Illustrated by Austin Watts.
If last night's episode of American Horror Story or a haunted-house tour isn't enough to scare the bejeezus out of you, maybe try taking a look at your Internet bill, instead. The New America Foundation just released a 2013 Connectivity Report, which shows that Americans in major cities such as New York, L.A., and D.C. are paying higher prices for slower Internet service, compared to our international counterparts.
For the report, researchers compared the price of plans in 22 major cities and discovered that in most international cities, web-loving consumers pay about one-third of what Americans pay. The cause of our sky-high fees? Not enough competition among providers. Broadband Internet service is largely unregulated by the FCC, and according to the report, the most affordable and fast connections are available in markets where consumers can choose between at least three competitive service providers. But, less than 10% of Americans can choose from three or more providers. Most of us are limited to two options, or none at all.
Before you lose all hope and start making Verizon- or Comcast-inspired voodoo dolls, there is some good news in the report. Publicly owned municipal Internet service providers received good rankings in the speed and price categories, and they exist in many U.S. cities (including the District). Although, there is always the possibility that your state might get all crazy and try to ban municipal broadband. Womp, womp. (Policy Mic)