Re: Network 'Providers' are Unnecessary
It's actually worse than that. It's more like, you pay $1000/month to drive on the freeway, which is a lot of money, but hey, you need to travel. And, quite possibly, you have to commute to work and buy groceries as well. You wish you could find a route that was a bit cheaper and with less potholes, but HighwayCo owns all the roads, and has little incentive to fix the potholes. Cost analysis has shown that it only costs HighwayCo about $5-$10 to let you drive on their roads, but they constantly complain that if you want better roads, they need more money to invest.
Then a new thing starts to happen. HighwayCo decides it might be a good idea if they could get the cities you travel to to chip in on the roads, so they can afford to improve them. Chicago and LA have some money, and while they don't really want to pay HighwayCo, they need to get people to their cities to work and buy things. So, they start paying HighwayCo extra to fix some potholes on those routes. Fort Bend and Modesto, on the other hand, can't really afford to pay HighwayCo, so the roads keep deteriorating.
The HTC (Highway Travel Commission) has been getting pressure to reclassify highways to be handled more like utilities, as they realize everyone needs them including the drivers and the cities, but there is a lot of monetary pressure to just tweak the rules a bit and hopefully fool the people into believeing that a tiered solution that leaves HighwayCo with no competion is the best solution. So, to try and placate the people, they make a rule that it's OK for HighwayCo to continue to improve routes to Chicago and LA, so long as they provide a 'reasonable' service to Fort Bend and Modesto as well. Pot holes really aren't all that unreasonable though, as people can always buy 4x4s. They might fix a really bad one here and there. And, they won't ever really widen those roads, and probably won't mow the ditches. And, they do put some money into improving the roads to Chicago and LA, even though it's a tiny percentage, it looks like progress (especially compared to Fort Bend and Modesto).
But HighwayCo doesn't just do roads. They are trying to start their own city, HighwayTown. They have realized that they can make even more money if they control both the highways and the destination. They keep raising the prices to fix and improve the roads, while they make a spectacular road to HighwayTown.
This trend continues, as the road to HighwayTown starts to make the roads to Chicago and LA seem poor. And, hardly anyone goes to Fort Bend and Modesto anymore as it's pretty risky and you take damage to your vehicle. But, hey, the roads are still there, as promised. They did fix a huge pothole that caused a 20 car pile-up outside Modesto a few weeks back, good-ol' HighwayCo.... always taking care of their customers.
The next year, DrEvil came to power in the country to establish his EvilKindgom. LA went along with the plan, but Chicago was quite opposed to DrEvil's plan. DrEvil had a solution though. He gave HighwayCo a tax incentive far greater than Chicago was paying to keep their medium level roads. HighwayCo stopped improving the roads to Chicago, so they drifted towards the state of the roads of Modesto and South Bend. Fortunately the HTC had that little line in place that they *had* to provide a minimal level of roads... so Chicago at least knew people *could* get there if they absolutely needed to. Pshew! But most people went to HighwayTown and some even still went to LA. Chicago also became a ghost-town over time, and had little influence on DrEvil's plans any longer.