Why U.S. Broadband Sucks

The US is falling way behind other countries in the speed and cost of broadband access because of a lack of competition. Elsewhere in the world, the company that owns the physical internet backbone must sell access to a range of independent ISPs on the wholesale market. The result is a panoply of companies competing on service, quality, and price. But, a recent Scientific American article argues, back in 2002, the FCC reclassified broadband as “information service” instead of “telecommunications service,” and Mr. Local Monopoly has been partying it up ever since.

Why Broadband Service in the U.S. Is So Awful [Scientific American]

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  1. z4ce says:

    I am paying $40/mo for 20mbit cable through Charter. Which absolutely amazes me. Faster than LAN speeds 10yrs ago to the internet. Am I the only one in the US happy with my broadband?

    • crazydavythe1st says:

      I’m paying about $50/mo for 15mbit cable. It’s not so much that the speed isn’t enough for me, it’s the fact that people in other countries would be paying about $20/mo or less for the same thing.

      • E-Jungle says:

        I am from said “Europe” and I hear a lot of US people complain about the system there.

        Enjoying 120mbit cable here for 65/month which also include voip and digital tv/radio. BUT the cable providers are mostly still in a monopoly positions. Recent tries to open up that market have stranded in court.
        (A)DSL is open for every company though.
        Fiber: still monopoly in most places, although that is starting to change.

    • corrie06 says:

      Fast ethernet (10/100 Mbps) was around ten years ago…

      • z4ce says:

        Yeah.. I am talking about “common”. A company I recently worked for only finally rolled out 100mbit ethernet to their desktops a year ago. Many clients I go to still only have 10mbit to the desktop.

        • Dre' says:

          And the company I work for has had GigE to the desktop for about 5 years now. The plural of anecdote isn’t data.

        • ktetch says:

          I worked for a company that was still using Win 3.11 in 2001. It doesn’t mean that 10 years ago 3.11 was common. It just means that that company was penny-wise, pound foolish on it’s IT budget.

        • Runner says:

          Company I used to work for rolled out gig ATM to the desktop 12 years ago. They replaced it a few years after that with fiber GigE.

          Every place I’ve worked at for the last 10 years has at least GigE, with the previous company I worked at starting 10GigE rollout’s (more for iSCSI than anything else).

          Last time I delt with anything slower than FastE (100mbit, 10mbit is just Ethernet, 1mbit is baseband) was in the early 90′s when I had to replace some ArcNET infrastructure. Of course they decided to be an alternative adopter of FastE called T4 (as apposed to what everyone knows which is TX).

    • Dre' says:

      Citizens in other countries are paying half of what you are for 3 times the bandwidth. Of course said countries might be a 10th the size of the U.S.

      What really irks me is the government gave huge subsidies to communication companies to build up our network infrastructure & then followed that up by giving them local monopolies in most areas. Basically we *paid* them to nickel & dime us with crappy service & slow speeds. They are laughing all the way to the bank, & it’s not right.

      • Darury says:

        Citizens in other countries are paying half of what you are for 3 times the bandwidth. Of course said countries might be a 10th the size of the U.S.

        THIS! All of Europe is 3.93 sq mi, America is 3.79M sq miles.

        But I will also admit that various regulations, including blessed monopolies are NOT helping the situation. I’m confused by people that say we’re being sold out by the government, so the solution must be biggermore government intervention to prevent being sold out further by said bureaucracy.

      • Beeker26 says:

        Agree 100%. Part of the reason European and Asian broadband is so inexpensive is that they are heavily subsidized by the government. But whenever we try to do that here companies just take the money and run. Viva la Corporacion!

        And local municipalities, don’t even think about starting your own low-cost alternative ISP, cause you’ll get sued by the big boys, who will then attempt to get such services outlawed in your state. God Bless America!

    • mac-phisto says:

      that’s 20Mb down, but what’s your upload speed? i think charter’s is somewhere just below 1Mb.

      most people don’t care, but i’m a gamer, so upload speed is important to me. luckily, i live in cablevision territory where i get 30Mb down & 5Mb up for $50/mo. so, i guess you could say i’m happy as well.

      what makes me unhappy is the inability to shop my services elsewhere – the alternative for me if my pricing goes up or the quality goes down is at&t dsl (which is nowhere near as fast for the same amount of money).

      • balthisar says:

        As a gamer, what the heck do you think your game is uploading that you require such a fat pipe? Latency is much more important for games. There are all kinds of reasons to have a fat upload pipe, but gaming isn’t one of them.

        • Warble says:

          What? Gaming is one of the places where reliable upload speeds are most necessary. Some games can transmit a lot of information, and a slow upload, or one prone to hiccups, or an upload with sufficiently little bandwidth that some other service on the computer could swallow it briefly can be the difference between winning and losing. Please only speak of things you know about, thanks.

          • Runner says:

            Most games run just fine in less than 128kbit/s of bandwidth. You’re latency is far more important for 99% of the games out there. Take WoW (World of Warcraft), one of the most popular games. It eats up around 70kbit/s of bandwidth peak.

            Size of the pipe has little to do with latency.

            • drizzt380 says:

              But he said he had 4 people in the house.

              So, 2 people playing WoW, at 75 k/bits each on a maximum pipe of 125k/bits. Well, thats not enough.

              But what if 2 people are playing Wow and one person is playing a FPS? Latency becomes much more important when you’re not playing an MMORPG.

              • kujospam says:

                Most people who use wow also have chat programs, which still isn’t all that much. But if you are in a house hold like me where you have an independent voip. Game a lot. Download a lot. and watch netflix and hulu while gaming. It is important. Well, the netflix and hulu is mainly downloading.

        • mac-phisto says:

          it’s important when i have 2 other people in the house that share my gaming habits & 4 computers connected to the internet pretty much 24/7 (doing who knows what). sharing all that pipe at less than 1Mb = lagtastic.

          you do know that traffic & throughput factor into latency, right? a higher throughput means more packets can traverse the distance measured, hence lower latency. if i didn’t have the traffic, it probably wouldn’t matter, but i do, so it does.

        • Rachacha says:

          Regardless, People are often so focused on Download that they forget upload speed. We are uploading more and more content every day, videos to YouTube, photos to Flickr, streaming video to Ustream, Justin.tv and Stickam, skype video calls (or any VoIP solution) and yes, online games. I agree that most of our usage is still via download, but I am willing to pay more for a fast upload speed so that I can load 1.2 Gigs of videos to youtube to share with my friends and family in under a minute, something that used to take all day for me a few years ago.

    • ktetch says:

      I pay $45/month for 6/0.5 with AT&T.I don’t have a choice, they’re the ONLY provider here. I live in semi-rural Georgia, just inside the Atlanta Metro area.

      I work with Swedes a lot (if you couldn’t guess from my avatar) and they have about the same population density in most of the country. They have 100/100 connections, for about $40 and have had for a few years, one friend has a gigabit net connection, to his house. He used to host our website on a server in his closet.

      The US (and the UK, but that’s another story) is getting left behind by Korea, Japan, Germany, Sweden…

    • pot_roast says:

      You’re not alone in being happy. I’m paying $69.99/mo for 35mbit/35mbit FIOS. I know that kids in Japan are paying $20/mo for gigabit fiber, though. But hey, it sure beats the crappy DSL line I had in the Silicon Valley. Now I live in an area surrounded by cows and we have FIOS.

      • Rachacha says:

        I think that is the point that the article is trying to make. Those of us who have (what the US Considers) GREAT High speed access are paying 2-5x as much for 1/2 – 1/10 the speeds that are seen in other countries, but more importantly, there are countless areas in the country that only have an option of Dial-up or Satellite Internet. These people are sadly not connected to the internet that we know and love because their speeds are not capable of downloading the media rich content that most web pages use. My In-laws still only have Dial-up and they are constantly frustrated with the internet saying that it never works…primarially because their ISP kicks them off before a single page loads.

    • huntsterUNC says:

      I too am very content with my broadband Internet. Charter CAble Television sucks major where I am, however the internet is tops! I have the 20mbps package and all I have to do is exchange my modem for a new one to bump up to 25mbps. I can run VOIP, several torrents, and play WOW with no adverse effects. My upstream is 2mbps.

    • Brainphart says:

      I have 30/30mbit FIOS through my local utility. http://epbfi.com/ I’m bundled with telephone/TV/internet for a *very* competitive price. No introductory pricing.

    • Warble says:

      It’s not so much that what we have relative to the past isn’t impressive, it’s where we potentially could be versus where we are. Internet speeds are definitely one of those things where you don’t think you need more speed until you get it, and then you can’t go back. And it would be one thing if America’s circumstances really made it unfeasible to have better broadband, but that just isn’t the case. All that’s happening is that we’re getting fleeced by a bunch of companies who filled up the Worst Company in America brackets, because they’re totally awful for other reasons too.

      But if you’re still happy through all of that, then go ahead, I guess.

    • Crass says:

      I pay $48.49 per month for 8Mbit down (which is really like 1Mbit down) for 100GB of use per month. If you go over 100GB they charge $1.50 per GB. They are the only non-wireless/satelite high speed internet provider within 200 miles, and yeah I am fucking sick of this service. I routinely go over my 100gb limit.

  2. Dre' says:

    But, but, but… that’s socialism!!!1!

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      It kills me that socialism got a bad rap thanks to the Cold War. It’s not the best system in every single case, but so many aspects of it make people’s live better. Sigh…

      • hotdogsunrise says:

        I love you. (ahem) I mean…. right on!

      • mac-phisto says:

        what really grinds my gears is that in many cases, socialism breeds better capitalism. we like to think of the two systems as incompatible, but the opposite is often closer to the truth.

        the government can make large investments into creating & maintaining infrastructure, which is often a large hurdle for private investors. in the case of something like broadband, one simply needs to look at what happened during the “great fiber catastrophe” of the late 90′s. virtually every company that invested in fiber buildouts went bankrupt within a decade. if the government had deployed & maintained the fiber & then assessed fees for its use, the entire country would be on Gb lines today. more importantly, ANYONE would be able to start an ISP b/c the entry barrier (the cost of deploying lines) wouldn’t exist. hence, government investment in this case would’ve bred a free market system for broadband.

      • EverCynicalTHX says:

        Really? The Cold War gave Socialism a bad rap and in your opinion Socialism is a better system?

        Have you ever lived or worked in a Socialist country?

        Also, if I may ask – what do you do for a living and how old are you?

        I’m guessing you’re either unemployed, a college student or work a minimum wage or temp job. I’m guessing your age to be under 25.

        Be honest now, I’m right aren’t I?

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Nope, been a 9-to-5er for years.

          Socialism actually isn’t practiced in any government at the present, and never has. Fascism has. That was popular in Russia for a while. China has that for a while, too, but has managed to create a fairly successful hybrid.

          Sadly You are the poster child for the result of decades of propaganda mixed with the unwillingness to find things out for yourself and instead believe whatever Fox News tells you is true.

    • dbeahn says:

      Yeah, it interesting that we never use broadband as an example of why capitalism is better than socialism, given that all of the more socialist countries are kicking our ass at it ;)

    • Warble says:

      Isn’t it ironic that deregulating markets (to let them be “freer”) usually seems to lead to less competition and higher prices and worse service? It’s a corporate welfare state.

      At this point, companies like Comcast are more “people” than we are.

    • EverCynicalTHX says:

      No..that;s not socialism and if you define such a radically different market system based on this article you really have no idea what you are talking about IMHO.

      More than a few commentators around here seem to be enamored with Socialist principles and I;d suggest they move to a truly socialist country and try it out firsthand!

      Here’s the definition of socialism btw:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism

  3. dolemite says:

    It’s really sad. It stifles innovation and hurts the economy to boot. It’s more than just a minor inconvenience that we have 1/5 the speed of some countries, at 3x the cost. The US is at risk of becoming a 3rd world country. We used to lead innovation, now we stifle it to protect the pocketbooks of the rich.

    The only hurdle is the lobbyists have a stranglehold on Washington and the fact cable and phone companies are afraid of losing their monopolies. While we are in the process of curbing the “free market” and putting checks and balances on Wallstreet, bailing out companies, etc…lets go ahead and reclassify internet as a telecom service, AND open up the pipes to 3rd parties.

    Honestly…Washington is going to sell the whole US down the river because some companies are afraid they won’t make record profits due to monopolies? This is beyond ridiculous. If we don’t change things now, it will be too late 10-20 years from now. “Ok guys…the US is dead last in internet speeds, but tops in cost. We also banned net neutrality which really hurt competition in internet-based companies. Only the biggest and richest succeeded. Also, we are 56 in the world in innovation and science now. It’s 2025…time to start thinking about upgrading our internet infrastructure”.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Amen. We’re doing more and more business globally, too, which puts us at the disadvantage if they’re using far superior internet.

      • jessjj347 says:

        Lol, I get what you’re saying but the Internet is world wide. They don’t have better Internet, just faster access to it.

  4. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Just one more sign that the U.S. has become old and unable to evolve. Countries either evolve or die.

    • dolemite says:

      I’ve always thought that’s a problem with having so many older people in office. Usually people in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and they have no idea about the rapidly changing pace of technology. They simply listen to the lobbyists, and act on what they say.

      • LatinoGeek says:

        Those congressmen in their 50′s, 60′s and 70′s; guess who the bulk of their constituents are? People in the same age group. I blame voter apathy.

      • Hooray4Zoidberg says:

        I think this is the biggest problem, we’re living in an extremely fast moving digital age and nobody making decisions has a clue about any of it. Internet Tubes guy is the prime example, wasn’t he “the guy” in the Bush cabinet for technology?

        I’d wager you could ask any senator, congressmen, supreme court justice, etc. a simple technology question that anyone on here would know the answer too and they’d be unable to answer it. Most likley you’d get a political non answer or they’d deffer it to someone else. These are the people making decisions on extremely important topics like net neutrality.

        The catch 22 is that nobody would vote for a younger person into these positions because they’re seen as inexperienced.

  5. Hoss says:

    I suggest we email the article to our congressman. Here’s an email list https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml

  6. ARP says:

    We had the forced lease access rule for telephone service (not sure about internet), but the telecoms complained that it was hard (and the companies leasing said they were being gouged), and in the early 2000′s(?), the FCC removed that rule.

    Now, cable providers essentially buy a monopoly to towns. If they’re not given exclusive access, they threaten fund challengers to local government offices. Since those are small races, they easily overwhelm the incumbent.

    It’s seems we need to either implement leased access rules; provide streamlined easements for other telecoms to set up; or have a “public option” where the government owns the line, but leases to all takers on equal terms.

  7. HalOfBorg says:

    I knew a guy who lived in Europe and told me he never payed for than the low price “new customer” rate. He’s keep an ISP until it was about to expire and switch to he next.

    I suppose at some point he’d run out and not be ‘new’, but he’d save a fortune while it lasted.

  8. sjgarg says:

    Meh, it’s still worse in Canadia.
    With a duopoly set on selling services where “up to” is never reached, throttles traffic all the time regardless of what type it is, even throttling business traffic, selling speeds lines can’t handle (Bell tried selling us their “Fibe 16″ service, when our area can only handle 5mbps due to them not upgrading anything) and capping bandwidth as though it’s a rare resource.

    And now with the blessing of the CRTC to allow them to force customers to pay for “insurance” in case they go over their caps for 5$/month incrementing in blocks of 40GB, and then to charge over 1$/GB for beyond that… it’s a big mess up here.

    • Lethe says:

      Are you in SW ON? Try Teksavvy. It’s a lot cheaper, just as fast, and has a minimum of 200 GB monthly.

      • sjgarg says:

        With Teksavvy ATM, DSL.
        Unlimited won’t last for too much longer for DSL as soon as Bell drops it’s last grandfathered unlimited customer… then there will be strict caps and overages and insurance forced upon everyone on DSL.

        Looking at their cable service though I imagine Rogers will pull the same crap.

  9. mac-phisto says:

    this is really how the entire communications industry should be set up. & while we’re at it, let’s reform the other utilities as well. there should be distributors & providers & nary the twain shall meet. as in, distributors shouldn’t be providers & vice-versa.

    • dolemite says:

      I’ve always found it interesting when I read stories about people getting knocks on the door from people attempting to get them to switch to so and so electric company, or this and that gas company. Heh, you have AEP here, or nothing. And they jack up the prices pretty regularly, the same with the cable company. You can expect about a 5% increase in your cable bill every year, and about a 5-10% increase in electricity, and about a 10-15% increase in your healthcare. Why? No competition in any of those industries.

      • MrEvil says:

        Actually I’ve found deregulation in electricity to be pants-on-head retarded. Just north of me in the Ft Hood area they have de-regulated power. My sister and her husband lived in a 900 sqft duplex and paid $200/mo for electricity and that’s with my sister turning off and unplugging anything and everything that she could get away with. Me, I live in Austin where the city is the power company and my electric bill for August was $100. And that’s with me having the AC on full blast (and a couple instances of the thermostat sticking) and with computers running almost around the clock. It was even less up in Amarillo where it was a regulated power monopoly.

        • mac-phisto says:

          the problem is that deregulation of the utilities in most places has been largely mishandled. here in CT, we had CL&P – a quasi-public agency that was a generator & supplier monopoly. when they deregulated, they sold the whole kit & kaboodle to northeast utilities – one of the largest energy providers in the NE.

          NU is the market (they own the turbines & the lines) & can manipulate the price at various levels within the market. they can increase the price of power (by shutting down turbines). they can increase the cost of line maintenance. &, because they are a supplier as well, they could conceivably hide their supplier costs in their generating costs, thereby shifting that cost burden onto all suppliers (which means they could use this supplier price advantage to undercut their competition). this last part would be illegal if discovered, but what’s the saying? “it’s only illegal if you get caught.”

          they should have broken apart the monopoly, sold the divested parts to different companies & retained a quasi-public agency to maintain & buildout the supply lines. that would allow for a free market. generators would compete for business (driving generating costs down) & suppliers would compete for business from customers. the only non-competitive part would have been the lines themselves – they would be maintained by an independent 3rd party & costs would be passed along to all suppliers (& consequently, customers).

  10. Bunnies Attack! says:

    Jeez, I remember as little as 10 years ago, taking some web design class, we snickered because Europe was still paying per hour and per mb charges for data and all the webpage design books recommended creating minimalist text only versions for those poor people in other countries with terrible and expensive internet access…

    • ktetch says:

      Did your marketing class also have you snickeing at Chevy for selling the Nova in Latin America, and getting poor sales because the car ‘didn’t go’?

      Like the Nova story, your web design class was sold an urban myth

      • Bunnies Attack! says:

        I played a MUD with friends from the UK and a guy from southeast asia at the time. They complained about it all the time… usually going to internet cafes because it was cheaper. I dunno, maybe they were isolated cases. It may have been longer than 10 years ago, but somewhere between 10-15 years.

        • richcreamerybutter says:

          I remember that time well. Strangely enough, it seems like nowadays smaller companies are wanting to be compatible to cell phones while saving money by not specifically developing a mobile site. This works out well for me, since I don’t have to pull my hair out while loading stupidly-giant sites on my sad sack DSL.

        • ktetch says:

          The UK I can explain (I’m british)

          Many areas (including the area I grew up in) got cable in the late 80s and early 90s. The system installed was an old one, with almost no return path built in. So, until the network was upgraded there was no cable internet. It still hadn’t been done when i moved to the US in 2002.

          DSL was done via petition. people could request their exchange be upgraded for DSL, and when enough people requested, BT would add it to the queue. Where I lived there were lots of troglodytes, and no-one around cared about the net.

  11. JKxZ says:

    NO, broadband sucks because of BIG CABLE companies. They buy into new companies like Clearwire and when people start leaving cable, and start using Netflix and Hulu, big cable says…

    OH, we aren’t going to invest any more money…

    but behind they scenes they says

    … unless you start throttling customers so they can’t use Netflix so they come back to us…

    It’s happening RIGHT NOW with COMCAST and Clearwire. Users are being throttled because Comcast threatened Clear that they weren’t going to invest any more money.

    It’s a damn shame that we let corporate America protect itself in such shady ways.

  12. Roy says:

    I moved to the United states from the Netherlands, I live in a town with about 10k people. I now pay around 40$/month for 1.5Mbps down and 384Kbps up. I paid less 12 years ago in the Netherlands for internet speeds 4 times as high as I have now…

  13. RonDiaz says:

    I pay $70 a mo for 10m down 768k up to the CenturyLink monopoly. And most nights I only pull 1-3m anyways. LOVE IT not.

  14. MustWarnOthers says:

    I have great internet with Verizon Fios, but of course it’s all bundled up in their Triple Play bullshit package, so the true cost of the Internet isn’t what the bills says (39.99).

    If I was to go out and try and order just their 15/5 Internet, it ends up coming to about 50-60 before taxes and fees.

    It’s funny how on top of the fact that lots of Cable/Internet Providers monopolize a given area for service, they also fuck you over with their bullshit “All or nothing” pricing model. Want just the Internet? Sorry you’re not going to save anything, get TV and Phone too.

    I really don’t understand how if the Taxpayers subsidized infrastructure for the “pipelines” which data communications travels, how we have no say whatsoever it which companies use it.

    The free market is really working its magic in this sector of industry.

    • shadowboxer524 says:

      How is the free market supposed to work when the industry is so regulated? As the article states, the free market is allowed to work in other countries, where multiple companies can compete on prices and services.

      • ARP says:

        The free market is working in other countries because:

        1) The government owns the backbone and service providers lease bandwidth and compete.
        2) The government requires backbone owners to leases their lines to other companies at cost.

        So, they’re more regulated than we are, but yet they get cheaper, better service. Makes you think.

  15. Mariushm says:

    Paying about 30$ for 24 mbps down / 4 mbps up + about 50 tv channels and could pay an extra 5-10$ for telephony with unlimited calls .. In Romania, Europe.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      versus Romania, Texas?

      • Mariushm says:

        You’d be surprised how many Americans don’t know about Romania or where it is so I just wanted to make sure it’s known

        • dolemite says:

          You are right, probably something along the lines of 90% wouldn’t know the difference between Rome and Romania, if I had to guess.

          • jessjj347 says:

            Ha, that’s sad considering only one is a country. But maybe it gets confusing because Rome is really Roma (sp?)…hmm….I was surprised about that one myself.

  16. balthisar says:

    I don’t have any complaints with my Comcast service. Let me VNC into the home computer and run a speed test (obviously the VNC will affect the upload rate a bit). I’m only getting 4.75 Mb/s down for some reason, and I’m getting 3.17 Mb/s up. Okay, changing the test server… there we go: 16.38 down, 2.99 up. For only $60 bucks per month? Contrast that with the my dual-channel ISDN service (128 kb/s) that was $100 per month in the late 90′s.

  17. richcreamerybutter says:

    Thank you for this article! Here’s a slideshow that breaks down the differences between communications regulations in the US and Europe:
    http://www.slideshare.net/stephenmcclelland/session-5-gabrielle-gauthey-communications-regulation-time-to-start-over-2391916

    The railroad analogy is right on. I’m still using a DSL connection through my phone line because I refuse to choose between giant douche Time Warner and turd sandwich Verizon high speed internet’s basically identical “packages” (tell me why a land line is supposed to be enticing?). That’s not a choice! I resent the broadband oligopoly currently serving my area. For this very reason, the fact that Tea Partiers believe net neutrality is restricting the “freedom” of the market indicates they have not given much critical thought to the issue.

    Close government regulation (and in the case of health care, some kind of government option) is actually conducive to a competitive free market. When corporations have to accept certain limitations and adhere to a set of guidelines, they are forced to make money by actually offering a superior product at a good price. We all win.

  18. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    I’d be happy with my $40 per month 12-megabit cable connection if it didn’t go out for several hours at a time at least twice a month. I think it’s better than paying the phone company, the only competitor, four times that for a comparable DSL line. DSL was much more reliable, though.

  19. Warble says:

    And don’t forget that limits in consumer broadband speeds are holding back other technologies! Just imagine what Google or Microsoft of some unknown start up company could do if they had even double or triple the current speeds available to most Americans? Google Maps would look downright primitive.

  20. Willow01 says:

    I’m paying 48bucks for almost 30 down and 3 up through Cox, I would say they are up 99.6 % of the time. I’m happy with them too.

  21. Spook Man says:

    We have no competition as far as internet goes. Timewarner cable or DSL. That’s is.. They keep cutting back our speeds and raising our prices.. SUCKS.. I wish someone would get a handle on these people and stop this bs..

  22. Eat The Rich -They are fat and succulent says:

    Ah yes. Yet another legacy from the corporate friendly Bush administration.

    Weren’t they dandy?

  23. v0rt says:

    The areas with more competition seem to fare better. I live in an area owned by Comcast and I’m very unsatisfied with the price/mbps ratio.

  24. maggiemerc says:

    We also have a LOT more rural locations that require broadband. See why I live twenty miles out of town and pay $20 for 6mbit (which it never actually reaches) and my sister lives in town and pays $20 for 10mbit.

  25. dwtomek says:

    Great. I’m glad I read through these comments to get a deeper understanding of just how hard my net provider is raping my wallet. I want to go back to my blissful semi-ignorance, but I am afraid that won’t be possible now.

  26. physics2010 says:

    When I was in Germany back in 85 I lived in a small village. Every new house that was built had fiber running to it. The backbone wasn’t connected until after I left two years later, however….every new house being built had fiber run to it. And again…klein village in the middle of nowhere….cows walking from the in-town barn to the pastures every morning small town.

  27. Chigaimasmaro says:

    I agree with the article. One of the reasons as to why I think the US took off with innovation in the past was partially due to Europe and Asia putting their focus into recovering from wars (World War 2 in particular). Since those areas were incapacitated, the US had free reign to research and develop without much competition. But the areas of science and technology are a steady and never-ending marathon race. Now that Europe and Asia have recovered from stumbling at the starting line, they are finding a nice stride and have continued to push new technology into their countries since they did have to recover. To me that makes sense. If you have to rebuild, might as well do the job with better materials and technology. The US was moving at a brisk pace and we got many benefits from it. Unfortunately, we enjoyed those benefits too much and it’s causing us to fall behind. The way that the FCC classified the internet goes a long way in my mind of proving that point.

    In the same way that our thinking about cameras changed from “It steals your soul!” to “It makes really cool movies!” we just have to changed our thinking about the internet. Before electricity was a luxury, now it’s a utility. Hopefully, in time the view of the internet will change to it being a utility and offered to across the USA. I just hope it happens soon, it’ll be easier to deal with the global market if this change occurs willingly instead of our countries forcing our hand to do so.

  28. wackydan says:

    Except that many of these overseas providers cap the amount of data and then throttle you to dial up like speed if you exceed your plan…

    At least in the US… the vast majority of providers offer unlimited plans.

  29. Mihai says:

    Bucharest, Romania
    I used speedtest.not to check download/upload speed in MB:
    Bucharest – 40/20
    New York – 7/1
    Sydney – 2.5/.25
    Ten years ago I was staying up all night because the dial-up was cheaper then :)