Cox has a monopolistic broadband strange-hold on a number of major cities around the country. I can personally attest to this as I have lived in two cities where Cox was my one and only option for above-dial-up speeds, Phoenix and New Orleans.
So, I laughed a bit when I read that Cox Communications was angry that the city of Tempe (right outside Phoenix for those non-Arizona readers) had just signed an agreement with Google to bring their Fiber network to the city.
After Thursday night’s vote, Cox issued a statement saying that Tempe appeared to have violated federal and state law. “The waivers granted by the City also give Google Fiber a free pass on obligations that affect public safety — such as emergency alert messaging — and protection of subscriber privacy,” John Wolfe, Cox Communications Southwest Senior Vice President and General Manager, said in a written statement. “We are confident the residents and businesses of Tempe share our concerns with these waivers.” – AZCentral
Except, the agreement does nothing of the sorts. As Tempe’s attorney noted, the agreement with Google spells out the city’s authority to execute the agreement as written.
Then again, understand that Cox doesn’t give a shit about whether Google is giving enough for “public safety”. They care about stopping Google from entering the city. All over the country, incumbent ISP’s are doing whatever they can to stop cities from agreeing to bring competition into their area.
Cox especially has quite the history of doing whatever they can to limit competition.
- In Louisiana, Cox was fighting the city of Lafayette from starting their own fiber program. When the city put the issue to a vote, a TV station noted that multiple residents were being approached at the polls and told, “If the government controls the cable TV, you may not be able to watch TV except on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday ’cause they could ration your TV watching.”
- When the city of Lakeland, Ohio, agreed to a franchise agreement with AT&T for a new broadband project, Cox sent a list of 31 objections that they had to it.
- When Verizon tried to enter several cities in Virginia, AT&T again objected because….well, just because.
- When a small video service began providing TV service to several Casino’s in Las Vegas, Cox decided to threaten legal action because they needed a “level playing field” even though they operated a massive monopoly on the Vegas market.
To be fair though, Cox is not alone in their sleazy fight to stop competition:
- In Texas and other states, AT&T has whined and complained about having to share city-owned towers/wires with Google Fiber. They even threatened to sue the state and Google for making them share resources a company such as Google, who according to AT&T “wasn’t a telecom company.” Both AT&T and Google eventually came to an agreement.
- In Portland, after the city agreed to a franchise agreement for Google Fiber, Comcast sent a letter to city leaders detailing all of the issues that they had with Google’s franchise agreement. How nice.
- In Illinois, Comcast was fighting multiple cities from starting their own fiber network. In order to fight back, Comcast paid for and issued their own “push polls” that contained questions like “Should tax money be allowed to provide pornographic movies for residents?” Right after Comcast got the fiber proposal squashed, they raised rates by 33%.
- In North Carolina, Time Warner Cable sued a city wanting to start their own fiber network and spent millions of dollars to “convince” state politicians that a law banning municipal broadband networks was in the “public interest”.