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Computer - featuredWith two separate announcements last week, Time Warner Cable likely raised the cost of my Internet another $60 a year.

The rates for customers will go up an average of $3 a month. In addition, the cost to rent a modem went from $3.95 to $5.99 a month. Time Warner only last year started charging the modem fee.

Many of us will now buy our own modems.

What are the choices if you want to jump ship?

If you do not want to bundle with television or phone service, there’s only one other major choice: Frontier. It offers home Internet service over its landline phone network. Speeds can be slower, though there are technologies that are boosting copper speeds.

Dish and DirecTV require a television subscription. Earthlink is an option, but a quick check of prices don’t indicate huge savings over Frontier or Time Warner. The dish services and Earthlink use the lines from your local phone and cable companies.

Greenlight Networks is a local startup, but its geography is very limited. Also, it’s plans start at $50 a month, more than I pay now.

AT&T and Verizon offer wireless Internet options, but they are expensive, often have data caps, and slower speeds. (People with smartphones pay for the Internet twice – for mobile and home use. I’ve long wanted one Internet bill.)

I pay $37.99 (pre-rate hike) a month for Time Warner’s “lite” Internet service. I do not have cable television. I’d like to keep my bill under $50 a month, but I’m not sure how much longer that will be feasible. Sure, I can switch providers to find better deals, but that’s a pain in the neck. Every time a promotional period runs out, I’d have to go back to market.

As more of us cut the cord, the giant telecoms and cable providers will find a way to make up that cash. That’s why our broadband bills will keep going up.

Some wonder if the Internet should be regulated as a utility. Think about this fact: Time Warner, which raked in more than $21 billion last year, has 700,000 subscribers in the Buffalo and Rochester markets. I’m not sure how many of those are businesses. But the Western New York market has 875,000 households. That’s an astounding market penetration. Does this mean Time Warner is the best choice or the least worse option?

 

Links of the Day:

 

– A Buffalo News columnist calls for a metro school district. Donn Esmonde points out reform models don’t take into account the importance of economic diversity.

– Eighty-six percent of Pittsford graduates go to four-year colleges. In poorer districts, fewer than half do.

– Forty percent of the University of Rochester’s Simon School students are from other countries.

– Ankle monitors give a false sense of security. They simply produce too much data for law enforcement to reasonably check.

– Important read on why the government crackdown on leaks threatens the public’s right to know. Confidential sources are crucial to journalism.

More low-wage workers are fighting back.

Links of the Day:

– Two New York State lawmakers want to police anonymous online comments. State Senator Tom O’Mara of the Southern Tier and Assemblyman Dean Murray of Long Island have proposed the Internet Protection Act. They say it would combat cyberbullying and not infringe upon free speech. If someone complains about a comment, websites would have to remove the offending post.

Not surprisingly, the proposal is getting a ton of heat. The New York Post writes:

These guys ever hear of free speech?

True, anonymous commenters can be obnoxious trolls. And sponsors say they hope to protect kids from cyberbullies and shield businesses from negative posts by their rivals — not that even those goals should be allowed to trump the First Amendment.
But as Assemblyman Jim Conte (R-LI) made clear, the bill will also ban “mean-spirited and baseless political attacks that . . . falsely tarnish the opponent’s reputation by using the anonymity of the Web.”

Forget the First Amendment — these guys are looking out for No. 1.

In the assembly, a bunch of GOP lawmakers have signed on. But the measure doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere. Who knows what may have happened if media outlets hadn’t discovered the bill’s existence.

– Canada stands to profit a lot more than New York State and Niagara Falls from Nik Wallenda’s wire walk. Oh darn.

– Rochester TV stations WROC and WUHF have shared a building, along with news and sales staff for years. The stations have different owners, however. These “covert consolidations” are becoming more common and the FCC is investigating.

– You can buy a 176-year-old building in Clarendon for $1. It needs a lot of work.

– The first few hot days of summer feel yucky, don’t they? Our bodies gradually get used to the heat.

Why is Photoshop evil, but Instagram gets a pass?

Links of the Day:

– Time Warner Cable is experiencing an massive outage in the Rochester area. There are no numbers, but the issue appears to be widespread.

I was struck by how many people were complaining about not having television. I didn’t care about that! How do I get online? Fortunately, my phone is also a hotspot, but I have to be careful to not to eat too much data.

A new survey indicates I’m probably in the minority. More people would rather give up social networking than television. Obviously, people use the Internet for more than Facebook or Twitter, but the study shows people are still very attached to their TVs.

– Sex trafficking exists in Rochester. The Democrat and Chronicle looks at the case of Thomas Cramer, described as a “400-pound pimp.”

– The state trooper at the center of a prostitution probe has been in trouble before. He was suspended for hitting a woman while off duty.

– Buffalo area nuns are furious at the Vatican crackdown on American nuns.

– Governor Andrew Cuomo’s cool reception to campaign finance reform could be an indication he has an eye on the White House.

Irondequoit boaters…a scene from “Animal House?”