USA Internet Speeds Triple
USA Internet Speeds Triple; Still Lag Other Countries
You may have noticed that your home or business internet speed has accelerated in the last few years. It probably has a long way to go before it’s all it should be, though.
According to the Federal Communications Commission, average broadband download speeds in the USA tripled between March 2011 and 2014, from 10 megabits per second (10 MB/S) to 31 MB/S. By most measures, this would have to be considered dramatic improvement. The average here is well behind what’s typical for other countries, however. The FCC says that America ranked 25th out of 39 countries in 2013.
The top three are South Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan, though Hong Kong isn’t really a country. The European country with the fastest average internet speed is Sweden. Our neighbor to the north, Canada, is well ahead of us.
The FCC says the biggest reason for America’s relatively weak performance is gaps in technology. Cable hardware has improved dramatically of late. Google Fiber, AT&T U-Verse, and other gigabit-speed services have pushed the peak performance of some providers. The ultra-high-speed services, though are concentrated in a few urban markets, and some are available only in select neighborhoods. DSL and some other internet services, meanwhile, have stagnated. Very few DSL services can offer speeds above 12 MB/S, and many run at a fraction of this rate.
Higher speeds will be necessary- and soon. Over 60% of internet traffic is the viewing or downloading of video, which consumes huge amounts of bandwidth. By 2019, video streaming could account for more than 80% of all internet use. With High Dynamic Range (HDR), 4K, and other data-intensive video platforms becoming more popular, most of us will need much more speed than we’re getting now. This isn’t taking into account Virtual Reality, which is even more data-intensive than 4k. If VR is to become a standard platform for training or remote manufacturing, the USA must have far faster data transfer speeds than we have now.
Some providers are doing everything they can to make sure their web systems are adequate for expected needs. This will take substantial effort, investment, and time, though.
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