Slow and Expensive U.S.

Larry Cohen, President, CWA Speed is trivial, but you’d think we could do better than this:
The average broadband download speed in the US is only 1.9 megabits per second, compared to 61 Mbps in Japan, 45 Mbps in South Korea, 18 Mbps in Sweden, 17 Mpbs in France, and 7 Mbps in Canada, according to the Communication Workers of America.

US high-speed Internet is slow, Submitted by Canada IFP, Press Esc, on Sun, 2007-05-20

And as we’ve seen, that list of countries could soon include Hong Kong and India, because they’re taking the problem seriously. More interesting was this was said to.

Who said it was Larry Cohen, president of the Communication Workers of America. He said it in testimony before the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. Since the OECD report came out last month, that subcommittee has finally been paying attention to this issue.

Like Susan Crawford, Cohen calls for a national Internet policy:

“Good data is the foundation of good policy,” Cohen said. “We desperately need a national Internet policy to reverse the fact that our nation – the country that invented the Internet – has fallen to 16th in the world in broadband adoption.”
It’s really 15th in the OECD and 25th worldwide, but who’s counting?

Good data for good policy? As Gandhi was reputed to say when asked about western civilization, “That would be a good idea.”

Cohen was testifying in support of a discussion draft of the Broadband Census of America Act; more on that later.

Cohen brought up another point that is often omitted:

“Equally disturbing, Americans pay more for slower connection speeds than people in many other countries,” he added.

According to statistics provided by CWA 80 percent of households in Japan can connect to a fiber network at a speed of 100 megabits per second. This is 30 times the average speed of a US cable modem or DSL connection, at roughly the same cost.

And where do we see this in the news? Canada. The U.S. press are generally not reporting on it.

Cohen is also calling for unionizing wireless and other communications workers; probably more on that later, too. I want to look into what he means by national Internet policy. That could mean more competition, which would be good for us all. Or it could mean requiring the duopoly to meet certain speed goals, which might just as easily entrench the duopoly and stall the U.S. at whatever goal is set.