Americans pay more and get less for high-speed Internet than almost any developed nation in the world, a study has found. Just like last year.
The New America Foundation is now making an annual habit of taunting American consumers with research that shows Koreans, Germans, the French, etc., all get much fast downloads and uploads at half the cost. New America looked at 22 cities both here and abroad and ranked their offerings by price and speed and….you can guess the results.
Any way you slice it — highest speeds, lowest overall prices, best bang for your buck per download — the U.S. sunk to the bottom of the list. For example — costs for a basic broadband package in San Francisco ($99), New York ($70) and Washington ($68) were much higher than Paris ($35), London ($38), or even Seoul ($15). Comparing “triple play” offerings yields similar results. You can see the full report and its glorious charts here. It’s a PDF.
Why the price difference? The telecommunications industry argues that high prices today are paying for investment in tomorrow’s broadband service, and that U.S. wireless broadband infrastructure is proof of that. While there’s some truth to that — 4G has rolled out faster here than in many places — the deeper truth is the same old story. In most local markets, competition is sparse. Most residents live in a monopoly or duopoly area, where their wireline-to-the-house broadband choices are severely limited. No competition means poor service and high prices.
That means many Americans pay more than $1,200 annually for broadband, a monthly bill that didn’t exist a decade or so ago. How much do you pay? If you pay less than $100, do you enjoy competition in your town?