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The Internet Stats United States IT

We're Number 9! US Broadband Speeds Rise, But Slower Than Many Other Countries' 355

Posted by timothy
from the because-public-utilities-are-always-awesome dept.
curtwoodward writes "The United States of America: The greatest country in the world, the last superpower, born of divine providence. Unless you're trying to connect to the Internet. The latest State of the Internet Report from network optimization company Akamai shows that the US has slipped in the global rankings of average connection speed, despite nearly 30 percent of yearly growth. That puts ol' Uncle Sam behind such economic powerhouses as Latvia and the Czech Republic. Oh, and we pay more, too. Is it finally time to shake up the ISP market and make Internet connections a public utility, on par with electricity and water? Or will edge projects like Google Fiber make a dent soon?" For those who favor the idea of Internet service as a government-run utility, what do you see as the best-case scenario for such a system?
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We're Number 9! US Broadband Speeds Rise, But Slower Than Many Other Countries'

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  • US Post Office (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    That's your best case scenario.

    • TVA (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Alternatively, best case could be TVA which is more or less self sufficient, well loved by most people it serves, and provided a nearly unimaginable prosperity boost to a region that was behind the times and lacked the resources to catch up.
      • Re:TVA (Score:5, Informative)

        by Artifakt (700173) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @02:48PM (#44363779)

        When the last New York power grid failure caused a cascade effect that dragged down parts of 13 state's grids, the wave of failures stopped where TVA's grid starts. Stopped cold. There was a point where TVA systems were regulating the entire national grid, spinning up idle hydroelectric turbines as fast as possible to keep stable power flowing all the way to the west coast and down into Mexico. If your lights went out when New York went down, but came back on in a minute or two, that was TVA Hydro and your local grid was very probably being remotely controlled by TVA engineers. If you got power back in a day or two, that was probably TVA nuclear (it takes time to ramp nuke power up - sorry, but it just does). If you got power back faster than New York itself, ask your local sources if a bunch of TVA engineers were involved. If you live west of Chicago, and you didn't see an outage, most of the pros agree you would have if TVA hadn't been able to hold the line - an outage in all 48 contiguous states and probably affecting all of continental North America.
                      But it's a US Federal program, begun by Liberals such as FDR, so, you know, it's Eeevilll!!!

    • Re:US Post Office (Score:5, Insightful)

      by unimacs (597299) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @01:30PM (#44362819)
      The USPS example makes a pretty good case actually. A British study found that the U.S. postal service is the most efficient in the world.

      The problem is that snail mail is dated technology and our reliance on it is waning.
    • Re:US Post Office (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DexterIsADog (2954149) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @02:11PM (#44363357)
      I'll take it. The Post Office provides incredibly good, reliable service, despite the way it is micro-managed by Congress, and expected to operate like a private corporation while providing universal service, which no corporation would do, and prefunding retirement benefits for workers, some of whom aren't even born yet.

      I (heart) U.S. Post Office.
  • My rating... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @12:32PM (#44362139) Homepage Journal

    Is very slow because AT&T doesn't see any reason to invest. They're already getting money. Now, if Google came to town, they might see things differently. I'm only a couple blocks from the switch, but the wire is 1970s copper.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by AlphaWolf_HK (692722)

      Personally I think over regulation is the problem. Wired agrees:

      http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/07/we-need-to-stop-focusing-on-just-cable-companies-and-blame-local-government-for-dismal-broadband-competition/ [wired.com]

      Google (or somebody like them) would be more likely to come if it weren't so hard to.

      • by redmid17 (1217076)
        Very much so. The geographic monopolies (and probably collusion) are killing broadband internet competition in the US. More Google access the better in my opinion
      • Re:My rating... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @12:50PM (#44362395)

        What a dumb article. It's the cable companies and telecoms that asked for the municipal monopolies. So we aren't supposed to blame them for the very monopolies they asked for?

        • by jbolden (176878)

          The cable TV companies did not create local governments setting policy for municipal utility services. That's how things are done in America.

          • Re:My rating... (Score:4, Informative)

            by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @01:11PM (#44362647)

            So the local government forced them to lobby for the municipal monopolies? They only exist because of the actions of the cable companies and telecos basically demanding that they be created or else they weren't going to provide the city with service. To then act like they are entirely complicit in creation of such monopolies is to insult everyone's intelligence.

            • That should be "act like they aren't entirely complicit".

            • by jbolden (176878)

              So the local government forced them to lobby for the municipal monopolies?

              Sort of. Given the way you are phrasing things I think you are making assumptions that are false. Local governments regulate the sorts of activities cable companies need to engage in, like digging up land to lay cable. Once you decide to dig up land and lay cable you do so under the rules of a utility. The structure of utilities in most places was a government monopoly, where the government oversees pricing and at the same time

            • Of course the telco's want monopolies. The problem isn't that or even the threats of not doing business there, the problem is that the government grants monopolies. If that weren't true, there would be no reason for large corporations to lobby for them. You have to expect companies to do everything they can to stay in a position of market dominance: it would be foolish to expect them to not look after "their best interest." Blame the system, not those who operate in it.
        • Re:My rating... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by shentino (1139071) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @01:37PM (#44362879)

          We blame BOTH the companies AND the government.

          If the fox raids the henhouse because the dog was taking a nap, you skin the fox AND you send the dog to bed without supper.

      • by stox (131684)

        AT&T managed to change that in Illinois. They got their U-verse granted on the state level bypassing the local authorities.

        • The same AT&T that lobbies against cheaper municipal systems that would compete against their outrageously priced service? Oh what saints they are!!

        • Second most corrupt state in the USA. After Louisiana.

          I bet some Illinois politician got one hell of a deal on his house after that.

      • Re:My rating... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross@yah o o .ca> on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @12:56PM (#44362485)

        Sorry, but that is BS...

        "In return, Kansas City got a fiber network it couldn’t possibly afford to build on its own — or maintain. Municipalities like Provo, Utah that thought they could afford to build their own public fiber network found they couldn’t afford to run it. That’s why Provo, Utah sold their fiber network to Google for just $1."

        Ok, so the tax payer funds it, and then gives it to somebody else to run for one dollar! Yeah that is the problem! Wow, if we all just did that, fund the thing we want and then give it for free to some private enterprise! Sounds like a bargain to me!

        While local government has a role to play, no doubt there, having one company after another dig up the same piece of ground is actually quite silly! Here in Switzerland where we are ranked pretty high the solution has been to allow access to the underlying networks. Competition here is the ability of a competitor to have access to the fiber, or wire that another company has put into the ground. Force the AT&T's to allow anybody to use their pipes for a reasonable fee and very quickly you will get higher speeds and lower costs.

        • by Sique (173459)

          "In return, Kansas City got a fiber network it couldn’t possibly afford to build on its own — or maintain. Municipalities like Provo, Utah that thought they could afford to build their own public fiber network found they couldn’t afford to run it. That’s why Provo, Utah sold their fiber network to Google for just $1."

          I wonder why Provo UT couldn't afford to build their own public fiber network. The town of Innsbruck (Austria), which has about the same number of inhabitants (121,000 vs. 117,000) and covers the same area (~40 mi), could build it and maintain it, and now you can get 10 mbit/sec fiber to the home for €20 (currently about $26.50) unlimited bandwith.

      • by SpaceManFlip (2720507) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @01:00PM (#44362533)
        AT&T and Verizon are both working to keep broadband out of people's hands, because they see more money in their shitty expensive "4G" wireless service.

        I have a perfect example: I live a half-mile from a major Internet fibre line, which AT&T owns the hardware to access, and I have a max available 3Mb DSL as the only choice for Internet. One of my neighbors would love to get on the same shitty "broadband" that I pay for, but AT&T told him "there are no more ports available" in our area, after multiple attempts to get through to someone with real answers. Same story about copper going away etc.

        Taxpayers actually paid for that Internet fibre run that runs nearby, and AT&T somehow keeps anyone from accessing it with their Congress-owning money powers. Fuck those evil bastards.

        • by jbolden (176878)

          There is no more port available sounds like a good excuse.

          If your locality wants to step up to the plate and guarantee revenue there will be more port. Get 100 of your neighbors who agree with you and go to a town council meeting to propose a guarantee.

      • Re:My rating... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rudy_wayne (414635) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @01:17PM (#44362703)

        Personally I think over regulation is the problem. Wired agrees:

        http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/07/we-need-to-stop-focusing-on-just-cable-companies-and-blame-local-government-for-dismal-broadband-competition/ [wired.com]

        Google (or somebody like them) would be more likely to come if it weren't so hard to.

        Completely wrong. Even if all the regulations were changed, even if they were completely eliminated, we would still be in the same situation we are today. The person who wrote that article demonstrates that they have no understanding of the issue when they say:

        Deploying broadband infrastructure isn’t as simple as merely laying wires underground: that’s the easy part.

        Running wire to every home in the country is difficult, expensive (even without all the regulations) and very time consuming. That's why Verizon abandoned their rollout of fiber and why Google will do the same after they connect a couple of cities.

        Running all new wiring is a waste of time and money when we already have the infrastructure in place to give people decent speed. If I wanted, I could get 50Mbps from my local cable company. It's not fiber speed but its fast enough for me - and most everyone else. But it's ridiculously expensive, and, it's rendered worthless by monthly bandwidth caps. We know what the problem is -- lack of competition. But having a dozen different companies all running their own wires all over the place is neither practical nor desirable.

        We've already wired the entire country. Twice. Running more wires is not the answer. Until we break the broadband monopoly and force the existing companies to open up their networks this problem will remain and everyone reading Slashdot today will be dead and gone long before Google or anyone else wires the entire country with fiber.

    • I don't think it is as simple as that- getting the same penetration over a large area costs a lot more in the US because of our geography.

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @12:33PM (#44362161)

    I'm in one of the areas that is served by both cable and FIOS, and my service is nothing like the average 8 or so.

    I'm on Cablevison, which recently bumped their Boost tier to 120 Mbps down and 37 up. This tier is only $5 a month more than the base tier.

    There are no caps either.

    The main thing you need is to get rid of the competitive restraints. No franchises please!

    • by NJRoadfan (1254248) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @12:44PM (#44362311)
      Meanwhile the same Verizon is abandoning copper lines and refuses to run fiber in its place. In many areas this is a ploy to get those folks onto cable internet, who Verizon recently made a deal with to get some wireless spectrum, but some areas don't even have the cable option. Talk about progress. Places in a country that once boasted the most reliable wireline network in the world now have zip outside of an overpriced wireless service.
      • by MightyYar (622222)

        There is only one place that I know of doing that, and it is Fire Island, and it is being done in a very experimental way (watched closely by the utilities board). It is conceivable that certain areas - such as coastal or rural - could be better served by wireless than by copper. I don't have a problem with such experimentation, so long as the standards are kept up.

      • by jbolden (176878)

        Verizon LECs abandon copperlines.... Running the PSTN is extremely expensive. Business has been slashing their phone usage for decades. It isn't profitable to maintain that infrastructure anymore. If the local people want those services they could buy the LEC and run it as a town service at a loss or pay a subsidy.

      • by Jon_S (15368)

        This.

        I was in a VZW store and was surprised about a broken cell phone when a salesman came up to talk to me about home internet (surprised since I know VZW is only half owned by Verizon). He actually wanted to know if I was interested in FIOS, but I told him I knew it wasn't offered in my neighborhood.

        I then proceeded to tell them the tale about my Verizon DSL service. I am only two blocks from the CO (short copper loop), and have had it for several years (the nerd that I am, before that I had ISDN as it

    • by Solandri (704621)
      Exactly. My business is in an area where Verizon DSL is your only option. None of the cable companies service the area since it's a business district. Verizon charges $40/mo for 1 Mbps down / 128 kbps up, $50/mo for 1.5 Mbps down / 384 kbps up, and $90/mo for 3 Mbps down / 1 Mbps up. Add $10/mo if you sign up month-to-month instead of a 2 year contract. Half the lines can't even get the 3 Mbps because they're too far from the CO and Verizon doesn't want to bother installing a closer one.
      • by MightyYar (622222)

        In my neighborhood, Comcast gives my across-the-street neighbors a better price than me because they have FIOS available and I do not.

  • by Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @12:37PM (#44362195)

    Speed? Screw speed! I live in a relatively populated area in North Carolina. AT&T won't give me high speed. The cable company won't run lines .2 miles into my subdivision. I have a 4G verizon antenna on the side of my house that I use to pay $70 a month for a 10 GB data cap.

    This is holding back growth on the net. If I had real access and real bandwidth, I would be creating and consuming a lot more Internet content, and spending money in the process.

  • by Krazy Kanuck (1612777) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @12:39PM (#44362241)
    "For those who favor the idea of Internet service as a government-run utility, what do you see as the best-case scenario for such a system?"

    I'm not sure there are too many in favor of that idea anymore (recent privacy issues, corp lobbying). There would need to be an unprecedented amount net neutrality and transparency involved; which we've been promised but received little of in other government projects.
  • Making it a government-controlled utility would give them a darn good excuse to spy and filter even more.
  • by flyingfsck (986395) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @12:42PM (#44362281)
    The problem is that the user speeds need to be throttled to something that the NSA recording can keep up with.
    • by Dunbal (464142) *
      My thoughts exactly. The NSA will need another supercomputer "upgrade" before ISPs are "allowed" to increase available broadband speeds offered to customers. /conspiracytheory
  • I wouldn't mind seeing the lines government owned and then access leased out to ISPs for a price. Private ISPs should still be an option though. I don't want a BT-like situation where the government entity can dictate policy to private companies when it's unpopular and unconstitutional (ie ban on porn).

    What does peeve me, though, is when idiotic comparisons are made to countries like Latvia or Czech Republic, which are smaller than most US states and have comparatively much higher population density. Th
  • by Joining Yet Again (2992179) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @12:45PM (#44362333)

    See subject. Of course compact nations are going to have better connectivity than sprawling ones.

    I don't often cheerlead the US, but it's impressive that they're in the top ten. Sweden only just pipped them, and it tries awesomely hard to provide its citizens with good 'net access.

    • See subject. Of course compact nations are going to have better connectivity than sprawling ones.

      Then stop sprawling. Just stop supplying service to locations with too low density.

      Waiting for the "it's our god given right to live on 10 acres in the middle of no-where and still expect all the luxuries of civilization" flames.

      • by PortHaven (242123)

        Fine, and we'll stop paying taxes and supporting all the millions of assholes living in the cities.

  • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @12:45PM (#44362337) Homepage

    As a socialism-loving liberal, I have to say that I find the idea of an ISP utility ludicrous at best.

    Social services are appropriate where there is an absolute goal. We don't want houses on fire, we don't want criminals running around uncaught, and we don't want roads to decay, just because such services are unprofitable. Civilization has an absolute need for those civil services. However, we don't need fast Internet connectivity... Yes, maybe some cities will get government-built fiber downtown, but the rest of the state will be too busy fighting politics to actually improve any infrastructure. We'll mostly just be stuck with whatever minimum service the politicians find acceptable, and the infrastructure budget will go toward filling the requisite layers of bureaucrats.

    On the other hand, ISPs have a clear business incentive to improve their speed and capacity (not that they've been actually doing so). By being faster, they can claim an edge over their competitor in a market. Unfortunately, we seem to have hit an impasse where the only options in a region are "crappy cable" or "crappy DSL", thanks to government-granted monopolies in communities.

    So why not both? I say we void all community monopoly agreements, and require private ISPs to provide fixed-bandwidth service to a government ISP. The government ISP can be a fallback. If my community's ISP options are too slow or too expensive, I can instead pay some standard rate for government service, which would go over the ISP's lines anyway. The local ISP still has to carry my traffic, but they don't get my money. The downside is that I'm stuck with whatever basic service the government decides is suitable.

    • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

      too busy fighting politics to actually improve any infrastructure

      "misappropriation of tax dollars" would be a more accurate way of describing the measly end results of infrastructure improvements.

    • by GodInHell (258915)
      While also a fairly liberal guy, I agree that the idea of a government run network is ... not good. The problem we have here is that there is so little incentive to build out a bigger network that the minimum needed to keep the customers from leaving. The U.S. is too large to do a japanese style 2 or 3 year rollout of a new technology - only a very few companies (comcast and ATT basically) can compete across the nation - the rest, even verizon, are left to pick their markets. That's BEFORE any local muni
    • "The downside is that I'm stuck with whatever basic service the government decides is suitable."

      And there is the problem with any and all government intervention/rules/regulations/etc. There will be someone (or group of someones) who will be pulling the strings of the government to suit their business/personal interests. Then you will be held accountable (threatened) by an enforced law. On the flip-side, no govt intervention could and does mean, you get one choice. Lump it or leave it.

      Somewhere, someday, th

    • However, we don't need fast Internet connectivity... Yes, maybe some cities will get government-built fiber downtown, but the rest of the state will be too busy fighting politics to actually improve any infrastructure.

      This logic could be used to claim that we shouldn't treat water, electricity, or sewage as utilities. We don't *need* any of those things, in the strict hunter/gatherer sense.

      On the other hand, ISPs have a clear business incentive to improve their speed and capacity.

      They also have clear disincentives.

      By being faster, they can claim an edge over their competitor in a market.

      What competitor?

      I say we void all community monopoly agreements

      Well there is a bit of a problem in that we can't have people running around digging things up, running cable wherever they want willy-nilly. There's going to have to be some control, which means there won't be real competition. Infrastructure does not do well in the "free market".

      and require private ISPs to provide fixed-bandwidth service to a government ISP. The government ISP can be a fallback.

      Y

    • I don't know for the US, but in Canada (Montreal) we have at least two ISPs in any region (Telco and Cableco). But since they also own TV stations and Media, they aren't really pushing for bandwidth and/or higher caps. (Bell & Videotron). I don't mind the speed, altough I'd like it to be faster, but the caps are preventing people from using alternate sources for shows and movies (ie: Netflix). They're not really competing on either speed, quota or price. Either on tv, cellular, internet access or even p

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @01:27PM (#44362793) Homepage

      On the other hand, ISPs have a clear business incentive to improve their speed and capacity (not that they've been actually doing so).

      Clearly, they don't.

      They have incentive to keep the networks exactly as they are, gradually charge us more over time, oversubscribe their services, and do nothing until they're forced to and then directly charge us for network improvements -- because that's pretty much what they do now.

      If they were expanding capacity and bandwidth, we'd see the price of telecom services going down -- instead over time, it's been going up and hasn't really been improved.

    • by houghi (78078)

      On the other hand, ISPs have a clear business incentive to improve their speed and capacity (not that they've been actually doing so).

      If it was a clear business incentive, then why don't they do it? The reason is because that is not their objective. Their objective is to make money. The means to do that is by providing internet and if their is extra money to be made by faster Internet, then they will do that.

      The board will ask how to make more money and there are two proposals on the table.
      1) 100Million inv

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      So let me get this straight: you're a socialism-loving liberal who is advocating a free-market libertarian solution? Something suggests you might have mislabeled yourself.

      For what it's worth, I'm in the unusual position of being able to compare electric service between a private utility and a public utility, because I'm on the private one while my buddy a few blocks away is on the public network. The public utility is cheaper, more responsive, and faster at getting power back on after an outage (which happe

  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @12:50PM (#44362397)

    Don't make ISPs a utility, make conduit a utility and throw out all the local government granted monopolies. Conduit should be put down any time the road is torn up, anyone should be able to lease space in the conduit to run whatever they want through it. New cable company wants to move in? They lease spot in the conduit. Google wants to install fiber to the home? They lease a spot. Alternatively the same could be done directly with fiber, the city puts it in and leases bandwidth to 3rd parties, but that doesn't seem as flexible to me.

  • Look at the population density, it is a lot easier to provide services like high quality broadband to a dense population. South Korea - 1,303/sq mi Japan - 873/sq mi Hong Kong - 16,876/sq mi Switzerland - 505/sq mi Netherlands - 1,287/sq mi Latvia - 80/sq mi Czech Republic - 344/sq mi Sweden - 60/sq mi United States - 89/sq mi Denmark - 337/sq mi Only Sweden and Latvia really out perform us without having several times higher population density.
  • by evilviper (135110) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @12:53PM (#44362453) Journal

    Much like fuel mileage ratings on vehicles, we get a lot more benefit by getting people with the lowest numbers up to more reasonable numbers (eg., dial-up to 1Mbps DSL) than we do by giving a select few a very high speed connection to bring up the "average" speed, while many people suffer with dial-up speeds...

    Perhaps it would be best to measure MEDIAN speeds, rather than AVERAGE. Or better yet, a percentage of people in the country with available speeds below XYZ.

    And where does the whole EU rank? I'm sure if we broke the US down into individual states, some would come out higher than average as well, putting them ahead of most EU member nations. And there are clearly a number of EU member nations falling well behind the US average, which would bring the EU average down. The other comparable countries, like Russia, China, India, etc., all are far behind the US average. So even with these numbers, it doesn't look all that bad for the US.

  • I don't think a government run utility would be better than what we have today, and would likely be worse. What would be better? What should have been done in the original 1996 laws:

            Force the telcos and cable companies to break up.

    Really, it's as simple as that...

    The main problem with the current situation is that there is near-zero competition. At best you have "competition" between two ILECs (cable and telco). In some cases they will "lease" their lines to competitors, but who wants to be in a business where you're the customer of your main competitor? That's guaranteed not to go well.

    So in my "dream" solution...

    Last-mile providers would be a regulated monopoly (duopoly I guess in the case where there is both twisted-pair and coax) that would just be in charge of the cabling and infrastructure between actual customers and the "central office". They would then lease the lines to "dialtone" (bandwidth?) providers at rates set by the local public utility commission, but would be barred from providing any content on those lines.

    That would set up the situation such that multiple companies could compete based on the services that they could provide to customers and price.

    I'm not holding my breath for such an outbreak of sanity though... ;)

  • As this measures the speed to Akamai's servers, the numbers are not comparable to other numbers. I found the numbers way too low, for example here in Norway it says broadband penetration (>4Mbps) is 50%, actual figures (and the numbers for this are very good, they're very hard on you delivering agreed speeds) is about 77%. I'm guessing the difference is people who use their Internet connection for other things while connecting to Akamai, if your connection is busy with other things and you only got 3Mbps

  • Hasn't the government caused enough problems with granting monopolies to telecom companies. The whole industry needs to be totally deregulated. With deregulation comes competition and with competition comes better service and lower prices. The total over-regulation of telecom is the reason we have such lackluster service and higher costs. Telecom companies who have limited competition don't fear raising prices and don't need to improve service in order to attract new customers. Costs to business can be proh

  • First, I will preface my comment by saying that I am not actually in favor of government regulation of the internet... but if we were to actually go down that road, I would opine that the only step necessary to dramatically improve US broadband, would be to incorporate salary caps into the C- level positions at the existing telcos. If the money can't be siphoned up the chain to the bank account of those money-hungry CEOs, then it seems to me that the most likely places for all that cash to go would be a) b

  • For those who favor the idea of Internet service as a government-run utility, what do you see as the best-case scenario for such a system?

    Personally, I'd favor working on some kind of split responsibility. I've said this over and over again: part of our problem is that we have these large companies who are vertically integrated. You have a company like Comcast which builds the infrastructure, acts as the ISP, provides TV and VoIP service, online TV viewing services, and is also tied into the channels and content on their TV service. This creates some obvious opportunities for conflict of interest, e.g. Comcast might not be highly motivated

  • I do wonder how the metrics are gathered. Not much detail in TFA or the actual survey which is linked in TFA. (two levels of TFA deep, pretty sure the /. police are coming after me soon)

    I'd wager that part of our "problem" is early adoption, combined with sheer size. I don't think many people in Prague were connected during the dial-up days. Earthlink probably doesn't have much of a foothold over there, even today. Here in the US, however, there are probably still hundreds of thousands of people connect

  • by jbolden (176878) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @01:03PM (#44362579) Homepage

    I'm sorry. We have a country with almost all major services well behind the western world. We have a lower practical population density than most other countries because of suburban living. We come in 9 and you are throwing a fit. That's better than our bridges, our roads, our schools, our hospitals... I'm thrilled we ranked that high.

  • Maybe someone here can explain this --

    Considering peering, your bandwidth consumption is basically free for your ISP if you stay within their network, right? Is it technically feasible for them to give you uncapped speeds for connections which never leave their network?

  • While the numbers may be statistically insignificant, I suspect some folks don't have higher speeds by choice. Using my own area (Northern VA) as an example, we have choices of cable, FIOS, and satellite. My cable company offers several tiers of service. The basic home service I receive gives me ~25Mbps. There are several offerings at higher prices with more bandwidth (up to ~150). I have no need for more, and certainly don't want to pay more.

  • It's my understanding that it is a lack of competition in the broadband marketplace which is to blame for the slow pace of advancement. When so much of urban US is serviced by two (and in many places one) provider(s), there is not much incentive to improve access and service.

    I also believe that if the FCC were to re-instate the line-sharing rules they scrapped years ago, it would go a long ways towards promoting competition which would lead to improvement.

    Techdirt has tons of articles and stories about

  • A monopoly on the physical plant make sense it's expensive to build etc etc etc. Build an all optical physical plant and you can then hand off CWDM connections. This can easily be layered upon middle men fanning out vlans over a single channel to make things even cheaper. Government can play a role as well deploying school, city, library, and baseline internet access. But in the end the point is to give a connection to anybody that asks for a defined fee. Soon you will see long haul carriers pop up conne

  • Notice that the US is the first large country on the list. It is much easier to service a small country or a country with a small population than a country with such a large spread out population like the US. In it's concentrated areas like the North East the US does very well.

    • by Sir_Sri (199544)

      No, Japan is the first large country on the list, and maybe RoK (south Korea), but I agree, overall that looks pretty good for the US, and even Japan and the US are very different geographies and population distributions. Other relatively big developed western countries (France, UK, Germany, Canada, Australia etc.) are all not on there. So a bunch of smaller countries have faster internet.. and? If you want to compare the EU to the US then the US seems to be doing alright.

  • I live in Kansas City where google has been steadily expanding their rollout for some time now. In response to this Time Warner has been quietly bumping up our bandwidth. They can't compete with Google Fibre speeds by a large margin, but getting fifty down is unfortunately pretty good for my part of KC, so it's nice while waiting for fiber. It's funny that the only thing that would keep me with them is my thirteen-year-old kc.rr.com address -- the thought of giving that up is painful. I would easily cont
  • Since public health is considered a primary good, virtually all advanced nations have some system of medicare whereby citizens get free health care, paid for by tax dollars. If we can agree that communication is a fundamental basic human need--it's what makes us human--then why not provide Communicare as well? Especially today, in the 21st century when for the first time in history global communication has become incredibly cheap thanks to the Internet and wireless telephone technologies. If you eliminate t
  • Seriously, factor in land mass, coverage, vs population density. And we pretty much kick butt. Every year I see this post, and every year I think DAMN, SLASHDOTTERS ARE !@#$% DUMB !@#$

    Okay, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong (wait are they a country or a province now), Switzerland, etc. What do ALL of these nations have in common?

    A) Small Land Mass
    AND/OR
    B) High Population Densities

    Both have to be factored, I mean sure you can point to Canada. It has a huge land mass, and an average population density far lowe

  • We were early to the party, rolling out broadband before most other countries. That early broadband was between 256Kb/s and 1Mb/s. By the time these other countries got on the bandwagon, 5-10 Mb/s technology was already the norm, so they naturally started at that higher speed. Here in the US, there is less motivation financially to upgrade from 1 Mb/s to 5 Mb/s, than the other countries had to go from 0 to 5.

    Very often, the country that invents a new product gets stuck with version 1.0, while everybody e

    • by neminem (561346)

      Indeed. Given that we're already paying too much for our current internet, it's not like we'd all jump on the "pay twice as much for faster service" wagon, so that's a good point - we all pay for whatever crap service they deign to give us anyway, so why should they spend billions of dollars giving us better service, for no reason? It's not like we could choose someone else; there isn't anyone else.

      Yay for monopolies!

  • Just look at the countries ahead of us with high bandwidth: South Korea, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Latvia. All of them are tiny compared to the US. Even the largest ones - Japan and Sweden - are only the size of American states. So it's no surprise that it would be easier to have all of their citizens on high speed internet.
  • "We're Number 9! US Broadband Speeds Rise,"

    Well, don't raise those speeds, work on lowering the prices instead. I mean come on, I'm paying more in soCal for a 3mbps service than I'm paying in Europe for 20mbps! Really. I sometimes just feel the need to punch someone when I see US broadband prices (the same goes for net-phone-tv bundle bundle prices). So yeah, keep on improving, but not just on the bandwidth/speed front. I couldn't care less for a gazillion gbps connection if it has an outrageous pricetag.
  • by turkeyfish (950384) on Tuesday July 23, 2013 @03:07PM (#44363981)

    "For those who favor the idea of Internet service as a government-run utility, what do you see as the best-case scenario for such a system?"

    The first place to start is by voting out all republicans and tea party types, as otherwise you are never going to pass laws that permit the internet to be run as a government run utility. The modern republican party simply doesn't believe in the concept of government. They would prefer to live in a state of nihilism that reverts to a feudal system, in which the 1% rule and everyone else is a serf. In their minds the only people that count are corporate people.

    As far a government utilities go, Jefferson County, WA recently took over the production of electricity, which resulted in a significant reduction in my bill. Presently, I pay Comcast about $75/month for internet, pay CableOne $50/month for my other residence in Mississippi. If both were run as public utilities, I suspect I would probably pay about half that amount for the roughly the same service, since the top management in a public utility doesn't need to pay 7 figure salaries to the CEO and other corporate officers nor to they need to waste money advertising, which would save me having to watch at least a few commercials on TV.

When in doubt, mumble; when in trouble, delegate; when in charge, ponder. -- James H. Boren

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