Linked by Howard Fosdick on Fri 27th Jul 2012 02:57 UTC
Internet & Networking A free, new report from the New America Foundation compares cost, speed, and availabilty of internet connectivity in 22 cities around the world. The report concludes that U.S. consumers face comparatively high, rising connectivity costs, even while the majority have very limited choices -- often only one or two providers. The report argues that U.S. broadband policies need to change, otherwise consumer choice will continue to deteriorate.
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RE: Two words describe the "why"
by tanzam75 on Sun 29th Jul 2012 15:45 UTC in reply to "Two words describe the "why""
tanzam75
Member since:
2011-05-19

The article doesn't complain that Coos County, NH lacks broadband. It's comparing American cities to other cities around the world.

Now, it is true that the article conflates two very different factors. First, why is DSL so slow in the US? The table shows that most European cities are served not by fiber, but by VDSL2 at around 18 Mbps. In contrast, many American cities are being served by ADSL2, topping out at 6 Mbps. These appear to be automobile-dominated cities, where VDSL2 runs into distance problems. This is not a problem with market structure, but with American city planning.

Second -- and this is the one that really applies here -- why are the prices so high? This comes from lack of open access on coax. The USA has a more extensive coax network than other countries. 60% of US households subscribe to cable television over coax, compared to 30% in Europe. (Satellite dominates in Europe, whereas it is the challenger in the US.)

ADSL is not speed-competitive with coax. Yet the telephone network is subject to open access, while coax is not. Obviously, this is not going to produce any real competition! In a duopoly situation without easy entry, prices will be high.

Finally, a word on affordability. The FCC is currently giving subsidies of about $800 per home for broadband in undeserved areas -- i.e., the most expensive areas. Surely, a subsidy of $800 per home would suffice to improve DSL speeds in urban and suburban areas as well. Well, there are only 114 million households in the US. Do the math. Compare to the annual military budget of the United States.

You have a picture of General George Patton as your avatar. That must be why you cry poverty while spending more on the military than the rest of the world combined ...

Edited 2012-07-29 15:46 UTC

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