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Broadband Speeds in the US

Broadband Speeds in the US

Why are broadband speeds in the US much slower than in other countries?

Fast broadband speeds are vital for economic opportunity, growth, and connectivity around the world. Initiatives around the world such as IoT, fiber network expansion, and smart cities may never hit a peak. Many people can connect to the internet anywhere they go via their smartphone or tablet, and the number of “dead” internet spots decreases every day. With that said, there is still plenty of work to be done. The quality of the internet connection that millions of people in the United States have access to is often less than optimal. This is especially true when looking at the relatively poor quality of the signal and small amounts of data that big internet providers tend to provide. 

According to a 2017 report provided by DSL Reports, the United States ranks fifteenth in the world when it comes to downloading speeds with an average of 64.17 Mbps. Upload speeds were even worse, landing the country at number 24 with an average of 22.79 Mbps. For comparison, Speedtest’s Global Index of broadband speeds reports that Singapore offers the fastest broadband experience, with download speeds averaging 156.67 Mbps. Their upload speed averaged 160.73 Mbps, over seven times faster than the average United States’ broadband speed.

One of the biggest issues hindering the development of faster broadband speeds in the United States is the lack of competition between major providers on the market. There are very few major ISP’s in the United States, which means that the companies monopolizing the industry have all of the influence and are free to drive innovation or perpetuate subpar speeds as they see fit. Today, two cities in the country are attempting to help create competition and improve broadband speeds.

San Francisco and Seattle Broadband Initiatives

San Francisco has proposed to create the largest municipal broadband network in the country, a project with a potential price tag of $1.9 billion. Individuals in charge of the program have stated that their aim is to create market competition, and in order to accomplish this, they would invite ISPs of any size to opt into providing their customers with fiber network service.

Seattle’s own broadband revolution hinges upon the promises of Cary Moon, a mayoral candidate promising to create a citywide fiber network should he be elected. The promise might seem like a pipedream, but it’s one that has large ISP’s in the area nervous.

While the future of citywide fiber networks in Seattle and San Francisco is not yet certain, at least with the current proposals, it is worth noting that the notion of community-owned internet options is one that seems to be increasing in popularity.

GeoTel is the leading provider of telecommunications infrastructure data, including fiber route data, a key to implementing the fiber necessary for smart city technology. For over sixteen years, GeoTel’s products have been providing companies and government entities with the leverage and insight necessary to make intelligent, location-based business decisions. For more information or a demo, please contact our experts at (407) 788-8888.

Valerie Stephen