Streaming television is on the rise.
Services like Sling TV, DirecTV Now, Playstation Vue, and others, are all on the rise, while cable television packages continue to shrink.
So it would seem likely that being in the business of internet services would be getting especially competitive, right? With more consumers needing high speed internet, there would be a growing crop of options for these folks.
The percentage of fixed connections with a downstream speed of at least 25 Mbps has grown from 13% (or 12 million connections) in December 2012 to 54% (or 55 million connections) in December 2015. Over the same period, the percentage of fixed connections with slower downstream speeds of less than 3 Mbps has decreased from 21% (or 19 million connections) in December 2012 to 6% (or 6 million connections) in December 2015. [FCC]
Interestingly, though, a recent FCC report [PDF] actually found that nearly 1/3rd of consumers in the United States don’t have more than one option when it comes to broadband internet.
Existing cable companies like Comcast have done a great job integrating into municipal infrastructure, allowing them to dominate the market for consumers. This relationship with local cities has made it difficult for other competition to start from square one.
It makes sense that companies willing to lay the infrastructure should be allowed a set period of time where they’re the only game in town, but we believe this recent report suggests that internet connections should probably move towards public utility.
Internet is almost a requirement in modern times, not unlike electricity, water, sewer and other city services. It would make sense that internet make the same move in the near future.