GoddersUK said:spivonious said:*snip*
In the US the physical network provider also provides the DSL/ADSL service right? And you normally only have one such provider? Allowing them to screw you over with no repercussions. In Europe (or the UK at least) the regulators force the large infrastructure companies to allow competitors to provide services over their lines. (ie. in the UK BT, which has an effective monopoly on the telephone network, is forced to allow competitors to use it's lines, exchanges etc. Sadly it doesn't apply to all providers so Virgin Media - BT's only competition in terms of infrastructure provider, isn't forced to allow competitors to use their networks. Also unlike BT they don't have an obligation to provide universal service, so they only connect the profitable areas).
Forced-access regulation for telephone companies exists in the United States also since the Telecommunications Act of 1996. If I recall correctly, however, it only applies to telephone companies and not cable companies. Verizon provides all of the DSL loops in my area, but I don't necessarily have to use Verizon as my DSL ISP, Verizon is required to allow other ISPs to provide DSL service over Verizon's copper.
As far as what I have, Verizon FIOS (fiber), with the 20Mbps Downstream/5Mbps Upstream tier. As part of the Triple Freedom bundle with TV and landline, the Internet is $33. My speed is consistently thus: