Business

America falls a dismal 31st on ranking of consumer download speeds (report)

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30 countries have faster Internet than America, at least according to the most recent update from Speedtest.net.  

Speedtest.net compares and ranks consumer download speeds around the globe, calculating the rolling mean in Mbps. It updated its list this week, and found the U.S. falls far short of countries that are hardly known for being technological powerhouses, including Moldova and Uruguay. 

Mbps, which stands for megabit per second, is a unit of data transfer. 

Hong Kong topped the list, followed by Singapore, Romania, South Korea, and Sweden. 

Speedtest is powered By Ookla, a company that makes applications for broadband testing and Web-based network diagnostics. It claims that its solutions have been adopted by nearly every Internet Service Provider in the world, and that its measurements of speed and quality go “way beyond” what most speed tests do. 

Various reports about Internet speed differ greatly, however. Akamai’s State of the Internet report from July put the U.S. at number nine, below South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Latvia, the Czech Republic, and Sweden. 

You’d think that in the country that invented the Internet, with one of the world’s most vibrant tech industries, we’d have the fastest Internet.  

But America is a big country in terms of area of population, so building efficient broadband networks can be a challenge. A report from CNN earlier this year said a lack of competition among service providers is also a challenge.

However there is a big push in the U.S. right now to expand broadband access, in an effort to bolster wireless innovation, small businesses, and education. 

President Obama has been a vocal advocate for technical innovation and emphasized over and over the important role that entrepreneurship plays in driving the U.S. economy. In June, he announced an ambitious plan to get 99 percent of American students connected to lightning-fast Internet within five years. He said that American schools, where only 20 percent of students have access to high-speed Wi-Fi, are falling behind nations like South Korea, where 100 percent of students are wired.

New initiatives to install fiber optics cables that provide faster Internet are also in the works. Google is rolling out Google Fiber in select neighborhoods around the country. Publicly or privately, let’s hope it gets faster soon. 


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