> In some way it's our fault as consumers. Most ISPs live on razor thin
> margins. If everybody was happily paying 50% more for Internet access
> there'd be money to buy anything the ISP's engineers could want, have real
> coffee in the DC quiet area, and still buy the Chairman a yacht. But it's
> a cut-throat business, only specialist players can afford to charge more
> and deliver better service.
Our fault as consumers? That's outrageous.
Around here, people routinely get charged $50 a month by Comcast for mediocre internet service. And if Comcast has a technical problem, that requires a technician to solve, they will charge you for the time!
The real problem here is that the interests of the ISPs are not aligned with those of consumers. Consumer interests are best served by open markets and open standards. ISP interests are best served by creating high barriers to entry, locking in consumers, and offering the minimum acceptable level of service.
Nearly every place in the US has either a local ISP monopoly or duopoly. Comcast or AT&T are your choices. They're not even bothering to pretend that the different parts of AT&T are independent any more. It's not a free market, it's a monopoly. And they know how to milk it.