That’s it! Case closed! We’re done here.
A part of me wants to say that moving forward, I’d be hard-pressed to top myself. If my mission is to document the worst of all humanity, many will agree that Internet Service providers are in the blue-labeled top-tier of the most despicable human beings on the planet. If you wanted to create a symbol of all that is wrong with life on Earth, you wouldn’t need to show innocents being slaughtered by terrorists, starving infants, or cancer patients. You’d just need to display the Time Warner Cable logo.
Wait, there are other options?
Of course, rumor has it there are other Cable and Internet Service Providers out there, but if you have one, you don’t ever hear about the others. That’s because in the United States, the two largest Cable and Internet Service Providers round-robin geological areas. There are very few places that give you either option. These two companies, Time Warner Cable and Comcast, were even in talks about a merger back in 2014, but dropped it when the United States government began wagging their finger.
Let’s start with Comcast. Comcast is the largest cable company and ISP in the United States. Comcast also owns NBCUniversal, making them one of the largest media companies. The thing is, being big and successful doesn’t make you the worst. Being a huge collective asshole makes you the worst.
It’s worth noting: while there are also local ISPs, the expense of dealing with local government and public utilities while competing with companies like Comcast and Time Warner make it hard for the smaller companies to thrive. Without a competitive market, local governments don’t need to be competitive, driving costs up so only the bigger players do get established. Nice work, dipshits.
Granted, the infrastructure isn’t cheap. for example, to build a gigabit fiber network for the entire city of Los Angeles, it’s proposed to cost up to $5 billion. Verizon was in an agreement with the state of New jersey to provide 100% broadband coverage, and more than $13 billion went into that since 1993, and it was never fully accomplished in the tiny state.
Basically, it’s not a viable, sustainable business option to compete against Time Warner and Comcast in most situations.
I won’t go too deep into the background, but back in the 1980’s congress rolled out the Cable Communications Act of 1984. It gave municipals the authority to license cable operations. There were lots of smaller companies serving local areas that gradually merged into larger organizations, and by 2013, dozens of regional companies were reduced to the four big names we generally see today.
What makes ISPs the worst humans?
Where to start? These knee-biting assholes are so ridiculously evil… No, I’m going to roll up the sleeves and stop bowdlerizing.
Big ISPs are what justifies a major extinction event and purging of the entire human race. These wet, swelling shits fight hard to monopolize an area and overcharge for what should be justified as a utility. Knowing that they are the only turds in town, they proceed to charge exorbitant rates, irrational hidden fees, and consistently provide sub-par performance. Nobody with any authority bats an eye because of the huge mountains of money ISPs give to politicians. Of course, the money for this comes directly from the subscribers who, in most cases, have no other choice.
Where does all of this money go? It certainly doesn’t go into improving the infrastructure or customer support. Time Warner’s Internet service pulls a 97% profit margin. To sweeten the deal, some ISPs even cap your data to scrape more out of the unfortunate users who, I don’t know, want to watch Netflix or work from home. Sure, in the rare cases where a major ISP does have some local competition, say, Los Angeles, they improve the service and reduce the cost, but that’s a rare case.
Customer support is abysmal. Do a Google search for “Comcast customer support nightmares” or just ask anybody who’s ever had to get their Internet installed for the first time. Technicians don’t show up to appointments, phone support would be better if they assigned toddlers, and billing must use some sort of NASA-esque orbital trajectory math to come up with all the extra bullshit fees beyond what you agree to when signing up.
My personal experience
Like many others, I depend on the Internet. I use it for my job, I use it for literally ALL communication, and even to get cell service where I live I require a stable Internet connection. I pay the extra for their “turbo” Internet which gives you about 20Mbps, and while I usually get the speeds (and a pretty impressive upload rate of over 2Mbps), the service constantly goes down. Tech support’s only answer? Purchase another modem through them (which they already charge me monthly for to lease) or just keep trying to unplug it and plug it back in.
A year or two ago my credit card was stolen, and I had to cancel the card and have my bank send me a new one. This process was going to take about five days, so I figured that if any of my bills that try to auto-charge that card in this remarkably small window would get an error and notify me to update my payment credentials. At least, that’s what the one other bill did. Time Warner, however, has a different policy.
They repeatedly charged that defunct credit card over and over hundreds of times over a few days, stacking service fees and processing fees and late fees until the bill was several hundred dollars. Plus, I couldn’t update the account information on the website, I had to go to our local Time Warner office, which is staffed by a single, unenthusiastic human, who refused to even listen to my issue unless I had a check written. Oh, and if you take lunch at 1pm, you can’t do business with our local Time Warner because that’s when they close for his lunch. After all, money is tight and the 97% profit can’t afford to seat two morons in the office on a weekday.
To make matters worse, because I engaged with Time Warner by calling support, visiting the local office, and stating my issues, I somehow tripped some trigger to put me on their marketing list, so after that I started to get calls constantly about upgrading my package to get cable and a landline, and how spending $150 more per month would somehow miraculously save me money.
I always respond to them with “TV and phone services? That’s what I have the Internet for.” Welcome to the year 2000, you dullard luddite.
There’s no simple solution. Local governments and utility companies want to charge too much to allow mom and pop competitors, and if you could get started the major player in town will stop at nothing to get you out. The customer is charged too much and treated like shit. If Internet wasn’t such a huge part of our everyday culture and a necessity for businesses, the people who willingly subscribe to an ISP’s services would be the same type of person to willingly get daily colonoscopies.
If humans are the worst, massing a group of C-levels, shareholders, and media bigwigs together to provide a service that most everybody wants and needs brings out the superstars. Time Warner, Comcast, your humans are the worst.
Have a horror story about these humans? Leave a comment below!