As an American, It's official; I've got a complex. Everytime another list comes out ranking us among other nations for this or that; we tend to rank somewhere between Kazakhstan and Botswana.
This time it is broadband speed and, as we are reminded each year when these reports come out, we aren't that speedy compared to other industrialized countries.
A recently published report by the Communication Workers of America has some bar graphs sure to give the average American an inferiority complex. Apparantly, we rank #28 on the list of average broadband speeds among nations. South Koreans' have the fastest speeds, on average four times faster than us. Japan is approximately three times faster. To give you some perspective; it takes about 12 minutes to download a movie in high definition in Japan. It takes about 2.5 hours to do the same here. Ouch!
So other than ego and pride, why is this a big deal?
In a word; the economy (okay, technically that's two!)
We need faster broadband speeds...
1. To help small businesses and entrepreneurs be more competitive in the global market.
2. To give unemployed or unskilled workers easier and more affordable access to job training online. It takes a big pipe to facilitate online learning tools like real-time video conferencing.
3. To bring tele-medicine care where it makes sense; bringing down the costs of health care.
4. To expand our own domestic markets. With more people online at faster speeds, businesses can sell those people more services and products.
5. Faster Internet speeds = Faster computing = Less time performing tasks. Time is money. Saving money saves businesses and that saves jobs.
Here's a link to that report from CWA.
I wonder if CWA did this on purpose to make a point. The report (I'm not kidding, folks!) is a 67 page .pdf file with lots of color graphics. It takes a few minutes to download completely.
Unless, of course, you are in South Korea.