U.S. broadband is thirty times slower than Japan’s.  If American speeds keep growing as slowly as they are now, it will take the U.S. 100 years to reach Japan’s current level, according to the Communications Workers of America’s second annual Speed Matters survey. “The United States has not made significant improvement in the speeds at which residents connect to the Internet. Our nation continues to fall far behind other

countries.”

The median download speed in the U.S. was 2.3 megabits per second (mbps), while the average speed was 4.9 mbps. U.S. speed only grew 0.4 mbps from 1.9 in 2007.

Japan, on the other hand, averages 63.6 mbps.

In terms of broadband speed, the U.S. is 15th on the list of industrialized nations, according to a May 2008 study by The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. Ranking ahead of the U.S. were (rated in download megabits per second):

1. Japan, 63.6
2. South Korea, 49.5
3. Finland, 21.7
4. France, 17.6
5. Sweden, 16.8
6. The Netherlands, 8.8
7. Portugal, 8.1
8. Poland, 7.9
9. Norway, 7.7
10. Canada, 7.6
11. Austria, 7.2
12. Belgium, 6.3
13. Iceland, 6.1
14. Germany, 6.0

About 15 percent of Americans still use dial-up internet connections. As most of these connections were too slow to participate in the survey, CWA believes that the average American internet connection is much slower than its survey indicates.

The CWA believes that internet speed is vital to our economic growth. “It determines whether we will have the 21st century networks we need to create the jobs of the future, develop our economy, and support innovations in telemedicine, education, public safety, and public services to improve our lives and communities.”

“Governmental action — in partnership with the private sector — is essential to stimulate broadband investment and adoption.”

By Mark Alvarez