US Internet slowest, most expensive

Americans in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Washington DC are paying higher prices for slower Internet service when compared to similar cities in other parts of the world, according to a study released by the Open Technology Institute at the New America Foundation.

The study compares high-speed Internet offerings in 22 cities around the world by price, download and upload speed, bundled services, and other metrics. In one example, residents of Paris pay the equivalent of $35 a month for basic cable TV, phone service, and Internet with download speeds up to 100 mbps. By comparison most residents of New York City spend around 300 per cent more for a ‘Triple Play’ package with slower Internet speeds.

Previous studies that have ranked the US behind other countries in Internet price and speed have too often been easily dismissed with the explanation that the US overall cannot be compared to other countries that are much smaller and densely populated. This study shows that even when comparing cities of relatively similar size and population density, the United States still lags behind.

“Consumers abroad tend to have access to several providers that offer competitive services and speeds, unlike in the United States, where the choice is usually between the cable company and the phone company,” said Benjamin Lennett, policy director at the Open Technology Institute. “Our findings add to a growing body of evidence that the US is falling behind, and policymakers must take action to create more competition.”

Bearing out Lennett’s assertion, the study shows that in cities where the only choices are between a large national cable company, such as Comcast or Time Warner, and a large national telephone company, such as AT&T or Verizon, prices are generally higher and speeds are slower.

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