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Average Price per Unit of Broadband Speed: Fiber Costs Less

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Broadband service or internet access can get expensive. Many service providers charge by the speed of service, which is reflected in megabits per second (abbreviated Mbps). Some service providers also charge for total throughput or the amount that you use, which is measured in megabytes (MB) or terabytes (TB).

Fiber optic (fiber) broadband internet access service has the lowest cost per megabit of speed.



Avg. price per Mbps

Number of plans included in average calculation


$ 3.93



$ 2.03



$ 1.83


Fixed wireless

$ 7.42


Different broadband technologies support the provision of broadband internet access service at different speeds, measured in megabits per second. Technologies with more capacity have a lower marginal cost per additional megabit of speed. These technologies can provide higher speeds at a lower cost.

Why this matters:
Fiber has the lowest cost per additional megabit of speed. Put another way, for speed over an essential service level Fiber infrastructure and service have the greatest bang for the buck.

Data source: This data was collected as part of the California Public Utilities Commission‘s (CPUC) work evaluating the affordability of water, energy, and telecommunications services in Rulemaking R.18-07-006. The information comes from a data request to large- and medium-sized California service providers on the prices for essential broadband service and the analysis by CPUC staff.


Explanation of terms— 

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

A digital subscriber line transmits digital communications on a copper wire.

Cable (all DOCSIS)

Data over coaxial cable specification used by cable internet service providers and television systems for providing communications services.

Fiber (Optical Carrier/Fiber to the End User)

Fiber to the home is a distribution system that uses fiber optic cable to connect communication networks (in the homes of users). 

Fixed Wireless

Fixed wireless is the use of wireless technology to provide communication service to fixed locations. 

 Excerpted from http://www.telecomdictionary.com/index.asp



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