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Government The Almighty Buck The Internet United States

Comcast Pays $800,000 To U.S. For Hiding Stand-Alone Broadband 201

First time accepted submitter vu1986 writes "The Federal Communications Commission has settled with Comcast over charges that the cable company made it hard for consumers to find stand-alone broadband packages that don't cost an arm and leg. As part of the settlement Comcast paid the U.S. Treasury $800,000 and the FCC extended the length of time Comcast had to provide such a service."
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Comcast Pays $800,000 To U.S. For Hiding Stand-Alone Broadband

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  • but... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by donaggie03 ( 769758 ) <d_osmeyer@hotmail.cDEGASom minus painter> on Thursday June 28, 2012 @12:30AM (#40475339)
    Does Comcast have to make it any easier for customers to find the stand alone-packages? I don't see that requirement anywhere in the summary or article ..
  • Re:Not just Comcast (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MachDelta ( 704883 ) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @12:44AM (#40475399)

    My provider likes to call me every few months and ask if i'd like their telephone service. I keep having to explain to them that me and my girlfriend are in our late twenties, we don't have a landline and we don't want one and even if my cell phone exploded in my pocket tomorrow, i'd probably just use Skype.
    Honestly I'm getting tempted to start threatening to cancel the cable too. It's something i've wanted to do for a long time, but being Canadian my options for cable-cutting are quite a bit, uh, shallower. The girlfriend likes certain sports and the occasional fit of channel surfing too (also, she's not very patient with finicky bits of technology), which just makes things even more difficult. If they keep pushing me though, I might just be tempted. The sad part is, I know no matter where I go (and there are really only 3 options where I live) i'd have to deal with the same shit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 28, 2012 @01:03AM (#40475483)

    The message I got from Comcast the last time that I consider(and discussed canceling cable outright was that if I were to do so, then the cost of my broadband service would go up. (cable ~$14-$15 for the bare minimum and broadband internet @ ~$55).

    I have no real leverage in my area - no legitimately competitive providers.

  • by Anachragnome ( 1008495 ) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @01:53AM (#40475719)

    I need to make a call.

    I just haven't figured out who I need to call--the FCC or Comcast.

    When I purchased this house new, it had existing cable hookups but had never had them activated. I called Comcast and asked to have internet service activated. No problem, except that lady I spoke to automatically added cable service in the price--$69.00 a month. When I corrected her and stated that I did not want cable she stated that it was the same price anyway, with or without cable service.

    So, in effect, the stand-alone internet service was never offered. In it's place, I was offered their bundle and was forced to pay a premium to have the cable access removed if I really desired to. Obviously, since the price was the same I now have both cable and internet service when all I wanted was the broadband.

  • Re:Not just Comcast (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dubbreak ( 623656 ) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @02:13AM (#40475807)
    The only times I get calls from Shaw is to offer free services.

    I haven't paid for cable for years now. I cancel cable then get offered 6 months free. 6 months run up, I cancel, in 1-2 weeks I get a call offering free cable. This most recent spat is 1 year of full cable (no hd.. but doesn't really matter as I rarely watch it).

    I also got my broadband upped to 50mbps for free (i.e. same price I was paying for "highspeed" which was something like 15mbps down). They may have finally got me on the internet though (I'm assuming the point is to get me to want to keep a service). The upwards bandwidth is finally higher than I had in the late 90s before they started capping upload speed and it has me hooked. I'll probably have to pay the extra $$ to keep the extra upwards bandwidth. No more ghetto uploading large files overnight (which really brought me back to dialup). Wish is was symmetric, but I don't want to pay what they'd charge for that.
  • by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <> on Thursday June 28, 2012 @03:32AM (#40476163) Homepage

    More and more companies are being found to have behaved badly and are fined, just today Barclays is fined £290m []. The company pays it and probably keeps going on other scams for which individuals earn large bonuses or commissions, nobody really suffers, the company just makes a little less profit that year.

    The only way of altering behaviour is to fine the individuals who are behind the scams. Only when these crooks start loosing their houses and pensions will they stop thieving. Their primary interest is themselves, not the company. Hit them where it matters to them - then, and only then, might the regulators truly find their teeth.

  • Re:but... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @06:11AM (#40476705) Homepage Journal

    I found stand alone internet from Comcast via an installer advertising in Craigslist. He listed all the different packages and costs associated with each. It was far easier than navigating the Comcast site.

    What I do not care for with Comcast is the prices on the site, even after entering your zip code, are not necessarily the prices your local Comcast office will offer. An example, I wanted basic cable to go with my internet and phone from Comcast. Calling the number on my bill resulted in an offer for basic cable for 19.95. On the website it was 12.95. Even when presented with this information the person on the phone said that was not available in my area. I went to online chat with the Comcast site via a button they had there and had the basic service installed and added to my bill at 12.95

    Well at the beginning of this year Comcast raised ALL cable TV bills by five dollars. So my 12.95 went to 17.95 a month. I called, complained, and dropped the service. Come to find out the work they did to hook up TV in the first place means I still get basic service for free as it rides on my cable internet. When they called to sell me TV again I asked them about it and they replied that cable ready TV's cannot be blocked at this time.

    Some companies are just too uncoordinated to know what they do.... so I would not ascribe their making things difficult as a policy but the result of poor management.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday June 28, 2012 @07:58AM (#40477121) Homepage

    Verizon recently sent out letters claiming that you cant have un-bundled DSL anymore and demanded I call and change my service to something that has a phone line. I refused and I still only have DSL and no phone line. I still get calls claiming that I have to convert from them.

    This is illegal, yet the FCC is not jumping on them or Frontier for pulling pretty much the exact same stunt. I am all for forcing companies to comply, but apply it across the board evenly. And no I'm not a Comcast fanboi, I worked there, I know how evil they are. But I dont like single sided enforcement.

  • Not their only scam (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 28, 2012 @09:54AM (#40477943)

    Even if Comcast does offer you reasonable broadband only service, they still try to get you another way. I just moved a few months back and decided to skip out on the TV service for now but I needed the broadband service for when I work from home. I went to their website about 2 weeks prior to my move to sign up for service. I was able to sign up and they made me prepay my first month's bill. During the process, the website said it was unable to select an installation appointment for me so I needed to call a number to setup the time.

    This is where the fun begins, I call and get passed around to three different people who each tell me the scheduling software must not be working because they are not able to see ANY installation dates. They tell me it might be a problem with the system and to call back in another hour or two. No big deal I think, I have plenty of time before I move. So I call back at night and sure enough, I get the same results. I get transferred a few times and they all say they can not see any future installation dates for me. The last person tells me to call back at 6AM EST since that is the time they are supposed to load new installation availability times. I figured this is BS but whatever. Lets just say, I try calling 2-3 times each day for the next 3 days and each time get the same crappy response. Finally, one night I have lost it and the person on the phone suggests I just pick up a self installation kit. I am fine with this but since I was moving into a new construction house, I figured this would not work.

    So the day I move in, I pick up the self install kit and sure enough, even after they said the line had been pulled and activated, no signal. Sigh, so I now get to call tech support to setup a visit and surprise surprise they tell me no dates are showing up for a tech to come. I am pissed at this point since I am actually already paying for service. I call back again that night in hopes of getting a better response and I finally get someone who is helpful and sheds a potential light onto my problems. He too had trouble finding a date but he was able to force one in by changing the type of service I had with them. Evidently, one of the key pieces of data used for determining when a installer or tech could come out is based on the amount of service you have. So if I only had broadband, that is worth lets say 5 points. If I had broadband and TV it might be worth 12. He said their is a min number of points required for installation and tech work and since my broadband only service was not high enough, it would appear to the people on the phone that no appointment times for available.

    While the last person on the phone could have been just making up something, it is kind of odd that the other 15-20 people I had talked with over the past 2 weeks could not help. Sound like to me, this is just another method for Comcast to "force" people into buying more services than they really need.

    I am sure people will just say, why don't you just get service from someone else? That is the problem with where I am. Comcast is the ONLY high speed internet provider available (no DSL or FIOS).

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