Almost every internet user in the US faces and issue of slow and unreliable internet. The US ranks 31st in the world in terms of average download speeds, which is around 20Mbps, and upload speeds are worse than the download speeds. The US ranks 42nd in terms of average upload speeds, which is around 6 Mbps. With these slow upload and download speeds, internet users aren’t happy with the current scenario and are always on the hunt to find something better.
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Can the US afford slow internet?
Other than slow internet speed, internet users often face internet connectivity issues, like disconnection, due to old wires of copper. These issues are normal, and nobody raises a voice against these issues, because internet users have learned to live with them. However, the US is a huge economy and it can’t afford to have third-world issues like slow internet and repetitive disconnection.
What could be the reason?
But what makes the internet in the US so slow, three are some certain problems that need to be fixed, like old wires and internet service providers’ territorial monopoly.
If we look at the internet infrastructure of the US, it is based on two networking wires. First is based on copper wires that connect telephone and internet, however, with time, this copper was replaced by coaxial cable. The second is the coaxial cables which are an advanced kind of copper cable with insulation around and they transmit much stronger and faster signals than traditional copper cable, but still, both are old technologies. Fiber optic is a newer kind of technology and it is very expensive compared to copper wire and coaxial cable to install and service. Internet service providers aren’t taking risk of upgrading old copper lines to fiber optic, because they have a monopoly in the market.
Monopoly in ISPs?
Other than older internet infrastructure, the monopoly of internet companies also plays a huge role in slow internet and no internet at all in a lot of states. There are only a few mega-companies that provide internet to the whole of the US, and they have their own territories, in which they work accordingly, and no other internet service provider keeps an eye on other internet service provider’s territory. And no US government has been able to deal with the monopoly of these huge companies to connect the whole US with good speed internet or internet. Companies aren’t not investing in internet infrastructure, because it is expensive to do so and there aren’t enough funds available, and the government is unable to support or force any company to invest in infrastructure to make it better. Although the US government has introduced and updated old policies to make the internet accessible to every American, it has failed to implement those policies practically. This has made it almost very hard for new competitors to enter into the internet service provider’s market because of huge costs and non-lenient government policies associated with it.
Upgrading is expensive
Fiber optic internet is not just expensive for internet service providers, it is also expensive for consumers, most are consumers are happy with the old internet wiring, because upgrading to fiber optic will cost them a lot. Also, there aren’t many offers and choices available to consumers. There are limited companies, from whom a consumer can get internet services, with fewer options to choose from. That makes it hard for consumers to get a good service at a good price.
What can be done?
The US is a huge country and it is almost impossible for existing companies to upgrade old wires with fiber optics in a short time, the US government needs to review its internet infrastructure policies and make it easier for new companies to enter this market, which will increase competition and veteran companies would be forced by market forces to upgrade their infrastructure, reduce prices and explore new markets.
In conclusion, the slow and unreliable internet issues of the US can be solved if the US government intervenes and lets new companies enter the market, although it will be a slow process. But with this, the internet service providers will be forced to provide better and reliable internet to every internet user in the US, for sure.