The comments used to range from "the country is just too big, the infrastructure work doesn't compare" to "European broadband infrastructure is paid by the states because of socialist-type taxation".
And finally, after years of municipalities fighting big telco, it is becoming ultra clear that yes Comcast, TWC and co have been screwing the American people for a looooong time.
And hopefully this is only the beginning, prices still have a long way to go!
This is from a small subset of Americans that are always looking for ways to defend large companies and argue against anything that may provide competition to the. It's certainly not the majority; I suspect that it's from employees of these companies that believe the standard company line.
This American, having worked for a small dialup ISP in high school and seeing the dirty tricks telecoms pull, was always with the other Americans that fight the propaganda from large incumbents that carved out geographic chunks of monopolies.
Monthly non-promo rate for gigabit fiber:
Stockholm - Telia - 999 Swedish Krona (~$125)
London - HyperOptic - 60 Pounds (~$80-90)
Zurich - iWay - 79 Swiss Francs (~$80)
New York - Verizon - $80-90.
It's not clear to me that there is much room to go down in countries with similar cost of labor. (Keep in mind that median household income in France is about the same as Choctaw County, Alabama).
The speeds are about 100-120 Mbps download and 30-40 Mbps upload, ping is about 10 ms to google.rs.
Note: I don't work for Vip mobile and don't get paid for this, I just like their service, a lot.
I paid iirc 10$/month for unlimited LTE in Vietnam, can't remember the exact speeds but I remember being surprised at how quick it was.
And what's your point? Are you saying that population density is not correlated with cost of broadband infrastructure per capita because there exists an outlier?
 Cell service isn't like an iPhone, where it's made in China wherever you buy it. U.S. cellular providers pay U.S. rents for tower sites and U.S. salaries for the skilled labor to install and maintain them.
Anyway the cheapest list price for unlimited text, talk and data is from Globetel at 22,85€. https://globetel.fi/liittymät
However, nobody pays list prices, there are always specials as the cell phone companies battle each other for market share. The cheapest offer for unlimited and uncapped 4G is currently 2,90€ per month.
What point are you trying to make, other than picking random plans?
I will concede that including discounts make things tricky, even if they are an integral part of the market, but by what measure should MVNOs be overlooked? Unlike in the US, MVNOs in other countries generally have the same access to the network as the MVO service arm.
The fact remains that in Finland you can get a real uncapped and unlimited 4G plan for about twenty bucks. Everything unlimited for under thirty. And capped 4G plans for under ten bucks.
By what measure does the US come even close?
EDIT: for clarification the above prices are all list prices from MVOs, with the exception of the everything unlimited which is from an MVNO. The equivalent MVO plans are a few euro more.
About half way across the city there is some competition, and you can get Gigabit from a couple different providers (for about $100), but the service is really isolated to a few neighborhoods and even companies like AT&T won't even tell you which neighborhoods have the service if you happen to be looking for a house/apartment.
What is silly, is that there are a bunch of fiber providers in texas covering the little towns. For example hill country telephone coop https://www.hctc.net/resources/ (which actually has service maps) has a symetric gigabit plan for $200 in a bunch of towns with populations less than 10k..
Spectrum raised the price (with no notice) to $19.95 a few months ago - a 33% increase for this plan. In fairness, they also raised the speed prior to that around 10%, which of course was heavily advertised. The great thing about ELP, and the reason I switched to it, is I got sick and tired of calling TWC every year to renegotiate my rate. They bumped my 30/5 service from $55/mo to $65/mo, I called 3 months in a row, they said they took care of it, gave me a $10 credit a month or two, but kept billing the new rate. Their final offer was $59.95/mo. I just got sick of talking to them and went to $14.95/mo. The great thing about ELP is that it is a non-promotional rate, so I didn't have to call them anymore.
The hilarious thing is, after I switched to ELP, I got offers every week to upgrade to 30/5 for $49.95/mo, but I didn't care anymore at that point.
3/1 service still allows streaming Netflix and Amazon TV at 720p, though with the recent Net Neutrality neutering, I don't know how long it will be before Spectrum inserts artificial delays to make 3/1 unusable for TV streaming. If they do, I've had it and will switch to reading books for entertainment.
Spectrum's lowest-priced non-promotional service here (Louisville, KY area) is $65/mo. To get $40/mo, you have to bundle with phone or TV, getting you back up over $60/mo. To get $30/mo pricing, you have to bundle with both tv and phone, getting you up to $90/mo. Who wants a landline these days? It's just a pricing gimmick.
You could even do this over the phone most of the time. I would call and tell them the $80 they were charging me was to much that I wanted Internet Basics (or whatever they were calling the deal they had made with the city to offer an extremely inexpensive tier). Frequently they would initially deny such a thing existed, then they would transfer me to someone who would be able to setup the $10 a month plan.
From that point they would make all kinds of incredible offers. They would even send me mailers for basic cable for free if I added home phone service for $12 a month (or some such). 12 Months later they would start to slowly raise the rates (I guess trying to apply the boiling frog theory) and the offers would cease.
Apparently spectrum doesn't want to play these games.
Slightly off topic, but I always work around this by picking an address in the neighborhood and trying to sign up for service.
Universal service is an admirable goal, but the implementation is economically nonsensical. It is, in essence, a tax on telecom service. In the case of the universal service fund, it's an explicit tax. In the case of build-out requirements, it's an implicit tax: instead of taxing an ISP in cash, you're compelling it to provide a service it would not otherwise provide.
But it makes no sense to impose industry-specific taxes on telecom service. It's not like gasoline or alcohol, which warrant taxation to discourage the negative externalities they create. You tax industries that you want to discourage, not ones you want to encourage.
The downside of this economic distortion is that it suppresses competition and entrenches incumbents. There is no "minimal viable product" if you're starting an ISP in Baltimore. There is no sniping away at an incumbents' highest-margin markets. You end up not being allowed to use the tactics that startups in other industries use to take on incumbents.
Contrast how Sweden approaches broadband deployment in rural areas. It simply gives rural residents a tax credit to subsidize construction of a fiber line. It's the same way we approach other forms of welfare. We don't require Whole Foods to build stores in poor neighborhoods. We give direct aid in the form of SNAP and WIC benefits.
US Internet - 1 Gbit for $70/mo or 10 Gbit for $298.00/mo. Coverage is limited to south Minneapolis and a little bit of Edina.
Northstar Fiber - $70/mo. Covers only apartment and condo buildings
Centrylink - $120/mo. Has service around the entire metro, but only in random pockets.
Edit: the reason it costs more for symmetric with some ISPs has very little to do with "cost reasons" and very much to do with market segmentation. It's the same reason math coprocessors used to cost extra, even though it was on every package already. If a small group will be the only users and will pay extra, then make a separate SKU which includes it, call it business/pro/enterprise and charge a premium. It's profit maximizing pure and simple. The super obvious check is that there are ISPs which compete on friendlyness and don't do this. They're not special, they just make less money.
That should be a fair comparison with London and Zurich.
I think there's some reason why it's so cheap, I remember someone explaining, but I don't know what the reason was.
https://www.hiper.dk/ - https://gigabit.dk/
The plan is technically $195 monthly with a ton of “special bonus discounts.” Existing customers aren’t allowed to sign up at all yet, and the price will be higher when they can.
Don't ask PR people sales questions. Call sales, be friendly, you'll get the real price. Call PR or sound like an I-Hate-ISPs jerk, pay the jerk tax.
If you don't want all that there are fiber offers for about $25
Sydney - 90 - $60AUD (~$50) in a country as big as America with 10% of it's population
I stuck with comcast because uverse tv sucks and they took over 3 weeks to get me hooked up when I moved. Comcast was same day hookup. I get 100/10 for about $70.
No data usage caps / overrages though, which I don't think you can get with Bell directly.
Yet the cost is simply shifting to cellular data plans, a market with equally high barriers to entry dominated by even fewer players. Incidentally, the cellular company and broadband company are often one and the same, thanks especially to recent consolidations.
Most of these telecoms realize broadband is a higher cost investment for lower return than cellular. So with their left hand, they’re opening up broadband. But with their right, they’re strengthening their hold on cellular. Really they’re unloading a cost center onto the public, as they attempt to move beyond the past and optimize for the future.
Firstly in general people don't like to be mocked.
"A lot" of comments? Really? By a lot you mean a small handful?
Lastly the idea that Americans especially those who read HN would be even remotely unaware that they were being screwed by their well-known telecom duopoly is patently absurd. I'm pretty sure no HN reader ever needed someone from Europe to tell them they were being "screwed" by Big Telecom.
The US has caught up and surpassed Europe. It is in fact questionable if the US was ever behind, it has had faster speeds than Germany, Italy, Russia, Poland, Spain and France for 20 years. Have you seen how slow average speeds are in countries like France and Italy? They're far behind.
The US average broadband speed is faster than all but five or six small European nations currently. US broadband distribution above 15mbps is also greater than all but a few small European nations.
You're also generalizing to about as great an extreme as you possibly can (Scandinavia is not all of Europe), given how far behind broadband speeds are in the majority of Europe compared to the US.
If the US approach failed so miserably, how come the vast majority of Europe is so slow? Once you get outside of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, and Finland, speeds begin to collapse.
There are ~750 million people in the European Union, about ~710 million of those live in nations with slower average speeds and lower broadband distribution than the US.
If we're comparing something more like US states versus small European countries, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Rhode Island have avg broadband speeds on par with the fastest small countries in Europe.
Countries the US beats on average speeds and 15mbps distribution: France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Britain, Ireland, Spain, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Greece, Romania, Estonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Lithuania
We found an older building had highspeed access due to fiber. We rented a small office, (closet really), and paid for 100meg connection to an ISP on a lower floor. Ran an entire ISP with dialup/dsl and hosting that was cheap, and even offered credit card processing. Years before comcast or large telecom offered DSL.
Ive seen over the years, Spokane have large backup hub for PNW banks and other large bandwidth hungry companies move in. Hands on hosting services, Internet turn key web hosting, etc. All in a midwest type town due to the availability.
Even across the border in Idaho, some smaller towns that now have fiber have startups popping up due to cheap land, cheap bandwidth, and low cost of living. I'm always seeing startups hiring big data dbas, network engineers and programmers.
I just wish they would expand further into the very small rural towns. Wifi at my folks small town community center is packed with people due to dialup being the only thing available to the community. Either drive into Spokane, hope you have Verizon LTE coverage, or pay for limitted usage sat.
Yeah, I hate Comcast. Maybe enough to give municipal a go. But I doubt very much that in the long run municipal Internet will end up anything but a cluster from top to bottom.
Infrastructure is simply hard--it has to pretty much be a monopoly with all the problems that monopolies create. It won't matter if it is a government monopoly or a private one at that point. At least with Comcast I can tell them to screw off and buy shitty DSL (true story, I did!). With government my only choice is to move.
By the way, all the cities around mine have muni liquor stores. Only my city has privately run stores. The privately runs stores are way better. My city is also the only one that has private trash collection. The prices aren't a hair's difference, though. It doesn't matter except that if I don't want my trash picked up I am free to take it to the dump myself and pay to drop it off there instead. It would save maybe $10 a month, e.g. not worth it.
In the end, I just want ethical companies selling me fast broadband. I don't really trust our city or county to do Internet when they screw up so many simpler things all the time. They have enough to do and enough people on the payroll.
If the US had fiscally responsible politicians, it would have a modest public debt, and trillions of dollars in a sovereign wealth fund derived from decades of surplus revenue for eg Social Security. Infrastructure would be a non-issue.
Simply put, priorities. You can do this (spending up), but you have to do that (taxes up); or you can choose not to have that (spending down), and so you can do this (taxes down).
Taxes are going up a lot either way, given the massive explosion in entitlement costs inbound, or QE is going to handle it with inflation. The US will hit a trillion per year in deficits in a few years, primarily due to entitlement costs, and partially due to excesss military spending.
Quite a bit of the problem isn’t spending per se, but waste, inefficiencies, and corruption (not to mention us dragging forward GDP, impoverishing the future).
Without question. The US could shave $200+ billion off of military spending fairly easily, with no increased threat to its well-being.
However the US has superior broadband to Europe already. I don't see how the US is failing at delivering first world service in that regard. It's expensive, too expensive perhaps. If you adjust for wages, it's still too expensive but not nearly so (the median EU wages are far below the US median for example).
Japan is generally renowned for having very first rate infrastructure. They've spent incredible sums of money in relation to their GDP on that over the last ~30 years. The US has nearly caught up to Japan on average broadband speeds and distribution. That's a fact that seems to shock people when they hear it, because for so many years the US broadband situation was ugly by comparison.
Of course the excuse is always some variation of "government can't run anything right", "this service costs too much to operate", and "if we sell these assets thats revenue for us!", while ignoring all the nuance and interdependency that factors into infrastructure.
The end result for citizens is lesser quality service at a higher price, almost every time.
This is where corruption leads. Both parties are owned by K-street.
There is also the question of what happens going forward. Quite some time ago, Easton MD (on Maryland's eastern shore) put in a cable internet service through its municipal utility. Today, you can get 200/10 for $100/month. Not bad, but head a bit east to Salisbury, MD and you can get 1000/35 through Comcast for $105 ($80 for the first year). That's the big fear with municipal services. Upgrading head ends won't get you press like rolling out a broadband service in the first instance will.
That being said, municipal broadband certainly has a place. Maryland is spending a bunch of money building a fiber backbone in the rural parts of the state, and municipalities are hooking into it: http://www.westminstermd.gov/419/Westminster-Fiber-Network. These are places that don't have the population and density to support potentially even a single private provider, much less multiple competing ones.
A counterpoint to your argument is Time Warner didn't improve speeds or customer service until Google Fiber started building in Kansas City. Only a few ISP's serve large parts of the country. If they can ignore you while getting monopolistic profit, they will. Building a locally owned competitor might be the only way for lower tier cities and communities to get the gigabit fiber and proper customer service that is so attractive to techies like me.
Edit: Now that I think about it. I have only seen your 'fear' come up once. With Provo's locally owned fiber, which yes, they seemed to have bungled. They did get Google to come and take it over. Many other places have done so much better. Noah from AskNoah/Jupiter Broadcasting lives in Grand Forks, ND. When they had a flood that required them to redo the sewer system a decade ago they put in fiber and now have gigabit internet to residents.
As an existing customer, I cannot get the "gigabit internet for $79" rate that's advertised on the website. That $70-90 rate for Verizon is the promo rate, because it will go up over time after you join.
Ok, so I can switch to Comcast, and get the $44 rate for a year, and then switch back, but that sounds...dumb.
AT&T fiber has a 1 TB data cap. That's effectively a 3 megabit average connection if you use it 24/7 with security cameras, cloud backups, etc.
Judged accurately like this, AT&T fiber is effectively a 0.003 gigabit connection.
AT&T's 1000/1000 in Lafayette is $80 with promo rates/$90 without, plus a $180 ETF and data caps (though removing the cap for free is often part of a promo deal). However, it doesn't match LUS's coverage area yet.
The next-fastest active residential service in Lafayette today is Cox 300/30, for $80 with/$105 without promo rates.
Closer to even offers, LUS's 100/100 is $50 with/$63 without promo rates, AT&T's 100/20 for $60/$70 + $10 per 50 GB over 1TB cap ($90/$100 without data caps), and Cox's 100/10 is $60/$85.
Cox doesn't compete with LUS's 60/60 plan; their next plan down is 30/3 for $40/$64. AT&T's 75/10 DSL is $70/$80 with data caps.
Also, readers should note that they didn’t include AT&T or Verizon in their analysis because the website’s T&Cs prevented it.
Sort of like an extended range LiFi / mesh setup. It's attractive because it could avoid RF licensing entirely, but rain/dust/smoke is an issue.
Does anyone know if any company is doing anything like this right now?
Although tbh it's not that difficult to deal with RF licensing, depending on where you are exactly.
Highrises would be generally better for this approach- or some long atenna/tethered drone. At this stage though, wouldnt it be rather cheaper, to build a little softrobot and have it drag fibre along preexisting cable channels/stormdrains/sewers - basically just doing the infrastructure decent for cheap yourself.
Like others have said, optical works best in areas with clear weather for most of the year. In addition, tall buildings move alot, to it works better on shorter structures.
This Ars article does a great job covering what goes into it. I know of more than a few WISP out there in WA state. They can't do the same data rate as fiber but getting a connection is pretty straightforward if there's any large mountains nearby.
True on knowing how to properly use them! Although to be fair I think most of the ISPs using them don't have a lot of use for really short, high capacity backhauls they're often looking for distance in rural areas.
Edit: Also since you're obviously knowledgeable about this stuff and I don't see a way to contact you on your profile - I've been running a matrix chat room around some of this stuff and would love to have you join! https://riot.im/app/#/room/#startyourownisp:matrix.org
I am here in part because of the fiber network. That said it is not just the fast internet, but the quality of the service people. They have always shown up on time and gone above and beyond each time. They know how to run a cable properly (drip curve for example).
Plus they have a no data cap and net neutrality pledge.
Feels like most of the rest of of the country is in the dark ages on most or all of those points.
One of the nice things is not having to deal with big-co customer service like Verizon or Comcast. You call up and you get a real person who lives in your town.
It's the first thing I recommend to people moving into town.
Are there ways to restore the transmissionrange of the old models?
Use power line to connect to the router (for wired hosts) or have multiple AP's plus power line as the DS for your mobile devices.
Which band are you using now, 2.4 is slower but has better range 5Ghz is faster but shorter range also look at congestion are you using the same channel as the next house
Why can't you use your own router/ap? get one with external arenas and firmware (eg ddrwt) that can adjust tx power
told how early radio was even more community than business, time to loop the loop
In reality, it's among the only regulation they like. Plus preventing Tesla from selling directly to consumers, and making government just small enough to fit in your bedroom.
It may seem like a small difference, but it's not - there are moral, economic and engineering consequences to forcing people to subsidise your broadband use.
Imagine if people referred to State-owned factories in Soviet Russia as "community owned". That would immediately, and correctly, be criticised as propaganda.
It's like transit systems. Ostensibly the user (fare-payers) are funding the system. But the true costs far exceed the amount collected, so in reality they are subsidized by the taxpayers.
Here, rates are:
* "progressive", based on land value, not value of services provided
* go towards services that may not be used by the ratepayer specifically, for example municipal swimming pools, not just say rubbish collection or road maintenance