Americans Pay Too Much for Slow Internet: Report
A new report suggests that Americans pay more for their Internet plans than residents of most other industrialized nations. Not only that, but Americans also pay more for slower service.
The report was produced by the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute, which compared Internet service in major US cities -- like Kansas City, Missouri, and Bristol, Virginia -- with large European and Asian metropolises, including London, Seoul, Paris, Tokyo, and Copenhagen.
Internet Cost Comparisons of USA, Europe and Asia
The report found that the estimated monthly cost for a plan featuring 25 megabits per second Internet speed in London, England, is just $24 -- considerably lower than Kansas City's $41 for similar service. Internet service of this quality can be had for under $40 per month in Seoul, Paris, Tokyo, Copenhagen, and Prague, but in Lafayette, Louisiana, it will cost you $50 and in Washington, D.C., about $52.
For the record, an Internet plan capable of 25 megabits per second transfer speeds would allow you to download a YouTube video in just over a second, or download a two-hour high definition film in roughly 13 minutes.
Lack of Internet Competition a Problem
The report also suggests that three-quarters of American households have only a single choice when it comes to selecting an Internet Service Provider (ISP), like Comcast, Time Warner, or AT&T.
"Stop and let that sink in," notes Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). "Three-quarters of American homes have no competitive choice for the essential infrastructure for 21st-century economics and democracy." (Source: nytimes.com)
The situation in Europe is much different: there, national governments try to foster rivalries between ISPs by requiring them to share their infrastructure with competitors. That rarely happens state-side.
Average Speeds Lower in the USA, Too
The researchers also found that the average speed of broadband plans offered in Seoul, Hong Kong, and Paris were ten times faster than similarly priced plans in the United States -- partly because some European and Asian governments subsidize the price of Internet plans to keep costs low. (Source: newamerica.org)
Nick Russo, who helped produce the report, suggests something has to be done to bring down the cost of Internet plans offered in the US. "More competition, better technologies and increased quality of service on [wired] networks help to drive down prices," Russo said. (Source: nytimes.com)
What's Your Opinion?
Where do you live and how much do you pay for your Internet service? Do you have many service options in your area? Do you think your state government or the federal government should be more involved in regulating the price of Internet service?
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