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

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Instead of toeing the line, Netflix should watch its back since Comcast is after more than its QoS. Recently, Comcast announced that it bought rights to Netflix's hit series, "House of Cards," and will be showing the previous season of Kevin Spacey's Machiavelli impersonation on its cable network. I don't like it, but given that Netflix knew Net neutrality probably wasn't about to go its way, it should have seen that one coming.

Sony ensnared

Another content-related problem is Comcast's blocking of Sony's HBO Go app, which lets PlayStation 3 buyers stream HBO content to their PlayStation -- as long as you're not a Comcast customer. Even though those folks are paying Comcast for "free and uninhibited" Internet access, they have to watch HBO solely on their cable TVs. Sony doesn't want any part of that discussion, saying it has no knowledge or understanding of why this is going on and forwards all questions to Comcast.

I'm not even going to get into the Comcast lunacy of turning its customers' Wi-Fi routers into publicly accessible hotspots. It's been going on for some time, and only now are customers noticing. Knowing Comlax, it probably hasn't bothered with pesky little network management chores like bandwidth caps or monitoring service levels. If your Wi-Fi throughput suddenly drops, figure your sketchy next-door neighbor has illegally pornified your IP address, so the FBI won't associate him with all the pics he's sending to his beastly bros.

But hey, at least Com-crass has been quoted as promising buyers the same customer service they've come to love from Uber. I guess we should expect price gouging and the CEO ridiculing us on his Facebook page in addition to six-hour appointment windows.

To be clear, I'm onboard with Sen. Al Franken, who sent a letter to the Department of (we kind of care about) Justice last month detailing the mind-boggling long/medium-term weaknesses in the Comcast-Time Warner merger. I wish he could make the jokes I know were going through his head when his aides wrote that thing, but I guess that's not appropriate on Capitol Hill.

The longest con of all

Then again, he might as well have cracked wise since Comgraft has been funding both Republican and Democratic politicians of late: 15 of the 18 members of the Senate House Judiciary Committee, scheduled to hold what's surely going to be a drunken, stripper-infused yes-fest on the merger on March 26, as well as 32 members of the 39 that will be impersonating impartiality on House Judiciary Committee and staging a similar farce. All have stuffed big bucks from Com-pass-the-hat's wallet into their campaign coffers, so if we've been watching "House of Cards," we already know how that's going to end.

I feel like I'm shouting at the wind, but I re-iterate: The Internet is a utility. We're shipping entertainment, products, and overlord drone software via the Web like we do over highways and railroads. Do we let state highway administrators tell trucking companies what they can and can't ship? No, because that's as stupid as hitting yourself in the head with a roofing hammer. Why then are we doing it on the Web? We shouldn't, 'nuff said.

This article, "Corruption, distortion, control: Comcast's real-life 'House of Cards'," was originally published at Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, follow Cringely on Twitter, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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