Corruption, distortion, control: Comcast's real-life 'House of Cards'

The frenzy over the proposed Time Warner merger hides damning details of Comcast's power-hungry moves

Let's talk about Comcast, he said, hands trembling and the big vein in his forehead throbbing like a jungle drum. I hit the FCC's Net neutrality delusion in a previous post, where FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler interpreted the Supreme Court's Net neutering decision as giving the FCC even broader powers of control over the big Internet providers instead of the steel-toed kick to his crotch it really is. Complete double-talk seems to be the standard for the Internet provider business these days.

Comcast is a perfect example of a we-don't-care, double-talking, slavering, rampaging telecom/cable monstrosity that's using this consumer-crippling legislation to topple our competitive choices like Godzilla strolling through Tokyo. It's only going to get worse. Sure, there are tinfoil hats preaching ridiculous Comcast conspiracies, but maybe the wingnuts are on to something, even if they're starting out from pothead premises.

[ Railroads, superhighways, and the fight for fair access | For a humorous take on the tech industry's shenanigans, subscribe to Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter and follow Cringely on Twitter. | Tell us your tech story! If we publish it, you get a $50 American Express gift cheque. Send your tale to offtherecord@infoworld.com. ]

The deal that's been in the news the most recently is Comcast's move to devour Time Warner Cable. You'd think Time Warner might not be superhappy about this deal, but its CEO, Rob Marcus, got up at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom Conference held earlier this month in the highly industrious locale of Palm Beach, Fla., and enthused that the $45 billion merger will put all of us in happy-happy land.

Newsflash: It won't. Rather, get ready to be dumped into hugely-screwed-douche-broom land. The deal means that Comcast is set to service about two-thirds of the American population with both Internet and entertainment. How many of those folks are going to have an actual, practical choice?

Comcast spreads it tentacles

Tellingly Marcus has been Time Warner's CEO for only about two months, and recently leaked information on his compensation package shows that he stands to make robber baron money if the merger goes through -- to the tune of about $80 million. How could he possibly be biased? I know I'm a cynical old fart, but is it loony to suspect that Comgraft may have had a hand in getting this guy a key to the executive bathroom? If there was any justice, he'd have to write a resignation letter right this minute with ink made from rectal blood and salty tears.

The fate of U.S. Internet pipes isn't all that's on the block. With Net laws castrated as they currently are, Comcast can also opt to bully content providers and control what you can and can't access on what amounts to its Internet. In a recent blog post, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings sounds like he's complaining about this trend -- never mind he's already validated it. Netflix complained of degraded throughput to its customers about a month ago, then paid Com-lie an exorbitant extortion fee, and presto! Its service quality was magically restored. Hastings and Comcast paint this as a big win for consumers, but they're actually saying we're as dumb as a bag of hammers.

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