Isn’t it just all about speed? At least in America, it is. We Americans have more speedy solutions than any other country in the world, it seems. Drive-up banking, express toll lanes, drive-through food joints, self-checkout at the grocery and Home Depot, microwave meals in a minute, movies on demand, zip, zoom, ka-chang….you’re outta there.
Then why, I wonder, are we so slow compared to other countries when it comes to broadband?
Couple nights ago, I took an upload/download speed test at speedtest.net. Here’s how I scored after repeated go-rounds (click the picture):
Now, the Thriller pays more per month to get “business grade” speed, so my zip-chang is a little faster than the average Joe’s. But wait till you see how it stacks up to that of other countries. Check out this chart from a study done by the Communications Workers of America union, which shows where we stand in comparison to other countries:
Look at Japan – Sheefus, Mary & Joseph. Sixty-three MBPS compared to my nine? What’s up with THAT? In fact, the report states that the US – the country that invented the Internet – is “15th behind other industrialized nations in the percentage of the population subscribing to broadband.” Friggin’ Luxembourg has better download speed than we do. That just ain’t right. According to the study, Americans pay more for sub-par internet speed than their neighbors across the sea, too.
Well, turns out the answers aren’t always in the numbers. As I read article after article about it, hidden truths seeped out. The one that struck me was the logistics of upgrading/building the broadband infrastructure in the US as compared to doing so in Japan. I’m talking about sheer size:
Japan = 145,840 square miles
USA = 3,790,000 square miles
Of course it’s going to be easier to set up tighter, faster servers in small places like Japan or South Korea. Unfortunately, despite the movement by the CWA for Congress to step up improvements, I think most American ISPs would just as soon blather on about how good 5 MBPS is, and squeeze us for the $60/month, hoping that we’ll continue to be dumb & happy about it.
But sixty-three MBPS? *scratching head* If that don’t beat all. (Actually, it does.)