The U.S. Takes the Slow Lane On The Information Highway

The web traffic eggheads at Akamai just released another report on the state of broadband that shows how far behind US speeds lag compared to other developed countries.

In the Fall of last year, we connected at an average speed of 3.9 Mpbs, which put us 18th on their global list.  Worse, we actually dropped one place since 2008.  So who’s kicking our butt online?

South Korea blisters at an average of 14.6 Mpbs and even Romania–previously only known for freakishly-disciplined preteen gymnasts–beats us handily with their 6.2 Mpbs.

For the average user, these slower speeds merely mean a longer wait as that YouTube clip loads, but more seriously, these numbers cripple the advancement of telemedicine and other bandwidth intensive pursuits.

There is one place in America where our broadband speed blazes like Usain Bolt: advertising.  Two years ago, the average speed claimed was 9.6 Mpbs–well over twice as fast as the actual average.  Of course, every one of those ads no doubt featured the weasely out “up to” alongside their published speed.

Every community wrestles with the challenges of infrastructure repair, but given how nascent this technology is, we shouldn’t be this far behind already, should we?

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79