Broadband

by Karl Bode


Filed Under:
broadband, fcc, hypocrisy, investment, net neutrality

Companies:
ncta



Cable Lobby Again Makes It Clear That Net Neutrality Didn't Hurt Broadband Investment

from the have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too dept

So we've long noted how giant ISPs like Comcast have repeatedly tried to claim that the FCC's fairly modest 2015 net neutrality rules utterly devastated broadband industry investment. The problem for Comcast is that any time a journalist takes the time to review publicly-available SEC filings and earnings reports, that claim is proven indisputably false. Yet, no matter how many times this complete and total fabrication is pointed out by the media, broadband industry lobbyists simply continue to repeat the claim, hoping lazy reporters regurgitate it (which still somehow happens more often than not).

Not only does the broadband sector continue to repeat this claim, they contradict themselves on pretty much a monthly basis.

The latest case in point: the cable industry's top lobbying organization, the NCTA, this week published a blog post patting itself on the back for the amazing improvements and investments made in the sector in recent years. The group cites a recent report by Akamai (pdf), which notes the United States is now tenth worldwide in terms of average broadband speeds. The NCTA is quick to applaud itself for the industry's "aggressive deployment of new technologies" by the cable sector:

"This near quadrupling of internet speeds in just five years is the result of constant innovation cycles and aggressive deployment of new technologies across the country. Thanks to the constant process of growth and improvement, Gigabit cities are springing up across the country in both urban and rural communities, further driving average speeds into the stratosphere."

Most of the sector improvements are courtesy of either scattered fiber deployments -- or cable DOCSIS 3.1 upgrades, which allow for gigabit speeds over cable. That said, the fact that many telcos have given up on the residential fixed-line broadband market means the cable sector has established a fairly impressive monopoly over next-generation broadband speeds, allowing it to ignore customer service, raise prices, and expand unpopular usage caps and overage fees. It's part of the reason why speeds (or investment) alone shouldn't be used to determine the health of the telecom market.

Regardless, over on Twitter, the NCTA is again quick to use these upgrades as a shining example of the cable industry's ongoing commitment to investing in upgrades:

The problem, of course, is that the NCTA has consistently argued that this kind of investment wasn't happening due to net neutrality protections. That's one of the central, repeated, unyielding justifications for the FCC's decision to try and kill the agency's net neutrality rules this summer. Jon Brodkin at Ars Technica is quick to highlight the raging inconsistency of this position:

"As we can see, the NCTA has flexible messaging and applies conflicting arguments to different situations. When the NCTA tells the Federal Communications Commission that it should roll back net neutrality regulations, the association says that the rules harm investment and raise prices on consumers. But when trying to convince the public that US broadband is a marvel of innovation and that we should all be grateful to cable companies, the NCTA says speeds are soaring and that customers are paying less."

In short when the cable lobby wants to market its incredible "innovation" -- it points out all of the investments into next-gen broadband speeds it has been making. When it wants to kill FCC rules protecting consumers from growing monopoly behavior, suddenly all these investments magically disappear.


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 14 Jun 2017 @ 5:20am

    But if it wasn't for net neutrality everybody would have Terabit internet and 5G already!

    That would be the reasoning if you confront them exposing the inconsistency. Now that NN seems to be ripe for a fiery death we need to keep an eye and DEMAND the added investment they claim NN has slashed. Sadly we can't say "or else" and the people who care are the same ones busy destroying NN.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    aerinai (profile), 14 Jun 2017 @ 6:19am

    Checked it out... still scammy on their pricing

    I got excited about some of the lower end packages (100-200mbps) but they are being disingenuous with pricing yet again... Their site offers 2 options... contract and no contract, but their no contract price is still only good for 12 months, then it skyrockets 25%... So yeah, I'll keep what I have.

    Its these kinds of practices that definitely wish we had alternatives in my area, but I don't :(

    Also, check out the wording on some of their promotional stuff... it shows 'Enjoy on 1 to 2 devices at the same time'... I wonder what kind of shenanigans they are pulling with this...

    Who thinks this will be the next type of throttling that will come into play? Can't futz with what sites you visit due to net neutrality? Fine... we'll just tell you how many devices you can connect to our services... If anyone has any info on that, I'd definitely like to know... I've had my fill of Comcast Customer Support today...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 14 Jun 2017 @ 7:18am

      Re: Checked it out... still scammy on their pricing

      "What the HELL is with this bill???"

      "I'm sorry, but EACH smart light you use in your house counts as a customer. Your bill is for 29 separate connections."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AnonCow, 14 Jun 2017 @ 7:01am

    Basically, the cable industry keeps two sets of books. One for investors and one for government/customers.

    One shows them making more profits than ever. The other shows them as barely able to stay in business because of over-regulation.

    Since the SEC oversees public companies statements to investors but nobody oversees what the lobbyists can say to the press or government agencies, I'll believe what they say to investors.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2017 @ 7:07am

      Re:

      "but nobody oversees what the lobbyists can say to the press or government agencies,"

      Something tells me you don't know what you are talking about.

      Lobbyists are hired mouth pieces for big business. Lobbyists are people with "connections" they can get audiences with these guys easily. So business pay the guys with the connections money to use those connections.

      Someone is DAMN SURE overseeing what they say to the press or government agencies.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2017 @ 7:14am

    From the multichannel article:

    In Utah, for example, Comcast launched with a promotional price of $70 per month in Salt Lake City, Provo and North Ogden, and $109.99 per month in other parts of the state.

    That is so incredibly odd. Why would Comcast offer the SAME service at different prices in Utah? Is there something in Provo that makes Comcast have to offer gigabit speeds at steeply reduced prices? I'm stumped, but it's breakfast time now. Guess I'll GOOGLE it after I go have my high FIBER cereal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2017 @ 7:21am

      Re:

      it's the spelling. "Provo" is probably easier for them to type than "the greater Utah area" or what ever term the decide to use.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 14 Jun 2017 @ 7:27am

    "This near quadrupling of internet speeds in just five years is the result of constant innovation cycles and aggressive deployment of new technologies across the country.

    you know, going from 1mbps to 4mbps, while technically true, isn't exactly praiseworthy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2017 @ 9:09am

    Corporations lie, who knew?

    Comcast is apparently one of the worst.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2017 @ 10:13am

    Yes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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