said by N3OGH:
Given the national data backbone is upgradable by switching out the gear at either end of the fiber runs
That is an oversimplification.
Changing out even just the interface cards is really, really....REALLY expensive.
Say you are a service provider with 5 or 6 40G links between two cities. Your capacity has filled up because of stuff like over the top video and cloud access that you make no money on - you didn't get new customers and you don't have a new product line to generate revenue - but you still have to upgrade your backbone because you have to provide a consistent level of service so you decide to upgrade the links to a have 100G capacity...so 5 or 6 100G transponders at each end at around $100k and you just spent about $1.2 million!...
But wait, that's not all!...
Those runs are too long to not have ILAs or Regens and you have to upgrade their interfaces too....let's call it an even $5million at this point to make the math simple....and that's just one leg...if you are a backbone provider you probably have dozens of those to upgrade at the same time.
Great business to be in where you have to spend millions just to satisfy the existing revenue you are pulling in and there isn't any new money to pay for it.
I am not suggesting that caps or price increases are something I want as a user but to not recognize that their is a very real economic challenge to overcome here is naive and one sided