Broadband access in the US has come under both scrutiny and criticism recently with a lack of competition being blamed for sub-par services.
Rural US has been at the heart of the discussion, but cities aren’t doing much better with nearly two thirds of the population of Los Angeles living in an area with only one provider. BroadbandNow, a free-to-use website shines a light on possible alternatives for customers.
As competition increases, consumers need to be aware of their options, which is why BroadbandNow has set up their comprehensive database of US broadband providers. Users can enter their zip code and let the algorithm trawl through184 million rows of data with information about different providers, including prices, speeds and reviews from other users.
“Today, millions of Americans do not have access to broadband, and this is in great part due to a system that does not incentivize competition. Our aim is to change by introducing a new level of transparency to the broadband marketplace,” explains BroadbandNow co-founder and CEO Nick Reese.
“By allowing only verified customers to rate and review providers we’re creating a true 360 degree overview of the market where the best service, whether it’s a big company or a small Internet provider, can rise to the top of the list.”
Most impressively the website finds hidden fees in contracts, like early termination costs or data caps, the kinds of things easy to overlook by those who are less tech savvy or who don’t have time to read all the fine print while comparison shopping.
The website gathers statistics for each state like “average statewide speed,” and pits states against each other in top 10 lists like “most connected.”
The US may still need to drop regulatory hurdles to set up a broadband provider or stimulate growth with reduced set-up costs. But the key to any competition must be consumer driven, so a company like BroadbandNow is a necessary window into the tangles (or lack thereof) in the US broadband market.
“Consumers want more options and our goal is to show them all the options, no matter where they are in the country. We want BroadbandNow to become a standard-setting platform where even the newest startup providers have a chance to be discovered and used,” said Reese.