Competition In Broadband? Look Overseas
from the british-invasion dept
Carphone Warehouse started as a mobile-phone retailer in the UK, but has expanded its offerings with a virtual mobile operator and a fixed-line telecoms business. It's been causing quite a stir over there this weekend with rumors that it's preparing to offer free broadband to customers that also buy fixed-line phone service from it. Details of the plan are still unclear, as is the company's motivation for it -- whether it's using the broadband as a loss leader for other services, or it's just a short-term land grab. But either way, such an offering would spark a price war in the UK broadband market, which already features a healthy level of competition thanks to a regulatory decision to force the one-time monopoly, BT, to open up. BT is required to wholesale DSL access to third parties, but also to allow them access to local exchanges to install their own broadband equipment (as Carphone Warehouse is doing). It's a far cry from the situation here in the US, where regulators dither and let incumbent telcos continue to abuse the public benefits they've been handed while letting them wriggle out of pretty much every competitive measure imposed on them. All the while, the FCC sings the praises of the competitive US market, while other countries like France lead the way.