Regulation Allows Competition

by Scott Hampton on September 20th, 2011

I'm really damn sick and tired of the ongoing Republican propaganda campaign about how regulations are killing small business competitiveness. We invented a lot of regulations once upon a time to prevent established powerful interests from excluding new entrants - the reality of the current situation is that for the last 20 years one regulation after another has been struck down - regulations designed to keep market participants from establishing de-facto monopoly type behavior. Our current financial crisis can be traced directly to the elimination of rules which prevented financial firms from being too big to fail.

So I'm going to give you an example from another business sector. As I type this, I'm connected via a really lousy ATnT DSL line that is slower than the free wireless in Paris, and yet it costs me almost $100/month. I could shift to Comcast's truly evil cable service, gaining a temporary speed bump, but then I would deal with their chronic inability to keep their network services online and be at the mercy of even worse customer service.

USA "broadband" is a lie. We have terrible service, slow and unreliable. This is a barrier to my ability as a small business owner to be competitive with folks in Bangalore and Singapore and Southampton who have ten times the bandwidth at 1/5th the price. But don't believe me, I'm just a guy who travels the worlds and pays attention.

The USA is not #1. WE invented the internet, mind you. But then we privatized and deregulated it in all the worst ways. We are now #25. Just behind Hungary, mind you, just barely better than Romania. That article is in the NYT, and focuses on Idaho. Let me tell you, when my engineers have to wait 4 hours to download a solid model set that our partner in China was able to upload in 15 minutes, we have a problem. Especially when the connection times out more often than not. And we pay PREMIUM.

I've compared notes with a lot of other small business owners in this alledgely important "skilled knowledge worker" industry, and we are all having the same problem. I agree with Tim Karr on this one - please re-regulate the delivery of internet services. Banking too, while I'm on a rant. Just think about the projects we could take on if there was credit available. But I digress.


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