We Interrupt This Broadcast

I know you are all waiting with bated breath for my exciting new substantive post. Or at least, it amuses me to imagine so. But the Evil Cartoon Bird has struck again. So instead of our previously scheduled programming, we present more ranting about the evils of cable companies.

So Wednesday evening there was a storm. Internets go out. Which is dumb, because cable lines are buried. Oddly enough, the TV didn't go out. I wait a few hours. I call the cable company. I sit on hold for another two hours. At the 1'45" mark, the Internets come back. I stay on the line until I get someone so I can complain. I complain. They tell me there was an outage, but it's fixed now and all will be well.

Thursday. Beautiful weather. Same time as Wednesday, the Internets go out. TV still works. Weird. I wait a few hours. I call the cable company. I sit on hold for another two hours. This time, the Internets don't come back. I complain. They tell me there's an outage. I get a service credit (like, $5). Internets come back late that night.

Today. About 2pm. Absolutely gorgeous. Clear skies, 71°F. What am I doing? Yelling at the cable company. Because the Internets are gone again. This time, they're off for most of the day. The worst part of it is that Call Center Moron doesn't know anything about the previous outages, doesn't know anyone who would know about them, doesn't know anyone (in the whole company!) who would know what is going on, or when it's going to stop. "We can't predict outages." Bullshit. You're doing something. Three days in a row! This service is total crap and I have no alternatives, and they have no incentive to do better. As if a $5 service credit will make me feel like I've won and make me go away.

There was a campaign here in Key Midwestern Swing State to "open the doors to cable competition." There was a bill. It passed and was signed by our new Governor, Liberal Democrat. Large National Telephone Company was the primary lobbying force behind the bill. The bill abolished all municipal cable franchise agreements.

"How wonderful!" I can hear you exclaim. "Key Midwestern Swing State has taken a great step towards a true laissez-faire cable television market!"

But alas, this is not the case. The bill did away with municipal franchise agreements by creating a State franchise agreement! Instead of local tyrants dictating the terms on which customers may purchase cable television and Internet services, State tyrants will get to do it. And have done it. And have prices dropped? No. Because the bill didn't actually open the doors to cable competition. It just made it so that the telephone company can get it's "fair share" of the public pie. Are there new choices? No. The choice is still "cable or DSL," not "which cable company?" Actually, when the bill was signed, my cable bill went up by four and a half dollars a month. And now the service is getting shitty.

Tyrants are everywhere and they're not going away. What amazes me most is that people are so confused about what tyranny is that they'll embrace a bigger tyrant who comes along to "save" them from the petty ones.

Tom G Varik