Why Broadband Prices Haven’t Decreased

After a new technology is introduced to the market, there is usually a predictable decrease in price as it becomes more common. Laptops experienced precipitous price drops during the past decade. Digital cameras, personal computers, and computer chips all followed similar steep declines in price. Has the price of broadband Internet followed the same model? Shane Greenstein decided to look into it.

Since there are no public data on what has happened to broadband prices over the last decade, Shane Greenstein, a professor of management and strategy at the Kellogg School of Management, and his co-author Ryan McDevitt, an assistant professor of economics and management at the University of Rochester and a graduate of Northwestern University, analyzed the contracts of 1,500 DSL and cable service providers from 2004 to 2009. They found evidence of only a very small price drop, between 3 and 10 percent, nothing like the rates of price decrease that characterize the rest of the electronic world.

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