…Inexpensive pricing of gigabit broadband is practical in American cities, too. “This is an eminently replicable model,” says Benoit Felten, a co-founder of Diffraction Analysis, a consulting business based in Paris. “But not by someone who already owns a network — unless they’re willing to scrap the network.”
In the United States, costs would come down if several companies shared the financial burden of putting fiber into the ground and then competed on the basis of services built on top of the shared assets. That would bring multiple competitors into the picture, pushing down prices. But it would also require regulatory changes that the Federal Communications Commission has yet to show an appetite for.
Dane Jasper, the chief executive of Sonic.net, an Internet provider based in Santa Rosa, Calif., says that most broadband markets in the United States today are dominated by one phone company and one cable company.
“Why doesn’t Verizon offer gigabit service?” Mr. Jasper asks. “Because it doesn’t have to.”
In its earnings report for the quarter ended Dec. 31, Verizon said its fiber-based Internet service, which serves 12 states and the District of Columbia, was available to 12.8 million premises, an increase of 10 percent from the previous year.