Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Communications Workers of America: US Still Lags Other Nations in Internet Connection Speeds

Business Wire via 08/25/09 WASHINGTON-- Positive economic impact of high-speed Internet unrealized by most of the country; National broadband plan due in 2010 is good step to reverse trend New research indicates that between 2007 and 2009, the average download Internet speed in the United States has increased by only 1.6 megabits per second (mbps), from 3.5 mbps in 2007 to 5.1 mbps in 2009.

At this rate, it will take the United States 15 years to catch up with current Internet speeds in South Korea, the country with the fastest average Internet connections.1 The Speed Matters Speed Test, a project of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), measures the speed of a user’s Internet connection.

The 2009 report is based on aggregated data from more than 413,000 Internet users who took the online test between May 2008 and May 2009. Take the Speed Test to see how your connection measures up, or view a full list of 2009 state rankings and a comparison to 2007 and 2008 averages at

The 2009 Speed Test shows that only 20 percent of those who took the test have Internet speeds in the range of the top ranked countries—including South Korea, Japan and Sweden. Even more alarming, 18 percent do not even meet the FCC definition for basic broadband as an always-on Internet connection of at least 768 kbps downstream. The data also confirms that where a customer lives is a good indicator of Internet connection speed.

Fastest / Slowest States
With some exceptions, if you live in a Northeastern or Mid-Atlantic state, you are likely to have good high-speed Internet options. The five fastest states are: Delaware (9.9 mbps), Rhode Island (9.8 mbps), New Jersey (8.9 mbps), Massachusetts (8.6 mbps) and New York (8.4 mbps).

However, if you live in a Southern or Western state, access to high-speed Internet is less likely. Mississippi (3.7 mbps), South Carolina (3.6 mbps), Arkansas (3.1 mbps), Idaho (2.6 mbps) and Alaska (2.3 mbps) have some of the slowest Internet connection speeds, according to the study.

Continued job growth, innovation and rural development require high-speed, universal networks. Data shows that for every $5 billion invested in broadband infrastructure to create these networks, 97,500 new jobs in the telecommunications, computer and IT sectors will be created.2

“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, 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.”

The United States is still the only industrialized country without a national policy to promote high-speed Internet access, but that is set to change. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that was signed into law earlier this year included a provision calling for a national broadband plan by spring 2010 and $7.2 billion in broadband grants for unserved and underserved areas.

CWA"s Broadband Policy Recommendations
CWA believes that in addition to needed infrastructure investment, a national plan to improve America’s Internet connections speeds should:

* Establish a national policy goal: A reasonable initial goal would be to construct an infrastructure with enough capacity for 10 megabits per second (mbps) downstream and 1 mbps upstream by 2010. New benchmarks in succeeding years should expand the number of households capable of sending and receiving multiple channel high-definition video and reach the global standard of 100 mbps.

* Encourage Public-Private Partnerships: Successful efforts—like ConnectOhio—to increase America’s Internet speeds and capacity are important. These kinds of efforts are well-suited to assess needs, create state broadband maps and technology plans and share knowledge about successful initiatives. If encouraged, they can help simulate high-speed broadband demand, deployment and adoption nationwide.

* Reform Universal Service: We need subsidies, low-interest loans, and tax incentives to support broadband deployment in high-cost rural areas, and help make computers and Internet access more affordable for low-income families.

* Monitor Progress: Broadband public policies should support the growth of good, career jobs as a key to providing quality Internet service and require public reporting of deployment, actual speed, price and customer service benchmarks.

“I applaud the Obama Administration and Congress for their commitment to develop a national plan that restores U.S. leadership in high-speed Internet policy,” said Cohen. “Improving broadband deployment, connection speeds, and adoption will help facilitate job and business growth. By continuing these efforts we can make sure that America benefits from the information age.”

1 International rankings of Internet connection speeds are from

2 Estimate based on RIMS II Model, Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce; represents the average of the multipliers for Construction and Broadcasting and Communications Equipment ($5 billion x 19.5/$1 million = 97,500 new jobs). BROLL FEEDS AT 1-1:15 pm ET and 4-4:15 pm ET: Galaxy: 19 Transponder: 13 DL/Frequency: 3960 Vertical C-Band Audio 6.2/6.8

About Speed Matters and the Speed Test
Launched in September 2006, Speed Matters is a project of the Communications Workers of America. CWA launched Speed Matters to bring attention to the issue of Internet connectivity and to encourage elected officials to implement policies that will guarantee every American access to all of the promises of the Information Age.

To report the real-time connection speed, the Speed Test sends an HTTP request to the nearest server and measures the time that it takes to receive a response. The test does not measure the actual transfer speed of a file over the Internet; uncontrolled variables, such as the content provider's server load and bandwidth, would interfere with accurate data collection. Information included in the report is based on data gathered from May 2008 to May 2009.

About the Communications Workers of America
The Communications Workers of America represents more than 700,000 workers employed in telecommunications, the media, public sector, manufacturing, health care and airlines.
Web Analytics