Monday, April 24, 2017

A duopoly never provides “sufficient competition”

As follow-up to our earlier post on the inability of market forces to fix airlines, Gizmodo's Libby Watson opens up her evisceration of the current head of the FCC with a great example of someone who doesn't understand how competition and free markets work.

The Federal Communications Commission voted today to eliminate price caps on broadband services for businesses, schools, libraries, and hospitals, known as Business Data Services (BDS). The argument advanced by FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, and the big telecoms who wanted this rule repealed, was that there is already “sufficient competition” in this market, and these price caps were getting in the way of the beautiful free market doing its thing. (As Motherboard noted, the Obama-era FCC pointed to research showing that 97 percent of BDS locations are served by just two providers, which doesn’t sound a lot like sufficient competition.) Without price caps and competition, incumbent providers can charge as much as they want to schools and libraries, who of course have been getting a free ride on providing internet to children for too long. Even freedom-loving Republicans like Sen. Tom Cotton asked the FCC to slow their roll on this proposal.

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