Comcast “shilled” the available seats at a recent FCC hearing, ostensibly so that their employees could attend. If you believe that I’ve got a bridge to show you!Why is anyone surprised at Comcast’s nefarious ways? They are trying to protect a monopoly that has earned them over 200 Billion (that’s Billions with a big “B” folks) in excess profits over the last twenty years.
I have always said that the Internet would wind up as a utility, like power, gas. Then the question was would it be a regulated monopoly, like telephone, and energy, used to be? Or would a free-market approach work?
If free-market is the way to go, and I think it is, then Comcast must be allowed to set the “rates” it charges for traffic. Then the question of who pays for the traffic, in which direction, occurs. The user, after he clicks on a selection? Should the originator pay to get the selection choices to the user? How about the cable company or other infrastructure provider? Don’t they want to get their offers in front of the users who must select? If they-the users- don’t know about it, they can’t choose it.
And finally, the bandwidth.
Who should pay for what amount of bandwidth being used to deliver the content? Since video obviously costs more than email to send and receive, who pays for what? If you believe that Comcast can set whatever rates they want, then you must also provide for competitors to access the Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T infrastructure, the “pipeline,” at reasonable rates. That’s the only fair and real way to allow a free market-place to generate the most choices for the least cost; unfettered, open-market, take-no prisoners-competition.
Unfortunately, after over two generations of monopoly, I am not sure that anyone remembers, or cares, the monopolies were encouraged to give a reason for the build out of cable. And look at the rates we’ve “enjoyed” because of this ill-founded decision. Does ANYONE think that Cable would not have gotten started without a monopoly? In any case, cable just wanted “profit insurance” and we gave it to them, big time. If a monopoly is needed, how come Verizon, and Charter, and Time-Warner are building fiber-optic systems to deliver content without even a whimper, a hint, a lobbyist’s request for a subsidy, or, bite-your-tongue, whisper “monopoly.”
Does ANYONE think that they are in it for fun, as a giveback to our great society? No, they are in it for the profit opportunity. And profit potential is there, big time.
How much profit potential/? Approximately 130,000,000 households and 26-28 million businesses offer revenue potential of over $210,000,000 per year, and that’s just for starters, they get more than that now! It could grow to over $400,000,000 Billion in the next few years!
Let’s just make sure that if we continue to allow monopolies, then we must allow content neutrality.
If we allow “market determined” rate setting, based on traffic, infrastructure cost, profitability, then we MUST allow free access to the infrastructure at reasonable rates. Reasonable being defined as an ROI that meets the needs of the provider, but doesn’t gouge the competitor into a position where it would be unprofitable to offer any content. The only reason we are having this discussion is that the government hasn’t forced the monopolies to open up their “pipeline” to competitors. Verizon may have provoked the marketplace with it’s FIOS build out; I hope so. But, even better will be the day the decision is made to force Verizon and any others that own access to our airwaves, cable structure, telephone structure, whatever, to allow free and reasonably-priced access to competitors.
Then, we’ll see what a free marketplace can offer!
Other countries enjoy greater bandwidth access and speeds for less cost. Why is that? Even third world, or developing countries-Korea for instance-have greater Internet speeds available, for less cost. and we’re not talking just a little bit more, we’re talking up to five or six times our average speeds. And the companies offering these higher speeds and better access didn’t get subsidies or monopolies to build them out. They responded to the profit opportunity generated by consumer demand. And, best of all, those consumer pay less, on average, for higher speeds. Give me a break!
The U.S. is losing this competition! How can that be? Answer? Not enough competition, FCC asleep at the switch and favoring continuing monopoly practices.
As consumers, and the folks who “pay the bills,” we have to make sure that our elected representatives and federal regulators know that we want more competition, not less. More choices, not less. Tomorrow is too late, get reforms, including open access, moving today!
You can make your feelings known at: firstname.lastname@example.org and to your Senators and Representatives, state and local politicians.