How did that happen? It's no mystery: innovation, economies of scale, and competition. Simply put, the market worked.
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Now compare those prices to those you pay for broadband service -- and behold the difference. While the cost of electronic devices has steadily declined in real terms, or relative to the amount of processing power you can buy, the big carriers are still charging more or less what they charged years ago. In this case, the market isn't working.
I've long suspected that the broadband industry is taking on the characteristics of a monopoly, and now there's evidence to back it up. Researchers at the Kellogg School of Management and the University of Rochester analyzed the contracts of 1,500 DSL and cable service providers from 2004 to 2009. They found evidence of only a very small price drop, between 3 and 10 percent, nothing like the decrease seen in the rest of the electronic world.
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