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Time Warner, Spectrum, etc.

Discussion in 'Other Discussions' started by Klueless, Feb 23, 2020.

  1. Klueless

    Klueless Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    Messages:
    871
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    I live in New York State where “Spectrum” took over our failing Time Warner service. We had a phone company that, “by the way”, provided a 7 Mbps Internet service. We had a cable TV company (Time Warner) that, “by the way”, provided a 35 Mbps Internet service (and, “by the way”, provided a phone service).

    About a decade ago the Feds got rid of analogue over the airwaves rendering non-digital TVs obsolete (short of using converter boxes). Time Warner to the rescue. They kept analogue. You could simply plug a coax into your “obsolete” TV and, voila, you had, well, Television!

    But no good deed goes unpunished. Fast forward a few years. Supporting legacy analogue was consuming bandwidth thus limiting television programming and Internet speeds. Internet service became “iffy” and “up to” 35 Mbps was more like 20.

    In our area there was a small startup – Greenlight Networks. They were offering an all Fiber service of 500 Mbps x 50 Mbps for only $50/mo. (Cheap in this area!) Of course I signed up. But they were a small company and it would be years before they got to me.

    Then Charter came to town. They bought out Time Warner and renamed the cable TV, Internet & phone operation “Spectrum”.

    They came out with the “Spectrum App” which allowed you to stream all the television programming you were paying for over the Internet eliminating the need for those “cable TV boxes”.

    Then they eliminated analogue and went all digital. The fact it added more programming didn’t really affect me but it raised their baseline Internet service to 100 Mbps x 10 Mbps! I immediately switched from 7 Mbps Telephone DSL and Satellite TV to Spectrum and had a lot more for a lot less.

    I was thrilled. But not our governor. He was constantly ripping on Spectrum for not building out in rural areas fast enough. “Internet services are a Right! Everyone deserves at least a 300 Mbps service.” He was going to sue Spectrum and throw them out of the state. He also got involved in a petty union squabble launched by a Time Warner union holdover in NYC. Local papers parroted his tirades.

    When Spectrum went all digital those old coax drops to TVs stopped working. We were all advised up front. We had several alternatives; add a cable box, stream to the TV, add a $40 Roku box and stream to the TV or use an antenna.

    Well our local paper went nuts. They featured a story on this poor guy who had 14 TVs who would “have to” rent 14 cable boxes for an additional hundred plus dollars a month. "It’s just not fair!"

    Well, in addition to streaming a few TVs (at no additional cost) he could have repurposed all that now obsolete coax and put in a whole house antenna for about $100. But, no, it was all about Spectrum is evil.

    And a lot of locals feel that way. Time Warner made a lot of enemies and Spectrum inherited all those enemies. Despite the name change and all the Spectrum improvements customers remember Time Warner and hold Spectrum responsible.

    So between the governor, the local papers and the "Time Warner legacy" Spectrum is behind the eight ball.

    So back to this small Greenlight fiber company with 500 x 50 Mbps Internet for $50/mo. They are golden. They are wonderful. Everyone wants Greenlight. It’s almost cult-like. They are the white knight come to town slowly building out in one densely populated, high profit center neighborhood at a time. They don’t have to build out in sparsely populated areas where they might lose a buck. But they're small so it's somewhat understandable.

    Well they were small. A local billionaire saw the opportunity and infused Greenlight with tons of cash. Tons! And it’s not just local anymore. It’s Buffalo, it’s Rochester, it’s Syracuse, it’s potentially millions of subscribers. In my neighborhood alone they’re converting 6,500 by summer and 80,000 in the Rochester area by year end.

    This local billionaire will soon be a multi-multi billionaire. Good for him. And Greenlight will be successful beyond their wildest dreams. Good for them. But here’s my problem. If Spectrum runs a mile of cable in my neighborhood they get about 150 customers. If they run a mile of mandated cable in rural NY they get one or two customers. To make Internet available in rural NY Spectrum needs to charge me more to make up for it. Makes it hard to be competitive with Greenlight.

    Greenlight gets to play by a different set of rules. They do not have to build out in rural NY. They simply pick out densely populated neighborhoods where they stand to make the most money.

    NYS is blind to this. And Spectrum seems to be blind to this. I’ve reached out to them a couple times. I’ve suggested making their Spectrum app available to users on non-Spectrum networks. At least then they’d be able to sell their TV programming to Greenlight users. After all they are a TV company and selling something is better than selling nothing.

    But, if I put aside my animosity for our governor and his mistreatment of Spectrum, I could make a few bucks for myself by promoting Greenlight in our neighborhood and walking my neighbors through a few steps to get ready.
    • Switching from Time Warner e-mail to, say, gmail.
    • Installing a suitable router (since they’ll lose their Spectrum router).
    • Provisioning and setting up suitable streaming TV services.
      • Programming their smart TVs and/or adding Rokus as needed.
    • Replacing the home phone service with, maybe, a $10/mo. VoIP service.
    • Repurposing the now obsolete coax to provision a whole house antenna.
    • Maybe even a whole house TV recorder?
    I proposed the above to the big box store down the street. Their reply was corporate tells us what to do, we don’t tell them.

    So, at seventy-five and with limited skills, I just might be starting my first business?

    And, finally, end of rant <lol>
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
  2. ChuckTin

    ChuckTin Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    May 25, 2019
    Messages:
    28
    Well I'm betting it's a little more involved than you are describing. But here's a thought - what's more common than a telephone pole?
    Why can't a local low power broadcast antenna be mounted on say every 20th pole and deliver wifi directly. It would have to be a scrambled signal and every paying customer would need a de-scrambler but in quantities hardware is dirt cheap.
    No doubt someone is going to say that there are FCC rules for how close antennas can be sited but aren't those specs based on nearly hundred year (1920?) old assumptions?
    I can see a local utility, your PoCo?, jumping on the chance for a second revenue stream.
     
  3. Klueless

    Klueless Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2016
    Messages:
    871
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Thank you for your comment. My rambling post covered about ten issues/problems so what, exactly, are we talking about here?

    You're saying run Internet to the poll and then, instead of running a wire to the house, fire it out over WiFi?

    Thanks : -)
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020
  4. ChuckTin

    ChuckTin Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    May 25, 2019
    Messages:
    28
    Sorry I didn't answer. Yes, cheap(we by the dozens) WiFi Routers on telephone poles. In rural climes on the last pole nearest the (your) house. Then charge on the utility bill. They'd need a very large password data base and security for it. But we need that anyway.