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U.S. Ranks Low in Download Speeds

26 Jun, 2007 By: Chris Tribbey

The findings of a first-ever national survey of Internet speeds may not surprise you: Americans are slow.

But as more and more content providers brave the digital delivery realm, the results may weigh heavily on their minds.

The median download speed for the nation is 1.9 megabits per second (mbps), a pedestrian figure compared to most of the world, according to the survey commissioned by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), released June 25. At more than 60 mbps, the Japanese can download in two minutes what takes Americans two hours. South Korea is second to Japan in download speed, hitting 45 mbps. Finland, Sweden and France are all around 20 mbps, and even Canada is leaving America behind (7.6 mbps), according to the survey.

The median upload speed in America is even worse: 371 kilobits per second.

The CWA, using the results of the survey, faults the federal government for not having a national policy to promote high-speed broadband, and calls for the United States to have a nationwide infrastructure to carry 10 mbps in downloads and 1 mbps for uploads by 2010.

“The U.S. has a lot of ground to cover to remain competitive with other economies that have already adopted policies that facilitate job growth, business advancement, and individual achievement through access to the latest technologies,” the survey reads.

The survey had U.S. broadband consumers do a Internet speed test on speedmatters.org to measure how fast their computers could upload and download data. Nearly 80,000 people in all 50 states and the District of Columbia took the test between September 2006 and May 2007. Few people with dial-up service were even able to complete the tests, the survey said.

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