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It’s been a rough few days for people looking for alternatives to their current internet providers. Last week, the Federal Communications Commission issued a report documenting what many of you already know: You don’t have much choice when it comes to broadband. In fact, most of you have only one or no companies selling high-speed internet. Then on Wednesday, a court ruling held the FCC can’t override state laws restricting cities and towns from launching their own broadband services to increase their residents’ provider options. Neither development should have been that much of a surprise. View the full article
A few weeks ago we wrote about how Cable One CEO Thomas Might recently crowed that his company had implemented a system that managed to deliver worse customer service to customers with low credit scores. According to Might, the company had developed a "very rigorous FICI credit scoring process" on its video customers since 2013 that involves somehow flagging the accounts so that company support representatives don't spend as much time on support with those users as they otherwise would. "We don't turn people away," Might said, but he added that the cable company's support staff isn't going to "spend 15 minutes setting up an iPhone app" for a lower-value customer. Not too surprisingly, the idea that a cable company would discriminate and actively lower customer service quality based on credit score turned some heads at the FCC, which is busy contemplating new privacy rules to protect broadband customers from behavior just like this. As such, CableONE has apparently written to the FCC to try and explain Might's comments. View the full article
In the year since the FCC passed net neutrality rules, ISP allies in Congress have run the agency through an endless gauntlet of show-pony hearings. While most of these hearings profess to be focused on agency transparency and accountability, they're really geared toward one single purpose: to publicly shame the agency for standing up to deep-pocketed telecom campaign contributors. Given the fact the only real way to overturn the rules is for ISPs to prevail in court or via Presidential election, this showmanship has been little more than a stunning display of wasted taxpayer dollars and stunted intellectual discourse. Undaunted, the Senate held yet another "FCC accountability" (read: pointless tongue-lashing) hearing last week, during which Senators pummeled FCC boss Tom Wheeler with many of the same, repeatedly-debunked claims net neutrality opponents have been making since the rules were approved. Among them was the claim that the rules somehow hampered broadband investment, despite the fact that objective data (including quarterly ISP earnings reports) repeatedly shows that simply isn't the case. View the full article