A couple of decades ago, the City of Tallahassee, Florida, and the surrounding Leon County, Florida, opened up their cable service to multiple cable providers. Oddly enough, with competition, costs of services tumbled, and the ability to pick and choose forced those companies that wanted to provide service to actually listen to what consumers wanted...imagine that, competition brought costs down, and service content up.
Now, here's the kicker. In Europe, where you'd think that with socialism as the standard form of government that they'd have slower, as well as "worse" service...you'd be wrong. Very nearly all of those countries that belong to the EU have speeds that are much, much higher than ours as well being vastly less expensive. Moreover, here's a recent study of world-wide cable and internet speeds. Sadly, we in the US fall behind Protugal and Italy and speed and costs...that's pretty damn sad.
In the United Kingdom, you can get broadband for far less than what we pay here...
Over the past decade, average speeds increased by 25 percent between 2009 and 2010, while prices have tumbled. Broadband service comparable to what we get here in the U.S. is available for less than $6 a month. And no, there isn't a zero missing there. Six bucks a month.
Here's a link to a video report on this that was produced for PBS, as well as a related report here,
When the number of companies that provided cell phone service was higher than today, prices tumbled, now that we're down to roughly four, costs are rising and service is...lagging, even as the technology is making massive leaps...
Here are the first 30 countries by ranking from page 82 of the above study:
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
- United States
- New Zealand
- Czech Republic
- Slovak Republic
Verizon told me in its written statement that it flat-out opposes the kind of local-loop unbundling that's reduced prices and increased speeds in Britain "for competitive reasons". Those regulations are "bad public policy and bad news for consumers", Verizon says, which "only benefit a few big phone companies, and those companies do not pass their savings on to consumers." Verizon also claims that "those competitors do not invest in their own networks".
AT&T claims that the US is "too large" to provide simillar services and speeds, but that's plain bullshit.
"There is no 'one-size fits all' regulatory regime" that will work worldwide. AT&T cites two main differences between the UK and U.S. markets: First, more U.S. homes have the option of buying broadband service from cable companies. Second, the U.S. is more spread out -- the technical term is that those "loops" are longer.25% of the population of this country is located in four regions. Boston to Washington DC, Chicago-Detroit-Cleveland, Coastal California from San Diego-San Francisco.
Meanwhile, the size of the U.S. may be a red herring. Most of the region between Boston and Washington is as densely populated as most of Europe and the UK. So is the California coast between San Francisco and San Diego. And so is the region of the Midwest centered on Chicago. Those areas are home to about a quarter of all Americans. In other words, we live in a big country, but a lot of it is relatively empty space.What it comes down to, is that those few companies that offer phone and-or cable service just don't want the competition. That's the bottom line, competition is bad for business, because they will have to provide those services that consumers want...instead of "bundles" that cost more and provide a higher profit margin. It's time to end the local monopolies that Comcast and Verizon-AT&T and remove the choke hold these companies have on internest speeds and costs.
The argument that the U.S. is too spread out is nonsense, according to Herman Wagter, one of the Netherlands' most prominent evangelists for next-generation broadband. He thinks there's something else going on in Verizon's and AT&T's opposition to competition at home: They're afraid of it.
Hat Tip to the BlogFather, Glenn, you should be trumpeting this from the rooftops, instead of a one line listing.