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More than half of US households have multiple wired broadband providers: https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/06/50-mi...

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.

That means nearly half have a single (or no) option. Further, for many who have two choices, the decision is between not-actually-very-Fast DSL or a single cable provider.

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.

>for many who have two choices, the decision is between not-actually-very-Fast DSL or a single cable provider

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.

The FCC definition of broadband is 25mbps, not 8mbps.

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).

Broadband used to be symmetric (reference to e.g. T1 or E3). Now it is asymmetric. Without mentioning the upload speed, it can be anything.

My two choices are Comcast or shitty DSL. And, the DSL isn't actually "competition" in any conceivable way. It's like saying that the gas station is competition to a super market for food.

My two choices are my rural-telepohone co-op - or satellite. I'm not complaining b/c my ISP seems fine, but there isn't anyone else to run to if I'm unhappy. I don't consider satellite an option.

If we count satellite, doesn't everyone in the US have "access" to broadband?

Depends. Does satellite do a minimum of 25mbps?

Yes. With the usual caveats.

Ie. terrible latency and terrible upload speed.

The study limited to 100 MBPS. It should have included more tiers like 200, 300, 500, and 1000 to provide a better picture. Once you go past 100 MBPS, there tends to be only one widely available choice per region. This choice is either Comcast or Verizon.

I live in a city with multiple providers. Some lucky ones even have choice of FIOS, along with fast cable from two providers and slower DSL.

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.

We live in a place that supposedly has multiple wired providers. However, if you want more than about a megabyte a second, your "choice" is comcast. DSL exists but is maybe 20x phone line modem speed.

But we have a "choice" of providers, so we're competitive! This is in sfbay peninsula.

Is it?

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%.

A scant majority is not "the norm" - you're using a term that has no statistical meaning. A duopoly labeled as choice is specious.

If your list of options can be counted on a persons digits then the market is inefficient.

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