US lags on broadband speed

Findings from New America’s Open Technology Institute (OTI) indicate that customers in the US continue to pay higher prices for slower Internet.

Building on previous research regarding the relative cost and quality of broadband Internet access, The Cost of Connectivity 2014 examines broadband prices and speeds in 24 cities in the US and abroad. Looking at the price consumers pay for 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) in each city, as well as the speed they can get for $50 in each city, the report finds that Americans in major cities pay higher than average prices for 25 Mbps and get slower than average speeds for $50 when compared to their global peers.

Seoul, Hong Kong, and Tokyo continue to lead the world in providing higher speeds for lower prices, each offering symmetrical one gigabit per second plans for under $40. By contrast, in large US cities such as Los Angeles, New York, and Washington DC, the fastest speed available is 500 Mbps and costs about $300 a month.

As with home broadband service, the report’s data suggest that customers in the US still pay significantly more than most of Europe for stand-alone mobile data plans offered over USB dongles and wireless hotspot devices. “International consumers can pay the same price as US consumers for data caps that are as much as 40 times the size of those offered by US providers,” wrote the report’s authors.

Given the Internet’s importance as a tool for nearly every aspect of our daily lives and the fact that capacity needs for Internet users are growing by the day, the Institute says its report serves as an important signal that more must be done to ensure that broadband offerings in the US are competitive with those around the world.

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