Huge Internet gatekeepers now dictate when, where and how much consumers and businesses pay for the broadband access on which our economy depends. Astoundingly, three out of four American consumers have only one choice for broadband, or none at all. And three out of four American businesses currently buy from the huge, dominant providers who lack incentive to compete on price, service or terms.
These few companies control nearly ALL the inputs to broadband, including the high-capacity broadband lines on which the majority of American businesses depend for Internet access. These companies use their dominance to overcharge businesses at least $10 billion a year, ensuring an average annual profit of over 100% made at the expense of the rest of the broadband ecosystem.
Why does this matter?
Because consumers and businesses suffer when just two companies control 86% of the mobile broadband revenues, as well as the critical inputs on which would-be competitors depend. Without reasonable access to critical infrastructure, America will never have more than duopoly.
And wired broadband is even worse, with a very limited number of providers controlling the majority of the pipelines that transmit ALL broadband traffic. Whenever you use a smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop, telephone, credit card reader, or ATM, that data must cross facilities controlled by one of a few dominant companies somewhere along the line. And you overpay because they face no effective competition.
In fact, the entire broadband economy pays the price for anti-competitive control: it stifles innovation, drives up prices for consumers, drags down our economy and slows speeds and deployments of wireless and wireline broadband.
The FCC must address this control to reach its goal of delivering better, faster and cheaper broadband to all Americans. The future of our information economy depends on it.