At least as far as internet speeds go, just behind Romania.
If it seems extraordinary to you that the country that pioneered the internet should lag so far behind now, Tim Karr explains that the prime cause is the lack of competition here, thanks to the ability of the telecommunications giants to pressure regulators.
In the years that followed the signing of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, lobbyists working for powerful providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon pressured a compliant FCC to tear down all of the important safeguards established by Congress.
While the U.S. blindly followed a path of “deregulation,” other nations in Europe and Asia beefed up their pro-competitive policies. The results are evident in our free fall from the top of almost every global measure of Internet services, availability and speed.
The lack of competition has turned America into a broadband backwater. In the aftermath of the FCC’s decisions, powerful phone and cable companies legislated and lobbied their way to controlling 97 percent of the fixed-line residential broadband market — leaving the vast majority of consumers with two or fewer choices of land-based providers in any given market.
The absence of true consumer choice has driven prices up and services down.