Broadband users have long been skeptical of the duopoly situation in the US Internet market, which often feels like “pick your poison”: telephone company or cable company. "Where's the real competition?" they cry, pointing to other countries with healthy ISP markets thanks to regulated line-sharing or even direct government control of the underlying fiber infrastructure (Australia's new plan). But will they one day look back at the US duopoly situation with something like longing?
When the Federal Communications Commission rolled out its National Broadband Plan last year, it shied away from any bold calls to transform ISP competition. But it did note that the US is quickly moving to a situation where many markets have only a single truly high-speed Internet provider. To put it in the plainest possible terms, if your home isn't served by Verizon's fiber optic FiOS system, you could be looking at a local high-speed monopoly. And that monopoly will probably come courtesy of an industry routinely rated low for customer satisfaction: cable.
....“When there is only one provider in each locality making available the central communications infrastructure of our time, what should the role of government be with respect to that infrastructure?” she asks. “When broadcast, voice, cable, and even newspapers are just indistinguishable bits flowing over a single, monopoly-provided fat pipe to the home, how should public goals of affordability, ubiquity, access to emergency services, and nondiscrimination be served? And what happens to diversity, localism, and the civic function of journalism?”
I thought it was a very interesting read regarding the future of the internet and how much impact it has regarding our various methods of communication.