Verizon: US Broadband Is Really Competitive, If You Just Redefine The Market The Way We Want...

from the that-whole-'and-wireless'-bit dept

Almost all of the issues facing broadband in this country (our slow speeds and high prices relative to other countries, questions about "neutrality" and things like customers being forced into broadband tiers) are really symptoms of a lack of significant competition in many markets. Many customers really only have one or two options, neither of which they like (I'm in that camp myself). Yet, the broadband providers want to make everyone believe it's a really competitive market. That's why they've done everything possible to block the FCC from getting accurate data about actual broadband deployments and competition over the years. Their most recent plan has been about pitching the idea of an organization called "Connected Nation" to "map" broadband penetration. However, as has been discussed previously, Connected Nation seems more like a front for the big telcos to try to pretend there's significant competition... and an increasing number of doubts are being raised about Connected Nation's efforts -- even as it seems to remain a darling of DC politicians. However its "mapping" still won't look at house-by-house penetration and competition (by demand from the broadband providers) and the collected data will remain proprietary, rather than open.

Meanwhile, Verizon has put up a video claiming to explain why there's plenty of competition in broadband in the US, but it does so by pulling a neat little trick: rather than defining the market as DSL and cable providers, it dumps wireless providers into the mix... So when you add mobile data providers, yes, there are more players in the space, but that ignores the fact that (1) many of the mobile players and broadband players are actually connected (i.e., AT&T has both, as does Verizon) and (2) that the cellular wireless broadband providers are all greatly limited, and use terms of service that tend to forbid using the data account as a primary connection. In other words, they're not really part of the same market at all.

But, most importantly, the video fails to back up its thesis that the US is "one of the most successful broadband markets in the world." It says there's lots of competition, investment in new technologies and consumers are getting more as prices go down. That suggests there is, in fact, some competition in the market -- a point pretty much everyone agrees on. But it does nothing to compare the US to other markets around the world that have much more competition, much more investment and much greater consumer value per dollar spent. Just saying that because there's some competition, the US is one of the most successful in the world, doesn't back up the thesis at all. It's like saying that you won a baseball game because you fielded nine guys. You forgot about the actual game.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Weasley, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 12:26am

    South Africa

    Hi you guys have it easy

    Come to South Africa and be happy with your 3gb cap and slow speeds that if you can get it:)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 2:37am

    I really do feel sorry for some of you guys in the US, and other countries. I think you should point them to what real competition is, here in London I can get broadband or cable through the following:

    http://www.thinkbroadband.com/isps.html

    I can tell you right away, that there are probably a lot more I can get as well.

    Anyway, off to enjoy my 17Mbit uncapped, un-throttled connection ;-p

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 3:22am

    Mike caps off one of his worst days in Techdirt history with a real cracker of a story.

    Mike, in most major US centers, there are at least two high speed offerings (cable and DSL) In many areas, there is a third option (3g / 3.5g wireless) that is expanding in the marketplace. Unless a person has specifically purchased a house in an area that isn't served, most major center dwellers have at least these choices.

    That last point is signficant, because "house to house" competition in the last few years has been a real issue as americans have taken their low interest loans and purchased large and larger homes, often further and further away from the city center, and are shocked to discover that the cable company ain't coming to town any time soon, and that they are too far down the phone line to get decent DSL.

    If you shoot yourself in the foot, don't complain about the mess you made doing it. It is unlikely that the companies providing service can afford to wire up these neighborhoods, or they may have plans to do so only far in the future. Suburban sprawl outstripped their ability or desire to build.

    If you live in a major city, the US has broadband that for the most part isn't terrible, and speeds and options continue to expand over time.

    So congrats. It's like you fielded 9 posts in a day, but forgot about the content.

     

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  4.  
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    Dalane K. Braunschweig (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 3:34am

    Re:

    Ac,
    You have made Mike's point for him. He did not say it was impossible to get connected. He said that in many places there are only two choices, which is not significant competition, and wireless does not count because in most carrier TOS you are not allowed to tether other devices to it.
    Quite a few other countries have better internet options in far more places than the US, and that is the point, Verizon put out this propaganda crap claiming the US is number one, but in fact we are not even close.

     

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    Victor, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 3:47am

    20E a month here in Bulgaria and I get 40mbit fiber uncapped, with 100mbit connection to peers within Bulgaria :)

     

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  6.  
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    Kevin, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 3:56am

    Re:

    AC, you may have half a point that people moving further away from broadband services are at least partly responsible for their lack of options, but that doesn't change the fact that there is a lack of options. It isn't about assigning blame, it's about assessing the state competition when it comes to connectivity. Regardless of who caused it, it's ludicrous for telcos to claim that the market is competitive when it isn't.

     

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  7.  
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    Timothy Karr, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 4:30am

    Abandoning Pro-Competition Policies

    Believe it or not, the much maligned 1996 Telecommunications Act was designed to foster consumer choice among many competing Internet services. But in the 13 years since it was passed, the FCC and the courts have torn down the Act’s basic competitive framework, as a powerful phone and cable lobby pressured regulators to pass rules that handed them control of the marketplace.

    And as America blindly followed this path of so-called “deregulation,” our foreign counterparts maintained their commitment to the very pro-competitive policies pioneered in the 1996 Act.

    We see the results today. Their broadband Internet markets have blossom, while ours have withered. At the turn of the century, the United States was ranked fifth among the world’s nations in broadband penetration. But just a few short years later, we had dropped precipitously to 22nd place. Consumers in countries that maintained policies that were committed to competition, such as South Korea and Japan, are today able to access broadband with symmetrical speeds reaching 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) for less than the monthly price a U.S. consumer would pay for service that’s 100 times slower.

    The FCC turned its back on the 1996 Act and ordered up a future of digital mediocrity – sticking American consumers with the bill. Nowhere is this digital shortfall more evident than in the state of competition in our broadband markets.

    In the aftermath of the 1996 Act, the average American consumer had access to more than a dozen ISPs; today, our broadband market is a stagnant duopoly. Nationwide, incumbent phone and cable companies control 97 percent of the fixed-line residential broadband market. When complementary (and slow and expensive) mobile data connections are factored in, the incumbent phone and cable companies’ nationwide market share stands at 95 percent.

    This situation is essentially unchanged since 2005, when the FCC took its final step to destroy the last vestige of the 1996 Act’s competitive framework.

     

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  8.  
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    Timothy Karr, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 4:37am

    Abandoning Pro-Competition Policies

    Believe it or not, the much maligned 1996 Telecommunications Act was designed to foster consumer choice among many competing Internet services. But in the 13 years since it was passed, the FCC and the courts have torn down the Act’s basic competitive framework, as a powerful phone and cable lobby pressured regulators to pass rules that handed them control of the marketplace.

    And as America blindly followed this path of so-called “deregulation,” our foreign counterparts maintained their commitment to the very pro-competitive policies pioneered in the 1996 Act.

    We see the results today. Their broadband Internet markets have blossom, while ours have withered. At the turn of the century, the United States was ranked fifth among the world’s nations in broadband penetration. But just a few short years later, we had dropped precipitously to 22nd place. Consumers in countries that maintained policies that were committed to competition, such as South Korea and Japan, are today able to access broadband with symmetrical speeds reaching 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) for less than the monthly price a U.S. consumer would pay for service that’s 100 times slower.

    The FCC turned its back on the 1996 Act and ordered up a future of digital mediocrity – sticking American consumers with the bill. Nowhere is this digital shortfall more evident than in the state of competition in our broadband markets.

    In the aftermath of the 1996 Act, the average American consumer had access to more than a dozen ISPs; today, our broadband market is a stagnant duopoly. Nationwide, incumbent phone and cable companies control 97 percent of the fixed-line residential broadband market. When complementary (and slow and expensive) mobile data connections are factored in, the incumbent phone and cable companies’ nationwide market share stands at 95 percent.

    This situation is essentially unchanged since 2005, when the FCC took its final step to destroy the last vestige of the 1996 Act’s competitive framework.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 4:46am

    Re:

    Mike, in most major US centers, there are at least two high speed offerings (cable and DSL) In many areas, there is a third option (3g / 3.5g wireless) that is expanding in the marketplace. Unless a person has specifically purchased a house in an area that isn't served, most major center dwellers have at least these choices.

    You call that competition? What a joke! I wish there were only 2 or 3 people in town who were allowed to sell their services to employers in my field. I think myself and those one or two other people would be quite wealthy. But, unfortunately and unlike the telcos and cablecos, I don't have any kind of gov't granted monopoly providing me with such a situation and thus have to compete with thousands. This considerably reduces my wealth.

    If you shoot yourself in the foot, don't complain about the mess you made doing it.

    Yeah, if you shoot yourself in the foot by living in the US, don't complain about the mess you're in, eh?

    If you live in a major city, the US has broadband that for the most part isn't terrible...

    No, for the most part the choices are indeed terrible.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 4:55am

    Re:

    ...the cable company ain't coming to town any time soon, and that they are too far down the phone line to get decent DSL.


    THE cable company and THE phone line? See, that's the problem. If it weren't for gov't protection there could be multiple cable lines and multiple phone lines competing with each other.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 5:01am

    Re: Re:

    It's because you have THE big country. Economically, it isn't feasible to have two or more sets of side by side phone lines, it isn't feasible to have side by side cable lines, and it isn't feasible to offer 3.5g networking in places where there are mostly cows and trees lining up for service.

    You could have competition - but with half as many clients each, you as the customer would be paying more for it.

    Of course, it could all be solves by replacing it all with THE fiber, but then someone would control THE fiber and you would all be pissed off again.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 5:02am

    Re:

    20E a month here in Bulgaria and I get 40mbit fiber uncapped, with 100mbit connection to peers within Bulgaria :)

    See? There's plenty of broadband competition out there! All you have to do is move to Bulgaria. If you're just too lazy to move then don't complain, crybabies!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 5:08am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Economically, it isn't feasible to have two or more sets of side by side phone lines, it isn't feasible to have side by side cable lines, and it isn't feasible to offer 3.5g networking in places where there are mostly cows and trees lining up for service.

    Then let the market determine that, not the government protecting the existing companies.

    Of course, it could all be solves by replacing it all with THE fiber, but then someone would control THE fiber and you would all be pissed off again.

    Whether it's twisted pair, coaxial cable, fiber or whatever, there should be unrestricted competition.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 5:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "You could have competition - but with half as many clients each, you as the customer would be paying more for it."

    That's ludicrous. You apparently don't know much about markets and economics or you would know that increased supply actually lowers prices. You're spouting off the kind of stuff that the phone and cable companies would like for people to believe but just isn't true.

     

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    NullOp, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 5:26am

    Competition?

    There is essentially NO competition in the U.S. for broadband or anything else. The U.S. model of doing business is "provide as little as possible and lock the customer in as tightly as possible." God forbid the idea of a customer buying a service because its world class.

     

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    sajjon, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 5:32am

    Missing the point?..guess not

    Appears you agree with mike, yet still feel it necessary to flame.

    "If you live in a major city, the US has broadband that for the most part "isn't terrible"

    Is that all we are striving for? a not so terrible network? As for speeds and expansion over time, the poor scores for the U.S are due to comaparison...we are behind and we have been at this the longest. what gives?

     

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  17.  
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    Derrick Hinkle, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 5:44am

    Re: Competition?

    That just sounds like my cellphone plane which is...funny enough, provided to me by the exact same telco as my Internet is...hm, go figure that.

     

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  18.  
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    Talmyr (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 5:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That's a rather narrow-minded view. After all, as has been pointed out before, the big oil companies all manage using the same infrastructure - you don't see Exxon or Shell having their own pipelines all over the country. A common solution is that one company (which may or may not be independent) controls the physical infrastructure, and other companies lease this and try and compete on whatever they feel is worth competing on.

    For instance in Britain (where we have a fair amount of competition), either companies provide their own infrastructure (such as Virgin cable), or lease BT (British Telecom) lines at reasonable rates, as BT is required to allow by the government, thus allowing them to compete effectively. We have a similar system with our gas - Transco runs the pipelines and all the providers simply compete to provide the (supposedly) best service.

    In the end, there is competition, which means investment and development, and thus generally much happier consumers.

    Why is it government protectionism and over-regulation in the US seems to flourish under Republican auspices?

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 6:03am

    Republicans are responsible for over-regulation? Gee, for the past two hears, I have been hearing that Republicans are responsible for under regulation.

     

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  20.  
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    Mechwarrior, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 6:28am

    Whats with all these industry scabs coming on to a tech site to spew company propaganda? If its not the RIAA or MPAA, its the telcos or cable operators. If its not them, then its their lobbyists. Sheesh. Dont these guys realize that they wont make a difference here, if they dont do anything in the real world?

    Come on, how can Japan have 100 mbps with 40 gb daily caps, while in the United States the average speed is around 5 mbps with 10 gb monthly caps? I thought de-regulation and the end of line sharing was supposed to propel us ahead of other countries. Instead, we are at the same level of some recently industrialized nations.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 6:35am

    Census

    Hey, isn't the 2010 Census coming up? They should ask people about broadband.

    Question: Do you have Internet access?
    a) Yes, through an always-on broadband connection such as cable or DSL.
    b) Yes, through a traditional phone-line modem.
    c) No.

    (Asking how fast it is, or how much competition they have, would probably be too complex a question for 90% of the population.)

     

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  22.  
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    Jim (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 6:46am

    What about grassroots mapping?

    There are so many sites out there that claim Connected Nation and others will do a horrible job mapping - why can't these sites band together and start a grassroots broadband mapping initiative?

    I'm not a web developer so unfortunately I'm just another loud-mouth down playing the difficulties involved. But, if a few of you great bloggers got together and started a project based on Google Maps that allowed people to just input their location and the amount of choices they have for broadband or internet access they could do a pretty great job at showing what the competition landscape looks like. I would love to help in that kind of effort.

     

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  23.  
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    Tgeigs (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 7:04am

    Re:

    That's what they get paid to do.

     

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  24.  
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    Tgeigs (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 7:07am

    Re: What about grassroots mapping?

    Wow. That is an absolutely outstanding idea. I wonder if you could get Google involved to work out any difficulties. Lord knows they have a vested interest in anythign that gets more people web access.

    There was something similar (I think I saw it on TechDirt) having to do with real and fake iMax theatres. It was VERY cool.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 7:32am

    OK, take all govt. regulation out of it.

    Only problem is the big companies own the pipes. Someone digs up my yard to lay a line for service I don't want? Ummm, no. How is it free market to make a company let a competitor use its own pipeline? That isn't free market, that is communism.

    There will always be government regulation involved, because you have to have that pipeline. Think the govt. can afford to go out and put in a nice high speed fiber system? What makes you think they wouldn't screw it up much worse than anything we have today?

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 7:46am

    Re:

    in many European countries privately owned telcos install their own pipelines...

    i think thats the point everyone is trying to make.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 8:00am

    Re:

    if they would lay large enough sewer pipe and drainage pipes, they could run all of the power, cable, phone, and all the fiber anyone could ever want. I have seen it done in large cities where they run it all and hang it from the top of the storm drain pipe.

    the entire infrastructure in this nation needs to be redone properly and identically. Not this mix and match crap that you see everywhere. I understand competition is a good thing, but in this situation, Use one type of pipe for everything so there is consistency and compatibility.

     

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  28.  
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    jbek, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 8:08am

    Re:

    DSL is not available everywhere even in major areas. 3g is also not a viable option due to availability and restrictions. Also not everyone lives in major markets. There are a lot of suburbs that have a lot of people but are stuck with whatever limited option is available. I for example am on cable through Charter but if I wanted something else I would have to go with DSL which offers lower speeds and I'm not even sure it is available at my location. Competition is like when you can choose between different brands of bread, they are basically the same and the brands are tapped to provide you with a reason to take theirs over the other guys. If the other guy can't offer the same service level then it isn't true competition. Without that we are at the mercy of a company to improve their own service.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 8:11am

    Re: Re:

    ...and in a nation that is running a deficit that is shocking, where the heck does the money come from?

    This whole deal is like Mike's AOL slam post. If you ignore everything about how they got where they are today, what was going on when they were created, etc, it is easy to mock where they are today. Like AOL, the phone companies and cable companies have been OTBE (over taken by events). There was no need 50 years ago for "competition" in the phone market, and nobody wanted to pay for a doubling or tripling of the infrastructure to run the game.

    What happened with the internet and long haul fiber optic cables? There is all sorts of fibre lying around dark, useless, because there was no need for it. Many companies went bust running cable all of the place that had no end users.

    Funny that Mike doesn't point to the article a few years back in Wired about the development of the train system in the UK. There was massive duplication of effort, massive waste, and massive losses (by companies and individual investors) because of this wasteful development.

    If the government wants competition in the US, they need to do what they did in Canada - force the incumbant Telco to allow other companies to resell services. Price the service to the other companies, everyone pays the same, and away you go - all the competition you could want. I have DSL options here from "free with long distance package" to 20 gig fiber. There was no requirement to run duplicate lines or duplicate infrastructure.

    If you have two choices, you have competition. If you have 3, even better, and so on. No choice means only 1, and that isn't common for most city dwellers.

     

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  30.  
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    jbek, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I guess my problem with your argument is that we as taxpayers are already paying more for these companies and in most cases they get breaks on right of way for "their" cabling. It seems to me that the answer to your issue about multiple lines is moot if the government owns and maintains the lines but allows different companies to use them. If my taxes go up but I get fiber to my house I would be fine with that.

     

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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 9:19am

    Competition

    I once saw an add for a cable + internet package that was a really good deal, much cheaper than I was paying. I called the company and inquired about subscribing. First question I was asked was my address. When I gave it, I was told that they were not 'allowed' to service my area, another company covered it. If that is not the definition of "anti-competitive", I don't know what is.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 10:02am

    Re:

    Republicans are responsible for over regulation that helps rich and powerful corporations (ie: patents, government sanctioned monopolies, etc...). They are responsible for under regulation that helps consumers. BTW, I'm not defending democrats.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 10:05am

    Re: What about grassroots mapping?

    I've thought of something like this before for other studies. We must be sure the industry doesn't put in bogus amounts for various areas. We need a way to authenticate users.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous12, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 10:07am

    Mike, in most major US centers, there are at least two high speed offerings (cable and DSL) In many areas, there is a third option (3g / 3.5g wireless) that is expanding in the marketplace

    Who let the Verizon shill through the door? At least two!
    No way! That's SO expansive. Go look at the data on South Korea, then STHU.

    BTW, saying there wasn't a need for competition in the phone market 50 years ago is comparing apples to oranges.
    Phone companies don't have arbitrary limits on how many calls you can make. It's just an idiotic comparison by any measure. If you want to use a good comparison, of South Korea's broad band vs. the USA, then SK would have a phone line while the USA is running a phone via two cans and a string. STHU you lying bastard.

     

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  35.  
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    Sailingmaster, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 10:14am

    @ Anonymous Coward...

    "Mike caps off one of his worst days in Techdirt history with a real cracker of a story. "

    I can't tell if you're an idiot or a shill, either way I don't really care.

    "Mike, in most major US centers, there are at least two high speed offerings (cable and DSL) In many areas, there is a third option (3g / 3.5g wireless) that is expanding in the marketplace. Unless a person has specifically purchased a house in an area that isn't served, most major center dwellers have at least these choices."

    Thia is why you're an idiot. You're making Mike's point. You just don't realize it, or you're being a shill and hoping people are stupid. In most US markets, cable providers have "gentlemen's agreements" which prevent any competition except in areas of new construction. Even then, after said new construction is completed, whoever got the area, keeps it. I lived on a street next to an alley, on the other side of the alley, Brighthouse was the provider, we had Comcast. Brighthouse would not give us service. Even after offering to pay all costs ourselves, they would not give us service. One day, there was a Brighthouse tech down the street. I asked him why they couldn't run a line to our house. He showed me a city map, everything was highlighted red or yellow. They didn't overlap. The areas were clearly marked as to whose territory was which. So, for Cable, there is no true competition. Don't ever think there is.

    As for DSL, why do you think Cable companies got into the phone business? Most DSL packages have rates that are too high, unless you also have local and long-distance service with them. Neither cable nor phone companies are willing to do more to compete over this except every so often offer special switching rates which only last a few months. I know some people who keep switching back and forth to keep low rates, but it's a pain in the ass.

    Wireless broadband? Ha. When it gets available to more than a minute fraction of american markets, I'll be interested.

    "If you live in a major city, the US has broadband that for the most part isn't terrible, and speeds and options continue to expand over time."

    If you go to Hell for lying, bubba you just bought yourself a first class ticket. I lived in a major city up until very recently. Our broadband service sucked ass. At peak usage times, we had problems staying connected to WoW. When we complained about it, we got this: "We are aware of the problem, but we have no plans to upgrade our infrastructure in your area at this time."

    Broadband companies in this country suck. They suck because they spend their money on politicians to lobby for laws that let them charge more money for less service.

    I read the article yesterday about the town in Montana that won their court case about internet service being a utility. I hope that precedent gets used all over the US for running the scumbag companies milking us dry for crap service out of business.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 10:14am

    Re: Re:

    that is, republicans are responsible for under regulation when it comes to regulation that helps consumers (ie: preemption for drugs and medical devices if they are FDA approved).

     

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    Anonymous12, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 10:17am

    Republicans are responsible for over regulation that helps rich and powerful corporations..while Democrats are responsible for being asleep at the switch and letting the Banks give loans to people with no money to back it up.
    Gotcha. See how overly broad generalizations make you appear as you are...ignorant. Failure of leadership knows no political party restriction, this much is true.

     

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  38.  
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    Tgeigs (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 10:49am

    Re:

    "Republicans are responsible for over regulation that helps rich and powerful corporations..while Democrats are responsible for being asleep at the switch and letting the Banks give loans to people with no money to back it up"

    Uh....what? I don't want to get into a Republican v. Democrat debate here (because I dislike them both and find them to be essentially the same team in a different uniform), but I'm curious as to what Democrats had to do with banks handing out loans to people who didn't qualify for them (incidentally, if you think that was the chief reason for the massive economy drop, I would strongly disagree).

    Didn't the housing bubble, i.e. mortgage crisis occur somewhere in the area of 1999-2004? I seem to remember an awful lot of Republicans in control during that time (thought I don't really blame THEM either, all of this started a long, long, long time ago, probably before Reagan). That is to say on the Federal level, at least.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 10:59am

    Re:

    "Whats with all these industry scabs coming on to a tech site to spew company propaganda?"

    They think we're incompetent government officials (with conflicts of interest) who believe everything they tell us.

    BTW, the one to blame for this mess is the American people (us) for allowing these special interest groups to push us around like this. we need to stand up for what's best for everyone even if special interest groups don't like it.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous12, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 11:13am

    Uh....what? I don't want to get into a Republican v. Democrat debate here (because I dislike them both and find them to be essentially the same team in a different uniform), but I'm curious as to what Democrats had to do with banks handing out loans to people who didn't qualify for them (incidentally, if you think that was the chief reason for the massive economy drop, I would strongly disagree).



    I don't either, and my post was esentially saying both sides are too blame, it's esentially unrelated, due to the fact that the Federal government, in general, needs better managed involvement, legislation, and planning on the broadband issue. To answer your question, there is an article published in 1999 titled "Fannie Mae Eases Credit to Aid Mortgage Lending" from the NY Times by one Steven A. Holmes. Snopes.com, a website that investigates "urban legends" and rumors, discusses it here: http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/easescredit.asp

    That's why I called him ignorant. I never said it was the main cause of the economic collapse, but one of many factors, again showing poor leadership isn't limited to one political party or another. People need the facts, not political spin. FYI. For the record, I am not interested in discussing this issue more here. Just making a point.

     

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  41.  
    icon
    Tgeigs (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 11:28am

    Re:

    Fair enough. I'll check out the links from home.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    what competition?, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 12:06pm

    choice

    I live in CA in the North Bay Area in a fairly large city population 100K+ and where I live we do NOT even have a choice we have cable or dailup that is IT!! We are not by any stretch of the imagination in a rural community and we have NO choice whatsoever so anyone trying to say that the US has anything even remotely close to what other countries have available is full of it.

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    fuzzbutt, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 12:23pm

    Re: South Africa

    Funny, the Prince from Nigria always seems to have plenty of broadband to ask me to help him transfer money out of his country

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Re: South Africa

    lol.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 5:06pm

    Re: South Africa

    You guys have significantly higher costs, with most of your traffic going overseas, and needing satellite links to do it.

    Your local ISPs must pay int'l carriers to haul every GB that goes overseas.

    No apologies, they may be sticking it to you, too. But they do have higher costs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 5:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Not to make his case for him, because I disagree, but it is also true that if we dig up our streets to have additional infrastructure, there would be additional costs.

    At some point, we don't want more infrastructure, but want more competition on the infrastructure we already have.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 5:34pm

    Open Your Eyes, look beyond NYC or LA

    Hey folks. If you think we have adequate competition in the US broadband market, read on.

    In France, for 45 euros ($63 bucks), many competitors offer a service with broadband, IPTV, mobile phone, and fixed telephone. That's $63 for unlimited traffic on up to 20Mbps Internet, 90 channels of IPTV, fixed phone with unlimited domestic and some international calling, unlimited SMS, mobile TV, 3G data, mobile email, and 2 hours of mobile calling.

    Now, you probably think I'm full of shit with the above. Well, if you speak a little french, just check for yourself:

    http://www.laboutique.bouyguestelecom.fr/les-tout-en-un-ideo.html

    That's from Bouygues telecom, a consulting client of mine that was a mobile phone company that now offers triple play plans to compete with the other players.

    France Telecom, the incumbent, is forced to share their last mile infrastructure, and multiple companies use it to compete on the service layer. The competition has had a...ahem...effect on prices.

    The geography and cost structure is definitely higher in the US, but holy @#$#@!! I think there's something more afoot than different cost structures because of population density. They get a lot of value for 45 euros.

    Oh, BTW, their iPhone plans start at 14euros/mo with 2 year contract, and are here (scroll down for pricing)
    http://www.laboutique.bouyguestelecom.fr/E1001088-apple-iphone-3g-8go.html

    But that's France, right. Land of communists and government intervention. Thank God we live here in the good ol USA, where competition is part of the social structure. Ha.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 5th, 2009 @ 5:41pm

    Re: Abandoning Pro-Competition Policies

    Nice job.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Joe, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 6:11pm

    Re:

    "how can Japan have 100 mbps with 40 gb daily caps..."?

    1) Tiered pricing - lots of it. Look it up
    2) Much smaller country and very urbanized.

    At least compare apples to apples.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 5th, 2009 @ 7:01pm

    Re: Open Your Eyes, look beyond NYC or LA

    Not really apples to apples - please consider population density, amongst other things.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:04am

    Broadband has hardly advanced in the united states thanks to the lobbying efforts of rich and powerful entities. Broadband still costs about the same for about the same amount of bandwidth. It's sad, really.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2009 @ 12:37pm

    Also found this interesting.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/2008/6/are-internet-providers-making-broadband-more-e xpensive-to-protect-their-tv-businesses

    "Are Internet Providers Making Broadband More Expensive To Protect Their TV Businesses?"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 9:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Not to make his case for him, because I disagree, but it is also true that if we dig up our streets to have additional infrastructure, there would be additional costs.

    Whether it's intentional or not, you're missing the point. The point is to let the market decide when it is or isn't economical to add more infrastructure, not gov't officials protecting incumbent operators. By your reasoning, the gov't should only allow there to be one car company, one bank, one grocery chain, etc., etc., because it would be more "efficient". I suggest people look at how that kind of efficiency turned out for the Soviet Union. The truth is, competition increases efficiency instead of decreasing it. Of course I can see why a teleco shill, such as yourself, would like for people to think otherwise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Raptor, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 9:25pm

    Re: Re: South Africa

    "You guys have significantly higher costs, with most of your traffic going overseas, and needing satellite links to do it."

    What? Very, very little international internet traffic is carried by satellite. It almost all goes by fiber. And you claim to be some kind of telecom consultant and didn't know that? With consultants like you, the telecom industry must be it's own worst enemy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 9:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's a rather narrow-minded view. After all, as has been pointed out before, the big oil companies all manage using the same infrastructure - you don't see Exxon or Shell having their own pipelines all over the country.

    Ahh, but they could if they wanted to and in many places they do. So if some pipeline operator decides to start gouging Exxon or Shell for transport, then they have the option to build their own pipelines or a competing pipeline company can spring up. But with telcos and cablecos that isn't the case because they have gov't protection.

    A common solution is that one company (which may or may not be independent) controls the physical infrastructure, and other companies lease this and try and compete on whatever they feel is worth competing on.

    And if that one company gets greedy and lazy and decides to get rich by gouging the others then the others have options. That's not the case with telcos and cablecos.

    For instance in Britain (where we have a fair amount of competition), either companies provide their own infrastructure (such as Virgin cable), or lease BT (British Telecom) lines at reasonable rates, as BT is required to allow by the government, thus allowing them to compete effectively.

    We tried that in the US but it didn't work because the telcos had the regulators in their pockets and so the rates were so high that it was impossible for other companies to compete with them. And as I pointed out, gov't protectionism keeps other companies from building their own competing infrastructure. You have to remember that here in the US we have the best gov't that money can buy.

    In the end, there is competition, which means investment and development, and thus generally much happier consumers.

    Maybe in the UK, but not in the US.

    Why is it government protectionism and over-regulation in the US seems to flourish under Republican auspices?

    I think that's pretty obvious.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    MoMo, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 10:02pm

    Re: Abandoning Pro-Competition Policies

    Yeah, that's called "regulatory capture" and has been discussed numerous times here on Techdirt. It's just the natural result of extreme capitalism where money rules and everything, including the government, has a price.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 10:09pm

    Re: What about grassroots mapping?

    That doesn't sound like something the telcos and cablecos would be happy about. What would keep them from hiring a bunch of shills to input bogus information?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 10:19pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    There was no need 50 years ago for "competition" in the phone market...

    Back then all rates were also regulated. Today, they still have the gov't backed monopolies but there is no more regulation of the rates.

    If you're going to grant monopolies, then you need regulation. If you're going to deregulate, then you need to get rid of the monopolies. Either/or. This unregulated monopoly crap is the problem.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 10:25pm

    Re: Competition

    There are franchise border areas where one telco or cableco operates on one side of the street and another on the other. Even though they both have wires running down the same street they only offer service on "their" side of the street and won't compete with their neighboring system on the other side. This is their idea of "plenty of competition".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 10:28pm

    Re: Re: Open Your Eyes, look beyond NYC or LA

    Not really apples to apples - please consider population density, amongst other things.

    The US has plenty of areas with high population density. So how come you don't see these kinds of deals even in those areas?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2009 @ 10:30pm

    Re:

    "Are Internet Providers Making Broadband More Expensive To Protect Their TV Businesses?"

    Of course they are! Who would expect otherwise?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    icon
    BAlbrecht (profile), Jun 10th, 2009 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Republicans are responsible for over regulation. Democrats are responsible for over regulation. Lining their pockets is a bipartisan effort.
    Both parties act in the best interest of large corporations as it is they who help finance the massive campaigns now required to hold office.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    porno izle, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 8:35am

    Re:

    Yeah, that's called "regulatory capture" and has been discussed numerous times here on Techdirt. It's just the natural result of extreme capitalism where money rules and everything, including the government, has a price.porno izle,sikiş izle

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Oct 7th, 2010 @ 3:57pm

    Re: Re: Open Your Eyes, look beyond NYC or LA

    Oh, I should consider population density? Like the part where I wrote, "The geography and cost structure is definitely higher in the US, but holy @#$#@!! I think there's something more afoot than different cost structures because of population density."

    45 Euros for TV, broadband, fixed phone, and mobile phone! 63 dollars. Why would a US city-dweller not have access to a deal within 1x-2x of that price?

    Dunce. Read first, troll second.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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