How does a 3 Mbps broadband connection for £16.50 per month with a 5GB usage allowance sound? Not very enticing we suspect and yes this is for an ADSL product not 3G. The price increases significantly if you were the average UK consumer as you would probably need a plan costing around £60 per month.
Well those prices are the reality for one small part of the United States where the local provider, is charging well above the rate for similar towns in the state of Iowa. Arstechnica has more on the story, including comments from the telco themselves. It seems the high prices are in part due to their small size (just 1,000 customers) and the geographic spread over 160 square miles. The big shocker for UK readers is that the teleco receives government funding of $169,196 per year, a decrease from $454,200 in 2009, and with falling revenue from the access charges adding to the financial problems means that the provider is unable to provide a cheaper service.
Winthrop, Iowa on Google Maps looks just like so many other rural towns in the United States, i.e. the majority of people live in the few streets around the main road junction and the story of slow and expensive Internet access will be a story well known to anyone who has travelled the US outside the standard tourist areas. It would no surprise us that for every Gigabit FTTH/FTTP network there is a corresponding town with a situation not unlike that of Winthrop.
For those who are chasing the money with regards to the BDUK programme in the UK, also take a lot at a local US operator who offers Gigabit fibre and LTE to its 18,000 customers, which is only possible through a $81m grant from the federal government and a loan of $35 million. The retail service from Vtel is a reasonable $48 to $70 for the Gigabit service and the bundled telephone line, though as with all US services you need to add sales tax and other FCC fees.