The cheeseburger in paradise that is our wired and wireless broadband market consistently rewards our faith in the unfettered, unregulated free market. First, wireless: we pay more for less speed:
[…] In fact, out of the 40 countries with the most LTE tests in 2013, the US offered slower speeds than all of them, with the exception of the Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and India. Japan didn’t fare much better, just one slot faster than the US.
But it’s the cost that makes these speeds particularly painful to swallow. On average, Verizon charged roughly $4.05 per Mbps of LTE download speed in 2013, compared to just $2.25 for UK carrier EE. In fact, out of the major international carriers we compared, all of them except Japan’s NTT Docomo were about half as expensive as Verizon. […]
Similarly, the wired Internet is not faring any better, where Cogent, Netflix’ Internet provider, and Verizon are battling:
There are about 11 Cogent/Verizon peering connections in major cities around the country. When peering partners aren’t fighting, they typically upgrade the connections (or “ports”) when they’re about 50 percent full, Cogent says. They can do this by adding ports, adding capacity to ports, or peering in new locations.
“Once a port hits about 85 percent throughput, you’re going to begin to start to drop packets,” he said. “Clearly when a port is at 120 or 130 percent [as the Cogent/Verizon ones are] the packet loss is material.”
The congestion isn’t only happening at peak times, he said. “These ports are so over-congested that they’re running in this packet dropping state 22, 24 hours a day. Maybe at four in the morning on Tuesday or something there might be a little bit of headroom,” he said.
In some cases, Verizon has actually purchased and installed the necessary equipment to upgrade ports, but not turned it on, according to Schaeffer. “They actually put it in, so they spent the money, but they just politically have not been willing to turn it on in order to ensure that Netflix will not work as well as Redbox,” he said.
Redbox is Verizon’s video service, which I’m sure runs great on Verizon’s network, unlike Netflix. But that’s the price of competition: Verizon is competing with Netflix on a level playing field, and if your Verizon service slows to a crawl (because it’s not only Netflix that runs on Cogent’s network), that’s just the price you pay for freedom.