Big Business Is Overcharging You $5,000 a Year

Internet usage is no longer a good deal in the US. In France, consumers pay about 90 euros (or $100) a month for a combination of broadband access, cable television and two mobile phones. A similar package in the United States usually costs more than twice as much. Many Americans have a choice between only two internet providers. A few companies have grown so large that they have the power to keep prices high and wages low.

What explains the difference? Politics. The European economy certainly has its problems, but antitrust policy isn’t one of them. The European Union has kept competition alive by blocking mergers and insisting that established companies make room for new entrants. In telecommunications, smaller companies often have the right to use infrastructure built by the giants. That’s why the French can choose among five internet providers, including a low-cost company that brought down prices for everyone. The irony is that Europe is implementing market-based ideas — like telecommunications deregulation and low-cost airlines — that Americans helped pioneer.

Big Business Is Overcharging You $5,000 a Year Has America gone soft on competition? (Washington Post)