As per the cable industry, there is a lot of competition between internet providers in the USA. However, the reality is completely different.
Communication giants put in a lot of effort to keep the competition between the internet providers at a minimal level. This helps them keep the prices high so they can earn greater profits. For instance, out of 110 million internet users in the USA, 26 million have to use Comcast to gain cable broadband access. Although the other 80 million do have a choice, Comcast has managed to scoop up a significant percentage of the market.
The other bigger players are Charter, who has managed to land 25 million customers, AT&T has 16 million, Verizon has 7 million, CenturyLink has 5.4 million, and Frontier has 3.7 million customers.
In an effort to make huge profits in a situation of minimal competition, the ISP industry focuses very little on customer satisfaction. The data that they provide about the actual speed that they offer is totally misleading. Although 25Mbps of internet speed is mentioned as available to the residents, the actual median speed that they get is below 10Mbps. In some cities it is as low as 5Mbps or even 2Mbps.
For people to find affordable broadband internet in the United States, there is a great need for the competition increase among the companies that offer broadband services. Thankfully with Big Cable dominating the urban market, 98 percent of the urban population has access to broadband. That still leaves five million residents without broadband access. The situation is worse in rural areas where high-speed internet is inaccessible for more than 19.3 million residents.
While it is important to increase the benchmark of broadband services, it is also important for the regulatory body to take certain measures to toughen the competition. Here are a few such things that can be done:
- Create more open-access networks by encouraging partnerships among fiber-route operators
- Make it easier for ISP businesses to obtain right-of-way permits
- Come up with a “dig-once” policy to bury the conduit supporting future fiber services automatically
- Encourage cable operators to provide wholesale services over DOCSIS modulation
- Make it possible for homeowners to buy their own fiber strands to connect their fiber splice to the nearest demarcation point.
Every resident of the USA has a right to gain access to high-speed broadband internet and it is the responsibility of the ISP industry to make this possible. With such steps taken in the interest of the customers, it won’t be too long for this goal to be achieved.