The reason it's so bad is that the US is so BIG. Wiring up tiny little Great Britain isn't exactly a picnic, but at least the distances aren't so bad. But in the US, you have people from coast to coast, and unless it's a big city, the ROI just isn't there unless the communities in need can sweeten the deals with exclusivity contracts. For many small communities, it's the price of admission: either bind themselves to contracts or go without. It's like that for other utilities, too, like natural gas, since there's a significant infrastructure investment required just to reach those communities.