Well, It’s About Damn Time...

Believe it or not, I don’t have Internet access at home. Nothing at all. On one hand, having a T3 line at work, it’s nearly impossible to stomach the idea of paying for dial-up access; I’d go nuts. On the other hand, cable Internet access (DSL’s not available where I live) would effectively require that I also subscribe to cable television, which I have no desire to do — especially when I can get the same level of service from satellite at a fraction of the cost of digital cable. I always find it funny how the cable companies advertise their digital cable service alongside their regular cable prices, with only the fine print telling you they’re comparing apples and oranges.

I know, technically, I could just get the cable modem alone. But they’ll charge me an additional $10 per month. Add to that the fact that they’ve got a monopoly on the service — I pay their $55 per month, or I’m SOL.

Until now. The ever-lovin’ Ninth Circuit just ruled that cable companies must allow access to their lines by competing high-speed Internet services, just as is the case with other telecommunications services (e.g., telephones).

FCCThe counter-argument — promoted, surprise surprise, by FCC chairman Michael Powell — is that cable companies will have no incentive to upgrade their equipment to incorporate such advances as fiber-optic cabling. Hey, moron — they’ve got a monopoly! What possible incentive do they have now? If they’re investing in fiber-optic cabling now, it sure as hell ain’t because of their monopoly status. Sure, under a competitive system, any advances they make would help their competitors as much as it would help them. But if, in the long run, it’s beneficial to them, they’ll continue to do it. Will they figure out a way to charge back those competing services for such advances? Hell, yes.

The kicker is that, as FCC Chairman, Powell has the discretion to simply not enforce the requirement if, in his sole judgment, enforcement would cause more harm than good. Gee, I wonder what he’ll do? Sorry, Mikey, but any goodwill you may have had with me is gone now.


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