Kevin Martin Shows He's Confused About Competition

from the try-that-one-again dept

We’ve already pointed out that the FCC’s Kevin Marin seems to believe that a duopoly is competition, but he’s now officially confirming that by stating: “In the long run, we’ve got to make sure that there are additional competitors as well. But I think that we’re very fortunate that we’ve actually got two pipes into the homes that are competing today.” That’s funny, because the competition isn’t necessarily just in having pipes reach the home, but in offering services over them. If anything, you could argue that there’s inefficiency in having multiple pipes. The real competition should be in the connectivity offered over those pipes — and that’s exactly what Martin has worked hard to stamp out. At the same time, he also made this interesting statement: “we’ve seen dramatic decreases in prices, increases in speed and more ubiquitous deployment.” The increases in speed and ubiquitous coverage (which might be questionable) were a natural progression, so it’s hard to see how the FCC can take credit for that. However, the “dramatic decreases in price” are also questionable. While the telcos have received plenty of attention for decreased prices, those were almost entirely one off promotions with the prices already starting to go back up. Also, since there’s no real competition, the telcos have been able to avoid offering naked DSL — meaning that your “cheap” DSL line actually has to come with expensive telephone service you don’t need, making the full price a lot higher than advertised. But, most importantly, it appears no one told the cable half of the duopoly about the dramatic decreases in price, as many of the big cable companies all announced price increases in the last few months. Even though those prices are officially for cable TV service, since (notice a trend?) most cable companies won’t let you buy cable broadband without cable TV… you’re stuck again. That’s competition?

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