back to article Let's go live to the 3rd circle of Hell – and see what Comcast and Charter are screwing up

A Texas telco says Comcast sabotaged its cable network after it refused a buyout offer. Telecom Cable, which provided services in and around Houston, claimed Comcast agents dug up and destroyed its lines in 2015, forcing the company out of business and driving its owners out of the Lone Star State. Now, Telecom's former …

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Mushroom

I believe it

I don't doubt it at all.

Comcast and Charter are evil bastard corporations, both of which should be taken behind the shed and shot many times. In the head. Then their heads cut off and garlic put in their mouths and buried separately from the bodies - which have stakes put through their hearts. Just to be on the safe side.

They are perfect examples of unbridled, rabid capitalism on a rampage while we have a government that is a complete joke when it comes to reigning them in. The "fine" Charter is paying to New York is what, 1 day's profit? If that?

Until (and it will never happen) we either REALLY jack up the fines or, better yet, start putting CEOs and board members in jail when corporations misbehave, this sort of thing will just continue.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I believe it

So: You're agin the varmints?

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Devil

3rd level of hell

Holiday for me. I'm currently on the down ward spiral from 5th to 6th that is a data migration/system transformation project.

Morbidly I am now wondering how many more levels of hell this project can deliver

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Re: 3rd level of hell

Morbidly I am now wondering how many more levels of hell this project can deliver

Think of a number. Multiply by the number of external "consultantants". Then multiply by their daily rate.

Add (number of project managers X number of senior managers involved).

Divide by (number of bottles of whisky you are allowed to drink daily at work+1)

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Childcatcher

Re: 3rd level of hell

The 3rd circle of Hell is Gluttony. I would think that the 4th (Greed) would be more applicable or perhaps a little further down because of fraud. As far as I am concerned, these two can burn so any level will do.

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Paris Hilton

So, the moral of the story is that if, as Charter did, you fail to deliver on your promises, you will have to pay a fine, that later you will recoup with added fees, to do what you promised to begin with, if, indeed, you do it at all (just like Verizon)... Well done, New York, well done!! And if Charter does not indeed fulfill its obligations, it will be compelled to pay another 12.5 minutes of profits to "settle" it's breach of contract. Can I sell anyone here a bridge? We just built a new one here in Minnesota! Awesome deal. Only $186US million and if you don't make it back the first year, I'll only charge you $175US million, plus fees, surcharges, rentals, etc, etc! A bargain at only $499US million!!!!! (beware five exclamation points as per T. Pratchett)

I withhold judgement on whether Comcast is guilty of such mafia-like behavior, and it is a story I will follow with interest (on El Reg, if they do not loose interest). I do not doubt that they will be able to convince others with discounted service for the first 43 days factual arguments that they did not dig up their competitor's lines while installing their own. They were old, fragile, and near on failing of their own accord. Gophers are to blame as well as lack of regard for infrastructure maintenance and ordinary wear. Gophers can be very, very dangerous for business when you're a small company, without the resources to creatively and legally rip-off your customers.

But, lest anyone forget, this is what happens when a government, federal or local, not only allows, but encourages unregulated monopolies to emerge, and allows these monopolies to integrate vertically (NBC/Universal/Comcast, ATT/DTV/TW, etc.). Because these companies have actively and effectually lobbied to change the laws preventing their formation, with useless opposition, they in effect write the laws and regulations allowing their creation, again, both locally and nationally. The members of congress of both sides (with a couple exceptions) of both the Senate and the HoRes are responsible. To paraphrase the Orange One, this only happens because we allow it to (though he was talking of the generous tax loop-holes he routinely takes advantage of, not necessarily the creation of monopolies or conglomerates). Non-participation, disinterest, and disregard by the general public and lack of action informing the general public by so-called consumer protection groups (I'm looking at you, EFF and friends) is what not only allows this, but encourages it. Such "consumer interest groups" must keep in mind that that the average American does not read El Reg, Ars Technica or Vice: Motherboard on a daily or even ever basis.

Your average US media consumer will bellyache to no end about their high cost of their cable/satellite bill but will never have known that there may have been some regulation or piece of legislation that would have eliminated or reduced it, introduced by some idealistic first term representative from Montana's second district or junior senator who thought, naively, that they may make a difference. I remember when I was elected to student council (without even naming myself or running), and I was stupid enough to think it might have more say than planning prom or home-coming. I idiotically thought we could actually change school policy on a couple things that I didn't think made sense (lack of open lunch and adding a minute between classes for those who had to cross a busy street to get to classes for starters)). As for cable/satellite, I for one, gave up almost twenty years ago when The History Channel decided to refuse showing programs on history, and CNN stopped showing news programs. After that PBS News Hour and Nova were my TV's raison d'etre, and I cut the cable, saving almost $250/year. Even in rural Minnesota, I have a dozen channels to choose from just from the antenna, and, unlike cable/satellite, they're not 250 variations of a theme.

Paris, because only she and leaders of the free world, and in particular the free leader of the free world, would think this is fair and made sense.

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It's sad

Comcast WILL get away with this as long as they have taken basic precautions and made sure nothing was put in writing. I have no doubt this would actually happen.

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Bronze badge

Re: It's sad

My only reason to doubt that Comcast did this is that it's a little hard to imagine the average Comcast contractor knowing which end of a shovel to pick up.

But yeah, the worst that happens to them is a fine totaling about 16 milliseconds of profit.

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Re: It's sad

Ooh, that's given me how-to-be-an-evil-megacorp ideas.

No, they didn't give *anyone* orders to damage their competitors. They are entirely and provably innocent of that charge!

They just reviewed the incompetence complaints filed against each of their contractors, and then *repeatedly* sent out a select few of them to certain points to dig up and visually inspect cables.

MWUhahahahaaaaaaaaaaaa!

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SNAFU

This is the USA, these are large corporations, the law doesn't apply here. Essentially (and this has been the case for many years, Trump is only trying to make it even easier) if you are a large corporation, with the power to offer favours to local politicians and civic leaders, then you can pretty much get away with anything.

Getting caught isn't a big deal, nobody goes to jail, the case is settled without anyone admitting responsibility and a small fine is paid.

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Devil

Re: SNAFU

Fuck Yeah Capitalism!

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Silver badge

Re: SNAFU

That isn't capitalism and corruption applies to all economic systems. The particular brand you're speaking of is crony capitalism not free-market capitalism. This type of anti-competitive behavior is the antithesis of a free market and the voluntary exchange of goods or services. What's needed is to remove power from politicians so they can no longer grease the wheels for their corporate pirate friends.

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Anonymous Coward

Karma

Maybe this is Karma coming back to bite Comcast in the arse, as since AT&T dropped new lines in the development I live in a month ago, Comcast Services (particular Internet) have been randomly going down both where I live and in other areas of the country on the same days, at the same times. Comcast hasn't provided any of us with any answers and there is a tweet storm about it at #comcastsucks. How the biggest cable outages over an entire month have gone unnoticed in the media, is unknown at this time, but Comcast Services have been spotty since AT&T dropped Fiber lines in the exact areas that coincide with service disruptions...

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Eh, SOP

A few years ago when Verizon laid their FIOS lines here, there was a mysterious series of Comcast cable line cuts in the area - just Comcast wires, none of the old copper Verizon phone lines or other lines. I had DSL and had no outages; a nearby sister with Comcast lost service a dozen or so times. By complete random coincidence, the vandalism mostly stopped around the same time Verizon was done putting in their FIOS lines.

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