Americans pay more for less broadband service than citizens of any other industrial country, and our take-up rate for fast Internet service is approaching Third World levels.
The reason? Lack of competition. Phone and cable networks, created under government control, have been made the private monopolies of corporate interests whose lobbyists dominate all capitals against the public interest.
Does new FCC chairman Kevin Martin see any of this? No. Just the opposite, in fact.
The Supreme Court affirmed the FCC's decision to refrain from regulating cable companies' provision of broadband services. This was an important victory for broadband providers and consumers. Cable companies will continue to have incentives to invest in broadband networks without fear of having to provide their rivals access at unfair discounts. The decision also paves the way for the FCC to place telephone companies on equal footing with cable providers. We can now move forward and remove the legacy regulation that reduces telephone companies' incentives to provide broadband.
This is Orwell's FCC. Monopoly is called competition. Martin claims there is intense competition from Wireless ISPs and satellite providers, when in fact those companies are being driven out of the market. The vast majority of consumers and businesses today have just two choices for broadband -- their local phone monopoly and local cable monopoly, who together enjoy a duopoly and monopoly profits that lets them write-down their 30-year property in a world best served by three-year write-offs.
There's more spin after the break.
Although we have seen billions of dollars of new investment in broadband networks, there is still more that the government must do to spur broadband deployment. We need to place all broadband providers on equal footing so that they can fairly compete in the marketplace. This means that we must treat all such providers in the same manner -- free of undue regulation that can stifle infrastructure investment. This does not mean, however, that the
government should have no role in the broadband market. To the contrary, we must be vigilant in ensuring that public safety, law enforcement and consumer protection needs continue to be met.
Translation: the FCC will move to force struggling wireless providers to raise subsidies to the Bells for "universal service" only the Bells are allowed to provide.
The fact, Mr. Martin, is that I am paying $110/month for 1.5 Mbps downloads -- that's $50 for DSL and $60 for the phone line. The alternative from cable is equally pricey -- $70/month for the cable and $40/month for the cable modem service.
Rhetoric isn't fact, sir. You're nothing but a tool of monopoly and the author of America's technology crash. You claim to be for "free enterprise," yet you've done everything you can on your watch to reduce competition and enable monopoly profits for incumbent providers.
The incumbents will make their obedient servant a rich man one day, I guarantee.