Paradoxically, the incumbents argue that public sector broadband is both an unfair competitor and obviously an inferior service doomed to failure in the market.
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The next time you hear someone claiming that the broadband market in the U.S. has plenty of competition, remember this statement from Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.
And so each of the last two years, we have had modest increases in the cost of the broadband service, and yet we've had tremendous sales. We're 33%, 31% penetrated. We hope someday all of America has broadband. So the goal would be 100 or 90 [percent take rate]. We have one competitor.
And over the course of that 2011 interview [pdf], Roberts makes it clear that he (correctly) regards DSL as a very weak competitor. The only problem Comcast has is in those few markets where they overlap with Verizon's FiOS (or, left unstated, in areas like Chattanooga where the community itself has built a technologically superior network).