From the horse’s mouth
The White House (US Government)
Video by Barack Obama
An issue that is constantly raised in the USA is the lack of real competition when it comes to Internet service provision.
This is because incumbent cable and telephone companies, especially Comcast and Time-Warner Cable, are using their lobbying power to influence state governments to proscribe competing interests like municipal Wi-Fi projects or Google Fiber from setting up infrastructure and service. Similarly, these companies effectively tie up fibre-optic and other backbone infrastructure also to prevent real competition. Here, this leads to an Internet service that simply is poor value-for-money due to prices that go up, reduced bandwidth, onerous terms and conditions and poor quality-of-service.
As illustrated in the video that President Barack Obama made regarding this topic, this limits the available throughput for Internet service and he compared the US situation to cities like Paris, France or Seoul, South Korea where they have the high-speed broadband.
He underscored the role of state and local government to pull their weight to support high-throughput last-mile Internet connections on a competitive level. Uncle Sam had already facilitated the backbone of the US Internet connection but he sees these governments being responsible for the connection to the customer’s door.
It also comes at a time where Comcast and Time-Warner Cable have registered an intent to merge and this is becoming a hot potato issue in the US due to the state of the Internet and pay-TV services that exist there.
One analogy I have used regarding the state of the US Internet service is that it is moving towards a similar standard to monopoly-era telephone service where a single privately-owned or government-owned post-office or telephone company looked after the telephone service. This led to situations like the poor quality of customer service, disinvestment in areas that weren’t considered profitable along with very high prices especially for service-provisioning costs or long-distance calls.
What I have liked about this is that someone “from the top” of the food chain is addressing the issue concerning the quality and value of Internet service in the USA.