It’s amazing what a little competition can do. Ars Technica brings us word that Comcast will be bringing its 2Gbps fiber service to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Why is this significant, you ask? Because seven years ago Comcast sued Chattanooga in an attempt to block the city from building out its own 1Gbps fiber network.
Although the history of municipal fiber projects has been hit-or-miss, the one in Chattanooga was such a rousing success that Comcast and other ISPs successfully lobbied the Tennessee state legislature to pass a bill that restricted its expansion into new areas. All the same, that hasn’t stopped residents in Chattanooga from enjoying the network, which has now forced Comcast to compete for customers with a high-speed service of its own.
Last month, Comcast announced that it would be bringing its 2Gbps fiber service to Atlanta, which just happens to be one of the markets where Google Fiber is planning an expansion. The company has said that it plans to expand throughout the U.S. this year and it has ambitions to cover up to 18 million American homes by the end of 2015.
What does this tell us? Well, it tells us that the rules of Economics 101 function exactly as we’d expect them to. Markets that have competition between at least two providers will see better services and lower prices. Markets where there’s only one provider… well, we know what that’s like from personal experience. Let’s just say competitive markets tend to be good things.