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Wednesday, 26 August 2009 11:10

US has broadband digital divide

Written by Nick Farell

Image

Some people get 10mbps others get 2.3


The Communications Workers of America union claims that the average Internet download speed in the USA is 5.1 megabits per second.

However there appears to be a digital divide between some areas which can manage quite good 9.9 mbps speeds, such as Delaware and others, such as Idaho where 2.6 Mbps looks like an asthmatic turtle going uphill with a heavy load of shopping. General speeds in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic were faster. Speeds in the South and in rural areas were markedly slower. Data was based on feedback from more than 413,000 Internet users who took an online test between May 2008 and May 2009, CWA says.

The problem is that in the US it's basically up to individual companies to decide where to offer broadband. Big broadband players such as Verizon have tended to focus on densely populated areas, where they can get more subscribers.

Larry Cohen, CWA president. CWA represents workers at AT&T, Verizon said that uneven efforts by carriers and government "have left a digital divide across the country." South Korea, which currently claims some of the fastest broadband speeds, averages 20.4 megabits per second, CWA says, citing the data of Speedtest.net, which tracks global speeds.

Other top performers in global broadband include Japan (15.8) and Sweden (12.8). Latvia (12.4), Portugal (7.97) and Liechtenstein (6.9) all fared better than the US too.

Nick Farell

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