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Two-Thirds of US Internet Users Lack Fast Broadband 402

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-comcastic dept.
jbrodkin writes "Two-thirds of US Internet connections are slower than 5 Mbps, putting the United States well behind speed leaders like South Korea, where penetration of so-called 'high broadband connectivity' is double the rate experienced in the United States. The United States places ninth in the world in access to high broadband connectivity, at 34% of users, including 27% of connections reaching 5 Mbps to 10 Mbps and 7% reaching above 10 Mbps, Akamai says in its latest State of the Internet Report. That's an improvement since a year ago, when the United States was in 12th place with only 24% of users accessing fast connections. But the United States is still dwarfed by South Korea, where 72% of Internet connections are greater than 5 Mbps, and Japan, which is at 60%. The numbers illustrate the gap between expectation and reality for US broadband users, which has fueled the creation of a government initiative to improve access. The US government broadband initiative says 100 million Americans lack any broadband access, and that faster Internet access is needed in the medical industry, schools, energy grid and public safety networks."
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Two-Thirds of US Internet Users Lack Fast Broadband

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  • The way of things (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @06:12AM (#34991888)

    It's the slow inevitable decline of a failing empire.

    No one is to blame.

    Everyone is to blame.

  • Not clear in TFA.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by splutty (43475) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @06:12AM (#34991890)

    It isn't made really clear whether this is 'availability' as in people have the option, or actual people having the actual connection.

    Considering the pricing schemes I've seen in the US, the former option seems to be much more likely than the latter.

    • by devxo (1963088)
      Of course it's not just 'availability'. If you have the money I'm sure you can find someone do the cables and deliver you whatever speed you want.
    • Hey, either way, at least they won't have to upgrade to play Game! [wittyrpg.com].

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Most anyone not occluded by terrain in the USA can get satellite internet.
      But that's not the whole story, Hughesnet has advertised service with the following:
      $60/Month for the slowest tier, $110 for highest, horrible 2 second ping times and a very low 200-400 MB/day limit.
      It seems those restrictions eliminate any reason to have high speed satellite internet.
      I'm still using dialup at 45.5 Kb. and download over 500 MB/Month
      I've been waiting for DSL for 15 years,
      Centurytel and previously Sprint h
  • Usual Excuses (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ultranova (717540) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @06:17AM (#34991910)

    Cue the usual excuses about it being simply too difficult to offer broadband in such a big country as the United States.

    Somewhere far beyond a bunch of ghostly settlers are looking at their descendants very, very ashamed.

    • It's not that difficult, it's just expensive.

      I like in the UK btw. Even in rural areas here connection speeds lag behind a lot, so it must be a nightmare in small towns in the US.

      • It can be, depending on the area. My town has FiOS in some areas, even though the whole county is 30-40k people or less. Cable Internet is available outside of the town limits too, in some areas. However, I've lived in some remote areas (thanks, Dad, for the hour long drive to school!) where dialup is the only option. Satellite Internet wasn't even an option.

        Having lived all over, it seems to be that if your road isn't even paved, give up broadband. You probably won't get it for a while. If you have to driv

    • Re:Usual Excuses (Score:4, Informative)

      by guruevi (827432) <evi.smokingcube@be> on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @06:59AM (#34992136) Homepage

      And as brought out time and again, there are much less dense countries in the world that have bigger pipes and even metropolitan areas in the US don't get all that great of a broadband. Look at individual states and I would say most of the East Coast and West Coast is pretty densely populated but still many don't have broadband or very fast broadband. I don't think there are any providers in the US that provide more than 10Mbps other than those that can afford a business package.

      • by ewhenn (647989)

        And as brought out time and again, there are much less dense countries in the world that have bigger pipes and even metropolitan areas in the US don't get all that great of a broadband. Look at individual states and I would say most of the East Coast and West Coast is pretty densely populated but still many don't have broadband or very fast broadband. I don't think there are any providers in the US that provide more than 10Mbps other than those that can afford a business package.

        That's funny. I'm writing this from my 30x5 mbit connection ( here is a link I just took so you know I'm not just blowing smoke: http://www.speedtest.net/result/1126878052.png [speedtest.net] ). Oh, and I don't even live in a major metropolitan area. I live in a mid income suburb (avg home value is about $120K).

      • Necessity is the mother of all inventions. I have cable internet with 5mps speed. I download about a half of a gigabyte of date everyday. I also upload more than a hundred million bytes of data each and every day. I have been doing this for years now without any problems. I am not constrained by the speed of the internet. I am a 62 year old widower and I want to see more services from my internet. For instance I want smoke detectors with temperature gauges to be connected to the internet. So that in
    • Re:Usual Excuses (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @07:01AM (#34992152)

      Ironical isn't it? How the "can do" country has now become a "can't do" country. Same thing with high-speed trains. Just excuses about how it can't be done in the US even though Europeans and Asians have done so for years.

    • by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @07:30AM (#34992260) Homepage Journal

      and how much they are willing to pay?

      I bet you can find more people like my Uncle and Aunt in Ohio who own a farm. They have dial up internet. That is all they want. They use it for mail, a few government sites, and not much else. Since its a working farm they don't have much time to spend on the computer. I know, broadband would free up more of their time, well not really. When relatives send pictures those can download with no one around and when they use their PC they are pretty much doing what they need to do, not just blindly surfing. Movies, well that is what local stations are for.

      They aren't ignorant of the internet, just a lot of features and what others call necessities are not for them. When I tell them they can watch movies on demand over the net it doesn't pique their interest. They get their news and weather from the paper or broadcast TV.

      When I tried to bump my parents internet to broad band a few years ago they were like, why pay more for that? It wasn't until a deluge of grand daughter pictures and the like did they see *ANY* value to high speed internet. Guess what, it still is all about getting the latest pictures. All that streaming/etc/whatnot is meaningless in their lives. They are very happy and content as they are.

      People on tech sites tend to vastly over estimate the need for, let alone the desire of, many for high speed internet. Hell, you can enjoy life just fine without touching the net for weeks. If anything its made a nation of couch potatoes even a worse syndrome.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Well, I know a number of farmers who use the internet an awful lot.
        From real time weather forcasts at harvest time (don't want to cut the grain in the rain) to spot prices for their products(pork belly futures)
        Then there is contacting hauliers to truck their stuff away to ordering all sorts of stuff online like they used to do from the Sears Catalog.

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          Then there is contacting hauliers to truck their stuff away to ordering all sorts of stuff online

          I work with farmers in the UK, and I can assure you that most of them would rather pick up a phone and talk to someone they know/can haggle with.

      • Hell, you can enjoy life just fine without touching the net for weeks.

        Except if it's your favorite hobby, you mean. There are people who don't like sports or other such activities, and no hobby is better than another since their value is completely subjective (even though some might be more healthy). Your life may not be ruined without it, but some people would greatly prefer to have a decent internet connection.

        • by tehcyder (746570)
          If a fast internet connection is of such importance to you , maybe you need to move somewhere where it's available.

          If you are obsessed with surfing, you would probably want to live somewhere reasonably near the sea.

      • by D Ninja (825055) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @09:21AM (#34992872)

        People on tech sites tend to vastly over estimate the need for, let alone the desire of, many for high speed internet.

        One of the most insightful statements I have read here on Slashdot. We often forget that we are so focused on technical needs that we miss what "real people" really need or want.

        Hell, you can enjoy life just fine without touching the net for weeks.

        Well...now...that's just blasphemy. :-p

        Seriously, though. Excellent post. Technology is fun, but it's not everybody's (most people's) cup of tea.

        • It is very short sighted to make a judgment in technology based on what you think your users "need". The reality is many "normal" people see a lot of value in services like Youtube, Netflix, Skype (with video), iTunes and other multimedia applications that they may not have become accustomed to using because it isn't usable for them right now anyway, so it is a chicken and egg problem.

          That's just today anyway, but I mean, what could people possibly need tomorrow? 640k ought to be enough for anyone right gu
    • by Targon (17348)

      There are several things here that you don't take into account. First, the population density issue. Do we know that all rural areas even have an Internet connection? If someone does not have an Internet connection, they don't get counted, so if you don't have ANY dial-up, then 100 percent of people connected to the Internet are on a high-speed connection. The size of the USA DOES matter, since bringing high speed access to towns with a population of under 1000 isn't terribly cost effective.

  • by sznupi (719324) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @06:17AM (#34991914) Homepage

    No, it's not because of low population density - for example most Nordic countries have typically much lower ones. And considering how situation with cellular coverage sort of mirrors the broadband one...

    • by Zouden (232738)

      And even if population density was the issue, is that any excuse? The US built a national highway system, but now it can't keep up with the rest of the world on internet speed, something which the US invented in the first place. If things are going to stay that way then the 21st century is going to be very different to the 20th in terms of America's status on the world stage.

      We shouldn't have to wait until China gets higher broadband penetration than America, but that might be what it takes before the US re

      • by sznupi (719324)

        Hm, you might be pointing to a solution - promoting (really real... or not, doesn't matter) the military aspect of the issue, how it would be crucial for "defense", might do the trick... ;p

        (maybe it would be enough to start reminding how it was a military project all along / adding a twist how it never really ceased to be one; but make damn sure it won't become known how some of its crucial ideas [wikipedia.org] were pioneered in - THE HORROR! - France...)

        Heck, maybe even health system and diets could be reformed that way

      • by Targon (17348) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @09:00AM (#34992728)

        The government did the highway system, not private companies that decided that they had enough extra money to run the roads through the middle of nowhere. The US government has focused on funding companies that provide technology to the military, but has not done anything to encourage technology in the private sector. Startup tech companies have really died off since the tech crash of 2001-2002, and there has been very little recovery since then to ENCOURAGE people to go into the science and technology fields, except of course for medicine...where you find drugs to improve your skin, but it may cause heart attacks, strokes, kidney and/or liver failure, anal leakage, and other problems.

    • by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie@NOsPAM.hotmail.com> on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @06:46AM (#34992048) Homepage

      Indeed. Finland is a great example of that: we have pretty low population density, especially in the north, yet you can get a decent ADSL-connection all the way in the rural Lapland. Though, pretty much the same applies to cellular network coverage too.

      AFAIK the problem in the US isn't really the fact that the density is so low, it's rather the fact that when they laid down the wiring they didn't bother planning it for future expansions and just did it as quick and dirty as possible. And now they don't wish to publicly admit that they did that and instead try to point to other directions as the reason for connectivity issues. Of course, I could be wrong, but I've just gotten such an image of their actions and behaviour so far.

      • by Kumiorava (95318)

        I think rural areas should be left out of this kind of comparisons because their service level is highly dependent on government regulation of minimum level of service. Finnish rural customers are right now stuck with somewhat working 3G connections for broadband, because most of the land lines have been cut away. On the other hand city broadband users are much better off in Finland than in US. US allows each provider to gain almost monopoly access to the area they are serving the customers. Finnish governm

    • by Targon (17348)

      When the government either pays for the deployment of fiber, or helps, that is a big part of the problem. The US Government doesn't do much to help ISPs when it comes to fiber deployment or helping companies provide access, so if it won't be profitable, why should an ISP run the cables? Seriously, look at West Virginia....do you really see the potential for profit in providing high speed Internet when many people can barely afford $20/month? The same applies to the cellular networks, if the popul

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      So I can be certain that all of those little Fjord villages in "helicopter tours of the coasts of the world" from HDNet all have 10mps internet?

      If not, then you really haven't made the point.

      The US has large sparsely populated areas larger than most European countries.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        The US has large sparsely populated areas larger than most European countries.

        Yes, but three quarters of your population don't live in such areas, mainly they live in towns and cities: so why do only 24% of Americans have fast broadband?

      • by sznupi (719324)

        What in the concept of "population density" do you not understand?

        (BTW, the US has higher percentage of urban population than Norway; and do I have to explain why sparsely populated areas tend to not influence "percentage of households" statistics too much?)

    • Those Nordic countries are densely populated in their southern portions (and coasts to an extent), with practically no one in the middle of nowhere. The density per km^2 tells only one part ofthe story; the density map tells another.
      • by sznupi (719324)

        So, just like the US? (which BTW also has notably higher urbanization level than half of those Nordic countries)

  • actual speed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by macshit (157376) <miles.gnu@org> on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @06:35AM (#34991998) Homepage

    I wonder what proportion of "fast" connections are actually fast though...

    I live in Japan, and my internet connection is nominally 20mbps -- but in actuality, I usually get less than 3mpbs, because it's a ADSL connection, and I'm just a bit too far from the central office. I understand that in many cases cable internet also has issues with the real speed not living up to what's advertised.

    Granted, there are multiple other providers I could use that have their own infrastructure (fiber-to-home, cable, etc), and maybe they're better, but still, I think I'm probably counted as a statistic ("has 20mpbs connection!") somewhere when maybe I shouldn't be ...

    [I don't switch because this connection is really cheap, and I just don't care enough; it's "fast enough" for me.]

    • by smchris (464899)

      Worse ratio than I have but I'd take it. QWest currently only runs 1.5 mbs to my place. Today it's 600k for the FOURTH time in the two years we've lived here. Last time the tech worked on their box he tacked on an "indoor" charge that I had to have removed -- presumably because he was justifying the over an hour he spent figuring it out.

  • by radio4fan (304271) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @06:40AM (#34992016)

    I'm on 5Mb and it's fine for me.

    I can watch iPlayer/Hulu, download movies and ISOs, I use it for work and listening to pandora and BBC Radio.

    I honestly can't think of any time I have thought 'I wish I had faster broadband'. In fact, I could upgrade to fibre for not much extra but I don't feel the need.

    I'd worry more about the relatively large number of unfortunate Americans who can't get broadband at all due to being out in the sticks.

    • by loufoque (1400831)

      I can watch iPlayer/Hulu, download movies and ISOs, I use it for work and listening to pandora and BBC Radio.

      But you can't do all of these at the same time.

    • I honestly can't think of any time I have thought 'I wish I had faster broadband'. In fact, I could upgrade to fibre for not much extra but I don't feel the need.

      My flatmate upgraded us to a 16Mb-down/8Mb-up line and still talks of improving the speed. I don't see the point right now. He says stuff like "but what if you're streaming a movie and I'm playing Warcraft while also downloading shows on iTunes" type of thing, but I'm happy with our current speeds for my own usage.

      I can imagine future MMOs and better quality video streaming would be good uses of fast connections, but right now I think a lot of people will feel the same as us, that online services still need

      • Personally, I'm fine with 10mpbs down, I just wish I had more than 512kb up. Even the 30mb plan only has 1024kb up:|

    • Yes, if you're the only person at home using it to download/stream stuff.

    • by tomhath (637240)
      Absolutely true. When I signed up for DSL I had the option of 3, 5, or 10Mb. The prices weren't much different, but the customer support person I was talking to said there's no reason to get more that 3Mb, I'd never see any difference with the faster speeds. So now I'm one of the luddites without "fast broadband".
  • Is this a problem? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Haedrian (1676506) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @06:46AM (#34992050)

    What do you need more than 5 Mb/s for? Surely you can stream a video properly, or browse the internet, or download stuff with a slower connection?

    Bit of a non-story isn't it? If they were all on dial up or something, then yes, time to panic. As it is, I have a 4Mb/s connection, and I don't feel left out of the internets at all.

    • What do you need more than 5 Mb/s for?

      With 20mbps it is faster to buy a 4GB game on Steam and download it than it is to drive to the store and get a physical disk. You can also let multiple people use the internet without it going slow because someone else is streaming video, multiple people can stream video/play games online/etc at the same time.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        With 20mbps it is faster to buy a 4GB game on Steam and download it than it is to drive to the store and get a physical disk.

        That's not exactly a deal-breaker/maker for 99% of the population though.

    • by jibster (223164) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @08:32AM (#34992558)
      640K should be enough for anyone.
    • by Toze (1668155)
      640k ought to be enough for anybody.
    • by Targon (17348)

      Streaming a video at what quality? There is a difference between streaming a 320x200 video and streaming a 1920x1080 video. Having people with slow connections means that there will be less of a push to increase the quality of streaming video clips.

      Back when the World Wide Web first got started, even having pictures in a web page was limited, because people were on 2400 and 9600 baud modems for the most part, with only those in college/university and military having a fast enough connection for it to b

  • There are still vast sections of the US that are stuck with dial up, and with the size of typical web pages today, where you find 3-5 minute load times for many commonly accessed pages, this means they are not on the internet for all practical purposes. Sure this does not show up as much of the online population as many of these people once had AOL, Earthlink, etc. dial up accounts, but have given up on them over years as bloated these web pages have rendered them useless, and therefore are not being count

  • by Edmund Blackadder (559735) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @06:59AM (#34992134)

    I am supposed to be one of the lucky ones with a broadband connection. When I do Internet tests it says my download connection is over 20 Mb/s. Nevertheless I have never had a download that goes faster than 2 Mbit/s. In fact I have very rarely had one that goes faster than 1 MB/s. Usually I am happy to get 500 Kb/s. The only downloads that go over 1 mb/s are various ubuntu downloads from canonical.

    It is amazing to me that someone could get around 5 Mb/s download.

    • by masshuu (1260516) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @07:13AM (#34992200)

      Make sure your not mixing up Mbps and MBps
      Mbps is reported by your isp
      MBps is reported by most applications
      20Mbps / 8 = 2.5 MBps. which fits with your 2 MB/sec speed

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Are you sure you're not mixing bits and bytes? I have a 25 Mbit connection and the highest actual I've seen is 2.9 MB/s = 23.2 Mbit/s. Up I'm supposed to have 5 Mbit/s but in practice it tops out around 480 kB/s = 3.84 Mbit.

    • by cbope (130292)

      Short answer, yes it's possible.

      I have a 24mbit down, 1mbit up connection over ADSL here in Finland. My gateway reports a line speed of just over 18mbits, which considering the "historical" nature of the copper where I live, is acceptable. If I download from a regional server, I can easily hit download throughputs of 12-16mbit/s continuously. So while I'm not quite reaching peak numbers for an 18mbit connection, I'm getting pretty good utilization of available bandwidth.

      This is also enforced by law here. Th

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      I am supposed to be one of the lucky ones with a broadband connection. When I do Internet tests it says my download connection is over 20 Mb/s. Nevertheless I have never had a download that goes faster than 2 Mbit/s.

      A file transfer over the internet requires two internet connections: yours, and the connection the server hosting the file is on. Not to mention there's also the limit on how fast the other server chooses to send the file to you. The speed can be artificially limited at either end after all.

      This is exactly why you test your Internet speeds on a reputable speed-testing site independent of your ISP, and not judge it from download speeds. It's also why getting personal high-speed internet service over 20 Mbps

    • by splutty (43475)

      I have a 120Mb/s line into my house. Normally, if you're downloading say a patch or a full game install, etc, it'll not get that speed ever.

      However there are programs like JDownload, with which you can take a http downloadable file, and it'll make X connections (you can set X), and generally when I set X to 10, it'll download at just about my max download speed (11-12ish MB/s, yes bytes)

      As others in this thread have commented: The 'serving' side also matters for highspeed internet, not only what you can the

    • I am supposed to be one of the lucky ones with a broadband connection. When I do Internet tests it says my download connection is over 20 Mb/s. Nevertheless I have never had a download that goes faster than 2 Mbit/s. In fact I have very rarely had one that goes faster than 1 MB/s. Usually I am happy to get 500 Kb/s. The only downloads that go over 1 mb/s are various ubuntu downloads from canonical.

      As other have said you are mixing Mbit/s and Mb/s; they are not the same thing. You have a connection of 20 Mbi

  • Enough said. I live in an area that has seen a population burst over the past few years, and yet the powers that be have seen it unfit to get FiOS out here. Houses just down the road can't even get DSL. ISP's are cheap bastards.
    • by soundguy (415780)
      I'm in a Seattle suburb full of one-acre and five-acre single-family plots. My immediate neighbor sits on 35 acres. We all have access to 50 mbps FIOS, 50 mbps Comcast, 7 mbps DSL, plus Clear and a handful of other 4G providers. Sometimes it's not density. You may have other issues like your local government. Easement rights on existing poles usually run about $1 per attachment, but some places charge WAY more. You might have local politicians trying to line their pockets for granting construction permits.
  • Can we trust that such statistical information is definitive when it originates from a private party that may very well have an agenda that doesn't include the truth or the Common Good? If you'd like some definitive information about the true (United) state of broadband, volunteer with the SamKnows project [samknows.com] that was started by the FCC. They'll send you a special router that periodically samples your data rates (not your data). In about three years we'll have some very accurate statistics, and the particip

  • ...but honestly I'm not going to pay over ~$30/month for internet access. That gets me around 3mbit down at the moment.

    I have "access" to fast broadband, yet this study would say I do not.

  • industry? Why, I believe it has something to do with telemedicine and the soon to be heard cry from the PTB that American doctors are paid too much (nevermind the ridiculous cost of tuition, student loans, ect). Solution = outsource their asses. Set up a semi interactive TV & PTZ camera grid in front of an examination chair. Hire cheap trained labor to draw blood and perform other menial tasks. The Indian/Taiwanese doctor on the other end of the cameras will examine and collect data via clinic m

    • by vlm (69642)

      industry? Why, I believe it has something to do with telemedicine and the soon to be heard cry from the PTB that American doctors are paid too much (nevermind the ridiculous cost of tuition, student loans, ect). Solution = outsource their asses. Set up a semi interactive TV & PTZ camera grid in front of an examination chair. Hire cheap trained labor to draw blood and perform other menial tasks. The Indian/Taiwanese doctor on the other end of the cameras will examine and collect data via clinic monkey.

      Already being done with radiologists in non-rural areas. So, you get an xray after a car accident at 2am and the radiologist isn't there in person to evaluate. No problemo, you have the on call guy connect via his home cablemodem, download the immense file, look at it in the viewer, call the ER doc with the results. Why pay an American radiologist $150K/yr when the guy in Mexico does it for quite a bit less?

      The part that mystifies me is "schools, energy grid and public safety networks". For schools, I'm

      • by sznupi (719324)

        "public safety networks" - somebody wishes for nice video surveillance backbone, probably? (but come on, schools can use good bandwidth)

  • Really, 5mbps is enormously faster than the 56k modems that were standard for so long. I'm not sure that a large portion of people who are currently "only" able to get up to 5 would pay for more if it were even offered, because frankly I doubt they would care or be able to notice the difference.
  • I was recently working in Korea for a few weeks, staying south of Seoul, in Kumi. In the hotel I was staying at I did a speed test, and was really shocked, on a wired connection at the hotel I got the following speeds 82.67 down and 18.87 up on my laptop. Also received speeds like that everywhere there. So doing a bit of investigation, I could see they were using wireless to back haul to a mountain point. I dont know what frequency they were using, it would not show up in anything I had to scan with.

  • Cost versus Quality (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sefi915 (580027) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @09:16AM (#34992832)
    I pay 50 bucks (US) a month for my Earthlink DSL. I get 1.5Mb/s down, less than 300Kb/s up. Yes, you read that right - my total downloads never exceed 150KB/s and my uploads never exceed about 36KB/s.

    It works for me and my needs (though it's annoying downloading game demos/updates that are larger than a few hundred MBs - takes me multiple days)

    I wouldn't mind faster service - but I don't want to pay the 75+ a month that Comcast will eventually charge me (and no, I don't want to spend 2+ hours a month trying to negotiate them down to a "special" price) and the FiOS pricing and availability in my area is kind of stinky, too. Lots of packages that don't last long enough and price ranges that jump up 50+% at the end of the promotional period.

    If I could get 10Mb symmetrical service for 50 bucks a month and not have the price change (except to go down), I'd jump on it.

    And in the Northeastern United States, it shouldn't be a non-existent option.

  • What will happen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AntEater (16627) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @09:17AM (#34992840) Homepage

    I can tell you what will happen with this government initiative. They'll do some more studies. They'll have lots of meetings with the telecommunications corporations. They'll form some committees. They'll give some tax money to the industry to encourage the development of improved broadband offerings. The industry will pocket the money and nothing will really change. On the books it'll look like they spent it all on expanding and improving the infrastructure but virtually nobody will see an improvement.

  • by TheSync (5291) on Tuesday January 25, 2011 @03:36PM (#34998290) Journal

    1) Average US local loop length is 13,000 feet.
    2) Typical ADSL downlink speeds at that length is 5 Mbps under the best scenario.
    3) No surprise that "Two-thirds of US Internet connections are slower than 5 Mbps"

    Now I have no idea why average US local loop length is 13,000 feet when the UK and France have average loop lengths of 10,000 feet (gets you 7 Mbps), and Germany and Italy have average loop lengths of 6,500 feet (gets you 14 Mbps). It might be a combination of more detached houses, population density, but I suspect path-dependency on the history of the telephone buildout and central office consolidation during the voice-only era may play a major role.

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