Comcast is seeking to acquire Time Warner Cable, in a deal that would combine the two largest cable providers in the United States in a single firm with control of about a third of the market. Comcast and Time Warner are nearly monopolists already in the cities where they operate separately, and the fact that the U.S. market for broadband access has failed should be clear from the chart above. (The image is used by permission of the artist. The data is from the OECD.) Americans typically pay more than $2 a month per megabit per second of connectivity, more than people elsewhere in the developed world, despite the piles and piles of money that cable companies are claiming as profit. Some countries have even higher costs, usually because their networks are controlled more exclusively by monopolists (such as Mexico’s Carlos Slim.)
A more competitive broadband industry would likely guarantee Americans to enjoy lower prices and faster speeds. Cable companies use their dominance of local markets to charge exorbitant rates for basic broadband connections, encouraging subscribers to buy more lucrative cable television subscriptions. Less competition, in the long term, will force federal regulators to run the entire industry from Washington, in the same corporatist style in which the Federal Communications Commission and AT&T collaborated to provide telephone access many years ago.
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