Please Sir. May I have Another?
The Future of Your Wireless, Broadband, Internet, Cable, Phone, Satellite Services
Let’s go through where we are, where we are going and how it impacts you, your family, friends and business, not to mention the economic growth of your city and America.
These are a dozen top issues we’ve found while talking to regular people who are not part of the communications/tech “industry”:
- In General
- You have no idea how all this telecom, cable, Internet mumbo jumbo works—and you really don’t care. (And why should you?)
- Your rates keep going up, year after year, for no reason.
- Customer Service and Billing
- And you have had some nightmare with the company’s customer service, even getting simple stuff resolved.
- While you ‘love’ your cell phone, you’re not as fond (don’t like) of the wireless company offering service.
- Maybe you’ve recently went over your data plan and you’re still trying to figure out how?
- And when you call the company, they demand you pay, no questions asked.
- Or when pay your cable bill (double & triple play) do you start screaming at how the $89.99 plan that now costs hundreds of dollars,
- And all those made up taxes, surcharges and small fees just piss you off.
- Privacy & Net Neutrality
- And you know that the FCC and Congress got rid of your privacy and have allowed the companies to start selling information about you to others, like where you go online.
- In fact, you think it’s creepy that sometimes when you go online to look something up, an ad shows up related to what you were looking for.
- Maybe you heard that the plan is to get rid of Net Neutrality, but you’re not sure what it is.
- Getting High Speed Broadband
- And if you live in a more rural area, maybe you are stuck in the Digital Stone Age; rumors are flying that they’ll be shutting off the copper wires you’re still using out of necessity.
- Worse, even in major cities, you still can’t get fiber optic services, and there’s no choice.
- Didn’t they promise to bring fiber optics, which you never got?
- But everything is going wireless, right? Why care about the wires?
- Most people don’t know that when you send a selfie or watch a video, it goes to an antenna that is attached to a wire. Those who control the wires, AT&T and Verizon, control your cell service, as well as a competitor who rents their wires.
Finally, most people are either resigned that nothing is going to change or they ask: Where’s the government, the FCC, the politicians, to fix all this crap? Some of this is just annoying, some pisses you off or costs you, your family or business more money than it should, while there are things that need to be stopped, like the invasion of your privacy, shutting off your services or living in an area where there are services you just can’t get—or you hate the only choice(s) you have.
Unfortunately, the FCC and Congress are on a collusion course with the American public, protecting the few merged phone and cable companies –AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Comcast, Spectrum and some others — and it is about to get a lot worse.
The IRREGULATORS has been formed to stand up and to ‘take on the bullies’. While the first step is to ‘expose’ what is going on behind the scenes, we are going to take legal and regulatory actions immediately, and work with others who want to take proactive steps to fix what is broken, and confront those issues – as if we do nothing, it will get a lot worse.
And we need to start immediately to stop the FCC and take the Agency and the companies to court, now. There is nothing left to do. The courts stopped the immigration law from becoming law. At this juncture the FCC and Congress are rigged to help big telco and cable companies—not you; signing petitions or writing letters, or even filing at the FCC is a waste of time.
And this is not about being a Democrat or Republican; this is about fixing what’s broken based on a decade of neglect, or more to the point, stopping the enlarging influence of AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, Comcast, Time Warner, Spectrum, et al.
The FCC Is Out of Control: This Is a Model of Regulatory Capture 101
On April 20th, 2017 the FCC held a meeting to discuss multiple proceedings. First, the game has been rigged. There are only 3 commissioners now, (there are supposed to be 5) and with Chairman Ajit Pai, (a former Verizon senior attorney) at the head and another Republican who votes with Pai, there is only one Democrat, Mignon Clyburn. While she is pro-consumer, she is not a lawyer and can never win a vote.
Thus, there is no balance to any decision. Any vote, then, is a put-on job designed to favor the current direction — strip all regulations and obligations, all consumer protections, block competition, and make sure that the phone and cable companies come first, not you.
In fact, since this new FCC took office, this has all been a big set up as even the FCC transition team was headed by a long time Verizon consultant. Worse, the FCC has just appointed a former top Charter (cable company) lobbyist to the head of the FCC’s Consumer Affairs division. To use a term, the ‘swamp’ has become a toxic waste dump.
Almost Everything Announced or Acted on at the FCC has Been Done to Harm You.
Virtually none of the top issues listed has been or will be addressed by the FCC. The FCC is, in fact, more responsible than not for most of rate increases, lack of privacy – and their current announcements need to be challenged or things will get worse.
- Remove All Privacy Regulations — There is no privacy today. The FCC, joined by Congress, decided to not implement the previous FCC’s decision to apply new privacy rules to broadband and ISPs. And the new plan is lip service; the FCC wants ‘voluntary’ commitments to make the companies behave.
- Net Neutrality — The FCC has decided to reverse the current Net Neutrality rules, which took over a decade to establish and have been designed to make sure that the companies do not degrade, filter or give their own service advantages over other companies.
- Whamming and Digital Stalking — When you go online now, the companies can sell information about you to the highest bidder, track you on all devices, and collect other information about what sites you go to, who your friends are. In fact, there is a swarm of companies that live in your browser as ‘cookies’ that show up as soon as you go online.
- Wireless Overages—We also uncovered other problems. The ad tech, tracking software and even spyware, malware, and who knows what, are using up 40% of customers’ data plans. Meanwhile, unlimited plans are not unlimited and customers are buying more than ‘gigs’ than they should.
- Unconscious Billing— At the same time, much of what a customer is billed for is from unconscious billing where the phone is being billed and downloads occurring without the consent of the customer, or even when the phone appears to be off.
- Watch the Whamming Video
- Shut Off Large Portions of America — The FCC is planning on allowing companies to shut off working copper-based services with no serious substitute, and limited or no notification.
- Cities and States have not been properly upgraded — Verizon is being sued by the City of New York for leaving over a million households without service, even though there is a franchise to do 100%; small businessses were not included in this agreement. And holes in deployment in cities, or not being upgraded at all, is common throughout America.
Inside baseball Harms: What the Telecom Wonks care about:
- No Audits or Investigations about Cross-Subsidies — We uncovered massive overcharging of local phone customers over the last decade, and the FCC will do nothing to stop it. Instead, the FCC is planning on erasing basic accounting regulations. Worse, these accounting manipulations were caused by the FCC’s own faulty rules which have not been fixed, since for 16 years, others since 1984!
- Raise the Network Costs to All Businesses Including the Services Used by Competitors — The FCC announced removing any restraints on ‘monopoly’ business data services, (BDS) used by competitors, including wireless, or even businesses. The end result will be raising the cost on your wireless, broadband and other services as it will ‘trickle’ down.
What the Companies are Planning.
- Verizon is Becoming a Wireless-First Advertising and Entertainment Company. Verizon controls the telecommunications networks of the East Coast of America from Massachusetts to Virginia and has let the copper networks deteriorate, even in rural areas. Worse, Verizon has stopped deploying any fiber-to-the-home, their “FiOS” service, leaving over 50% of their territories un-upgraded, even though in most states, laws were changed to upgrade to fiber because it can supply much higher speeds.
Verizon’s new plan started with buying AOL and it is also buying Yahoo to sell customer data to advertisers, and it owns companies that do advertising, or can track you wherever you go, on all devices, from tablets to smart phones.
However, Verizon’s plan is to shut off copper-based services and force customers onto wireless. This is because Verizon can charge per gig and add data caps on all services that replace the copper, such as DSL, which has unlimited service.
- AT&T Is Doing Similar Things — AT&T controls the utility wires in 21 states and the plan is to move customers to DirecTV and stopped selling U-verse, which is a copper to the home service. The ‘fiber’ AT&T announced is being put in to support wireless, and is only being offered to less than 10% of their 21 state territory, and possibly growing to only 20%. And theplan has been to let the copper networks deteriorate. And like Verizon, AT&T is going into the advertising and entertainment service with the plan to buy Time Warner, and their previous merger with DirecTV.
- AT&T and Verizon Control Wireless — The companies control the majority of wireless customers and own the majority of the wires used by other cell companies, known as Business Data Services. And, as mentioned, the FCC has just ‘deregulated’ these services and competitors and customers will be gouged.
- All mergers are going unchallenged, and the FCC has decided to not even review the AT&T-Time Warner merger, thus consolidating the companies on multiple levels to advertise, track, and overcharge everyone.
- The cable companies, meanwhile, have no serious competition for basic services, like ISP or home broadband as AT&T and Verizon never showed up to compete in most areas for wired broadband services. This means that they can keep raising rates at will, make up lots of different fees, and lock in the customer so the $89.99 triple play in two years costs over $200.00. Meanwhile these are some of the most hated companies in America because there is no competition or serious penalties to keep them inline.
- Google has slowed down and stopped much of their fiber optic deployments, which has had a chilling effect on new fiber builds.
- Some states have blocked municipality builds out of fiber optic networks, while the other ‘incumbents’, the phone and cable companies, do everything possible to stop this.
- The companies keep control through their have massive ‘skunkworks’, astroturf, (fake consumer groups), paid off ‘experts’ and analysts, ‘co-opted’ non-profits and a lobbying army to block any pro-consumer activities.
- 5G and the Future? 5G does not exist as a service today and 4G’s speed is a fraction of the original hyped projections. 5G requires a fiber optic wire and has a range of 500-1000 feet so none of this will be a serious solution for rural areas or a substitute for a wired fiber service it is supposed to be replacing, especially because these will be priced ‘per gig’ to make more money.
What are we going to do about it?
The other question – What do you want us to do about it and do you want to help?