from the do-not-pass-go,-do-not-collect-$200 dept
You’d hardly know there was an historic economic and health crisis going on based on Comcast’s behavior.
Clearly nervous about a new incoming regulatory regime that even semi-coherently focuses on consumer issues, Comcast last month expanded its bullshit usage caps into the Northeast, one of the only regions that had yet to be saddled with the charges. The monthly cap and resulting overage fees, which you can avoid by paying for an “unlimited” plan, serves no technical or financial purpose. The restrictions don’t actually help manage network congestion, flat-rate broadband is already hugely profitable due to muted competition, and ISPs like Comcast can deal with a small minority of extra-heavy bandwidth users by pushing them to a business-class tier of service. It’s literally just a cash grab on the backs of uncompetitive US broadband markets.
But Comcast’s not stopping there. The company also recently imposed a price increase on its cable TV bundles, broadband service, and many of the bullshit fees it imposes on your bill to help it falsely advertise a lower rate. This includes the company’s “Broadcast TV fee,” which is literally just a portion of your existing cable TV bill, broken out and hidden below the line, leaving you uncertain of what you’ll actually be paying for service until you’ve received a few bills. It’s false advertising and predatory, but good luck finding a US regulator or lawmaker who much cares.
But Comcast’s not even stopping there; the company also says it’s going to start charging significantly more for house calls in the new year:
“The giant cable company, which serves 1.9 million users in Greater Boston, New Hampshire and Maine, will charge $100 to install cable service, effective Jan. 1. That’s up from a current price of $79. In addition, Comcast will charge $70 for in-house service calls, up from $40.”
Again, this is just monopolistic price gouging of captive markets. Only made possible due to two things: a lack of competition in many markets, and utterly corrupt and feckless lawmakers and regulators. Folks in positions of “leadership” who have no problem with the fact the cable industry makes around $28 billion every single year simply on bullshit fees alone. That was always a problem, but it’s a particularly pointed issue now that COVID has revealed how essential affordable broadband is for little things like, oh, survival.
And yet, US regulators and lawmakers who’ve spent the better part of the last two years hyperventilating about “big tech,” have not only ignored the problem, they’ve happily gutted most oversight of natural monopolies like Comcast. The same Comcast whose broadband monopoly is only growing as traditional phone companies effectively give up on traditional, fixed residential broadband service.