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Government The Internet

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Says Switching ISPs Is Too Hard 145

Posted by timothy
from the good-reason-to-use-webmail dept.
Jason Koebler writes Did you hear about those Comcast service calls from hell that have been cropping up over the last couple months? So did FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who said today that switching internet service providers is too damn hard, in part because ISPs have grown used to having a monopoly on broadband services. "Once consumers choose a broadband provider, they face high switching costs that include early-termination fees and equipment rental fees," Wheeler said in a speech today. Wheeler didn't specifically say what the FCC will do (if anything) to change that, but said the answer is to help facilitate more true competition: "If those disincentives to competition weren't enough, the media is full of stories of consumers' struggles to get ISPs to allow them to drop service."
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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Says Switching ISPs Is Too Hard

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  • by destinyland (578448) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @01:37PM (#47827907)
    I wonder if this is just a cynical attempt to appear "tough on monopolies" -- right before Tom Wheeler guts Net Neutrality forever.

    Reminder: next Wednesday is a "Day of Action" to publicize the need to maintain Net Neutrality.

    http://www.theverge.com/2014/9... [theverge.com]
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Informative)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday September 04, 2014 @01:46PM (#47828031)

    This is why if you're a freelancer, you should have your own domain.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @01:46PM (#47828039)

    Too damn hard? I don't even know how to begin to reply to that.

    My wife doesn't want to switch our ISP because her main e-mail address uses that at the domain name, and maybe a thousand friends, business contacts, and acquaintances have it as her contact info.

    Yes, she could change to a gmail account, and after a while the people who need to contact her would change the address in their address books. Eventually. Most of them.

    * (She's a freelancer. In general, when they fail to get in contact with a freelancer, customers usually just go to a different one rather than bother to spend the time to look up the new address.)

    I work for an ISP. That's intentional. In fact, it's the only reason ISPs sitll offer email. It's a nightmare to maintain and has no other benefit to the ISP other than to make customers "sticky"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 04, 2014 @02:13PM (#47828413)

    The program you state does not exist is called "LifeLine" by the FCC.

    And it is being expanded (started with phone services for the poor) to bundled broadband services and other broadband initiatives backed by the FCC.

    http://www.fcc.gov/lifeline

  • by dbc (135354) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @02:14PM (#47828423)

    Oh??? So, when the rural broadband act when through, and a rural telco plowed fiber across the meadow in front of my mountain cabin, and paid me for the right-of-way, those were fictitious dollars? So, I'll grant you this... the telco didn't pocket the dollars, they paid a lot of money to plow fiber through hard rock and the Cat operators and I pocketed the dollars. The Telco is pocketing dollars monthly from the communication tower tenants that the fiber serves.

    There *were* federal dollars to be captured for doing internet build-out. And dollars were captured. I personally cashed one of the checks. At least in my case, I can say it improved service. I'm not sure the benefits were evenly distributed, though.

  • by businessnerd (1009815) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @02:23PM (#47828519)
    Assuming you have an option to switch ISPs (and I realize that many of you don't), it's actually pretty easy to do, even with leaving Comcast. This is really just an order of operations issue. Most people will decide they want to switch, call up their incumbent ISP to cancel their service, and then order their new service. Seems logical, but for best results, flip it around. Once you have decided to switch to the other guy, call the other guy first. The other guy will then set up your account, come to your house and do all of the installation, port your phone number over (if applicable) and then once you have verified that the service is working to your satisfaction, you call up the incumbent and tell them to cancel. This is how I switched from Comcast to Verizon a few years ago. Granted, I still dealt with an extremely defensive (anti)cancellation person on the phone, but it was a much more straightforward conversation. It went something like this...

    Me: Hi. I switched to Verizon, cancel my service
    Comcast: Why do you want to cancel?
    Me: Your service doesn't work, I've had a tech out here 3 times and they didn't fix the issue. Fios has already been ordered and installed and it is working, which is something I could never have said for you.
    Comcast: defensive statement...yada yada..Verizon installed a new wire to your house, that's why it's fixed
    Me: Yeah, maybe you should have tried that on one of your 3 service calls, but you didn't. Anyway. I 'm not going to argue with you. I'm already receiving Verizon services, Comacast services have been physically disconnected. Cancel my account.
    Comcast: Fine. Done.

    And that was it. Hell I could have kept it even briefer if I had been prepared for such a defensive attitude, but even still, since you have physically disconnected their service and are already paying for their competitor, you know they have a snowball's chance in hell of getting you to agree to sending another tech over to re-connect Comcast and then go and cancel Verizon.

    Now if you are not planning on switching, but want to pay less, or want better service, I use their anti-cancellation policy against them. The first level CSRs have limited power to do anything like offer discounts, upgrade service for free, etc. They can do some, but that is child's play compared to your cancellation people. What you do is if you don't work something out with the first level, tell them you want to cancel. You don't have to actually mean it, you just have to make them think you mean it. Even if there are no good alternatives ("I'll switch to satellite and DSL. I don't really need all of your bandwidth" or "My 4G hotspot works fine for me"). Sounds ridiculous, but you need to commit to the role. They will then transfer you to the cancellation people. Their job on paper is to shut off your service and close your account, but as we have seen in the news recently, their actual job is to do anything they can to prevent you doing that. If you get here, you are golden. Walk right into their trap: "Why do you want to cancel?" "I'm sorry to hear that, you must be very frustrated. What if I were to offer you x y z? Would that change your mind?" Checkmate.
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Informative)

    by David_Hart (1184661) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @02:29PM (#47828579)

    Too damn hard? I don't even know how to begin to reply to that.

    My wife doesn't want to switch our ISP because her main e-mail address uses that at the domain name, and maybe a thousand friends, business contacts, and acquaintances have it as her contact info.

    Yes, she could change to a gmail account, and after a while the people who need to contact her would change the address in their address books. Eventually. Most of them.

    * (She's a freelancer. In general, when they fail to get in contact with a freelancer, customers usually just go to a different one rather than bother to spend the time to look up the new address.)

    Easy to fix...
    - Set up a new domain and email address for her.
    - Configure the old email to forward to the new one.
    - Keep the old email for a year or two.
    - Have her send out new business cards and an email change notice to all clients, add a vCard .vcf attachment to make it easy to add to contacts
    - Use the new email address to send all replies and to remind customers to update their contact lists if they send to the old address.

    Eventually all active clients will have the new email address. It takes time, but it does work....

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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