Americans Pay Too Much for Slow Internet: Report

Brandon Dimmel's picture

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:

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:

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:

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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chris.common_3450's picture

I am amazed that our US cousins have the temerity to complain that they are paying for something that is in excess of what we pay in the UK (and Europe). The geography of the US almost certainly means that broadband will be dearer just because of the distances involved.

Please spare a thought for those of us in the rest of the world where software and hardware is priced at $1 as equal to £1. Same for hardware, NAS, Accessories etc... Gasoline and many other items, in fact I find it hard to think of any consumable that is dearer!

Just think yourselves lucky!

Dennis Faas's picture

We're paying $45 a month for DSL (5 megabits), or 620k/sec download, with about 75k/sec upload speed (in Windsor, Ontario). The same company started offering fiber optic in our area in the last few weeks (though our street won't have it until Spring 2015). The price is $85 a month for 25 megabits (upload and download), unlimited. Personally I can't wait until we get it because DSL is simply not enough with all the streaming services, etc, available online.

mark.c.hein's picture

without a doubt the two factors stated in my Subject line are at the heart of this mess. Cable/Internet providers have used their a portion of their profits (which are a result of OUR money paid to them) to exclude any new and more efficient and caring (i.e. the freedom promised in the U.S. Constitution) to squelch the purposes of both free enterprise and the original intent of the Internet creators.

AlpineKris's picture

I have access to an independent WiFi Service run by a group of people in our local area. All of the city (abt. 20.000 pop.)and some of the sourrounding villages are covered. 2.4 GHz and 5.6 GHz is used on a proprietary system with small Antennae (the housing includes the router). Symetrically 10 GB up and down, wheras up is more like 7.5 and down is most times higher than 14.

15.- Euro per months, and an annual fee to the organisation is all we pay for this very relieable service. Included utilities are E-Mail-Service, website-hosting for a personal website and 100GB cloud-storage.

Generally speaking, the german government is eager to get broadband available all over the country, even in the "outback". Where no sufficient lines are laid, Internet with 7200 kb/s or above is brought to the customers via mobile services, with about the same pricing as fixed land service.

reloaded's picture

Sandpoint, ID -- 12Mb/s down, 2Mb/s up ($62) through Northland Cable.