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Government Businesses The Internet

Comcast-Time Warner Deal May Hinge On Low-Cost Internet Plan 114

Posted by samzenpus
from the and-we'll-do-the-dishes-for-two-weeks dept.
techpolicy (3586897) writes "Comcast Corp.'s proposed $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable Inc. has brought the issue of the digital divide and the federal government's failing policies to decrease it back onto center stage, according to an article by the Center for Public Integrity. Comcast has told the Federal Communications Commission that it will offer its discounted Internet program for low-income customers to residents living in Time Warner Cable's service areas — if the FCC approves the purchase. Comcast offered FCC the same deal in 2011 when it bought NBCUniversal. But the low-cost program, called Internet Essentials, has signed up only 12 percent of the 2.6 million families eligible for the service since it was launched nearly three years ago. While the FCC and other federal agencies have spent billions of dollars trying to provide broadband access and training programs to the poor to close the divide, so far the policies haven't worked much. The percentage difference between Americans earning below $30,000 who have an Internet connection in their home and those earning $75,000 or more who have an in-home connection has narrowed only 4 percentage points from 2009 to 2013. As the Comcast purchase moves through its regulatory approval process, the center reports that it may be time to revisit the policies that will get more poor Americans connected, especially because to function in society today you have to be online."
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Comcast-Time Warner Deal May Hinge On Low-Cost Internet Plan

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  • by MonkeyTrial (713192) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @11:57PM (#47116773)
    The Internet Essentials program Comcast offers is $9.95/month, and to be eligible, you have to have a child who participates in the Free and Reduced Lunch program. No kids? Not eligible.
  • Re:Fuck Comcast (Score:5, Informative)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @12:17AM (#47116863) Journal

    Privacy can be controlled (e.g. VPN), so the lesser of two evils is still Google Fiber.

    *sigh* - if only I could just use the fiber and be my own ISP with one single IP and firewall. Too bad they only do blocks for that sort of thing (IIRC).

  • by raymorris (2726007) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @02:21AM (#47117167)

    If anyone cares to take the time write up a comment that may assist the FCC in evaluating or deal or possible concessions to be demanded of Comcast, the link to file those comments is here:
    http://www.fcc.gov/mergers [fcc.gov]

    Two types of comments can be productive. It can be helpful to file a well-written comment that includes.numbers, citations showing exactly how Comcast's position has been detrimental. It can also be very helpful to file a comment with a suggestion for a compromise that mitigates bad effects from allowing the deal to go through. For example, a comment posted three weeks ago suggesting that they be required to keep TWC's discount program could have been helpful. What doesn't do any good are "fuck Comcast" or "fuck the FCC" comments. Those only make it look like those opposing the acquisition don't have any articulable reason for doing so.

    Yes, it's a bit like a homework assignment, to be effective you need to either cite your sources or present a new idea that the FCC hasn't already thought of. That involves more work than writing "fuck Comcast", but such is life in the real world, where grown-ups are making grown-up decisions.

  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Thursday May 29, 2014 @03:35AM (#47117417)

    It depends on the specific group, but they generally have a council that decides on the acceptance of new technology and any restrictions on use based on two criteria: Self-sufficiency and the impact on communal lifestyle. They may approve internet use for business purposes if they deem it essential, but they'll also set strict rules to prevent it creeping into non-business use, like requiring the computer be located in an office area and not permitting them in residences.

Never ask two questions in a business letter. The reply will discuss the one you are least interested, and say nothing about the other.

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