[opendtv] Re: Electric power as a natural monopoly

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2014 00:43:01 +0000

Craig Birkmaier wrote:

> You are trying to conflate different things. There are three essential
> elements in the electric power system.
> 1. Power generation
> 2. Municipality infrastructure - poles, lines, transformers and rights
> of way
> 3. The electric grid (I.e. Inter-system distribution)

> So the National Grid is a shared resource, much like the Interstate
> highway system. You can call this a natural monopoly if you like...

Correct. It's a natural monopoly, in the sense that EVEN IF multiple companies 
participate in the building out and maintenance of #2 and #3, these multiple 
companies are not competing against one another. They are merely playing 
different roles in the project. In this environment, you need strict regulation 
of prices, and that's what you get when utilities are regulated.

> This is not unlike what happens with MVPD TV service. Part of the
> bill covers the infrastructure and customer service organization.
> Another part pays for the the content (subscriber fees).

What the bill covers is not the issue. Think of it this way:

Just as you seem happy with multiple COMPETING generating plants sharing the 
"natural monopoly" electric grid, you SHOULD also be happy that the Internet 
allows multiple competing TV content owners, *and* content aggregators, to 
share the natural monopoly ISP networks (and the larger interexchange 
networks). And yet, you seem unable to accept that this increased competition 
is starting to take place.

> But don't look for the FCC to change the rules with respect to bundling;

I never have!! It's not the FCC's job! The congloms will do whatever it takes 
to increase revenues to themselves, and will have freer rein to do so if the 
infrastructure is agnostic as to content.

E.g., the congloms will not be forced to submit to tier structures that are 
important to the MVPD of times past. Instead, the congloms can explore any 
number of different options, either on their own, and/or through any number of 
different intermediary OTT sites. And individual households are free to choose 
what *they* prefer, instead of having to submit to the whims of their local 
MVPD's "natural monopoly" preferences.


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