Lack of broadband competition continues

December 22, 2009 | By | 1 Reply More

Free Press recently published a report on the state of national broadband indicating that a central failure of our communications policy is the lack of broadband competition.

For nearly a decade, the debate over broadband competition in Washington has been an increasingly tortured game of pretending we have broadband competition in America when almost any consumer can see that we clearly do not. We used to have competition: In the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Congress implemented a system that required telecommunications network owners to share their infrastructure with competitive providers. But in the years that followed, the powerful incumbent monopolists used the courts and the FCC to kill this regulatory system. As the rest of the world was successfully adopting this competitive model we invented, our leaders were abandoning it. Instead, they bet that competition between cable and telephone networks using different technologies would work out just as well. It didn’t.

Now the world’s leading broadband nations overseas are enjoying healthy broadband competition that has triggered higher speeds, lower prices, and wider deployment. In the United States, we’re 10 years behind, and we’re stuck with a market structure that is very difficult to steer back to where we were before we went off course. The facts on the ground are stark. Here in the United States, the duopoly phone and cable incumbents control 95 percent of the entire wired and wireless high-speed Internet access market.  Prices are on the rise, and the incumbents have executed a deliberate strategy to slow innovation and deployment, hoping to squeeze every last dime out of yesterday’s technologies.

What the FCC should do: First and foremost, the FCC should make a clean break with the policies of the past eight years and declare that our broadband competition policy is a failure.

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Category: Communication, Internet, Media, Networking

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    The problem seems to be that our democracy is steadily dying and being replaced with a capitalocratic republic, a nation governed by laws purchased by the wealthy elite and predominately favoring the interests of the wealthy.

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