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Not so fast: US broadband lags behind world

As GPO pushes forward with it’s Digital Future System and as the well connected (Internet-wise) Congress moves away from print and towards an exclusively online government information world, they might want to consider this new report published by the Communications Workers of America:

Speed Matters: A Report on Internet Speeds in All 50 States

According to this report:

The median download speed for the 50 states and the District of Columbia was 1.9 megabits per second (mbps). In Japan, the median download speed is 61 mbps, or 30 times faster than the U.S. The U.S. also trails South Korea at 45 mbps, Finland at 21 mbps, Sweden at 18 mbps, and Canada at 7.6 mbps. The median upload speed from the Speedmatters.org test was just 371 kilobits per second (kbps), far too slow for patient monitoring or too transmit large files such as medical records.

Most people who went to Speedmatters.org to take the speed test used either a DSL connection or cable modem. Very few people with dial-up took the test because it took too long. According to surveys, somewhere between 30 to 40 percent of Americans still connect to the Internet with a dial-up connection. So the median speeds in this report are actually higher than if dial-up Internet users had chosen to participate in the survey. In other words, even these dismal statistics paint a rosier picture than the reality.

The report was compiled by people visiting a speed test site and providing their zip codes, so it isn’t truly a random sample. Still makes for interesting reading for broadband advocates.

And it should make interesting reading for policymakers who desire to eliminate print. And for people interested in constructing a geographically distributed system of electronic federal publications which could be more easily accessed over urban networks than all users dragging every publication from Washington.

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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