Why is Internet access in the U.S. exorbitantly expensive and slower than in many semi-third world countries? Lack of competition. There, end of post right?You can go on about your day. Oh, if it was that easy.
First, here is a rather meaningless graphic published in Gizmodo illustrating just how horrible the Internet situation is here in the US of A.
This was posted back in 2009 and as far as I can tell from my 5 minutes worth of research, it is still a fairly accurate picture of where the pricing stands around the world. Asia still rocks and the US is falling behind in average speed but is one of the leaders in gigging consumers (hah! I made a pun!). U.S. consumers average $3.33 pert 1 mgbps, compared to the world leader, Japan, at just $0.27. Still we beat Canada and isn’t that all that really matters?
The problem with this picture is that it displays average Internet speeds and that may not be a very fair assessment of the speed or service for most of us. There are also a lot of other factors when looking at the overall quality of Internet connection including the level of net neutrality in your particular country. I mean, what good is cheap, fast Internet if you can’t torrent the latest episode of Mad Men?
Although lack of competition certainly plays a role in pricing worldwide (39% of worldwide Internet traffic is handled by just 10 companies), you cannot ignore the fact that North America just has a lot of geography when compared to Japan, Korea, or the EU. This may be why, even though the average speeds are slow, the U.S. is second only to Japan in the number of cities listed on the Top 100 Fastest Internet Cities list compiled by Akamai.
So the bottom line; you probably are paying too much for Internet but, if you live in an urban area, you are probably getting some of the fastest service in the world and, chances are, your services are probably not being throttled unless you are a Comcast customer.
How is your Internet service? Do you think you are paying too much?