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The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has completely transformed day-to-day life for billions of people. Numerous households in different countries, including the United States are relying heavily on the internet to attend online classes, meet work deadlines, and quench their thirst for entertainment.

While high-speed internet may not be needed for all activities, most households require a minimum of up to 25 Mbps to adequately fulfill their household connectivity needs. According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center, a typical household in the United States owns 5 internet-connected devices, and almost one in every five households uses no less than 10 devices. While speeds less than 25/3 Mbps may be enough for a single user, households with more than 5 devices require speeds equal to or higher than 25 Mbps for basic internet usage. However, the definition of a good internet speed may vary due to certain variables.

These considerations are extremely relevant as the world grapples with the novel coronavirus outbreak, which has shifted classrooms and workplaces online. As internet usage increases to mirror this shift, it has become crucial to determine how Americans are maintaining a balance between internet access and costs as compared to the rest of the world.

The U.S. Internet Market

There are more than 2700 Internet Service Providers in the United States. However, the internet service market is dominated by only a few major players like Charter Spectrum, AT&T, CenturyLink, Xfinity from Comcast, Frontier, and HughesNet.

The range of choices available to consumers may vary based on their location — urban or rural, which directly affects not just the quality of internet service but costs too. Urban residents could easily access affordable and quality internet service due to fierce competition among ISPs. In contrast, not many ISPs serve in rural areas, which leaves the residents with limited and costly options.  Other factors, too, influence the variability in pricing across the country such as cost of infrastructure, demand/supply, or governmental policies and regulations.

Moreover, most American consumers have trouble determining the total cost of internet service due to complicated pricing structures, poor transparency, and tricky itemized billing that results in high average cost. The national average monthly internet costs are unaffordable for many low-income households. To bridge the digital divide due to affordability, top ISPs like Spectrum, AT&T, Cox, Xfinity, Mediacom, and CenturyLink offer special low-income internet plans.

Internet Costs in the United States Compared to the Rest of the World

If you look up the average broadband internet costs in the U.S., you might come across some conflicting numbers. Most people only consider the average price of internet plans, and when they overlook other critical components like monthly recurring fees, a combination of one-time fees, one-off fees for contract termination, or data consumption overages, they get the internet cost’s number somewhere around $35 – $40.

But internet plans this cheap usually do not offer sufficient speeds to meet your online needs, which means you have to upgrade your internet plan to a higher and more expensive tier to keep up with your current connectivity lifestyle.

Have a look at the table below to see US average internet components’ costs in comparison to other regions (The U.S. average is compared with North America, which includes all its regions along with the U.S., Europe, Asia, and an overall average for all regions mentioned below.)

Average Internet Components Costs Comparison: United States, Europe, North America & Asia

 

United States

North America

Europe

Asia

Overall

Installation fees

(one-time)

$70.38

$53.69

$36.16

$99.38

$53.74

Activation fees

$26.35

$27.41

$29.42

-

$27.79

Modem purchase fees (one-time)

$126.81

$87.92

$155.77

$146.38

$97.63

Modem rental fees (monthly)

$9.86

$7.28

$0.58

$1.17

$6.39

Wi-Fi Router rental  fees (monthly)

$6.13

$5.28

$1.55

$0.71

$3.56

Contract Termination fee

$195.84

$176.35

$110.63

$124.12

$162.76

 

As a result of these extra hidden costs associated with your internet service, the average cost of broadband internet in the U.S. is estimated to be approximately $60 per month. Now, let’s explore where the average U.S. internet cost stands in comparison with the rest of the world.

United States vs Europe

Country

Avg. Broadband Internet Cost

(per month)

Country

Avg. Internet Cost per MB

(per month)

Ukraine

$6.41

Romania

$0.02

Russian Federation

$7.50

Poland

$0.04

Moldova

$9.95

Ukraine

$0.05

Belarus

$10.11

Russian Federation

$0.10

Romania

$10.59

Sweden

$0.12

Georgia

$12.20

Portugal

$0.13

Bulgaria

$12.69

Moldova

$0.18

Lithuania

$13.35

Bulgaria

$0.19

Armenia

$14.58

United States

$0.20

Uzbekistan

$16.50

Spain

$0.20

Poland

$16.66

Lithuania

$0.20

Azerbaijan

$16.76

Slovakia

$0.22

Serbia

$18.24

Serbia

$0.24

Slovakia

$19.30

Finland

$0.27

Bosnia and Herzegovina

$21.67

Norway

$0.30

Czechia

$24.49

Italy

$0.31

Albania

$28.99

Ireland

$0.33

Northern Macedonia

$29.79

Northern Macedonia

$0.35

Estonia

$30.34

Czechia

$0.36

France

$32.16

Germany

$0.42

Italy

$32.73

Iceland

$0.46

Portugal

$33.31

France

$0.48

Slovenia

$36.41

Austria

$0.49

Greece

$38.72

Albania

$0.56

Germany

$41.46

Estonia

$0.62

Spain

$43.43

Slovenia

$0.66

Finland

$43.57

Armenia

$0.66

Austria

$45.59

Luxembourg

$0.70

Sweden

$48.40

Greece

$0.82

Ireland

$48.55

Uzbekistan

$0.82

Belgium

$54.53

Belgium

$1.04

Luxembourg

$57.80

Belarus

$1.14

United States

$59.99

Georgia

$1.36

Iceland

$68.68

Switzerland

$1.74

Switzerland

$69.37

Bosnia and Herzegovina

$1.86

Norway

$79.16

Azerbaijan

$7.93

 

United States vs Asia and the Middle East

Country

Avg. Broadband Internet Cost

(per month)

Country

Avg. Broadband Internet Cost per MB

(per month)

Syria

$6.69

Macau

$0.03

Bhutan

$8.71

Singapore

$0.04

Sri Lanka

$9.58

Hong Kong

$0.05

Iran

$9.60

Vietnam

$0.17

Mongolia

$11.13

United States

$0.20

Vietnam

$11.27

Malaysia

$0.24

China

$12.26

China

$0.25

Nepal

$13.15

Taiwan

$0.28

India

$13.58

Nepal

$0.35

Pakistan

$20.43

India

$0.39

Taiwan

$23.67

Jordan

$0.41

Myanmar

$27.33

Indonesia

$0.56

Afghanistan

$28.15

Qatar

$0.57

Palestine

$28.29

Oman

$0.59

Indonesia

$29.06

Philippines

$0.75

Bangladesh

$31.34

Saudi Arabia

$0.77

Malaysia

$31.85

Japan

$0.82

Cambodia

$33.17

Cyprus

$1.01

Singapore

$33.43

Bangladesh

$1.28

Yemen

$39.34

Iraq

$1.39

Iraq

$41.08

Myanmar

$1.50

Hong Kong

$44.46

Sri Lanka

$1.68

Jordan

$46.40

Pakistan

$1.70

Japan

$48.37

Palestine

$1.71

Cyprus

$48.70

Cambodia

$2.19

Lebanon

$50.03

Bahrain

$2.39

Philippines

$53.71

Kuwait

$2.83

United States

$59.99

Mongolia

$2.97

Bahrain

$66.37

Syria

$3.15

Kuwait

$77.98

Maldives

$3.50

Maldives

$80.01

Bhutan

$4.35

Oman

$91.04

Iran

$5.46

Saudi Arabia

$107.27

Lebanon

$5.98

United Arab Emirates

$111.20

Yemen

$6.49

Qatar

$116.73

United Arab Emirates

$42.06

Macau

$307.74

Afghanistan

$70.45

 

 

United States vs OECD Countries

Country

Avg. Broadband Internet Cost

(per month)

Country

Avg. Broadband Internet Cost per MB

(per month)

Turkey

$11.48

Poland

$0.04

Hungary

$15.45

Hungary

$0.05

Poland

$16.66

Latvia

$0.11

Latvia

$16.99

Sweden

$0.12

Slovakia

$19.30

Portugal

$0.13

Israel

$24.61

South Korea

$0.17

Mexico

$29.01

Spain

$0.20

Estonia

$30.34

United States

$0.20

South Korea

$31.15

Slovakia

$0.22

France

$32.16

Chile

$0.26

Italy

$32.73

Mexico

$0.27

Portugal

$33.31

Finland

$0.27

Chile

$33.55

Norway

$0.30

United Kingdom

$34.78

Italy

$0.31

Slovenia

$36.41

Ireland

$0.33

Greece

$38.72

Turkey

$0.36

Germany

$41.46

Germany

$0.42

Spain

$43.43

The Netherlands

$0.45

Finland

$43.57

Iceland

$0.46

Austria

$45.59

France

$0.48

Japan

$48.37

Austria

$0.49

Sweden

$48.40

Israel

$0.52

Ireland

$48.55

New Zealand

$0.56

Denmark

$52.02

Estonia

$0.62

The Netherlands

$52.47

Slovenia

$0.66

Belgium

$54.53

Luxembourg

$0.70

Luxembourg

$57.80

Denmark

$0.79

Australia

$59.25

Greece

$0.82

United States

$59.99

Japan

$0.82

New Zealand

$62.94

Canada

$0.94

Iceland

$68.68

Belgium

$1.04

Switzerland

$69.37

United Kingdom

$1.06

Canada

$76.14

Switzerland

$1.74

Norway

$79.16

Australia

$1.88

 

Key Takeaway

Compared to Europe, Asia, and OECD, Americans have to pay more on average in monthly broadband internet charges — meaning the internet in the United States is a bit expensive.

But when you look at the average monthly broadband internet cost per MB, U.S. internet services appear to be much more affordable relatively.

So, if you are a U.S. resident, chances are you can enjoy a better return on investment than several other countries across the globe. Just make sure you sign up for a reliable internet service provider that perfectly fits your internet needs and budget.

Not Sure About the Best Internet Providers Available In Your Area?

Don’t worry! Explore the fastest internet providers here. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and find out the best offers available in your area. You can also find out the speed of your current internet connection by taking this speed test to determine the value of your existing service. Once you are ready, grab your phone and dial 1-855-349-9328 to receive advice and assistance from experts.

 

FAQs

Why is the Internet so expensive in the USA?

The US internet service market is dominated by only a few major players. Most households only have access to one or two internet service providers, successfully locking them into a monopoly or duopoly market. This lack of competition directly reflects on expensive internet costs.

Is Internet free in the USA?

Almost every state in America offers free public Wi-Fi in bars, pubs, airports, hotels, pizzerias, parks, and cafes. Although the public Wi-Fi(s) may not offer download speeds at par with other countries in the world, the speeds are enough to meet basic internet needs. If you want higher internet speeds via Wi-Fi hotspots, Spectrum, AT&T, and Cox offer free access to their public Wi-Fi networks if you have their internet subscription.

What is the best internet in America?

If you are looking for the best internet in the US, then overall, AT&T offers the best customer service and cheap fiber internet. The Frontier is light on the pocket while HughesNet. satellite is the best in terms of nationwide availability. For the best cable service, Spectrum must be your first choice. CenturyLink is ideal with its straightforward price-for-life deals. And, if you want the fastest speeds, sign up for Xfinity internet plans today.

Who has Internet for $10 a month?

Mediacom, AT&T, Xfinity, and Cox, all offer low-income internet for approximately $10 a month. To get these deals, you will have to qualify for your ISP’s specified government assistance program.