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US Broadband Won't Catch Up With Japan's For 101 Years 708

An anonymous reader writes "Internet speeds of users nationwide shows that the United States has not made significant improvements in deploying high-speed broadband networks in the past year, and if the average US Internet speed continues to improve only at the same rate it did from 2007 to 2008, the country won't catch up with Japan's current download speed for another 100 years, according to findings released by the Communications Workers of America's (CWA's) Speed Matters campaign." With enough statistical mangling, nearly anything can be presented as plausible, but that's not enough to cover up my envy of Asian broadband speeds.
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US Broadband Won't Catch Up With Japan's For 101 Years

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  • oook (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pak9rabid ( 1011935 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @01:07PM (#24585931)
    Yes, because we all know upgrade paths are all completely linear...
    • Re:oook (Score:5, Funny)

      by CaptainPatent ( 1087643 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @01:14PM (#24586053) Journal

      Yes, because we all know upgrade paths are all completely linear...

      Yeah, and the US is next in line... so we should get it sometime next year!

      • Re:oook (Score:5, Funny)

        by Profane MuthaFucka ( 574406 ) <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:10PM (#24589169) Homepage Journal

        Why do we maintain an expensive military if we won't use it to acquire things our country needs? Oil, women, and broadband. Soldiers, go get them and bring them to us.

    • Funny, my wife has always told me that size matters, speed is just a courtesy to her TV viewing time.
  • In a hundred years I plan on living on Mars and the US broadband speed is WAY better than the one on Mars...

    GO US!

  • So what? (Score:5, Funny)

    by LibertineR ( 591918 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @01:11PM (#24586011)
    Porn is better... ...in slow-motion.
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (gmail.com)> on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @01:13PM (#24586045) Journal

    US Broadband Won't Catch Up With Japan's for 101 Years

    Uh, could you somehow spin (regardless of truth) this as related to war and/or military prowess so our administration will mindlessly throw money at it instead of mindlessly ignoring it?


    US Cyber Attacking Infrastructure Embarrassingly Lags Japan's

    Japanese Identify US Broadband as "Ripe for the Pickin'"

    Cyber Pearl Harbor Imminent

    US President's Netflix Downloads 1/10 as Fast as Japanese President's

    US Administration Idles as US-Japanese Broadband Gap Widens

    Come on, these things basically write themselves! Turn it into a dick measuring contest or it's meaningless.

    • by eln ( 21727 )

      You could make the argument that wars are better for infrastructure, but probably not in the way you would like.

      Basically, if your infrastructure is totally decimated by war, you're going to have to rebuild it, and you'll probably rebuild it with modern technology rather than putting in the old crap that got blown up. So, the fact that many Japanese and European cities were reduced to rubble around 60 years ago allowed them to be rebuilt with modern (for the day) construction and planning.

      So, our best bet

    • Uh, could you somehow spin (regardless of truth) this as related to war and/or military prowess so our administration will mindlessly throw money at it instead of mindlessly ignoring it?

      The best quote of the month, and it's only the 13th!

  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @01:13PM (#24586051)

    The Japanese are also at least a hundred years ahead of us in cartoon porn, particularly tentacle rape porn. This "tentacle gap", as I call it, cannot be allowed to continue.

    • by kesuki ( 321456 )

      when American's eat squid and octopus daily, perhaps the tentacle gap will lessen.

      while we're at it don't forget the all important gay/lesbian or yaoi/yuri gap!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Spatial ( 1235392 )
      Yup. You guys have got to fill all those holes in your tentacle infrastructure!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @01:14PM (#24586057)
    After reading this summary and feeling a sense of outrage rising in my stomach, I felt obliged to call the Japanese Internet Minister and set the story straight once and for all. After many hours of argument regarding relative price structures, exchange rates, and international broadband infrastructure, he assured me that I had a very large penis. He used such words to describe it such as 'gargantuan', 'mammoth', and 'really freakin huge', and that in comparison, his penis was microscopic. I for one applaud the Minister for his honesty. That is all.
  • Geography (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @01:15PM (#24586089)
    I didn't take the time to check Google maps, but I'm fairly sure that Japan!=Asia. If you look at all of Asia, I would guess that it has quite a ways to go to catch up to Japan as well.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kesuki ( 321456 )

      not south korea, though.

      why is it countries that have US troops in them have better internet than the mainland USA.

      other than size, that is, i know size makes a huge difference, but fiber optics lines, without being dug up at all, have increased bandwidth year after year for more than a decade now. america has more dark fiber than anyone else, personally my wager is on greed, being the single biggest factor in holding back high speed internet.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @01:22PM (#24586223)

    With enough statistical mangling, nearly anything can be presented as plausible, but that's not enough to cover up my envy of Asian broadband speed.

    "Asian Pipe Envy"

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by illegalcortex ( 1007791 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @01:25PM (#24586281)

    Whether or not the prediciton is statistically shaky, the fact remains that there is a huge gap between the US and many other, quite dissimilar countries. The big question is "Why?" Japan and Korea aren't the only ones that far outclass American broadband speed, though they do have quite a speed lead.

    Chart of Broadband Speeds by Country [worldpoliticsreview.com]

    And sure, in the US you can get FiOS at 30Mbps, but it will cost you $200/month and you have to live in a very limited area. You can get 50Mbps from Comcast only if you live in the Twin Cities (right now), but it's still $150/month.

    I could point to the geography of the US, saying how its a much bigger area than the smaller countries at the top of those charts. Sure, Japan and Korea have an incredible population density. But not Finland, Sweden, France, etc. They have population densities several orders of magnitude smaller than even cities like Houston, Miami, Phoenix, or Chicago. Why aren't these cities more like those countries?

    I could also try it from the angle of regulation/free market/competition. But I'm pretty sure those countries at the top aren't all the same in that regard.

    Is it because our companies tend to each have local monopolies over large areas? That seems less likely considering how just about everyone in a metro area can get cable. So they have two companies, phone and cable, to compete with each other.

    Is there something unique about our infrastructure? Did we make some horrible mistake that seemed like a good idea at the time but is now haunting us?

    Is the US just in a perfect storm of craptitude where all these factors come into play?

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Das Modell ( 969371 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @02:07PM (#24587091)

      Chart of Broadband Speeds by Country

      Finland is third? I have 512/512 because that's all I can afford, and I live in a city. 20 mbps sure as fuck isn't the average speed over here.

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Hektor_Troy ( 262592 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @03:16PM (#24588301)

      Well, people keep bringing up the "small town" and "urbanisation" excuses for poor US broadband penetration.

      I'm moving to Sweden from Denmark in 3 weeks. Did a bit of checking.

      Here are my options for internet in Sweden where I'll be living:
      Company 1 and 2: 3G modem, 7.2 Mbit/s down, 384kbit/s down - theoretical max. Realistic is 4/256 in that area according to the people who work there. 60$/month
      Company 2 and 3: ADSL, up to 20/2 Mbit/s. 80$/month
      Company 4: Fiber. 100 Mbit/s down, not sure about up, but FAST. Including free calls to landline phones in Sweden: 52$/month

      And every single option is without a usage cap.

      So, obviously I will be moving to a big city, right?


      I'm moving to Ljusdal [wikipedia.org]. A town of about 8,000 people. The municipality has about 20,000 residents and covers an area of 5,288 km^2 (2,041 miles^2). It's about 300 km north of the capital of Sweden. The biggest city nearby is the main city of the country (Gävle [wikipedia.org]) with about 69,000 residents.

      Not entirely sure, but I suspect that would pretty much put any kind of rural/urbanisation argument to rest. Hell, Sweden is 449,964 km^2 (173,732 miles^2), compared to Texas' 696,241 km^2, so about 2/3rds the size, but only has 9.2 million residents compared to Texas' 23.9 million. And yes, I left out Alaska of the equation. But if we're playing that game, we can always go with the Kingdom of Denmark which includes Greenland and its 830,000 miles^2 ;)

      Personally I suspect it's the fact that four different companies are vying for customers in the same area that makes the big difference.

    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Informative)

      by IronChef ( 164482 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @04:15PM (#24589259)

      "The $200 Billion Rip-Off: Our broadband future was stolen."

      http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2007/pulpit_20070810_002683.html [pbs.org]

  • Most people use the internet for email and websurfing. The difference between 6mbps and 60mbps doesn't make a difference to the human. It's still all in the blink of an eye. Then there is the 1/3(?) of the US that doesn't even want to upgrade from their modems that was mentioned on /. earlier.
  • by zooblethorpe ( 686757 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @01:28PM (#24586335)

    I lived in Japan for three years, and when I got there in 2002, the *basic* package offered by Yahoo! Japan was 12Mbps DSL for an intro rate of ¥2000 a month (about US $20), bumping up to ¥3500 a month later on. By the time I left in 2005, the *basic* package cost the same, but the *lowest* speed available was 18Mbps -- something that still doesn't even *exist* at the consumer level anywhere in the US (that I'm aware of) in 2008.

    The US broadband market is suffocating under the rank hypocrisy and greed of the telcos, and the bald corruption and bribeability of the congress. Somehow the Japanese broadband market has a heck of a lot more internal competition, yet the companies there can still make a profit offering much higher speeds for relatively lower rates.


    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm on NTT East Japan's Hikari Flets.
      I -really do- get greater than 60Mbps sustained.

      NTT provides the pipe and OCN provides the packets... it's cheaper than Rogers Cable was in canada (1/2 the price) and they throw in phone service (VoIP of course) all for $20/mo.

      At my office we also have NTT East and OCN... it's guaranteed bandwidth and costs me less than $200/mo, can max out it's 100Mbps PPPoE to the Cisco and gives us 8 IPs. If you want gauranteed service in US or Canada it's T1s at $1000's/mo.

      The telco

  • Scarcity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gallenod ( 84385 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @01:31PM (#24586391)

    The answer to why we don't have faster broadband speeds is simple: scarcity pays.

    It is not in the interests of U.S. telecom providers to roll out high-speed bandwidth all at once. Thus we have a tiered service model, with people paying a little for 1Mb connections and substantially more to get higher speeds, regardless of what the telecom carriers' networks can handle.

    Granted, some of the scarcity may be real and based on telecom companies dragging their feet on upgrading, but even if they could carry 100 times the traffic the can now it still would be in their corporate interest to artificially create a bandwidth scarcity to keep prices high.

  • by szquirrel ( 140575 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @02:32PM (#24587587) Homepage

    I lived in rural Japan for 15 months. I'm not talking about way up in the mountains, mind you, maybe about an hour's drive away from Utsunomiya [wikipedia.org].

    The only broadband option was DSL from Yahoo. It was decently fast and only about $25 a month, but it wasn't light-years ahead or anything. I can drive an hour out from Indianapolis and find equally good service, probably from more than one provider.

    If anything, my connection in Japan was slower because anything I wanted to access was coming over a trans-ocean link. I easily get 2x or 3x speed on most downloads now that I'm back in Indy and I only pay about 2x more. Sounds fair to me.

    Also, my broadband was the only thing in Japan that was cheaper than in the USA.

    So, yeah. Lies, damn lies, and statistics.

  • by wcrowe ( 94389 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @03:05PM (#24588139)

    Mr. President, we must not allow a broadband gap!

  • A theory .... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @03:40PM (#24588751)
    Basically Japan is ahead because telecom companies are too busy squabbling over net neutrality and locking its customers into spartan agreements. US Telecom companies have very little incentive to innovate because they are all members of virtual cartel where there is no need to spend money to improve technology because they control the marketplace. You've only got a select few number of companies that you can use and, for all intents and purposes, they are one and the same. The only possible exception is Verizon FiOS. But, when compared to Japan, Verizon FiOS doesn't really stand a chance. In summary, the telecom cartel is really holding us technologically back.
  • Bad research? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by trimCoder ( 954838 ) on Wednesday August 13, 2008 @06:26PM (#24591277)

    US data is taken from speedmatters at 2.3Mbps

    International data taken from theInformation Technology and
    Innovation Foundation at http://www.itif.org/files/2008BBRankings.pdf [itif.org]

    This report shows US at 4.9Mbps

    A significant difference in findings between the two. Ill let you draw the conclusions

The next person to mention spaghetti stacks to me is going to have his head knocked off. -- Bill Conrad