The FCC starting with Chairman Powell did everything it could to get to a Duopoly. There were some crumbs given to alternatives but mainly just crushing blows (Brand-X, DSL, etc.). Granted, WISPA won the 3650 MHz battle and many non-ILECs won BTOP and BIB money, but we are stuck with a Duopoly for most services. It is cable or ILEC. But we have seen that VZW co-markets cable services, so not much competition.
When you look at some not-so-rural areas, the ILECs have been woefully uncooperative in deploying broadband. The result has been LUS, GreenLight, UTOPIA, and other muni projects. The muni projects galvanized the Duopoly to fight the muni project and lobby for laws that would prevent muni fiber systems. Awesome sauce, right?
Then Google Fiber happened. First in Kansas City, then Austin. It was a kidney punch to the Duopoly who had been getting lazy in spending money on not-very-dense regions. As soon as Google entered the fray, then the Duopoly had to shape up.
I got to watch this in Hardee County, Florida, where CenturyLink (and before that Embarq/Sprint) neglected the county. Granted, Hardee is rural and economically powered by agriculture, but to compete for jobs nationally and globally, people need quality broadband. In this instance, Rapid Systems, an independent Wireless Broadband provider, worked with the county itself on a public-private bid for funds, won and deployed broadband throughout the county. The ILEC is not happy (as you can imagine). The county is happy though.
If we believe that the Internet is vital for economy growth, for jobs, for innovation, to compete globally, then should the Duopoly be deploying it everywhere? They get damn near everything they want from the government.
Now we have a case in Seattle of Comcast and C-Link, who neglected to deliver an ultra-fast network to the area, fighting the mayor of Seattle over his proposed 1 GB network. Thanks to Citizen United v. FEC the Duopoly can pour money into Super PACs to defeat the mayor and his plan. They also use millions on disinformation campaigns. It's getting out of hand.
"Obviously a corporation donating to candidates who'll most closely parrot their views is nothing new, but war by incumbents on any town or city that wants to deploy faster and cheaper broadband than mega ISPs offer (read: competition) has been an often ugly affair that has been raging for more than a decade."
Note it has been more than a decade!!!!