A report released by the Department of Commerce earlier today examined the existing market for broadband service and found a lack of meaningful competition among high-speed providers. According to the report, most Americans enjoy a choice of fixed Internet service providers (ISPs) at speeds up to 10 megabits per second (Mbps). However, as Internet speeds increase, the percentage of Americans enjoying a choice between at least two fixed ISPs decreases sharply – for instance, only 37 percent of Americans can choose among multiple ISPs for service faster than 25 Mbps – and only 40 percent of Americans have even one ISP offering Internet speeds above 100 Mbps.
At Next Century Cities, we believe that meaningful competition drives progress – indeed, it’s one of our core principles. As Commerce Department Chief Economist Sue Helper remarked about the report, “We know that competition typically drives down prices. And we also know that increasingly, higher Internet speeds are required for optimal functionality of popular, high-bandwidth computing applications. As more and more commerce and information move online, we risk further widening the digital divide if access to affordable, higher speed Internet doesn’t keep pace.”
We believe that there are a lot of successful pathways to high-quality broadband for cities and communities, from a municipal approach to working with a major private provider. But we know that cities and their citizens benefit from choice and competition. We are working with our cities to ensure that every community represents a market that drives positive outcomes and offerings for all.
You can read the entire report from the Economics and Statistics Administration, entitled “Competition Among U.S. Broadband Service Providers,” here.