John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

The Median U.S. Broadband Speed? South Korea’s Divided by Four.

tortoiseandhare-150x148In South Korea, the average broadband download speed is 20.4 megabits per second. In Japan, it is 15.8 mbps. In Sweden, it’s 12.8 mbps. In The Netherlands, it’s 11 mbps.

And in the United States, the country that invented the Internet? It’s 5.1.

This according to a new study by the Communications Workers of America, which found that broadband speeds in the States are among the slowest of the 29 countries it surveyed. “Between 2007 and 2009, the average download speed in the United States has increased by only 1.6 megabits per second (mbps), from 3.5 mbps in 2007 to 5.1 mbps in 2009,” the CWA explains in its report. “At this rate, it will take the United States 15 years to catch up with current Internet speeds in South Korea, the country with the fastest average Internet connections.”


And no wonder: 18 percent of Internet connections in the States that the CWA surveyed revealed download speeds slower than 768 kilobits per second, which doesn’t even qualify as basic broadband according to the Federal Communications Commission’s definition.

That may soon change, now that the country has adopted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which includes a provision for a national broadband plan by spring of 2010 and grants of $7.2 billion to bring high-speed Internet to the hinterlands. But it will be slow going. It’s a long way from 5.1 mbps to 20.4.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work