The shoddy state of U.S. Internet service

Susan Crawford, Bloomberg:

The Internet has taken the place of the telephone as the world’s basic, general-purpose, two-way communication medium. All Americans need high-speed access, just as they need clean water, clean air and electricity. But they have allowed a naive belief in the power and beneficence of the free market to cloud their vision. As things stand, the U.S. has the worst of both worlds: no competition and no regulation.

An interesting analysis of why things have turned out as they have for the average American Internet user. Crawford wants to see 1Gb fiber to the house standard throughout the country, instead of the paltry 4Mb goal offered by the FCC’s National Broadband Plan. How slow is your Internet connection, and how much do you pay for the privilege?



  • AK

    Situation in Canada is worse if anything – paying ~50/month for 15Mb down / 1Mb up with a 300GB cap, but most cable customers here are paying more for a paltry 50GB cap. Again, little real competition.

  • http://twitter.com/brettweaver Brett Weaver

    We’re stuck with a small, rural, private telco that won’t allow “naked DSL” even. So our total monthly bill runs about $85 including land-line that is not really used. For that we get a paltry 1.5mb down and 500k up. Officially it’s ?49.95 for the Internet connection alone.

  • deviladv

    No competition, backed by either no regulation to encourage competition, or regulation to discourage local governments from creating or encouraging competition.

    Capitalism is supposed to be about competition, however politicians have made it about no government interference what so ever, even if it breaks up a monopoly or benefits consumers. Anything to protect insane profits.

  • Starflyer79

    No regulation? Have you seen how long it takes to get a permit to run new cable?

  • Starflyer79

    I’m sorry but high-speed internet is not a necessity like clean air or water.

    • gjgustav

      Just as well. The US doesn’t care about clean air or water either.

      • http://twitter.com/billyrazzle Billy Razzle

        Zing!

    • http://mangochut.net/ mangochutney

      It might not be on the same level as clean air, clean water and a roof above your head on Maslow’s pyramid, but for an active life in today’s society it certainly is necessary. That’s why I can forgive this piece of hyperbole.

    • http://twitter.com/Moeskido Moeskido

      Try telling that to almost anyone applying for a job.

  • MacsenMcBain

    As soon as I see a comparison between high speed access- a luxury item- and water, air, and electricity, I can’t take the writer seriously.

    • Peter Cohen

      The writer and the United Nations are on the same page, for what it’s worth.

      http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/06/internet-a-human-right/

      • SV650

        Peter, please reread the content of your link, and the link to the UN from it, rather than just the headline. My interpretation is that the blocking or wholesale removal of internet access from individuals (or classes of individuals), is the issue, not the provision or readiness of access to it. Just as freedom of speech does not guarantee you access to media of transmission, the UN statement does not even begin to suggest the PROVISION of internet access where & when you want it, just that once you have found a means to access (even if it means travelling to a connection point) you right to access the medium of delivery should not be removed.

        This is better likened to freedom of the press, rather than health & safety rights such as clean water, & air.

        I have to agree with MacsenMcBain on this one.

      • MacsenMcBain

        There is old Russian proverb (please excuse pronunciation): Nikto nye schitayet UN za chuy.

  • http://twitter.com/Moeskido Moeskido

    We pay Verizon $35 a month for 3mpbs/768kbps DSL in tandem with a little-used landline that costs $45 more. I have yet to inquire about the possibility of dry DSL in our area.

  • http://www.aichon.com/ Brad

    For me, it’s $50/month for 10Mbps down with a 250GB cap that was instituted later on (my ISP offers no contracts, so they can change things at will, including the price, which went up $2 this last month). That said, by getting their most basic cable package, the price dropped to $42. Kinda odd, but I don’t mind, since I don’t watch cable anyway.

  • SSG

    100/100 Mbps down/up ( measures to 95/75 usally) for 15$ month in Stockholm

    • http://mangochut.net/ mangochutney

      Man how much I’d love nice upload speeds.

      • http://twitter.com/billyrazzle Billy Razzle

        Give me nice download speeds!

    • http://www.seodenver.com Zack Katz

      Wow, that’s incredible!

  • Domicinator

    We are cord cutters, so we pay Comcast for Internet only. For $60 a month we average about 22 down and 7 or 8 up. This is in the suburbs of Chicago, fwiw. We are very happy with the service. We are able to stream HD video all over the house without a hitch, and large downloads take no time at all.

  • http://mangochut.net/ mangochutney

    I’m paying roughly € 40,– for 100 Mbit/s down (I get about 115) and 6 Mbit/s up (which is way too slow). But it’s pretty much the best you can get in Germany.

  • http://twitter.com/leicaman leicaman

    I pay Cox for 15 Mbps but get 21 with my DOCSIS 3 modem.

  • http://www.seodenver.com Zack Katz

    I pay $119/month for 4Mb Up/Down. I live in the Four Corners area of Colorado, which is quite rural (5 hours from the nearest city).

  • http://www.johncblandii.com John C. Bland II

    Greed.

  • Byrn

    This would be great but I don’t see how you get this done without serious increase to what your already paying for internet. For the traditional Telcos its going to take almost a complete redoing of their local wiring infrastructure. And like someone said before you can’t just laying cable where ever you want. This proposition is extremely expensive and time consuming. What we need are local politicians with enough for sight to let the local providers upgrade and provide better services to the communities. In the States your local governments decide who provides service and how many can compete.

  • http://twitter.com/billyrazzle Billy Razzle

    $52 for 3Mbs down. Thanks Windstream!