Thursday, November 12, 2015

Comcast....

A while back I was talking about Net Neutrality on here.  I spoke about how it affects all of us, but did not set prices for plans already in place.  Just that it doesn't allow companies to slow connections to specific sites.  While I still support the need for Net Neutrality, at this moment I feel we need to go further.

We need it back, we need it enforced, and we also need to expand it.  So much for the libertarian in me, because guess what, once again we have been shown that companies cannot be trusted to be fair with us, and are only concerned with their bottom line.

My God greed has no limits in this world today.  A few weeks back, Comcast had internal documents leaked that they were going to ditch the unlimited data plans they had.  Every one of their customers would be put on a limit of 300 gigs of usage.  Now, I had noticed that little section on my account page with them, but it always read zero, and never indicated what it was for.  Honestly, I had figured that at a later date they would be able to show you how much data you were burning through every month.  I would actually like that, it would give me the idea of how much data my household was using every month, and with that, I would have a general idea of what everyone was doing online.

So, back to the point at hand, the data limit, and "over-usage penalties".  So, if you manage to go over that, which is very possible depending on how much you haunt places like YouTube or if you have more than one or two people who use the internet at your house, you get tagged with a $10 dollar fee and an additional 50 gigs of usage.  Of course, for between $30 and $35 you can skip the fee.  So why are they doing this?

The claim was made that it was about congestion.  You see, where I reside we have slowdowns.  I mean major slow downs.  To the degree that even opening a search engine is nearly impossible.  Imagine trying to do some minor research for say, curiosity, and you can't even open Yahoo.com or Google.com.  I am not talking about loading search results, I mean you cannot even open the page to input the request.  So, data limits to curb that, were claimed.  But that is not the case.  It won't actually slow down usage, it will just make them more money.

But every the optimist, I happened across a family member who works for the above mentioned company.  And guess what, we talked about it.  Because I do enjoy messing with him a bit, its a family thing.  Also, I got the local regional guy on the phone to explain how Comcast works their internet connections.  Anyway, both explained that the way his company works at this time is that groups of communities are moved together to a main point, and these users are then piped to a server.  Not that bad, except that some communities have not upgraded to fiber-optic cables.  So, internet slowdowns are a result of the lines getting clogged.  Since my Mom was completely lost when the regional guy was talking to me about it, he explained it this way.

You fill a tub with water, it fills up quickly because it is very open.  It drains a slower because the water is forced into a pipe that is smaller.  As you move further away from the tub, the pipes get smaller and smaller until you are dealing with a garden hose.  Its like trying to fit a watermelon into said garden hose.  It can be done, but its going to be a very slow process.
So, it is not about slowing capacity in a traditional sense.  But, it will, and don't let people say it won't.  Here is how it will slow usage.  What happens when you cannot afford the extra fees to keep unlimited usage, or for extra gigs?  You won't.  I am walking a very tight rope right now.  Many people are.  If I were hit with data overages, or a fee that kept unlimited access, it would take away from something else.  Being at the poverty level does that to someone.  The poorest people, those who have to watch every penny of what they earn are going to do everything in their power to limit how much data they use.  That means less users at certain times of the month, or for the entire month.
Now, I see this as a more insidious plan.  No Comcast isn't going to break into my home, and eat my dog or something.  What they are doing is worse, if you can imagine.   You see, by doing this, and attempting to curb usage, which they have said they are not, is a way to get around overhauling their service infrastructure.  Moving everyone on their service to fiber-optic cable is not cheap.  Its very expensive to upgrade and maintain said infrastructure.  So, they are getting out of upgrading and maintaining new lines, while getting more money out of their customers. 

Se why I said we need to expand past just Net Neutrality.  At this point, we need to ensure that the internet is fully protected.  Actually, I say we need to make the internet free and unlimited, or at the very least nominally charged and unlimited.