Report: U.S. Has 9th Most Expensive Broadband On The Planet
from the great-job-everybody dept
We’ve long illustrated how U.S. broadband is dominated by regional monopolies, which, in turn, are often coddled by state and federal governments (aka corruption). That broken market (and regulatory capture) results in all manner of problems, from spotty coverage and slow speeds, to repeated privacy violations, net neutrality violations, and some of the worst customer service of any industry in America (no small feat if you think about it).
Of course, it also results in the U.S. having some of the most expensive broadband anywhere. A new report by CompareThe Market finds that U.S. broadband is the 9th most expensive country for broadband in the world, with people paying an average of $66.13 USD per month. That’s in line with prices paid in such countries like Honduras and Guatemala:
Keep in mind most of these data analysis efforts don’t include hidden fees, usage caps, and broadband overage surcharges, meaning the amount Americans actually pay is usually significantly higher than what’s represented here.
Like so many reports, the data breakdown just dumps this information at the readers’ feet without explaining why U.S. broadband consistently ranks among the worst broadband nations in the world (whether we’re talking about speed, price, or availability). And while for years the industry (and those paid to apologize for regional monopolization) tried to argue that it was simply because the U.S. was so big or because U.S. ISPs are saddled with too much regulation, that’s never been true. The U.S. broadband market isn’t free. It’s heavily monopolized and overseen by corrupt policymakers (regulatory capture).
In 2021 the issue is no longer geography, or even technology. It’s the fact that we’ve let a handful of giant telecom and cable monopolies not only cordon off regional fiefdoms, but all but dictate both state and federal telecom policy the vast majority of the time (including literally writing state laws and local ordinances). Instead of tackling this problem head on, feckless U.S. policy makers (enabled by a lazy and timid press) generally mumble about the causation free “digital divide,” then repeatedly just throw more money at the problem.
When that doesn’t work, everybody just shrugs and repeats the process the next time data shows the U.S. continues to be violently mediocre in broadband. There’s a vast coalition of well-funded organizations, individuals, think tanks, consultants, and companies tasked with ensuring this dynamic never actually changes. As the data repeatedly attests, they’ve been winning that fight for the better part of a generation now.