Dang, if you took everything we heard (from lobbyists who must make somewhere north of $2 million a year in collective salaries to attend meetings like ours), everything's fine! No need to do anything. In fact, that's what one of our members said after listening to their pitches.
Argh. Sorry gang, I didn't get a chance to ask many of your questions because the lobbyists ran out the clock and filled up the time with happy talk.
And they brought in their pet economist Scott Wallsten (http://www.wallsten.net/) to seal the deal.
Ann Treacy has a great summary to the meeting, including links to all the presentations. Pay special attention to Wallsten's pitch, it's the last one in Ann's post. Click HERE for summary of the meeting.
My first reaction was anger. But when I'm angry I try to look beyond that anger to figure out what's really going on. On reflection I realize that my real reaction is fear. I'm afraid of the firepower those providers can bring to bear on us. I'm afraid because we consumers have so few resources to effectively counter their arguments.
Here's my economic theory response (tongue in cheek, a little bit). My contention is that in 10-15 years there will be one info-pipe into each house/business. Current duopoly will continue for a while, until each location picks a market-share winner. Soon after the clear-winner provider is picked by the market, the loser will exit the and abandon their network. So we (the consumers who ultimately pay to build these networks) are building two networks right now, and one of them will get thrown away. What a waste.
Here's my proposition. We consumers should band together and exhibit a little monopoly behavior of our own. We should look at our current providers and collectively agree on which one the winner is going to be in our area. Then, we should all subscribe to that provider and speed up the process of driving the other one out of our market. This would save us the cost of building that doomed-to-fail 2nd-place network. And it would get us to the obvious monopoly more quickly, at which point we could get some effective rate, quality and access regulation in place.
[several weeks later -- I put up a little site that fleshed this out and completed my venting -- www.SwitchToWinners.com]
Let the market prevail. (now removing my tongue from my cheek)
We're outgunned peepul. I need some help here.