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Study: Los Angeles' Internet Is Expensive And It Sucks

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A new study says what some of us already knew: Internet service in L.A. is pricy and at the same time, really slow.According to New America's Open Technology Institute and their report, The Cost of Connectivity 2014, Angelenos pay more for slower service than in other cities, especially those not at the mercy of big corporations, LA Weekly reports.

The Cost of Connectivity looks at Internet service in 24 cities every year. They look for the fastest residential speeds and plans and compare these speeds to cost. The study did not include data packages on mobile phones.

The study found that European and Asian cities often offer a much better value than American cities, especially in those cities that offer municipal networks like Hong Kong, Tokyo and Zurich. Stateside, cities like Chattanooga and Kansas City—who also have local Internet services run by their governments—are also offering better service than what we get in L.A. from corporate providers like Time Warner and AT&T.

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Los Angeles is not very fast, comparatively. But it is more expensive. (Graph via the Cost of Connectivity)
This graph shows the best plan available for less than $40/month in each city, compared by download speed (megabytes per second). The American cities where corporations control the Internet have much slower speeds than European and Asian countries where government subsidies have provided the infrastructure or where there is increased competition among ISPs. In this case, Los Angeles' best plan (via Time Warner) is about $10 more than Seoul's much faster plan ($39.99/$30.30).

Of course in Seoul, the Internet is considered such a valid necessity that it is subsidized. The government there even has a program that hooks up housewives and teaches them how to use the Internet, CNN reports.

In many American cities, like Los Angeles, we're void of competition and often have to rely on one or two companies. Professor Al Hammond of the Santa Clara University's School of Law told Marketplace that the lack of competition likely accounts for the slower, pricier Internet. He said that in the U.S., corporate ISPs don't have to rent broadband pipes to smaller companies and often block the efforts of smaller cities who try to provide alternative solutions.