A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about how I was switching from ATT to T-Mobile. I didn’t want to go to Verizon because it was too expensive, and I don’t know anyone that likes their service. Let’s be honest, no one loves their cell service in the US.
It’s because there is a total lack of competition. The rules and regulations set up via the FCC have made it so they all are about the same. In some places, one has an advantage and works. In others, another carrier works. In big metro areas everyone works. In rural areas, many if not most don’t work. Here I am driving through central Wisconsin and I am on the Edge network. Web pages don’t load and music doesn’t stream consistently.
At my place up north, I had an important phone call. When we drove up, we saw immediately that T-Mobile’s salespeople over promised and we were stuck with the same cruddy cell service we had previously with ATT. My kids use Sprint and it doesn’t work there either. Only Verizon works.
I had two very important calls. Both dropped continuously on WiFi calling. I had to borrow a neighbors Verizon phone for one, and drive to town to do another.
Brad Feld blogged about how he always gets dropped calls in his area of Colorado. I have read about Project Fi, and it works great in urban areas but not in rural areas where there is NO wifi signal.
What we need is a rollback of anti-competitive regulations that were put in place by the FCC over the course of the last 80 years. Many regulations are a relic of a time when there was one landline provider of telephony. Ma Bell is long gone as are WATS lines, party lines and one size fits all service thank goodness. Our government bureaucracy hasn’t caught up.
The only place they have caught up is on taxes. In Chicago and the state of Illinois we just saw our cell taxes rise yet again. We pay some of the highest rates in the nation, but our service doesn’t show it.
This is mission critical because in an information economy if you aren’t connected, you will be left behind. We know the Telcos don’t pipe in fast internet service everywhere because it’s not economically feasible for them.