Monday, December 7, 2015

Comcast About to Screw Over the Deaf Community

I didn't know this, but apparently, in five states, Comcast has an actual data cap on regular Internet. Not on mobile, but on your everyday home Internet. For every 50 gbs used after the 300 gb limit, you get charged $10. I don't know how many gigabites I use each month, but even having to worry about this at all would piss me off.

But to deaf people, it's worse than annoying. Because they can't exactly use the phone to talk to friends and family like hearing people can. They rely on video chat to talk to people in sign language if they want more intimate conversation than text chat. Or, if they need to communicate with people who don't know sign language, they use a video relay service with a translator. Video chat uses a lot of data, meaning that they're much more vulnerable to being charged more, even though deaf people have a harder time getting a job and are much more vulnerable to living in public.

Comcast's Controversial New Data Limits Are Even More Annoying for the Deaf Community

For the deaf community, putting a cap on data is the same as fining hearing people for talking on the phone, and it stifles their ability to communicate with the outside world.  
"It's discriminatory to people who rely on video relay services because people who are hearing don't require the Internet to communicate," Heidi Johnson, an American Sign Language interpreter in New York, told Mic. "Even when the Internet connection is slow, it can affect the livelihood of someone who uses VRS to communicate for business. So limiting their ability to access the services they need limits everything they do."

So fuck Comcast even harder than usual.

This kind of thing is why I staunchly oppose the current cable/Internet monopoly problem we have going on. It's bad enough having to choose between two or three terrible Internet companies who are trying to screw you over all the time. If we just had Comcast, they'll take us for everything we're worth. Internet needs to become a public, government-controlled utility. It's essential for so many people. It's essential for my career, and I have plenty of privilege to help me out.

We hearing people need to stand up to Comcast over this. It's bad enough to be gouged like this, but when they're stepping on marginalized people in the process, that's some real motivation to put a stop to corporate bullshit.

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