Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Speed Matters: The U.S. Lags in Internet Download Speed

It is not only in Olympic swimming events or track that speed is important.  The new 2008 report, "Speed Matters," a project of the Communication Workers of America, quantifies just how much the United States lags behind other nations in the speed of its broadband internet infrastructure.  The full report is available for download at the organization's website, This second annual survey of internet speeds in each of the fifty states shows, not surprisingly, that the United States continues to lag behind other countries in the world.  The median download speed for the nation was 2.3 megabits per second (mbps). In Japan, the median download speed is 63 mbps, or 30 times faster than the U.S. The U.S. also trails South Korea at 49 mbps, Finland at 21 mbps, France at 17 mbps, and Canada at 7.6 mbps.
The median upload speed from the test was just 435 kilobits per second (kbps), far too slow for patient monitoring or to transmit large files such as medical records.  The report also notes that about 15 percent of Americans still connect to the internet via a dial-up connection, something that has been virtually nonexistent for years now in South Korea.   It is worth noting that the debate over the importance of high speed, broadband internet was concluded years ago in South Korea.  People here are already enjoying many of the benefits that high speed internet connections bring and, if anything, the Korean populace seems to look forward to even higher speeds in the near future.

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