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Business, Society - Written by on Wednesday, September 2, 2009 9:47 - 4 Comments

Almost everybody wants a faster Internet ASAP

The federal government’s plan to promote expansion of the country’s high-speed Internet network has been swamped with applications totaling nearly $28 billion – seven times the $4 billion allocated to the program’s first round of spending.

Applications came in from a diverse range of parties including state, local, and tribal governments; nonprofits; industry; anchor institutions, such as libraries, universities, community colleges, and hospitals; public safety organizations; and other entities in rural, suburban, and urban areas. The wide array of applicants illustrates how greater bandwidth benefits virtually every aspect of society.

The urgency of bulking up the nation’s Internet infrastructure was underscored by a report released last week by the Communications Workers of America (CWA). It revealed that the United States ranks 28th in the world in average Internet connection speed and is not making significant progress in building a faster network.

The report said the average download speed in South Korea is 20.4 megabits per second (mbps) — four times faster than the US average of 5.1 mbps.

Continued job growth, innovation and rural development require high-speed, universal networks. The CWA said that data shows that for every $5 billion invested in broadband infrastructure to create these networks, 97,500 new jobs in the telecommunications, computer and IT sectors will be created.

“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,” said Larry Cohen, president, CWA. “Unfortunately, fragmented government programs and uneven private sector responses to build out Internet access have left a digital divide across the country.”

The country has made little progress in speeding up the Internet during the past year. Tests conducted by speedmatters.org found the average US download speed had improved by only nine-tenths of a megabit per second between 2008 and 2009 — from 4.2 mbps to 5.1 mbps.



4 Comments

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Vincent Clement
Sep 2, 2009 14:03

Download speed is one part of the equation. Having 20 mbps service is useless if your ISP has a low cap on your service.

My ISP recently increased download speed from 10 mbps to 15 mbps and upload speed from 640 kbps to 1000 kbps, but maintained the 60GB cap. Thanks for the speed, but I can’t use more of the Internet.

links for 2009-09-03 « lugar do conhecimento
Sep 3, 2009 5:04

[...] Almost everybody wants a faster Internet ASAP [...]

Tel
Sep 8, 2009 4:06

If you talk to people in the communications industry, everyone wants faster Internet, sadly those guys don’t listen to their own customers :-( Groups such as the CWA primarily want to propagate the myth that a consumer culture that sits and watches Youtube is what communications is all about. They still dream of reinventing the television set.

If you talk to customers, 1 Mbps is plenty fast enough, even lower speeds are fast enough. What the customers want is cheap, reliable communications, with a choice of provider, outside the major cities.

Why is SMS so popular? SMS is probably the lowest bandwidth communication in the world (even slower than Morse code). SMS is popular because people don’t want a lot of bandwidth, they don’t have a huge amount to say. SMS is popular because it is convenient, always available, portable and generally pretty cheap. Twitter is popular for the same reason — short occasional messages in plain text are bandwidth efficient and time efficient.

Mass collaboration does not require huge bandwidth either, it merely requires many people to touch base with each other often. Same deal with mass data collection.

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Sep 28, 2009 9:51

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