reply to bdray222
Re: Where's the Earthlink?! There are still CLECs (competitive local exchange carriers) out there. I just switched my DSL and phone from the ILEC (incumbent local exchange carrier) FairPoint to an ILEC G4 Communications. Much faster DSL at a significantly lower price.
But as elray mentioned to be competitive requires companies collocate equipment at the Phone Company Central Office and rent customer copper pair (UNE) unbundled network element. Most alternate DSL provides are simply reselling phone company DSL. As far as I know there is no unbundling of the Cable Network so that is not an option for Cable.
Long term I don't know how this will play out as the ILECs convert from copper to fiber but that is many years down the road.