Thursday, September 24, 2015

Lack of competition among Internet providers leading to high prices, government report says

Expensive broadband service, brought on by too few providers, is the reason why more than 25 percent of Americans—many of them low-income or in rural areas—are unable to afford the Internet, says a report by the Broadband Opportunity Council, a group formed by President Obama earlier this year, Allan Holmes reports for The Center for Public Integrity.

The report says "the high-speed Internet market in the U.S. is dominated by Comcast Corp., AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., Time Warner Cable Corp. and a handful of others," Holmes writes. The report states: “Lowering barriers to deployment and fostering market competition can drive down price, increase speeds and improve service and adoption rates across all markets.”

Holmes writes, "In numerous investigations, the Center for Public Integrity found that U.S. broadband prices are higher than those in countries similar to the United States and that price, not a perception of relevance, influences the decision to buy an Internet subscription. And the reason for the high prices is the lack of competition. The federal government, however, doesn’t have a lot of levers to pull to increase competition." (Internet Providers by Zip Code map)

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