U.S. lagging behind in broadband speeds

The United States is slipping behind other industrialized nations in terms of broadband Internet speeds, according to a Communications Workers of America report cited by USA Today. The report says the median download speed in the U.S. is now 1.97 megabits per second, or 246KB/s. That may not sound bad, but it’s only a fraction of the download speeds enjoyed by other countries. Median broadband speeds are 61Mbps (7.63MB/s) in Japan, 45Mbps (5.63MB/s) in South Korea, 17Mbps (2.13MB/s) in France, and 7Mbps (875KB/s) in Canada.

Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen doesn’t mince words describing how the U.S. stacks up. “We have pathetic speeds compared to the rest of the world,” Cohen says, adding that people aren’t paying attention to the fact that “the country that started the commercial Internet is falling woefully behind.” If the U.S. intends to catch up to other nations, Cohen believes the government must act now. To this effect, the Federal Communications Commission—which still defines a 200Kbps connection as “high speed” today—plans to publish a report regarding what can and can’t be advertised as a “broadband Internet service” this fall.

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