The U.S. is taking a beating in the price of broadband in a recent series of charts issued by research firm Point Topic. It ranks 58 out of 90 countries for cost of broadband.

So long, copper!

Despite the deployments of a few gigabit networks by Google and the spread of faster cable technology, U.S. broadband is falling behind. It’s expensive both as a monthly bill and on a per-megabit basis when compared to the rest of the world. For example, at $89 per month on average, U.S. residents pay more for broadband than residents in 57 other countries including Canada, Bulgaria, Colombia and the U.K. That’s right, the U.S. ranks 58 out of 90 countries.


The research, from research firm Point Topic concludes that the higher broadband prices are “caused by lower investment in infrastructure as well as lower take-up which prevents them from benefiting from economies of scale.” To get the above data the firm compared the prices paid for residential broadband and includes standalone and bundled services offered over DSL, fiber and cable broadband in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Thus, those higher prices are also caused by a tendency is the U.S. to bundle our broadband with voice and television service, which undoubtedly leads to higher prices (although I pay $70 a month for just cable broadband). However, in many areas it’s hard or impossible to buy standalone broadband. Sometimes, when you do, you pay a higher rate!

North America (the U.S. is the largest broadband market in North America) also fails to wow in a chart measuring the cost of broadband relative to its speed for a variety of regions. Instead, North America is both more expensive and relatively slow compared to Eastern Europe, Western Europe and Asia Pacific.

res cost premeg

However, the U.S. shouldn’t give up hope. In some ways it has an advantage when it comes to the cost of the actual access technology. The Point Topic data showed that DSL is the most expensive access technology by more than seven times when compared with fiber and cable broadband. The research team counts any fiber to the node technologies such as AT&T’s U-verse deployment as fiber. And outside of rural areas, the U.S. broadband buying public has shifted to mostly cable or what Point Topic counts as fiber services. So maybe we’ll see costs drop or speeds grow.

A final takeaway for those not feeling lousy enough about broadband in the U.S.: During the last three months of 2013, the average monthly charge for residential broadband services was $76.25 (I’m average!) and the average bandwidth provided by residential services was 51.9 Mbps (I’m below average). Here’s to hoping this improves in 2014.

  1. Satellite Internet should be 50MBPS Minimum all over the US. Satellite based.
    Cable & DSL should should be 500MBPS Min
    Wireless – LTE 4G 300 – 500 MBPS Min
    we have the technology to do it.

    1. Stinky Wizzleteats Friday, January 17, 2014

      Too bad telecomms don’t want to take their profits and re-invest in their infrastructure but would rather give the money to the “C” titles and stockholders. The consumer has to sit and take it and they know it.

  2. Today on Diane Rehm show Jeffrey Eisenach from AEI was trying to argue quite the opposite! He wanted folks that don’t have a broadband in their area to check out the satellite ISP for $70/mn to claim that everybody has in fact access to broadband.

  3. Just think how much worse it will be if the government doesn’t enforce net neutrality. Service will get worse and prices will get higher.

  4. This is entirely by design. The profits are maximized and the overhead is minimized. Nothing to see here… move along.

  5. I’d be interested to see how the US compares to these countries in terms of wages and cost of living. That would give us a better picture of how US Broadband compares to other countries.

  6. 58th out of 90? That sounds about right. I do a lot of international travel and I not only is U.S. broadband more expensive, but its also nothing special, in terms of performance.

    Even in China, where they have a national firewall (which is easily gotten around with a cheap VPN service), a year of China Telecom ADSL costs only $155…for a whole year! (No, its not subsidized by anyone….that’s the market price.) Even more shocking, it performs better than my Verizon FiOS service back home, which costs $55, per month. That’s pretty sad. As a result, I see more smartphones and mobile devices on the streets of Beijing, than I do in most American cities.

  7. Sending these data around to a few folks yesterday when trying to explain what the “Dirt Road” means in light of the FCC vs Verizon ruling. Standard response was “wow”. Spot the US ISPs with interconnect policies that promote high quality Internet reachability and those that, well, don’t.


    1. I should explain the data a little more… these data are download speed measurements based on the same server infrastructure the FCC uses for other monitoring projects like Measuring Broadband America (http://www.measuringbroadbandamerica.com/). The data shows actual download throughput rather than advertised service speed.

      P.S “RoadRunner” is Time Warner Cable

  8. We need someone to take the T-Mobile approach to broadband pricing; just turn the market on its head with new prices, better systems, and higher speeds.

    1. @Beni I think that’s what Google fiber is all about. They just aren’t deploying it fast enough

  9. Reblogged this on JesseGarboden and commented:
    If you want better Internet service move out of the United States. The rich don’t care if they herd most people as long as they get there millions in dividends from the major Telcos.


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