Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:17 AM
HiPointDem (20,729 posts)
Break up the telecom corps
SINCE 1974, when the Justice Department sued to break up the Ma Bell phone monopoly, Americans have been told that competition in telecommunications would produce innovation, better service and lower prices. What we’ve witnessed instead is low-quality service and prices that are higher than a truly competitive market would bring.
After a brief fling with competition, ownership has reconcentrated into a stodgy duopoly of Bell Twins — AT&T and Verizon. Now, thanks to new government rules, each in effect has become the leader of its own cartel.
The result of having such sweeping control of the communications terrain, naturally, is that there is little incentive for either player to lower prices, make improvements to service or significantly invest in new technologies and infrastructure. And that, in turn, leaves American consumers with a major disadvantage compared with their counterparts in the rest of the world.
On average, for instance, a triple-play package that bundles Internet, telephone and television sells for $160 a month with taxes. In France the equivalent costs just $38. For that low price the French also get long distance to 70 foreign countries, not merely one; worldwide television, not just domestic; and an Internet that’s 20 times faster uploading data and 10 times faster downloading it.
America’s Internet started out as No. 1 in speed. It now ranks 26th, far behind the networks in Bulgaria, Ukraine and Lithuania. Americans pay the sixth highest median price in the modern world for Internet data — 16 times the rates paid by South Koreans, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development...
7 replies, 833 views
Break up the telecom corps (Original post)
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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)
Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:38 AM
Selatius (20,441 posts)
2. Incidentally, unfair competition and monopolies/oligopolies are found in the health insurance market
In quite a lot of states, you find only a small number of large firms dominating the market. The result is inflated premiums and deductibles for coverage of health care expenses. The industry for medical parts and supplies is probably even worse.
The idea of another president being elected who will copy Teddy Roosevelt, the man of the "Square Deal," is far-fetched in my mind. So much corporate money goes into political campaigns and attack ads. It'd be hard to make it out the gate without being outspent by corporate adversaries ten to one who are afraid that you're out to smash their money-making racket.
The market is only as good as the competition found within it.
Response to HiPointDem (Original post)
Wed Jan 9, 2013, 05:07 PM
Starry Messenger (32,007 posts)
7. The service just keeps getting worse too.
If everything is going to be pushed into digital, then there needs to be a way to make it cheap and easily accessible to everyone. The internet should never have been privatized anyway. But of course, that would have been unAmerican.
From NYT, 1994:
U.S. Begins Privatizing Internet's Operations
Some experts say the Government's planned withdrawal from Internet management -- ending nearly a decade of oversight and an estimated $12 million in annual subsidies -- is the best way to bring marketplace efficiencies to the increasingly commercial global network.
But pessimists worry that this critical part of the emerging electronic web could become a patchwork of private roads, perhaps isolating some users. Some people are also concerned that the private system may not be able to cope with the billions of packets of information that traverse the network each month. The transition is already behind schedule as a result of technical and administrative delays.
It remains unclear what effect, if any, these changes may have on pricing for the Internet, which already has millions of computer users and is doubling in size each year. The users most likely to be affected are the more than 2,000 universities, research organizations and Government agencies that are the main beneficiaries of the Federal subsidies.
And yet it is far from certain whether anyone will have to pay more as a result of the declining subsidies. Increased competition among service providers and steadily lower costs for network capacity -- known as bandwidth -- could offset the difference before the system becomes commercially self-sufficient in five years.
Why does it always take 20 years to finally admit that privatizing the commons usually ends poorly? Every. Single. Time.