Usually when an ISP is discussed, it is directly related to how fast their speeds are or how good their customer service may be. I often see someone get angry with their provider and Tweet out that they are planning a switch to someone new. We take for granted the fact that there are many choices and options out there, but that isn’t always the case. What happens when there are no choices? How is it possible that in this day and age there are still fairly large cities with a monopoly in place?
Look at Indianapolis, for example. It’s not a small town… we’re talking a population of 829,718. This is the eleventh largest city in the United States according to the 2010 census, yet my assistant Kat has spent hours attempting to find alternatives to Bright House and AT&T. There is nothing there, unless they want to fork over $200.00 per month for a T1 line. She’d absolutely love to have one of those, but like most of you out there – it’s not in her budget. I find it incredulous that in today’s cutthroat ISP market there is nothing else there for her to choose from.
Indy isn’t alone, either. There are large cities all across this fair country of ours who have to deal with utility monopolies. Most of the time, this is in the form of electricity and natural gas providers. Living here in Seattle, I guess I simply didn’t realize that there are still places where you are stuck with one company for your high-speed Internet service, as well.
I know that Kat and others like her should be grateful to have access to a broadband connection at all, and I know that she is. There are still millions of people in this country alone who don’t even have that option, and that’s something that the FCC is trying to address. This rant is more aimed at the fact that we shouldn’t have to deal with such monopolies in 2011, no matter what form it takes.
Are you on a proverbial desert island when it comes to choices for your ISP or other utility services? Let us hear from you in the comments.