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Businesses Network The Internet Wireless Networking

How ISPs Collude To Offer Poor Service 207

alexander_686 writes "Bloomberg is running a series of articles from Susan Crawford about the stagnation of internet access in the U.S., and why consumers in America pay more for slower service. Quoting: 'The two kinds of Internet-access carriers, wired and wireless, have found they can operate without competing with each other. The cable industry and AT&T-Verizon have divided up the world much as Comcast and Time Warner did; only instead of, "You take Philadelphia, I'll take Minneapolis," it's, "You take wired, I'll take wireless." At the end of 2011, the two industries even agreed to market each other’s services.' I am a free market type of guy. I do recognize the abuse that can come from natural monopolies that utilities tend to have, but I have never considered this type of collusion before. To fix the situation, Crawford recommends that the U.S. 'move to a utility model, based on the assumption that all Americans require fiber-optic Internet access at reasonable prices.'"
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How ISPs Collude To Offer Poor Service

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  • by valley ( 240947 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @07:30PM (#42415089) Homepage
    But as Corporate America now rules Congress, the chance of regulations in favor of the consumer is close to zero.
  • by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @07:57PM (#42415301)

    The history of utilities until they became massive monopolists was that various jurisdictions granted them easements, right-of-way, and lots of other considerations in exchange for getting services built. The telcos were independent, and a long distance network consisted of AT&T, ITT, and others. Then came Judge Greene, a breakup of AT&T, GTE and ITT consolidations of the Baby Bells, and the sense that utilities were unbridled and focused on shareholder return based on serious assets.

    The landlines were different than what is now the Internet. Most were analog copper cables that had muxed data channels. Fiber is only the last 20yrs.

    So there is this mixed bag of monopolist thought as we've boiled down the US landline carriers to six, wireless carriers of significance to four, each with a territory in landlines. Some communities did their own fiber optic services, but they're rare. Communities became forbidden after their state legislators were sufficiently bribed to prevent community utility access. Co-ops went the same way, although there are still some around.

    Collusion? The telcos shifted much away from the State PUCs to the Feds with the TCAct, so they'd only have to fight (I mean bribe) Washington and deal with the FCC.

    And in reality: this is a huge freaking country, and trying to cover it with copper, fiber, or wireless still takes a lot of capital. How do you get capital? A business plan with a guaranteed return on investment. How do you get guarantees for revenue floors? Collusion? What a bright idea.

    Utilities are unique and used to be cooperatives and had a ceiling on revenues, each price increase in front of a state or perhaps federal committee, breathing down their necks to keep prices reasonable. Government doesn't protect people much anymore, it protects the interests of business in the blind faith that says: in doing so, you're disciplining investment. Bullshit.

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Friday December 28, 2012 @10:20PM (#42416443) Homepage Journal

    You're very much right that not everyone actually requires fiberoptic service. First, separating wants from needs is important. I'd like to have super fast fiberoptic, but I don't "need" it. Few of us do, really. We can be patient, and wait for ten minutes to get a file that would have downloaded almost instantly on fiber. So, we're in agreement there.

    But, you're a lot less right when you say that the internet isn't required by everyone. In today's world, if you don't have internet, then you cannot be competitive with the competition just a couple miles away. I live out in the sticks, where internet service was very spotty until five years ago. The access that is available is still pretty crappy today.

    My "auto parts" store of choice lost business to franchised auto parts stores, until they finally got online. People searching for things simply couldn't find them. The franchised stores were either on line, or they were represented by a corporate headquarters site which listed them, along with a map with directions to their stores. My supplier simply didn't exist. Even though I knew where they were, I couldn't go online to find out if they had a particular item in stock, or if they would have to order it.

    Now that Mr. Baker has an online presence, he does get more business. His online presence isn't a very good presence, because he is not tech savvy, and doesn't understand the need to hire someone who is tech savvy. Still - he's there. And he gets business that he never did get before.

    If the old guy would hire someone to market him online, he could gain a lot more business, because he offers things that the franchise stores don't. Farm and tractor supply parts, tractor trailer parts, small engine parts, that O'Reilly's and others don't offer at any price. The bulk of his business comes from word of mouth advertising. A real on line presence, tailored to suit his needs would easily increase his business by 10%, probably 20%. I could potentially increase his business by 100%, but there's no way to prove it until someone actually does it.

    I say that in today's world, internet access is a necessity. You simply can't compete unless people can find you.

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday December 28, 2012 @10:59PM (#42416745) Journal

    You simply cannot fix a corrupted system by working within that system, why? Because they will simply change the rules to insure that you can't win silly!

    While I was never a fan of Ron Paul (to me libertarianism is just an excuse for rich to hoard and starve the poor and I think if we ever did have a libertarian government we'd have a full scale uprising from the poor within a decade) but frankly anybody that thought they could change things by working within the system should look up "Jon Stewart Ron Paul" to see how truly badly the thing is rigged and how the MSM is in bed with the megacorps controlling the elections. In the Stewart video he shows clip after clip of stations all over the country, national and local, treating Paul as 'he who shall not be named' and even going so far as to name the first, second and FOURTH place finishers in a race. The last clip even has a reporter saying to the anchor "Here we are talking about Christie and Palin, who aren't even in the race, and not Paul who is doing well here" and the anchor gets a douchebag smirk and looks straight at the camera and says "Well if you get Palin or Christie footage send it up, you can keep the Paul stuff" with another douchebag smirk.

    Add to this the people in charge of counting votes in several places in NH saying "The numbers the RNC reported were NOT what we handed to them, they aren't even close" or the "voice vote" on allowing the Paul delegation to speak where they caught it on film that the vote results were already on the teleprompter before the vote was even cast? You can give it up friend, all you can do is take as much as you possibly can and wait for the entire rotten mess to collapse which it will, probably in the next decade as the bubble they have blown in the financial market will make the crash of 29 look like a bad weekend when it blows.

    Short of violent uprising and revolution there is simply nothing to be done, the same cabal of corps owns the MSM, controls the elections, its all as kayfabe as pro wrestling. Why do you think no matter how you vote nothing changes, and it never gets better? As the lat great George Carlin said "Things will NEVER get better in this country because the owners WANT it this way! They own the country, they own you, and its never gonna get any better!" and he's right, the system is so completely corrupted that it would be impossible to ever fix it, they control what you see and hear, the price of Internet keeps going up to keep more and more peasants away from it, and its never ever gonna get better.

Beware of Programmers who carry screwdrivers. -- Leonard Brandwein