argh -- have to go anon for this one.
Less sure about south of the border on things, but up north here we have our issues as well, with technically only two infrastructure providers (Shaw and VideoTron really just dont count, since the infra they have was built by someone else and traded to them). Cable has the capability to provide *far* better speed that UTP ever will (sorry, engineering thing).
Since I *work* for a cable company, which has its fingers in all things communications, I'll point out some things.
a) infrastructure is horribly expensive. Yes, there's *lots* of cables in the ground or hanging from the lampposts. But we're using more and more of that capacity. Some of the infra is capable of being "Upgraded" to faster speeds. A *hell* of a lot if it isn't. Running a cable from a CLEC, or HE, or a LN to your house or street is at *worst* a few thousand dollars, and will usually bring with it a number of additional customers. Backhaul on the other hand. *that* is where the real issue lies. And backhaul, either for cable, or wireless, or *BOTH* in many cases, aint no way ever cheap. Even a small loop to pull aggregation for say 10 or 15 cell towers and perhaps 5,000 cable customers can be a substantial cost. And don't yell "microwave" -- its NOT a solution at this scale anymore.
b) last mile has *never* been the real problem. As long as the wire is there, the last mile is covered. In terms of real cost, it is a $0 expense in the overall scheme of "doing internet", and will rarely if ever provide a "huge" expense in terms of infrastructure. Typically it is laid in the ground by the subdivision builder even before the foundations for the house are poured.
c) Services. OTT. InterNetCorp. Netflix. Peer2Peer. MMORPGs. FB. twatter. These things use the overall infrastructure. Some are lightweight, and can be aggregated/cached (FB, TheReg, InterNetCorp's sales portal static content, etc etc), Some are lightweight, can't be cached/aggregated (MMORPGs,RSS,) Netflix/hulu/etc both want to modify the business model of the cable companies, and *use* the infra that the cable companies are providing, and use it agressively.
While I'll admit that mandated monopolies for infrastructure generally don't strive to provide excellent customer service, I think that in most cases this is a result of size, more than monopoly. Our electric/water are provided by our city (smaller than some, larger than many) and in the vast majority of cases they're very good, and *very* professional. (CIP, we missed reading our water meter for 3 consecutive runs and they'd estimated. When we did send in a reading it was so far off their estimate that they sent an engineer out, *after* calling me to make an appointment, at my preferred time, to verify that the meter was indeed functional, no charge to me, and after ascertaining that it was fine, placed an appropriate credit on our bill, no issues, no hard time, just a thank you, have a good evening)
Large corporations that own huge swaths of what is effectively a utility have:
a) stock holders. Who effectively are the owners of the company, but are typically less worried about the *ethical* operation of the company and more concerned with *making a dividend and stock price growth*
b) Access to large pools of capital. They can *afford* to do backhaul. Small ISPs typically cannot afford to do backhaul.
c) Access to legal skills/talents/regluations that allow them to scare politicians, people, customers into believing anything they choose. (Yes, They DO own media even)
d) The ability to offer OTT services a customer base. (we have this many bodies. you want to make them your customer? Lets ASN and set up a link - this is part of reducing their cost for backhaul)
To be honest, I want the internet to stay open. I don't want "channels" of internet availabilty or censorship. I don't want to see a business like netflix forced out of existence, and I certainly don't think that we should be paying an amount comparable to a monthly food bill for internet. I'm not entirely certain *where* the boundaries of what we call net neutrality are, but I will admit that competition HAS to exist, and not just duopoly competition, since thats just a fake competition. VOIP and VOD and perhaps digital 911 calls need to have priority delivery, but does *anything* else need that? I don't think so. QOS however is not the optimal solution since I can already game that.
What the question that I believe we should be asking is - "If you are limiting/regulating throughput of a specific type of traffic/group of users/ASN/protocol, is that limitation/regulation of throughput required to ensure that that traffic/group of users are recieving their traffic in a manner that ensures the end users experience is acceptable, or is it being done in order to enhance revenue?"
Part of the problem I have with the overall issue is that I understand what building the infrastructure costs. And perhaps the somewhat unique characteristic of living in the country with the one of the lowest population densities.