While I’m going on and on about utility companies (because let’s face it, Verizon and Comcast are rapidly becoming nearly the same), how about I write up the experience I just had.
I don’t normally expect visitors on a Saturday unannounced. Further, I don’t get packages. When I got to my front door, it was a Comcast employee. He warmed up by asking if I had Verizon home phone service. Well, seeing as I don’t like getting taken advantage of, the answer is no. He then asked me if I had a home phone. It’s clear where he was going, so I played along. Yes, I have internet phone service (Vonage in particular). He guessed that it was Vonage.
He then told me that Comcast offered the same service, but with better quality. That could be, but I haven’t had any issues. He then told me that Vonage uses their pipes (that’s not a quote, I don’t remember the exact phrasing) and that they allowed that, but they could shut them off at any time. For $8/month more than what I’m currently paying, I’d get a phone line through them and I’d get digital cable with a free year of Starz and HBO.
If I dropped Vonage, I would save money. However, I like the portability of being able to bring my box anywhere with me. When I go to Macworld Expo in San Francisco next year, being able to bring my phone with me will be a big bonus. Plus, I plan on spending a good amount of time at my parents’ fancy new house in Maine. I can’t do that with Comcast.
I’m sure you’re brain is bubbling, or you may be even screaming. Why haven’t I said anything about Comcast basically telling me that they could shut off Vonage whenever they want? Well, that’s because I wanted to get the other stuff out of the way first.
Pay attention boys and girls: this is Net Neutrality hitting home. Comcast threatened to degrade my independent internet phone service to the point of being shutoff in order to promote their own service. That internet connection they supply is for my use and what I choose to do with it is my business. If I want to use Vonage, I can use Vonage. The day they lock me out of it is the day they lose me as a customer. It’s unacceptable.
However, I think it’s all bark. The real question is do I want to pay $8 for an extra phone line, digital cable, and some premium channels. I think I might.