I'm lucky that I live in a city with a locally owned ISP. I don't have to put up with the monopolistic ambitions of the big dogs like Time Warner and Verizon. Read any online message board regarding Time Warner Cable and you'll see story after story of customers being fed up with them. They want something better like Google's fiber network that's currently under construction in Kansas City. That very fiber network has Time Warner scared.
Thanks to Gigaom, we now know how scared Time Warner Cable is of Google encroaching on their turf. Somebody snapped the following picture while in the TWC offices in Kansas City:
They're not even outright offering a reward, but just a change to win $50 for information on Google. The fact that they want city employees, who probably got a job thanks to Google coming to town, to spy on the company is hilariously petty.
It's a prime example of what's wrong with the current Internet infrastructure in the U.S. It's no secret that we're behind the majority of Asian countries on speed and service. Big cities only have one or two major ISPs with nobody to challenge them. It's a system of localized monopolies so they get to make the rules that govern how we access the Internet. Google is challenging that and TWC knows they can't compete with Google's service that will be faster and cheaper.
If TWC wants to keep customers and compete with Google, they're just going to have to improve their own services and lower prices. Trying to compete by offering petty bribes to city employees is not going to get them anywhere.