Fast, affordable Internet access for all.
Content tagged with "cox"Displaying 11 - 20 of 27
Cox Ditches Cable for Fiber in Upscale Housing Development
Idaho Town Calls for Fiber Investment; Cable and DSL Not Good Enough
While it is tempting to marginalize the need for such services as just a way for Johnny or Sally to download games or movies faster, increasingly the lack of fiber optic capacity is also limiting health care and advanced education options for residents, as well as impacting the growth of telecommuting and home-based businesses for which Ketchum has noticeably been successful in attracting in the past. Now owners of home-based businesses are increasingly saying they can not operate effectively without fiber to the home, and telecommuters contend their employers will be less likely to let them work from home without fast, reliable fiber broadband.This is all true and we wish we saw a hundred editorial boards recognizing it every week. The question is what the community can do about it given the challenge and potential expense. The answer from the Ketchum Keystone is smart:
Overcoming these obstacles will be very heavy lifting for any city government, but there are also remarkable opportunities and common sense strategies available including the use of the existing and soon to be retired water pipe grid, simple changes in building codes to require fiber-optic implementation, and government loan and incentive programs, all of which make the prospects for a sooner rather than later solution.Every community has a somewhat unique mix of challenges and assets. Communities with the asset of smart leadership will seize upon opportunities like maximizing joint projects between the water system, public works, and such. Communities without smart leadership may want to solve that problem first. Ketchum has identified the problem, and that is a good first step. Until a community recognizes that the big cable and telephone corporations will not solve this problem alone and that communities have an essential role in the process, little progress is likely.
Cox Discourages Internet Use That Competes with Core Cable Product
Another story of frustration as cable companies try to discourage Internet use on their last generation networks.
An article earlier this month in StopTheCap! tells the story of the John Heeley family, long time Cox customers and avid Netflix fans. The Heeley's received a letter from Cox warning them about their "excessive Internet usage." They were more than a little annoyed, considering they fork over $2,400 a year to the cable giant provider so called to express their displeasure:
Heeley’s fiancé Shelley was angry after realizing just how much the couple already spends with Cox.
“I called them on the phone and the first thing they want to do is get you to upgrade and spend even more money with them,” she tells Stop the Cap! “They tried to vaguely threaten our service if we continued to ‘overuse the Internet’ and suggested we cut back or cancel Netflix which they think is the reason we went over the limit.”
Shelley says she was born at night, but not last night.
“How convenient they want you to stop using Netflix, Amazon, or other online video services that their cable TV competes with,” Shelley says. “It is unfair competition.”
Shelley requested a Cox supervisor and threatened the company right back, telling Cox if they sent one more letter like that, the Heeley family would take their business elsewhere.
“He told us quietly we could ignore the letter and any future letters and they will add a note on our account,” Shelley tells us. “He confided they have customers going over the limit all the time and the letter is really about educating customers about usage.”
Ketchum, Idaho: No Tolerance for Cox Push Polls
Cox pushed Ketchum one step too far. The community of 2,700 formed a broadband advisory committee in November, 2012, and included a representative from Cox on the committee. Brennan Rego of the Idaho Mountain Express recently reported on happenings in Ketchum.
When residents in Wood River Valley started receiving push poll telephone calls from Cox to poison any possibility of a community owned network, Mayor Randy Hall and city leaders reacted promptly. They booted Cox off the broadband advisory committee.
Consistent with Cox push polls in other places, questions were leading:
“The questions were so outrageous, I didn’t want to continue with the survey,” [Valley resident Sarah Michael] said. “I got offended. They were inappropriate and misleading.”
Michael said that, in essence, one question asked: Would you support Ketchum’s broadband initiative if you knew the city would cut police, fire and other essential services to pay for it?
“Who’s going to answer yes to that?” she said.
Michael and other residents who received the calls contacted surprised city staff and Mayor Hall.
“As the mayor, I can’t stand by and let somebody imply that I’m going to compromise the Police Department and the Fire Department by taking money away from them and putting it toward a broadband initiative,” Hall said. “That’s insane. I would never do that. I think the survey was trying to create fear.”
Cox claimed the questions were designed to "learn more about the public's opinion" but would not divulge the wording of the survey questions.
The city posted a disclaimer on its website to ensure residents knew the survey was not associated with the committee.
“Cox is a very valuable member of our community,” Hall said. “But to imply that the city is willing to compromise the health and safety of its citizens by funding a broadband initiative is false and irresponsible.”
Hall said he considers Cox’s “unilateral action” in deciding to conduct the survey a “breach of trust,” but that the city would welcome a new representative of the company to the committee.
Community Broadband Bits 19 - John St. Julien from Lafayette
Audio of Dirty Trick Push Poll in Lafayette from 2005
Chanute's Gig: Rural Kansas Network Built Without Borrowing
Harold Feld Examines The Meaning Behind The Verizon/SpectrumCo/Cox Deal
Several months ago, we wrote this post but it got lost in the system. We think it still worthwhile, so here it is.
The word "cartel" drums up many negative annotations - drug cartels, oil cartels. Never anything positive, such as bunny cartels or chocolate cartels. Harold Feld (of Public Knowledge) explains the emergence of another cartel in My Insanely Long Field Guide To The Verizon/SpectrumCo/Cox Deal, on his Tales of the Sausage Factory blog. This is great tutorial on how the deal came about and what it can mean for the future of broadband.
Rather than chocolate, drugs, oil, or bunnies, the product in question is telecommunications services. At the heart of the cartel are the familiar names: Verizon, Cox, and SpectrumCo. The latter being a consortium of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House. All the big hitters in telecom are involved in a way that is veiled, secretive, and not good for competition.
"It's almost as if your companies got in a room together, and you agreed to throw in the towel and stop competing against each other," Sen. Al Franken to representatives from Verizon and the cable companies at the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, March 21, 2012.
Feld's investigation begins with the licensing and collecting of spectrum by SpectrumCo but ends with a more practical look at how these big hitters have decided that it is better to join forces than to compete. Side agreements, secretive multi-layered entities, and threaded loopholes keep the FCC at bay. This begins as an article about telecommunications, but quickly expands into an antitrust primer. The most alarming facet of this situation is that the product in question is information.
Joel Kelsey of Free Press testified at that same committee, warning how this deal will compromise access, quality, and affordability to broadband in America and how drive us further behind the rest of the world.
On August 16, 2012, the Department of Justice announced that it approved the deal with changes. Citing:
Fiber Referendum Fails in Siloam Springs
Arkansas Town Targeted by Cox Prior to Community Broadband Referendum
David Cameron, city administrator, said the proposal is not so much about dissatisfaction with current providers as it is about finding new revenue for the city. Cameron said revenue from electric services has been a key source of funding for various projects and necessities for the city. That “enterprise” fund is getting smaller, Cameron said, and an alternative funding source is needed. “We have done a good job managing accounts, building a reserve,” Cameron said. “We want to keep building on the programs we have. It takes money and funds to do that.” City officials discussed the issue for the last 18 months and decided to put it to a referendum. Voters will decide the issue May 22.That is a fairly unique reason. Most communities want to build these networks to encourage economic development and other indirect benefits to the community. Given the challenge of building and operating networks, few set a primary goal of boosting city revenue.
If approved by voters, the city plans to spend $8.3 million to install 100 miles of fiber optic cable directly to homes and businesses. The city should be able to repay the debt in 12 years, if things go according to a feasibility study presented to the city’s board of directors in January.