Jonathan Spalter

Broadband: Bucking the Inflationary Trend

With Thanksgiving a week away, many people are making plans for their celebrations, and the sticker shock at the grocery store is hard to ignore. The price of eggs is up 43%, butter is up 27%, and flour is up 25%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Amid inflationary pressures, consumers are paying more for groceries, gas, clothing, and rent. But not broadband.

Earlier this year, USTelecom released its third Broadband Pricing Index. This timely analysis of consumer choices and pricing trends documents continued substantial price reductions for both the most popular and highest-speed broadband service offerings.

Over the past year, as overall inflation reached deeper into consumers’ wallets, broadband prices resisted. In fact, adjusting for inflation, prices for providers’ most popular broadband service dropped by 14.7% from 2021 to 2022. Similarly, prices for the fastest speed services dropped by 11.6%. In sharp contrast, prices increased for other essential goods and services, with grocery bills rising by 8.5%, health insurance by 6.1% and rent by 4.4%.

There’s great interest these days in broadband pricing trends. In fact, Consumer Reports is advancing its own crowd-sourced analysis of broadband prices and fees. But regardless of how it slices and dices its data, the fact remains that broadband prices continue to run counter to inflation while speeds continue to get faster for American broadband consumers.

This is a good thing, made even more remarkable by the fact it is occurring at the same time broadband providers continue to invest heavily in extending and enhancing the nation’s high-speed infrastructure – plowing $86 billion of their own capital into these networks last year alone.  In addition to favorable pricing trends and capital investment, new FCC broadband labels will further fuel the pro-consumer progress by making it easier for them to compare both prices and fees as they shop for their high-speed connectivity.

For low-income households, universal connectivity is further advanced by the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which helps make broadband available at low or no cost. More than 1,300 broadband providers are participating in this national effort.

It will take an all-out effort across public, private, and community-led organizations to achieve our shared objective of affordable, high-speed internet for every American home and business. The nation’s broadband providers can’t stop and won’t stop until the job is done. It’s good for business – and it reflects our mostly deeply held values.

As we prepare to gather with friends and family, we can be thankful for expanding broadband connectivity – and redouble our collective determination to be diligent, methodical, and relentless in working together to ensure everyone has access to this essential modern service.