Americans Paying More For Worse Internet

StewShearerOld

Geekdad News Writer
Jan 5, 2013
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Americans Paying More For Worse Internet



Despite higher prices for customers the United States only ranks 35th when it comes to bandwidth capacity.

Despite the fact that a lot of people still just it use it to check Facebook and watch naked people doing naked things, the internet has also been a useful tool for the growth and development of economic, social and educational opportunity around the world. No one would blame you, in turn, for expecting the United States, an economic superpower and the birth place of the internet itself, to have the best broadband service in the world. That being the case, it's been revealed that not only are U.S. broadband services lagging behind other countries, but that American citizens are actually paying more money for slower speeds.

The World Economic Forum when <a href=http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GlobalCompetitivenessReport_2013-14.pdf>comparing bandwidth capacity, ranked the U.S. 35th out of 148. Other studies have also placed the United States at being in anywhere from 14th to 31st place when it comes to average connection speeds. In other words, while we're not at the bottom of the barrel, we're also not the cream of the crop either. In fact, in many cases, the broadband services of our cities is drastically slower than what's available overseas. For instance, Riga, the capital city of Latvia, currently boasts an average connection speed of about 42 megabits. Comparatively, the much larger American city of San Antonio has an average connection speed of only 16 megabits. The biggest kicker is that internet service in Riga costs only about a quarter of what it does in San Antonio.

This is a trend that, with a few exceptions, repeats itself across the breadth of the United States. While it might seem like a non-issue when you consider that 10 megabits is the current standard for speedy internet, many believe our lagging broadband might be stifling economic growth. The Obama administration, for instance, stated earlier this year that job and wage growth in the modern age all but demands "the delivery of fast, affordable and reliable broadband service to all corners of the United States."

Unfortunately, many believe that it will take direct action from the U.S. government to spread internet access that's comparable in quality and price to what's available in places like Riga. "[Internet access is] something that no neighborhood or private company would have an incentive to provide on its own to everyone at reasonable prices," said Susan Crawford, a professor of law and former technology adviser to the Obama administration. In other words, when private companies can already charge us a bundle for poorer service, why would they do anything else?

Source: <a href=http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/30/technology/us-struggling-to-keep-pace-in-broadband-service.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&ref=technology>NY Times




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Tanis

The Last Albino
Aug 30, 2010
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And NOBODY is surprised.

It amazes me how often Americans think of themselves as 'exceptional', but ignore the reality that they're not even in the Top 10 of the 'good lists'.
 

Xeorm

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Apr 13, 2010
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Must be a slow news day if this is on the news. I thought this was well-known in general. US internet sucks compared to what it should be able to do.
 

Covarr

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May 29, 2009
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I live in a small hick town in the Pacific Northwest, and I've had 100Mbps fiber since 2003 (realistically get 30-50Mbps at peak hours). For years, it was among the fastest around. Even today, it's far better than most of the country. Still, that I could've had this kind of connection for TEN YEARS now and still most of the US is slower than me is absolutely pathetic. I can't believe how much of this country still treats DSL as "high-speed".

P.S. Thanks
 

Roxas1359

Burn, Burn it All!
Aug 8, 2009
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Tanis said:
And NOBODY is surprised.
Pretty much this. I'm not surprised by this in the slightest. Actually, in Southern California both AT&T and Cox Digital Cable have contracts that prevent Google Fiber Optics from being installed here, because they have such a big monopoly. I find that especially funny in AT&T's case because AT&T came into existance because of Pacific Bell's monopoly and was split up on purpose.

As much as Google can be evil in some of the things they do, I will give it to them that they've given people a better alternative to Comcast in the Midwest.

Covarr said:
I live in a small hick town in the Pacific Northwest, and I've had 100Mbps fiber since 2003 (realistically get 30-50Mbps at peak hours). For years, it was among the fastest around. Even today, it's far better than most of the country. Still, that I could've had this kind of connection for TEN YEARS now and still most of the US is slower than me is absolutely pathetic. I can't believe how much of this country still treats DSL as "high-speed".

P.S. Thanks
The problem we have here in California is that Cox Digital Cable and AT&T have it so that nothing else can really be installed down here that has a higher peak than 10Mbps or so. My college, San Diego State University, has about 25MBps on their internet, but that's actually their own internet service that they've created. Other than that it's very rare to get a really fast internet here. Hell until I had the highest version of Cox like I had now my download capped at 128Kbps...I wish I was kidding as well.
 

JoJo

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So a bit like healthcare in America then?


Okay, seriously, the article is dead on that the poor Internet is probably due to a few companies holding a near monopoly on the Internet services in a particular area. That's an unfortunate side effect of capitalism and looks like the U.S. needs stronger anti-competitive laws in this area, I wish you guys luck since I know what a pain getting laws through your Congress is.
 

Albino Boo

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Jun 14, 2010
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Dear god, guess what everything is cheaper in Latvia than the US, its called they get paid less. It might be 1/4 of the price but as percentage of average income its far higher. The US average income is $69821, the average Latvian income is $11712. To be the same percentage of average income the price would have to 1/6th of that of the US. Compare like with like.
 

Ed130 The Vanguard

(Insert witty quote here)
Sep 10, 2008
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It took a law being passed and a corporation spilt up for halfway decent internet to come to New Zealand so news like this doesn't surprise me.
 

Dr.Awkward

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Mar 27, 2013
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Just thought I'd put a counterpoint into the discussion here: Ever consider the differences in landmass? The US is the fourth-largest country in the world. Now, compared to the landmass covered by Latvia, how much more fiber would be needed to adequately to give the US the coverage equal to Latvia's? The answer should be easy to guess, and that's one of the reasons we have to pay more.
 

Jumwa

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Jun 21, 2010
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BLASPHEMY!

Do not speak ill of the Holy Free Market! Leave the government out of everything and the world is paradise on Earth!
 

Avaholic03

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May 11, 2009
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So...the 4th largest nation (with a grossly underfunded infrastructure) is lagging behind much smaller and better funded countries? Color me surprised. I'm sure all the free market competition will fix this problem in no time...not like there is any collusion in the telecom industry right? :p
 

Dragonbums

Indulge in it's whiffy sensation
May 9, 2013
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It honestly doesn't surprise me in the least.

The old hat companies want to keep their control for as long as possible before something better comes along. Maybe if they provided a better fucking service it wouldn't be so bad.
 

DVS Storm

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Jul 13, 2009
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If I've understood correctly some telecommunication companies have monopoly rights to certain areas in USA? Something that is pretty much illegal here in Finland. And yeah this article didn't really surprise anyone.

I personally pay 10 euros a month for 24 mbit/s connection. I could go higher(100 mbit/s for 30 ?) but I don't really need a faster connection atm. Then again in some rural ares of this country you really can't get a fast connection in any way(or so I've heard from a friend). The government is looking into that though.
 

Remus

Reprogrammed Spambot
Nov 24, 2012
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This applies to anything involving infrastructure, not just internet. When there are still wide swaths of land with not a person around for miles, I.E. Kansas, Wyoming, most of the midwest, then internet service, bus routes, hell, public services like road maintenance will be nearly nonexistent. Of course the major internet providers are going to take advantage. Why run the lines if they cannot make a tidy profit?
 

TiberiusEsuriens

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Jun 24, 2010
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Tanis said:
And NOBODY is surprised.

It amazes me how often Americans think of themselves as 'exceptional', but ignore the reality that they're not even in the Top 10 of the 'good lists'.
I'd disagree with you. Americans don't think their internet is exceptional, and especially not our ISPs. It's a simple matter of having no alternatives, so the ISPs get to charge all they want without worrying about how crappy the service is. (yay pseudo-monopolies!)

There are still plenty of places with decent internet though (still cost an arm and a leg). Also, a big problem in the big cities with bad internet is actually just wireless congestion. I get 50/20 wired in, but switching to wireless on ANY device in my room just a few feet from the router I get 2/1. I've had the same problem all across town in multiple apartments with multiple routers, and so have my friends.

PS.
Please remember that the most annoying Americans are usually just the loudest, not the majority.
 

Yokta

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Mar 23, 2013
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And here's me sitting on a big fat SIX Mb/s. I'd complain, but even that's twelve times the speed I had just four months ago.

Why yes, I do live in Australia.
 

Roxas1359

Burn, Burn it All!
Aug 8, 2009
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JoJo said:
Okay, seriously, the article is dead on that the poor Internet is probably due to a few companies holding a near monopoly on the Internet services in a particular area.
You've hit the nail on the head. The three largest ISPs in the US are Cox Digital Cable, AT&T, and Comcast. Each of them has practically a monopoly in the area in which they operate. For example, in the county of San Diego in California you'll find AT&T and Cox everywhere, but Comcast is nowhere in the county because the current contracts they have prevent something new from coming up. Of course they'll never ease up on it because the US Government is in bed with more corporations than any other country, and doesn't help that the US Supreme Court decided to rule that corporations are "people" are are allowed Constitutional rights...>.>
 

Sigmund Av Volsung

Hella noided
Dec 11, 2009
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One factor is being ignored: Latvia has one of the world's strongest currencies, comparable with GBP(Pounds Sterling).

That is, they did until they switched to the Euro.

I personally want to know how well the UK compares because half the time it seems like we're paying out the arse for decent broadband.