Chris Kranky

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Comcast – only Internet customer

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

I walked into the Comcast store, a place that reminded me of the driver’s license bureau, dirty, cheap furnishings (a sharp contrast to the palace the Comcast executives show up to work each day in Philadelphia). I was there to do what I think many American households will do over the next few years – disconnect their cable.

After years of watching my TV rates rise and 200 channels of nothing on (1 channel seemingly devoted to showing only Golden Girls episodes around the clock) and why is there no news channels that seems to actually be reporting the news? I was done with broadcast TV. I was taking charge.

No, I’m still a Comcast customer, but now only for Internet. I will get my programming from the ultimate in cloud computing, the Internet itself. Between NetFlix, Hulu, various websites, BitTorrent and a small digital antenna, I have enough program choices to satisfy me. So in one fall swoop, I have cut my cable bill by 50%.

Unfortunately, Comcast has now lost about $1000 in revenue. Clearly if enough people do this, they will feel this pain (even in the palace) and they will react accordingly by either raising my rate, capping my bandwidth capacity or both. None of my actions have cost them more money (though they will contest that it has), the pain is solely they’ve been used to getting a certain revenue from me and they no longer are and want to regain that ARPU from me.

With a duopoly of only Comcast or Verizon as my broadband providers, don’t expect them to get into some price war. Duopolies never do, they cooperate and slowly strangle their customers. The Obama Administration seems to be interested in broadband for rural America. I’m not sure why, nobody lives in rural America, that’s why it’s rural. The challenge that Obama is missing is to create more competition in metro areas, where people actually live (and statistics indicate cities continue to grow, while rural continues to decline). I need a 3rd provider and I’m gonna need it soon.

Oh, Comcast isn’t sleeping. As I as handing my cable box to the clerk, she indicated my Internet connection rate would jump from $40 to $60 a month since I only had one service. They must not be asleep in the palace after all.