Day 18: Cablevision and Verizon

This post was meant for yesterday  but I was really tired and wanted to get some reading done. But don’t worry I will post Day 19 tonight so I’ll definitely be on track. Day 18’s topic is a problem you have. My problem deals with my neighborhood, Cablevision, and Verizon, but in order to elaborate on this, I have to give you a little back-story.

I live in Co-op City, the largest cooperative housing development in the world, located in the Bronx, NY. We have everything at our fingertips, our public safety, a huge mall steps away, and three community centers. Until 2007, we even had our cable company, Community Home Entertainment. This was a great company and they provided great cable and customer service. Then Cablevision decided to worm themselves in.

I don’t know if any of you have heard of Cablevision and you can most likely do a Google search and do your own investigation but in nutshell: Cablevision is a horrible, deceitful company. Cablevision has always been an option for residents to purchase. But we always could choose either Community or Cablevision. Now that is not the case. Cablevision bought Community which leaves us with only one choice of a cable provider. That is not even the worst of it. Cablevision and Riverbay, the corporation that owns Co-op City, entered a private deal that gives Cablevision exclusive rights, which means no other cable company can enter Co-op City for five years.

This is where Verizon comes in. Verizon Fios started gaining popularity and was an interest to most of the residents here. That scared both Cablevision and Riverbay. It scared them so much that after the original 5 year contract expired, they try to get us to sign a bulk deal that would extend the agreement for another 5 years but also lower our cable bills.

We, of course, unanimously turned it down.

But that didn’t prevent Riverbay and Cablevision extending the contract to another five years.

Last year, Riverbay approached Verizon and offered them to discuss a deal to allow them to come in Co-op City. But once, Cablevision got wind of it, they threatened to sue Riverbay and its cooperators (which are the residents) over breach of contract, a contract that residents have never and can’t ever see. Now before you attack Cablevision, Verizon is not entirely innocent in all this either. Verizon stated that the only way they can enter into Co-op City is if they offered the same deal Cablevision currently has, which means Verizon would be Co-op’s only cable provider and no one else would be allowed in.

So now here we are. Currently, I don’t have cable and I don’t see myself getting it anytime soon. I use the master antenna (which is owned by Cablevision) and my Roku streaming players (which is great, I highly recommend you guys get it) that I use for Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant video and other streaming channels. All  requires a strong internet connection, which I don’t have. I have Verizon DSL, with internet speed between 1.5 to 3.0 mbps (I barely get to 3.0). I try to get a higher speed but Verizon states that even though that there are other people who live in the same building I do have higher internet speed, I am unable to get it because they used up all the highest speed and can’t give out anymore.

How is any of this fair? We the consumers have every right to choose what internet or cable provider we choose. Cablevision worm their way into our community and now knowing that customers are finding cheaper and better alternatives, they try to get us to sign a deal that hopefully ensure their survival. Verizon refuses to update a technology they considered outdated and offer an alternative that they know we cannot have. While two tech companies are doing tug of war for dominance and a residence corporation is sitting idle by, waiting to see who they should side with, the consumers are stuck in the middle, left paying unnecessary high cable bills and poor internet service.

FCC (Federal Communication Commission) I hope you are listening. Because, honestly, I can’t possibly understand how any of this is possibly legal.

This is Day 18 of the 30 Day Writing Challenge.

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