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Government The Internet

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Says Switching ISPs Is Too Hard 145

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 dontbemad ( 2683011 ) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @01:34PM (#47827879)
    How can you call it switching when there is no one else to switch to in most places?
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 04, 2014 @01:39PM (#47827947)

    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.)

  • by Arkiel ( 741871 ) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @01:43PM (#47827995) Journal
    So Wheeler googled "ISP outrage", clicked the "News" tab, and had an intern write a feel-good do-nothing speech about the Comcast outrage?

    If it were anyone we could at least momentarily pretend that this was an opening salvo in some course of action that would increase incentives to switch by doing something to promote competition to act against the disincentives Comcast forces on the consumer.

    No, no, this is all about draining the political pressure that news story like the Comcast outrage foment. Its about constituents having the illusion of progress and/or representatives being able to tell their constituents that Chairman Wheeler, notable industry shill, is on the case.
  • Isn't that cute (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrLint ( 519792 ) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @01:43PM (#47828005) Journal

    FCC guy seems to think there is enough competition in enough of the US to make switching a thing that might actually happen.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @02:03PM (#47828259)


    Yes, Email. They used the Email address they got from their provider for ... well, everything. Mostly because it's the only Email address they ever had. Now their Amazon, their Facebook, their Twitter, their Steam, and a billion other accounts are all tied to that one email address. Most of these could be redirected. But what if you forget one? How are you going to convince a company that doesn't give half a shit about you in the first place that you're not someone trying to gain access to an account that isn't yours?

    You can easily and legally forward your physical mail. But there ain't no law that forces providers to offer that service. And why the hell should they, after all it ties you to them!

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

    by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @02:04PM (#47828281) Homepage
    Not just freelancers, but any business use whatsoever. It's amazing the number of businesses that use ISP email addresses or email addresses from some free service (hotmail, gmail, yahoo, etc.) as their primary contact on business correspondence.

    I would add in personal use as well, but it's hard to convince the generic home user of the benefits of owning their own domain name and email address. The best you can hope for with most of them is to use a dedicated email service like gmail rather than what their ISP gives them. No to mention, having your own domain name comes with its own set of problems. Paying to renew the domain name, as well as paying for a hosting service to handle your email isn't fee. Most home users are far more likely to forget to renew their domain name and have it snatched up by a domain squatter than to have a problem with GMail or a similar service.
  • by dontbemad ( 2683011 ) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @02:05PM (#47828305)
    Because if the problem doesn't immediately pertain to me, it must not be a problem, right? Also, are you familiar with the concept of "the illusion of choice"?

    Based on your post, you are either a shill or delusional if you think that our concern with the general state of ISP monopolies in this country is "nonsense" that "has to end".
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by taustin ( 171655 ) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @02:33PM (#47828631) Homepage Journal

    That is the price of having made a bad decision early on. The longer she waits, the more severe the pain will be when she finally does switch.

  • by beanpoppa ( 1305757 ) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @03:48PM (#47829351)
    2.58 million [consumerist.com] people are still paying AOL for their email address. It sounds like you have a very biased circle. Looking through my contact list, I see several family and friends with optimum, comcast, and verizon email addresses.
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RealGene ( 1025017 ) on Thursday September 04, 2014 @05:22PM (#47830019)
    Best of luck when they continue to bill you...

I've got a bad feeling about this.