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Does US Broadband Need To Step Its Game Up?

Category: Internet
Posted: 09:56PM

Saul Hansell of the New York Times has an excellent point, customer service reps in other countries are a lot nicer than the ones over here. He also makes a better point of greater scale: We need to take a page from the "Broadband for Dummies" book written by other countries. Why exactly? Lets take a look at the facts (highlighted by Hansell). Broadband in Japan is $60.00/month for 150 megabits per second (Mbps). The closest thing the United States has to that is 50 Mbps for an average of $120/month. London has the US beat in starting prices because it's only $9/month to get 8 Mbps which is more of an introductory speed. For a paltry 1 Mbps in New York, you'd have to pay $20/month. We start to notice a pattern when we compare the US to Iceland and how much of each population has adopted broadband. In Iceland, 83% of the people have broadband, comparatively, in the United States (this I found quite interesting) only 59% of the people have broadband.

If all this comparison and berating of US broadband makes you sad because it reminds you of all the times your parents compared you, the black sheep, to your goody-two-shoes brother/sister (or is it just me?), then fear not dear readers! There is good news: Compared to Japan, Sweden, and Korea's average speeds, we are slower than all of them (@5.2 Mbps average speed)! Now it may not be readily apparent why that's good, but let me remind you, dear reader of the chant "First is the worst, second is the best, third is the one with the treasure chest."

But this difference in broadband speeds has little to do with our levels of broadband technology. Rather it is urban distribution and density that makes the US pale in juxtaposition. According to Saul Hansell, half the population of South Korea lives in or around Seoul in highly populated apartments. The broadband providers can thus provide better access because they can focus their efforts onto one general area instead of spreading out from urban inner cities. Basically with DSL, the shorter the distance between you and the internet provider, the faster the speeds. US internet service providers who could provide a faster internet to urban city dwellers, tend to provide slower speeds that they can provide to the rich suburban dwellers as well. Now Hansell stresses that we have the Truth in Advertising Act which means that our reported average speeds are more honest than those in other countries, so there is indeed something to cheer about. But still, the question remains, to some extent, open-Does US broadband need to step its game up?

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Andrewr05 on March 11, 2009 05:58AM
I just want fast internet in my area, Central Vermont, I am paying for 3MB/s and I've never even reached 800KB/s...
BillyBuerger on March 11, 2009 06:26AM
I'm in the middle of nowhere but not far from Minneapolis/St. Paul. When I first moved here 4 years ago, my only option was 256k/128k DSL for $60 a month. It's gotten better. Now I'm paying $45 a month for 1M/256k. But that's part of the price you pay for living outside the cities. If I lived a few miles closer, I could be getting 10-15M at least.
CheeseMan42 on March 11, 2009 06:28AM
Until I graduate next May I'll be enjoying the dual OC3 connection that I have at school. By then it better be as fast and cheap as Europe :D.
Lijooni on March 11, 2009 07:03AM
Yea, at my college, my roommates and I pay 60 bucks/month for 1.8 Mbps. The internet service provider is COX. Terrible stuff really, but COX is a monopoly at Gainesville. We should really complain, but the only people who would listen would be corporate giants :P
slick2500 on March 11, 2009 10:45AM
Where I live you have 3 options, dial-up, really crappy quest dsl, or Midconet cable. The guy who lives in the house behind me, his only option is dail-up because hes more than so many feet away from the thing. Funny thing is he can pick up my wireless just fine.
blazer_123 on March 11, 2009 11:19AM
Until 2 years ago the only service I had was dialup. Now DSL is available for $40.00 a month. The phone company has a monopoly so I either have to take the $40/400KB/s maximum speed or go back to dialup.
blazer_123 on March 11, 2009 11:20AM
*edit* Until 2 years ago the only available service was dialup.
Lijooni on March 11, 2009 12:06PM
Wow Blazer, I thought I had it bad...
malmsteenisgod on March 11, 2009 01:47PM
I'm paying I think $300/semester at my university (about 3.5 - 4 months) and get about 10MB/s connection. It's way too pricey in my opinion, and I also only get 15GB of bandwidth. Although I suppose it's better than at my parents home, where we paid I think $30/month for 160KB/s
Andrewr05 on March 11, 2009 07:05PM
I'm in the same boat as a lot of you as well, not only is my connection crappy but other than dialup its my ONLY option...
jammin on March 12, 2009 07:03AM
Here in the UK I pay £18 a month (currently about $25 US) for *up to* 24Mb down (of which I actually get about 10Mb) and 1.3Mb up (usually about 1Mb in practise). No bandwidth limits. :)

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