The United States has been the unchallenged technological leader of the world for such a long time, that we took for granted it would continue to keep this lead forever. Apparently this is not so. For example, the U.S. is no longer a leader in space technology. It was recently in the news that South Korea successfully launched a rocket into space. Brazil and other emerging nations have done the same.
In broadband Internet speed, the United States is losing ground to countries such as Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden and South Korea. The latter seems to be the leader of the pack.
The United States ranks 28th in the world in average Internet connection speed and is not making significant progress in building a faster network, according to a report released yesterday.
The report by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) 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.
Japan trails South Korea with an average of 15.8 mbps followed by Sweden at 12.8 mbps and the Netherlands at 11.0 mbps, the report said.
“The US has not made significant improvement in the speeds at which residents connect to the Internet,” the report said. “Our nation continues to fall far behind other countries.”
“People in Japan can upload a high-definition video in 12 minutes, compared to a grueling 2.5 hours at the US average upload speed,” the report said.
It said 18 percent of those who took a US speed test recorded download speeds that were slower than 768 kilobits per second, which does not even qualify as basic broadband, according to the Federal Communications Commission. I live in Panama and have a one megabyte Internet connection, and Panama is by no means a highly developed technological country.
The United States was ranked 20th in broadband penetration in a survey of 58 countries released earlier this year by Boston-based Strategy Analytics.
South Korea, Singapore, the Netherlands, Denmark and Taiwan were the top five countries listed in terms of access to high-speed Internet.
“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 of the Communications Workers of America. “Unfortunately, fragmented government programs and uneven private sector responses to build out Internet access have left a digital divide across the country.”
US President Barack Obama has pledged to put broadband in every home and the FCC has embarked on an ambitious project to bring high-speed Internet access to every corner of the United States. I wish him well, the American people deserve it. Good Day.