Why competition is good for consumers

From Slashdot | US ISPs Using Push Polling To Stop Cheap Internet

Re:REALLY misleading title (Score:5, Interesting)

by Moryath (553296) on Wednesday April 29, @09:52AM (#27758663)

And there’s the rub.

When I was growing up, we used to have two choices for cable TV – Warner Cable (later became Time Warner) and Viacom Cable.

Warner was the “newcomer”. They started running “specials”, subsidized by their monopolies on OTHER cities. For a while, you got a basic cable package for $15/month and the pay channels like HBO for another $5 or so.

Then, Viacom folded. They couldn’t compete any more, they were losing customers in droves to the “specials” because at that price, Warner was actually selling the service below cost (but claiming it was a “special” and a “sale”, so getting around state laws against below-cost permanent pricing).

What did people find out once Viacom was dead? TW did what they do to everyone once they have a monopoly – they started running TV ads with the “happy king” declaring “I declare Warner Cable for my entire kingdom!” with a shit-eating grin on his face.

Meanwhile those “special” $15/month rates were expired out, and within 3 months the base price was $80/month.

Look at the prices you’re offered for ISP service. If you are in a “competition” area, one of the lucky SOB’s on a border (and the borders move as they put each other out of business), you can probably swing some ridiculously cheap pricing. Otherwise, what do you get? Comcrap pretty much has a monopoly on our area. DSL service is technically “available” if you want roughly the same data rate as a pair of 33.6 phone modems (no seriously: they haven’t upgraded their equipment in 10 years or more).

Comcrap, 10 miles down the road, offers their “high tier” speed at $40/month. For us, “low tier” is $50/month. That’s because 10 miles down the road, Verizon owns the lines and is offering FiOS to compete with Comcrap. Meanwhile, Comcrap’s own internal memos show that they could double the speed to EVERY USER IN THEIR NETWORK, both up and down, for a mere $6/customer one-time cost, and they refuse to do it.

That’s the kind of shit you deal with. They all want a monopoly so they can gouge the crap out of you.

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