Level 3 blames Internet slowdowns on ISPs’ refusal to upgrade networks | Ars Technica

Blake Hudson blake at ispn.net
Thu Mar 20 16:34:06 UTC 2014


Mark Tinka wrote the following on 3/20/2014 11:05 AM:
> On Thursday, March 20, 2014 04:18:59 PM Patrick W. Gilmore
> wrote:
>
>> "The market" can only "work around" things if there is a
>> functioning market. Monopolies are not a functioning
>> market.
> When did we ever have a "functioning market", even in
> markets that are considered "liberalized" :-)?
>
> It is what it is - it's just less bad in some places than
> others.
>
>> There will be a solution - in fact, there is today.
>> Doesn't mean it is optimal. In fact, in the presence of
>> a monopoly, it is pretty much guaranteed to be
>> sub-optimal.
> Aye.
>
> Mark.
It sounds like we're all in agreement that the underlying issue is that 
some businesses enjoying a monopoly are allowed to design networks for 
the use case of yesteryear and do not have the market pressure forcing 
them to provide the use case of today's (or the future's) subscribers. 
The solution seems to be competition or regulation. The current 
administration supplied over $7 billion in loans and grants 
(http://www.wired.com/business/2011/07/rural-fiber-internet/) for 
internet providers to provide high speed last mile services as part of a 
Federal stimulus package. This type of encouragement in infrastructure 
and competition seem much better, to me, than regulation formed to to 
nanny and punish folks that run their business unfairly. I understand 
that Comcast, as an example, has a fiduciary duty to its stock holders 
to make the best return possible. But I would think its recent actions 
would likely fall foul to basic consumer protection regulation (failing 
to provide the goods or services it sold). All of Comcast's customers 
could file a complaint with the BBB, but it probably wouldn't be 
productive because many of them have no other choice for high speed 
internet service.

As consumers, we may also have to accept that cheap internet access 
prices were based on the usage case of yesteryear. If we use internet 
services twice as often today, we may need to pay twice as much as we 
did yesterday. If we, as consumers, have options, but are choosing to 
pay for the the bare minimum option, we may as well expect the bare 
minimum service (which apparently is not very much). As long as we have 
options, which today is not always true, I think the market will 
function. This why events like the Comcast/TWC merger are troubling to 
me. Because it means we are going in the wrong direction, back towards 
monopoly. Our efforts, at present, are probably best spent encouraging 
competition and fairness. As a consumer and professional, I sincerely 
hope that the FCC continues on its trend to support net neutrality 
because I believe it encourages both competition and fairness.

--Blake



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