Contrary to Reich's claim, most of those 80% of Americans do indeed have choices other than the "local cable company":
--> In most locations, the local telephone company (DSL, FiOS, etc.)
--> In most locations, satellite networks (Dish Network and DirecTV), provided that the downlink antenna can be placed in view of the satellite signal.
--> In some locations, Google Fiber.
--> In some locations, municipal broadband.
The success of municipal broadband networks has been inconsistent.
--> Chattanooga, Tennessee's broadband network has been a huge success, currently serving some 82,000 customers.
--> But Provo, Utah's broadband network iProvo has been a disaster. After numerous financial setbacks the city sold the system to Google for $1.00.
As I've noted before in this space, most successful municipal broadband networks were built in cities that already owned their own electric power utilities. In these cities the city already owned the utility poles and underground duct systems needed for the fiber networks. That was certainly true in Chatanooga's case: the Electric Power Board already owned the power network and built the broadband network on the same infrastructure.
But even owning its own power utility didn't help in Provo.
In any case, my original statement holds: in most locations, the "local cable company" isn't the only option.
Neal McLain Brazoria, Texas