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    Why Internet Access in the U.S. Is Slow and Expensive: There's No Competition

    Written by

    Derek Mead


    Damaged infrastructure in post-Sandy Manhattan. Via The Verge

    It feels like there's a rising tide of awareness and frustration with just how comically slow and expensive Internet access is in the U.S., which has spawned public and private efforts to blanket the country in free wi-fi. But whether it's due to our aging copper infrastructure or the competition- and investment-stifling security offered to ISPs by regional monopolies, the United States is far from a world leader when it comes to the Internet itself.

    For a country that pays as much lip service to the free market as the U.S., it's embarrassing how little competition there is in the ISP market. It's notoriously difficult to switch providers if you even have the option; many people would have to move to find a new provider, and others don't even have the option. America's Internet is extremely costly for the speeds we get, which is partly to blame for only two-thirds of American adults having home access to broadband, as measured by Pew last year. And those that do are getting ripped off.

    Which leads me to the the chat below between Bill Moyers and Susan Crawford, a former special assistant to President Obama for science, technology, and innovation. “The rich are getting gouged, the poor are very often left out, and this means that we’re creating, yet again, two Americas, and deepening inequality through this communications inequality,” Crawford explains.

    The video is currently on the front page of Reddit, but if you've yet to see it, give it a look. Crawford has excellent insight into how the complete lack of market action in the ISP space has kept prices artificially high, speeds down, and infrastructure outdated. It's a sad state of affairs when stock brokers are currently in an Internet speed arms race, and the rest of us are stuck watching Netflix at low res and can't do a damn thing about it.