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I have DSL

And even though I live in central NJ surrounded by telecomm giants, my internet connection is pathetic.  It takes me a lonnnnng time to download a youtube video.  If I want to rent a movie or download a book, I have to plan in advance or steal bandwidth from a neighbor. I have never been able to upload a video to my youtube account.

My neighbor has Comcast.  The cable connection is super fast.  I would love to have an internet connection as fast as that but in order to get the cable modem, I have to purchase a package of Comcast TV.  I’ve considered Comcast but it’s really, REALLY expensive and doesn’t come close to competing with my satellite provider for the stuff I would be forced to buy as a package deal.  Besides, Comcast is a behemoth and I don’t like to support behemoths.  I think diversity is healthy in a free market economy.  If I succumb to the temptation of fast internet and buy TV from Comcast, I just make it bigger and more likely to satisfy its own needs as a mammoth cable provider and not my needs as a subversive blogger.

I already have DiSH.  I LOVE DiSH.  The package deal for satellite TV I have can’t be beat.   It comes with all kinds of DVRs and HD and 200+ channels of programming at a great deal. But DiSH doesn’t offer affordable super fast internet.  No, for that, I have to go through Sprint, Embarq, Century Link.  The company keeps changing hands but alas, the service is still sucky.

In the mall, there is a Verizon FIOS booth.  It is cool and shiny and sexy.  “OOoooooooOOOOoooo!”, I exclaim every time I pass it, “When is FIOS coming to <<township name redacted>>?”

“Soon”, they have told me for the past two years.

“But Princeton got FIOS.  Paul Krugman just got his a couple of months ago.”

I got tired of that “soon” answer so I just badgered them one afternoon to level with me.

“Never.  Your township made a deal with Comcast for their municipal needs so Comcast kinda has a lock on your internet options.  We’ve been trying to negotiate with your township but they ain’t budgin’.”

So, essentially, I am stuck with sucky internet.  If I want fast internet, I can dump DiSH and buy the entire Comcast package at an outrageous price.  If I want to preserve some semblance of competition, I stay with DiSH and Century Link, the DSL component of which is soooo far away from my terminal endpoint that I will never get decent download/upload speeds.

What I don’t have is competition.  No, I do not have the option of picking my provider and they in turn do not have the obligation to provide me with decent services at a reasonable price.  I am a captive audience.

It’s a good thing that no one is *forcing* me to buy this crap.