There is a reason why Comcast is consistently one of the most despised businesses in the United States.
Case in point, the cable giant is refusing to upgrade lines for customers fho don’t shell out big bucks for cable TV in addition to internet service:
As we’ve often noted, Comcast has been shielded from the cord cutting trend somewhat thanks to its growing monopoly over broadband. As users on slow DSL lines flee telcos that are unwilling to upgrade their damn networks, they’re increasingly flocking to cable operators for faster speeds. When they get there, they often bundle TV services; not necessarily because they want it, but because it’s intentionally cheaper than buying broadband standalone.
And while Comcast’s broadband monopoly has protected it from TV cord cutting somewhat, the rise in streaming competition has slowly eroded that advantage, and Comcast is expected to see see double its usual rate of cord cutting this year according to Wall Street analysts.
Comcast being Comcast, the company has a semi-nefarious plan B. Part of that plan is to abuse its monopoly over broadband to deploy arbitrary and unnecessary usage caps and overage fees. These restrictions are glorified rate hikes applied to non competitive markets, with the added advantage of making streaming video more expensive. It’s a punishment for choosing to leave Comcast’s walled garden.
But Comcast appears to have discovered another handy trick that involves using its broadband monopoly to hamstring cord cutters. Reports emerged this week that the company is upgrading the speeds of customers in Houston and parts of the Pacific Northwest, but only if they continue to subscribe to traditional cable television. The company’s press release casually floats over the fact that only Comcast video customers will see these upgrades for now:
“Speed increases will vary based on the Xfinity Internet customers’ current speed subscriptions. Those receiving the speed boost will benefit from an increase of 30 to 40 percent in their download speeds. Existing Xfinity Internet and X1 video customers subscribing to certain packages can expect to experience enhanced speeds this month.”
As is usually the case, Comcast simply acted as if this was all just routine promotional experimentation (an argument that only works if you’re unfamiliar with Comcast’s other efforts to constrain emerging video competition):
Comcast is, using the immortal words of Douglas Adams, are, “A bunch of mindless jerks who’ll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.”