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Telcos: Yes, they really are that wretched

Posted by tigerhawkvok on October 28, 2009 01:12 in computers , politics , internet

Oh man, this article from ArsTechnica just says so much. The skinny:

Monticello, Minnesota was getting bad internet service. The voters passed a referendum to have a municiple, fiber-to-the-home service. TDS, a local telco, sued. And sued. And sued some more. And after stonewalling the government for long enough, they unveilled today a 50 mbps symmetrical fiber-to-the-home service for all residents, at $49.95 per month.

Sample two:

Such stories aren't limited to Minnesota suburbs, either. Just last month Telephony Online ran a piece on how Cox cable prices had "dropped considerably" since Lafeyette, Louisiana lit up a fiber system of its own.

"Cox froze the cable rates in Lafayette, and they didn’t freeze the rates in other areas," said Terry Huval, director of the muni project. "We figured our citizens saved over $3 million in cable rates even before we could offer them service."

via Ars

Big surprise, we don't have enough competition and when we suddenly get it, hey presto, prices drop and service improves — even if the government (albeit local) has to inject competition into the marketplace.

So, first, this really drives home the whole "Telcos are retarted and kinda vaguely evil" point, second, we do not have enough broadband competition, dominated by two or three carries, covering 75-80% of customers.

Third — does this have an analogue I'm missing? Hm... oh wait. A goverment-sponsored public option is supposed to do the same bloody thing. You know, force competitive rates among insurers. Lower prices for Americans. Etc. But naaaah, we've never shown that'd work. Oh wait.

Yes, there's more to the health care bill than that, with conservative estimates sponsored by the America's Health Insurance Plans (read: insurance lobby) even showing a 47% decrease in premiums WRT today's levels with a no-PO bill. But it's what gives the bloody thing teeth!

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