Broadband providers play the VoIP greed game: and you lose

I'm not reflexively left-leaning. Yes, it is true that I might sound like that on my Huffington Post entries, but hey, I write regularly for conservative-leaning Investor's Business Daily too.

I'm not reflexively left-leaning. Yes, it is true that I might sound like that on my Huffington Post entries, but hey, I write regularly for conservative-leaning Investor's Business Daily too.

"Your point being"?

My point being, y'all,is that I understand the imperatives of publicly held companies ti increase shareholder value. Hey, I am a shareholder myself!

But what gets me ticked off is when I read about the increasing instances of broadband service providers enacting, and then enforcing, provisions for their customers not to use those lines to access VoIP services- mainly those that just don't happen to be sold by the same broadband provider.

In that vein, did you see Friday's Wall Street Journal article entitled "Phone, Cable Firms Rein In Consumers' Internet Use."

I wish I could link to this article, but it is behind the WSJ subscription firewall.

But if I were reading the third paragraph of this article aloud to you, then you would hear me say:

"Wireless phone companies like Verizon Wireless and Vodafone Group PLC stipulate in their subscription contracts that customers can't use the company's high-speed Web-access networks for Internet calling- or may prohibit usage in the future. Several cable companies are using technology to cap the speed at which some of their customers can swap videos. A number of equipment companies are selling software and other products designed to block and monitor Internet applications such as phone calls, video and phone downloads."

Now the broadband access providers are hollering that you, the consumer, are "hogging bandwidth."

It's no mistake to say that if you find this stuff in your service agreement, it will be in tiny, 3-micron type. As compared to the 128-point type those same broadband Internet service providers used in the marketing collateral they threw your way when it was time for you to sign up.

But let me tell you something. Large type marketing speak is not a credible pointer to your user experience. The tiny type, the fine print in the contract, the bill stuffer, or the mailer you get from the service provider a few months after you sign up - now that's what really matters. 

When any company I do business with changes their message over time from a large print "You can" to a microscopically-fonted, "you cannot," eww, do I get hissed off.