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Cost of Internet Access:  U.S.A vs The World – Who Pays More?

The High Cost of Internet Access in America
Have you ever thought the cost of internet access in America was too high? Until we cut the cord last year my family was spending $250 a month on phone, internet and cable.That’s $3000 a year, or to put it in perspective about 6% of the median household income in the US. Hey I like cat videos just as much as the next person but enough is enough. Dropping our “Triple Play” package cut our cost of internet access down to $70 a month. That’s still too high in my opinion but it’s better then what we were spending. Is it this way everywhere in the world? Is this like healthcare where Americans pay double or triple what everyone else pays for the same medicine? Well Google is our friend, let’s find out.

There is a lot of information on the net about the cost of internet connectivity around the world. However the way that the plans are sold makes it difficult to compare. Americans tend to get “triple play” packages which bake the cost of internet access  into a bundle along with TV and phone. Many countries have been slow to adopt that model, but there are a few where it has been catching on.

I would love to compare just the cost of internet access, but that would leave out most of Verizon and Comcast as they push bundled packages. It didn’t seem right to leave out the two biggest players in the U.S. market so I had to look at countries with “triple play” programs. Considering that a phone and basic cable are pretty standard across the board, I feel we can treat those parts of the bundle evenly from various companies. Sure there are bells and whistles but for most people if there is call waiting and voice mail then they’re happy.

We can go on forever discussing TV packages, but everyone is going to like something different when valuing cable plans. Internet access on the other hand is measurable. The bandwidth is what matters. So let’s just call phone and TV even across the board and consider the bandwidth costs.In my search to find data on triple play packages I found The New America Foundation did a Cost of Internet Connectivity study in 2013.

They have some comprehensive data sets and even a table where they look at the “triple play” packages for major cities around the world. The table looks at the cheapest possible triple play package available in each city so that helps my case. We are just talking about basic phone and cable service. They just ranked by base price in the study which really isn’t fair. Some plans offer better bandwidth then others. To fix this I just averaged the cost per Mbps per country which has triple play plans. Here is what that looks like.

Ridiculous High Cost of Internet Chart

Rank Country $/Mbps
1 S. Korea $1.03
2 Latvia $1.09
3 France $1.59
4 Germany $1.62
5 UK $2.39
6 Switzerland $4.74
7 USA $7.55

Yes, number 2 says Latvia. The cost of internet access is 7 times more in the U.S. than in Latvia. At first I thought nothing of this as Dr. Doom would require lot’s of cheap bandwidth and I’m sure he could convince someone to give it to him. Then I realized that it said Latvia and not Latveria.

If it wasn’t for the Swiss we’d be paying more than all of them combined. Luckily there is hope for the U.S. lowering the cost of internet access thanks to Google. The advertising search engine company we all know and love has laid it’s fiber optic network known as Google fiber in 3 U.S. cities. Kansas City, Provo, and Austin all are enjoying 1000 Mbps of internet access  for $70.

Yes that’s a gigabit per second. If you are getting 25 Mbps from Verizon or Comcast, then this is 40 times faster.The cost of internet bundled with 150 TV channels at that same blazing speed is $120.Google doesn’t do phones so lets’ add $40 because you have to buy phone service. 1000 Mbps for $160 ($120 + $40 for the phone) is .16 cents a Mbps. That’s enough to even put S Korea to shame.

If you think $120 bucks for the cost of internet access and TV is a bit much Google has another option. You pay a one time $300 installation fee and you get free 5 Mbps for life. Unfortunately Google fiber isn’t available in most areas, but Google announced their plans to expand into 9 new markets in the U.S. To their credit I have noticed Verizon and Comcast prices come down a bit since Google jumped in the ring, so maybe there is some hope in the future. Until then I’m surviving without the Triple play, streaming everything,  and we are happier for it.

Check back in a few days. I plan on going over what you need to consider when cutting the cord and getting rid of cable.

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