US 27th In Broadband Speeds? Slower Than Kyrgyzstan

from the technology-leadership dept

A few folks have sent over the stats pages that Ookla released concerning the internet speeds that users in various countries have been able to get on their broadband connections. For those of us in the US, we’re ranked 27th in download speeds, and in upload speeds as well (as of this posting). The data is constantly changing, so I’ve seen the US bounce around a bit, but generally we’re in that 25 to 30 range. That puts us behind the tech superpowers of Kyrgyzstan. Nothing against Kyrgyzstan, of course (I hear it’s lovely), but you don’t often think of it as being at the top of the list of tech powerhouses. In case you were wondering, South Korea tops both lists, and the Baltic countries of Latvia and Lithuania do quite well as well.

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Comments on “US 27th In Broadband Speeds? Slower Than Kyrgyzstan”

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94 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Instead of confirming your own bias (that American broadband is bad), shouldn’t this make you wonder about the accuracy of these measurements? I have no problem believing that South Korea has the best broadband in the world, but what is the market penetration of these other countries? Maybe they don’t have nearly as many remote places with broadband?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

And after looking at some of the charts, there is a ton of movement on a lot of these. South Korea looks like it went from about 1 Mbps upload to 18 in the span of 2 days. As if a bunch of people in South Korea noticed they weren’t #1 in upload speed and started hitting Speedtest from machines with large upload bandwidth.

Free Capitalist (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

This ranking is worthless.

You are aware that our being behind on the technology curve isn’t exactly new aren’t you?

Maybe you can help explain something semi-related … why did it take forever to get even metropolitan 3G networks in the U.S.? We did not get it until it was already obsolete in Japan and the EU.

The disparities and the causes just “may” be related.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If there’s one thing that local cities and towns have control over, it’s zoning. Plus a lot of large American cities modernized quite a bit earlier than their Asian counterparts. So we’ve got a lot of “legacy” infrastructure. We also didn’t get a lot of our cities pounded into gravel like many European and Asian cities did back in WWII.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

That is no excuse, this is brand new technology, and everyone started in equal foot here.

Actually, the Internet began in the US, which has now gone from number 1 to number 27 and is continuing downward.

The big difference is that some countries took a difference approach that works better and are ahead of the curve.

Because the US approach sure isn’t working very well.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

There is just one simple truth here.

The future is fiber, the more the U.S. drag is feet in deploying it, the more other countries will get ahead of the U.S. and start building things that will enable them to not only be more secure(i.e. Harder to DDoS and Quantum Encryption) but more productive i.e. tele-medicine, tele-commuting(some jobs are coming back to the U.S. because of virtual space).

It is not just speed for the sake of speed, other countries are planning right now 40gbits/s to enable things you can’t imagine, that will impact everyone, can you imagine people consulting with doctors in Tokyo and paying them instead of doctors in the U.S.? Engineers can teach other engineers from home and make money, but U.S. engineers wont be able to do so because they don’t have the tool to do it, so other countries will be making money.

I don’t think you appreciate the situation in a very forward looking manner.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

There is just one simple truth here.

The future is fiber, the more the U.S. drag is feet in deploying it, the more other countries will get ahead of the U.S. and start building things that will enable them to not only be more secure(i.e. Harder to DDoS and Quantum Encryption) but more productive i.e. tele-medicine, tele-commuting(some jobs are coming back to the U.S. because of virtual space).

It is not just speed for the sake of speed, other countries are planning right now 40gbits/s to enable things you can’t imagine, that will impact everyone, can you imagine people consulting with doctors in Tokyo and paying them instead of doctors in the U.S.? Engineers can teach other engineers from home and make money, but U.S. engineers wont be able to do so because they don’t have the tool to do it, so other countries will be making money.

I don’t think you appreciate the situation in a very forward looking manner.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Maybe they don’t have nearly as many remote places with broadband?”

Right. Kyrgyzstan is basically Coruscant: one big nationwide city….

Okay, a little digging around the CIA World Factbook reveals that 48% of their total labor force works in agriculture. That makes for a lot of their land being used by farms, otherwise known as “remote places” which have a higher probability of not having quality broadband providers.

In other words, try again….

Ryan says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Instead of just calling this worthless, why don’t you acknowledge that this is a very valuable amalgamation of data? The ranking is simply a statistical representation of the data, but if you weren’t such a lazy fatass you could take a cursory glance at the data and make some further extrapolations from it.

For instance, not all of the measurements from Kyrgyzstan were taken in the city of Bishkek – which is immediately obvious because the city’s rate is 13.88 Mbps while the country overall’s is 12.55. Using the ratio of Bishkek’s IPs used to the total number, I calculated that the rate for the rest is about 3.2 Mbps. There, I’ve done something useful with the link provided in this post instead of merely whining and bitching about it.

On a broader note, this is pretty interesting. You can make any number of conclusions from this site, but I do think that the ranking Mike mentions is a good indicator that the per capita internet speed is around 25-30, which is what’s really important. That is, unless there was some other method of determining which IPs were used and in what ratios, which can be gleaned from a slightly deeper look at the raw data they provided.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I’ll admit there’s some neat data in here, but I don’t think you know what per capita is. America has some 75% of people with access to the internet according to the World Bank. Kyrgyzstan has 16%. So the amount of bandwidth per head (which is what per capita means) in the US is much higher than in Kyrgyzstan.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

In the U.S. the broadband penetration per household is 60 percent.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/06/us-20th-in-broadband-penetration-trails-s-korea-estonia.ars

and we’re twentieth place.

Also, the fact that the U.S. may have more internet access per capita than Kyrgyzstan is balanced by the fact that we pay more for broadband per capita as well.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Lies, Damned Lies, Et Cetera

Something like this would be much more useful if it broke down data by State and city. My own numbers are on par with the averages for South Korea and higher than the averages reported for my own ISP.

It would be nice to see how good South Korea is once you get 50 miles into farm country.

You can get to a lot of places by car that is not likely to have any fiber nearby.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The fact that technology progress in no way justifies a slower progression due to government imposed restrictions on competition. We are whining because we should whine and the only problem I see here is that we don’t whine enough (and that we don’t march to congress in the millions and force them to remove all government imposed competitive restrictions).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

What restrictions are you referring to? I’m not being flip here, I’m curious what these restrictions are. Because this is always where I think there’s a disconnect between what we want and what we think we want. It makes sense that we don’t need 10 different cables on our utility poles and entering our homes to provide internet service from 10 different companies. So forcing companies who control that last mile to open it up makes sense, at first.

The problem is that you’ve essentially said, if you build any infrastructure to provide connectivity to people, you have to allow others to use it at a price that you probably won’t be able to control. It puts a downward pressure on companies doing that. So the only one who probably would, is the government. Do you really want the government doing this?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“What restrictions are you referring to? “

Start here.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100625/1617489965.shtml

The fact that the govt neither allows you to compete on existing cableco infrastructure not to build your own new infrastructure. That’s nonsense, you should either allow one or the other but not both.

“It makes sense that we don’t need 10 different cables on our utility poles and entering our homes to provide internet”

So the admission here is that the natural monopoly argument is false, that just because investment costs money and those who invest don’t want to compete doesn’t mean people won’t invest. Despite having to tolerate competition, people are willing to invest into infrastructure but the only problem is that the govt won’t allow them to. Otherwise, why should the govt restrict new competitors from building infrastructure.

“if you build any infrastructure to provide connectivity to people, you have to allow others to use it at a price that you probably won’t be able to control.”

and what’s wrong with that? Either they allow anyone to build new infrastructure or they allow anyone to compete on existing infrastructure. If it’s true that forcing newcomers who enter the market to allow anyone to compete on the infrastructure they build would prevent anyone from building new infrastructure then why is the government that’s the one that’s preventing newcomers from building new infrastructure under this fake natural monopoly pretext? You said it yourself, we don’t need ten wires going across the poles, implying that newcomers are perfectly willing to build new infrastructure and compete even in the face of competition, negating the whole natural monopoly argument.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“And then telecoms sue the cities — as they did in the case of Monticello, Minneapolis, and run to state legislators to write laws outlawing citizens from organizing their own networks as Time Warner Cable did in the case of Wilson, North Caroline, which set up its own fiber network known as Greenlight.”

(from the above link).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I have no problem with it actually. If the market will support 10 cables I see no problems with it. The only people with a problem with it is incumbent industries that benefit from the lack of competition. I was just pointing out that his ten cable alleged problem implies that a natural monopoly is not a good argument to restrict competition.

Dementia (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Bite me! I remember 300 baud modems too, and guess what, where I’m at, I’m lucky if my dsl hits 512k. So I really don’t care what you opinion is in this instance. The telcos need to get off their collective asses and invest in upgrading our infrastructure. There is absolutely no reason why they couldn’t upgrade to fiber, they simply don’t want to reduce their enormous profits.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Nobody said anything about subsidizing anyone’s broadband, what we’re saying is that we don’t want the government to subsidize incumbents with laws that restrict competition.

“Nearly every community in the United States allows only a single cable company to operate within its borders. Since the Boulder decision [4] in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that municipalities may be subject to antitrust liability for anticompetitive acts, most cable franchises have been nominally nonexclusive but in fact do operate to preclude all competitors. The legal rationale for municipal regulation is that cable uses city-owned streets and rights-of-way; the economic rationale is the assumption that cable is a “natural monopoly.” “

http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa034.html

and this is what we’re against.

abc gum says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“So exactly who should be subsidizing your broadband? Taxpayers? The teleco shareholders?”

How many times must one pay for the same thing … and still not get what you paid for?

Everyone with a phone has been subsidising the telcos for decades, but rural connections are still lacking.

Telcos were given right of way without cost, would you call this a subsidy? Who paid for all that?

A community decides thay would like to “subsidize” themselves and create their own network which connects to the telco. What is the typical response?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yes, telecom speeds used to be slower than they are today. What exactly does that have to do with the veracity of the study? What does it have to do with the comparison of US progression in that area versus other countries?

You keep posting but you only seem capable of sputtering irrelevancies and red herrings.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

https://www.ntt-review.jp/archive/ntttechnical.php?contents=ntr201004sf1.html

NTT in Japan is covering 90% of the territory with 100mb or higher.

In South Korea this may shed some light:

And the numbers are impressive โ€” South Korea has the highest per capita broadband penetration in the world. Slightly more than half of its households have high-bandwidth connections, compared to less than 10 percent in the US. The growth in broadband has surged in the last three years from a few hundred thousand subscribers to 8.5 million.

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.08/korea.html
http://edition.cnn.com/2010/TECH/03/31/broadband.south.korea/index.html

Both Countries planed their infra-structure decades before, look at what NTT envisions for the future and how it is planning to get there, now look at how the U.S. is doing it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Dude, I live in a tiny country with a crap economy. My country does not compare to America in any way, yet, I have 24mb/s download and 512kb/s upload. I have an “unlimited” monthly traffic allowance of around 400GB (hardly ever enforced). And I’m just in the “middle” of the spectrum. The top notch connections around here are fiber-optic connections with 200mb/s download and 2mb/s upload. Granted I doubt they’ll ever get that (they’ll be lucky if they hit 50mb/s), but still impressive, and the reliability is improving over time. Also notice that there are virtually no traffic limits.

The US is in the crapper because their information infrastructure is pathetic. 10mb/s is impressive? Bah.

I suggest you direct your outrage at your crappy internet providers and not at people that try to put these discrepancies in context.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“I suggest you direct your outrage at your crappy internet providers and not at people that try to put these discrepancies in context.”

I will property direct my outrage at our pathetic government that does everything in its power to limit competition for the sake of acquiring campaign contributions from existing monopolists.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

To be fair, Kyrgyzstan is smaller than the US, so it’s probably easier to get fast Internet connections to a greater percentage of their country than it is here.

To be fair, I would expect a smaller country to have fewer resources, like a small town compared to a large city. That “Kyrgyzstan is smaller than the US” just makes it even worse.

Ragaboo (profile) says:

But doesn't this actually make sense?

I’m no expert on broadband, but this info doesn’t seem surprising or concerning to me. I thought speeds were largely based on how many users were online. In a less affluent country, fewer users would be using the Internet, and they’d use it less often. That means speeds would be faster for everyone using it. Am I wrong?

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: But doesn't this actually make sense?

You are half right.

Imagine your bandwidth as a drain pipe, and data flowing through it is like water draining.

When the pipe is empty, any water you toss towards the drain goes as fast as gravity and the width of the pipe will take it.

If you’re using a 1/4 inch internal diameter pipe, an 8 oz glass of water will use the whole thing for a short while–and if a rain storm is draining through that pipe then your yard is going to flood.

If you’re using a 2 foot internal diameter pipe, an 8 oz glass of water may as well be a drop–out it goes while barely touching one side. That rain storm? It drains out quickly too.

Bandwidth is like a drain pipe. Your perceived ‘drain speed’ being dependent upon both how much data (water) and the size of your potential bandwidth (pipe diameter).

interval (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Wow, substitute a private monopoly with a public one. Never saw that coming. >:/

Show me a truly even playing field with lots of players, and I’ll show you low prices. It will work out that way every time. Lets not be so hasty to toss out the publicly funded farce for once. Christ, they always run to the government…

kryptonianjorel (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Or, the ISPs worth subscribing will always charge the same as the other, and will usually charge a decently high price, and the shitty ISPs will charge a lot less to try to attract customers, but the customers will become frustrated with them, and move to the big ISPs.

It’ll be the same as it is the with Wireless companies. We have a decent number of them, and AT&T and Verizon always follow each other in price, whereas sprint and tmobile have cheaper plans, but nobody wants their crap coverage.

Limited resources should never be exploited by capitalism, but should instead be regulated for ALL to use

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Wonderful...

Clicking through the report on the USA into IL, I note that Chicago isn’t even in the top 50 list for speed. Yet Bourbonais is….

This means that the place where the Bears have their training camp has better speed than where they play their games on Sundays. Ah, Chicago, the most corrupt city in the States….

And I also note that Zion, a tiny remote suburb, also has better speeds. Funny, somehow I knew I’d be able to blame Zionists for this….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Wonderful...

And you fail to look at the data here. If you open up Chicago you’ll see it has some questionable data in it. Cricket Communications is a WIRELESS network. And despite only have 239 or so IPs in the data, there are 1,994 or so datapoints coming from these 239 IPs. Compare that to Comcast, which has 25,000 data points from 100,000 IPs.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

In the case of South Korea and Japan it worked wonders for broadband, both countries do have a plan and act upon it.

See how the Japanese view the thing, they are building the infra-structure to support more than just LoLCats.
https://www.ntt-review.jp/archive/ntttechnical.php?contents=ntr201004sf1.html

South Korea has a plan too even CNN know that.
http://edition.cnn.com/2010/TECH/03/31/broadband.south.korea/index.html

NAMELESS.ONE says:

at least usa people dont live in canada

31st yet what this donest show you is that capacity has also nose dived
from almost everyone having unlimited to about 30-60GB caps almost a 1600-2000GB drop in what a user can potentially do.

never mind upload speeds….where we are a dismal 52nd
OMG USA is 27th…..

we used to rock ten years ago

Clueby4 says:

Density excuse are BS

Please refrain from spewing density nonsense.

Unless your going to address the following:

– USF
– Right of Way
– Tax breaksincentives
– Telecom Act
– Bailout funds.
– Franchise Fees
– UseService taxesfees

I mean it is a great point until you factor in the above at which point its importance is effectively nullified.

Mikael (profile) says:

This data IS worthless

I think this data is worthless as so many others have said. It was gathered by Speedtest.net which means that people have to be going to the site and running tests for them to get data. If you don’t test your connection, they don’t have data. Maybe it’s just the people in the US with slower internet speeds checking to see just how slow theirs are, or to check on connection issues. That’s the only reason I use the site is for speed related issues.

Everyone knows that a lot of the major cable companies that provide high speed internet have issues with throttling the connection. Hell I personally know that if you are connecting to the internet with Charter through a wireless router that is not theirs, they throttle the internet speed. They push their own wireless router/modem combo device and won’t even give you support if you have trouble with speeds through your own router. They say that they can’t tell if you’re connecting through a wireless router or straight through to the modem which is total BS. A laptop/desktop NIC’s MAC address is formatted differently than a router which is routers let you clone your system’s MAC address to it.

If I connect to speedtest.net while connected straight into the modem I get about a 24MB download speed. Going through my router (or any other router besides charter’s) I get anywhere between 9mb and 16mb down.

Besides all of this, who cares how fast Korea’s internet is if you can’t even do what you want to do on it. I’d rather have MY internet with access to youtube and any other site I want, than have their internet with access only to what they think is ok.

Michael says:

Report Not True

So, I just got back from Kyrgyzstan after a few month stay, and the internet can sometimes get up to dial up speeds. The country is working on getting the infrastructure in place for broadband, but it is still several years away from full scale implementation. I would have to conclude that the ranking system is a little bogus.

However, the conclusion that the U.S. does not have the fastest internet in the world is true. Many second and third world countries built up their high speed internet infrastructure as part of an effort to globalize and make more money. Since the U.S. broadband technology is still using phone lines that are decades old, it isn’t hard to see why we are further down on the list than countries who spent the money to build a whole new high speed grid from scratch.

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