PDA

View Full Version : Comcast/Verizon/Time Warner Internet Monopolies?


FixMyIgnorance
08-21-2011, 01:39 PM
How are these allowed to stand? Companies like Comcast have monopolies over internet service in Philly while Time Warner dominates New York. How come we don't see more competition?

Fear Itself
08-21-2011, 01:46 PM
Do you not have DSL service from the phone company, or high speed internet service from Dish Network?

FixMyIgnorance
08-21-2011, 01:46 PM
They aren't really high-speed alternatives

Fear Itself
08-21-2011, 01:48 PM
So it is not a monopoly, they just have better service. Sounds like the free market to me.

FixMyIgnorance
08-21-2011, 01:52 PM
So when is it considered an abusive monopoly? When does antitrust kick in?

Fear Itself
08-21-2011, 01:54 PM
They aren't really high-speed alternativesWhat about Verizon FIOS?

FixMyIgnorance
08-21-2011, 01:57 PM
In Philly, it's pretty much just Comcast.

Justin_Bailey
08-21-2011, 02:02 PM
How are these allowed to stand? Companies like Comcast have monopolies over internet service in Philly while Time Warner dominates New York. How come we don't see more competition?

There's a common misconception that DSL, Cable and FIOS are somehow different, but they're really not. They're all forms of high speed access and all three constantly compete in the same areas. Once you throw in satellite access (slower but still high speed enough for many users), you've got four options at different speeds and different prices.

There's no monopoly and there never has been.

FixMyIgnorance
08-21-2011, 02:12 PM
But what about stuff like this http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/11/f-c-c-commissioner-to-join-comcast/

It seems clear that Comcast is abusing market power

Justin_Bailey
08-21-2011, 02:20 PM
It seems clear that Comcast is abusing market power

Comcast doesn't even operate in the entire US. The company may be large and influential, but they aren't a monopoly.

FixMyIgnorance
08-21-2011, 02:25 PM
But they can pretty much jack up prices and add in random charges and you either have to suck it up or switch to a much slower service, no?

Justin_Bailey
08-21-2011, 02:48 PM
But they can pretty much jack up prices and add in random charges and you either have to suck it up or switch to a much slower service, no?

So? High speed Internet is high speed Internet.

I'd really like to not have to pay Ford's outrageous prices for a fancy new sports car. I mean, if I can't afford a Mustang, I might have to drive a slower, less fancy car like that Saturn over there. Monopoly!

Nope. That's not how it works. A car is a car and there are lots of car makers just as there are lots of Internet providers.

Fear Itself
08-21-2011, 03:05 PM
But they can pretty much jack up prices and add in random charges and you either have to suck it up or switch to a much slower service, no?Sounds like a business opportunity.

FixMyIgnorance
08-21-2011, 05:31 PM
So? High speed Internet is high speed Internet.

I'd really like to not have to pay Ford's outrageous prices for a fancy new sports car. I mean, if I can't afford a Mustang, I might have to drive a slower, less fancy car like that Saturn over there. Monopoly!

Nope. That's not how it works. A car is a car and there are lots of car makers just as there are lots of Internet providers.

but Mustangs and Saturns aren't in direct competition with each other

jasg
08-21-2011, 06:56 PM
At best (or worst) they are local monopolies - it is rare to find two HSI providers I the same area (FiOS and a Cabelco, yes but not two Cabelco's). (Sorry, DSL and satellite just don't count)

I see this as like the pre-1984 phone system where you only had one option for long distance calling - you had to buy local and long distance from a single company.

A little research shows that in many parts of the world, the company that owns the data 'pipe' (usually fiber) to your home is different than the provider of internet or TV services.

The US Cabelco's are terrified of losing their 'Walled Gardens' and being reduced to a company that runs just 'dumb pipes' and spend lots on lobbyists to avoid that.

Justin_Bailey
08-21-2011, 07:04 PM
but Mustangs and Saturns aren't in direct competition with each other

Sure they are, they're both cars. Just like Cable, DSL, FIOS (and to a less extent, satellite) are all high speed Internet options.

gonzomax
08-21-2011, 07:04 PM
They are oligarchies. They divide the market up and don't really compete with each other. that is why we have a more expensive and slower internet than other industrial countries. They don't compete on price or service although they pretend to in their ads. But the service and price structures have almost no difference between them. When in the recent past, a new company started up promising better prices and service, it was bought out. That is America now. No competition.

Justin_Bailey
08-21-2011, 07:19 PM
They are oligarchies. They divide the market up and don't really compete with each other. that is why we have a more expensive and slower internet than other industrial countries.

No. Just no. We have slower Internet than other countries because our pipe was laid in the 60s. Many other countries are laying their Internet infrastructure today, so they're using better materials capable of faster speeds.

Again, our high speed lines are not a monopoly. So if the pipes were capable of higher speeds, don't you think one company would offer them to steal away the customers from a company that can't offer that speed?

jasg
08-21-2011, 08:10 PM
Again, our high speed lines are not a monopoly. So if the pipes were capable of higher speeds, don't you think one company would offer them to steal away the customers from a company that can't offer that speed?Sure, if two companies were actually competing for customers - but since typically there is only one firm with fiber or coax in front of a given house, they can't compete with each other.

In my neighborhood, FiOS still wins on speed but Comcast has improved, perhaps as a result of competition. Marketing failures / customer indifference seems to be holding FiOS back - but most of my non-FiOS friends are amazed at how well NetFlix streaming works for me and now wish they could have it.

Justin_Bailey
08-21-2011, 08:14 PM
Sure, if two companies were actually competing for customers - but since typically there is only one firm with fiber or coax in front of a given house, they can't compete with each other.

DSL competes with Cable and FIOS.
FIOS competes with DSL and Cable.
Cable competes with DSL and FIOS.

It doesn't matter that they're not EXACTLY the same. They're functionally the same.

jasg
08-21-2011, 11:00 PM
DSL competes with Cable and FIOS.
FIOS competes with DSL and Cable.
Cable competes with DSL and FIOS.

It doesn't matter that they're not EXACTLY the same. They're functionally the same.Well, in 1979, my Anderson-Jacobsen 110 baud modem was also functionally the same....

I've had two different DSL providers, Comcast HSI and now FiOS. DSL just cannot compete - so the only real competition is in the FiOS service areas, which are few and far between.

Back to the OP, HSI is local monopoly in most areas.

Justin_Bailey
08-21-2011, 11:01 PM
Well, in 1979, my Anderson-Jacobsen 110 baud modem was also functionally the same....

No, it's not. A modem is a low speed Internet connection. It is not the same as an "always on" high speed Internet connection.