U.S. Broadband Speeds Remain Sluggish

    August 12, 2008

Internet connection speeds in the U.S. have only become slightly faster in the past year gaining just four-tenths of one megabit per second according to a new report from the Communication Workers of America (CWA).

The report is based on data from 230,000 Internet users who took the online Speed Matters Speed Test, a project of the CWA. The test found the median download speed in the U.S. is 2.3 megabits per second (mbps). Estimates show average download speeds in Japan of 63 mbps, in South Korea 49 mbps and in France 17 mbps.

A multimedia file that takes four minutes to download in South Korea would take close to an hour and a half to download in the U.S.

"This isn’t about how fast someone can download a full-length movie. Speed matters to our economy and our ability to remain competitive in a global marketplace," said Larry Cohen, president, Communications Workers of America. "Rural development, telemedicine and distance learning all rely on truly high-speed, universal networks."

The top five states with the fastest Internet download speeds include Rhode Island (6.8 mbps), Delaware (6.7 mbps), New Jersey (5.8 mbps), Virginia (5.0 mbps) and Massachusetts (4.6 mbps).

The states with the slowest speeds include Idaho (1.3 mbps), Wyoming (1.3 mbps), Montana (1.3 mbps), North Dakota (1.2 mbps) and Alaska (0.8 mbps).

A full list of states can be viewed at speedmatters.org.

"We are the only industrialized nation without a national policy to promote universal, high-speed Internet access — and it shows," added Cohen. "Most of our Speed Test users logged on with broadband connections such as DSL, cable modem or fiber. People with dial-up connections didn’t take the test because it took them too long, so even these dismal statistics paint a rosier-than-reality picture of connection speeds across the country."