Isn't Competition Supposed To Lower Rates?

from the oh,-right... dept

If you haven't been following what's been going on in Lafayette Louisiana, they've been having quite a technology battle. The local telco and cable company (BellSouth and Cox) have been spending millions of dollars fighting a proposed muni-fiber offering that the residents of the city voted for. The people of the city voted for it, even after push polls (designed to influence the vote, not accurately predict it) and silly threats from the incumbents. Ever since it was approved, however, the incumbents have been able to hold up the deployment by fighting it in court. Cox and BellSouth, of course, claim that such a muni network would represent unfair competition -- something they should know an awful lot about, since Cox was recently accused of anti-competitive practices in blocking out competitors in certain new housing developments. Apparently, from their point of view, "unfair competition" is just about any competition. Competition, of course, might force them to do something like offer more competitive rates -- something studies have shown isn't really happening yet. With that in mind, is it really any surprise to hear that Cox is now raising their cable rates in the city, even as they try to convince the courts that the muni-fiber network would be bad for the people of the city?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    sickboy76, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 4:24pm

    suck my

    cox. yes!

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 4:26pm

    Re: suck my

    cox sucks. here in tucson we have either cox or comcast. but neither of them in the same part of the city. we have no competition. if you don't like them, you have to move to another part of town. and most of the packages they say they offer on tv, when you call, "oh, that service isn't available in your area" what the f! you advertised it... and tucson may be no L.A. but there's a million residents. it's not like it's the freakin stix. they just suck cox.

     

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  3.  
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    anonymous coward, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 4:27pm

    what exactly is unfair competition?

    if what your competitor is doing to compete is illegal, then it is illegal competition. if what he's doing is legal, its just plain old competition. there is no such thing as unfair competition.

     

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  4.  
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    Robert, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 4:28pm

    No matter what

    No matter what, the voting population should overrule any objection by companies or government. This isn't the old days where representatives were put in place to know all the information... now the people have all the information at their fingertips, so their votes (assumably) are educated votes, and therefore should correctly direct a 'majority rules' government to the peoples decision.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 4:59pm

    I called yahoo, and guess what? no high speed
    but i got the ads

    I called dish (whom i also subscribe to their tv)
    guess what no high speed

    I went thorugh just about every company

    I had two choices

    T1 or comcast cable

    so I went with $60!! comcast

    $60!!
    $60!!!
    __ __
    (| |__ | |
    |) |__| |_|

    Not happy
    Too many DNS errors
    No one seems to remember that they NEED to work

     

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  6.  
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    I, for one, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 5:33pm

    Time for system update

    AC #3 wrote "if what your competitor is doing to compete is illegal, then it is illegal competition. if what he's doing is legal, its just plain old competition. there is no such thing as unfair competition."

    Good point. Semantics I know, but worth thinking about.
    I'm trying to find a counter example. What about "loss leaders"?
    Technically those are legal, no crime is done by selling your product at a loss. But I'm sure there are examples of courts finding that practice to be "unfair" and issuing orders against companies. Correct me if I am wrong. In this case it must have been a civil action brought by one company against another claiming "damage" to their business. So is "unfair competition" just another example of tort law gone insane? Is this just an American thing? Obviously not because of the way the EU is fining Microsoft right now. They have done nothing illegal. It does seem to fly against basic free market principles. If so, what is to stop you suing AT&T because they are stopping you from breaking into the telecoms market with your two cans and piece of string? Who decides "unfair" and on what basis? Who gives them the authority to so arbitrate?


    Robert #4

    That's a very interesting comment.

    It's supported by an overwhelming body of evidence that the majority of elected and appointed officials today don't have the first fucking clue about the specialised subjects they are tasked with. Yes, it is true to say that the "average lay person" is better informed.
    Better informed on the ramifications to their own lives, better informed on the technology and social issues.

    I don't know a lot about the machinations of American government, I believe it was held very highly once upon a time, but what you describe sounds like an increasing problem in all political systems. As progress speeds up the relevance of an officials knowledge/position within a given timescale diminished to zero. Basically they just can't keep up. So what would seriously improve that, as happens in Europe, is that a referendum is called. That is a single issue vote conducted nation wide. The cynic in me says Americans would be too apathetic to engage, but surely we all eventually *must* move in that direction.

    People knock democracy as an impossible concept. Even the Greeks gave up on it. Everybody likes to point out how we don't actually live in a democracy but rather an oligarchy. The main argument is that true democracy is too fickle and creates a tragedy of lowest common denominator thought. I recognise that, but I don't think it is a fault of the ideology, only a fault of the implementation. The oligarchy has a kind of stability built in to it, usually just a slowly reciprocating slide between left, right, and back to left again over a few decades.
    A truly dynamic democracy abandons all notion of the two part see-saw. Maybe there is still hope for true democracy. If the Diebold voting machines weren't rigged and there was really a credible method for massive quickfire referenda on a number of social issues can you imagine how dynamic and interesting participatory democracy in real time might be?

    I would happily give it a shot over the current system of special interests paying for laws behind closed doors.

     

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  7.  
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    Adam, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 6:18pm

    #6 for MOTHER F**KING PRESIDENT


    seriously... the republican / oligarchical system is so f'ing antiquated.

     

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  8.  
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    Former Cox Employee, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 7:01pm

    Unfortunately, as a former employee, they keep their staff just as much in the dark as they do the customer. There were soooo many times that we had continual problems in the area only to find the reason for all the "outages" was due to the Maintenance Tech being lazy. Instead of switching the cable over to a simultaneous loop to fix the fiber problem, he would just cut the whole thing!

    Cox just sold out to a local competitor here in Texas, upon which they bring in a lawyer and try to force all the employees to sign an intellectual property rights clause in it. Basically screwing every employee who did anything computer technical on the side. Bad company practices just seems to breed the same type of bedfellows. This article is really no surprise.

     

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  9.  
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    Tru Dat, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 7:02pm

    Second that!

    VOtes for #6 for pres...

     

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  10.  
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    coreyo, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 7:24pm

    i vote no for mob-rule

    nice mob-rule comment from robert...
    democracy isn't the end-all be all... a racist group of people can vote to kill a mexican. it doesn't make them right-- this is why we have a representative democracy and seperation of powers with checks and balances.

    there's a cool option that may be a forced competition to cable t.v. companies.. IPTV-- standardized internet television broadcasts.

     

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  11.  
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    Josh, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 7:44pm

    Re:

    More like the republican/democratic/oligarchial system is so f'ing antiquated.

     

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  12.  
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    I, for one, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 8:55pm

    i vote no for mob-rule

    "democracy isn't the end-all be all... a racist group of people can vote to kill a mexican. it doesn't make them right-- this is why we have a representative democracy and seperation of powers with checks and balances. "

    It's a nice sentiment to believe in a "representative democracy and seperation of powers with checks and balances."

    But I assert that is just as much a myth as true democracy. I mean, show me one? You're alluding to the government of the USA, am I correct? So how is it that this representative democracy with seperation of powers and checks and balances came to the enlightened position of invading two other soverign countries and getting themselves into a situation where they are dropping phosphorous bombs on women and kids? It didn't make them right either did it?

    You may call them a mob, I call them people.

    Imho the sum of the opinions of a large group of people, which may contain a few fringe lunatics, is better than the sum of the opinions of a small group of cloistered elitists consisting of mostly fringe lunatics.

    I'll take my chances with the "mob" thankyou very much.

     

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  13.  
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    lil bit, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 9:27pm

    Why re-invent the wheel?

    The concept of a Constitutional government like the US has - because, despite the last decade or two, it really is the best of what is an inherently evil entity called government - combined with proportionate representation like most of Europe - that could be pretty kick-ass succesfull.

    I disagree with the supposition that people are intelligent - most people are not, or rather, they are ignorant and choose to be. Please - if a soundbite can influence the vote, we aren't talking about the best and brightest. How tough can it be to see that running the country is complicated and sound bites oversimplify the issues?

    It really is all moot, anyway. Now that the Republicans have perfected and refined their methods of "legal" voting fraud, they will continue to steal elections and subvert the wishes of the people. Then, they will accuse the Democrats of being traitors, hating America and freedom, etc., etc. They have forfeited the right to call themselves patriots, imho, with their hypocrisy and anti-republican (in the old sense of the word) corruption.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 10:13pm

    COX, Bell South, AT&T, Verizon, MCI/Worldcom - what is the difference?
    The name, nothing else.

     

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  15.  
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    doubledoh, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 12:00am

    Re: No matter what

    No matter what, the voting population should overrule any objection by companies or government. This isn't the old days where representatives were put in place to know all the information... now the people have all the information at their fingertips, so their votes (assumably) are educated votes, and therefore should correctly direct a 'majority rules' government to the peoples decision.
    I disagree. The US is a Republic, not a strict democracy...and for good reason: The majority of people are often wrong. That's why we came up with the bill of rights which gaurantees freedoms even if they condone unpopular behaviors and ideas. I don't think any majority should be able to tell me what to do without my consent, even if I'm the minority...otherwise that's slavery and coercion. A group of people certainly should be able to gather together and pay for a fiber line to their community, but they shouldn't force people that don't want it to pay for it (ie, other coerced taxpayers).

     

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  16.  
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    I, for one, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 5:56am

    Okay - some home truths.

    "I disagree with the supposition that people are intelligent - most people are not, or rather, they are ignorant and choose to be. Please - if a soundbite can influence the vote, we aren't talking about the best and brightest."

    You're talking about your own damn brothers and sisters!
    Ever heard the phrase "divide and conquer"?

    I mean - let me put it bluntly (and you may not like this, so if you're oversensitive please avert your eyes now)

    America is not very popular right now. America is hated by many people of many nations. Those of us who love America and the values of which you speak are having a hard time defending you. For most of my life democracy and freedom have been synonymous with America. As an Englishman I grew up on a diet of those very same values though television. But it's no longer the case that America is loved, looked up to, or even respected. In fact America is increasingly seen as an example of a failed state, a failed democracy in the same way that Russia (USSR) is seen as failed communism. More and more it seems like you both lost the cold war, both your ideologies are bankrupt. All this talk of republics and checks and balances is air, nothing but puff. You're just romanticising the way things were. They're not anymore.

    What has happened in the USA is a tragedy. Many are still shocked by the rapidity with which the decline has occured. Nobody ever thought they would hear representatives of the US government talk of condoning torture, imprisonment without trial, murder of civilian populations and assasinations of world leaders. Yet here we are in 2006 and all those things have come to pass. Your government has blood all over its hands and a guilty look all over its face. Here we are arguing the finer academic points of democratic theory and the reality is that the last two elections in the USA were frauds and your government is dragging your name through the mud in every nation on Earth. You've already lost the "war on everything" - just look at the state of your freedoms and your economy now!

    Who are we (the rest of the world) to blame? Mature people don't despise the folk of another country because their government or army are monsters. Aren't your government your responsibility? Don't you have the power to control them? You need someone to do it for you?

    In 1945 you did us a favour, and all of Europe is very grateful for that. But I don't think Europe has the military power or political will to come and liberate you guys. You're going to have to do it yourselves from the inside.

    I think that starts with

    • 1) Taking a fucking serious interest in your electoral process.

    • 2) Deciding you aren't going to be bullied, abused and lied to anymore. Stop it with the apathy and capitulation, you can do something positive.

    • 3) Start respecting your fellow countrymen, stop your racism, stop calling each other stupid and face your common enemy together.

    And before anyone yells Pot! Kettle! Yes I know. But there's a difference. Blair is finished over here. And when he's done we're going to put him on trial for war crimes (after a respectful interlude). Just you watch and see. I hope I get to see it on TV when Bush and Blair are standing there together and they kick away the stools. Both are treasonous bastards who've let down their people.

     

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  17.  
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    Serenity, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 6:17am

    Comcast and the almight Dollar

    Yeah, Comcast sucks pretty bad, I will give you that.
    Not to mention the fact that these people have more than a little DNS issue, they simply forgot how to operate one.

    Their cable modems prevent me from using DHCP-DNS...Woo whoo.. Crap

    Try Earthlink
    207.69.188.187
    207.69.188.186
    207.69.188.185
    ---> thier DNS works... Just be sure to add it to everything.... Router, Switch and Machines.
    or Assign it as DHCP for the Router, and all is right in DNS land again.

     

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  18.  
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    Spencer Hoyt, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 8:51am

    Lafayette Resident

    The sad part about this is that if Cox and Bell South would not have delayed this project. Lafayette Citizens would be enjoying FTTH now! Now Bell South is trying to deploy IPtv to our city. Good Luck with that!

     

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  19.  
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    WP, Jul 14th, 2006 @ 9:00am

    Re: Okay - some home truths.

    Wow - taking an article about broadband companies and twisting it with a comment on hanging President Bush and Prime Minister Blair.

    Spectacular job. Now go take your meds and come back to reality.

     

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  20.  
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    ex soviet, Jul 25th, 2006 @ 10:05am

    respect

    WP,

    the debate about your ecomomic rights (broadband competition) and your political rights (republic versus direct democracy) are inseparable. The reason your economic rights are trampled on is because you have virtually no political rights. The reason you don't realise this, and the reason that so many others are convinced that representative democracy protects them from 'the rule of the mob', is that you in the US do not have a free press as you like to imagine (our European press is mostly in similar condition). The myth of the enlightened western democracy watched over by a free press is repeated so often that most have come to accept it as thruth without questioning.

    If you'd like to ask some questions as I am sure you would, because I think the majority of people in the world are not unlike me, then you could start with:

    Australian reporter/filmmaker/author John Pilger - for evidence of genocide and oppression by the US, the UK, Australia and others

    American political activist/writer Noam Chomsky for analysis of US foreign policy and its reporting in the 'free press'

    Edward Hermann/Noam Chomsky book Manufacturing Consent for explanation of the severe limitations of 'free press' in the US, directly applicable also to European press

    American author Gregory A. Fossedal - his book Direct Democracy in Switzerland. This is a glimpse of what it is like truly to have political rights. Read it and weep, so to speak.

    Google 'direct democracy' to find out what it actually means for you

    PS> I,41 - Let's hope you're right about Pious Murderer Blair. I am less optimistic than you, just look at Thatcher.

     

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  21.  
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    baci, Nov 2nd, 2006 @ 12:45pm

    support for Laffayet people

    If democracy means listening to the people's voice, why question who is right and wrong in a court???? We, the people...not we ATT or Cox or Bush or whatever!!!!!!!! Otherwise democarcy is a big stupid joke.

     

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