From Frankenstein Net Neutrality to #ComcastHorror
Forget Dracula, Chucky and the creature from the black lagoon. This Halloween FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is considering Internet rules so scary they make Circus Peanuts look edible.
On Thursday night the Wall Street Journal reported that Wheeler is contemplating an approach that would allow everyone’s favorite Internet service providers to “serve as the conduit for websites to distribute content.”
Sound a little fishy? It is. It means that ISPs would have gatekeeper power, which in turn would enable them to — you guessed it — split the Internet into fast and slow lanes.
So while the new plan isn’t the same as the one Wheeler hatched in May, the end result is the same. As Free Press’ Craig Aaron said last night, this scheme would “protect corporations sending information, but not the people receiving it.”
One of the companies this plan would benefit is Comcast, which is pulling out all the stops (and then some) to buy Time Warner Cable. The amount of power Comcast would gain if the merger goes through isn’t just scary; it’s puke-worthy.
We’ve all heard Comcast horror stories: the tale of the service rep who refused to let a customer close his account; the story of the customer who was put on hold for three hours — before Comcast closed for the day.
Many of us haven’t just heard these stories; we’ve lived them. If you have your own story to tell, please share it online today using the hashtag #ComcastHorror (thanks to our friends at the Media Mobilizing Project for launching this effort).
The stories below make it all too clear that the FCC should nix Comcast’s bid to buy Time Warner Cable:
“My recent experience with Comcast (which lasted nearly three weeks) was simply to start service with the company. I endured the most frustrating and circular ‘customer service’ experience of my life — it included over 20 phone calls, Twitter chats and multiple service appointments.” — Mark, Boulder, Colo.
“I’ve had to make three service calls in two weeks for three different cable problems on two different boxes. On top of that the remote Comcast provided didn’t last six months and the company refused to mail a new one; I had to take time out of my workday to pick one up from the Comcast office. On one call the automated message said I had an estimated 10-minute wait time. Sixteen minutes later I had to go through the entire automated system again. Twenty-seven minutes later someone finally picked up — and almost immediately I was cut off.
“Then today I had trouble paying my bill. I’ve always paid my Comcast bill online, but when I tried to do that this month I got an error message telling me not to resubmit the payment or I would get charged twice. The message also said I had to call to check on my payment status. Are you kidding me? Call again? And spend more time on hold that I will never get back?” — Jessy, Springfield, Mass.
“I am both a residential and business customer of Comcast. The business experience has been completely abominable. Complete failures in service with absolutely no ability to get satisfaction have led us to spend thousands of dollars just to rid ourselves of a service that is expensive and doesn’t deliver as promised. Comcast has shown no ability to resolve or even care about resolving the issues.” — Steven Promisloff, Baltimore, Md.
“Current Comcast customer, previous Time Warner customer. The only customer service I have experienced that is worse than Comcast is Time Warner. … At least that money went to reliable Internet access. Comcast thanks you for your call every 30 seconds for over an hour and recommends you check out the FAQs on their website when you are forced to call when your Internet is out. This happens way too frequently with Comcast: about two or three times a year, every year I have had Comcast.” — Chelsea Pagan, Seattle
“My Internet drops daily — sometimes multiple times.” — Rox, Inver Grove Heights, Minn.
“Comcast raised my rate for Internet by 25 percent without notice. Prior to that, they had called to offer me a better deal (I verified it with a manager, etc.) — but they never came through with it.” — Emily Herzstein, El Cerrito, Calif.
And perhaps the most foreboding comment of all:
“Monopolies devour their children.” — Robert Gibb, Homestead, Pa.