Internet-service competition Archive

Google puts the wind up Comcast and Time Warner Cable

Article

Comcast, Time Warner boost net speeds in Google Fiber city – COINCIDENCE? | The Register

My Comments

US Flag By Dbenbenn, Zscout370, Jacobolus, Indolences, Technion. [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsRegular readers will have noticed my comments about the lack of real competition in the US fixed broadband market thank you to very cosy deals arranged by incumbent cable-TV and telecommunications companies and various governments on a state and federal level.

Google have just rolled out their Google Fiber FTTP broadband service, known for offering headline data-transfer speeds of a gigabit each way, into Kansas City. Now Comcast and Time Warner Cable, for fear of hemorrhaging cable-broadband customers to Google, have upped their cable Internet service’s headline data-transfer speeds without charging their customers a single penny extra for the upgrade.

Issues have been raised about the pricing and customer-service behavior of cable-TV companies when they are faced with real competition beyond the DSL service offered by the incumbent telco. This has come in to play during discussions concerning the proposed merger between Comcast and Time-Warner Cable, as well as the issue of Net Neutrality.

As well, I would see the Google Fiber rollout as a boost for local government in Kansas City because the properties in the area that have Google Fiber past their doors become increasingly valuable to live in or do business there. It is a similar situation that has happened in various UK neighbourhoods where houses are assessed by prospective buyers on whether next-generation broadband is passing their doors or the property is connected to a next-generation broadband service.

Who knows what this means for other US cities who are pushing Google for their fibre-optic service?

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Allowing competitive infrastructure can help US broadband

Article

Killing Muni-Broadband Bans First Step to Helping U.S. Broadband | Broadband News & DSL Reports (USA)

My Comments

As previously covered, the US broadband Internet service is heading down the path of a poor-value service. This is due to very cosy duopolies and cartels that exist in providing this service on both the fixed and mobile platforms and are placing householders, small business and community organisations at a disadvantage.

This article is highlighting how the state governments are doing their bit to protect these cartels by passing laws that proscribe companies and local governments from deploying their own infrastructure to provide retail communications services in their neighbourhoods. These laws came about when various local governments were setting up free public-access Wi-Fi services for their constituents and this activity was disturbing the likes of Comcast and the Baby Bells.

But the issue is being highlighted again by Google launching their own Google Fiber service which has its own infrastructure and has an intent to provide next-generation broadband at next-generation speeds for rock-bottom prices. The same issue could be raised concerning a competing provider who uses other technologies like fixed wireless or even their own coaxial cable to raise the Internet bar in a neighbourhood.

Some of these efforts may be to either provide real broadband Internet to rural communities or enable disadvantaged communities to have access to high-quality broadband. It also is about igniting business development and sparking up residential and commercial property values in various neighbourhoods, especially where a lot of business is being conducted online.

What is being raised in this article is to have some form of oversight concerning the state laws affecting the deployment of municipal or other competing retail broadband services. Personally, I would like to see these laws looked at in the context of antitrust (competition) issues, because they have been architected to protect uncompetitive behaviour.

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Net Neutrality and competition are at risk of giving way to US big money

Article

Guess Who’s Winning The Money Battle In The War On Net Neutrality | Gizmodo

My Comments

This recent article is showing how the US government is capitulating to Big Money, especially from AT&T, Verizon and Comcast, when it comes to Net Neutrality and, to some extent, competing service. Here, it also highlighted how FCC are pandering to big-business interests because the jobs with telcos and cable companies are becoming a popular destination for outgoing FCC Commissioners.

Why do I think of Internet-service competition in relationship to Net Neutrality? This is because when you have fewer Internet-service providers or telecommunications companies serving a particular market or providing a backbone service, you also have a greater risk of these companies selling privileged access to Internet service at very steep costs.

Previously, I had raised the issue of government departments that regulate telecommunications being independent of established telecommunications providers which brought around the idea of competitive Internet service in the UK and France. Here, I mentioned about these countries having cheaper or better-value Internet service because these government departments don’t curry favour with incumbent telecoms operators and there is oversight of the telecoms market by competition regulators and drew this comparison when I touched on Deutsche Telekom being “Drossel-kom” (“Throttle-kom”) in Germany because their telecoms regulator curried favour with this incumbent operator.

What I suspect that is happening now is that the US is effectively heading to a business climate for telecommunications, Internet service and pay-TV similar to the business climate for like services that existed in the 1970s before the Carterfone decision and the anti-trust rulings levelled against AT&T came about. This is where AT&T (Ma Bell) was able to get away with poor customer service and phone services that were of poor value for money because they were the only option for telephony. This is also shown up with repeated customer-satisfaction surveys in the US placing these companies at the worst for customer satisfaction.

Some public-interest foundations like Represent.Us and the Sunlight Foundation are targeting the issue of Big Money controlling American politics and an American could support these efforts if they want to restore real competition with their telecommunications services.

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