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Internet In America - 11/17/14

The Internet was invented in America.  Why then does America not have among the world’s fastest broadband speeds?  According to writer Claire Cain Miller, downloading a high definition moves requires about 7 seconds in Seoul, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Zurich, Paris and Bucharest, and people pay as little as 30 dollars a month for that connection. 

By contrast, in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., downloading the same move takes 1.4 minutes for people with the fastest Internet connections available.  What’s more, those people pay $300 per month for the privilege – this according to a recently published report entitled the Cost of Connectivity published by the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute.  According to many analysts, America’s slow and expensive connections have nothing to do with technology, and everything to do with economics. 

There is, according to this community of analysts, a lack of competition in the broadband industry, which conspires to produce lower speeds and higher prices.  According to Columbia University Professor Tim Wu, who studies antitrust and communications issues, "The average market has one or two serious Internet providers, and they set their prices at monopoly or duopoly pricing."

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.