It will be hard to name something that has risen as much in significance as the phenomenon called the internet. While the pandemic forced many places to go into lockdowns a lot of folks started working from home. This led to a deep reliance on the internet not only to utilize online management and communications platforms online but also to video chat with their colleagues. In this situation, the significance of access to dependable high-speed internet increased and the lack thereof had a hugely negative impact.
Perhaps what is most surprising about the lack of availability of quality internet in the United States is that the country is, by far, the richest on the face of this Earth. Here’s the issue on everyone’s brain:
How can such a rich country compromise on something as influential as the internet?
In the case that you are one of the people asking the aforementioned question, know that this post is just for you as we will be exploring the things that negatively impact the quality of the internet the average user gets.
Table of Contents
The ISP Industry Lacks Competition
Companies like Comcast that are responsible for bringing the Xfinity Internet to people’s homes are known as ISPs. When it comes to competition between ISPs, it is said many times that there are 7000 internet service providers in the United States. However, when we take a deeper look, we see a very different picture. In individual counties, there are only a couple of internet service providers. And not all of them even offer reliable and fast internet. As a result, the well-known providers oftentimes have a monopoly.
This scenario where competition is low means that internet service providers do not need to provide high-speed internet reliably and consistently. Even if they provide poor service, their customers would not be able to switch as there is no one for them to go to. Unfortunately, ISPs exploit this scenario and only provide their customers with the bare minimum. People in many parts of the country only get as high as 25 Mbps internet – much less speed than those enjoyed by internet users of other developed countries, for example, the United Kingdom.
Solving this is only possible if more businesses are encouraged to enter the industry. This will require both incentivization from the government and initiatives from private firms. Besides, the antitrust and other authorities that are responsible for ensuring competition need to discount the companies that provide dismal service when seeing how many providers are present in one area. Who knows? The big internet provision giants may have created their junk ISPs to misguide people into thinking there is more competition than there is.
Broadband Investment Is Down
Do you know how big the United States is in terms of the total area covered? It is the third-largest country by landmass! Having this big a country does have its perks as there are so many fossil fuels to use and there are so many national wildlife parks to explore. But, like with everything else in the world, it does have its disadvantages. Establishing connections between different towns has become harder. The United States has, over the years, made investments for building highways throughout the country to support businesses. However, when it comes to something as recently opened up to the world as the internet, a lot of progress is yet to be made. Fiber-optic lines – cables that enable internet speeds of thousands of MBs per second comparable to those in other developed countries–are seen infrequently in the United States.
If we want to solve this problem, investment has to come in from the corporate sector. Giants like Comcast and AT & T have to start investing in fiber-optic cables not just in urban areas but also in rural ones. The US Department of Finance may also give financial incentives to the people such as tax breaks. Fiber-optic lines being laid out always improves people’s lives.
Authorities Lack Focus
Authorities should be prioritizing the internet as a utility, such as electricity and water. This way, internet service providers will be dealt with stringently if they fail to provide the services. The people in power issue executive orders or legislatures must pass legislation to ensure that the state prioritizes the provision of the internet.
It should be pointed out that authorities are not able to understand or comprehend the real power of free and democratic internet space. The PirateBay one of the leading platforms in the world allows individuals that cannot pay for stuff online with free content. This can be in the form of E-books, software, or any other learning tool or material that can benefit viewers.
By reading the preceding paragraphs, we hope you were able to identify the causes behind and the solutions to the country’s bad internet. Taking action to improve this situation may include writing letters to your representatives or big companies in the internet industry.