Broadband Here and There

The New York Times reports on the bundle of communications services offered by a cable television company in Japan: In Japan, a Provider of Cable Ups the Ante: “In addition to a basic television package, he gets a digital phone line and a broadband connection with a top speed of 30 megabits a second, about six times as fast as that offered by most American cable companies. He pays about $130 a month for the three services and some premium channels.”
Here in NYC, Time Warner offers a bundle of basic cable, digital phone service and internet service for only $99/month. But that is only a 768 kbps internet service. For the same price as the Japanese plan discussed in the Times article– $129.95/month– Time Warner will provide internet access at “speeds of up to 5 Mbps”– 6 times slower than the Japanese competitor. And on the high-speed internet access in NYC, uploads are limited to a paltry 384 kbps. Pity the poor podcaster or videoblogger who can upload her files at less than 10% of the advertised top speed of her connection.
And Japan is not alone in eclipsing the US. Public Knowledge’s Art Brodsky saw a broadband ad in the London Underground:

The advertisement on the wall in the subway station was hard to believe — a broadband service with 24 meg download for about $45 per month. That was the good news. Unfortunately, the service isn’t available in the U.S. The ad was on the wall of tube stop in London and the company, Be, http://www.bethere.co.uk is British. Just to rub it in a little, it gets better. There is also a cheaper option, about $25 per month, which still gets you the 24 mbps download, but with a slower upload speed. This in a city in which a bottle of water will set you back about $2.25.

How will insulating broadband providers from competition allow the US to compete in the wired world?