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The ISP Fix

Regularly I come across articles calling for the increased “regulation of ISPs”. However what these authors and many of the disciples of their’s do not realize is that this is not the problem, the regulators need to get out of bed with the large ISPs and need to loosen up the regulations in other less obvious ways that are NEVER talked about. But when it comes to price, which is an obvious/high visibility target, they need to stay stop these restrictive actions and let the market work, but that is too much to ask. The government, if they really wanted to increase competition, decrease prices, and increase speeds and quality of service needs to fix the laws- the ones that remove all competition, thus destroying the market mechanism that keeps prices naturally low.

I am not a politician and therefore not one to speak in vagaries, here are actionable specifics:

  • Get rid of the ONE FIBER PASS / SINGLE CARRIER rules. This should be 100% illegal. Supposedly it is, many, many villages, townships, counties ignore this and do it anyways, whether it is on their code-books, or just through impossible roadblocks that are only there for carriers that don’t grease the wheels (so to speak).
  • Get rid of the NO TOWER TOWER rules. Right now there are thousands of WISPs out there trying to offer an alternative as well as the DSL/CLECs, Cable/MSOs, and Fiber options. But in many, many jurisdictions it is near impossible to get permits for towers. Sometimes there are good reasons, airports, and hurricane zones, ice/limits, etc. And I am not saying remove engineering studies. But I am talking about the dead-set no-tower rules, these are terribly anti-competitive.
  • PROSECUTE BRIBERY with EXTREME penalties. There should be extremely severe penalties for any government official found to be engaged in any form of bribery. I mean any form, I don’t even refer to just ISPs, CLECs, etc. I talk of housing developers, commercial developers, anything. Anything that requires government interaction. The government makes these bribes necessary, by making it impossible to get things done (in many jurisdictions, not all though - I have found some to be perfectly reasonable, I must note this). If you want government to work at all, this one is big. This bullet point alone would go long way in fixing this (along with many) country(ies).
  • Require OPEN 911 /e911 access. AND ENFORCE it. Theoretically this is a law. It is not enforced. In most states, CLECs and small carriers are required to interconnect with the ILEC (AT&T, Verizon, etc…) for 911 access, this costs a fortune.
  • Investigate, Prosecute, and Penalize invalid, anti-competitive ILEC -> CLEC BILLING PRACTICES. Oftentimes, you hear about the big head line of some CLEC over billing where it is $300,000 for 1 minute phone call or some such. These are bizarre cases of crooks, and are the exception not the norm. The norm is ILECs mis-billing CLECs/smaller carriers by 100% per billing-period. (ie. what should be a $300,000 per month bill is $600,000).

The government has the cards stacked in the favor of the status quo, preventing competition. All of the above rules/actions kill many small carriers/providers that otherwise could be offering competitive services and prices. This means prices continue as is, and service quality (both dependability and customer service) continue to be atrocious.

If you want freedom in prices and choice (and beyond) act on these. (I can dream)
-Eric

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