[opendtv] Re: We Need Real Competition, Not a Cable-Internet Monopoly

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 15 Feb 2014 02:31:06 +0000

Craig Birkmaier wrote:

> An interesting analysis!
> The author provides a very good explanation of why we are in such a
> sorry, expensive mess in the U.S. when it comes to the relationship
> between government and the media oligopoly.
> In essence the author tells us we need an "Act of Congress" to
> restore competition.
> Maybe Bert can argue with him!

I have to admit, it really makes me laugh when I see people whining about their 
addicition. Plus, this article, like so many others I've seen, paints with too 
broad a brush. They need to break down the costs.

I think we pay $30/mo for broadband (ADSL, 1.5-2 Mb/s down), much like they 
quote as starting price for the UK; I get 51 channels of free H/DTV, much like 
the UK; I get thousands of other FOTI TV programs too. So honestly, those who 
feel compelled to pay $150-$200/mo cable TV bills don't get a lot of sympathy 
from me. Perhaps the author is unaware that FOTA and FOTI DTV exists? Wouldn't 
not surprise me.

(Plus, examples where TV is paid for by TV tax revenues are HARDLY relevant 

However, we *do* pay through the nose for telephone service, combined land line 
and cellular. And quite honestly, a HUGE fraction of that is taxes. So in spite 
of what Susan Crawford was quoted as saying, it's most likely not broadband 
*or* TV that costs a lot here. It's instead our heavily taxed telephone 
service. Maybe that's because we have to subsidize phone service to people who 
live in the middle of the Rockies, I don't know. Certainly, countries like 
Korea and Japan don't have that problem.

If cable TV subscribers "pay too much," that's because MVPDs are not heavily 
regulated like the utilities, and because MVPD subscribers are unrepressed. I 
think it's funny to hear Craig asking for "an act of Congress" to protect 
unrepressed people from themselves. Inelastic demand begs for high prices. Duh.

I anything, the FCC attempt to classify broadband as a telco service can only 
make matters worse. Just like telephone service.

Also, of course, compare apples with apples. What is this $30 triple play 
service in Zurich? How many TV stations? I'll bet it's the TV selection that 
the Swiss want to migrate to OTA. They get what, 4 channels for free now?

Hopefully, 4G and 5G will give the wired broadband providers some more 
competition, but I don't see that as the long pole in this tent.


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