Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Does US lag in internet speed over other countries?

The US is lagging far behind other industrial nations in the availability and high speed internet broadband connection, according to the Communications Workers of America (CWA) report.

The report states that the average download speed in South Korea is 20.4 mbps, four times faster than the US average of 5.1 mbps. Japan, Sweden and the Netherlands follow South Korea with an average of 15.8 mbps, 12.8 mbps and 11.0 mbps respectively.

The new research indicates that between 2007 and 2009, the average download internet speed in the US has increased by only 1.6 mbps, from 3.5 mbps in 2007 to 5.1 mbps in 2009. At this rate, it is likely to take the US 15 years to catch up with current internet speed in South Korea, the country with the fastest average internet connection.

The report says, "Our nation continues to fall far behind other countries. People in Japan can upload a high-definition video in 12 minutes, compared to a grueling 2.5 hours at the US average upload speed." The 2009 speed test done by speedmaters.org shows that only 20 percent of those who took the test have internet speed in the range of the top three ranked countries - South Korea, Japan and Sweden. Even more alarming, 18 percent do not even meet the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) definition for current - generation broadband as an always-on internet connection of at least 768 kbps downstream.

Continued job growth, innovation and rural development require high-speed, universal networks. Data shows that for every $5 billion invested in broadband infrastructure to create these networks, 97,500 new jobs in the telecommunications, computer and IT sectors will be created.

Larry Cohen, President, CWA said, "Every American should have affordable access to high-speed internet, no matter where they live. Unfortunately, fragmented government programs and uneven private sector responses to build out internet access have left a digital divide across the country."

The US President Barack Obama has pledged to put broadband in every home and the FCC has embarked on an ambitious project to bring high-speed internet access to every corner of the country.

According to the CWA report, the fastest download speed in the US is in the northeastern parts of the country while the slowest is in states such as Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

Agencies

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