US Still Lags Behind Other Advanced Nations in Internet Speeds

  • Broadband Penetration

WASHINGTON - Between 2007 and 2009, the average download Internet speed in the United States increased by only 1.6 Mbps, from 3.5 Mbps to 5.1 Mbps, according to a new study. At this rate, it will take the United States 15 years to catch up with current Internet speeds in South Korea.

The Speed Matters Speed Test, a project of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), measures users' Internet connection speeds. The 2009 report is based on aggregated data from more than 413,000 Internet users who took the online test between May 2008 and May 2009.

Only 20 percent of those who took the test have Internet speeds in the range of the top-ranked countries such as South Korea, Japan and Sweden. Even more alarming, 18 percent do not even meet the FCC definition for basic broadband as an always-on Internet connection of at least 768 kbps downstream.

Where a customer lives is a good predictor of Internet connection speed. The five fastest states are Delaware (9.9 Mbps), Rhode Island (9.8 Mbps), New Jersey (8.9 Mbps), Massachusetts (8.6 Mbps) and New York (8.4 Mbps). Residents of Southern and Western states aren't so lucky. Mississippi (3.7 Mbps), South Carolina (3.6 Mbps), Arkansas (3.1 Mbps), Idaho (2.6 Mbps) and Alaska (2.3 Mbps) have some of the slowest Internet connection speeds.

“Every American should have affordable access to high-speed Internet, no matter where they live. This is essential to economic growth and will help maintain our global competitiveness,” says Larry Cohen, president, Communications Workers of America. “Unfortunately, fragmented government programs and uneven private-sector responses to build out Internet access have left a digital divide across the country.”


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