Vint Cerf: there was more competition during the “dial up” days

Vint Cerf spoke at the Computer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week and decried the lack of competition in the broadband market. He pointed out that today people have a choice between two to three broadband providers, in contrast to the days of dial up access when there were dozens to choose from:

I have to tell you that in the 1990s there were 7 or 8,000 Internet service providers because the Internet was provided through dial-up. If you wanted to switch you just changed the telephone number you call. When broadband came along the number of choices you had telescoped down to one or two: either a telco or cable company or both, and so competition evaporated. There isn’t enough of it. Getting access to competition to discipline the market and give you choice is still an important consideration.

The culprit: a government that has miserably failed to enforce antitrust regulations. The laws are on the books, they’ve just not been enforced or updated to fit today’s conditions.


  1. spot on! the telcos are holding the countries to ransom, and government and people are being fed constant marketing hype. How can we change things? By supporting altnets who will bring competition back, like gigaclear, hyperoptic, b4rn and loads of others too numerous to mention. Competition in the uk only exists where a few cable companies are, and there is no choice in 90% of the land mass, its all owned by one operator who is desperately trying to keep us all on obsolete copper.