High Speed Internet Costs


Americans pay more money for slower Broadband Internet than customers anywhere else in the world.

America lags behind and will continue to fall further behind unless something happens to bring America up to speed in the information age.

SEE ALSO: High Speed Internet In Rural Areas

The Costs

Costs vary slightly by city. Looking first at triple play bundles, in Lafayette, LA, the average broadband customer pays $65/month for a TV/phone/Internet bundle with download speeds of up to 6 Megabits per second (Mbps). In Paris, the same bundle costs an adjusted $35/month and delivers 100 Mbps. Lafayette has the best value Americans can get for a triple-play bundle; San Francisco offers the same bundle for $74/month.

New Yorkers and Washingtonians can get a triple play bundle with speeds up to 25 Mbps for $90/month. In Chattanooga, the same bundle costs $130/month. All of the above statistics come from a July 2012 New America study.

As for pure Internet pricing, for $35, Hong Kong residents get symmetrical download and upload speeds of up to 500 Mbps. In Washington and New York, the same price per month brings max speeds that are 20 times slower: 25 Mbps down, 2 Mbps up.

If you want just Internet, no bundle, in Los Angeles, the best you can do is a 10 Mpbs connection for $30/month.

In summary, the average American broadband service costs upwards of $25/month.

Another Look: Price Per Mbps

Third-party company NetIndex, who compiles data through surveys answered on their website Speedtest.net, doesn’t list the average price paid, but they have compiled a “value” statistic, which measures the average price paid per Mbps, judging actual download speed.

The average Internet customer in the United States pays $4.44 per Mbps. That comes out to $22/month for a 5 Mbps plan, $44/month for a 10 Mbps connection, and $66/month for 15 Mbps. Those statistics have no relation to the speed users are promised—for a number of reasons, few Internet users ever achieve the promised speed; most users are roughly 1-2 Mbps slower than the speed for which they pay.

The same page also breaks down the cost of broadband by state, so check out how your state compares. For an international point of reference: in Hong Kong, one Mbps costs $2.72, in Britain, $3.38, and in Taiwan, $1.60.

SEE ALSO: How To Find The Best ISP For Online Gaming

Highway Robbery

Broadband prices have remained relatively the same since 2004, even though most carriers have finished building their infrastructure and are merely adding users to existing lines, which will eventually result in lower speeds all-around. So if the cost to the company has diminished and the benefit to the customer has not increased, why are prices still so high? Lack of competition.

Most people only have two realistic Broadband options: Cable or DSL. Cable is monopolized locally, so if your community has Comcast, you can’t subscribe to Time Warner. And if you prefer to get your Internet through the phone company, you are limited to two or three companies at best. With such a closed market, ISPs have little reason to drop prices, even though many of them are operating on pure profit.

Some gains have been made in recent years: new tech like 4G home Internet has changed the game, and the FCC has bumbled along in the direction of progress, but for the most part, users are getting swindled by a closed marketplace dictated by outdated laws. The good news? Statistics show that competition lowers Internet costs and increases speed. So if you think you pay too much, call your Congressman today!

Date of original publication:
Updated on: November 10, 2015

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