Earlier today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to uphold Federal Communications Commission rules allowing cable operators to block rival Internet providers such as Earthlink from distributing their branded, high-speed Internet services over cable operators' broadband networks.
If the practice had been allowed, and rivals were allowed access to these broadband networks, you would have seen more choices, and more price competition for Internet access.
Now, the cable companies will have less of an incentive to offer price promotions, and the large independents will have greater upfront costs to establish, distribute, market and maintain these services.
I have to think that absent these incentives, at least some of the cable companies will re-jigger their "VoIP included" four-in-one service offerings to lower the cost of VoIP while raising the cost for Internet access. That's because when it comes to VoIP- the cable companies will still be subject to price pressure from the low-end. But with this ruling today, discount ISPs will - in their efforts to establish uncontested distribution channels- find their upfront costs higher, and will be less equipped to offer robust price competition to the cable companies on all services.