Small ISPs

I'm sure this may have been posted sometime before now, but I feel it's worth bringing up as much as possible. Why are there not more ISPs around? I know that in my little corner of the USA, there would be a huge demand for companies other than Comcast or Verizon (or subsidiaries thereof) when it comes to providing internet. Has the government imposed too many regulations for new ISPs to start up? Are the big guys throwing lawsuits their way?
The internet is perhaps the most used tool of our age and we are limited to the way it gets delivered to us. Who decided that it would be impossible (or very close to it) to compete with currently established ISPs?

That's pretty much it. The big guys lobby for more regulation and licencing costs to make it too difficult for smaller ISPs to enter the market. And use their cable contracts with local governments to sue anyone who tries to compete with them.

The lines are all in place, but consider that Verizon and AT&T pretty much own all the lines (AT&T mostly), and if anyone wants to startup their own ISP they have to lease all the lines in a given ZIP Code to the main support line/box. The costs are probably too high or there's not enough demand. But once this new ISP buys a lease, they have to then pay for service fees to make sure everything works end-to-end on every line. The service fees would be paid typically Verizon and AT&T. Once everything is up and running, then they have to pay any sort of regulatory local or federal body etc.. and then of course pay their own set up fees for monitoring which I believe is mandatory. In some cases the supplier of the lease of the lines has like 20+ types of software choices to monitor everything...these are mostly offered as an a-la-carte option to the leasing ISP (whenever you hear the "Turn your modem off/on", "Power cycle everything", and "Try again in an hour" it typically means the ISP can't afford the recommended monitoring software).

Sad thing is though, the large ISPs still do as you say in the end of your post with the "wait it out" and power cycling "fixes". I've only had Comcast read me monitoring data for some of my business customers, but nothing consumer side.
I can understand that there is limited space for infrastructure, but still, competition breeds success in many ways. I would think that government regulations would encourage competition seeing how they'd be able to collect taxes and fees from multiple businesses rather than a single business who is extremely clever when it comes to avoidance. A buddy of mine lays fresh fiber all the time for entire towns, so it makes me wonder how the larger companies already own these lines when they're not even in place yet.

The lines are merely an extension of their main lines on paper. If the lines you are referring to are near power lines or on the same lines as power lines, then those lines are piggybacking the purchase of the power lines from the town, and would typically have nothing to do with the town, and mostly have to do with the power-poles(power company). If they are on their own, separate from anything else, then that purchase of where they are placed should be a separate entity.