David Cay Johnston
The New York Times
It’s time to break up the phone companies again, said David Cay Johnston. Ever since the government dismantled the Bell monopoly in 1984, we’ve been promised innovation, better service, and lower prices. Instead, the business has “reconcentrated into a stodgy duopoly of Bell Twins”—AT&T and Verizon—offering low quality and high prices. Each company has become “the leader of its own cartel,” selling mobile services along with the “triple play” of Internet, landline services, and TV. With no competitive incentive to improve, the duopoly is bilking American consumers. The average U.S. triple-play package sells for $160 a month, compared with $38 in France. The French also get better services, including “an Internet that’s 20 times faster uploading data.” Industries that need an “ultra-high-speed network” are starting to head elsewhere. Meanwhile, AT&T and Verizon “are telling lawmakers that they need less regulation, not more.” The Bell Twins have already gotten six states to repeal Americans’ right to get phone service at any address. The only remedy is competition. “The nation can’t afford to leave its future in the hands of cartels.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How a degree from Duke University dashed my dreams of buying a home
- This is why you can't trust the NSA. Ever.
- Half the world's population lives in these 6 countries
- Innocent before proven guilty? The bizarre bipartisan rush to clear Rick Perry
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- ISIS and the echoes of the West's religious terror
- 10 things you need to know today: August 22, 2014
- 4 things NASA can teach you about a good night's sleep
- It's time for the police to rethink 'shoot-to-kill'
- Don't listen to Paul Ryan: The GOP is still the party of makers and takers
Subscribe to the Week