Phil Harris

This country is going to hell in a hand basket. That is a recently expressed perspective from an elder gentleman I respect. He was talking about the price of gasoline at the time, but I am inclined to add further evidence to the charge.

America transformed rapidly over the past few decades, into a society that runs on two essential ingredients: gasoline and communications. Our population has moved from rural communities to the cities and from city centers to a sprawling network of annexed suburbs, often to the chagrin of the small town’s people, powerless to stop it from happening.

I just watched a recorded interview in which they were discussing plans of major Internet Service Providers such as Time-Warner and AT&T to begin charging subscribers for actual Internet usage. Not such an unreasonable concept, one might be inclined to agree unless we look at the facts of the matter. Giant telecom crocodile tears may tear at the heart-strings of conservative sympathizers; however, I am getting a bit sensitive to the notion that corporate America has less than admirable intentions.

I am a subscriber to Time-Warner’s Road-Runner service. It is expensive at $44.95 per month, but it has been reasonably reliable and provides adequate speed for my Internet needs. Certainly, I would not argue that it is costly to create and maintain the infrastructure to deliver services such as Internet connectivity, but just how costly is it?

My home has been connected to the Time-Warner system for more than six years. The same line is used to deliver cable television and Internet service, and it has been in place, unchanged for each of those years. My combined Time-Warner bill (cable and Internet) has never been less than $135 per month, which means that I have paid at least $1,620 per year for a total of nearly $10,000 during this time. Yes, I do know that a portion of that was for taxes and regulatory fees, but the lions share has gone to Time-Warner.

Perhaps, it would behoove me to ask the question. Did I adequately compensate Time-Warner for the $3.75 worth of coaxial cable that links my home to the box on the corner of my lot? Did this subdivision I live in, with three hundred homes adequately cover the cost of this leg of Time-Warner’s distribution system?

Two-hundred homes (considering that not all of the three hundred subscribe to their Internet service, but most do subscribe to cable) at $10,000 per pop… is at least two-million dollars ($2,000,000.00).


Phil Harris

Phil Harris is a software engineer, author of Cry for the Shadows and blogs at Citizen Phil.

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