Is the US Paying More for Internet?
When it comes to Internet service, consumers in the United States pay a much higher cost than other countries. The problem is that despite the astronomical rates, the service is much slower in the US than what can be found internationally. However, some small towns are looking to bring about a change.
Comparing America to the Rest of the World
To get an idea of just how America compares to other countries around the world, here are some statistics that demonstrate both the cost and the speed of Internet service. These figures have been obtained from the yearly report by the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute.
People hooking up to the worldwide web in Seoul have the fastest connections for the least amount of cost out of all the countries. The speeds are lightning-fast atx an astounding one gigabit per second, and the cost of that speed is a mere $30 each month. That puts United States Internet users both in the dust and in the poor house when compared with service in Los Angeles, New York and the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. These American cities run at speeds that are approximately half the rate but cost ten times as much at a whopping $300 for one month of service.
Who the Report Compared
The report studied the speed and the service cost for Internet, comparing two dozen cities both in the US and around the world. A lot of what turned up in the findings is very much the same as the results in the reports from earlier years. For example, broadband Internet service is less expensive and faster in Asian locations such as Tokyo and Hong Kong, far outstripping the US cities.
Here Comes the Gigabit
Thankfully, there are up-and-coming possibilities in the world of American broadband service, and these are starting to bring the US closer in service performance and cost to the rest of the world. One of these new waves is in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where America’s first city-wide network offering the gigabit-a-second speed has reduced their cost to $70 each month, down $230 from their previous charges. A similar occurrence is found in Kansas City, where Google Fiber is now available at the same $70 rate, according to the report.
Gigabit service can reach speeds of a hundred times faster than the majority of US patrons are getting. The lucky few who do receive this speedy Internet have sailed past the age of buffering and loading, as well as sharing bulky files in a matter of just seconds. Google has plans to bring its Google Fiber service to some of the medium-sized American cities such as Portland, Oregon and San Antonio, Texas. Despite this progression, the bigger cities in America, such as New York and Washington, D.C. aren’t on the radar anytime soon for receiving this service.
City-Owned Networks Bring a Solution
City-owned networks are fast bringing competition as they offer service from providers worldwide. Those places, including Chattanooga and Lafayette, Louisiana are getting up to par by offering super-fast connectivity and affordable pricing, much like their competitors around the world. Only Asian cities are still outranking these city-owned networks, according to the report, which stated that research is showing that local networks appear to offer a better value to consumers than cable and telecom companies in their own locations, when the price is compared on a megabit basis. Lafayette’s city-owned service was initially at the rate of approximately $1,000 each month but has been cut by nearly 90 percent in a one-year period, now boasting rates of about $110 for a month of service. Rates like this, backed by incredibly fast speeds, are welcomed by consumers who want a worthy Internet experience.
Trying to go Local
The problem with trying to move toward these locally owned networks is the lack of competition. Backers of municipal service state that there isn’t enough of a market for the big corporations to bring speedy service for less cost because there’s not enough competition to make it worth their while. These backers believe that their local government should be allowed to offer their own networks. This is even more significant in small towns, where the majority of major cable companies don’t offer Internet because it doesn’t bring in enough of a profit.
Unfortunately for supporters of city-owned networks, a lot of locations are barred from having their own network service. The Institute for Local Self-Reliance reported that there are state laws in nearly half of the US states that prevent broadband networks from being publicly owned. Supporters of city-owned networks believe that these laws, and those who created them, are supported by the big Internet corporations to prevent local competition from coming to fruition.