Friday, June 06, 2008

Why are parts of the US a broadband backwater?

For the second year running, the U.S. ranked 15th among the 30 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development in terms of broadband availability.

This article from Business Week is worth reading because it details exactly how bad our internet is. Did you know you can get speeds of up to 120 MBps in Japan, and that over there 60 is common? By contrast, the fastest Verizon offers (non-business) is 15MBps! And that's for those of us living in big cities where there's plenty of competition!

This piece from Save The Internet follows up on that:

Across the state, 95 towns have limited or no access to high-speed Internet. People in Massachusetts’ more rural western half have had to resort to a game of Internet hide and seek — searching out wireless hotspots, with laptops plugged into car lighters and nestled in their laps.

Maureen Mullaney of Ashfield, Massachusetts, lives in one of these under-served towns. She seeks out these roadside hotspots so her children can do research for school projects. “How silly is it that in this day and age you have to get in your car, drive to the general store so your daughter can researchers the rivers and traditional clothing of Chile?” she asks.


In real terms this means Internet users in Japan pay little more than half the price (65 cents to the dollar) for an Internet connection that’s 20 times faster than what’s commonly available to people in the United States.

Yep. Their point is that we don't have a national broadband plan in place to change this, and the current administration has blocked any attempts by declaring that the free market will solve all problems. As we can see (especially now) that is not true. When President Obama is in office and we have Democratic majorities in both houses, it'll be time to get it right.

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