Where I live, there are only two options for home-based internet: DSL from AT&T, or cable from Time Warner (who is in the midst of a merger with Charter). I have service from DSL Extreme, who is basically reselling AT&T. When i signed up for DSL Extreme (I didn’t know they’d really be selling me AT&T), I was promised a price of $18 per month, which sounds impressive until you realize how slow my connection is. I’ve had them for just over a year, and now I’m paying close to $60 for the same slow speeds. Nowhere on their website did they say they would do something like this. But, when I saw the installation man come up to my house in an AT&T van, wearing an AT&T uniform install an AT&T U-Verse, I immediately saw something like this coming. However, I figured my bill would merely double: I would never have expected the bill would be more than triple. I’m sure as soon as AT&T realizes I’m complaining about them, they’ll add on an extra $10 to my bill without warning.
The annoying thing is, if I lived a few blocks away, I could get cable from Cox. The Cox websites claims to offer service in my city, but not in my area code (I always thought that each city had exactly one area code, but apparently mine has at least two). I’ll bet in that area code AT&T only raises it’s users bills by 200%, and takes its time in doing so. Of course, I’m assuming Time Warner and AT&T are both available there, which may not be the case.
So, what is the US doing about this annoying lack of competition? Currently Time Warner is being acquired by Charter, which means these companies don’t have to compete with eachother. Surely, Charter will start raising it’s rates soon, if they haven’t already. I’m sure their customers can all look forward to massive speed and data caps for home internet in the near future. Then, other providers, such as Cox and AT&T, will say “they’re doing it and making lots of money. Maybe we should do the same, and charge more money while we’re at it. Our customers will love that.”