“Bigger is better” is the reigning trope among U.S. broadband companies, as Charter Communications this week gobbled up Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion. But better for whom? Certainly not U.S. Internet users, as the latest broadband reports peg lack of competition for causing high prices that have stalled Internet adoption rates and left more than 60 percent of Americans with unacceptably slow access speeds.Charter, the fourth-largest cable company, and Bright House, the sixth largest, would together form the second-biggest cable operator in the United States, behind only Comcast. Charter’s deal, in turn, is contingent on Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable — which would transfer 3 million subscribers to Charter as part of that mega-billion-dollar consolidation — and the expiration of Time Warner’s right of first offer for Bright House’s 2.5 million subscribers. Is it any wonder that users are left feeling like mere pawns in a high-stakes Game of Cable Thrones?But while U.S. telecom giants wheel and deal, Akamai’s quarterly report on the state of broadband shows the United States falling further behind the global broadband elite. Where the United States was, on average, ranked 12th globally in the first half of 2014, by year’s end it was sitting at No. 16. Mighty… Read full this story
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