U.S. Internet Access Speeds Paltry on Global Scale

I had always known that high-tech countries like Japan indulged in amazing Internet connection speeds but a recent article in USA Today was a real eye-opener. Take this tidbit for example, the current median download speed in the U.S. is 1.97Mb/s. Compare that to 61Mb/s in Japan, 45Mb/s in South Korea, 17Mb/s in France and 7Mb/s in Canada.

Part of the reason for this is that the U.S. government and policymakers have not been pushing hard enough to build out the network infrastructure required to provide faster and more reliable Internet access to U.S. homes. And personally, I think the large telecoms are too busy trying to get what they want with anti-net neutrality measures rather than rolling out better services for their current customers.

The technology is here, we just haven't been able to see it. There's FTTH Internet access with Verizon's FiOS service, which is only in very select areas as they have to lay fiber optic cables underground. Then there's the very promising DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem technology. Regardless, this technology has not be able to spread fast enough into the homes that need it most. Does the government have to give them more money to push them or maybe the government should make a mandate that XX% of U.S. households should have XXMb/s Internet access by 20XX? The big telecoms seem to be very bad at this supply and demand thing.

I found it quite entertaining that the FCC defines high speed Internet access as 200 kilobits per second. That's a top download speed of 25KB/sec - not exactly speedy.

What's your connection speed and where are you located? Here in Atlanta, GA, USA I'm on a Comcast cable connection for 6Mb/s down and 384Kb/s up but my real speeds are usually slower and then sometimes they are much faster:

Comcast Connection Atlanta
Speed test from Speakeasy.net

I have become desensitized to broadband connections as of late. I remember when I first got a cable modem during my freshman year of high school in 2000. It was amazing speed but now if I have to spend 20 minutes on a 1 megabit connection I will get aggravated rather easily. I also treasure upload speed much more than download speed with all of my Flickr, Amazon S3 and server uploads but there are no real connection plans for people like that. I would love to see an ISP that offers decent upload speeds like 2 megabits or so.