EPGAH: And no, the cost of providing WiFi access is nonzero, otherwise you would open up your router, turn off the password, right? WiFi is also slower than hardwire by at least a factor of 10. Hell, that’s the whole idea of MAC Addresses.
Plus, the more people on one access point, the slower it is for everyone. Think of a congested highway – maybe China’s week-long traffic-jam if it helps? – vs. having a country road all to yourself.
Most importantly, at some point, it connects into the Internet by an actual hardwire, and that line has to be paid for, even if it doesn’t have to be maintained.
DSL and Cable fight each other, speed vs. price (Cable is faster, DSL is cheaper) except on university grounds, where AT&T (DSL) is given a LEGAL monopoly. People who can afford it go T1 or even T3 if they have more money than brains, and give the slowpokes on Cable and DSL the Finger.
Satellite IS a natural monopoly, because no one in their right minds would accept speeds just over dial-up if they had ANY other option! BUT if you are THAT far out in the sticks, you have no other viable option. It’s that or dial-up. Or you can pay some ridiculous 5-figure sum to get Cable or DSL to extend their service a quarter mile. This is not hypothetical, I was actually IN such a situation a few years back.
Full Disclosure: I have Cable, 50 mbps. I like my speed and I would not appreciate a bunch of freeloaders slowing it down for me. And no, I would not trust an “If You Like Your Speed, You Can Keep Your Speed” slogan.
I am not sure why universities would give access to a single provider, but universities usually do this with everything. They buy their hamburgers from one source. Hell, they buy just about everything from a single source. Anyway, is there any evidence that the DSL company is charging the students more due to its monopoly? At any rate, it might be interesting to see what the university’s argument for allowing a single provider is. They probably just think it’s simpler that way since they have single providers for most everything, as it’s obviously simpler.
What difference would it make if wi-fi costs money? The cities are trying to offer it for free to their residents (to be paid out of the city’s funds), and the competition-hating Republicans flipped and passed laws banning cities from offering wi-fi to their citizens, as it was thought to be serious competition for the legislator-whores’ beloved DSL and cable johns.
DSL and cable absolutely do not compete on price, service or anything. They each have a monopoly and there is no competition at all. They both offer a total shit product with total shit service for an insanely excessive price. Fact is that in countries where the state is running it the speeds are vastly higher than ours, so much higher it is not even funny.
If you opened up DSL to competition, yeah you would see some real competition. I remember back when we had dial-up, we had the wildest competition. They were all competing on price, service, everything! It was a consumer paradise!
Neither DSL, cable or satellite compete with each other in any way, shape or form. They all offer ridiculously slow speeds, awful customer service and a preposterously overpriced product, and none of them are competing with each other!
Let’s see if DSL and cable companies compete on customer service. Obviously they do not compete at all because the DSL and cable companies are routinely rated the worst in the country at customer service. They are also routinely rated the worst companies in the land. Not coincidentally, they come out last in both surveys because they each have monopolies, one in DSL and the other in cable. When you have a monopoly, you don’t have to have good customer service because the better your customer service is, the more it costs you and the less profits you make.
Really the only reason that any business offers good customer service is because they have to! Most if not all businesses would love to treat all their customers like complete crap because you make more money that way.
The only reason businesses are decent to customers at all is because they have to be due to competition! If you treat your customers like crap, your customers will start migrating over to your competitor to do business with them. I punish a few local businesses that way for treating me like crap. Not coincidentally, every business ever punished that way by me was run by someone from the Indian subcontinent – one by Pakistanis and two by Punjabis. Monopolists generally offer horrific customer service because people have nowhere else to go. And the worse you treat your customers, the more money you make, as good customer service costs money and cuts into profits.
I suppose the state could just buy out the phone lines, cable lines or satellites (though the satellites are probably state owned anyway) and then allow whoever wants to to utilize them to compete for cable, DSL or satellite. I suppose if they wanted to offer faster speeds, maybe they could rent out more of the pipe. I am trying to think of how we could do this. It’s long been known that our Internet service and cellphone services are both complete shit mostly due to the fact that they are privately run.
However, there is now quite a bit of competition in cell service opening up. I’m not sure how that is happening. I believe that the big providers are renting out some of their product as sort of franchisees. Anyway it seems to be working. It seems like there is a lot of competition in cellphone service now.
However, for some time, there were only a few providers, and as with cable, DSL and satellite above, they had agreed not to compete. All of the cellphone companies were offering diabolical contracts, ridiculous pricing and utter shit service – they had all agreed to provide a shit product for a ridiculously high price. Non-compete agreements are extremely common in capitalism. They probably ought to be illegal, but the anti-competition loving capitalists love these agreements as much as they love price-fixing. At some point, the non-compete agreements seem to have broken down, and now they are competing a lot.
Personally I find that the fact that each cell network built its own set of cell towers to be one the stupidest “accomplishments” of modern US capitalism. So we have four or five different cell phone tower networks where we only need one! Retarded! There should only be one cellphone tower network, and it ought to be either regulated by the state or owned by the state and rented/leased out to private companies to compete over public lines. I very much like the idea of the state owning the backbones of industries and then leasing/renting out space to private companies to use them to compete.
The problem is that the people often get ripped off. We own the airwaves, but we auction them off for pennies on the dollar to crooked media companies which we have allowed to concentrate to the point where all of our news comes from six different billionaire networks who all say the same thing. Sort of like Pravda or People’s Daily under Communism. One source of news, and it has one party line. I honestly feel that our modern monopolized, billionaire-owned news is not much better than the media under Communism. We get about the same diversity of views in either.