Comcast, Netflix and Why Municipal Networks Matter

Comcast is apparently a bit of a slow learner. After getting publicly smacked about for tinkering with bitTorrent, they’ve really stepped in it now by messing with Netflix. The audience is much bigger than the guys running protocol analyzers on their connections; you’ve gone and upset regular folks too. (How do you see that one working out?) Unfortunately, this is playing out as badly as anyone can hope.

Comcast is unfortunately trying to realize the dream of Ed Whitacre by essentially double-dipping for data at a time when bandwidth is so cheap you can almost afford to give it away. Imagine if the phone company tried to charge you for making a call and the recipient on another phone network for receiving it. Can you imagine the uproar and outrage at attempting to bill someone that’s not even their customer? That’s what Comcast is essentially doing, trying to charge both sides of the transaction instead of providing you the service you already paid for.

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Is Frontier Blowing Smoke on LNP?

After posting that Frontier Communications was giving competing telcos a hard time with porting numbers, commenter Aaron Wilcox, the Utah Account Manager for Frontier, advised that Frontier would be more than happy to port numbers given the proper paperwork was filed with the Utah Public Services Commission. At least one service provider called bunk on that claim citing that under current telecommunications law, the Utah PSC doesn’t issue the Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity that Aaron refers to if the service area in question has less than 5,000 lines. Documents I received from the PSC indicated that they suspended LNP waivers for rural telecoms, but those documents only reference wireline-to-wireless transfers, not wireline-to-wireline.

So which is it? Can customers in Tremonton port their numbers or does Frontier have those numbers permanently locked down? Is the suspension of the wavier a boon only to wireless companies? Could customers get their phone number to a UTOPIA provider by transferring to a wireless carrier and then porting the number again? It sounds like Frontier has been taking advantage of the current regulatory structure and resulting confusion to keep customers locked into their service.