No matter what you do today, there’s at least a 95% chance someone’s already doing it. They’re probably doing it better, they’ve probably done it longer and they probably have a lot more fans, customers and clients than you. So what the hell do you do to get ahead and above in this world? It’s quite simple, really. If you want to get more fans, you need to get better, or appeal to another crowd. If you own a bakery, you need to have better prices and/or better goods. These rules should be universal right?
Well, they are, but they’re also not. You see, unlike music or pastries, there are some things that everyone ‘needs’ in this day and age. I’m talking about basic, yet omnipresent things, like TV, internet and telephones. In this, as everything else, the providers need to get ahead, and both outsmart and outlast their competitors. Sure, they can be better or provide a different service than the others, but the path of least resistance is and will always be; monopoly. If you can lock down a specific area by owning a certain cable or satellite (or even the land, I suppose), you can do whatever the hell you want in that area. “Oh, you want internet out here? Then you need our cable to get it, and it’s going to cost you!” I understand this is the way of the world, but what pisses me off is how the consumer always ends up at the bottom. I suppose if you were the only bakery for miles, you could get away with selling shitty bread at high prices, because the customers wouldn’t have a choice. But would you, though? Wouldn’t you try to make good bread instead? Wouldn’t you still try to act like a proper bakery?
Let’s just say I’m glad TV, phone and internet service providers aren’t bakers, because their shit wouldn’t be edible at all.
The race is always with other providers, and it’s always about who can put their fucking cable in the ground first. (That’s an apt metaphor as well, I guess; who can shit all over the place first?) Then, when they have ‘claimed’ an area, they can bring whatever shoddy business plans or politics they want into it. They can sell at blood prices, they can make other components a prerequisite and they can choke your speed if you don’t play by their rules. And what are your options in the end? You can move away, or you can play ball.
There’s an ongoing case in Norway right now, in which two ISPs (pictured above) might be breaking the law. If you sign up with them, you’re forced to pay for a year-long TV-subscription as well as the monthly fee for their internet. In this day and age, many people don’t pay subscription fees for DVRs and PVRs and shit anymore – most people have Netflix or HBO Nordic or any number of local internet TV providers. Selling these things combined is apparently against the law, but these companies don’t ‘feel like they’re breaking the law’ (Actual fucking quote!) And so they remain deadlocked against the consumer ombudsman (the ones protecting the customers’ rights), whilst continuing their lurid business plan – making sure any new customers must pay extra charges for a decoder they’ll never use. As if that wasn’t enough, these companies will also charge a fee to “re-establish” the connection if you move or switch providers:
If you move to a house where one of these piece of shit companies own the fiber, you need to pay close to 200$ to get internet (plus the added TV decoder they force on you), even though everything is already set up. The router is already there, the cable is already there, and the internet is already in working condition. But to change the name on a fucking piece of paper, they charge almost 200$
This is a first world problem to be sure, but it got me thinking nonetheless. What about the customer? I’ve worked in the service industry before, so I know the customer isn’t always right – quite the opposite, in fact – but we’re still these people’s bread and butter. There’s so much competition today, companies have to be ruthless to survive. Apparently, that involves skinning the little guy alive. We might just live in a transitional phase, and in a few decades everyone has satellite internet beamed right into their Google Brain TM or iMind Cloud… Shit… Whatever. (Be careful so your thoughts don’t get hacked and uploaded by that guy known as 4Chan!) Still, it shouldn’t be like this. Companies shouldn’t keep getting away with monopolizing an entire area and acting like total shits towards their customers! This is why Net Neutrality is so important as well – we can’t allow the mega-corporations to discriminate against online content and applications! Thankfully, we were able to avoid these hacks by using good old ADSL instead, and I suggest you do the same if you ever find yourself in our situation.
Whew, this was more of a rant than reflection, I’m afraid. (And quite local, as well…)
Anyway, support Net Neutrality, and if you can, boycott those piece of shit ISPs
– Sincerely, Bishop