Here we go again: streaming media is under attack [telecom]

I Have Seen This Before

Copyright (C) 2020 E. William Horne. All Rights Reserved.

Here in the mountains of western North Carolina, there is no over-the-air TV within range, and I'm retired and living on a fixed income, so I don't choose to pay for TV via Cable. My Internet connection, however, is provided by the local Cable TV outfit. In exchange for my monthly payments, they have been providing a somewhat reliable and "fast enough" Internet connection since I moved here.

Now, it's being cheapened by a bad actor.

Having enjoyed an "open" pipe for a few years, I'm TO'd because someone appears to have started copying Comcast. For the time I've been here, my streaming box has worked normally: I have a Netflix subscription and a Prime subscription, and those work OK. We also watch the PBS news program, which my wife prefers, and Frontline, and so I donate some money to the local PBS affiliate and we see shows

that working class people in the rust belt are enduring.

We also watch the CBS streaming news service, called CBSN, that provides streaming versions of The Sunday Morning and Face the Nation programs, both of which we watch on Sunday mornings, since lately my Quaker meeting isn't.

Today, the Sunday Morning program was barely watchable: the CBSN feed was interrupted again and again by extra, unannounced commercials for nationally-known commodity goods like McBurger and an insurance company. In other words, someone, somewhere was clipping the show's content to cram extra commercials into the feed.

I have seen this before: in Massachusetts, Comcast used to interfere with connections going to "home" computers, which meant that my Linux machine couldn't receive or send email on my behalf, and I couldn't show the web site I wrote for my son's Boy Scout troop. Worse yet, they would lie to my face and deny it when I complained, and remove the restriction for two or three days, and then resume their interference.

I used to be a broadcasting engineer, and clipping was a big no-no back then: I know that streaming media isn't subject to the same rules as broadcast TV, but I don't think anyone in between CBSN and me is entitled to substitute advertisements for one- and two-minute portions of CBS's program.


P.S. I'm not sure if this qualifies as "telecom" material, but as I wrote above, I've seen this before - and if this is anything like Comcast used to be, then the next step will probably be a demand that I pay for a new feed or account because I use a VPN to review and publish the Telecom Digest.

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Bill Horne
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