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Comcast Gives 6 Months Free Internet To Poor and Unpaid Bill Amnesty

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the have-some-internet dept.

The Internet 71

An anonymous reader writes with news about a controversial Comcast program designed to give internet access to the poor that just got a little better. After complaints about a program that offers cheap Internet service to poor people, Comcast today announced it will provide "up to six months" of free Internet to new subscribers and an "amnesty" program for families with unpaid bills. Comcast's Internet Essentials, mandated by the federal government when Comcast acquired NBCUniversal, gives $10-per-month Internet service to low-income households with schoolchildren. Critics have argued that the program is too hard to sign up for, that eligibility criteria should be less strict, and that further requirements should be implemented if Comcast is allowed to buy Time Warner Cable.

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Sure, free internet now... (5, Funny)

Pollux (102520) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602401)

But after the free six months is up, good luck trying to cancel the service [slashdot.org] .

Re:Sure, free internet now... (4, Funny)

BasilBrush (643681) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602425)

Hey, he was just making it east for the customer to stay with Comcast and not make the mistake of going to another provider.

http://consumerist.com/2014/07... [consumerist.com]

Re:Sure, free internet now... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602659)

Assuming that it's not the case that one must make a commitment to be a subscriber for a certain minimum period to qualify for the six free months in the first place, you could just tell them at the end of the six months that while you were entirely willing to try it for free, you aren't willing to actually pay for it.

Re:Sure, free internet now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47604035)

My mom got free HBO and Showtime for 3 months from Comcast due to some error; they didn't cancel them immediately when the free time ended and gave her another 3 months of both; this time, they were canceled at the proper time and she didn't get charged.

Even I said "good luck canceling them" and was shocked when they actually did what they were supposed to. It could just be this one Comcast is good about doing what they're supposed to, or it could be that its just exceptionally shady ones doing corrupt things (exceptionally shady because Comcast is already quite shady).

Re:Sure, free internet now... (1)

MobSwatter (2884921) | about a month and a half ago | (#47604063)

Nice try Comcast, but screw you on the Time Warner gig.

Google Fiber (5, Interesting)

darkain (749283) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602409)

And this is exactly why I wish Google Fiber was deployed in more areas. They have a simple solution: a FREE tier for life.

https://fiber.google.com/citie... [google.com]

And as far as the $300 setup fee, I'm not sure about other cities, but Portland is working on subsidies to cover this cost as well, so it is $0 for low income families to have basic 5mbps internet service.

Re:Google Fiber (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47602507)

Why should Portland be supplying subsidies for this?
This seems like such a waste of local tax dollars when there are plenty of Russians and Nigerians who have a vested interested in me having a life-long ability to be making outbound E-Mail connections. Why not just let them pay for it?

Re:Google Fiber (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47602561)

Umm. Wat?

Rather than Google Fiber, let's have municipal. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47602541)

I'm sure Google is your friend, but I'd rather have a solution from my own municipal government that provides the service for us. The internet is a public utility like water, sewer, and given the infrastructure requirements with running fiber, I'd rather it be kept in house.

Not the exploitative franchising of the cable industry, which just lead to private companies lobbying for the laws that they want, but real systems that are run and operated at home.

Re:Rather than Google Fiber, let's have municipal. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47602637)

We had a municipal fiber in Provo before google. It was terrible. The speeds were all over the place, it was mismanaged, any profit it made was constantly raided as another source of income for other projects. It was so bad that they sold it in entirety to google for $1. Since, its been great. Sure google has issues, but making the internet a utility isn't a silver bullet and has its own share of problems. I also don't want to be charged "per bit". And no Im not downloading TB of data every month, but having that hanging over my head would not be something I want to think about before starting a stream. Especially when it becomes a tax source and I get petitioned to raise my streaming "rates" by 10 cents a kb to pay for a new fire truck, and another 5 cents for a new school in the mayors neighborhood.

What we need is to break up this idea of internet "markets" giving comcast and their ilk a bunch of small monopolies. Since google moved in, comcast has sent people door to door "explaining" to people why google fiber is terrible and having that fast of a connection "isn't a good idea" and offering to double their speeds and give them tv free for 3 years if they promise not to switch. Amazing what a little competition does.

Re:Rather than Google Fiber, let's have municipal. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47602853)

Provo was poorly managed, then. I'd hate to see what they did with other city-run utilities.

I have seen great models of city-run utilities from all over the country, both from the perspective of wholly-owned city utilities, non-profit corp spinoffs and city managed private contracted utilities. The benefit of the spinoff is that the city can't raid the coffers for revenue, and the utility has to be self-sufficient to cover maintenance and charge rates appropriately. The private contract model forces the contractor into a position where the city is the customer and not the consumer.

If it needs recapitalization for expansion, then the city is responsible for coming up with the money to fund the expansion, and then the utility charges appropriately until the city has been reimbursed for the expansion. Most cities float a bond issue past the constituents to fund such endeavors, such as new water mains or sewage expansions to newly developed areas.

It sure beats the for-profit model where the regional monopoly ends up wringing the customers dry since they have no viable alternatives for reliable fast internet.

Re:Rather than Google Fiber, let's have municipal. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47603827)

We had a municipal fiber in Provo before google. It was terrible. The speeds were all over the place, it was mismanaged, any profit it made was constantly raided as another source of income for other projects.

Then we won't hire the people who ran it, or elect your city officials, or do it like Provo.

Sure google has issues, but making the internet a utility isn't a silver bullet and has its own share of problems.

Hiring Google isn't a silver bullet, and has its own share of problems. I'm sure if you listen to Comcast, some of their litany may even be true.

What we need is to break up this idea of internet "markets" giving comcast and their ilk a bunch of small monopolies.

I agree with not giving Comcast anything, but you need to break the idea of magic competition fairies existing. There's physical realities that just render that point moot. There's a limit to how many roads you can have, how many cables can be run, and how many pipes dug, and here's what Comcast really does.

Buys laws that prevent your municipality from doing things to serve your community.

Thanks Comcast, I so appreciate how you're looking out for me.

Re: Rather than Google Fiber, let's have municipal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47604579)

Some utilities are privately owned (usually phone and power). It's water and sewage that might be public companies. Trash might be private companies based on competitive bidding. I'm not an expert and can't research on my phone, so take with a grain of salt.

Those private utilities are regulated unlike cable companies. To be fair, cable tv started as a complete luxury. But now it's really a telecomm service and should have some oversight over industry practices.

A simple way to get lower prices is to introduce a virtual network model (where third parties sell the service over Comcast's lines). It already exists for cell phones (see MVNO). It could even apply to municipal fiber networks.

If all the people online who complained about Comcast wrote their legislatures, there might be some legal change. Failing that, I suppose someone could sue Comcast as an overbearing vertical monopoly.

Re: Rather than Google Fiber, let's have municipal (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about a month ago | (#47605265)

Part of the issue is that Comcast buys laws, and many areas have a one party system at the local level, this leads to corruption and ignoring the constituents no matter which party it is.

Sometimes there's a decent primary in those areas, other times, the party has that pretty much on lock-down too.

Re:Rather than Google Fiber, let's have municipal. (4, Informative)

Frobnicator (565869) | about a month and a half ago | (#47604927)

The biggest problem with iProvo, which the residents didn't usually see, was the lawsuits.

Back when I lived there from 1999-2003, the mayor was pushing iProvo quite a lot. Many businesses and apartments signed up. The city started their rollout by providing hubs to the various city buildings, the historic library, and they even ran lines to the major traffic control cameras. They hooked up quite a few businesses along the main roads, like the main street plaza was covered from the overpass on the west to the roundabout on the east. University Ave, Freedom Blvd, and 500 West were installed from Orem on the North down to the mall and the Novell campus on the south. They got quite a lot of core infrastructure in place during those years. ...

... Then they were sued by basically everybody who had an interested in providing Internet services. As a result of the lawsuits they rolled back to just giving fiber to the city's buildings, to their own infrastructure like traffic cameras, and to some existing contracts. If you attended the city council meetings or watched their broadcasts (yeah, I know, who does that, except I remember it was on channel 17 at the time...) you could have listened to reports on how many million they were spending fighting off Qwest (now CenturyLink), Comcast, and the rest. They provided erratic service largely because the money was frequently redirected to the courts. Existing companies REALLY did not want municipal fiber, and they fought it hard.

While the mega-corps know they can stomp on a small city like Provo very easily, they were quickly outmatched when Google came in. They stopped the decade-long hemorrhaging of money to lawsuits, so the service became much better.

Utopia has also been heavily plagued by lawsuits and governmental contracts cancelled mid-deployment. Even the US government (under RUS) contracted out some services and then abandoned it, leaving the fiber network on the hook for over $11M (the lawsuit is still ongoing). People complain and suggest Utopia is mismanaged, and while they have had a few management missteps, their biggest problem has been the many millions of dollars spent trying to fight legal battles against incumbents.

Even today if you look a bit North up the Wasatch front corridor, Centerville is right now the hotbed of the issue. Comcast and CenturyLink are funding a bunch of signs for anyone who wants them. They're discussing putting municipal fiber in as a tax, complaining that residents shouldn't have to pay because they already have Internet providers. ... conveniently overlooking the fact that the very small tax will provide everybody in the city a minimum fiber to the home connection with 5 megabit if you don't pay for any plan, and 150 megabit or faster if you do pay for a plan, and the plans are far cheaper than either Comcast or CenturyLink.

Municipal fiber is the future, just like municipal sewer, municipal water, municipal trash, and other city-managed services. The incumbent companies are fighting with all their power and disinformation campaigns to keep their high profit system in place. Just like your Comcast salesmen knocking at the door trying to convince you fast and unlimited is bad, slow and bottlenecked is good, disinformation is really all they can rely on these days.

Re:Rather than Google Fiber, let's have municipal. (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about a month ago | (#47606477)

internet is a public utility like water, sewer,

If you're still lucky enough to have them as 'public utilities' good on you. Because around here they were sold off and privatized a long time ago. And there's jack shit we can do about any of it.

Re: Google Fiber (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47602993)

Damn! I'm paying $100+ per month for "up to" 5 Mbps on Time warner (with a basic phone package of $40). I also had the $300 setup prorated over the first 3 months.

Re:Google Fiber (1)

Xicor (2738029) | about a month and a half ago | (#47603577)

they are slowly deploying. we will see it across the country by 2020

a bit of a copout (5, Insightful)

Cardoor (3488091) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602483)

having tutored several underprivileged kids in a large urban environment (and having witnessed how when left to their own devices they used their internet access for NOT educational rich-poor-divide-shrinking stuff, but rather typical time-wasting stuff ) this seems like a poor answer to social responsibility to me for a $139 billion company that is Comcast.

Without guidance and structure, 'for the children' will go to the lowest common denominator, so basically, they are subsidizing a new generation of kids to grow up addicted to watching 'teen-wolf' on MTV-tube.

What might actually be nice would to see comcast, oh, i dont know, sponsor after-school computer education programs? Or frankly anything that provides for the real thing that tends to be absent in households that are barely making ends meet - additional educational structure.

Re:a bit of a copout (1)

SinShiva (1429617) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602611)

Yes, it would be far better they were on the streets rather than in their homes. many a childhood has been wrecked with less than 5mbit. comcast really should be diverting these funds toward boarding schools, eh? if comcast isn't parenting my kids for me, they must be doing it wrong.

Re:a bit of a copout (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47602617)

I am a pretty liberal guy. And I have to agree with the parent. I have also worked with the poor on occasion and cable is like a staple: food, shelter, clothing, cable, water, ....in that order.

I actually had a guy complain how his children "hadn't had TV in TWO WEEKS!" (the very thick south Georgia accent made it sound very funny)

I struggled to stifle my laugh because he said in all seriousness. And I bit my tongue from saying, "Maybe it is a GOOD thing and maybe your kids should pick up a book. They have them for FREE at your library!"

Social conservatives usually talk out their asses when they talk about the details of the poor (like they just love to sit around and collect welfare and drive their pink Cadillacs), but in general, they do have a point about the poor have this mentality. And I have to wonder about my own "mentality" about things too often.

Introspection can be depressing.

Re:a bit of a copout (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47602931)

This is not something unique to the poor. the self-entitlement and lazyness is something you see in all social layers. It is not like you never hear of rich people trying to game the system or outright steal. Giving the poor access to internet means giving them access to all it contains - pointless flash-games for those that would be wasting time hanging on the street, and usefull information for those who before had less access (reading at home vs. traveling to a library). People with a reasonable income never seem to realise that poor people also need to unwind from daily life despite being unable to afford it - they cant "work" 24/7 either.

Re:a bit of a copout (2, Insightful)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about a month and a half ago | (#47603235)

This is some truth to what you say, as human nature is human nature (with variances), but in general, many well-off people are often that way, believe it or not (!) because they are highly motivated, smart, and hard working. Seriously, let's drop that mindset that *all* wealthy people have had it handed to them on a silver spoon, that's no more accurate (decidedly less so in fact) than saying all poor people are bums. There *are* people who work their ass off, and via a combination of hard work, good investments, brains, and indeed, a good bit of luck (there's always an element of luck), actually become wealthy without resorting to evil, racist plots. They aren't angels, but they are a net positive on the system.
But simply giving away something to those people who are not motivated to do any better in life - and let's be honest, there's a lot of them- isn't doing to do anyone any good ultimately, poor or not, and just make it harder for the middle to lower middle class who are working their ass off to make ends meet. It may do some good to those poor people who are willing to work, who just need a break and might see a way to use this to advance themselves, but if we're being realistic here, only a small minority will actually do that. The after school programs sounds a lot better, IMO.

Re:a bit of a copout (1)

dave420 (699308) | about a month ago | (#47607069)

You keep using words and phrases like "many", "a lot" and "minority" as if that carries any weight. All you've done is confuse your opinion with reality, and tried to prove a point with it. Weird. I can't even tell if you have a point or not, as you've entirely failed to qualify anything you're talking about.

After-school programs do sound better, but this is essential. The two are not mutually exclusive, and both would serve the community far greater than either on their own.

Re:a bit of a copout (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about a month ago | (#47607151)

Because reality doesn't deal in absolutes.

Re:a bit of a copout (1, Insightful)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a month and a half ago | (#47603469)

It is not like you never hear of rich people trying to game the system or outright steal.

Society has laws to punish them when they are caught. Society actively seeks to minimize this behavior. Thats a good thing, of course.

However, we've all heard the argument that nobody wants to be poor and that there is a social stigma associated with it, and that that is motive enough to help minimize the entitlements given to the poor.

My observation is that such claims simply arent true in most cases because it isnt just the poorest of the poor that receive these entitlements. Free lunch program for needy kids? Sounds great until you realize that it is also funding free lunches for kids that would otherwise be fed by their parents if the program wasnt there. The poorest parents might be embarrassed about needing the handout but those families in the upper end of the qualification bracket arent the poorest of the poor and are arguably justified to feel entitled because their taxes are paying for the program.

Now THAT is what those conservatives are actually talking about. We've got large groups of people receiving one entitlement or another and are arguably justified to feel entitled to it.

That is why they are called entitlement programs to begin with. Can anyone honestly say that people should be entitled to the safety net we provide? There is a difference between a society declaring that they cannot in good conscience let people fall through the cracks and society orchestrating the safety net in a way that people really do feel entitled to take advantage of it any chance they get.

So what happens politically is that when its suggested that such programs be cut back a bit, well those people that are really just taking advantage are unlikely to be voting for the person that says such things. They have a lot of skin in the game so they show up to vote.

This is true on much broader scales too. The middle class looks out for itself. Look at the majority demographic that is taking advantage of higher education entitlements and you see that its the middle class. Its not the most needy among us that benefits the most here but they are the ones that really do feel entitled to it, because after all their taxes pay for it so why shouldn't they.

The idea that entitlements are for the needy needs to stop, because it very rarely works that way and the peoples that actually feel entitled are the least needy of those getting it.

Re:a bit of a copout (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47605775)

To be honest I think everyone does this. Rich people use every advantage they can to limit tax liability and take advantage of every loophole and lobbyist created tax break they can get. I fail to see why that is any different really. Everyone takes advantage of things the fact is that people with access to financial resources are far better at squeezing things out of the government than the rest of us. Somehow that is ingenuity and hard work? All these people with deep pockets do not spend their time lobbying without the promise of return on investment. They are far better suited to reap the rewards of government handouts subsidies and other benefits that the rest of could never even dream of.

Re:a bit of a copout (1)

blue trane (110704) | about a month and a half ago | (#47603935)

There is no scarcity of TVs or ability to broadcast shows. Why should poor kids not be able to watch?

Why do you think you know what is better for others to do, and that you should impose an artificial scarcity to make them behave as you would have them behave?

Re:a bit of a copout (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47604679)

How is it a staple? You do not require it to live. I have argued a smart phone isn't needed, but since its a must, you get internet threw the phone, so you can get all the information (or fake information which is more common) threw the phone.

I don't think the poor (or most of them) are poor because of being lazy. It is that the Government keeps them poor. I have had co-workers who asked to work under 15 hours a week (and some who quit after a week or 2) because if they make too much, they lose Government housing money. So even the people who want to work more, know they are better off working less so they can keep getting government handouts. The only way to get the poor out of being poor is to stop rewarding them with welfare, and reward them for getting a job/better job. Instead of saying "Your paycheck is over $### you will no longer get any housing assistance" The welfare should be less, but the person should end up with more money in total.

Things like Comcast is doing may help the poor, but everyone will take advantage of it. If you know the bill will be forgiven if you don't pay....why pay?

You can get internet service for $10 a month, not sure what speed, that don't really matter since you don't need fast speed to get information or apply for a job.

Re:a bit of a copout (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47604945)

Sure...say the government provides $400/mo for your government housing subsidy. Your company can work you for 40 hours a week and you'll get $1,160 a month before taxes...with that $400/month expense you now have to pay that's only $760 a month you're left with. You'd need to work about 105 hours over the course of a month to come up with that $760 if you had the government subsidy, as opposed to 160 hours. You'd have to work an extra week and a half to make up for those government benefits.

That's assuming you can find a place that wants you full time and not like 24 and 1/3rd hours for insurance purposes, and assuming that housing is the only benefit you have to be worried about (it isn't). In the end, for the same take home money-in-your-pocket, you do a little over half the work you'd normally do.

Question to you: Would you rather take home $100,000 a year and work 40 hours a week, or would you rather take home $100,000 a year and only work 26.5 hours a week?

What if the 40 hour a week job was a 'maybe' and the 26.5 hours a week job was a 'if you want it it's yours?'

Back when I got laid off my unemployment insurance was literally 2x the going rate of jobs on the market. I gave up trying after a month of putting in 10+ applications a week with MAYBE one call back, which was always a 'not the job you asked for but you can be a door to door salesman!' So I could chop my income in half and work 40 hours a week if I sucked enough dick and kissed enough ass, or I could improve my skillset for the future and keep more than enough money to survive on.

Re:a bit of a copout (0)

evilviper (135110) | about a month and a half ago | (#47604839)

I actually had a guy complain how his children "hadn't had TV in TWO WEEKS!" (the very thick south Georgia accent made it sound very funny)

I struggled to stifle my laugh because he said in all seriousness. And I bit my tongue from saying, "Maybe it is a GOOD thing and maybe your kids should pick up a book. They have them for FREE at your library!"

The idea that reading books is somehow better, is a lot of ageist, self-loathing and massively wrong-headed dogma.

TV is a great and edifying device. Leave your TV tuned to PBS all day, and you'll have the smarted kids around... Many hours each day of pre-kindergarten educational shows, and shows which edify even the most well-read adults:

Nova
American Experience
Secrets of the Dead
Charlie Rose
History Detectives
Nature
Wild!
This Old House
Hometime
NOW
Scientific American Frontiers
National Geographic
POV
Independent Lens
Masterpiece / Mystery!
BBC World News

And quite a few more good region-specific shows, like Huell Howser and California Connected (née Life and Times) here on the west coast.

That's a reasonable week worth of TV viewing. I challenge anyone to assimilate that some information, week after week, reading books from the library.

Re:a bit of a copout (2)

bondsbw (888959) | about a month and a half ago | (#47605107)

Social conservatives usually talk out their asses when they talk about the details of the poor

Social liberals usually talk out their asses when making generalized statements about social conservatives.

I anecdotally know many social conservatives that provide real relief for the poor on a regular basis, without such complaints. And even those who don't, I don't hear complaining often. Like you said, it's visible and obvious in a few cases. I'd like to find ways to prevent abuse, or at least not encourage it. But at the end of the day I'll take a little abuse if it means providing a lot of actual help.

I'm just tired of both sides thinking that the complainers represent the whole.

Re:a bit of a copout (2)

Tailhook (98486) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602779)

rather typical time-wasting stuff

WORLD STAR HIP HOP BOI !!!1

What might actually be nice would to see comcast

I've got a better idea. Put Comcast and all other ISPs in the Common Carrier category where they belong, break up Comcast and the rest of the oligopoly ISPs into small, regional companies limited with few exceptions to state lines, outlaw vertical ownership of both media and content, force the now tamed, small ISPs to wholesale their bandwidth to competitors and watch prices for bandwidth collapse to below the $10/month craptastic deal Comcast is supposed to be providing so that we may ALL partake in the benefits of competition we're supposed to be enjoying in a supposedly "capitalist" economy.

Because dealing with Comcast should be about more than buying votes with a wired manifestation of the Obama Phone.

Re:a bit of a copout (1)

Cardoor (3488091) | about a month ago | (#47605969)

totally agree - though i think the odd's of that happening are slightly less.. not to say it isnt worth agitating for though

Re:a bit of a copout (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47603519)

Comcast's goal is not to educate them, but to get them hooked. The first six months free, but then it'll cost ya!

Re:a bit of a copout (1)

evilviper (135110) | about a month and a half ago | (#47604769)

so basically, they are subsidizing a new generation of kids to grow up addicted to watching 'teen-wolf' on MTV-tube.

Maybe... but like radio, TV and telephones before it, not having internet access is cutting you off from a huge world of invaluable information, even if you only spend 0.1% of your overall time accessing it. It's not as if they're being charged by the hour of by the MByte, so wasting lots of time doesn't cost anything, and doesn't preclude the valuable uses.

when left to their own devices they used their internet access for NOT educational rich-poor-divide-shrinking stuff, but rather typical time-wasting stuff

And the same is true of rich people who pay for their own internet access... So what's the problem? Do you have some crazy puritanical streak that says poor kids should spend every waking hour working their asses off, like their lives depend on it? People spend more time on entertainment than education, but the former doesn't preclude the later. How many people here can say that they spend no time on mindless entertainment?

Re:a bit of a copout (1)

Cardoor (3488091) | about a month ago | (#47605965)

|Maybe... but like radio, TV and telephones before it, not having internet access is cutting you off from a huge world of invaluable information, even if you only spend 0.1% of your overall time accessing it. It's not as if they're being charged by the hour of by the MByte, so wasting lots of time doesn't cost anything, and doesn't preclude the valuable uses.

wasting lots of time is not a harmless activity - especially for kids, if what said 'wasting' is, is actually indoctrination into the life of becoming a consumerist drone fit only to become the most minor of cogs.

|And the same is true of rich people who pay for their own internet access... So what's the problem? Do you have some crazy puritanical streak that says poor kids should spend every waking hour working their asses off, like their lives depend on it? People spend more time on entertainment than education, but the former doesn't preclude the later. How many people here can say that they spend no time on mindless entertainment?

im a bit surprised by the level of excitement and the ad hominem attack. nonetheless, i am not, and did not suggest anything of the sort. my point being that if the 'haves' in our society are going to deliberately give to the 'have-nots', it should be something constructive, not firewater. sure - give the kids access to internet at home so they can watch junk and jerk off like everyone else - but that should be secondary AFTER actually doing something constructive that has a chance of enriching their lives. isn't that the whole point of giving to those less fortunate? teach a man to fish and all that?

Re:a bit of a copout (1)

sudon't (580652) | about a month ago | (#47607353)

That's right. Give a kid free internet, he has free internet for six months. Teach a kid how to collect and analyze packets, he has free internet for life.

Split Content from Delivery channels. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47602489)

The only way the merger should be approved (and it really shouldn't ever be approved), would be if both Comcast and TIme Warner were to be forced to shed all content creation entities, as well as content distribution entitities.

ie.

You can be an internet provider / Cable company

or

You can be a content creation entity

In reality this should be enforced today with AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time-Warner as they are.

It's a conflict of interest to control both content and content delivery channels.

Re:Split Content from Delivery channels. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month and a half ago | (#47604447)

I agree, even then it should never be allowed. That would put the majority of American cable subscribers under a single provider, and that's should never have even made it to the table.

Oh wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47602511)

Oh how wonderfully altruistic Comcast is!! Such a wonderful company. Just makes me want to vomit a little in my mouth.

Re:Oh wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47602775)

Der Internet Furher loves us! Yes he does! Liebes us all!

Free...torture (3, Funny)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602567)

It's sorta like the guys at GitMo telling their guests today they get free waterboarding.

Re:Free...torture (1)

sribe (304414) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602679)

It's sorta like the guys at GitMo telling their guests today they get free waterboarding.

Well, come on, you've got to admit that's more humane than billing them for waterboarding?

Re: Free...torture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47602983)

That will be $2 for the water, $5 for the bucket, $10000 for employee compensation, and $25000 for the "psychological trauma" suffered by your torturers.

Low cost internet for the poor... (2)

Marlin Schwanke (3574769) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602607)

Did anyone expect Comcast to actually honor the spirit of the low cost Internet Essentials agreement? Hands???

Re:Low cost internet for the poor... (3, Informative)

koreanbabykilla (305807) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602757)

I'm not even all that poor and I have it. Your kids just have to qualify for free lunch. It was super simple to set up. One phone call. My bill is 10 bucks a month. As far I I'm concerned they are honoring the agreement. They suck for lots of other reasons, this isnt one of them.

Why only for poor families with kids? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47602669)

I actually think it'd be more useful for adults to try to find work. But I guess comcast just wants to do the minimum possible

Why the 6-month limit (1)

robstout (2873439) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602671)

If the parents can't afford the service now, why do you tihnk they can in 6 months? Seems petty and short-sighted to me.

six months free... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602721)

...with 5 year contract at %150 the going rate, and a cancellation penalty of death.

Didn't Comcast just top the list of most hated companies? To beat outfits like Monsanto, you've got to work hard. A press release about charitable works just isn't going to change that.

$10 / month, no contract. Read the summary (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a month and a half ago | (#47604607)

I know you liberals can't be bothered to actually read an article, but come on, the summary is just a few sentences.
After the six free months, it US $10 / month.

I've heard that Comcast sucks. If you think they do, you have two choices:
a) tell people why Comcast sucks
b) totally make shit up out of thin air, so readers think that people complaining about Comcast are liars and idiots

Re:$10 / month, no contract. Read the summary (1)

jthill (303417) | about a month and a half ago | (#47604865)

Umm, please name any skein of human culture not rife with liars and idiots. Focusing on them is, at best, a waste of time. Of course, just one step above the barrel-scraping morons are the raw bigots, who pretend every undesirable characteristic is largely the fault of some group of people Not Like Themselves. Also endemic everywhere.

Good point. $16 server admins in California (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a month ago | (#47605301)

> Umm, please name any skein of human culture not rife with liars and idiots.

Good point. Just before reading your message, I was dealing with yet another moron hosting company who doesn't know how to copy files. I was curious, so I clicked on their employment page. They're hiring server administrators in California at $16 / hour - less than gas station clerks make. Surprise, for $16 / hour in California they get server admins who are morons.

And you're right, those aren't liberals, they're Californians. Oh wait ... ;)

Re:$10 / month, no contract. Read the summary (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a month ago | (#47605931)

Not a liberal here.

Maybe you didn't read this part:

and that further requirements should be implemented if Comcast is allowed to buy Time Warner Cable.

Do you understand what this is about? It's a cheap way to try to get past anti-trust laws and head off municipal broadband.

And I notice that this "article" you speak of doesn't really say anything about the user agreement. It wouldn't be the first time that Comcast posted one set of rates in the press and in advertisement and another on customer bills.

Give me one reason why anyone would trust Comcast? Why should anyone approve of their getting larger by buying Time Warner?

a) tell people why Comcast sucks

I have an idea, let's ask the Internet!

https://www.google.com/search?... [google.com]

Re:$10 / month, no contract. Read the summary (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a month ago | (#47606119)

> Give me one reason why anyone would trust Comcast?

Given that you just lied to us, we certainly wouldn't trust anything else you have to say on the matter. That puts you and Comcast in the same category. We wouldn't believe either one of you.

Next time, if you don't start out your comments with lies, you can point out who the bad guy is and be believed.

Re:$10 / month, no contract. Read the summary (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a month ago | (#47607595)

Given that you just lied to us, we certainly wouldn't trust anything else you have to say on the matter.

The difference is that I'm not charging you. My lies come for free. Comcast makes you pay for them.

And I'm not the one pointing out why Comcast sucks. Blame the internet:

https://www.google.com/search?... [google.com]

Self-aggrandizing (5, Insightful)

ShaunC (203807) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602809)

I'm a Comcast TV and internet subscriber (not really by choice, as in many places it's the only solid option). Over the past few weeks I've seen an ad from, by, and for Comcast promoting this service... over and over and over. It shows a kid in school with some narration about how everything would be better if only he had access to the internet, then he goes home, and imagine that! A Comcast truck is sitting outside his home, hooking up some internet service!

Comcast loves kids, loves schools, and wants to help all students do research for their education! Yeah, right. This is a very low cost (or free), but also extremely low service plan. You have to be around or below the poverty level to qualify. The local news did a segment recently and the way they presented it, Comcast won't be letting you sign up unless you can prove that you qualify for food stamps and free school lunches. I'm not looking to go into a welfare debate, but living in a city with a fairly high number of section 8 residents, many of the folks who would qualify for the Internet Essentials plan are already paying Comcast for much better services using subsidies from other sources.

I love the idea of internet access being available to everyone, but don't think for a moment that Comcast is doing this out of some kind of corporate benevolence. It was required the last time they were involved in a giant merger (buying out NBC) and they're finally getting around to promoting it in hopes of their next giant merger (with Time Warner) being approved.

Re:Self-aggrandizing (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about a month and a half ago | (#47603833)

Perhaps the next discussion we should be having is how are people on food stamps and living in section 8 having cable? Im sure some bleeding heart will tell me its a right and im racist for questioning it though....

Re:Self-aggrandizing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47604153)

When I worked for a property management company, we had to record main TV sizes for insurance, and the Section 8 residents had much larger TVs on average than the rest of the residents, but they were still smaller than the condo owners who were nearly 90% white in a county that is 30% AA. Total screen area was nearly 30% smaller for the Section 8 residents, and the local cable company (Telecable) billed the Section 8 residents just as much for cable as the whites. That is unfair since the whites had better TVs. Of course that's what happens when you elect Republicans.

Overhead (2)

bussdriver (620565) | about a month and a half ago | (#47604643)

Some waste, fraud, abuse and improper management happen in any system. Obviously too much is a problem but it is equally as bad to obsess over reaching 100% perfection.

Simply because they own a TV doesn't indicate a great deal; they could have previously had one, been given one, stole one, etc. It would be difficult and vindictive to make them sell everything they had in order to not starve. There are plenty of pawn shops all over the place so we must have plenty of victims for those vultures... not that one can get much money for those things used anyhow. If you only hand out food stamps to homeless naked people are you going to feel slighted because they have shoes? Sure, YOU won't (but not everybody) but you have to keep in mind that studies show that the poor are pretty bad with money as well as capable of finding ways around their troubles (actually proving capitalist ideals about being inventive) such as eating subgrade food or cutting other corners so they can save up and buy the TV they think they need. After all, TV IS THE DRUG OF THE NATION. Homeless starving addicts will skip meals for a fix.

As far as implying that a race is making up most the people on food stamps etc, it is likely not based in reality as the whites are usually higher in such numbers than other "races" and while it is true that as a % of the demographic the minorities may be doing worse but they are by definition a smaller population so the absolute numbers come out different. Now if one actually treated the whites equally I don't think their % would differ as much as it does and then the absolute numbers would explode (because their population is so much higher.)

BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47602937)

I was denied raises because 'I have no children' and that 'other people (pieces of sh&t)' need the money more....

if i had the raises and money that the other other breeders had then i could be a breeder tooo.

f&*k this

jim

Non-Sequitur, Anyone? (5, Insightful)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about a month and a half ago | (#47603049)

From TFS:

Critics have argued that the program is too hard to sign up for, that eligibility criteria should be less strict, and that further requirements should be implemented if Comcast is allowed to buy Time Warner Cable.

[Emphasis Added]

Regardless of Comcast's record of "helping" the poor or any other "requirements" to be levied against Comcast, they should not be allowed to purchase TWC under any circumstances. That would concentrate far too much "last mile" power into too few hands.

Of course, that's the point so the deal will go through and we'll have another win for regulatory capture.

Another legal requirement for Comcast to blow off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47603071)

Comcast is legally required to support registration of customer's own DOCSIS modem but the majority of customer service isn't trained on how to honor the requirement or who to correctly transfer a customer to for getting it done.

Comcast is legally required to support Cable Card capable devices. Some members of customer service claim they don't provide Cable Cards. Even if you find one that acknowledges they have them, they will send a tech out with no cable cards to install and reschedule for another 6 hour window you need to wait. If they do arrive with cable cards, it is not uncommon for them to be broken or not correctly registered in the Comcast database for pairing. Last cable card install took four scheduled tech visits and only happen after being told we would be filing grievances with the FCC.

Comcast is legally required to honor their advertised 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee. Otherwise, the advertisement would be fraud. But Comcast claims it isn't actually accountable for any of their services so it seems like the majority of satisfaction issues are rejects as being "outside of their control."

Of course it is hard to sign up for an inexpensive program that Comcast doesn't really want to offer. That is what they do with everything they pretend to offer but don't really want to provide. Their PR will gladly point to the statistic of 350,000 sign ups but never state what they had to go through to get it. They also will never provide honest statistics about how many people where turned down or lied to that they don't offer the program. They get the benefit from having poorly train customer service of themselves not really knowing the real number of people they turned away.

This cycle of requiring customers to jump through hoops to get what Comcast is legally required to provide but wants to make it hard as possible to provide is never going to change. There will be no improvement made by allowing Comcast to merge with TW.

Right time now! (0)

rcht148 (2872453) | about a month and a half ago | (#47603161)

Ok to reject the Comcast/TWC merger now...

USA Should Nationalize Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47603649)

Seriously, this is getting to be total bullshit. The US Government, which I might add basically paid for it, should just nationalize it. This crony capitalism bullshit is just that: bullshit.

Internet is a basic necessity, and therefore a basic human right. Fast, USABLE internet should be available to every single address in the United States, free of charge. It is one of the most important responsibilities of government to "provide for the general welfare," and that includes a basic income, basic utilities, and sustenance, for anyone who needs them.

Re: USA Should Nationalize Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47604665)

No, it shouldn't be free. It should be cheap. Regulations that introduce real competition and price controls could help.

Sad state of America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47605547)

You know this goes along with free lunch, Obama phones, cheap cable TV and yes internet. It seems America has become the freeloader capital
of the World. Everyone wants to come to America especially if your unskilled, uneducated and unmotivated. Remember when America was the land of opportunity? I am not sure a bunch of free services and programs paid buy what few still work in America was what it meant.

Headline confused me (1)

JestersGrind (2549938) | about a month ago | (#47605873)

Who is Bill Amnesty? Should I know him?

More free stuff for losers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47605877)

So if you're a low life and can't/won't pay your bills, you now get more free stuff?

Fucked up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47606189)

Wait, we're going to give more free crap to the welfare crowd in exchange for letting one of the WORST providers of a 'public utility' gouge the shit out of everyone else?
Makes perfect sense to me.

Free ISP service sucks (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about a month ago | (#47606479)



Agenda-laden pozer-wet-eye makes me sick. Pay what you owe! Know what soul-blistering hard-work means or are you a bling-infested Bantu pimp? Lots of people between rich & poor work 70-hr weeks 50 weeks/yr. I know the type. No need for "rest" till you die or make-it. Then you work 52-weeks/yr.

Granted killing-off narco.MEX and Somalian wettbakkks would help USA citizens find jobs. Put-down Obama.nation pimps who sucker them in.  Yep both would help. If you can't hack it then please ... die-off quick and roll into the gutter.
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