Akamai is in a unique position to judge actual broadband speeds around the world. Its latest “state of the Internet” report says that the U.S. is continuing to fall behind.
BroadbandBreakfast‘s takeaway is:
…Only 25% of the US has access to a connection above 5Mbps.
The fastest city in the world is Masan, South Korea which has an average Maximum Connection speed of 40.56Mbps; the first showing of the United States is at number 57 with Monterey Park, CA with a speed of 25.2Mbps.
When looking at the average connection speeds the United States again lags behind the rest of the world. Monterey Park, CA having the fastest connection again possesses the fastest average connection of just 7Mbps.
Within the United States, Delaware boasts the fastest average measured connection speed of 7.6Mbps, with the District of Columbia being the next fastest with a speed of 5.9Mbps. The slowest states in the nation are Alaska and New Jersey.
Doc Searls has a different take-away. He notes that Akamai only reports on download speeds, not uploads, because Akamai is among the set of institutions â€” which includes the U.S. access providers and, alas, too much of our government â€” that thinks the Net is primarily for the passive consumption of content. Doc has written about this here (and I recommend the discussion in the comments as well).
Meanwhile, as a single data point that proves nothing, but does let me vent: Our daughter is moving into an apartment in Brighton, Mass. The landlord has done a deal that gives Comcast exclusive rights to provide Internet access, freezing out Verizon and RCN, both of which are available next door. So, we’ve been looking at Comcast’s service plans. Herewith a rant:
My daughter only wants Net access, not TV or landline, but Comcast makes it as hard as possible to buy unbundled service. E.g., across the page of Comcast service offerings are four tabs: Net, TV, Phone, Bundles. We are on the Net page. But, guess what? All of the offers on that page turn out to be for bundles. There is functionally no way to buy unbundled Internet service from Comcast over the Net. Or, if there is, they’ve successfully hidden it. Well done!
The Comcast Web site is a mess. On the same page (here, but I had to go through an address verification to get there) the same offer â€” “Performance” â€” is listed twice, at different prices. Further, the service description notes “This special price is for customers who currently subscribe to Comcast Cable or Comcast Digital VoiceÂ® service,” but the Terms and Conditions make no mention of that. Further, there is no information about what the price would be for non-subscribers and people who don’t want to buy a bundle.
A long phone call revealed that the price for “Performance” is about $60/month for 15mbps down and 3mbps up. (Of course, those are maximums; there is no guarantee of what actual speeds will be if, say, there are “broadband hogs” â€” i.e., people who use more of what they’ve paid for than Comcast wants). My daughter would prefer to pay less for a lower broadband rate, but the only lower offer is for a tenth of the capacity â€” they call it “Economy” but they ought to rename it “The Email Package” â€” which is too little for her needs.
The landlord’s exclusivity deal has locked out competition, but Comcast’s pricing, packages, and anti-user Web site are its responsibility.