Broadband

by Karl Bode


Filed Under:
broadband, competition, first amendment, vermont

Companies:
comcast



Comcast Sues Vermont, Insists Having To Expand Broadband Violates Its First Amendment Rights

from the defenders-of-the-status-quo dept

So you may have noticed this already, but giant telecom conglomerates don't much like having to upgrade their networks, especially in lower ROI areas. And while that's understandable from a purely-financial perspective, this practice is creating some major, notable broadband deployment holes where poor people tend to live. With telcos specifically refusing to upgrade lagging DSL networks at any real scale, that's also creating an emboldened cable broadband monopoly in many areas. That by proxy keeps prices high, speeds low, and allows the introduction of things like bullshit usage caps and overage fees.

By and large, localized efforts to do something about this generally run face-first into brick walls, thanks in large part to the almost comical stranglehold most ISPs have over state legislatures and regional telecom regulators. In many instances this culminates in ISPs not only refusing to expand their networks into under-served areas, but quite literally writing protectionist state laws to make sure nobody else can, either. This cake and eat it too mentality persists in countless states that have prioritized campaign contributions from the likes of AT&T and Comcast over the general welfare of their public constituents.

Despite the broadband industry consistently whining about "burdensome regulation," the reality is there's little to nothing passing for real oversight in many of these areas, and the regulation that is written -- is often focused primarily on protecting these duopolies' uncompetitive geographical fiefdoms. In Vermont, the Vermont Public Utility Commission (VPUC) recently tried to buck this trend by including provisions in Comcast's 11 year permit (pdf) with the state requiring it to not only retain public access programming in the state, but expand "no less than" 550 miles of additional cable into under-served Vermont communities over 11 years.

To be clear, deploying that much cable over more than a decade is a pittance to a company that sees $21 billion in quarterly revenues. But instead, Comcast decided to sue the state, claiming that doing this extra work violates the company's First Amendment rights:

The VPUC claimed that it could impose the blanket 550-mile line extension mandate on Comcast because it is the "largest" cable operator in Vermont and can afford it. These discriminatory conditions contravene federal and state law, amount to undue speaker-based burdens on Comcast's protected speech under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution... and deprive Comcast and its subscribers of the benefits of Vermont law enjoyed by other cable operators and their subscribers without a just and rational basis, in violation of the Common Benefits Clause of the Vermont Constitution.

ISPs love to trot out the First Amendment complaint wherever and whenever possible, similarly insisting that net neutrality protections somehow curtail their free speech rights (arguments that traditionally don't see much traction in the courts). But Comcast is also busy telling local Vermont news outlets that it's spending money on lawyers instead of more cable because it's just really worried about how much Vermont residents pay for broadband and TV service:

Comcast declined to talk about the case. But in a written statement company spokeswoman Kristen Roberts said the new state permit would, "cost millions of dollars, place discriminatory burdens on Comcast and its customers, and arbitrarily increase their costs for cable service.

While that's very sweet of Comcast, the fact is that Comcast enjoys an effective monopoly over broadband in countless areas; the closest it comes to competition in Vermont being a relatively pathetic telco by the name of Fairpoint Communications. Fairpoint acquired Verizon's unwanted DSL networks in the state several years back, bungled the acquisition, stumbled into bankruptcy, and struggles to offer 3 to 6 Mbps DSL across wide swaths of the state. This is, again, thanks to a generation of lawmakers and regulators that have effectively allowed giant duopolists to write state (and often federal) telecom law.

In a working, competitive market, Comcast wouldn't need to be prodded and cajoled by the state to actually upgrade and expand its network. But there's simply no organic market pressure forcing Comcast's hand because the U.S. telecom market is painfully, obviously broken. As a result, there has been a growing push to explore more creative public/private partnerships to help bring connectivity to long-neglected areas. But Comcast consistently supports laws hamstringing those efforts too, allowing Comcast to have its cake (not deploy broadband) and eat it too (erecting regulatory barriers preventing others from doing so either).


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 11 Sep 2017 @ 5:29am

    How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

    In Vermont, the Vermont Public Utility Commission (VPUC) recently tried to buck this trend by including provisions in Comcast's 11 year permit (pdf) with the state requiring it to not only retain public access programming in the state, but expand "no less than" 550 miles of additional cable into under-served Vermont communities over 11 years.

    Seems to me that the VPUC has a simple response if Comcast wants to throw a tantrum over basic requirements like that: No permit.

    If Comcast doesn't think that such a requirement is achievable then open up the field for others to give it a shot. I imagine there would be plenty that would jump at the chance for a shot at an eleven-year permit for an entire state like that.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 6:45am

      Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

      "I imagine there would be plenty that would jump at the chance for a shot at an eleven-year permit for an entire state like that."

      Nope, your entire post is super short sighted even though I know you are just saying that to make it clear the Comcast could easily have it worse.

      My recommendation is that you guys need to just sit back and enjoy the beast you created. Because any more interference from the likes you folks is likely to only make it worse, not better!

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 7:15am

        Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

        The state itself should take over since Comcast has failed to live up to the bargain. Municipal broadband is superior in literally every way.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 8:22am

          Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

          the state should not take over, the state instead needs to let another business in on the game so there is some legit competition, but regulations make that hard to happen. Look at what happened to google fiber.

          the state is the bigger problem here not Comcast.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 8:47am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

            Are regulations to blame or is it corruption that is to blame?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 8:57am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

              Corruption is the root source, regulations are just a hindrance.

              The problem is that when you guys ask for regulation, you do not know what you are asking for.

              They are politicians. You say make this fair for us consumers and they decide that creating a monopoly and fucking you only just a little bit is fair!

              I only agree with anti-trust/monopoly regulations because the creation of either of those prevents free market. Regulation creates the same problem. And all I have to do as a politician, to get YOU to give me more power, is do a shit job and lie right to your face with a shit eating grin! Once I allow the good regulations to fail, you will give me MORE power create more regulation and control for me. Once I have more of it, I can gouge businesses for more campaign contributions where I can live it up with my cronies. And if I screw that you, it's not like you are going to vote me out... you are just going to want more of me.

              I get to win either way! Why would I want to enforce any regulation to your benefit?

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 10:05am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

                Of course it is the root cause, kinda why I posted it.

                You guys (lol)
                I asked for what? Didn't think I was that old, must be goin senile cause I do not remember asking for any of that

                Hmmmm, I see what you think.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 10:45am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

                  Human corrupt is a problem.

                  which system is most effective at this?

                  Free-Market

                  That said free-market has no protections against corruption working to make it a NON free market. Capitalism is a requirement for free market, but Capitalism does not like free-market because it wants an Oligarchy/Monopoly. Regulation is directly against free-market however it is necessary to stave off Oligarchy/Monopoly. Government uses regulation to build the Kleptocracy that it desires.

                  So what we need are only rules that harm the most negative aspects of a free market and that is the freedom for businesses OR government from doing certain things. This would be Anti-Trust/Monopoly regs against business, and what we call the Bill of Rights for citizens.

                  where we went wrong is when regulations veered into the "telling businesses what it MUST do" instead of just saying, telling businesses what they CAN'T do.

                  Since we cannot remove the corruption of humans we must work with a system that allows us to overcome that corruption the easiest. And a Total Free market or Regulatory market are NOT the answer. The answer is a good balance of the two.

                  I want balance but am accused of wanting pure anarchy. You want balance but mistakenly believe it can be achieved at the hands of easy to corrupt politicians.

                  We both want "mostly" the same thing, but we very much disagree on how to accomplish it.

                  One requires responsibility from the people that want no responsibility at all. So this means... no solution.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2017 @ 1:48pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

                    >telling businesses what they CAN'T do.

                    The recipient of the State of Vermont Public Service Board Certificate of Public Good CAN'T ignore citizens of Vermont residing in under-served areas.

                    If you want a special permit from the state, the state has every right to demand special actions in that permit.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 17 Sep 2017 @ 6:53pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

                    >I want balance but am accused of wanting pure anarchy. You want balance but mistakenly believe it can be achieved at the hands of easy to corrupt politicians.

                    Try adding transparency to the equation, that should cancel out most corruption right away - at least for people in positions that take decisions that affect so many citizens.

                    Of course there exist methods trying to evade transparency, but the more complicated the method, the more obvious the intention might be. Practically corruption requires a conflict of interest, so by pulling those conflicts into the light usually takes the pressure off anyone involved - cause then you got no choice anyway. If someone can´t explain publicly why a decision was taken maybe a public position is not the right place to be.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 7:47am

        Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

        Is this superhero Stretch or Mr. Anarchy?
        It's difficult to tell sometimes.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 8:41am

          Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

          No, it's Mr. Smarter than you.

          The state is the problem here and you are busy whining about a business taking advantage the state gave it! Your solution to this problem is to shoot yourself in the foot.

          But yea, go right ahead and make more false dichotomies...
          The problem is not only a choice between Anarchy or Regulatory Capture.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 8:50am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

            "No, it's Mr. Smarter than you"

            Hahaha - I do not doubt that as I am wayyyy ignorant.
            - Oh ... and whining, yeah I'm whining :)
            Looking for false dichotomy ... I'm no good at hide 'n seek

            Funny how my feeble little mind thinks the problem is corruption, I must be stupid or something.

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            • icon
              Berenerd (profile), 11 Sep 2017 @ 9:04am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

              How do you figure Comcast filling their obligations that THEY agreed to some how the state's fault? Your intellect is truly dizzying.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 10:07am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

                "some how the state's fault"

                Not sure where I posted that

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 9:05am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

              the problem is definitely corruption.

              The problem for your feeble mind is that you are more concerned about the lesser bad corruption of the business but not as concerned about the bigger bad corrupt of the government.

              the false dichotomy was your intentionally false premise that I am advocating for pure anarchy, which I do not.

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              • icon
                orbitalinsertion (profile), 11 Sep 2017 @ 9:32am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

                Talk about false dichotomies here. As if corporate and state actors are somehow mystically separate. "Regulation" is not some magic thing thing that is the only thing open to corporate capture and abuse. Antitrust regulation has nearly never done well itself. But if you would like a world far more poisoned than it is, go ahead and get rid of regulation. But you had best make sure that antitrust or monopoly regulation includes limiting corporate size as part of the very definition of monopoly, breaking up huge numbers of businesses as they currently are, if you want that to work as you imagine.

                The problem is keeping business interests from having multiple ways into the political realm, aside from their vastly overvalued stakeholder positions. The deeper problem is that very few, whether citizens, corporations, or governments, do anything to craft our society in an evidence-based manner.

                I haven't seen anyone advocating more power to a regulatory body. I have seen them argue for better regulation, or simple enforcement.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 11:25am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

                  OMG, the fundie has shown up.

                  look up what a false dichotomy means.

                  "As if corporate and state actors are somehow mystically separate."

                  they are separate, stop going into fundie mode on me and we can have a conversation. Just because one can easily bribe the others does not mean they are not separate.

                  ""Regulation" is not some magic thing thing that is the only thing open to corporate capture and abuse."

                  I never made this claim, but kudos on getting too your 2nd lie/misrepresentation without much time waste.

                  "Antitrust regulation has nearly never done well itself."

                  Two things...
                  -It will never be done because vigilance is always required, but that does not go over well with lazy people like you.
                  -And, it was never done well because they are easy to corrupt, yet your solution is to just make the same corrupt folks MORE powerful.

                  What was that saying... fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me?

                  You have been fooled far more than just twice... lets just say there has definitely been an "orbitalinsertion" on you somewhere by a politician and you can't seem to get that grin off your face!

                  "But if you would like a world far more poisoned than it is, go ahead and get rid of regulation."

                  I want to get rid of "some" regulations... not all. Congrats on yet another misrepresentation.

                  "The problem is keeping business interests from having multiple ways into the political realm,"

                  Yea, that problem is YOU as a voter that is more than okay with political corruption as long as it serves your interests. You must fight all corruption, including that which benefits you... but you won't and you are too stupid and ignorant to understand it! If you are voting for any R's or D's then congrats, you are very much likely a part of the problem.

                  If you want to solve that problem... start voting them out... its why you have a vote. Or you can buy into the defeatist notion that you cannot overcome it like so many others have ensuring that you remain a loser.

                  "The deeper problem is that very few, whether citizens, corporations, or governments, do anything to craft our society in an evidence-based manner."

                  DAMMIT, you are not supposed to say shit I agree with! Look you are spot on here, but evidence is also subjective. You see a failure in regulations as reason to make more... I see a failure in regulations as a reason to reduce them. In both cases, it is not "always" the regulations that failed, but "usually" the humans charged with enforcing them. How about we usually just fire those assholes instead of just fucking around with the regs creating economic instability with magic 8 ball legalities.

                  "I haven't seen anyone advocating more power to a regulatory body. I have seen them argue for better regulation, or simple enforcement."

                  Ha ha haaa!!!! Give a bro a break! Simple enforcement IS less regulation... which is it? Can you not get through a single post without contradicting yourself?

                  Look, I am certain we both want the same thing here... I am just telling you, that your methods are NOT going to achieve what you think they will achieve.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 10:12am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

                "the problem is definitely corruption"

                I'm glad we are in agreement here.



                "more concerned about the lesser bad corruption of the business but not as concerned about the bigger bad corrupt of the government."

                Sorry - but corruption is corruption, there is no difference in the nature of corruption based solely upon where it occurs or who is responsible. That is silly.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 12:31pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

                  "Sorry - but corruption is corruption, there is no difference in the nature of corruption based solely upon where it occurs or who is responsible. That is silly."

                  Are ye daft man? There are all sorts of different types and levels of corruption. You know it and still have the gaff to sputter that slob about?

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2017 @ 7:33am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

                    There are also many types of lies, but they are all lies.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 9:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

            Again with this shit.

            Not everyone has the privilege to be born within a circle of friends willing to permit you being a complete asshole who never finished school. That's not "smart", that's "lucky". You don't need brains to be lucky.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 10:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

            Nah its mister lives tl the all you can eat paintchip buffet. It's right next door to this is all your fault for some reason only I know chinese restaurant.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 11:02am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

              All I was looking for was some beef chow mein

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 11:57am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

                and some kool-aid too right?

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2017 @ 7:35am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

                  Not a Warren Zevon fan I guess.

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      • icon
        skekze (profile), 11 Sep 2017 @ 11:24am

        Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

        sucking down the coolaid and spouting the same old drivel isn't new information, thanks facebook grandpa.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 11:30am

          Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

          cool aid sucking is your job.

          notice how according to the numbers, regulations are only increasing while the problem just keeps getting worse?

          Yea, looking at the evidence is not your forte I understand... so how about you step aside for those of us willing to take the time to understand the situation and come up with more informed and functional solutions.

          Most people, get most things... wrong. It is just how things work. Like how science advances one funeral at a time.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2017 @ 7:36am

          Re: Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

          "facebook grandpa"


          That's funny

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 11 Sep 2017 @ 2:13pm

        Re: Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

        Ah the classic 'You're wrong because I said so', the most persuasive of arguments, followed by 'Sit down and shut up, you had it coming'. Truly, you present a very compelling argument there.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 8:46am

      Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

      Just what I was thinking. If they don't get enough interest just do it themselves

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 9:56am

      Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

      If Comcast doesn't think that such a requirement is achievable then open up the field for others to give it a shot.

      I'm surprised they sued. Historically, companies accept the terms and then just don't do the work.

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    • icon
      Ryunosuke (profile), 11 Sep 2017 @ 11:03am

      Re: How's that saying go, "If you don't like the terms..."

      Darth US Govt: Pray I don't alter the deal any further.

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  • icon
    aerinai (profile), 11 Sep 2017 @ 6:45am

    Double Standards

    Isn't it Comcast who makes sure when you are locked into a two-year agreement that you are going to pay a 'termination fee' if you want to cancel service? How is this any different than them signing a contract with the state to run an additional 550 miles of cable?

    Such a 'novel' interpretation that the First Amendment somehow negates contract law...

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    • icon
      Vidiot (profile), 11 Sep 2017 @ 7:29am

      Re: Double Standards

      Invoking the First Amendment is the most cost effective... best ROI for shareholders! This way, you don't have to assign a staffer to read the Second, Third, Fourth and so on, and try to understand what they're about.

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  • identicon
    theOtherDude, 11 Sep 2017 @ 6:46am

    fiduciary

    Ya know, Im starting to think these corporations are only interested in maxing returns to the shareholders . . .

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 6:56am

      Re: fiduciary

      well, they do have a Legal and Ethical requirement to do so. The problem is that your idea of success and theirs is different.

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      • icon
        OA (profile), 11 Sep 2017 @ 7:47am

        Re: Re: fiduciary

        ...they do have a Legal and Ethical requirement ["in maxing returns to the shareholders"]

        If this was a truly valid justification then it wouldn't matter HOW they maxed shareholder return. But, of course, it does matter. This idea is at least half myth, I'm thinking. Also, the mis-use of "Ethical" annoys me.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 8:50am

          Re: Re: Re: fiduciary

          I am not misusing the word ethical, and if using word appropriately annoys you then you need to get your head around it.

          Just because you don't agree with their ethics, does not mean they are ethical.

          Your problem is that you assume that "ethical" is supposed to be always a good thing, when being ethical just means following a code of ethics. If your ethics states that you cheat and gouge your customers... then you are BEING ETHICAL about it!

          "If this was a truly valid justification then it wouldn't matter HOW they maxed shareholder return."

          So yea... it was a "truly valid justification" for them... just no you, because your ethics... are different!

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 8:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: fiduciary

            omg - arguing about definitions

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

            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 9:10am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: fiduciary

              omg, another one of you idiots?

              definitions are important for a reason. If you want be ignorant and use them improperly then don't be shocked when someone comes along and corrects you.

              People with logic like you is the reason Government is so successful at "redefining" your rights... because after all... the definition does not mean that much does it?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 9:09am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: fiduciary

            Wow, way to twist the meaning of the word ethical to suit your argument.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 9:15am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: fiduciary

              here is the definition, tell me where it has been twisted. Is this really the ONLY game you losers have? To lie about what things mean? Your ethics are not the same as theirs and your constant misuse of words makes you into easy to deceive idiots! Are you guys really this stupid and ignorant? It is so sad it is fucking maddening!

              Here
              https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ethical

              or here!
              ethical (ĕthˈĭ-kəl)►

              adj.
              Of, relating to, or dealing with ethics.
              adj.
              Being in accordance with the accepted principles of right and wrong that govern the conduct of a profession. See Synonyms at moral.
              adj.
              Of or relating to a drug dispensed solely on the prescription of a physician.

              More at Wordnik from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

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          • icon
            OA (profile), 11 Sep 2017 @ 10:24am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: fiduciary

            I am not misusing the word ethical, and if using word appropriately annoys you then you need to get your head around it.

            Perhaps I was unclear. I object to the idea that this is about ethics at all. This is not about you and I did not refer to the WORD ethical. Often, asking for clarification is better than jumping to a conclusion.

            Just because you don't agree with their ethics, does not mean they are ethical.

            The idea that this has anything to do with ethics is corrupted and destructive marketing.

            Your problem is that you assume that "ethical" is supposed to be always a good thing, when being ethical just means following a code of ethics....

            Its not about me and your conclusion is not well informed. An assumption is not needed. "Ethical" is not a neutral concept, it leans heavily positive. I expressed annoyance because of how destructive the idea of "ethics by power" has been.

            If your ethics states that you cheat and gouge your customers... then you are BEING ETHICAL about it!

            Excellent demonstration of mis-use. This mis-use exists specifically because ethics is a positive. An efficient way of corrupting a large number of people is by undermining their moral and ethical reasoning and distorting the language used to describe and conceptualize it. You have a negative payload (greed or whatever) hiding inside a positive shell (ethics).

            So yea... it was a "truly valid justification" for them... just no you, because your ethics... are different!

            When someone wants to do some act and they want to hide the true motivation they sometimes create fake Codes and justifications. Claiming that an action is right simply because you already want do it is self-righteous, at minimum. Common true motivations include: greed, malice, selfishness, sociopathy, etc.

            Many individuals with the power to try to define what is ethical and moral appear to object to the restraint those concepts introduce. Sort of like government agencies run by people who hate their purpose.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 11:40am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: fiduciary

              You are thick.

              ""Ethical" is not a neutral concept, it leans heavily positive."

              That is not true, people just tend to USE it in a positive setting leading people like you with small minds to falsely associate as leaning positive. Very much like the word "bias". It is neither positive or negative, though it is use more often in a negative narrative.

              This how people like you are fooled. You allow the frequency in which a word is contextually used to automatically assign a FALSE VALUE!

              Just because you are not capable of correction your understanding of a words definition should not be an excuse for it to change. This is how the words of history are lost making etymology more and more important as time goes by. ALL DUE TO YOUR VACUOUS IGNORANCE!

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

              • icon
                OA (profile), 11 Sep 2017 @ 12:53pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: fiduciary

                Words serve three relevant purposes: 1- They allow communication; 2- They are imbued with socially derived connotation and communally empowered concepts; 3- Encapsulate shared "rolled-up" history. These things all occur organically. Words can originate from individuals but cannot be enforced by individuals, though powerful (or wannabe powerful) entities continuously try. Time and events can cause words to change significance.

                If two complete strangers meet who speak two completely different languages, words mean almost nothing between them. But, the concepts are still present and each grasps those concepts using their own words.

                My earlier comment discussed the CONCEPT that is communicated by the word 'ethical'. I extracted all the nuance of the word's meaning from society at large in a manner that I imagine is similar for people who compile dictionaries. The concept could be named 'flippitipop', for all I care, so as long as it helps surgically communicate my meaning. Anyway, for now, the word 'ethical' and the concept are popularly and inextricably linked. So, manipulating the word's meaning corrupts the concept. There are people "out there" who understand this.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 7:49am

        Re: Re: fiduciary

        Except they are lining their pockets - is that legal and ethical also?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 9:19am

          Re: Re: Re: fiduciary

          yes and yes.

          the state has given them a legal avenue for financially abusing you by limiting your choice of services in the market.

          Their ethics are not yours. what is ethical for them, may not ethical for you! I would bet you all of your property vs mine that you would conform to their ethics if you worked with them. Why? because you would be so rich that you would happily lose that bet and replace your lost property several times over!

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 10:17am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: fiduciary

            Take their annual form signature requirements for ethical behavior intended for the lowly employees to sign and compare that to the one C-Suite types sign ..... Oh, wait - C-Suite types do not have to sign that sort of thing?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 6:48am

    Talk about a double standard. I called up Comcast and told them I wasn't paying my bill because it "violated my First Amendment rights" and all I got was forwarded to a collections agency.

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

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 11 Sep 2017 @ 7:05am

    Vermont should have used Comcast's tactic of including an arbitratiin clause in the contract.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 7:16am

      Re:

      Or a puppy clause. Since they will not be able to produce the living unchanged puppy, they automatically lose. It isn't our fault that by nature, puppies turn into full grown dogs and eventually die.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 7:15am

    Church of Comcast?!

    Is this about the religion part of the First Amendment?
    Because they are nothing if not dogmatic over at Comcast.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 7:30am

    What about all the other people's First Amendment rights they're silencing by refusing to expand their broadband?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 7:54am

      Re:

      Those are little people, they don't count.

      Only corporations (aka "people") matter now-a-days, they are apparently trying to run the government like a business - this will not end well. Not sure how this trope has survived, because it does not work - never has and it never will.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 7:32am

    out of curiosity, what about the various tax breaks and State/National subsidies that ALL the major ISPs have taken to carry out just this sort of work? do they, yet again, not come into play, just because of the usual Comcast lies and bullshit? what about shaming the politicians who keep taking massive contributions from ALL the major ISPs, just to cover such a scenario?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 8:42am

    J. Jonah Jameson is cackling madly at Comcrap, before going, "You serious?"

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

  • icon
    Groaker (profile), 11 Sep 2017 @ 9:01am

    The State has created a fertile ground for monopolistic practices for many companies. Those companies have used legal (or sometimes not), but from most people's views, unethical methods in abusing those laws and regulations.

    The electorate continues to vote these officials into power because they really don't care. The attitude is I am a (C).(D),(I),(R), (S) or whatever, and I won't even bother to look at how that party is screwing me. So nothing changes, and nothing will change. People will just continue to whine.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 9:21am

      Re:

      This.
      Right.
      Here!

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

      • icon
        orbitalinsertion (profile), 11 Sep 2017 @ 9:41am

        Re: Re:

        So you two, would you be running for office somewhere? One can only vote for an actual candidate (random write-ins and odd protest votes do not count in this scenario).

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 12:36pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          If the people don't care, no politician will care.

          The first thing a politician will see when they get into office is that the people only care about what that politician is going to get them. Soon after they learn that you can't fight that beast as a politician.

          "We The People" must first care, and we don't... and never will.

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

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 11 Sep 2017 @ 9:42am

      Re:

      Good lord, not the Classless Inter-Domain Routing Party.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 11 Sep 2017 @ 2:57pm

      Re:

      The electorate continues to vote these officials into power because they really don't care.

      Or because they don't know about it, don't realize that what's going on isn't normal because that's how it's always been, are constantly lied to, are presented with options that do not include 'is not beholden to third-parties' choices, foolishly believe that when a would-be-politician says something they will follow through, vote someone in who actually does mean well only to have them realize that they are outnumbered by others that have already sold out, such that to get anything done they're going to have to start 'compromising'...

      But yeah, totally the public's fault.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 11:38pm

      Re:

      More often than not it doesn't matter who you vote for; either party will effectively do the same thing.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2017 @ 1:03pm

    Cox does the exact same thing in the Phoenix area. They have a monopoly, successfully sued Google to keep them from installing fiber where I live, the next year slapped 1TB data caps with $10 per 50 gigs overage fees on our already expensive internet ($80 for 50 meg down service). Why they aren't gang sued by all streaming services, digital game stores, etc I don't know. It basically forced me to subscribe to cable again so I don't go over the cap.

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

  • identicon
    David, 11 Sep 2017 @ 1:31pm

    First Amendment?

    Do they really want to go there?

    If requiring expansion is a violation of their First Amendment rights, then blocking Google Fiber is a violation of Google's First Amendment rights.

    Now that you've established your service, or lack thereof, as a Constitutional Right, any legislative restriction prohibiting your competition is null and void.

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

  • icon
    Flack (profile), 11 Sep 2017 @ 7:02pm

    Inane ... this was solved years ago, wake up VPUC

    The way monopolies spread telephone (and electricity) to the rural area was with subsidies.

    In those days, business customers paid higher rates to subsidize rural users. When business took their usage elsewhere and bypassed, the states just put a usage tax on everyone, including business. Burden of demonstrating extra cost to provide those services should be on Comcast, but if the State wants everyone treated equal, and the citizens agree, then the state should subsidize the rural users as part of the Comcast franchise. Most states already have usage taxes to pay for 911 and very low income users. They can also help the service provider by negotiating quicker depreciation on assets, that really does work.

    The same subsidy goes to any service provider that will provide the rural service (e.g. 5G or 6G)

    You really don't want Comcast to leave the state, Vermont knows nothing about maintaining or upgrading a distribution system, and those employees don;t want to become state employees.

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


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