Is America Overpaying for Internet & Broadband?

Time Warner Cable (TWC) just increased my Triple Play rates again. The original advertised price was $89.99. It is now a whopping $211 bucks - a 134 percent increase in just a bit over three years. I'll come back to this.

In a previous article I noted that America was not in the Top 20 in the world in speed, as told by a number of organizations and companies that collect the data.

I decided see for myself what other service providers in other countries are charging for broadband. I'll let you decide whether you are overpaying for broadband and Internet services. My selection process was - I decided to stick to Asia and so, in a search engine I typed in "1 Gigabit" "broadband service" and "Asia". And here are some details from just a few of the offerings that showed up in the search.

NOTE: I used LikeForex for the currency translations, (as of December 20th, 2015), and Google Translate for the language translations of some of the web sites, as some were not in English.

NOTE: 1000Mbps = 1Gbps (1 Gigabit)

Singapore

MyRepublic of Singapore offers a 1 Gigabit special for $24.99, Singapore (SGD) dollars - that's $17.70 US dollars. (Note the "currency converter" we added on the right.)

2015-12-22-1450810437-9990540-myrepub1gig.png

Most of the 1Gpbs packages are $42.50 a month, US dollars. And the fine print shows that the normal price is $69.99 SGD -- about $50 US bucks ($49.60 to be exact). (Note: This is readable and not in small type, requiring a magnifying glass.)

2015-12-22-1450810500-2198035-myrepubfineprint.png

Hong Kong, China

Next stop, Hong Kong, and we see that the speeds from the Hong Kong Broadband Network range from 100Mbps to 1 Gigabit, which costs about $61.40 in US dollars. Phone service adds another $16.51 US. (We added the currency converter as well as the US dollars.)

2015-12-22-1450810544-8375061-hongkong.png

But if you want to get pissed off, check out this speed test on YouTube -- clocking the gigabit service at around 927.05Mbps. In the video, the upload speed is about the same when just using the upload speed test mode.

2015-12-22-1450810566-5334569-hongkongspeedtest.png

I used the same service to test my impressive speed. I'll get to that in a second.

Japan

In Japan, KDDI is also offering quick and cheap gigabit services. There are caveats, which I included, as some areas only have 50Mbps DSL services.

2015-12-22-1450810626-3675319-japan1gig.png

However, when you go to the pricing page and find that the Triple Play comes to 6000 yen, around $50.33, US... (Currency converter added).


2015-12-22-1450810658-9168199-kddi6000yen.png

USA, Brooklyn New York

Time Warner Cable Triple Play Costs, 2012-2015: Up 134% Since May 2012.

The advertised price was $89.99; in three+ years my total costs, with the increase, comes to $210.83.

This means that my Triple Play has gone up 134% since May 2012.

2015-12-22-1450810698-1724874-timewarnertriple20122015.png

In a previous article I detail what these charges mean and why many are just more revenue to the companies, as opposed to a mandated government fee or tax.

Highlights include:

  • You can never, ever pay $89.99, ever, as this price doesn't include various fixed fees, including the set top box or made up fees, like the "Broadcast TV and Sports Programming", now at $8.75 a month.
  • The original advertised price was missing 34% of actual costs.
  • The price increased 134% in a bit over three years to a combined total of $210.83 for just a basic phone, broadband, Internet and cable TV -- no premium channels, DVRs -- nothing.
  • And each item went up: The Internet modem went up 153%; broadband service up 122%; taxes and added fees went up 147%.

There's some sleaze here.

First, here's my speed test: I did it three times. It varies from a smoldering 23.74Mbps to a low of 10.82Mbps in the period of one hour, and the upload speed is, let's call it 2.5 Mbps.

I used the same test service as the YouTube test in Hong Kong, which was over 900Mbps faster--and cost less money per month.

With the cost of the broadband Internet service at $59.99 and $10.00 for the modem, I'm paying $70.00 per month for just the broadband-Internet service.

Hong Kong Broadband Network charges $61.40 or 1000Mbps, and that's bi-directional; i.e., fast in both directions.

2015-12-22-1450810759-8387348-timewarnerspeedtest.png

Also, I noticed some real sleaze...

These are the advertised prices and speeds from the TWC website as of December 20th, 2015.

2015-12-22-1450810806-428814-timewarnerspeeds.png

And here are the rate increases and actual prices after the promotion expires -- adding $20 a month or so extra, not counting the $10.00 a month for the modem.

2015-12-22-1450810865-7471486-timewarnernewincrease.png

Let's Compare, Shall We?

(This information is taken directly from the previous examples and converted to US dollars for comparison.)

  • The average price for 1Gbps of the Asian-offered services was $49.55 US, with a range of $41.20 to $61.40 US dollars.
  • Time Warner is selling 3 Mbps down, 1Mbps up service for $39.99, not counting the modem.

2015-12-22-1450812512-4264403-asiatimewarner.png
For the four offerings, excluding the modem,

  • The cost per mbps in the Asian examples was between $.04 cents and $.22 cents.
  • Average price per mbps for Time Warner Cable was $6.51.
  • TWC prices are between 30 and 158 times more expensive per mbps.

2015-12-22-1450812930-2362197-pricevstimewarnerper.png

There is a list of caveats.

  • This is not scientific research or a sample; just examples.
  • We did not include taxes, fees and surcharges, or added fees.
  • We did not include modems, etc.
  • This only examined the primary service, broadband-Internet, and not the other triple play services, like cable TV.
  • I depended on translations of the pages and some of the materials weren't able to be translated (like words in a Jpg-picture).
  • The deployment in a city or area may vary and it may not be available to 100% of the customers.
  • The exchange rate to dollars from the other currencies fluctuates continuously.

Unfortunately, this chart sums up what I found:

2015-12-22-1450810940-9661535-myrepubtwc.png

Note: This pricing excludes the Internet modem.

I fully acknowledge that there are some fiber optic 1Gbps deployments in America, like Google in Kansas City, or in the City of Chattanooga Tennessee. And AT&T claims that it will be deploying in lots of cities in the US with Giga-Power, as have other phone companies. However...

Overpaying is an understatement.

Oh, how close we are in the cost of the offerings... but, oh, how far we are in what we get for the money we pay, and pay, and pay.