So just how long does it take to transfer 300GB of data 120 miles? In a recent stunt to demonstrate just how abysmal broadband speeds are in some rural areas, 300GB of data was divided into ten packets of 30GB USB drives and strapped to carrier pigeons for delivery at the prescribed site. At the time of their release, a 300GB video file was sent via the Internet to the same location
One hour and fifteen minutes later, all ten carrier pigeons had successfully delivered their USB drives. Only 25% of the video had so far been successfully downloaded.
Granted, this was a stunt in rural England no less, and hardly scientific. But, it's a good reality check reminding us that there are still a lot of people living in rural areas relying primarily on dial-up or broadband connections that aren't nearly broad enough.
If you compare us to other industrialized nations, we the people who really did invent the Internet, you know us? Well, we the people don't even make the top ten in broadband penetration to the masses. And it's not just the usual crew of Scandinavian countries with their superior health care systems and four weeks of vacation a year that are outdoing us - again! (Although they are, note Denmark and The Netherlands both beat us soundly.) We are also getting put to shame by the likes of Latvia and Romania.
See Akamai's latest figures on this if you want to dig more deeply into the numbers. You can download it here. If you live outside a major city or town, it may take you awhile.
Last updated: Sep 23, 2010
RENEE ORICCHIO is a technology writer and former supervising news producer for CNN Financial News. She has been covering the computer industry since 1987. @oricchio