Network Neutrality and Competition

6 Nov ’05

Some recent links about competition and neutrality that seem apropos now in the aftermath of SBC CEO Edward Whiteacre’s comments about the use of his pipes by third-party service providers on the eve of the AT&T merger:

  • Susan Crawford on encouraging more competition in broadband
  • Michael Geist on the CRTC’s report on competition in Canadian telecom and the absence of it in broadband
  • Techdirt making the point that regulated neutrality wouldn’t be necessary if there were true competition
  • NYC Wireless’ challenge to NY broadband providers to maintain neutrality
  • Now that our cableco’s are gearing up to use their pipes for voice and the game is on, we ought to expect Canadian broadband providers to resist efforts by third party providers to compete on even terms. There have been issues reported with spotty service, and Shaw’s extra fee charge for ensuring quality service with third party providers is a cautionary note. My impression is that the large providers will not compete vigorously on price (and the early price points bear this out), knowing that if they can keep out the third party providers, they can cautiously compete on brand, and to a limited degree on options, and once the dust settles share the market between them at prices resembling current POTS pricing.

    Given the infrastructure cost, we can’t expect a new wireless provider to shake up the market. Muniwifi seems the only feasible alternative, but with Canadian municipalities struggling to recover after years of cutbacks, it’s hard to see from where the political will would come.

    Previous post:

    Next post: