Nemo me impune lacessit

No one provokes me with impunity


No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

Article 1, Section 9, Constitution of the United States

If this is the law of the land...why in a republic (little r) and as republicans, do we allow mere POLITICIANS to the right to use a "title of office" for the rest of their lives as if it were de facto a patent of nobility. Because, as republicans, this should NOT be the case...just saying...

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Monday, July 04, 2011

US Broadband & Cable Service Is Too Expensive

When my wife and I could afford to get cable and broadband through the single provider (Comcast) that is permitted by Baltimore County, Maryland to provide service to consumers here, we paid over $120 per month for both.  The broadband service was fairly slow 10 MPS or so...and we could only purchase "bundles" of channels, not invidivual channels.  So we ended up getting 240 channels of "nothing on TV we want to watch.

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"'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,

The fact that we in the US are hamstrung by government regulations that permit monopolies by Comcast, and a few other companies, instead of permitting competition, we will continue to have very slow speeds and much higher prices.  The time has come to REDUCE regulation and increase competition...but in the current environment, where "government knows best" I don't think that will happen.

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:
  1. Sweden
  2. Denmark
  3. Japan
  4. South Korea
  5. Switzerland
  6. Netherlands
  7. Finland
  8. France
  9. Belgium
  10. Norway
  11. United Kingdom
  12. German
  13. Iceland
  14. Italy
  15. portugal
  16. United States
  17. Luxembouurg
  18. Austria
  19. Canada
  20. Australia
  21. Greece
  22. New Zealand
  23. Ireland
  24. Czech Republic
  25. Spain
  26. Slovak Republic
  27. Hungary
  28. Poland
  29. Turkey
  30. Mexico

  We should, as a nation, be at least in the top 5...not 16th!  We're obviosly doing something wrong.  Verizon says competition would be bad for business, of course it would, they'd have to seriously drop theiir prices in order to remain competetive. 
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.
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.
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.

Hat Tip to the BlogFather,  Glenn, you should be trumpeting this from the rooftops, instead of a one line listing.

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