Wednesday, March 02, 2016

The Cord Empire Strikes Back - Bloomberg Gadfly

The Cord Empire Strikes Back - Bloomberg Gadfly: Like in the rule-making for set-top boxes, incumbents are showing they're good at putting up roadblocks. AT&T last week sued the city and county and said local officials don't have the authority to regulate attachments to its poles. The telecom company also said tinkering with its equipment might cause outages for its own customers.

As the scuffles show, breaking Big Cable won't be easy. And it is cringeworthy that Americans' best chance to end the cable-and-telecom monopoly may lie with Google, another monopolist. But if the status quo doesn't change, ambitions for more robust Internet connections and more compelling home entertainment options will be realized painfully slowly, or not at all.
Telecommunications infrastructure is a natural monopoly. As such, it warrants strong monopoly regulation such as Title II of the Communications Act (implementing regulations symbolically adopted but not being enforced by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission ) or government ownership. The United States currently has neither and is reaping the consequences in the form of widely disparate access and high prices. The legacy incumbent telephone and cable companies are only all too happy to take advantage.

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