Not having enough choice of internet providers can be a concern. Millions of Americans usually have a single provider offering services in their area. After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a massive increase in internet usage as everyone was relying on the internet for carrying out their personal and professional duties. Be it taking online classes, working from home, watching Netflix, ordering food, or grocery, everything went online. Our daily routine activities shifted online because of frequent lockdowns. In the prevailing situation, with every person relying so immensely on the internet, not having multiple internet service providers’ coverage in your vicinity.
No doubt reliable cable providers are offering exceptional TV plans like Spectrum Silver Package for instance, or outstanding high-speed internet offers like Spectrum internet Ultra, having maximum coverage throughout the US, the competition is low. You are lucky to find a reliable internet provider in your vicinity. With the internet being a necessity rather than an accessory, finding even a single internet provider can be bliss. With millions of users across all the states, you do expect multiple providers offering serviceability in your area. Since it is not usually the case, wondering why don’t have a choice of internet providers is legit. Here are the reasons why we do not find two or three providers having coverage in your vicinity.
The Digital Divide
ISPs are always reluctant to offer services in the suburbs or low-density population areas since there are fewer financial benefits. Setting up the infrastructure requires sponsors and investments on a large level. It also takes time to set up the cable or fiber optic networks in an area and for services to get into operation. This is why it is very little or no competition, especially in the rural areas.
Monopolies of the ISPs
With so little competition is the market ISPs able to charge an expensive amount of money. They do not have competitors to beat for gaining a maximum customer base. They know most of the time, customers do not have a choice so they will subscribe to the services, even at a higher rate. Even in urban areas, the users usually have a choice between two providers offering services in their area. With the digital divide and fewer competitors in the market, ISPs take full control on how much they want6 to charge their users and their customer policies, with less attention to how to offer better speeds and services.
How Rural Customers can Provide More Internet Service Options?
Rural residents seem to struggle the most when it comes to having fewer options for availing of good speed and reliable internet services. They are lesser options. However, satellite internet is mostly available everywhere and has a wide range of coverage. Rural residents can also check for mobile internet options.
What can be done?
To ensure a better range of choices when it comes to choosing an internet provider, what needs to be done is to take steps for increasing the level of competition in the market and connectivity networks. This might also require encouraging public and private collaborations. Investments need to be made in open networks. Improvisations must be made in the open networks. Efforts should be directed to make more open networks accessible under the idea of universal broadband. Countries that provide a greater level of choices and better competition in the telecommunication sector and have paid more attention to the concept of open networks have been able to offer faster speeds and more reliable internet connections.
Building more infrastructure can be accelerated with the inculcation of private funds along with public funds. Private companies investing in fiber optic technology along with the involvement of the government can play a big role in expanding networks and boosting market completion for the better.
As we see the bigger ISPs becoming very comfortable in the market due to lack of competition, the growth of the broadband networks has slowed, also resulting in higher charges. With users not having real choices, they are willing to pay more price for the internet connections.
The aforementioned measures must be taken by the government to regulate market completion. More attention should be paid to extending the fiber optic networks so that long-term benefits can be attained in terms of faster and more reliable internet speeds.