$30 for unlimited data to $50 for 1GB is not punitive?
What incentive does cable not have to rip people off when they're the only game in town?
That is what is coming. You can't have a natural monopoly without regulation, the end result without that is massive inefficiency and terrible service at high prices.
Santa Monica, CA
$30 for unlimited wireless broadband - was never unlimited, as we witnessed time and again with the rush to saturation. Where are you forced to pay $50 for 1GB? Please, dispense with the hyperbole.
Given the right circumstances, you're correct, any last-mile entity could find itself able to set pricing if they truly fear no competition, i.e. Frontier. But those situations are the rare exception, not the rule, and the margins are that fat, they will invite a competitor.
In our case, we have but one wired broadband option, but the de facto monopoly provider isn't sophisticated enough to know they have us, so their rates reflect the potential of nearby competitors.
I've always agreed with your assertion - the last mile is a natural monopoly, and therefore would be best served by a regulated entity. But that isn't on the table; instead, we have the socialists rallying for yet another expansion of government, which would yield the highest rates of all.
A newly re-regulated monopoly would assure that wired "universal service" could be delivered to 95% of the country, and for the 5% beyond reasonable reach of cabling, we could have a reasonable fixed-LTE tariff - not unlimited, but generous enough to retire satellite service.