Loss of Privacy

Keeping you informed on recent losses to privacy and civil rights worldwide.

Browsing Posts tagged broadband

Roger Karraker wrote in his 1991 article, “Highways of the Mind” that, “The battle is about who will build, own, use and pay for the high-speed data highways of the future and whether their content will be censored.”

It is still relevant today and well worth a read.

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Want to keep up on the debate on Net Neutrality and the Broadband plan?  Go to OpenInternet.gov and learn how legislation will affect you and your Internet connection.  Then write to Congress and get them behind you.

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After receiving a lot of negative media attention towards their new bandwidth caps, TimeWarner has attempted to justify the situation by saying that it’s the customers fault.  TimeWarner wants tiered Internet access, but not ala carte cable.

What TimeWarner has essentially done is oversell their subscriber lines, then complain when subscribers try to use the bandwidth they were sold.  It is as if TimeWarner has five pieces of candy and sells two different customers three pieces of candy each.  Then, when each customer wants their three pieces of candy, they blame the customer for being greedy and charge them more for that third piece.

What happens is that customers get charged for three pieces, but only take two or one because it’s less hassle.  TimeWarner profits because it’s charging for candy not taken and they can sell that same third piece over and over, making more profits on something they never intended on giving to the customers.

TimeWarner now claims that their unlimited candy policy is now $150 per month.  This is well above what most people can afford.  However, once people do start paying this, there will be, again, more caps and limits on speeds while finding a way to charge the customer again.

The fact is, they don’t want you to listen to last.fm.  They want you to pay them for their music channels.  They don’t want you to stream Netflix.  They want you to pay for pay-per-view movies.  They don’t want you to watch TV via Hulu.  They want you to pay them to watch TV.  They don’t want you to watch baseball on mlb.tv.  They want you to pay $70 more and watch MLB Extra Innings through them.

This is clearly about keeping money and charging you more for something you can get for free online.  Their business model is quickly becoming outdated and TimeWarner are grasping at anything they can to take more of their customers’ money while giving them less.  It’s anti-competitive and monopolistic and the sooner TimeWarner’s customers walk, the better.

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In the infinite wisdom of the company, TimeWarner has decided to roll out 5GB to 40GB caps (up/down combined) on it’s Internet customers.  Users that exceed their limits will be charge $1 per GB.  One can only assume it is to piss off current customers and keep away potential new customers.  This is, without a doubt, one of the dumbest moves they could have made.  I’m only going to say this:

If you subscribe to MLB.tv for your baseball games.  Those baseball games eat up 42-50GB per month.
Netflix will take up ~4.5GB per streamed movie.
Linux distros eat up a lot of bandwidth.  So does Hulu.  So does playing games online.

There are several stories online discussing the caps.  You can read them here, here, here, here, here, and here.  This list of sites isn’t exhaustive.  Do your homework.  Call your state’s attorney general.  Several people have reported that this will go into effect at the end of the year, so you have eight months to stop it from happening.

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The United States is rapidly falling behind the rest of the world when it comes to broadband technology.  We often pay more for less, with broadband providers given monopolies as well as indicating that they can’t afford to upgrade their lines.  This leaves the United States lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to competition and speed on the Internet.

Now, however, the federal government wants to change this, and they want your input on ways to change broadband penetration, speeds, quality, and competition.

Wired’s Epicenter is collecting your comments and will send a collection of the best ideas to the FCC when it calls for comments [pdf] on April 8, 2009.  Weigh in over at Epicenter and we might actually get some quality change.

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