U.S. Broadband Expensive and Slow

Posted on November 9, 2005

U.S. broadband costs are slow and expensive compared to other countries. A recent Salon article provides details on the cheaper and faster broadband available in European countries and elsewhere around the globe.
Across the globe, it's the same story. In France, DSL service that is 10 times faster than the typical United States connection; 100 TV channels and unlimited telephone service cost only $38 per month. In South Korea, super-fast connections are common for less than $30 per month. Places as diverse as Finland, Canada and Hong Kong all have much faster Internet connections at a lower cost than what is available here. In fact, since 2001, the U.S. has slipped from fourth to 16th in the world in broadband use per capita. While other countries are taking advantage of the technological, business and education opportunities of the broadband era, America remains lost in transition.
Salon says telecommunications giants and political decisions are the reason the U.S. is paying more for slower broadband than most other nations.
Today, major cable companies and DSL providers control almost 98 percent of the residential and small-business broadband market. This trend is the direct result of FCC policies that fail to encourage real competition among broadband providers, giving free rein over the market to the cable and DSL giants. The corporate giants are also vigorously fighting to stop cities and towns from building "Community Internet" systems -- affordable, high-speed broadband services funded in part by community groups and municipalities -- even in places where the cable and DSL companies themselves don't offer service. Yet, like rural electrification projects in the early 20th century, today's Community Internet projects offer the best hope of achieving universal broadband service.
There needs to be a simple solution to this problem. The digital divide will only worsen if half the country has no broadband access.