Funny How Competitive Situation Impacts Fiber Deployments
from the oh,-look-at-that... dept
We’ve discussed repeatedly that the real issue when it comes to network neutrality has nothing to do with how neutral the network is, but how much broadband competition there really is. If there’s real competition, then the telcos are suddenly much more willing to give users what they want, without trying to double charge or block certain types of usage. The telco side likes to point out that there’s plenty of competition, but their numbers are usually based off of the FCC’s data, which has been discredited. However, in areas where there is competition, it’s funny to see how the telcos respond. Rather than hold fiber deployments hostage until the government can “guarantee” less competition, it looks like the telcos are rushing to install fiber as fast as they can, knowing that competitors are stealing away their market. That’s the situation in New York City. While there is still something of a duopoly situation, multiple cable companies serve different parts of the city and compete with each other for franchises — pushing them all to upgrade equipment and offer better services.
Now, for contrast, look at the situation in Seattle. While the city is proposing a citywide fiber network, local telco Qwest is trying to block the plans despite the fact it has no plans at all to deliver fiber itself, claiming there’s just no demand. So, let’s see… when there’s real competition, suddenly it’s a mad dash to install fiber. When there’s not much competition, the mad dash is simply to slow down installation of a new network or put in place conditions that let them put up tollbooths and road blocks. So, rather than worrying about which broadband provider is going to stop you from accessing Google, the real focus should be on making sure the access business is truly competitive. Hopefully, the situation in New York City is becoming the norm — and actual competition will drive new and improved services, rather than some government guarantee to remove competition.