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The U.S. Falling Behind In Broadband?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the more-like-fallen dept.

161

prostoalex writes "Michael J. Copps of the FCC has published a column in the Washington Post describing the United States' Internet disconnect as far as broadband: 'The United States is 15th in the world in broadband penetration, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). When the ITU measured a broader digital opportunity index (considering price and other factors) we were 21st — right after Estonia. Asian and European customers get home connections of 25 to 100 megabits per second (fast enough to stream high-definition video). Here, we pay almost twice as much for connections that are one-twentieth the speed.' To be fair in comparison, USA is 2nd in the world as far as number of broadband lines installed."

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Hey there Chicken Little! (4, Interesting)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788797)

Help, help ... the sky is falling! Oops, sorry ... same plot, wrong story.

Seriously though, the author completely ignores the vast geographic differences between the US and other industrialized country when categorizing the US as falling behind in broadband acceptance. The US has an average population density of ~30 people per square km, industrialized Europe's is ~100, while Japan's is 336. The higher the population density, the less cable is needed (and hence, the lower the cost) to provide broadband to all these people.

In addition, the US is HIGHLY suburban, with the vast majority of broadband users living in sprawling neighborhoods with relatively large amounts of land (e.g. 1/4 to 1/2 acre+). Compare this to Europe/Japan, where a larger proportion of broadband users (and the population) live in densely populated cities. As an example, I live in a typical suburban U.S. neighborhood where almost everyone has broadband. To hit every one of the 100 homes, it would take 1.3 to 2.6 miles of cable (depending on cable location). In a European city, this same amount of cable could easily cover 2-10X the # of families living in typical apartments/condos.

Also, I don't see how large-scale adoptance of broadband in the US would help the economy by the stated $500Billion (a whopping 5% of GDP). The only people I know who don't have broadband either: don't own a computer (lack of money, interest, or live on a farm), are worried about their kids hitting the porn sites, or are grandparent types who just have no clue what the internet is and have no desire to learn. If we got all these people surfing online watching YouTube videos, searching for nudie pics, playing solitaire, and creating myspace pages, how would the economy grow by 5%?

shameless (4, Funny)

BortQ (468164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788803)

Michael J. Copps is nothing but a faker.

Umm, can anyone say "Land area"? (2, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788813)

Seriously - it's much easier to wire-up a nation with less square mileage, no? It's a question of logistics.

Now someone like, say, China or Russia having incredibly high broadband penetration? That would be damned impressive.

/P

What? No chart? (4, Informative)

Pink_Ranger (1024741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788821)

Not only does the article NOT have a chart, but it doesn't even bother to list who the OTHER 14 countries are?

Also, I love how they mention ESTONIA with a tone that suggests we are somehow more "backwards" for falling behind them on some list. I'd be offended if I were Estonian.

Funny how they ignore population density (0, Redundant)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788825)

Seems like every rating like this completely ignores the fact that the US has a significantly lower population density than nearly every nation above us on such lists. What's more, they also don't account for the ratio of rural to urban homes in nations.

Enough already (3, Insightful)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788827)

I am not an American, but enough already. I travel the the US a lot. There is no shortage of broadband in most areas if you want it. Not everyone wants it. I have seen enough of these stories on Slashdot (and other sites) relating to poor penetration of boradband into the US last year that if I didn't know better I'd believe they were all using 14.4K dial-up. It simply ain't so...

REALITY: Real countries invest in infrastructure (5, Interesting)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788829)

And in the 21st century, that's a bare minimum of gigapop IPv6 Internet to every home.

Just as we've fallen massively behind in scientific research (US scientists leaving to go to Singapore, only 8 percent of NIH grants accepted compared to 20 percent in 2000), so we are falling behind on every measure that dictates what a First World country is.

But, hopefully, our long national nightmare will be coming to a close. The stock market (a predictor of future investment) seems to think so.

Well, what then? (2, Insightful)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788833)

Well, what exactly can we do to turn this kind of situation around? Whine to congress to resurrect the Broadband America Bill? I don't see that happening. "Teach them telecoms a lesson by not buying it?" It'll never happen, we don't have that kind of organization and too many groups depend on what the system does provide. So what, pray tell, do we do? I've got no idea, but plenty of complaints. How about some proactive solutions?

Let us not forget... (2, Insightful)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788835)

Geographically, a single US state is as big or bigger than a lot of those countries. For example, Texas alone is 691,030 sq km, while the entire country of Japan weighs in at 377,835 sq km.

I'm sure implementing a powerful network infrastructure would be quite a lot faster, cheaper, and easier, if everyone in America lived in Texas.

Government Intervention? (3, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788849)

In how many of those countries is the government creating the broadband infrastructure, or sponsoring it in the form of direct contracts or new monopoly grants, or in the form of an existing molopoly telecommunications giant?

For the most part, the US has none of the above. Perhaps in this case the free market doesn't see sufficient justification for high-speed access to justify the costs, since people don't seem to know they can't live without such access until they first have it.

I think this is a matter best handled at the local level. Either let businesses fight it out, or, if a local community considers it a useful monetary investment, let cities sponsor the broadband infrastructure. I see nothing wrong with the government creating the networks on which commerce can be done, but because the internet is such a new commerce network (compared to, say, roads), not every community will see it in the same way.

Re:Hey there Chicken Little! (5, Insightful)

piggydoggy (804252) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788857)

To hit every one of the 100 homes, it would take 1.3 to 2.6 miles of cable (depending on cable location). In a European city, this same amount of cable could easily cover 2-10X the # of families living in typical apartments/condos.

But lower population density doesn't actually matter that much, since not only aren't there any marked differences with regards to suburbs, but because the telephone and TV cables through which to offer broadband are already installed. Few people live in ranches 30 miles from the nearest center of civilization, where the population density is pronounced and acquiring a broadband connection could actually be a problem.

We were first (2, Funny)

Loadmaster (720754) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788861)

back when the internet was considered a truck. Taking UPS and FedEx out of the equation really hurt.

2nd in Broadband installed in2Q 2006... (2, Informative)

blighter (577804) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788887)

I agree with all of the above posters' caveats about population density figuring heavily into our "lagging" broadband adoption.

I did feel that someone should point out that the graph purportedly showing us as have the 2nd highest number of broadband lines installed actually shows us as having the second highest number of broadband connections added in the 2Q of 2006.

Unless you somehow think there are only 2.5 million broadband users in the US, in which case we'd be far lower than 14 on the penetration list...

Monopoly in Areas (3, Insightful)

Jawood (1024129) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788919)

Too few of us have broadband connections, and those who do pay too much for service that is too slow

That is becuase in many areas, there is only one (i.e. local monopoly), provider of broadband. In in some cases, those providers are telling their customers that they have to pay for their other services whether their customers want them or not. In other words, they're going to charge you an extra, say, $50 a month for service that may not even want.

Government regulation is usually good for businesses because it keeps the competition away and it helps comanies keep their prices high - broadband is a fine example of this.

More useful metric? (1)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788921)

Wouldn't "gigabits per mile" make more sense as a metric to take into account how much more area there is to cover in the US veruss South Korea or Japan?

Re:Government Intervention? (5, Informative)

IWannaBeAnAC (653701) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788925)

Free market? Maybe you didn't read the article:

How have we fallen so far behind? Through lack of competition. As the Congressional Research Service puts it, U.S. consumers face a "cable and telephone broadband duopoly." And that's more like a best-case scenario: Many households are hostage to a single broadband provider, and nearly one-tenth have no broadband provider at all. For businesses, it's just as bad. The telecom merger spree has left many office buildings with a single provider -- leading to annual estimated overcharges of $8 billion.

Doesn't sound like much of a free market to me.

Hey! What the... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16788933)

As anonymous I can just post independent comments, how come replying to other people's comments has been disabled ?!? (there are _no_ reply buttons after the individual comments)

bleh (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16788939)

The only reason the US is 2nd in number of lines installed is because it's the 4th or so largest country in the world geographically. Canada and Russia, which are above it, have large chunks of tundra. With such a large area, the average population density drops way down, and you need lots more lines to connect everyone.

Disraeli had it right (2, Funny)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788941)

Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

No Excuse (5, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788945)

Every time this topic is discussed, I hear the same excuses. Mostly, people claim that the US is too large and with too many rural areas. It's a load of crap. We've paid billions subsidizing the laying of lines, more per person than numerous other countries and we still have much slower and more expensive service than those countries. Sweden has been the model of how to do this right. Despite government corruption and favoritism on par with the US, they have managed almost complete saturation, for less per-person government subsidy, and with a population density almost the same as the US.

The truth is, the US has combined the worst elements of several models. We don't have a free market to drive competition because of local telcom monopolies and failure of the FCC to enforce fair use. We don't have the benefits of central planning and widespread coverage of a socialist system, because the government just hands out money in subsidies and then does not even blink when that money does not go to the projects we were supposedly funding in the first place. So we get crappy coverage and service and high prices.

The US has high labor costs, declining manufacturing, and not a lot of unique industry. The information economy and exporting intellectual property may be our best option for maintaining a real role as an economic powerhouse. For that to happen we need two things, education, and technology. We shouldn't be 5th in broadband or 10th, we should be 1st. That two trillion dollars we blew in Iraq would have run a fiber connection and provided free internet connections to every house in the US for years to come. Heck, just the money we spent already subsidizing telecoms would have provided a fast connection to every home if we'd actually just spent it on that instead of giving it away to monopolists.

Have you seen China's network backbone diagrams? They have a beautiful three tiered full mesh that came out of a textbook. I know there is a lot of prejudice against socialist projects in the US, but we're falling behind very quickly. We either need internet and phone networks treated as a public utility and run by the government or we need to remove the local monopolies, stop politicians from taking the telecoms bribes, and have a real competitive market with equally huge subsidies given to any new players that want to build a complete competing network.

The time has come. Suck it up and invest in the future of the US with hard cash and reforms, or be left behind the rest of the world. Most Americans are blind to how some other countries are now technologically superior. How their gadgets work everywhere and are more advanced than anything sold here. his needs to be corrected now.

Depends on what you define as Broadband (1)

haplo21112 (184264) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788951)

I don't define what most of the country currently has a Broadband...10/5 and perhaps we can talk, but really we should be closer to Asian speeds.

Healthcare, poverty, why is this even an issue? (1, Interesting)

thesandbender (911391) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788955)

These type of polls really amaze me. Oh noz!!!... we're falling behind on a medium primarily used for entertainment (or worse). Seriously, who the hell cares? The information is still accessible, just not as quickly and the quality and veracity of the information (which in many cases is questionable to begin with) does not change because of the download speed. Let's worry about more important things like streamlining healthcare, reducing pollution, whirled peas, etc. and leave these types of comparisons to middle-aged under-endowed guys and their sports cars... k?

We really do suck (4, Insightful)

Ahnteis (746045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788959)

Compare us to Japan? How about to Canada. You know, that huge country just to our north with similar... well, almost everything.

An easier comparison? Compare our big cities to theirs. We still lose. By a LOT.

And then remember that WE (the tax payers) gave them $200,000,000,000 for broadband deployment.

All the population density comments (2, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788965)

So is the situation better in densely packed cities like New York? Or is the problem that the incumbent carriers are dogs in the manger?

look at population density! rural areas? (2, Interesting)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788967)

I live in a county with a population density of 71/(sq. mile) in southern indiana. my nearest neighbor is about 1/2mi away and the nearest stoplight is 12mi away.

this is common in the US, so there is no surprise that broadband penetration is like it is. it cost an absolute fortune to run the infrastructure here. the cable tv companies decided not to install in the area because everyone already has satellite. this is the most hilly part of indiana so wireless isn't a good option. cell phone reception is great, if you're with cingular so maybe you could get broadband through them, i dunno. satellite internet isn't worth the price.

seriously, whats the options?

Re:Hey there Chicken Little! (3, Informative)

erikdalen (99500) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788975)

While all of what you say is true and of course a factor. The US is still far behind for example Sweden that only has ~20 people per square km. So other factors obviously play a big role as well.

Stop whining! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16788979)

Asian and European customers get home connections of 25 to 100 megabits per second (fast enough to stream high-definition video). Here, we pay almost twice as much for connections that are one-twentieth the speed.'

Oh, c'mon! You guys get 1Mbit connections for 30 bucks/mo. In Brazil you pay more than that for a 256kbit link of poor quality. It costs something like US$35, PLUS you have to pay an extra US$10 for a useless "content provider" (it's really a tied coercive selling, allowed, or better said, enforced by the regulatory agency).

And you don't have to provide all your personal data to access the Net [slashdot.org] .

# installed means nothing, we have large populatio (2, Insightful)

marcybots (473417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16788983)

If I have a 100 million people in my country and 10% of them have broadband, that is equvalent of 100% of a country of 10 million people having broadband...that means nothing. The united states is a very large country with a very large population. As a statistics professor, Its not "being fair" to mention installed lines, thats like comparing the murder rate in a city with 10 million with 15 murders to a city with 100,000 with 10 murders and saying the city with 100,000 is safer because their are less murders 33.3% fewer murders!

Population density is not the decider (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16788987)

In their list the UK has a lower score than the US and has a much higher population density. On the other hand Canada is 6th and has a very low density with probably a larger rural population than the states. These stats are more likely to indicate relative technology takeup rates by the population in general rather than any physical limitation. If there's enough demand, companies will lay cable.

Falling behind who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16788995)

Falling behind some guy in a dark room with 1 server and 2 clients, and a network connection running faster than light!

The US is fine, though I would worry if you reach New Zealand speeds,......its scary, just look at the plans and line speeds at full! (ADSL first version)
of which most people can only get 3000kbs, and even then its all traffic shaped so you can only go @ 30 - 40KBs

wheres the optics that where install 5 years ago?

Excuse for not improving? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16788997)

Ok, so yes .. they in Europe do have an advantage over us because of their population density.

I think everyone should have access to broadband .. including those in rural areas anyway. And no playing online solitaire probably wont contribute to the economy (is that what you do?). But there are other things that might (stuff on arxiv.org, mathworld ..maybe even wikipedia etc). There's a lot to be gained from being able to easily cheaply communicate ..such as the capacity to contribute or build on others ideas. Isaac Newton said "if I have seen further than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants". How is someone to stand on the shoulders of giants without having access to the giant? Look at all the civilizations of past that thought they can rest on their laurels.

So yes, increased communication and participation will pay off. And since everyone agrees we should maintain the technology lead America worked to acheive 100 years ago it's in everyone's interest that we improve broadband access.

DUH! (1)

papaia (652949) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789009)

Old news [saschameinrath.com]
... and even older [saschameinrath.com]

Dammit (1)

dg41 (743918) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789011)

Dammit, we need to build more tubes! Now! And tubes of varying shapes and styles!

Speed and price vs. adoption rate (2, Informative)

norminator (784674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789031)

I know TFA was about the percentage of broadband users, so the responses in most of the other posts are defending the US because of the population density factor. But the question I have is whether we're falling behind, not based on the percentage of broadband connections, but on the capacity of our broadband connections? Especially in regards to the price we pay for it?

I pay $40/month for my 4Mb/300Kb connection. My city owns a network that doesn't quite extend to my corner of town (I'm one block from the edge of the network). The ISPs on that network offer up to 10Mb Up/Down for slightly less, but what are prices and speeds in other countries in the world? I've heard numbers tossed around here on Slashdot that put these to shame, but I don't know how reliable those are. So what I want to know is how does the U.S. compare when it comes to our broadband speeds and prices (for residential users, particularly)?

Clearly (1)

kirkb (158552) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789041)

Michael J. Copps is either faking it or has deliberately stopped taking his medication.

It is because we CONTROL THE INTERNET... (1)

mi (197448) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789051)

Once the control is transfered to a UN agency by the world-friendly new Congress, proliferation of broadband will immediately sky-rocket in the US.

As Borat would say: NOT!

Dense and COLD places (3, Informative)

fortinbras47 (457756) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789055)

This doesn't explain everything, but it does explain a lot. The list is available here [itu.int]

Looking at the list, you notice two trends. (1) Cold northern countries are in the top 15... Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Canada etc... (2) Smaller countries with highly dense population centers are in the top 15... Korea, Netherlands, Denmark, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Iceland (Iceland which is both cold and small is at the very top)

That said, we probably could do better with increased compensation because we're so goddamn rich, and compared to other countries on the list, we have such a low penetration of DSL.

Hey Geniuses!!! (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789063)

Might this have something to do with the fact that we have a BIGGER POPULATION than those other countries? Tell me, now... which is more expensive:

1. A country with 300,000,000 (US) people of which a percentage (likely only the middle and upper class) have broadband and all the associated infrastructure (in a country with a tanking economy)
2. A country with 130,000,000 (Japan) people of which a larger percentage (even the lower middle have more money than the middle here in the US) have broadband and all the associated infrastructure (again in a country that has a better economy than the US)

I say the loser is the US!!!

Clearly (1)

dazlari (711032) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789073)

Europe has a much more demanding pr0n industry.

Telco's are the problem (1)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789077)

Right now, the telco's own the lines and own the services. CLEC's can lease space at a huge price that does not allow true competition.

What is needed is to split the ILEC's into services, and physical infrastructure. Require the PHY telco's to build-out the rest of the network so that at least everyone can get SOME kind of DSL, and have a long term plan to migrate to fiber. The services side (telephone, ISP) would have to compete with everyone else (CLEC's) and pay the exact same amount for "colo" space at the CO.

Missing the point of the story (1)

Zabu (589690) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789093)

American's don't have high penetration of broadband because:
1.) We are more spread out than other countries
2.) Our internet is a complex series of tubes

A potentially missing explanation... (1)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789103)

... if I'm not mistaken, China may have added far more broadband lines, but those are federally funded - you know, the whole socialist thing - and heavily censored, at that.

It wouldn't surprise me if, in nearly all countries that beat the US in broadband penetration, those connections are supported much more by taxes than here in the US.

2nd in the world (2, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789105)

Yeah -- and we're also the world's third-most-populous country.

Somehow it doesn't sound nearly so comforting put that way, does it?

Telcos (1)

Daemonstar (84116) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789125)

The telcos are the biggest problem to implementing broadband. I used to work for an Internet provider in a small (read: 12k population) town, but we covered several smaller towns in the surrounding areas. The local telco switch wasn't digital, so we had to offer 33.6k dialup or wireless (no inbetween, no DSL).

So, we start looking at starting our own telco service so we can put in our own digital switch to sell DSL. You start making phone calls, spending lots of cash for all the little fees in hooking your up-and-coming CLEC to the local ILEC (Southwestern Bell), and, what do you know . . . SWB starts offering DSL in our little town of 12k people . . . before even offering DSL in a larger town (read: 100k people) that's only 50 miles away. So, all the money we spent, and all the lawyers and consultants we had to have . . . gone. The telcos fight back and kill the small business CLECs.

To demonstrate how the telcos are, I heard about a CLEC in Amarillo, Texas that had been sued by SWB. The judgement was for $12 million, I believe. The CLEC couldn't afford the entire $12mil, so they sent a check for $7mil. SWB promptly returned the check and told them that the judgement was for $12 million, not $7 million, and to send the $12 million settlement to them. Needless to say, the little CLEC didn't last long afterwards.

The telcos and those who crave power (be it executives or politicians) are the problem, not the technology.

French Provider : Free (2, Informative)

ValiSystem (845610) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789131)

Here in france, we have a wonderfull provider : Free (iliad group) Read : - Broadband connection up to 25Mb/s (depending of distance from DSLAM) - They have introduced in france the "box" concept, an adatper that do VOIP (compatible with traditional phone, at incredible prices - generally free), ethernet switch, router, and initially TV output - now TV output is on a secondary device, connected to the main (linked to the DSL line) with a MIMO wifi connection. It provides HDCP connectors and all needed for HD TV. - the TV output features : numerical hertzian TV, DSL TV, Video On Demand, records channel, record channel while watching another one (40Go integrated Hard Disk, also accessible through FTP, to put and watch a DivX on, for example) - you can watch many of TV streams on your computer through RDCP protocol - the phone system can be used with SIP exactly as if you used the phone connected to the "box" More, they have recently announced fibre channel with a 70Mb _symetric_ line. All that at the unique price of ... 30. The offer depends of the kind of connection (ADSL2+, ADSL, direct connection to free network or not, and in near future fibre channel), but it's the same price. You can have all services listed above, or a simple 8Mb/s line with VOIP.

What people don't realize... (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789133)

Is that even though the US has a low population density, the population is moving towards Urban centers rather than into the country side.

So in truth, if you just look at Urban areas, those are increasing exponentially towards higher density, while many people are moving from the rural the urban areas.

Eventually the US will have more citizens living in Urban areas in a decade or so and there will beno excuse for lack of broad band.

...It's sarcasm.. (1)

Tristanjh (1012277) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789149)

I feel so sorry for all you Americans with your crappy connections. Here in Gibraltar the highest internet connection is 512kb/s costing £75/a month($142 USD). And the line which i am on is a 256kb/s costing £45/a month ($85). Put in perspective, my friend in england gets a 24mb connection(96X faster than mine) for £24 a month($45).

Population Density (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789151)

People are saying "But we have a low population density, only 30 person per sq. km!".

Does that mean Australia's broadband penetration should be 15 times lower per capita than America's, with a population density of 2 people per sq. km.?

A good logic, but there are 1.3 million consumer broadband lines in Australia - 1 per 15 persons. The US has 69 million broadband consumers from 300 million population, 1 per 4 persons.

So all of you people whining about how it's a stupid and specious comparison on the grounds of population density, get over it - by your argument, comparing to Australia, there should be 100% saturation of broadband subscription in America.

We must not allow... a broadband gap! (1)

14erCleaner (745600) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789155)

Recalling the immortal words of General Buck Turgidson,

I mean, we must be... increasingly on the alert to prevent them from taking over other mineshaft space, in order to breed more prodigiously than we do, thus, knocking us out in superior numbers when we emerge! Mr. President, we must not allow... a mine shaft gap!

leap frog bovine porkers (1)

epine (68316) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789163)


A number of posters have mentioned the geographic factor, but I didn't see any comments about the leapfrog factor: first movers can end up looking fairly lame toward the end of an infrastructure cycle. All the same, Canada and the US entered into the internet era at the same time facing mostly the same geographic challenges, and so far as I'm aware, Canadian cities have come out ahead on the whole.

I guess the main difference is that our Canadian monopolies form an orderly, bovine progression to the feed bucket, while American monopolies body-slam their way up to the porker trough.

La France (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16789169)

Even France is kicking our ass at broadband and they got a late start to the party. Our telecom execs should be ashamed of their inability to deliver on their promises. We ponied up the tax money to them, so where the hell has it gone?

Well, duh. (4, Interesting)

crhylove (205956) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789173)

When you have a monopoly (many areas in the US have broadband monopolies), and in particular a shitty one (Cox in this case) that will turn off your internet connection for downloading a NOCD crack for a game that was LEGALLY PURCHASED (Lego Star Wars II), It makes the whole point of broadband almost moot.

I mean, even 50x more bandwidth than the pathetic 200 kb/sec I'm liable to get on a good torrent is not a lot when they are doing traffic shaping.

Now if there was a broadband offering here in San Diego County that gave true 1mb/sec downloads without traffic shaping, monitoring, shutting off the connection YOU ARE PAYING FOR, or other such shenanigans then I could reasonably recommend them to family and friends. As it stands, You might as well just use dial up, since email, google, and MySpace is all the internet is good for anyway. What good is broadband without bit torrent? Are there hundreds of uses that I'm somehow missing? Does the average person really give two shits about streaming random teenagers singing into a webcam on youtube?

The corporate stranglehold on this country is the problem. It is the terminal malignancy that we are under not just in the technology sector, but in every way that should matter to the US citizen.

Yay, we voted out the corrupt and dirty Republicans! What's that you say, the Democrats are just as sold out to corporate interests and also don't give a shit about the American populace or the concepts of civil liberty as envisioned by our forefathers? Oh, shit....

rhY

Re: potentially missing explanation... (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789197)

... if I'm not mistaken, China may have added far more broadband lines, but those are federally funded - you know, the whole socialist thing - and heavily censored, at that. It wouldn't surprise me if, in nearly all countries that beat the US in broadband penetration, those connections are supported much more by taxes than here in the US.

That might have some weight if the US had not spent over 200 billion subsidizing our broadband internet development over the last few years. The US has spent a great deal more in taxes, per person, than countries that have completely free networks via socialist programs.

Re: Hey There Chicken Little (1)

businessnerd (1009815) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789207)

But lower population density doesn't actually matter that much, since not only aren't there any marked differences with regards to suburbs, but because the telephone and TV cables through which to offer broadband are already installed. Few people live in ranches 30 miles from the nearest center of civilization, where the population density is pronounced and acquiring a broadband connection could actually be a problem.
Two problems with this argument:

1. Maintenance
Despite the fact that the infastructure is already there, there is a lot more of it to maintain, thus the higher costs.

2. Fiber Optics
Right now, the current infastructure in place (at least the older infrastructure) is limited in its broadband capacity. POTS lines can only give you so many megabits per second. Cable TV lines can do a lot better, but are still capped. In order to get to where the broadband leaders are, you need to replace all of the old infrastructure with fiber optics. You can't get Gigabit to the home with the current lines, so you need to put in something that can. That is currently what Verizon and the cable providers are trying to do right now, mainly so that the telcos can offer triple play services just like the cable companies, only a hell of a lot faster. This has been slow, though, and it will be some time until the US can compete with the numbers of the broadband leaders.

And what we do have needs help... (2, Informative)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789221)

Verizon put a fiber optic cable (FIOS) through my front yard last year. Have I switched from my 1.5mbps DSL? No. Why not? Several reasons:

-They barely seem capable of managing the DSL, which they have had for several years. Seriously, the DNS seems to go down every hour, combined with other, more mysterious outages, making an often frustrating experience. I can't help but think that a newer system would just confuse them more.

-I rarely even get the 1.5mbps from whatever site I'm viewing (their upload speed apparently, as other downloads seem unaffected). Very few things I download really need more speed anyway. In a year or two, or whenever Verizon gets their video service working this probably won't be accurate. And I don't want the wife downloading from E-bay, Amazon, and QVC any faster than she already is.

-Installation seems like a pain in the a**. They set up an ethernet router next to where the phone box is, and then I get to string ethernet cable across the house to where my computer is, or set up wi-fi (which I don't want to do). My computer is currently right next to the DSL modem. There's not yet sufficient incentive to bother.

I see I've drifted off my point, which was going to be that they (well, at least Verizon) need to do a better job of setting up their current infrastructure if they want to be able to handle more customers, and keep their current ones. I hear a lot of complaints about cable TV access too. Do they have similar problems in Europe and Japan? The article mentions we pay about twice as much for a connection, but didn't offer any numbers. I'm paying about US$30 for my DSL. How much do people pay in other countries?

Where'd the comment reply link go? (1)

Yez70 (924200) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789231)

Is it just me or is the option to reply to a comment gone?

Firefox 1.5.08 here...

traveled the world and seen for myself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16789245)

I'm an American (please stop cursing at me; it's not my fault) and my girfriend is Hungarian. I have friends in Norway, Scotland, German, and Chech Republic. I've been to most of these places myself, and more. Guess what... Our stuff here is dismal compared to that of most of the '1st world' contries! My girl gets 10mbs to the home, and NO, she doesn't live in Budepest, or even close.

I'm all for open market competition as it brings great advances. The downside is the plethera of 'standards' (I've never seen this term so mis-used before). In many countries, the government tech body (FCC) chooses the best standard, maybe thwe second best, based on bribes, and every one uses that one standard and makes the best of it. Seems to work better, especially in their cell phones, but also in broadband.

You think that's bad? Try Australia (2, Informative)

Beefysworld (1005767) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789257)

If you think that things are falling behind in the US, take a look at Australia. We pay three times as much for a slower connection that has monthly data limits (in most cases). Most normal ADSL connections are limited to 1500kbps/256kbps, and limit your bandwidth after you've downloaded a certain amount of data. ISPs and telcos are slowly rolling out their own DSLAMS for ADSL2+ (which will offer a theoretical speed of 24Mbps), but once you get outside of the heavily populated areas, you're stuck paying a fortune for slower, limited internet access. Naturally, I could go on to blame Telstra (Australia's major telco) for the lapse in technology and affordability, but there's a whole political side to it as well. Maybe one day we'll at least catch up to other parts of the world in terms of broadband capabilities. However, until then, Australia isn't falling behind. It's holding the rest of the modern world up from the bottom.

however... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16789271)

The US is probably first when it comes to penetration on broadband.

Size matters not! (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789273)

Obviously those Americans who are yelling "but we have more land to cover" have a point. But it's not, I think, a very good one. If something is going to get done, it's going to get done- especially with the enormous volume of cable already laid for cable TV and telephone service. The real problem is not land area- it is corprate mentality.

Re: Hey there Chicken Little (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789277)

"But lower population density doesn't actually matter that much, since not only aren't there any marked differences with regards to suburbs, but because the telephone and TV cables through which to offer broadband are already installed. Few people live in ranches 30 miles from the nearest center of civilization, where the population density is pronounced and acquiring a broadband connection could actually be a problem."

So there's urban, suburbs, and ranches 30 miles from anywhere?

I live in a town of 6,000 people. It got broadband a little over two years ago. There are another 20,000 people in low-density areas around this town with no broadband access. Towns of several hundred people, communities, homes a quarter mile apart. In fact, that pretty much describes all of east Texas and most of the south...it's a nightmare to deliver broadband to *most* of the population down here.

Here (1)

Viriatus (886319) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789285)

in Portugal you can have a maximum speed of 24Mb. I have a 2Mb ADSL line and pay 23,9 a month.

An honest question (1)

IronChef (164482) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789303)

I'm not disagreeing with anything you have said. Broadband sucks in the US and getting bigger intertron tubes is one of the few things I'd even like to pay taxes for. I'm practically waiting with a plate of cookies for the Verizon fiber truck to come to my street.

But in those countries with cheap ubiquitous super-fast broadband... what can they do that we can't? OK, hi-def TV streaming is possible with high speed. But is that actually a product they can purchase?

What are they doing with their fat pipes besides doing the same old stuff faster? I assume that it must enable new types of businesses, but besides video delivery I don't know what they are. I'm honestly curious about what I am missing besides a smaller broadband bill and faster torrenting.

Re: Hey There Chicken Little! (1)

TranscendentalAnarch (1005937) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789325)

Nevermind that even in some of the most highly populated areas in the United States, you still can't get a broadband line at speeds anywhere near what is mentioned in the article.

Even if you're lucky enough to be in areas that Verizon sells Fios in(a very small area), to get speed close to 25-100mbps you have to pay $180 a month (for 30mbps/5mbps), which is absolutely ridiculous.

Operation Estonian Freedom (2, Funny)

Hazrek (900706) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789327)

Clearly, we must force a regime change in Estonia before the Axis of Evil can harness their mighty broadband penetration to further their goals of nuclear proliferation, uncle abuse, and dog hickies.

Re:No Excuse (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16789361)

Sweden is one of the least corrupted countries in the world after Finland. The United States is way down in the Transparency International index...

Speakeasy (1)

chaffed (672859) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789371)

This has been on my mind for some time now. I'm now at the limit of what Speakeasy can offer with their ADSL service, 7Mbs/768Kbps. While this is good enough for my current needs, I do not have room to grow as I add IP based services.

I recently had an email exchange with Speakeasy and they do not plan to invest in new technologies to either replace their ADSL offering or upgrade it. Also, WiMax will not be deployed beyond downtown Seattle. Speakeasy, are you looking to be bought out?

If Speakeasy dies or becomes out moded then what options will I have? Comcast or Verizon... Nice choice.

As an aside, same argument here. Look at population density. It costs more per drop in most of our country than any other. However that is still not an excuse for the sad state of broadband offerings in major metro areas.

Penetration, you say? (1)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789401)

(Americans) may be 15th in the world in broadband penetration
You know, that is probably the first good explanation I've heard for why everyone drives such large cars.

Bandwidth in Europe (1)

mikkelm (1000451) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789403)

These stories are always accompanied by glorious tales of the 100Mbit FTTH connections that are apparently installed in every home in Europe. This is far from the truth. I'm paying $65 USD for a 4Mbit/386kbit connection here in Denmark, just like the the average person anywhere else.

and what do you do with all that speed? (1)

briancnorton (586947) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789415)

I was in France recently and saw an add for 28mpbs ADSL2, HDTV w/tivo, and telephone service with free calls in France and to 28 countries, $37 USD/mo. Awesome.

I like the price, but then realized that if I have HDTV and Tivo, what do I do with 28mbps internet? What do i do with the 768k that I have now? (note: I have DSL ONLY because it is literally cheaper than dial-up) I read Slashdot, Play Kingdom Of Loathing, and do research (reading) for work. (12mbps for 5,000 people in the office)

What the hell do I do with the other 27.99999mbps? I'm certainly not going to stream in more TV if I already get HDTV and Tivo with this package.

More is Better (tm)? (1)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789479)

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that having the option to -get- broadband isn't better, and I'm also not saying that we shouldn't encourage people to -get- higher speed broadband if it helps make it more widely available.......
..... but aren't we all looking at this the wrong way? The problem isn't that there isn't bandwidth, the problem is more "what are the average people DOING with the bandwidth"? Sure, tech savvy consumers are out downloading music, movies, pr0n, etc, but the -majority- of the people in the rural US, on average, seem to have difficulty with the mysteries of minesweeper, much less worrying about if they can download 24mb/sec. I'd be very interested to see statistics on technology adoption correlated against these numbers rather than drawing conclusions based on one specific measuring stick.

Re:traveled the world and seen for myself (1)

ogrizzo (23524) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789503)

In many countries, the government tech body (FCC) chooses the best standard, maybe thwe second best, based on bribes, and every one uses that one standard and makes the best of it. Seems to work better, especially in their cell phones
At least in the cell phone case, the whole world decided on a standard. Only one country didn't follow the others: guess which?

on population densities (1)

jaydonnell (648194) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789509)

"Seriously though, the author completely ignores the vast geographic differences between the US and other industrialized country when categorizing the US as falling behind in broadband acceptance."

And you completely ignore the fact that L.A. and NY are also way behind these other countries but have similar population densities.

It's not exclusively population density (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789511)

Seriously though, the author completely ignores the vast geographic differences between the US and other industrialized country when categorizing the US as falling behind in broadband acceptance. The US has an average population density of ~30 people per square km, industrialized Europe's is ~100, while Japan's is 336. The higher the population density, the less cable is needed (and hence, the lower the cost) to provide broadband to all these people.

I used to think the same- until I went looking for broadband in Boston, looking for a place to rent. Here's a general description of how it goes.

Verizon has rolled our FiOS in almost every suburban neighborhood in Eastern Massachusets with a decent average per-household income, but nowhere in Boston or surrounding neighborhoods. Newton, in fact, is the closest city to Boston which has FiOS. Alston, Brighton, Boston, Cambridge, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Somerville, Watertown...the list goes on. None of these places have FiOS. These places have relatively high population density, and some of them have enormous $/household income levels. A few state legislators have made noise about it- accusing Verizon of getting all the benefits of being a public utility, but discriminating in how it rolls out its services. Verizon's official line is that it is "easier" to work in the Suburbs; possibly true, but in the city, you have 10-50 times the customers for any given block; even if you have to hire 2x the crews to finish the job faster, hire police details, pull more permits...you'd still make your money back faster. I am convinced that what Verizon is terrified of is that one person in a building will buy FiOS, and then share it wirelessly or with ethernet runs to everyone else. 10mbit down and several mbit up goes a LONG way for a lot of home users...and it is pretty cheap, too...$30-40/month.

The towns that do are all outside, or inside-but-very-close-to, the 128 corridor. Meanwhile, Verizon MIGHT offer DSL service if you're not a)too far from a CO which is b)actually wired for DSL which c)Verizon has decided to offer something better than 1mbit down and 128kbit (YES, 128KBIT!) up...or sDSL service, which costs an arm and a leg...

Up until recently, Verizon wouldn't even offer ANY DSL services where Comcast operated; comcast's service costs a minimum of $40-50/month, and it's more expensive if you chose not to also get basic cable.

Re:Hey there Chicken Little! (1)

TrappedByMyself (861094) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789517)

but because the telephone and TV cables through which to offer broadband are already installed

So you're saying that distance has no effect on the availability of DSL, for example, through an existing phone line?
Umm...ok

Should be further along (1)

slapout (93640) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789519)

"Seriously though, the author completely ignores the vast geographic differences between the US and other industrialized country when categorizing the US as falling behind in broadband acceptance. The US has an average population density of ~30 people per square km, industrialized Europe's is ~100, while Japan's is 336. The higher the population density, the less cable is needed (and hence, the lower the cost) to provide broadband to all these people. "

I agree. But the communications companies have had enough time to expand the system further than they have. It's been ten years and I'm still waiting for broadband to reach my area.

Re:Hey there Chicken Little! (1)

Vicissidude (878310) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789527)

That money figure must be the economic estimate for computer repair shops milking users for the cost of removing spyware because US broadband companies don't configure hardware firewalls with their broadband connections.

Australia on the list? I dont think so! (1)

Supreme_101 (996722) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789631)

psh, the usa shouldnt complain about having crappy internet speeds - Australia didnt make this list because well, the services provided, lets just say arent up to par. but it is correct, it is population density that is the issue here. i live about 500km's west of sydney, i guess you could call it the country, and i work with a lot of people out of town trying to access the internet. the majority of the time, they are stuck on dialup because they are too far from the exchange, and yet are still too close to town to recieve a government subsidy to have satellite internet installed on their farms.

When everyone gets to go back to dialup again, let me know how you feel, because there are hundreds of thousands of people here that are still unable to get even basic adsl (512/256). And the prices? Well lets put it this way - if population density = low, then price = high as hell

Re:Government Intervention? (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789655)

Re: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=205797&cid=167 88925 [slashdot.org]
Free market? Maybe you didn't read the article:
        How have we fallen so far behind? Through lack of competition. As the Congressional Research Service puts it, U.S. consumers face a "cable and telephone broadband duopoly." And that's more like a best-case scenario: Many households are hostage to a single broadband provider, and nearly one-tenth have no broadband provider at all. For businesses, it's just as bad. The telecom merger spree has left many office buildings with a single provider -- leading to annual estimated overcharges of $8 billion.
Doesn't sound like much of a free market to me.


No, that's a free market. Those companies aren't a government-mandated duopoly in many cases. In some they are, but in many another vendor could enter the market what with satellite broadband, phone network deregulation, or just walking up to a city and offering cash to build a fiber network.

I think what you don't understand is that, left to its own devices, the free market will often devolve to a duopoly. Monopolies get caught and shut down by the government, but duopolies can survive indefinitely, sharing and reaping in the profits. This is especially true in markets where there is a high barrier to entry, such as broadband. If a third company came into my town and tried to pull fiber for a new network, I'd be somewhat happy. If a fourth came into town, I'd fight it because I wouldn't want construction crews tearing up my streets again. Plus the cost recovery time goes town for each new market entry.

In other words, a market can be free and still be bad for consumers. Somehow libertarians get that wrong all the time. Hence, I'd be happy if my city just pulled fiber once, let any company provide service over it, and enjoy a thriving service-oriented marketplace. I'd even be willing to ban the city from providing any of its own services; it just provides the wires.

Low population density? Don't make me laugh (1)

vidarh (309115) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789697)

Broadband availability and offerings is worse in the US than even countries like Norway, with a population density of 14 people per square kilometer (less than half that of the US), just as with cellphone coverage...

Re:Well, duh. (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789701)

What's that you say, the Democrats are just as sold out to corporate interests

The Democrats aren't perfect, but a HELL of a long way from being as pro-corporate as the Republicans. I can't even guess what imaginary world you live in, that could possibly look like the Democrats are remotely as bad as the Republicans, on this issue.

It isn't the Democrats always pushing for "tort reform" (codeword for eliminating your right to sue business). It isn't the Democrats that have been rubber-stamping every monopoly-creating merger in the past several years. etc.

Urban Broadband (1)

Diagoras of Melos (1025279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789715)

A better comparison would be to determine which country is the best wired for broadband among regions of similar population density. In that department, I'm very confident that the US still is not in the top ten. I live in Manhattan. I can get 768 kbps DSL and that's it. Many places can get 6.5 Mbps DSL, or they can get so-called cable, which degrades at times of high usage. Compared to what's available in Sweden or Korea or even Estonia, it's a joke.

And like most bad jokes, it won't end nearly soon enough. No one in government is so much as contemplating forcing the telecoms to adopt even 1990's technology, much less 21st century.

Re:Enough already (2, Interesting)

Rick17JJ (744063) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789753)

I live in Arizona and for years have been trying to get a high-speed Internet connection, but only 26.4 K dial-up was available. Last week DSL finally became available from the telephone company and I am now enjoying my new 1.5 Mbs DSL connection. It is a wonderful improvement over 26.4K dial-up. In my neighborhood, 56K modems had only been able to connect at 26.4K and DSL was not available. I had not been able to get either cable or DSL even though I have had to watch their advertisements for both products on TV.

On several occasions, I tried to order a 256K high-speed wireless connection from a local Internet provider, but according to their computer reception would not be possible at my address. I mentioned that my neighbor 50 feet away has one of their antennas on his roof and is successfully connected, but she was still reluctant to send someone to my address. My roof has just as good of a view of the nearby hilltops as his, but after several telephone calls and a couple of months time, they never did send anyone out to check. Fortunately, DSL finally became available instead so and last week several of my neighbors and I are now celebrating our new high-speed Internet connections.

I live in a city of about 50,000 people, not in a rural area, so I don't really understand what the problem was. From where I live, I look outside and can see nearby an airport, a private University, a hospital, a shopping center, and a golf course with an expensive gated community nearby. I am not a rural customer out in the middle of nowhere.

Over the last few years I have taken several computer courses at a Junior College, in which part of the study material was offered on-line. I had choose between downloading the graphics intense study material or driving over to the college which, fortunately, was only several miles away.

5% gpp? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16789755)

Because people would buy that much more porn, thats why!

RE: Where'd the comment reply link go? (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789757)

If you read the earlier story, it was disabled for today as they run a fix to the MySQL database to fix a problem where a value in a table was not the correct type (Read: It could not grow as large as the database had grown)

So long as we are ahead of Elbonia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16789869)

I'd hate for Elbonia to have better broadband - Dilbert & Dogbert would be sorely missed ;-)

Rural? (2, Insightful)

vidarh (309115) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789879)

I live in a county with a population density of 71/(sq. mile) in southern indiana. my nearest neighbor is about 1/2mi away and the nearest stoplight is 12mi away.

That works out to ca 27 people per square kilometre, or about TWICE the density of Norway - a country with broadband offerings that are far better than most of the US...

Americans tend to compare USA to densely populated Central European nations to complain about how rural the US is whenever cellphone coverage, broadband or public transport is brought up. But there appears to be a tendency to ignore the fact that this somehow isn't an issue for Norway, Sweden etc. that have far lower population densities.

In fact, only 12 US states have population densities below that of Norway, and their total population is about 17 million.

Second? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 7 years ago | (#16790013)

Well,

sure, China is #1 with a populatin of 1.2 Billion and
USA is #2 with a population of 270 Million .... But that is missleading as the 1st post / insightfull rating of: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=205797&cid=167 88797 [slashdot.org]

Truth is: the figures and situation is: BROADBAND LINES ADDED not the EXISTING ones.
ADDED in the US got 2.5 million new broadband lines. (with 270 million inhabitants)
ADDED in france + germany + UK got .... 2.5 million lines (with about 190 million inhabitants)

So: per million inhabitants the growth in EU is much bigger (as I only counted 3 countries nad not all of thema anyway).

More important: the complete issue is a fake big time. Who cares what the growth rate is? In the EU the broadband coverage is now in the range of 90% of all inhabitants. Our growth rate will sink, big time even. The coverage in USA is what? 40%? Of course the growth rate will increase. How is it in China? Probably 1%? Every new installed broadband connection in China will give a new kick to the "growth"!!

angel'o'sphere

free broadband for all will spur major growth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16790029)

let's face it, the broadband dualopoly is america's mediocracy at it's best. My major complaint is speed. Uploading rates are minimized to prevent you from offering services on your homepc, this is a major bottleneck in network based applications and with the popularity of virtual appliances and the proven vitality of the internet to spur inovation, there is little room for error. The usa is going in the wrong direction by allowing expensive/mediocre service and behind it is multiple interest at stakes, telco's cable companies, brick and morter business realestate and yes finally the consumer pc market. imagine everyone having highspeed up/down access and virtual appliances running many things, little need to upgrade, eh? the embedded appliance market has yet to really take off in consumer offerings, except cell phones, which is far from ideal, just imagine having a free third-pipe highspeed would do for embedded devices other than cell phones. Bottom line is 9/11 was not only a wakeup call, but a forward looking statement of the problems of a market-driven economy as opposed to a free market economy. Cut out the politics and you have a free economy. "fighting for air", is a good take on the why. a politically driven market-economy is on it's last leg, i imagine as long as the democrats don't do something about alternatives, i'll have to go back to my own new party, the "red-dog demmy's"

Why? (1)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 7 years ago | (#16790039)

I have 2mbps ADSL and multiple 3G connections in Greece, and I see Americans, inhabitants of USA, the world's only hyperpower, complaining that they only had 20kbps dialup in Arizona. Why?

Why is broadband not ubiquitous in the most powerful country of the world?

The sky is falling! (0, Flamebait)

Gordo_1 (256312) | more than 7 years ago | (#16790137)

This is such BS. Who cares if the US is 180th in the world in broadband adoption? It's as if broadband adoption is some kind of bellwether for thought leadership or cultural hegemony.

What is broadband good for? Porn, Youtube videos, on-demand porn, downloading copyright music and movies via bittorrent, gaming and porn. Did I happen to mention porn?

In a matter of minutes on a mere 56k modem, you can download more historic literary works, scientific discourse, political bills, candidate voting records and world news than you can possibly ever read through in a month. Aside from the convenience of serving our 'gotta have it now' sensibilities, what tangible benefit is it that 'broadband to every home' really delivers, other than a medium through which the latest pop culture crap can be shoved down our throats?

Re:Hey there Chicken Little! (1)

killbill! (154539) | more than 7 years ago | (#16790143)

Nonsense. The density argument is worthless. Yes, the average density is lower. But it's only because there's much more empty land between cities. Now, please explain why broadband sucks so much in NYC or Chicago, when I can get 24 Mb/s + TV + VOIP for 25 EUR a month in the boonies in France.

The truth is that there is no real competition in the US, whereas all it took in France was a very aggressive competitor that forced all the old national carriers to compete, or die. And before you ask, yes, it built its own network on its own dime.

Population Density (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16790147)

Population Density is the main problem - NO not slow thinking citizens.... people per square mile over the entire country. It would be interesting to take areas of the US with population density comparable to Europe and compare the accessibility of broadband in THOSE areas specifically.

Ppffffttt....Falling behind? (2, Interesting)

blankoboy (719577) | more than 7 years ago | (#16790195)

The US isn't even in the same race. I've been on 100MB FTTH here in Tokyo for the last 3 years (25MB ADSL before that). Included with it I get IP telephony services which allow for very cheap international calling rates (I do use SkypeOut instead though) and also free domestic calls to other IP Tel users). I also get TV over IP with a variety of foreign and domestic stations. All the above for about $45US/month, no capping/limits. Eat that Uncle Sam. They need to clean up the corruption in the US Telecoms industry bigtime. There is no reason why the US cannot have comparable services.

Re:You think that's bad? Try Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16790229)

And how.

Actually you can blame Telstra. :)

Its the fact that they are cheap and installed a very poor copper network across the country that makes half of it so crap. The other half is population density is Australia is virtually non-existant.

Subexchanges and RIMs are the bane of Telstra - these devices fuck over competitors because the fibre Telstra can lay to these, and then lay copper is so much cheaper than building another exchange.

Re:Hey there Chicken Little! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16790251)

If we apply your "logic", then we should be paying 40 times more for electricity than the Japanese. There are other explanations. You might want to check out the $29 million that Time Warner spent on lobbyists. Or $53 million from AT&T. Or $58 million from SBC.

Broadband connectivity should be regulated in the public sector like other essential services.

Michael Powell's push for deregulation in the communication sector started a consolidation of power that seriously weakened our ability to be competitive. The lack of low cost broadband is already impacting national commerce. Considering the increasing role that communication plays in national security, there is even a very real case to have federally funded broadband.

It's not Chicken Little my friend. When you pay for broadband in this country, all you get is a big fat turkey!

bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16790345)

WTF do you expect when the only first world country with a builtup infrastructure entirely unaffected by war(s) has overall lower broadband bandwidth rates?! It's not like the US had the fuc k bombed out of the country ever and had to replace evrything from scratch(hmm... wonder who would subsidize that?)

Living in the, now, people's fucked up democratic republic of self-congratulatory self-serving assholes intent upon congratulating themselves with excessive taxation in the U.S.(to pay for all the "free" goodies promised) I, currently(expecting it to be taxed away soon in the interests of the socialist utopia & wetback union) have 6Mbps up/2Mbps down. IF Verizon survives the marxists(ultra left democrats) currently elected, I hope to have nearly unlimited bandwidth within 2y courtesy of Verizon...

Mr. President... (1)

baKanale (830108) | more than 7 years ago | (#16790351)

We must not allow... a broadband gap!

Re:Enough already (1)

yiffyfox (162564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16790423)

I'm american and I can't get broadband where I live, isdn is it (pay in 15min increments = very expensive) or dialup. There are still a lot of places that are too far away for dsl and don't have cable. Other options are satellite internet but it's not a very good option eiher because of the high cost. $60/mo for 700 Kbps/128 Kbps. I want fast internet but can't get it where I live. The funny thing is, I only live 30 miles from Santa Clara, CA (the silicon vally).
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