Sounds like this is the end of TV and Online video watching as we know it. Oh well, time to start reading books again ~ they'll never be able to take that from us.
To me it seems like this might just revive competition between ISPs, by separating those who do the shady things and those who don't.
I'm curious how this is going to play out, it may not be all bad.
That is definitely not the norm. Most people won't be able to simply switch to the least nasty provider.
As well as making exclusive franchise agreements illegal.
You'll find that nearly all examples commonly presented of the lack of competition, are not due to market lock-out, it's due to the high cost and time required to gain approval to build in a given town or city. The combined cost, with pre-existing competition entrenched, is a very large disincentive. Google Fiber didn't grind to a halt on their build-out because they couldn't legally access markets, it's because it's painfully expensive and very slow.
There are three solutions to the problem: new technology that bypasses (low earth orbit satellite, wireless); lower the total cost to enter markets and compete; mandate shared access to existing infrastructure (and ideally simultaneously lower the other market entry costs).
Upton Sinclair's "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it" seems relevant here.
It's illegal, but it's also murkey enough that it can be made effectively exclusive through permitting delays, etc.
If the incentives were flipped (say, a federal road fund multiplier that scaled with average speed * number of options), I feel like we'd have a lot more competition.
As is, in the contracts I've read, they're essentially "ISP gets a non-exclusive franchise right in exchange for paying local government x% of their fees from the area, and both parties agree that the portion rebated to the local government may not be separately itemized on the bill."
Which sets up some pretty perverse incentives for most part-time commissioners.
We don't do that for Internet because...
We've gone far beyond reducing regulation to ensure that innovation is possible--we've restructured regulation to ensure that doing business is practical only for the major industry players who now write our legislation.
This does not include wireless broadband options. Could the competitive situation be better? Absolutely. But it is, in fact, the "norm" to have a choice.
In Mountain View I had only shitty DSL or shitty cable. Both sucked and cable was very expensive. (This may be different now. My experience was 8 or so years ago.)
I happen to be lucky to have actual high speed Comcast now, with an option for FTTH from Centurylink, plus DSL. Most people’s options are not so good.
Very true. In one city where I have a house, the choice is 4 megabit DSL for $60/month, or 300 megabit cable for $101.
Both are considered "broadband" by the FCC because the DSL is "up to" 8 megabits. But they are not equivalent services.
There's also a wireless ISP, but it's $95/month for 5 megabits.
There was a proposal to roll that back, however it didn't succeed.
You'll find that companies like Verizon do not call their slow DSL services "broadband." In Verizon's case they say: "High Speed Internet (DSL) service."
If you look at Verizon's DSL page:
You'll see they can't call their actual service broadband if it's not up at 25mbps. Instead they throw the "broadband" term around on other things on the page, such as "broadband routers" and they call themselves a "broadband provider" (referring to their FiOS offering).
If we count satellite, doesn't everyone in the US have "access" to broadband?
It doesn't matter for cord-cutters and people like me, who just want to pay for a $30 / month 100 Mbit internet connection without TV, cable, wireless data, HBO, etc. I've lived in several countries outside the US (including 'developing' ones, and this seems possible everywhere but N. America).
None of the providers will sell a $30 / month vanilla internet connection. Either you can get the absurd $20 / month 1Mb down (which they were required to provide for low-income families) or the next higher speed includes Cable, premium channels, rental boxes, etc. You aren't getting out of it without paying $60 / month which ends up being $70 after all the taxes and fees, increasing to $75 next year, etc.
But we have a "choice" of providers, so we're competitive! This is in sfbay peninsula.
Is a choice between two providers a meaningful enough number for spontaneous commercial differentiation and competition to produce access which provides good value for consumers, and a level playing field for online competition?
That chain of causality is the argument for the benefits of deregulated market-based competition.
I'm not sure the linked report provides much evidence of that. Especially in the context of streaming video, the proportion of households that have 3+ providers for a 25mbps connections appears to be less than 20%. Excluding wireless connections (expensive and unreliable) that number appears to be less than 10%.
Comcast, ATT, and Spectrum's ceiling of profit is the difference between the cost of delivering services and the potential cost of installing a competitive network.
And it's far easier to increase the latter than innovate and decrease the former.
And, for the record, wireless is not a viable competition for copper, let alone fiber. The available bandwidth by the most cutting-edge offerings is too low and latency is too high.
all a WISP has to do to compete is offer more bandwidth than the throttle allows with no bandwidth shaping at a competitive price.
The WISP also has to be resilient against Comcast removing the cap at a lower price (at least until the WISP folds). And against being bought out by Comcast. And against Comcast's lawyers and lobbyists (the wireless spectrum being a government controlled and finite resource).
i live in Utah, and i have several ISP options pretty much anywhere along the Wasatch Front, including fiber and wireless. i can't speak for anywhere else, but its not like its impossible.
0: "It is important to note that 100 Mbit/s services are the average standard in urban South Korean homes and the country is rapidly rolling out 1Gbit/s connections or 1,000 Mbit/s, at $20 per month" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_in_South_Korea
- They could zero-rate their own offerings, making them available at a very low price and not counting them against data usage.
- They could offer no-cost access to some of their own offerings with a compatible, captive piece of equipment (e.g. handset, modem, cable box).
- They could charge third-parties more per unit of data for interconnect, creating financial pressure on them that makes third-parties consider no longer interconnecting with that provider. This will make customers choose between having that particular ISP or having access to that particular content provider. Some portion will choose to stay with the ISP, likely cancelling any ongoing subscriptions to the content provider.
It will be more subtle than that. They will have some seemingly high limit with all sorts of exceptions in fine print. It will be like your typical Verizon plan where you sign up for a $50/mo plan and magically get a bill for $112/mo and all sorts of exceptions, nuances, and backstabbing legalese.
Do you have more than just a flippant accusation about this? I ask because I have a verizon plan that somehow includes no backstabbing or exceptions, and I consisitently pay what I'd expect to.
Comcast and friends are not going to let the cord-cutters get away with $30/month 100Mb down sans media, as is possible in the rest of the world, it seems.
The only way I will believe that we haven't been fleeced by the FCC / end of net neutrality is if there are more choices in the end: If I can get a $30 / month 100Mb standard internet connection without any media content, while those who binge watch Netflix, Prime, Youtube, sports, etc. have to pay more for the massive bandwidth and distribution costs of all that consumable media, I'd be willing to concede that maybe the FCC was right.
But I'm guessing that this won't happen: I'll still be paying high prices even though I don't want all the media content, and those who do will end up paying even more.
To me this is just a temporary setback, and a reminder why we need to focus on developing new technologies, like a "truly decentralized internet", blockchain, cryptography, and more.
It almost feels like a the death throws of a monster that will do a lot of damage is it goes down, but will ultimately be overthrown by the better forces in the world.
"Truly decentralized internet" is a loaded phrase, so I'll expand a bit. The fact that we see small companies and municipalities beginning to develop their own ISPs is a positive trend in the right direction.
Mesh networking has the potential to happen. Most WiFi chipsets in theory support short range mesh, and the gear from Ubiquity and others, not to mention SDR also have this potential. In fact, I'd hypothesis that the basebands in most cell phones have the hardware capability to participate in mesh typologies. The right software could enable some very interesting things. I could be totally wrong here about the HW capabilities. Anyone care to chime in?
Layer proper digital identities, and something like TOR as a first class citizen, and you start to get a pretty nice picture.
When it comes to access, you have copper, fiber, and radio. The latter is not really competitive to the first two, both of which require significant up-front investments with no promise of revenue to pay those investments back.
Remember Google Fiber? Where's that now? Shut down with a marketing-speak comment that says "its purpose was fulfilled."
Is this true? They just started offering services in my city a few months ago. I can't get it yet, but it seems like they're expanding at least in some locales.
"For most of our “potential Fiber cities” [...] we’re going to pause our operations and offices"
They haven't hit play; haven't hinted at hitting play.
They already are: multiple low or modest cost, high speed satellite providers are targeting the US market for deployment in the next four or five years.
The dumber Comcast and AT&T are about the situation, the more money SpaceX is going to make on Starlink. Amusingly, Comcast is probably going to help get us to Mars.
Regardless of the rampant cynicism about competition (plenty of which is warranted), the low earth orbit competition is coming fast. Nothing can stop it at this point.
Hoping satellite will solve your bandwidth problems is wishful thinking of the worst sort. There simply isn't enough spectrum, and thus bandwidth, to go around.
Can't beat physics.
Oh sure, amazon_not, I'll take your word for it. Since when does SpaceX know what they're doing.
Satellite has it's uses, but replacing terrestrial broadband networks isn't one. The satellite industry is littered with roadkill, bankruptcies and wasted billions. It's not the first time somebody would be wrong.
Also, the question is which households have options? I strongly suspect its the households in wealthier metro areas and suburbs. Competition for households that are the largest sources of potential revenue is going to drive the market. It's exactly like mobile devices--a huge fraction of the market has just one choice of smart phone platform (Android), because Apple doesn't sell cheap phones. But competition between Android and iOS in the mid-range and high-end drive the behavior of the market.
Maybe some day wireless will become a meaningful substitute for wireline broadband, but that day is not here yet. Thus it's very much the rational thing to do to exclude it.
In other words, if Netflix was not so successful and making so much money, the pipelines would not be so interested in squeezing a dime from that sector.
i can't help but wonder what kinds of workarounds consumers will invent (against all regulations and attempts to defeat them) to pass that content around.
consumers might embrace Netflix's old-school disk-mailing tactics. or maybe Netflix will re-embrace that.
or some sort of illegal low power local extended WiFi networks?
A whole new industry may open up: Taking previously online content (like YouTube videos, perhaps a set of related ones) and compiling them into DVDs that you can binge watch.
Who knows, maybe we'll build local networks off the public internet.
Most P2P systems are terrible, which makes them pretty useless since you can hear who scored from your neighbor seconds or even minutes before you see it.