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In 2014, The Consumerist crowned Comcast as the “Worst Company in America”. Pretty bad, right? But wait. Go back to 2003 and we see that the American Customer Satisfaction Index found Comcast to have the worst customer satisfaction of any American organization, including the Internal Revenue Service. Ouch.

Is there anyone out there who actually likes Comcast? Seriously, speak up. I’m honestly curious. So given that public opinion rates it somewhere between taxes and gout, how is Comcast still the largest provider of cable Internet in America? Something doesn’t add up here.

Which is why many Americans — and sympathizing non-Americans — want to see Comcast crash, burn, and receive a comeuppance for their grievances. But is such a fate even possible for an entity as large, pervasive, and rooted as Comcast? You bet.

Soon? We’ll see. Here’s how it might happen.

Net Neutrality + Comcast = David + Goliath

Without a doubt, net neutrality has been the largest threat that Comcast has had to face in many years. For those who still aren’t caught up on the whole controversy, we have a great net neutrality summary What Is Net Neutrality & Why Should I Care? What Is Net Neutrality & Why Should I Care? A significant number see Net Neutrality as essential to the survival of the Internet. In this article, we're going to look at why Net Neutrality matters, and why we should fight to protect it. Read More that explains everything you need to know about it, but you can also learn about it on YouTube Net Neutrality, As Explained By YouTube’s Geniuses Net Neutrality, As Explained By YouTube’s Geniuses Are you still not sure what Net Neutrality actually is? Don’t feel dumb: it’s a nuanced concept. So, we tracked down videos from some of the smartest people on the Web. Read More .

In short, net neutrality is the idea that all Internet traffic should be treated the same, that specific kinds of traffic should not be throttled or priced differently, and that it shouldn’t matter where the traffic starts or ends.

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Do you want to be charged an extra subscription fee for access to certain websites? Or do you want to pay more money for 1 GB of “video data” versus 1 GB of “text data”? Those are the kinds of atrocities that net neutrality aims to prevent, and we’re fortunate that the FCC ruled in favor of net neutrality How the Web Won on Net Neutrality: 5 Key Moments How the Web Won on Net Neutrality: 5 Key Moments It does looks like net neutrality will reign, at least for a while. Let's take a look back at some of the most important moments in this battle. Read More not long ago.

how-comcast-dies-net-neutrality

The death of net neutrality would mean scary things for broadband customers, especially for customers of monopolistic giants like Comcast. With ISPs playing territory wars — being unwilling to expand into areas where previous ISPs exist — most of us don’t have much choice over which ISPs we can elect to subscribe to. For a lot of us, it’s Comcast or nothing.

So imagine being “forced” to use Comcast. Comcast and Hulu are two services in the same bucket (they’re both owned by NBCUniversal), so what would happen if Comcast decided to charge extra for access to competing services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video? Or denied access altogether? A nightmare scenario.

Comcast is already a media giant, but the company is still growing and becoming more monopolistic with every day that passes. We’re lucky that its merger with Time Warner Cable didn’t go through, otherwise we’d really be at their mercy.

The important thing about net neutrality is that it hinders some of Comcast’s ability to become an all-in-one media provider and thus forces it to play nicely with competitors…

Comcast Needs Healthy Competition

…except Comcast doesn’t have many competitors, which is one of the key reasons why they’ve managed to stay throned as the largest cable provider in America while simultaneously being rated the worst company in America. It’s easy to stay king when consumers are trapped.

Which is why people all over the country were uplifted when Google launched its experimental Fiber program Google Fiber Launches Internet Service With Speeds 100 Times That Of Average US Connections [Updates] Google Fiber Launches Internet Service With Speeds 100 Times That Of Average US Connections [Updates] Google Fiber has just selected Kansas City, Missouri, for the premier launch of its broadband Internet and TV service. What’s remarkable is that Google has announced that speeds available will be 100 times more than... Read More back in 2012. For the first time since the company rose to dominance, Comcast finally had reason to fear another Internet provider.

Let’s compare. For $77 per month (which doesn’t include regional taxes and fees), Comcast offers a 75 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload connection speed. For $70 per month (also excluding taxes and fees), Google offers a 1,000 Mbps download and 1,000 Mbps upload connection speed. They’re worlds apart.

how-comcast-dies-google-fiber

And there’s growing evidence that Google Fiber’s existence is enough to push competing ISPs to offer better speeds on the same infrastructure that they’ve always had — which is what happened in Kansas City where average Internet speeds jumped up a little over 80 percent.

The obvious problem here is that Google Fiber has limited reach. As of now, it’s only available in Kansas City (Kansas), Austin (Texas), and Provo (Utah), with plans to expand into seven other cities within the next couple of years.

Problems aside, can you imagine what would happen if Google Fiber was available everywhere? Companies like Comcast would have to start offering a similar level of service before all their customers jumped ship. If Comcast refused to step up, you can be sure it’d get left behind.

But here’s the funny thing: while people were still begging for Google to bring Fiber all over the country, Verizon announced that they had started testing their fifth generation of mobile network technology, which could purportedly provide speeds faster than even Google Fiber 5G is Coming in 2017, Will Be Faster Than Google Fiber 5G is Coming in 2017, Will Be Faster Than Google Fiber Verizon is about to change the wireless industry in a big way as it begins field testing 5G wireless technology within the next 12 months. Read More .

Now we have two big name companies pushing for Internet speeds that exceed 1 Gbps, and neither of those names is Comcast. How long will it be before Comcast joins them? Because if Comcast waits too long, the future Internet of gigabit speeds How The Future Gigabit Internet Is Likely To Play Out How The Future Gigabit Internet Is Likely To Play Out A spider web of cables, satellites, data centers, switches, and routing systems connect the world. Now we're headed toward a gigabit Internet where all that data will be moving that much faster. Read More will render it obsolete in the blink of an eye.

Three Global Internets In the Sky

If net neutrality and competition weren’t threatening enough, Comcast has yet another thing to fear: innovations in Internet infrastructure. If all goes according to plan, these innovations would be the final nail in Comcast’s Internet-providing coffin.

As of now, the chief reason why Comcast can have such a monopolistic grip on America’s Internet is because Comcast owns a lot of the infrastructure — the wires, cables, and hubs that make it possible to transmit data from point A to point B. If someone wanted to compete, they’d have to rent infrastructure (unlikely) or build their own network (unlikely).

So until recently, consumers like you and me have had to suck it up and deal with whatever ISPs were available in our regions. But now, there are three incredibly rich entities working to rectify this problem.

First, we have Google. As if its Fiber project wasn’t groundbreaking enough, Google is forging ahead with another project called Loon Google Announces Balloon-Powered Internet With Project Loon [Updates] Google Announces Balloon-Powered Internet With Project Loon [Updates] Google announced on Friday that it will release a new product that incorporates balloons and wireless Internet. Dubbed Project Loon, Google explained most of the details in its company blog, but some questions are still... Read More , which involves building a global network of space balloons that would provide Internet to everyone all over the world. For free? Probably not, but it’s still an ambitious idea worth applauding 4 Surprising Ways Google Will Soon Impact Your Life 4 Surprising Ways Google Will Soon Impact Your Life We won't be seeing interstellar spaceships and time travel machines any time soon, but here are a few Google projects that are going to change the way you live within the next few years. Read More .

Even when Comcast’s competitors, like Google, want to lay down alternative infrastructure, they can’t due to laws and regulations that prevent that from happening. This is why Google Fiber areas are few and slow to expand. But hey, if Google can’t deliver Internet through the ground, it’ll do so by way of sky.

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And that’s what Elon Musk is doing, too. Not only is Elon Musk revolutionizing the energy industry Did Elon Musk Just Save Us From Fossil Fuels? Did Elon Musk Just Save Us From Fossil Fuels? Read More and making improvements to mass transit How Elon Musk's Hyperloop Could Change Mass Transit How Elon Musk's Hyperloop Could Change Mass Transit Elon Musk's hyperloop is a totally new kind of transit. Here's what we know so far. Read More , last year he announced that he was going to launch a fleet of Internet-providing satellites Elon Musk is Building A Fleet of Satellites to Bring Broadband to the Masses Elon Musk is Building A Fleet of Satellites to Bring Broadband to the Masses Between revolutionizing the car industry and pushing human space exploration with SpaceX, Elon Musk seems to be everywhere. Now, Mr. Musk has a new project: bringing cheap, uncensored Internet access to the world at large. Read More into space. The current plan is about 4,000 satellites by 2030.

It’s a loftier goal than Google Loon, particularly because satellites are extremely expensive to launch and maintain, but if successful would knock Comcast down several tiers on the ISP hierarchy. Unfortunately, 15 years is a long time to wait, but necessary for a project of this scale.

Our third player in this game is Facebook. Just a few months ago, Facebook successfully created a solar-powered drone with the ability to beam down Internet from the atmosphere using lasers. The drone itself would sit in the stratosphere for three months before having to return to Earth. Its Internet provision radius is about 50 ground miles.

These drones will eventually be able to operate without any manned operators, and the ultimate goal is to build a network of these drones that cyclically fly up and down to provide accessible Internet all over the world. Facebook has yet to provide an estimated timeline for the project, but it won’t be here for several years at the very least.

When Will Comcast’s Reign End?

With everything we’ve covered above, it should be noted that Comcast is more than just its Internet branch. Even if everything went according to plan and Comcast was driven out of the ISP industry, the company itself would continue to exist in other forms.

And it’s not like we want Comcast to die, necessarily. We just want Comcast to reform their business tactics, adhere to ethical practices, and provide consumers with a level of service that lives up to Internet standards in other first-world countries. We don’t think that’s too much to ask.

What do you think? What would it take for Comcast to get its head on straight? Or is Comcast too far gone for redemption? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Image Credits: white tombstone by Cako via Shutterstock, Net Neutrality by mindscanner via Shutterstock, Earth From Space by Marcel Clemens via Shutterstock

  1. A41202813GMAIL ..
    October 10, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    What Would Teach Absolutely All pos isp Providers A Lesson They Could Not Refuse:

    - GOOGLE FIBER WORLDWIDE, PLEASE !

  2. Ron Mitchell
    October 10, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Our electric utility(EPB) became the first really credible threat to Comcast here in Chattanooga. By credible I mean they were to big for Comcast to buy up. EPB now has over 70K subscribers and probably over 45K of them were Comcast subscribers that jumped ship at the chance to deal with someone who treated customers like they were important.

    EPB offers a 1Gig service for $69 a month for new customers and $59 a month for customers who already had the service when it was offered. This is the exact opposite of Comcast and most other businesses who throw existing customers under the bus when offering specials and new services.

    I think the loss of the customers was behind Comcast's offer to sell their Chattanooga setup to Charter if the Time Warner deal had gone through. They saw that they were at the helm of a sinking ship here.

  3. brimosher
    October 10, 2015 at 1:18 am

    I hate giant monopolistic corps like Comcast and their hordes of lobbyists and lawyers, but to be fair, over the last year or so, they have gotten a lot better with customer service. Their price gouging and attempts to eviscerate net neutrality in congress, at the FCC, and currently in the courts continue to disgust me. This doesn't mean I'd be happy if google became the next comcast as they've regularly worn away at their old "don't be evil" reputation. Competition is the answer, not replacement.

  4. lmac1947
    October 9, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    You hit it dead on with the remark about laws and regulations. More pipe could easily be laid if the damn politicians would quit bowing to contributors and do what is right for the VOTERS. Find out who, in your state are voting for these laws and regs and vote the bastards out.
    The internet has got to remain free and fair for all. I think both Dems and Repubs can agree on that in nothing else.

  5. computer wizard
    October 9, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    I wouldn't shed any tears over Comcast "biting the dust"... Had my own issues when my mother moved early this year in the SAME TOWN, and they screwed that up beyond belief... Had to visit an office and wait in line like cattle at the state DMV offices :-) One employee that took care of us was great, they DO have some great workers here and there, they just get overshadowed by the "evil empire" and the majority that don't give a crap and take pleasure in abusing customers :-(

    Fortunately at home I'm in Time Warner country :-) Was holding my breath and praying the merger would TANK :-) Glad it did, Time Warner isn't always that great either. They have their share of idiot employees...

  6. Neil Mathieson
    October 9, 2015 at 12:03 am

    Comcast is the nastiest company that I have ever dealt with. They're predators that are always messing with your billing to jack you for more money.
    I had their Triple-Play service at $150.00 per month. TV service was great, and the internet was choppy at best. I didn't use the phone service at all.
    Within two months, they jacked my bill to almost $300.00 per month. I bought an outdoor digital TV antennae and I'm getting 35 HD channels for free. I dropped all of their services except for the internet service for $80.00 per month and I love it.

    Comcast is a rip-off and if they fail, I won't lose any sleep over it.

  7. Al Lukasek
    October 8, 2015 at 10:14 pm

    Comcast would have to be losing a lot of money for anything to happen.
    Where I live it is the ONLY choice.
    I have had HOURENDOUS customer relation problems with them taking over 6 months to resolve
    ( don't believe that crap about its easy to move...)
    I am actively researching alternative equipment to avoid their monthly rental fees.
    ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE COMPANY
    I feel sorry for people who take a job with them...

  8. Michael Alexander
    October 8, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    I got no beef with Comcast and I've been a customer for years and years (and years). The few times I've had tech problems, they resolved almost everyone right away. The one time I really had a problem that several Comcast tech people were unable to resolve, I emailed a top HQ exec and asked if he would look into it and he did (no lie). Took care of toute de suite. I started out with Internet service with 50Mbps download speeds and later they upped it to 100Mbps and just recently to 150Mbps without charging me extra. I'm also a cable TV and landline customer and I can count on three fingers the number of times I had a problem with either service in maybe 20 years. I pay a lot for my monthly service ($200-ish) and there are plenty of times when I think it's a bit too much. I've called Comcast billing a number of times and have always managed to squeeze some savings out of them without making a big deal out of it. Everyone complains about Comcast but based on my experience, they don't deserve as much guff as they get.

    • Glenn Lake
      October 9, 2015 at 5:14 pm

      Are you the same Michael Alexander that works at Military Recruiting & Engagement Lead at Comcast? Just asking. If so, I think that may be why YOU can get a response from a top HQ exec.

      • Michael Alexander
        October 9, 2015 at 5:41 pm

        Absolutely not! I have no personal or professional connection to anyone at Comcast. If there were such a thing, I would have nth degree of separation with anyone at Comcast other than as a satisified customer.

  9. Federico Durán
    October 8, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    "...US Space Command is currently tracking over 32,000 objects..."
    That sounds like a lot but it's not.
    .
    Let's back-of-envelope how much spacious is space, or rather, how much "surface" has a sphere the size of Low Earth Orbit to ballpark how much space each object has. Earth radius is 6370 Km, let's say LEO is a very low barely orbital 130Km to get a nice round 6500 Km radius. A sphere surface area is 4 pi r² ... crunch crunch .. 530,929,158 square Km available at 130Km above the planet's surface. Remember, real orbits are bigger.
    Assuming all of these objects are in Low Earth Orbit, which they are not, and equally spaced apart, that's 16591 Km² per object. 13,273 if one count 40,000 objets. Remember, few of those objects are in this hypothetical orbit.
    But that's area per object, not distance between objets. If we assume a circular area of pi r² we get a circle with a radius of 65Km, 130Km from side to side with the object in the center. If we assume a rectangular area of side² we get a square of LEO of 115Km on each side, with the object in the center.
    .
    Unless I made one or more mistakes with the math, wich is not unheard of (pleaso point them out)
    .
    Not a lot, but far enough to NOT crash, and in fact they rarely do. And that's assuming all of those 40,000 objects are uniformly distributed on the same very low 130Km orbit (ISS is above 400Km, GPS are at about 20,000Km and communication satellites are at about 36,000Km).
    Of course, a better calculation would be of the VOLUME between Low and Medium Earth Orbit, and factoring in the object density vs height would be better still.
    .
    But summing up, it's not unreasonable to make room for more satellites.
    After all, US Space Command is TRACKING what's up there and the orbits of the new ones can be calculated not to interfere. Besides that, there is bound to be some redundancy with Musk's 4,000 satellites, the system can afford to lose some.

  10. Jon Steedley
    October 2, 2015 at 3:01 am

    Hello, all.
    *IF* Comcast 'gets away' w/ it due to government corruption, &
    *if* Comcast is a monopoly,
    then ALL the people that are victims of Comcast have a vested interest in CHANGING the 'government' that enables Comcast to victimize ALL the people.
    Seems simple enough to me.

    Have a GREAT day, Neighbors!

    • Joel Lee
      October 7, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      You're absolutely right. Too bad government change is easier said than done, especially with the current state of apathetic voters. :(

      • Dave Whitfield
        November 24, 2015 at 6:58 pm

        Or non voters for that matter.

    • Naman Arora
      October 9, 2015 at 3:56 am

      See, the problem comes in when Comcast is able to CHANGE the government (and its regulations) much more conveniently than its consumers. Aka the lobbying system in the US. When you have a billion dollars in cash sitting around, it's pretty easy to buy yourself a monopoly. I think you need a couple billion to buy a new president.

  11. DonGateley
    October 1, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Even if they start competing I will leave them when I can out of spite. I'll bet the vast majority of their customers feel and will act the same. They are walking dead.

    • Joel Lee
      October 7, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      At this point, Comcast has earned themselves so much ire that I think most customers feel the same! That must be why Comcast is so scared about competition. :)

  12. Roger J. Caldwell
    September 30, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    I don't have to imagine being "forced" to use Comcast. For 13 years I was FORCED due to them having a monopoly in my area. They city I live in was in bed (i.e. kickbacks) with them and their poor service, atrocious customer service and high rates. Then finally AT&T became our Savior and rolled out UVerse. I switched two years ago and haven't looked back. Sure, there have been hiccups on occasion; that's going to happen with any IP technology. But when compared to Communist-cast; AT&T is absolute Nirvana!

    • Joel Lee
      October 7, 2015 at 1:07 pm

      It's amazing what real market competition can do! Glad to hear you were able to step up your Internet, even if it was from Comcast to AT&T. :)

  13. fcd76218
    September 30, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    With all the junk orbiting Earth, is there room for another 4,000 satellites?

    Don't get me wrong, I'm all for Musk getting into providing Internet. With his track record, he (his company) could do a better job than any of the existing ISPs. So far anything he has touched, he has managed to improve. It's just that with all the crap flying around up there, pretty soon the pieces of junk are going to start knocking each other out of orbit. If I'm not mistaken US Space Command is currently tracking over 32,000 objects, most of which are scrap metal. Maybe, in addition to exploring Mars and supplying the Space Station, SpaceX can clean up some of the scrap in orbit.

    • Joel Lee
      October 7, 2015 at 1:06 pm

      With millions of cars on the surface of the Earth, I think it's safe to say that 40,000 in space isn't a huge threat yet. But I agree, if we're going to keep expanding like this, eventually some of that space garbage will need to be cleaned up.

      • fcd76218
        October 7, 2015 at 2:02 pm

        "With millions of cars on the surface of the Earth, I think it’s safe to say that 40,000 in space isn’t a huge threat yet."
        Cars have the maneuverability to avoid each other (for the most part), space stuff travels on pre-determined and unchangeable orbits. Satellites cannot be conveniently moved out of harm's way.

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