An article of faith among neoliberals is that monopolies are efficient because they are so profitable that they can offer better prices to their customers as well as better services.
Reality has a well-known left-wing bias, however.
A new Pcmag analysis of 356,925 broadband speed tests found that the super-concentrated communications giants -- universally loathed companies like Frontier, Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Charter, etc -- underdelivered and overcharged, while independent and municipally owned ISPs (often small town operations, though Sonic has service in a few large cities, too) offered the fastest, cheapest broadband in America.
“You can rapidly see that nonprofit business models have an important role to play in improving Internet access,” Mitchell said.
A study last year out of Harvard showed that community-run ISPs tend to offer faster, cheaper broadband and superior customer service to private ISPs. Community ISPs also tend to offer clearer pricing with fewer hidden surcharges, the study found.
Threatened by the specter of actual competition, the telecom lobby has convinced more than two dozen states to pass laws restricting or simply banning communities from building their own broadband networks. These laws also frequently restrict a local town or city’s ability to strike public private partnerships, even if locals have voted for the option.
The Fastest ISPs of 2019 [Eric Griffith/Pcmag]
Locally Run ISPs Offer the Fastest Broadband in America [Karl Bode/Motherboard]
America has some of the worst, most expensive broadband in the developed world, thanks to massive market concentration, grotesque regulatory capture, and systematic underinvestment in crumbling telcoms infrastructure.
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