Competition in telecom brings lower prices

The General Accounting Office said the new providers are offering competition to existing telephone and cable operators, but few customers get the benefits because they operate only in a few cities. In addition, because of problems raising money and signing up customers, the long-term viability of these providers is not clear. Residents in five municipalities paid at least 15% less for expanded basic cable TV than customers in similar cities without similar competition. Residents in four municipalities paid at least 4% less for telephone service. Residents in three municipalities paid at least 20% less for high-speed Internet service.