While politics and profit, lack of competition all are major factors in our crappy broadband options, we have to keep in mind that the US is vastly greater, and far more spread out then many countries we are being compared against.
The cost to wire up rural areas, hell even some of teh suburbs of major metro areas is significantly more that it is to wire up more densely populated areas. These are businesses after all, they are out to make a profit, and honestly, I do not have an issue with that.
What I do have an issue with is companies lobbying for anti competitive laws that prevent local governments from doing what the for profit companies won't do.
Trying to wring every last cent out of us. They make billions, yet refuse to upgrade because that will eat into their profits, and the lack of competition between what is essentially a duopoly. And while there is no concrete proof (ie written documentation), it appears that collusion between those duopolies is the name of the game, prices never come down, only go up.
Then there are the un fees, below the line fees made to look like regulatory and gov fees, but really are just a way of jacking up the price, without actually having to hike the base price. Almost 30% of my bill is just fees.
I could go on, but you can go peruse dslreports/broadbandreports if you really want to know more.