Friday, December 30, 2011

FCC's the winner in the Verizon $2 convenience fee fiasco (revised)

Verizon Wireless' new $2 "payment convenience fee" for online credit and debit payments is sparking a consumer backlash and a some scrutiny from the Federal Communications Commission.
from Verizon's $2 'convenience fee' sparks online petition, FCC interest
"At Verizon, we take great care to listen to our customers," Dan Mead, president and chief executive officer of Verizon Wireless said in a statement. "Based on their input, we believe the best path forward is to encourage customers to take advantage of the best and most efficient options, eliminating the need to institute the fee at this time."
from Verizon caves to public pressure and dumps $2 fee

It's almost as if Verizon charged $2 instead of a reasonable amount in order to trigger a backlash and get the FCC involved so that FCC could pretend to be on our side. Perhaps it's the consolation prize for the FCC caving in and allowing Verizon to charge an extra $20 per month for "tethering" (i.e. using an approved wireless network device as a modem for a PC) for the same amount of data, after selling Verizon prime spectrum on the condition that it not do such things.  The only way this makes sense is if they don't expect us to use anywhere near the limit with a smart phone, and that we would use something near the limit with a PC.  If so, they could put an end to all the objections to tethering charges by simply admitting this.

It's ridiculous that Verizon encourages customers to stream movies over their network while preventing many from obtaining affordable internet access for their PCs, at a time when the government is creating hordes of homeless people through its insane economic policies. Verizon should be discouraging people from wasting limited air-spectrum for frivolous purposes by charging an even greater premium. This is the same mentality that drives our insane "transportation" system, which is more like a financial black hole that provides transportation as an afterthought, along with periodic promises of flying cars (which would rain from the sky) or cars that drive themselves, and travel in tight groups at high speed on highways, which is a pileup waiting to happen. Meanwhile, excellent solutions such as SkyTran go begging for funding.  These are the sorts of decisions that are destroying the economy.

Revision: Added last two sentences to first paragraph.