Bread and Circuses

New York politicians say Comcast shouldn't be allowed to buy Time Warner Cable unless it provides free Internet service to all residents of public housing.

In this case they aren't even paying for the circuses, they are just telling the circus providers to offer circuses for free in poor neighborhoods or they won't be allowed to perform.

This is disgustingly unethical and a really bad idea. See, the way the internet is structured -- unlike broadcast TV -- each individual or household has their own bandwidth allocation. If two people are watching the same TV show, they are effectively each using a full channel's worth of bandwidth while they are watching the show, rather than the show being broadcast once and received twice (or three times, or a thousand times).

So while a broadcast TV show can add a new viewer for free, and a cable TV show can add a new viewer for the cost of hooking a cable up to their house where they can receive the same signal everyone else is getting, a new internet user is like adding a new channel -- you have to add capacity all the way up the chain.

That means that you can't just pay a one-time cost to hook up a bunch of new people, you have to pay ongoing bandwidth costs and expand capacity in other ways -- capacity that is already severely strained from the demands of paying customers, whose bills are already absurdly huge due to existing agreements like this one.

Politicians are crooks who buy votes with other people's money.

This entry was published Wed Oct 29 18:35:24 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2014-10-29 15:31:21.0. [Tweet]

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