Monday, May 26, 2008

Run a Speed Test and Support Broadband Reform in the U. S.

I've written here frequently about the broadband divide in the United States - poor availability, low relative (to much of the rest of the world) speeds where you can get it and high cost. A recent post by Mike Q referencing a piece from E-Business titled The Sad State of the United States Broadband Industry describes broadband services in our country:

Although the Internet was started here, the U.S. can't seem to catch up with other developed nations when it comes to giving citizens access to high-speed connections.

For the second year running, the U.S. ranked 15th among the 30 members of the
Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development in terms of broadband availability. Denmark ranked first again in the annual OECD survey, followed by a host of European and Asian nations. Indeed, while the number of Americans with access to broadband service rose 20 percent last year, to nearly 70 million people, the most in the OECD, that amounted to just 23 of every 100 residents. By contrast, the top five countries in the OECD ranking all sport per-capita penetration rates of better than 30 percent.

Lack of modern definition and policy by the FCC, the antiquated Telecommunications Act of 1996, politics, business decisions...... lots of variables have resulted in many of our global competitors like Korea, Sweden, and Japan passing us by. FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps recently admitted:

America's record in expanding broadband communication is so poor that it should be viewed as an outrage by every consumer and businessperson in the country.

So..... what can we as individuals do? Last year published the first-ever state-by-state report on Internet connection speed [PDF] and they are currently collecting data for a 2008 report. You can help by running a short (< 60 seconds) speed test - your data will be included in the SpeedMatters 2008 report. Here's a link to the test:

I'll be writing more about this over the summer.

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