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United States Broadband Speeds Are A Joke

by Sean P. Aune | May 4, 2010May 4, 2010 7:12 am PST

This will probably not come as a surprise to anyone, but if you live in the United States, your Internet speed pretty much sucks compared to the rest of the world.

While perusing the Internet the other day, I read a post from Steven Hodson over at Shooting At Bubbles (disclaimer, Mr. Hodson and I do a daily podcast together) about how rural residents of Canada are being told they aren’t worth the expense of rolling out broadband access to.  In it he included a screenshot from SpeedTest.net that showed that Canda ranked as 36th for download speeds in the world, and 37th for uploads.  I decided to go to the same page and see how the United States ranked, and, yes, I shouldn’t have been surprised.

usa speeds

As you can see, the United States ranks in 30th place for both download and upload speeds.  The only reason I will even think about defending this is because if you look at the list of countries that outrank us, the majority of them are geographically small.  Rolling out faster networks in a country the size of the United States is cost prohibitive, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be trying.  (of course, my defense does get a good sized hole shot in it when you see the Russian Federation has a much higher upload speed than we do, and this also rank 21st on download with an average of 9.03 Mb/s)

Is it any wonder that Google wants to launch a gigabit broadband test?  And mind you, what you see in this graphic are averages as I do know people in the USA who get higher speeds than what you see here.  At the same time, I also know at least one person in Japan who gets 63 Mb/s up and down speeds for about $40 USD a month, so not only is he beating me on speed by a considerable amount, but he is also paying less.

I just think it’s a sad state of affairs when the country who brought the Internet into existence ranks 30th in the world for speeds.  Shouldn’t we at least be aiming to do better?  We keep discussing launching a national broadband plan, but then you see that they are defining “broadband” as 768 Kbps down and 200 Kbps up.  Way to shoot for what was considered as acceptable in 2000 guys.  My cell phone is faster than that.

As the world turns more and more to the Internet as a means of business, if we can’t offer the speeds necessary to sustain the services a company requires, they will go elsewhere.  This isn’t just about making sure you have a stronger ping time when playing Modern Warfare 2, this is about making sure that this country can continue to grow economically in this burgeoning world of connectivity.

When Liechtenstein (29th for downloads) is beating you, you know something is wrong.

What say you?  Is the United States not trying hard enough?


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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