This is the third year the Open Technology Institute (OTI) at New America Foundation studied the cost and quality of connectivity in the U.S. Once again, the results indicate we trail behind peer countries. On November 11th, Chris joined Sarah Morris, one of the report authors, to discuss the report's findings, municipal networks, and how Title II reclassification may change the landscape. They joined Dave Miller for the Think Out Loud program on Oregon Public Broadcasting.
In addition to detailed data analysis on where the best speeds and prices are, The Cost of Connectivity 2014 provides reviews of several other papers from sources such as Akamai, the FCC, and the American Enterprise Institute.
Some notable findings from the report:
- The average cost of plans in nearly every speed tier studied for the report was higher in the U.S. than in Europe.
- Cities considered speed leaders have consistently increased speed offerings on an annual basis. In places where the speed was not increased, as in Lafayette, rates decreased. Almost half of the speed leaders cities offer gigabit speeds.
OTI made special note of the success of municipal networks in places where traditional providers are not willing to invest:
Although there are many examples of successful locally-owned networks, we focus on Chattanooga, TN; Bristol, VA; and Lafayette, LA, which now offer some of the fastest and most affordable high-speed residential products available in the country despite the fact that they have some of the lowest population densities among the cities we survey.
All three cities offer gigabit speeds that place them on par with Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, and Zürich in our speed leaders rankings, although the prices vary from city to city, and are ahead of the major incumbent ISPs in the U.S. In fact, the only other provider that offers gigabit speeds in the cities we surveyed is Google Fiber, which sells 1 Gbps service in Kansas City, KS, and Kansas City, MO, for the same price as EPB in Chattanooga, TN. By contrast, Verizon’s top tier is a 500 Mbps symmetrical connection that is available to some residents of New York, NY; Washington, DC; and Los Angeles, CA for about $300/month, which is significantly more than the cost of a gigabit in Chattanooga, TN (around $70/month) or Lafayette, LA (around $110/month) and comparable to the price of the gigabit package in Bristol, VA (around $320/month) but only half the speed.
In general, our research shows that these locally-owned networks tend to deliver better value to their customers when compared on a price-per-megabit basis to competing cable and telecom providers in their own cities.
The show runs just under 30 minutes.