AOL used to be internet in the US, there was Minitel in France and i-mode in Japan. All of them were widely successful in their day but turned into obscurity when disrupted by more open and distributed solutions. There’s a law which says something like “any institution always strives to become more powerful over time”. I can’t find the source of this law, but it applies to any organization - commercial or non-commercial. In their strive to become more dominant in a market or sector, they typically strive to centralization of power, influence, usage and product.
The broadband market is changing. Consumers — and especially the younger demographics — are ‘cord cutting’. The cable companies made lots of money with offering Triple Play packages (Internet, TV and telephony) but now they are confronted with changing behavior which leads to price erosion.The cable industry is fighting back by putting artificial data-caps in place so they've a way out to increase prices down the line.
Historically, cable companies have de facto monopolies or duopolies in the areas they serve. It gave them significant market power on consumers & broadcasters alike. There was little choice than to just deal with them.The market is slowly changing though. Phone services are not as important as they once were since consumers start to rely solely on their mobile phones. At the same time is television moving towards the internet. This leaves the cable companies with only a dumb data pipe towards the internet.
With great regularity I see ideas and companies trying to leverage WIFI as a WAN. I would not recommend it. It's just not designed for that. Here's why.