Competition actually would be great. If it existed. Right now, most markets experience competition solely based on having two different sets of wires going into their business/residence. Generally, one company has exclusivity on phone/DSL lines and another company has exclusivity on the coax lines, and the service companies associated with each of them offer dissimilar services, so there isn't a direct correlation to compete against. Essentially, this creates local monopolies that can pretty much do whatever they want. I love my FiOS connection, and I would consider their rates to be reasonable, but it is unavailable in the house we're moving to. Not because of cabling in the neighborhood, but because exclusivity is granted to AT&T for phone service and related passthrough in that area. And AT&T is so shady that I have to turn to my only other option for internet: Charter communications. And then you have to consider that if you're specifically eyeing U-verse or FiOS, they tie into your coax infrastructure to prevent you from using one service for cable and another for high-speed internet.
It's all collusion and corporate price fixing. The only real way to combat it is to actually be able to walk away from whatever company or industry that is doing it.