Monday, April 17, 2017

A concise summary of poor state of American telecom

The FCC Is Leading Us Toward Catastrophe – Backchannel: Adding a little internet-y flavor to basic, physical telecommunications lines makes zero difference to the economics of building these essential connections. Because the upfront costs of building communications lines — very physical things, lots of labor costs involved — are high, because no one needs two lines to their house, and because it was cheaper to upgrade the cable systems to higher speeds than to dig up copper wires and replace them with fiber, we have ended up with a country subject to geographically divided markets, private, unconstrained monopolies, and big holes where internet access is rare and expensive where it exists at all. In urban areas, local cable monopolies generally wield tremendous power and charge as much as they like. Rural places, meanwhile, are often relegated to inadequate connections over copper phone lines.

Susan Crawford provides an concise summary of the poor state of American telecommunications borne out of misguided and excessive reliance on market forces to modernize and build out the nation's telecom infrastructure in a natural monopoly market where market forces don't work.

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