Price-gouging cable companies are our latter-day robber barons
Monopolistic cable providers make internet access an unaffordable
luxury for tens of millions of Americans
4 June 2013
Last year, about 1% of American households cut off their internet
service. That's not as surprising as experts may suggest.
The internet - which promised to connect all Americans with
everything from educational opportunities to Facebook status updates
- has become, unfortunately, a luxury even for the middle class.
Cable companies that have functioned as oligopolies have made it that
Naturally, more Americans would cut off internet service considering
how absurdly expensive it has become to pay to stay connected. The
median income for a household in the United States is just over
$50,000, which has to support a family with basics like food,
mortgage or rent, a car and gas. Inflation has steadily driven up the
price of food and gas, which has meant that American wages have
actually dropped since the recession. School costs, healthcare and
other costs mean many families depend on credit cards on occasion.
That doesn't leave a lot of room for splashy purchases.
Yet, strangely, internet access - which is a necessity in homes where
children get their homework online and parents may telecommute - has
become the splashiest purchase of all. In many big cities, internet
access can easily become a budgetary sinkhole for families. Think of
$100 a month for cable and internet, another $50 a month for a
smartphone, $40 a month for an iPad or a similar device; if you
travel, add $70 a month for some kind of wireless hotspot like
***** Moderator's Note *****
Wow: I thought I was the only one who noticed. It's nice to see that
the Guardian is still allowed to point out the obvious: this reminds
me of when I was a teenager, and how I used to listen to the BBC
shortwave broadcast to get the news.
Of course, this begs the question of just how obvious the
U.S. economic debacle is to the rest of the world.