$50.00 per month to go on line using Comcast Xfinity internet service. That is right $50.00 per month, it would be more if I had not bought my own modem. To be able to utilize the internet at a somewhat decent rate of speed I need to budget $600.00 per year, oh plus tax, can’t forget that, add another $50.00.
What happened to the days of $9.99 per month internet? I remember that was not to long ago. Sure the connection made noises when I used it, and got a lot of pop ups, but it was only about 10 years ago. How can the cost of something that everyone needs now be so expensive?
Let me start by using Comcast internet service as my example. I know many of you have other providers, but over the last three days I worked diligently every angle I could to try and get a cost savings from my current provider. Let me just say IMPOSSIBLE. Comcast like many other cable companies, branched into high speed fiber optic internet service years ago. I would say it is faster than DSL which is offered by phone companies by a long shot. They have the download speed numbers to prove that which you can see below.
I don’t want this to become a technical article, but I do want you to see that essential what is happening at comcast is into the grouping of the have little’ versus the have’s. You can get “basic” internet which is just about the same speed as DSL, for $35.00 a month, which is still incredibly expensive. OR, if you have money to burn you then can get the “Performance”, or “blast” packages that do provide a VERY high speed internet service for prices ranging from $50.00 per month up to $115.00 per month, usually with a 6 month “hook you in” discounted package price for new customers, of which I was not, so I did not qualify.
It seems this “pricing model”, or offering a sub standard level of service for the great majority and then a super good standard for the few who can afford it is becoming common practice. I have some real problems with this.
First comcast, like many other cable providers has to get a “franchise” from the cities or counties in which they provide service. Essentially they do this in a public hearing in which only ONE franchise is excepted into the area, making it a monopoly. The theory is that laying the infrastructure network to provide the service is very expensive, therefore only the company whom lays the infrastructure should be able to offer service for a fee to the residents. I am sure many lawyers out there are stating I way simplified that, and I did, but my point is, in America we are allowing single providers into communities, in which the majority of the residents can not afford the service. This is causing huge amounts of people to either have no internet service or turtle speed service, which trust me, is not worth purchasing at all.
This is also a good example of how slowly over time business models are set up to force you the consumer into one direction, and then once they got you, JACK the costs up. I imagine 10 years ago many of you paid your bills with checks and stamps, you did not go on line for directions but used a “map”, remember those? You got information from a newspaper, but now it is on line websites and blogs. How about banking, how many even walk into their branches anymore? My point is as things like the post office, and brick and mortar stores begin to die off, what is left, you HAVE TO USE THE INTERNET. It is no longer an option, if you are looking for a job, trying to file your taxes, EVERYTHING IS ON LINE.
So what does someone do if they can not afford $50.00 per month to use the internet when before it cost them $2.00 in stamps?
Now I have not even touched on using our cell phones for the on line experience. I am just focusing on the insane high costs all of us that sit in our homes and use the internet daily. I imaging a great many of my readers don’t even want to think about spending another $50.00 per month for a “data package” from Verizon or AT&T.
Now is this inflation? Is the a household expense increasing over time, OF COURSE!. In fact my calculations show about a 100% rate of inflation over the past five years. Do you think our government in their inflation numbers includes this?
My point is simple, Comcast made 6 billion dollars in profits last year, and paid a tax rate -3.2%. Yes you read that right 6 billion in profits no tax, in fact we subsidized their existence. Our cities grant them franchise rights to have a monopoly over us allowing to charge whatever rates of robbery they want for a service that now is almost as needed as health care. Yet no one is complaining about this or trying to help the little guys and gals. Well I am one of the little guys, and I am screaming bloody murder. When will something be done?