Make internet/cable providers compete on the free market

We need to end the “divide and conquer” model. ISPs should have to compete on the open market, just like any other product.
In Europe and South Korea, internet providers have to compete for business, and it works much better over there. They have faster, cheaper, and better service then we do in the US. We shouldn’t let the rest of the world beat us at something we invented. Especially since our politicians love the free market!
It seems ridiculous to me how locked down these providers have everything. If someone wanted to open a restaurant, the city wouldn’t say “Sorry, you can’t do that, we already have a Mcdonald’s”. But that is basically what they do to new companies who want to offer internet service.
Monopolies hurt customers and kill innovation. I do not believe in protected monopolies for any type of business.

How does competition work? Are all providers guaranteed equal access to the cable infrastructure? Did the government build the infrastructure? If private companies did, who sets access fees?

Why do you think they don’t?
I can get my high speed internet from AT&T, Time Warner and I think if I want to set my phone up as a hot spot, I can do it through Verizon. Once Google Fiber rolls out to my area, that’ll be an option as well. I think I can get if from Dish too, but I might be wrong on that, I’ve never explored it as an option.

Also, I thought I’d heard somewhere along the line that Ma Bell et al, is required to give other networks access to it’s infrastructure, something about anti trust laws, but it’s better, for them, to not let other companies use it and pay the fines. That is, they’d rather pay the fines than have the competition.

When my mother recently moved into a new place she had four or five different TV/internet providers she could choose from. We recently switched ourselves and could have chosen from, by my count, six providers, and that’s just the ones who seemed legit.

I have as much choice in Internet providers as I do, practically speaking, in grocery stores. I don’t see a lot of problems here.

It turns out there’s a fairly extensive study of the subject of ISP competition by the DoC ESA. A couple of relevant quotes from the Executive Summary:

Basically, if you only want crappy slow internet, most (though far from all) Americans have two or more choices of ISP:

If you want to actually participate in modern society, though, 3 Mbps doesn’t cut it:

The FCC recently redefined ‘broadband’ as speeds of at least 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up. How many people have an actual choice of provider at those speeds?


For the first time in my life, I actually have the choice of two broadband providers, and that’s only true because CenturyLink did the expensive work of stringing fiber through my neighborhood. And I don’t think two is nearly enough. Comcast has famously underinvested in their back-hauls out of Seattle, largely because people being unable to stream TV reliably actually benefits them (as they sell TV service as well.) Hopefully, CenturyLink will be better, although they’re also selling packages with TV, so who knows.

The model we had through the 90s where I could use any long distance provider through the same physical copper would work well here: allow any ISP that wants to provide service access through the fiber or cable running to my property by paying a regulated access charge to the physical line owner.

If you have a choice, you’re not the average American. So please don’t come in and explain how Google Fiber was so much better for you than Time Warner, which was so much better than Cox, or whichever options you got to compete for your dollar. You are a tiny, privileged minority.

Most people in the US get to choose from primitive dial up, molasses-slow satellite internet with huge latencies and large installation costs, or the local cable company that provides fast internet (if you’re lucky), but with terrible customer service, unpredictable billing, and weekly outages.

Be careful what you wish for.

For years AT&T and the regulators in Missouri had a feud. Whenever things got particularly intense, the Public Service Commission (or the legislature) would threaten to revoke AT&T’s monopoly status. AT&T would reply, “Go ahead, and we’ll stop providing service to rural areas. Good luck on finding a replacement, because they’ll lose as much money on it as we do.”

Even today barely 25 miles from downtown St. Louis, communities are still trying to get any broadband service intosome neighborhoods. Those are the same communities that FedEx and UPS have decided not to serve, and turned delivery over to the Postal Service.

So far the only person to mention Google Fiber was me and that was to say I don’t have it. However, I’d bet that quite a few people can choose between DSL and Cable Internet.

Yes, you may only have one provider for each in your area (say AT&T and TWC), but most people can watch (cable) TV and get a dial tone from two totally distinct companies.

I wasn’t addressing anyone in particular. I was just trying to remind people who have several broadband choices that they are privileged in that regard, and that most of us barely even have one choice of decent internet, let alone several who compete with each other on price and service.

And DSL, in my area at least, is somewhere between “primitive dial up” and “molasses slow satellite” service in bandwidth. Not to mention you have to be under 1000 feet from the DSL box, so they only serve a few neighborhoods in any given city.

There is only one company that offers service at better than 1-3Mbps, and that’s the cable company. And they don’t care what you think about their prices or service because they don’t have to. This is what pro-ISP-competition advocates are trying to change.

I have available in my house s choice of 8M DSL, 3G cell and a satellite option. Nobody I personally know has a realistic choice of providers. Some have marginal “wireless” internet, even slower DSL than I have, or dial-up. Even 4G which usually has data caps leaves a lot to be desired for families with multiple devices.

I live 6 miles South of I-70, 50 miles West of St. Louis. My Internet choices are 1.5 Meg DSL, dial up, or satellite. Had satellite 11 years ago and it was not as fast as my current DSL.

Do you know what politicians love even more than the free market? Bribery. I think that is a major issue. Lobbyists pass laws protecting their turf from public and private competition.

Look up ‘the summer of love’ as it relates to broadband in 1997.back then providers cut up the country and agreed not to compete. That is why in areas with infinity you can’t get Cox, or why in areas with AT&T you can’t get Verizon. Any newcomer to the market needs a huge amount of capital for infrastructure and to pay off lawyers since the major providers will sue.

It costs about $70 to have fiber optic Internet, that is about what the price both public and private provide charge . with competition that number may even drop.

This is exactly what our anti-trust laws were written to prevent. Why haven’t there been any prosecutions for it?

You can’t MAKE someone compete on the free market; then, it’s not free. All the government can do is ALLOW them to compete, by getting out of their way.

I truly have no idea. I’m going to assume it is a mix of bribery/lobbyists and indifference by politicians. But I really am not sure.

I don’t know what all the legal necessities are to enforce competition, and why the government chooses not to do so.