Does your Internet Service Provider Suck?
Not long ago, a friend in the community where I lived posted a question in our online community. How good is AT&T U-Verse because Time Warner stinks? I was moved to put pen to paper and thought I’d share the thoughts more publicly:
Since I work on the internet, the fact that internet service stinks particularly bugs me; this is true of the cost and service, both in home and for business. The fact that all providers stink, bugs me.
Technology Evolves Efficiently
This is technology. EVERY technology gets cheaper. It’s essentially a law of science (maybe). This technology, in particular, gets cheaper and faster. So quickly, that the businesses that provide it can’t keep up.
ISPs (internet service providers) built a profitable model on a once slow and expensive service. While the technology raced past them, they struggled to figure out how to continue to make just as much money, deliver increasingly better service, AND account for the variable, and generally lower, costs.
What variable costs? Unlike 10-20 years ago, today, we all use vastly different amounts of internet data. I, for example, probably use more than you. I upload and download data constantly; I watch TV through the internet, I work online, I load data non-stop. I can never leave my AT&T wireless phone service because I’m lucky enough to have been grandfathered from an unlimited data plan… every time I get a new phone they chuckle and point out that I shouldn’t get a new plan as it would cost me a fortune.
What’s my point? They’ve all been creating service plans based on how much we use. Seems logical right? I use a lot, that should cost me more than you, who uses very little.
Here’s why it’s ignorant and bugs me. The COST to provide incredibly fast internet is now pennies compared to what it once was. Heck, Google is providing 10x faster internet in some communities, for nothing, just to prove that it can, and the industry should. The old companies (AT&T, Time Warner, etc.) are freaking out.
Internet Service Sucks
So why does your service suck? And mine? Because the only way the service providers can force you on to more expensive plans is to create the illusion that “better” is a different service, a service that costs more.
Take AT&T U-Verse for example. U-Verse?!? The internet is the internet. There is no such thing as a verse… that’s just a marketing ploy to get you to buy a bundle of services that are “better.” U-Verse bundles wi-fi, which is incredibly fast!!, a DVR, TV on demand, amazing internet, blah blah blah. You can do all that with any variety of disparate services: they all use the same internet.
The problem for them is that those of us that know it’s BS, force them to come up with those ploys. For years now I’ve had no cable, no special DVR, no special service for wireless music, etc. I can do it all through my basic inexpensive, unlimited internet by cobbling things together. I have TV on demand, record everything, never watch commercials, etc. All for $40-ish a month. (What do you pay?)
So what can the internet service providers do but force me, us, to upgrade to those “better” services?
To do that, they make your existing service suck. Slowly, so slowly you don’t really notice, it’s not their fault your service is slower – “you’re downloading more.” Over the years, mine has slowed to the point that it’s almost unusuable. It’s as bad as the days of dial up. I haven’t done anything differently… Yes, I use more at times (because my TV is through the internet now) but when I’m not watching TV, to wit, using the internet on my computer at home is grindingly slow – I’m not downloading more and it’s still slow?? To force me to pay more, they have to make what I have stink. It’s called throttling. They throttle certain accounts, certain websites, etc. They can throttle anything they want to force you to use less or pay more.
Why would they do that?! Don’t they lose customers?!?! Yes, of course they do, I’d sooner switch than pay my existing service provider, which now stinks, more, because they have a “better” plan (in part, because I know they are just scamming me). We switch to others, but there are only so many other providers and ALL of them do this. Everyone is just moving around and the ISPs don’t really lose anyone.
That’s why Google is doing what they are doing. Some customers flee to the other service provider, just as many flee from there; so, it’s a wash. At the end of the day, we all start spending more for the new fangled service and the companies do just fine. Google has fired a shot across their bows and said, STOP IT.
The Dark Ages of the Internet
In many ways, we’re in the dark ages of the technology. The internet service providers are Europe. Those with power have to control the serfs and they do that through ignorance and restraint. Not because they WANT to, but because they don’t know any other way – they too are ignorant. What else can they do?? They are the wealthy Kings with power… they can’t do anything to disrupt the way the churches, and Lords, and fiefdoms, keep funneling them money and giving them God-like control and power.
But there is a light… why do I keep referring to Google?? Google is like the Middle or Far East during the same time. Enlightened. Inventing. Advancing. Google is GIVING some communities fully connected, incredibly high speed internet for nothing. Because it can. Because it’s possible. AND because their kingdom (like the rulers of those Eastern countries) isn’t built on ignorance.
Soon, Marco Polo will come along and bring the Eastern science and enlightenment to Europe. And we’ll experience the Renaissance of the internet and the inquisition of the ISP.
One Response to “Does your Internet Service Provider Suck?”
Leave a Reply
Hands down, the smartest Online Marketer I have ever met. He combines his creative thinking, analytical skills, and attention to detail to create highly effective customer acquisition strategies for HP.
Paul is a tremendously talented marketing executive with a well deserved industry level reputation for excellence and leadership. His energy, sharp wit, and keen insight into online marketing, make him a standout performer. Highly recommended!
Paul has the great ability to juggle 8 balls at once and is a jack of all trades. He is not only helpful on everything related to press, PR, marketing and social media, but has also added value by providing strategic direction/advice and even gets his hands dirty with technical development. He can be relied upon as a trusted partner and project manager.
Paul has been an invaluable adviser to our start-up. His experience in the events space as well as his knowledge of today’s marketing stack has taken us a long ways from what we started with. His honest assessment of both our company and the Austin start-up scene has proven to be immensely helpful in guiding our strategy and direction.
Paul has been an advisor on numerous initiatives over the years. His knowledge and experience in all the aspects of digital marketing and media product strategy is matched with a creativity unique in the industry. Time spent “talking shop” with Paul has effectively become the foundation for my understanding of how digital marketing works and how to navigate an increasingly.
In the startup world, everything is rough waters. Paul came to us a couple years ago when he found out what we were building. He believed in our idea and wanted us to achieve our goals. In the past two years I’ve known Paul, he has always been there to mentor and guide me through the rough waters he’s seen through having once been our shoes. His advice is rock solid, practical and most importantly – executable. As an individual, he holds to his word, he’s dedicated and he’s one of the few wh…
Paul is a true Go-Giver! His willingness to share his expertise in Digital Marketing is priceless. I highly recommend anyone who is starting a company or who is starting to invest in marketing read his Startups articles on his website and then make sure you meet with him. I only wish I had met Paul earlier when I first started my company.
Paul provided a much more comprehensive strategy to our marketing and branding. He’s an expert in his field and knows how to deliver results. He took the time to understand our business and forge a multi-faceted approach to marketing our brand. We continue to leverage Paul’s talents and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him.
Providing Marketing and Strategy through the Clean Tech Open accelerator, Paul was readily available for a helping hand and opened his extensive network to us helping us connect with thought leaders in our industry. I would recommend Paul as a mentor and definitely use him again.
Easily one of my favorite people in tech. Passionate, knowledgeable, connector and tenacious are the words that come to mind if I were to label him. Paul’s a constant hustler (in a good way) who always has time to talk about anything related to technology, marketing and all things startup related. He’s a great person to have on your team and an even better person to just simply know.