That is an interesting source for this data. The site the newspaper grabbed the statistics from is a website that runs speed tests, and the site itself exists solely to promote higher internet speeds for the US. OECD and others have published different numbers, but whatever the precise number the general fact / trends remains the same. The US is falling further behind every year. The findings for this article are from this year.
There are good reasons for some of the discrepancy, such as Japan's very dense population levels per square mile making it affordable to roll out fiber to the masses. Still, its the sad truth much of rural America is lucky to even get the choice to use a basic tier DSL service at a high cost.
I don't see DOCSIS changing anything, we had the technology with DOCSIS 1.1 to roll out much higher speed cable tiers than was offered. I'm next door to Comcast (Using TWC) and the modem I am on supports DOCSIS 1.1 / 2.0. Yet after looking at the speeds they provide they are not even using speeds that require DOCSIS 2.0 so there's no point in Time Warner rolling out 3.0 modems. For example your speed of 22mbps is supported by DOCSIS 1.1 spec, so I don't see what the big deal with about new DOCSIS specs is? DOCSIS 1.1 is supposed to give a usable 38mbits down and 9 up, 2.0 takes that to 27mbits upstream. TWC only recently upgraded my tier to 15/2mbps service, and the faster tiers they introduced are going to cost in the triple digits per month.
The potential is there for the US to be significantly higher, but not at the current costs and roll out of infrastructure. Heck, I still see 56K service being advertised during the evening news... groups like Netzero wouldn't be dumping money on commercials for the past year if they weren't getting customers from it.
Lastly, and something not really mentioned, is that the US is falling further behind. In 2007 OECD ranked the US 14th in broadband speeds, in 2008 that fell to 24th if I am reading the correct charts. If small scale fibre deployments aren't going to change the numbers then a small speed boost on cable tiers isn't going to help much either.
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Last edited by Kougar; 09-02-2009 at 05:18 PM.