At the Ref Desk (1/5/21): First shift of the year! [more...]

US GAO Report: No Competition in ISPs

Submitted by Leo Klein on Fri, 12/1/06 (11:51am)

GAO SealCompetition in the area of Internet Service Providers? Fugeddaboutit!

That's basically the conclusion of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in its new report entitled, "FCC Needs to Improve Its Ability to Monitor and Determine the Extent of Competition in Dedicated Access Services".

Availability of competition was one of the arguments Telcos used in their effort to do away with Net Neutrality. It was also one of the arguments they used to end the prior regulatory environment as part of the 1996 Telecomunications Act.

The GAO report will have none of this:

"In the 16 major metropolitan areas we examined, available data suggest that facilities-based competitive alternatives for dedicated access are not widely available. Data on the presence of competitors in commercial buildings suggest that competitors are serving, on average, less than 6 percent of the buildings with demand for dedicated access in these areas." (Highlights of GAO-07-80).

Worse, the FCC -- the agency supposedly keeping taps on all of this -- uses data that's "limited" in its ability to measure competition. The report concludes, "[the] FCC is unable to determine whether its deregulatory policies are achieving their goals."