Why So Many Telco/Cableco False Advertising Lawsuits?

from the false-advertising-all-around dept

It seems that the telcos and the cable companies just can’t stop making questionable claims against each other. It’s been going on for years, but it seems that the telcos are finally going to court over it. Last month, we mentioned that Verizon was suing Time Warner Cable over what it claimed was false advertising, but then had to embarrassingly admit that its own ads were misleading as well. Now, AT&T is suing Comcast for misleading advertising thanks to a print ad campaign that suggests AT&T DSL customers will have to put a huge cabinet on the side of their homes. As AT&T points out, it only needs to install such cabinets for one out of approximately 750 homes — and it never installs them on private property without the permission of the homeowner. To be honest, it hardly seems like that big of a deal either. If it took a big box on the side of my house to get great internet speeds, I’d be fine with it.

But the thing that seems most strange, is this constant focus on attacking each other with exaggerated and misleading claims. That’s a sign of a stagnating industry. A growing industry focuses on promoting what’s new and what great features it has. Or, if it does mention the competition at all, it’s to show why its service is better — not why the other’s is worse. The fact that the two sides are attacking each other in this manner, while broadband providers in other countries are spending their money on actual improvements is rather disappointing. If these broadband providers put half as much effort into just offering better service, perhaps it wouldn’t have to resort to name calling and lawsuits against each other.

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Companies: at&t, comcast

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Comments on “Why So Many Telco/Cableco False Advertising Lawsuits?”

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26 Comments
rob friedman (user link) says:

Free HD Programming

Where is the one against them with regards to their claims of free HD programming. Nothing is free is they make you pay for stuff you can’t watch. I refuse to pay them $12/month just to have their piece of crap DVR hardware, when $2/month will get me a device that is capable of the basic digital reception for 90% of what’s on. Until then I’ll just have to wait for a switched digital device for my TiVo, and watch what channels are available to me slowly disappear.

Anonymous Coward says:

ATT at it again

ATT dosn’t ask for a homeowners permission, unless the object in question is INSIDE the home.

they don’t care if the home owner has 30 acres of property, if they (AT&T) want to install something there, for whatever reason, be it legit (Easement) or not so legit (close access to lines) they’ll put it there.

this i know, i used to be a former employee

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

> when u have nothing good to say about ur self, you try to show whats bad about ur competition.

> i believe Americans are use to this, although usually they call it presidential elections

Lets start with capitals.
The first letter of the first word of a sentence is always capitalized/
The letter I is always capitalized.

Spelling
The word “you” is not spelled with the letter “u”.
The word “your” is not spelled “yr”.

Now consider, a decent spell checker used properly will keeping you from coming across as an illiterate jerk.

Anonymous Coward says:

Wha, wha, what?!

“If it took a big box on the side of my house to get great internet speeds, I’d be fine with it.”

DSL provides great internet speeds? DSL is nothing more than an analog telephone connection on steroids. Its outdated, ancient, and slooooooowwww.

Why go with something that on average provides LESS than 1Mbps when you can have cable that provides 6+Mbps?

Yes, many factors affect cable download speeds too, but contrary to DSL, you dont need to live close to the routing center in order to get great speeds.

As for misleading advertising, its not. ATT has no case. They even ADMITTED that yes, in some cases they do need to install a large closet on the side of your home. I dont care how often they need to do it – thats not what Comcast’s ad is talking about. Comcast is just saying that this happens with ATT. TRUTH.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Wha, wha, what?!

Less than 1Mbit on average??? Where are you getting those statistics? Pretty much every DSL provider I’ve been in contact with offers speeds up to at least 3Mbit. In fact, the company I work for offers DSL speeds up to 6Mbit. Granted, not every body can get those speeds, but I don’t think any ISP in the world can offer the maximum advertised speed to all of their customers. It’s rare when any customer of this company gets DSL speeds under 1Mbit, which is our SLOWEST speed offering. By your claims, I’m guessing that means that we’re way above average.

And for that matter, cable internet can be pretty pathetic itself. Up until about 3 years ago, I had a 3Mbit cable internet connection. There were times when I got the full 3Mbit speed, but more often than not, the bandwidth suffered. There were many times where the speed was almost down to dial-up speeds, and that is NOT an exaggeration. Plus every so often the connection would just die for an hour or two in the middle of the night with no explanation. I run internet apps on my PC 24/7, so that definitely affected me. Before you go shooting DSL full of holes, please realize how much alternative services also look like swiss cheese.

flatline911 says:

Re: Wha, wha, what?!

I fully agree. DSL speeds are determined by the location of the subscriber to their local VRAD (AKA “office”) in concentric circles.

Cable (Time Warner, Comcast et al.) are “if you have the coax you got the speed.”

nowhere in any DSL location I have seen (I am not “completely” in the know) is DSL over 6-8 (although AT&T’s U-Verse offers 10Mbit) whereas almost all cable companies offer a 10Mbit connection.

Now imagine being on the outer border of the DSL “6Mbit” circle… you probably won’t get even close to 6Mbit speed.

I once had a certain DSL agent tell me “cable internet is slower because it is a shared connection” after a bit of research, I found that this simply isn’t true. There is enough open bandwidth for all to use, shared or not (which it isn’t, as a matter of fact).

They have to land customers somehow.

If FiOS (verizon’s Fiber to the premise internet) was available i would jump because it is 15Mbit BOTH ways. But that is a long shot for now.

But then you also have to take into account the lovely comapnies taking advantage of a small piece of software known as Sandvine bittorrent buster (some pretty big names on the list of “partners”), see Comcast’s lovely jerk move of torrent busting. It busted a ubuntu torrent i grabbed…and then claimed it was “taken down at the users request”….ummmm yeah ok whatever.

Another trend that has me worried is Time Warner Cables testing of bandwidth pricing based on usage (a la AOL’s old bill per hour pricing). I beleive I saw somewhere that is being tested in Beaumont TX. Time Warner’s claim that it will only affect a “small” portion of it’s users is worrisome to say the least. Anyone curious about more info can message me at my spam account. I will check it for any questions if any of you have any that I might answer, and if I can’t answer I can get someone that will. email is youcansuckmynutz@thisisntforjunk.yahoo.nota.com, remove the obvious (before the @ sign *is* accurate and although extremely childish,it fills me with a small amount of satisfaction, gotta insult the spammers somehow)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Wha, wha, what?!

So therefore, both can suck, typically in my experience DSL is much slower (and I have worked for a DSL provider and a cable internet provider, and have had the opportunity to test and troubleshoot both) If you wish to test, use three different readings from speedtest.net using three different “ping” points, and then try doing the same on another provider using a neighbors…you will see. DSL may indeed be better where you are, but a 10Mbit speed (even a “choked” one) would *almost* always be faster. I have a 10Mbit speed, and have yet to find a DSL that is this fast any anytime.

The closest was U-Verse’s 10Mbit, and it was close, but it *CHOKES* when using it for torrents…because it shares bandwidth with the television (it is delivered digitally over IP with the internet service) and in order to have it you *must* have U-Verse TV service. Although you can get a 6Mbit with plain old DSL.

Relonar says:

I’ve had both services so far, honestly they both have to work on what they provide vs what they sell.

Although DSL was more reliable it did have some latency and bandwidth issues at times.
My experience with a cable data line hasn’t been much better…the modem they sent me was a joke for the fee they charged, and I noticed that service would cut out on some of the hotter summer days (now that was certainly a wtf moment).

If i had the choice I would jump off these ships head first, but with no alternative in this area yet we all know what that means.

I think taking all the money out of marketing and putting it back towards engineering would helps these two industries so much.

Pete Abel (user link) says:

Re: Misleading Ad's

Commenter “E” wrote the following: “Suddenlink cable told me in a commercial last night that when the digital conversion happened, if I got my TV from over the air, my TV would break. They said, ‘You’re TV will be broken.'”

I work for Suddenlink and know of no commercial by us that claims TV’s will be broken. We are running spots that inform our current customers that if they have Suddenlink, they don’t need to worry about the digital transition, while those who rely on over-the-air signals (antennae) may have to take certain steps or they will stop receiving broadcast signals after the those stations switch to digital transmission, per government mandate. More information here: http://suddenlinkfyi.com/dtv.

JimW says:

Speed: Be an informed consumer - i.e. the big half truth

At one time I did cable modem tech support for a now defunct company. What I learned is that speeds over 2 -3Mbits are next to useless for the majority of customers. The reason: most public websites or servers are governed or throttled down to around 1.5Mbits. This is so that their servers can serve more users, abet at slower speeds, rather than fewer customers at higher speeds with a given equipment investment. To enable the number of users that public sites serve at the higher speeds would require a substantial investment in additional server facilities. There are exceptions to this where the high speed capability could have some merit:
– if you are accessing a dedicated server or one designed to serve a very limited audience, such as an employee accessing their employees private server designed to support work related activities.
– If you are downloading multiple files at the same time from different public web sites.
– If you are running multiple computers through a router or switch to a single IP address of your ISP and are simultaneously accessing different public websites.

Only in these or similar special circumstances will you generally be able to take advantages of increased speed the ISP’s advertise and/or charge you extra for.

– One area that Cable has a distinct advantage over is when users are a significant distance from their Central Office or Remote Terminal. These locations represent the final ISP equipment link in the wire between your home and the ISP provider. Generally speaking, if the distances between you and the Central Office or Remote terminal is greater than 15,000 feet or so, performance will noticeably suffer. After around 17,000 feet, it generally won’t be much better than dialup. Like anything else there could be exceptions to these generalities in your particular area that could make these ‘rules of thumb’ better or worse. In such situations cable will provide much better performance – if you are willing to pay the price difference, which could be twice as much as DSL.dial-up

Another tip: to improve performance for your browser on broadband, turn off its cache (not its history). Caching is the operation of writing temporary files to your hard drive so that they can be retrieved locally from your drive instead of reloading them again through your internet connection-if you re-access the same web site. This is great for dial-up where the connect speed is slower than the writing and retrieval speed of the cache. It is bad for broadband since the retrieval (download) speed generally exceeds the performance of your drive. There are may free tools available that will block or turn off your cache. Sometimes it is a simple as setting the cache to ‘0’ in your browser preferences. One way that works for Mac is to simply lock the Safari cache file in your User Library using the Get Info window on the cache file. If you plan to do this, I suggest you empty the cache first before locking it. It is a selection under the Safari menu.

Finally, if you are running a Macintosh, many of the very high performance claims as advertised by the cable companies are simply not available to you as the require the use of special software that only runs on the Windows platform. Don’t pay extra for performance you can’t use. Additionally many ISP features available to Windows users are not available to Macintosh users. Yet Macintosh users pay the same as Windows users.

Virus protection is one of these annoyances. While many ISP include anti-virus software for Windows users , they do not do so for Macintosh. For Windows users, this means that Macintosh users may be unwittingly acting as virus carriers, when sending common files such as Microsoft Office attachments to Windows users as the file could be infected without the Macintosh users knowledge – i.e. coming from another Windows infected machine. This is something you should be considering when you are receiving such attachments.

Christopher Smith says:

Keeping each other honest

While I agree that telco companies (including cable ISPs) should focus on providing new and improved service, it’s quite true that they (hardly uniquely) tend to be overly generous in their descriptions of their offerings. When they step over the line, I support their competitors’ making sure that they don’t advertise deceptively–somebody has to do it, and who else has as much incentive?

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