Snail Mail Reveals the Vibrant State of Wireline Competition

by Mike Wendy on July 23, 2013

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).

B-band competition

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.

B-band comp2

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.

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