis

What role does "Public Trust" laws play in the lack of cable competition?

Jul. 24 2014 10:48 AM
John from NYC

Here is an alternative:

Government should not regulate cable or Google. If it does, a) innovation will stop, and b) politicians will start telling us what we can find in search, etc.

Instead: Government should GET OUT OF THE WAY and allow new, alternative internet -- such as Facebook floating blimps and Google using satelites to compete. But government is hijacked by the monopolies to protect their lousy service.

Jul. 24 2014 10:48 AM
Mary from Milford, CT

Try Apple TV to avoid purchasing cable & broadcast television.
Sadly, this net neutrality is causing netflix to be slower lately...

Jul. 24 2014 10:47 AM

PSE&G ran fiber optic to my home in Hackensack back in the 80's. CableVision (I think) killed that....

Jul. 24 2014 10:46 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Caller: Because networks get a ton of $$$ in re-transmission fees from cable companies.

Jul. 24 2014 10:45 AM
lb from Putnam county ny

Over the years I have had internet service from 5 different providers. Comcast is by far the worst in every way. The phone call to cancel is no exaggeration! I've been there too... Several times and yes I am still at Comcast customer but that's primarily because there is no competition in my area. The Comcast merger with Time Warner should not be allowed unless competition is not only allowed but encouraged and required. its competition will not allowed or encouraged internet providers should be regulated the same way utility companies are regulated in a monopolistic situation. Not that I'm advocating that.. I would much rather see an open market .. but there has to be some protection for the consumer. Competition is a natural form of protection. when I lived in an area where we were serviced by both Verizon FiOS and optimum and we had the choice to switch from one to the other both providers were phenomenal

Jul. 24 2014 10:45 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Our politicians are paid off and we are stuck with monopolies.

Largely forgotten is that years ago, cable providers were required to send the local FM signal out their coax lines... by hooking it up to an FM tuner, great reception was available!

It costs them virtually nothing, but years ago somehow they were let off the hook and stopped providing that service.

Another example of the public getting shortchanged and in a way that was practical and really mattered!

Jul. 24 2014 10:44 AM
Joel from NYC

Given the lack of net neutrality rules from the FCC and since Time Warner Cable and Comcast don't actually compete, shouldn't Comcast be forced to spin off their NBC/Universal content holdings before NY approves?

Jul. 24 2014 10:42 AM
Amy from Manhattan

What does it meant that NY is "a Time Warner state," as Mr. Sirota said? What's the actual relation btwn. the state & TW? Is it just the biggest service in the state? Are there state laws that give it an advantage in the market? Or what?

Jul. 24 2014 10:41 AM
Mark from Brooklyn

This topic falls within the larger more poignant topic of Net Neutrality, which was most important and should have been reported on this past Friday. Petitions to comment on / protest net neutrality were due on FRI 7/18.

You're missed a chance to report on this story on Friday when it would have made a much bigger difference.

This is an example of the a tree falling in the woods with no one around, not making a sound.

Comcast, Verizon, and Time Warner are the organized crime of the 21st century, and are clearly getting away with practices and services they should not.

This is just another example of how selfish big business from the 20th century is eroding away at our society.

The internet should be free to use and free from censorship.

Jul. 24 2014 10:41 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Believe it or not, Comcast is not the only company that trains its "Customer Service" reps to retain customers, even if the customers don't want to be retained. I've had similar conversations and it is just SO aggravating. As a matter of fact, the companies need to rename that particular level of employee because at the point at which they argue with the customer or make it difficult to disconnect the service, they are not actually SERVING THE CUSTOMER.

Anyway, despite the fact that we all need Internet service today, the best and ONLY way to vote is with our wallets. If you don't like the service - or lack thereof - that you are getting from your provider, disconnect your service. I'm 110% certain that if everyone in New York City or State called their service provider today and canceled their service for a month or two, we'd have the service providers on their knees. What a pleasure that would be.

Jul. 24 2014 10:39 AM

Under their agreement that let them buy NBC, ComCast is enjoined from THROTTLING - restricting access or diminishing the speed of some content over another. Prioritizing NETFLIX streams over other traffic falls in that category in my book.

5 Mbps (or faster) wireless access for all!

Jul. 24 2014 10:38 AM
braz II from nyc

John Oliver did a piece about net neutrality and he showed the "corporate shake down" comcast did to Netflix while they negotiated bandwidth and pricing.

Jul. 24 2014 10:36 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

This is only possible for businesses that have local monopolies (like Broadband).... they can do anything they want because the consumer has NO alternative for their service. Don't like Time warner in NYC? You have no choice. No matter where you live in the country (outside of a few cities with Google Fiber) your only alternatives are slow, overpriced Cable Broadband or slow, overpriced Telephone Broadband. Perfect for our "A" or "B" style "Democracy"...

Jul. 24 2014 10:35 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

This is only possible for businesses that have local monopolies (like Broadband).... they can do anything they want because the consumer has NO alternative for their service. Don't like Time warner in NYC? You have no choice. No matter where you live in the country (outside of a few cities with Google Fiber) your only alternatives are slow, overpriced Cable Broadband or slow, overpriced Telephone Broadband. Perfect for our "A" or "B" style "Democracy"...

Jul. 24 2014 10:34 AM
braz from nyc

comcast kept the man's wife on the phone for 15 minutes BEFORE the call was ever tapped by the guy! He requested that they apologize to his wife, as well.

We will all be victims of corporate mergers once this deal goes through...fewer consumer choices are not good for capitalism.

Jul. 24 2014 10:33 AM

Who pays? and how do they pay it? Sixty years ago the DoJ made the film studios sell off their theaters. Why is it now legal for ComCast to own production and distribution outlets. The cable companies are an artificial monopoly in most markets that they operate. There may have been a reason for it when they were created in the 70s but the actual reason for being is now long gone. Break 'em up.

My current beef is that my cable bill sends lots of money to sports channels, religious channels, and spanish-language channels, NONE OF WHICH I personally watch. I need a la carte so I can stop being billed for stuff I do not need.

Jul. 24 2014 10:32 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Well said Larry, I will take my Post Office over my cable company, everyday of the week.

Jul. 24 2014 10:31 AM
Nick from UWS

The first famous recording like this is the tape of the guy who tried to cancel his AOL service that went viral a few years back.

Jul. 24 2014 10:30 AM
Jeb from Brooklyn

The scale and decentralization of Comcast and TWC -- not to mention you often cannot get a person's real name on the phone -- means it is nearly impossible to get any accountability. This is by design.

The companies have no motivation to improve.

Jul. 24 2014 10:30 AM
Somerset County, NJ

Isn't America the Land of Capitalism and Democracy? Let the Chinese come show Verizon and Comcast how to compete with quality and price -- not laws and corruption.

Jul. 24 2014 10:00 AM
Larry from Williamsburg

The fiction that private services are better than public ones gives us a monopolistic system that becomes more expensive every year without better (faster, more reliable) service. The unreliability of my home cable service is a case in point. NYC should have a municipal system similar to Chattanooga's- they have 1G download speeds!

Jul. 24 2014 09:35 AM

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