One of America’s greateststrengths is our free market.
A thriving private sector is the lifeblood of our economy – it’show we create jobs, expand opportunities, and give everybody a shot at success.
It’swhat has made America the strongest country on Earth.
The most essential ingredient in a healthyfree market is competition.
But right now, too many companies are engaging in behaviorsthat stifle competition – like blocking new competitors from entering the market orlimiting the information and options that give consumers real choice.
As a consequence,the rest of us pay higher prices for lower quality products and services.
Workers receivelower wages than they otherwise would.
Small businesses and entrepreneurs can get squeezedout of the market.
And none of that is fair – or good for our economy.
The deck should not be stacked in favor ofthe wealthiest individuals and the biggest corporations, against working Americans.
That’swhy my administration is doing everything we can to reverse this trend and promote morecompetition in the marketplace.
In addition to enforcing the rules on the books, I’vedirected federal agencies to identify anti-competitive behavior in different industries, and findnew and specific ways to promote competition.
One industry that’s ripe for change is cableTV.
Right now, 99 percent of cable and satellite TV customers rent set-top boxes from theirproviders.
According to one survey, this costs households an average of more than $230 peryear.
We spend some $20 billion to rent these devices.
While we have almost unlimited choicein what we watch on television, from traditional programming to online content, there’s nextto no competition to build a better, user-friendly product that allows you to easily access allthis content in one place.
So most consumers just rent whatever the cable company offers.
Because we have to.
That means companies have little incentive to innovate.
As a consequence,we need multiple devices and controllers to access content from different sources.
Thatmakes no sense.
So my administration has encouraged the FCCto remove the barriers to competition that prevent new players from offering innovativecable box options to consumers.
We know this works.
For years, Americans hadto rent our telephones from the phone company.
This was a while ago, but when the FCC finallyunlocked competition for home phones, the marketplace was flooded with all kinds ofphone options with new features, and at different price points.
Consumers suddenly had manyoptions.
And the whole industry moved forward as a result.
The same can happen with cableboxes, and in dozens of areas of our economy – all of which can make a difference inyour everyday life.
The bottom line is, competition is good forconsumers, workers, businesses, and our economy.
So I’m going to keep doing everything Ican to make sure that our free market works for everyone.
Thanks, and have a great weekend.