I think that has been changing in recent years.... The big providers are already deploying 100 Gbps optical carrier lines between states and cross country, as well as across oceans. And not just one line, but a web of them.
The amount of traffic on the internet in general has doubled over the last 5 years, and the announced crash of the internet because of too much data has never happened. In 2005-2007 there were repeated "we are all going to die" scenarios announced in all sorts of reports.... bittorrent was going to destroy the internet, then youtube was going to destroy it, now maybe whatever streaming they will come up with next.... it hasn't happened, and the internet capacity has grown with demand.
The only thing holding internet development further back is the relatively low speeds for relatively high prices in this country. My mother gave me a call from her village in the Dutch countryside of 10.000 - she had been given a flier that announced fiberoptic service: Phone, 80 TV channels, and 30, 50 or 100 Mbps internet to my parents house.... and she called my to ask whether she needed 100 for her internet, and I told her that 30 (with 30 upload!) was going to be enough for her. Total price of that all wasn't even 60 Euro.
Granted, it is "only" 80 channels of television, but they simply don't have that many in The Netherlands, it is a small country. More than half of the channels are from other European countries as well. It included about 20 HD channels.
And no.... no data caps of any kind. Most European providers STARTED with data caps for the right reason: Investment was expensive. In the last 5 years however, most providers have dropped their caps, as they had recouped their investment and their networks were able to handle oodles of traffic. Here in the U.S. its the other way around.... and not for the same reason.
What you describe is very true for cities and their suburbs. I live about 30 outside NYC and get 75/35 service for about $45/mo via FiOS (bundled with digital phone service). But large portions of America can not get anything close to that. I have a friend that owns a business in central Connecticut and all he can get at a reasonable price (under $150/mo) is AT&T DSL (500kbps because of distance from the CO). Once you get into rural areas, they still have nothing but dial-up available.
Oh, and the Netherlands (along most of Europe) has cheaper service because the companies' profit margins are regulated. They dropped their caps because they were required to, not because they wanted to (or, in many cases, the ISP is a government agency). In this country we have the quaint belief that competition will always lead to the best service at the lowest price. ISPs here have invested where they can make the most profit...this is why Verizon has stopped hanging fiber for residential service...they have already covered all the areas where they believe they can make a large profit.
Dish Network Customer from 9/1998-11/2001
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