September 5, 2014

And this is something that has just occurred to the former telecom lobbyist?

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said Thursday that Americans don’t have enough choice when it comes to high-speed broadband providers and the government needs to do something about it.

More than half of Americans have only one choice of providers that can offer 25 Mbps download speeds, adding, “[T]here is simply no competitive choice for most Americans.”

Wheeler’s conclusion might seem like a no-brainer for most Americans who’ve shopped for lower-cost high-speed broadband service only to find they have just one pricy option. But it’s actually a fairly radical statement at the FCC, which hasn’t previously expressed an opinion on whether the U.S. Internet market is competitive.

Wheeler didn’t offer any new proposals Thursday. But his conclusion that the U.S. broadband market isn’t competitive could have serious implications for decisions the FCC makes this fall, as the agency considers whether to let the nation’s largest cable and broadband provider, Comcast*, grow larger, as well as deciding how to regulate Internet lines to prevent discriminatory behavior.

“Looking across the broadband landscape, we can only conclude that, while competition has driven broadband deployment, it has not yet done so in a way that necessarily provides competitive choices for most Americans,” Wheeler said Thursday during a speech at 1776, a D.C.-based tech incubator.

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