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Old 03-12-2009, 11:50 AM   #1
Rob Williams
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Atlantic Canada
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Default Why is North America Lagging in Internet Speed?

From our front-page news:
When it comes to broadband in North America, it's easy to become envious of other parts of the world, where 10Mbit/s connections are laughed at. ISPs in Japan, for example, offer a 150Mbit/s service for only $60. In the US, it would cost you between $90 - $150 for a 50Mbit/s service. Or in another example, you can score an 8Mbit/s service in London for $9 a month, while in New York, a 1Mbit/s service would cost you $20. These are not small differences, so what's going on?

A blog at the New York Times tries to tackle the issue, but I'm not quite sure the answer is clear-cut. One fact pointed out is that DSL is still ultra-popular overseas, and recent iterations of the technology now allow up to 100Mbit/s speeds, which is mind-blowing. When I first got DSL in 1999, the limit was 3Mbit/s, and I thought that was the theoretical limit. I guess I was wrong.

With DSL, the closer you are to the phone company, the faster your speeds. Since many stations are placed in large but dense neighborhoods, many more are experiencing great speeds... speeds that we could only dream about. That and other facts don't really answer the question of why North American's get gipped though. We are so technologically advanced, but when it comes to broadband, it's sure hard to believe that.

Even without any change in government policies, Internet speeds in the United States are getting faster. Verizon is wiring half its territory with its FiOS service, which strings fiber optic cable to people’s homes. FiOS now offers 50 Mbps service and has the capacity to offer much faster speeds. As of the end of 2008, 4.1 million homes in the United States had fiber service, which puts the United States right behind Japan, which has brought fiber directly to 8.2 million homes

Source: New York Times Bits Blog
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