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Are ISP's public utilities and if not - why not?

Last response: in Networking
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January 10, 2013 10:50:05 PM

I want to know for sure if ISP's are considered part of the PUC and if they are not, why are they not? They operate on the infrastructure that was paid for by our tax dollars and continues to be paid for by our tax dollars and surcharges.

I have SEVERE problems with ISP's and the way they handle customers. I read DSL reports and Broadband.com all the time and I see the same complaints for the ISP's in my area. After switching providers today I remember the problems that I had with this national provider and it is horrendous.

I want to find people who also feel that ISP's take advantage of their customers and see if I can get some stories of what is happening and see if there are any patterns. From what I have seen there is a definite pattern of bandwidth manipulation and under-serving. When a customer complains it seems that they always point to the customers router or computer and the problem is never in their network. What a way to pass the buck! This is nothing short of extortion and racketeering in my opinion.

I would like to know how all of you feel and if you think that if ISP's were part of the PUC would that make service better or worse? As it stands now, I don't have any idea where the tax dollars go besides buying brand new trucks and vans to drive around in.

I have started a website that is determined to help support residential and commercial customers with their ISP problems but I will not post it here. If you want to know more, PM me and I'll talk to you there.

More about : isp public utilities

January 11, 2013 12:03:34 AM

It seems like the companies that are part of the PUC don't give any better service then the cable companies that are not.
What determines a company being part of the PUC and what companies are , Verizon , AT&T? Does the hanging of cable on the telephone poles require that a company be part of the PUC ? Who owns the poles ? Verizon , AT&T , any of the Bell companies , the electric company ? I do know that the cable company pays for thier own cable and equipment that is on the poles and the side of houses.
I'm sure that everybody has had a bad experience with an ISP at one time or another and they most likely have had a good experience also.
I at one time worked for a sub contractor that had a contract with a large ISP and I can tell you for a fact that we were required to make sure that the customer was treated in a good way and that before we left the home the customer was completel satisfied. We also were required to go back the sme day to fix any and all problems that may have come up since we left that house. It is customer first.
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January 11, 2013 12:44:13 AM

inzone said:
It seems like the companies that are part of the PUC don't give any better service then the cable companies that are not.
What determines a company being part of the PUC and what companies are , Verizon , AT&T? Does the hanging of cable on the telephone poles require that a company be part of the PUC ? Who owns the poles ? Verizon , AT&T , any of the Bell companies , the electric company ? I do know that the cable company pays for thier own cable and equipment that is on the poles and the side of houses.
I'm sure that everybody has had a bad experience with an ISP at one time or another and they most likely have had a good experience also.
I at one time worked for a sub contractor that had a contract with a large ISP and I can tell you for a fact that we were required to make sure that the customer was treated in a good way and that before we left the home the customer was completel satisfied. We also were required to go back the sme day to fix any and all problems that may have come up since we left that house. It is customer first.


Well if you look at the majority of the people who have internet problems, what you describe is in the minority. I wouldn't put it past the ISP's to have SHILLS on the forums sticking up for them and I can guarantee that I have no allegiance with any ISP but am an end user who has to deal with the often sub par performance of the ISP's.
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October 7, 2013 10:36:43 PM

The simple yet sad answer: NO.
Why? Because ISPs are not considered vital public services and PUC only has jurisdiction within a state.

The long answer:
Vital public service include 3 big ones: 1-power, 2-water and 3-natural gas which are often needed to sustain life (heating, cooling and food prep). An individual may choose to disconnect from even these 3 vital services. A smaller one (in some ways) is wire-based telephone voice service which provides unmistakable 911 emergency response. If the phone works when there is no modem battery and no power to the property, it probably counts as "vital".

ISPs are much trickier and have eluded the "vital" status so far. Even though they provide telephone services, all dsl and cable phone modems separate the data and the voice and associate with a specific address. The phone portion only may possibly be considered a vital utility, but (coaxial) cable TV companies don't answer to PUCs since without the internet, cable company phone service (which is VOIP) would not work. The internet itself is not considered vital, so the phone service which relies on it cannot be vital either. Local telephone service (but dot dsl) might be a utility in your area and thus be subject to PUC regulations. Cable Internet-based voice phone service (VOIP) can be re-directed to different locations just like Magic Jack, Vonage and other VOIP providers. This makes 911 service unreliable and may be how they escape the vital status. The taxes on cable phone service are federal (FCC) and not state-based (PUC). An internet tax, if ever successful, would probably have to be federal as well. But it still would not provide PUC oversight to local ISP service. Still sad, but at least a longer explanation as to why a state PUC cannot regulate interstate commerce (the internet).
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