A Shift to Contracts? Cable has a so-called competitive advantage against satellite because, unless there’s a heavily discounted feature involved, there aren’t any long-term “contracts.” But, of course, there really are. Like the fine print upon making a connection—especially for broadband use—that inhibits certain practices. OK… not that there’s anything wrong with that. Per se. But that “fine print” part… maybe it is past time to rethink that practice. Just to make things clear—maybe even in VERY large print and, especially, up front—in a user agreement that certain practices can be “monitored and/or altered” for the sake of the entire subscriber community. I know, it’s there… but… nobody mentioned any of that to me when I got connected. We need to get way away from “net neutrality” and (maybe) embrace “network performance guarantees”? Why not be up front? The “NN” argument isn’t about what its proponents claim. And management of the network isn’t proof that files are blocked. But the stance of our cable companies doesn’t much help the arguments… time to get out ahead of the problem, not try to clean up behind it. Random Notes


  • Slow Learner: Lost a big one this year as the Colorado Rockies lost (rather decisively) in four games to the truly great Boston Red Sox. Atlantic Broadband’s David Keefe has a whole side of slowly cooked Colorado bison (along with fresh Colorado corn on the cob, cole slaw, Coors and Stranahan’s hand-crafted Colorado sipping whiskey) awaiting his very whim and journey to Breckenridge. Last time I did something this dumb was when Ed Bleier won more than I could afford as his New York Giants beat the Denver Broncos. But like the Broncos, the Rockies will get to the World Serious again… and win.
  • Kudos for Lamb & Hooks: On Monday evening the 5th, C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb gets the Presidential Medal of Freedom—our highest civilian award—from President George W. Bush at the White House. Cool. In typical fashion, Brian will accept “for the cable industry.” Really cool. With special thanks to Bob Rosencrans, Bob Titsch, Bill Daniels and California Congressman and former newsman Lionel Van Deerlin. Way back in 1975, Brian was working with Titsch, Pat Gushman and me at Titsch Publishing and CableVision magazine and dreaming aloud every day about the idea of C-SPAN. He hasn’t changed: ever the low-key, committed but practical dreamer. And what a gift to America. Everyone take a bow in Brian’s direction. And that other guy getting an award, Benjamin Hooks, was a pretty good FCC commissioner and all-around good guy. Spent lots of time with him, including in a Jeep roaming around Aspen investigating cable and microwave sites. Back then, commissioners were real people. They wanted to see things first hand. They actually wanted to learn something instead of trying to enforce some pre-conceived ideological master plan.
  • Picked Upon? That baby-faced head of the Federal Confusion Commission routinely denies he’s out to get cable. Wow. What’s that bit about the difference between words and deeds? Dumb to fall in the dumps… just keep the lawyers busier. None of this stuff like willy-nilly abrogating contracts that only apply to cable when not to competitors can survive the courts. Courts are, of course, a last refuge and no certain thing (can you say “must carry”?), but anything would be more realistic than this Commission.

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