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October 24, 2007

Why I Don't Like Telcos

It doesn't take more than these two headlines below, both on the front page of my news reader today, to show the perfect contradiction that is the telcos.

Verizon Redefines 'Fast' With Groundbreaking FiOS Internet Service Featuring 20 Mbps Download and Upload Speeds vs Verizon Fined For Pretending That Limited Service Was Unlimited

The hyperbole about "fast" is almost laughable if not for the reality of most people's "high-speed" connections in the United States being truly laughable. Remember how far behind the United States is to the rest of the world in overall broadband penetration (yes we have larger geographic areas to cover but it's more than that) and even the paltry broadband connections that do we have are pitiful compared to the bandwidth of Europe's or Asia's internet connections.

I'm not saying that all of the blame rests on the shoulders of the U.S. telco companies but as monopolistic players with no real incentives to innovate or compete on prices, they carry a large amount of the burden. Don't get me started on Net Neutrality or ask me about those 'Cable Brings Choice' TV and print ads that I see here in D.C.

Best of all, don't even think about criticizing them either because AT&T recently updated its terms of Service (TOS) to indicate it could cut off your internet connection if your opinion or commentary "tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries." This language has since been changed, due to the public outrage first generated on the blogosphere, but it's another reason I have no love lost for the telcos.

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