Greater Boston, and especially our home of Cambridge, is undoubtedly one of the technology capitals of the United States, and certainly of the East Coast. And yet Kelly and I have struggled for years to find a decent, reliable Internet provider for a reasonable price. Currently we are using Comcast, because we simply could not get reliable service from Verizon no matter how hard we tried. It was depressing, but at least we figured it probably wouldn’t get any worse.
And then earlier this week I read that our Internet/phone/cable provider, Comcast, is going through yet another merger.
Sigh. No good can come from this.
Oh sure, we will hear all sorts of rationales for why this is a good thing, and of course the corporate officers who want this to happen insist that the merger is “pro-consumer”. Not that many people are fooled by that. In fact, the general consensus outside of the Comcast and TWC boardrooms seems to be that it will result in even worse customer service and slower broadband speeds, and that it will generally hurt consumers. In reality, the only people who will really benefit are those that are making a ton of money from the merger, i.e. some of the largest shareholders.
I think this is all related to the push for both deregulation and large corporate mergers that have taken place here in America over the last few decades. Every time it happens, those that want it (usually those who benefit directly through their stock holdings) insist that it will benefit consumers by giving us more choices with better services for less money. Oh, really? Can anyone point out an example of that actually happening? Did it happen with airlines? With utilities? Why would you expect it to happen with internet providers?
We have enough problems with internet infrastructure in this country as it is, all corporate shills‘ bloviating aside. And we pay way more for those slower speeds, too. Like our healthcare system, we pay a lot more money for a lot worse results.
So sure, there might be some benefit. But it’s not faster Internet service or more choices or cheaper prices for those of us who are customers dragged unwillingly into this merger. It’s money, and money for a select few. But that seems to be the way things go around here lately.
God help us all.
P.S. Mayor Walsh, even if you don’t succeed, we appreciate you trying. We really do.