This week, the U.S. Senate will be holding a hearing on wireline competition. Though we’ve heard so much over the years from the corporate-sponsored, faux “consumer advocates” that America doesn’t really have this type of competition, here’s something to consider. Just today I received these three promotional items in the snail mail: two from wireline providers, and one from a satellite provider, which competes with them (pictured below).
That’s three providers (the ones that chose to direct mail me). 15 years ago, I would have had only one – a single “plain-old-telephone-service” provider, which could only have supported simple dial-up access to the Internet.
But wait, there’s more.
The FCC tells me that in my zip code I have at least eight broadband providers (as pictured in the FCC’s broadband map below), each offering numerous, different flavors of broadband which inform / affect wireline competition. Though my area may be different than others, the same vibrant dynamic is in play nationwide.
These facts aside, at the hearing we’re likely to hear Public Knowledge’s chief tech Eeyore, Gigi Sohn, decry how despicable wireline competition is.
I mean, seriously?
Even the White House would seem to disagree with that grumpy cat view, stating:
“By nearly any metric the last four years have been a period of tremendous growth in broadband infrastructure, access, and the digital economy upon which they rely…”
We’ve got it good here. Really.
Recent government and industry data show:
- There are 1,681 U.S. broadband providers;
- 99% of the U.S. can access at least one wireless broadband provider;
- 96% of the U.S. has access to at least one wired broadband provider;
- 88% of the U.S. has access to at least four mobile broadband providers;
- 87% of the U.S. can choose between at least two wired providers; and
- To access broadband, Americans can choose between an array of connection technologies, such as DSL, cable-coaxial, fiber, 3G and 4G mobile broadband, broadband over powerline, WISPs, satellite and Wi-Fi offload (not to mention what’s coming down the pike).
Quite simply, if we let the tech Eeyores “fix” this, we might as well shift the clock back to 1934 – a losing proposition for all Americans, and one that plainly ignores that the marketplace is winning over FDR-era regulation.