Why Isn’t There More Competition Between Cable Providers?
Americans know this for a fact that whichever area you are living in, you will witness a cable monopoly. You hope that someday you will have another cable TV provider in your area, so you can have a better range of options. That does make you wonder why is that so. There are several factors involved. Even though we see the cable companies rolling out similar internet, TV, and phone deals or bundle offers, yet it does matter if you have multiple providers offering services in the same region.
There are top-notch cable TV providers like Charter, who offer high-quality services regardless of even if they are the only service providers in a particular region. Be it seamless connectivity or the convenience of Charter bill pay, it has a lot to offer to the users. But that might not be the case with every provider. Hence who is really to be blamed? All the big cable companies might appear to be playing the monopolist game but the fact is that it is also the local governments that are to be blamed for becoming a barrier. Indeed, every American does not have access to a high-speed internet connection. Here is a look at the reasons responsible for the strangling of competition among the providers.
Pre Deployment Barriers
Deployment of the cable infrastructure may sound as simple as underground wiring and voila, but no, it does not work like that. There are pre-deployment barriers used by the local government and the public utilities to make it pricey and get things difficult. The result is delay and hindrance in the entry of more providers in the market. Thus the outcome is less competition and monopoly of cable companies. Any new aspiring internet service provider has hoops and obstacles lined up in its way.
Hogging of Poles
The cable companies are often reluctant to share the infrastructure with new providers entering the market. Without the infrastructure, it can become very costly for a new competitor to hit the market. The competition is suppressed in the urban areas by big cable companies who cherry-pick the neighborhoods where only their services would be available. While there is a complete lack of high-speed internet in the rural areas deprived of the required infrastructure. This is often due to a lack of business interest by the big cable companies who do not find much potential for revenue in the rural regions.
Why are there so few Providers even in the Urban Areas?
Living in the high-tech world today, we expect that faster and more affordable internet connections should be easily accessible. But the truth is that the ISPs in America are not much concerned about working on improving the quality of the last mile so that it can be equivalent to the remaining of the blazing fast infrastructure they claim.
Though cable companies know that fiber technology is a good long-term investment yet they are slow in the fiber game. New providers hesitate and lack the resource to launch fiber internet services since it is very costly. The existing providers seem to be working on it, but their fiber game is slow. The superfast fiber internet providers are not only very few but its serviceability is only limited to a restricted footprint.
Is Open Access the Solution?
The term open access refers to promoting open access to internet networks for the public. This is only possible if the local governments collaborate with the internet providers rather than repel them. It is already implemented in many cities across the world and has ensured high-speed internet for the masses.
This is one of the best types of public and private collaboration where citizens can enjoy broadband connectivity at a large scale. The local government can remove the regulatory obstructions and facilitate the deployment of broadband by the private sector.
The local government and the FCC must put in more effort for encouraging and increasing the competition in the cable industry, by supporting new providers to enter the market. This is how the monopoly of the giant cable companies could be broken and high-speed internet connectivity can be ensured at more affordable pricing.