According to the Open Technology Institute, many countries and cities around the world have considerably faster Internet capabilities than we have in the U.S. All told, many places around the world not only have better connection speeds, but also pay a proportionally lower price for such services.
For anyone looking to compare Internet providers here in the U.S., it may come as a surprise that connection speeds can vary greatly. As PC Mag reported, the fastest spots in the country aren’t always major cities, and there can be huge variance that is caused by a number of factors. Market competition and investment in infrastructure are major contributors to an area’s home Internet service capabilities, as are population density and geographic and economic considerations.
For American families, knowing how fast Internet services are can be a big deal. In the same way that prospective home buyers want the best schools or reliable utilities, broadband or DSL Internet speeds are important considerations. The Wall Street Journal reported that variability in Internet speed can be a factor in home prices.
“Variability in Internet speed can be a factor in home prices.”
According to some estimates, the quality and reliability of home Internet services could change the value of a house by several thousand dollars. Certain areas of the country have different providers and options, while specific neighborhoods or cities may invest in fiber optic or other cutting-edge technology to ensure the fastest possible Web connection. Other areas may have limitations on the amount of data Internet providers can offer in a given month, the WSJ reported.
Rural areas tend to have slower Internet than urban areas, but within that trend there can be major differences. A remote town likely cannot compete with a suburb or capital city in terms of download speeds, but the largest cities don’t always have the fastest Internet.
By the city
The biggest metropolitan areas in the U.S. face a bit of a catch-22 when it comes to delivering the fastest possible Internet. Major cities have significantly more customers, and utility companies and service providers can use the revenue to develop high-end infrastructure.
PC Mag stated that some companies, like Time Warner in Dallas or Cox Communications in San Diego, control huge shares of entire cities’ Internet market. When a company holds a major stake in a given city, there is more incentive to invest in good services and delivery.
Unfortunately, the opposite can be true for major cities. A monopoly on home Internet services may limit or suspend competition that could otherwise drive innovation and adaptive thinking. The biggest metropolitan areas may also have slower Internet because more people may be attempting to get online in a crowded space, putting extra pressure on servers.
Using megabits per second, here are the cities with the fastest Internet services in the U.S.:
- Washington, DC
- Alexandria, Virginia
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Kansas City, Missouri
- Wilmington, Delaware
- Tampa, Florida
- Richmond, Virginia
- Austin, Texas
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Again, there can be huge variety in Internet services depending on the types of investment cities, states or providers make. Fiber-optic networks may be nice, but they can be incredibly expensive, and according to Studio Proper, many cities in the U.S. aren’t serviced by massive corporations. Instead, publicly owned networks may be co-opted by providers, but for that reason, finding money to improve or renovate a city’s digital infrastructure can be difficult.
By the state
Looking at Internet speeds at the state level can shine light on the economic dynamics driving Internet speeds. Although specific towns and neighborhoods may make different decisions surrounding infrastructure and investment, it would appear that states with high population density and economic prosperity have the best Internet service.
The cloud service provider Akamai reports on the “State of the Internet” every year, and according to Tech Insider, the U.S. states with the fastest Web capabilities are concentrated in the Northeast. Again, megabits per second was used as the standard.
- Washington, DC
- Rhode Island
- New Jersey
- New York
Forbes reported that many of the states on this list are among the most wealthy in the country in virtue of GDP and tax dollars per capita. For that reason, utilities in these areas can be well-funded with adequate public money, while service providers have many homeowners and families that can afford the fastest Internet services.