Should Cable Broadband Be Regulated At The State Level?

from the causing-problems dept

The latest Above the Crowd column from Bill Gurley takes a close look at a recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision concerning whether or not cable broadband services should be regulated as a telecommunications service by the states. Gurley trashes the ruling (which decided they should be) saying that it goes against what the federal government has made clear as well as against what makes the most sense for the internet. Instead, the only group to benefit from this ruling are the state Public Utility Commissions. Everyone else will suffer. He admits that some say the regulation could increase competitiveness, but points out that DSL is already regulated this way and is losing out to unregulated cable offerings (which are even more expensive). He suggests that the market has already shown that they favor an unregulated solution. I agree with the general premise, but I’m not so sure that the current lead cable has is because their “winning” the competitive battle so much as they’ve more effectively leveraged their own monopoly. I use cable modem service at home because that was the only choice I had – and no one else has come along to offer a compelling alternative yet. However, because my service is a monopoly, it’s treated as such: meaning the customer service is dreadful and the prices keep rising. So far, the DSL providers have had their own problems. The real issue is that neither side is doing much to make consumers happy.

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