US Falls Out Of Top 10 Fastest Broadband Speeds

from the good-job,-everybody dept

For all of the talk about being #1, America’s broadband networks are routinely mediocre. The U.S. consistently ranks among the middle of the pack in speeds and overall availability, while Americans continue to pay some of the highest prices in the developed world for both fixed and mobile broadband. The reasons aren’t mysterious: we’ve let a bunch of telecom monopolies not only dominate the sector, we’ve allowed their corrupt influence over state and federal lawmakers and regulators to become so pronounced, they dictate most US telecom policy and literally write the law. Both with a relentless focus on hamstringing competition.

We then stand around with a dumb look on our collective faces, wondering what went wrong. Rinse, wash, repeat.

This week, the US had the honor of falling out of the top ten nations in terms of average broadband speeds. The data, gleaned from’s Global Index, indicates that the United States is now 11th, behind behind Macau, Denmark, and Sweden. Not a great showing given the countless billions in subsidies thrown at providers to shore up coverage, and the endless lip service (see: FCC boss Ajit Pai’s breathless supposed dedication to curing the digital divide) US policy makers have thrown at the problem for the better part of the last twenty years.

Historically, we adore blaming our failures on this front on things like geography, insisting the only reason the United States is so mediocre at broadband is because it’s just so big. But after decades of mediocrity, and billions in monopoly tax breaks and subsidization, that excuse long ago became hollow. Especially when you notice that the US is now ranked 33rd in average mobile download speeds, behind even larger countries like China:

“What?s most worrisome about Speedtest?s latest global index is that while the U.S. still ranks in the top 15 for broadband speeds, it ranks just 33rd at 43.7 Mbps when it comes to mobile data. That?s a pretty weak showing compared to similarly sized countries like China (84.9 Mbps), Canada (73.52 Mbps), and Australia (62.15 Mbps) which all rank in the top 10 for mobile data, with South Korea taking the top spot at 88 Mbps.”

Keep in mind that Speedtest data has largely been criticized for being overly generous, so it’s very likely that US rankings are even worse. These rankings also don’t address the other primary result of muted competition and rampant state and federal corruption: sky high prices.

For decades now, the US telecom industry has employed an entire cottage industry of PR firms, lobbyists, think tankers, consultants, and others, all dedicated to trying to downplaying or ignoring our national broadband mediocrity. It’s a segment of folks that has grown even louder during the pandemic, as they try to explain away the fact that some 44 million Americans still lack access to any broadband whatsoever and millions more still can’t afford service.

The reality is that US broadband is largely dominated by widely despised cable monopolies, and widely despised phone companies that can’t be bothered to repair or upgrade their networks. And they don’t try very hard because they don’t face any competition, and they’ve effectively bribed the lion’s share of Congress and regulators into feckless obedience. Instead of embracing policies that encourage smaller competitors, we routinely neuter regulators at the behest of AT&T and Comcast. About the only thing we’re truly good at here is going out of our way to pretend this isn’t a problem.

Filed Under: , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “US Falls Out Of Top 10 Fastest Broadband Speeds”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"The most surprising part is that the US was still in the top 10 until recently."

Well, no. Bear in mind that the major US ISP’s do provide bandwidth aplenty. That the networks (and consumers) are plagued with jitter, massive latency, data caps which simply aren’t present in may other countries isn’t counted in the statistics. The ISP’s have been very inventive to present their performance in the best possible way they can, there not really being any interest from the FCC to implement any form of stringency in the applied standard.

It’s like the US 4G which uses seriously downgraded technology but still counts as 4G despite barely working.

What might be surprising is rather that US ISP’s have gone to the limit of how they can finagle the numbers – to the point where the rating actually starts to slide.

Rocky says:

Re: Re:

The fastest ISP in the US ranks #1 with speeds of over 7 gigabytes … well beyond Europe!

I think you mean 7 Gbps, but I’m afraid your comparison is meaningless in this instance. Your example of 7 Gbps is for Stealth Networks that are only available in New York, not the whole of USA. But if you feel it’s relevant, where I work we have about 10 times that capacity – and it’s not in the USA.

Now, is this interesting from the perspective of the average consumer? Not at all. It’s like making a comparison who have the fastest car – not really relevant for someone who want to buy something that gets him to work in the morning and back home at dinnertime again.

There will always be edge-cases which aren’t relevant on the whole.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That ‘fastest provider’ serves a very small subset of the New-York Area that serves 98 zip codes (sounds big, right – out of … 41,702 nationwide zip codes, or .235% of the country, not even a quarter percent…) for astronomical prices (remember the US is #1f, We are #1, We are #1 in the highest prices we pay, not exactly the thing to brag about unless you are some spoiled rich elite).

If you happen to live in one of those 98 zip codes you ‘may’ be able to get service (remember, serving one house in a zip code counts as serving the full zip code, so they probably have 2-3 main areas, and then 1 or 2 links to nearby zip codes just to be able to claim they do)

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"The fastest ISP in the US ranks #1 with speeds of over 7 gigabytes … well beyond Europe!"

I dare you to actually get 7G speeds out of it consistently on anything other than two servers placed at either end of the main network backbone. Broadbandnow competitor uses the officially bandwidth numbers provided by the ISP’s themselves.

Speedtest, otoh, uses the actual achievable bandwidth to provide results. Showing just why US ISP’s and telcos are considered the most hated of US companies. Shit service, unstable connections and a "help line" so bad the strategy it practices appears to be to get people to hang up and stop calling out of sheer frustration. Not like most people in the US have an alternative provider.

What speedtest doesn’t do from that test alone is establishing connection failures, packet loss, jitter and latency however. And those are major factors in why american ISP’s are so hated. Decrepit networks, 20 year old switches and routers, etc. And that’s where many other countries have advantage.

Anonymous Coward says:

‘US Falls Out Of Top 10 Fastest Broadband Speeds’

wow! who doctored the figures and how did they do it, to put the US in the Top 10 list in the first place? considering the lies and the bullshit put out about speeds and the lack of checking by the FCC, for obvious reasons, i find it hard to believe we were actually in the top 10!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Meanwhile, over at the FCC...

Ajit’s boys are saying they doubt whether SpaceX starlink can deliver a sub-100ms latency, so they don’t want to award any of the bounty offered to those who promise to deliver to underserved (rural) areas. Note that I worte "promise to" not "will".

A simple calculation: the starlink satellites are at about 350 km up. A message has to go up to the satellite then down to a ground station that links to the backbone. The reply has to do the revers trip. Satellites won’t be directly overhead. For easy numbers, let’s say the total path is 1500 km. Speed of electro-magnetic radiation is close to 300,000 km/s. So the round-trip path delay introduced by the satellite comms will be in the order 1/200 seconds, or 5 ms. So the FCC is claiming that the comms to the server (same time as terrestrial comms) plus translation time to and from the satellite transmissions plus internal satellite delays) will exceed 95 milliseconds. Not believable. The only reasonable source for all that delay would be shared by terrestrial links, which would make any ISP’s attempt to get below 100 ms dubious to say the least.

So the FCC is attempting to dole out billions to Ajit’s buddies and lock SpaceX out of most of it, for the next ten years. I strongly suspect if it goes that way, SpaceX will deliver far more connections to underserved areas than the recipients will. Instead the old-school ISPs will renege on their promises (again), without returning a cent, and probably use SpaceX for making rural services uneconomical for terrestrial provider as their excuse for doing so.

Good news, folks, you no longer have to travel to the third world to find a country with rampant government corruption. Most of you live there.

ECA (profile) says:

We got into the top 10?? wow.

For a nation dedicated tot he propaganda of being the #1 in everything.
Cable TV
Export of food stocks
Capitalism and competition..

WE stopped competing long ago.
When for some strange reasoning, we had to pay for the best of this and that, but mostly for our Owner/Boss/CEO then we did for anything else.
Its a strange thing to push an economy UP, when there is little reason to do such a thing. The Gov. back in the old days tended to want Employment over wages. Even with abit of unemployment, it was Kinda balanced. And that Most corps that did Good, Spread the wealth around to many employees, NOT just the top boss’s and CEO.
Whats entertaining most of this, is HOW many of the corps in the past failed. Or there idea of making money with USA employee and USA materials went By-by, and they Moved out of the USA to locations with less Environmental protection, lower material costs, and Employee’s with NO RIGHTS.
The ones that HAD to stay, and take over became fewer, but the restrictions changed to bring others back, but WHO is getting the high wages? Who is paying for the Material costs?
There arnt many Metals made in the USA now. They are for specific companies, and a good share of them are exported. So we are left with plastics and Trying to make them NOT pollute. But we have most of that from imports from countries that have not figured out WHY we dont use it.
What is our problem?
To many. To many of the Corps from the bottom tot he top have Cut employee due to a few things, Most of which is modernization. You dont need 10,000 people to dig the Materials out anymore. But the prices never went down. The Gov has done the same things, Cut corners, Cut personnel, and give the corps/rich money. Dont balance anything from the lower paid to the top paid.

Something Iv mentioned to friends int he past. There are many ways to wage war. You dont need tanks and guns and bombs. If you can control the food(we export over 60%), control an economy(love that stock market and its change on WHEN a corp needs to buy back all those stocks)(est Forced evaluation of USA corps is over 100 times the amount of money in the world, how can they do that?)
Stupidity(not teaching people Enough to know they CAN do something about it)
Even police(not knowing the laws and Who pays their wages)
Then to Politics, and the same comment as the police(who pays your wages) And that the People dont get to evaluate what you have done, and base your WAGE on your states Support.

Slowing taking the Control away from the people, and placing it in the hands of those who have the money, in 1 form or another is Fascism..

Capitalism is abit Ruptured, and many of its lies are abounding. They dont like to compete. It loves to ravage other nations. It takes advantage of everything it can.

Bartongxn (user link) says:

hot russian mom

Jasmine Jess Anderson Expert Author Profile useful resources

Recently published Posts By Jasmine Jess Anderson

How To Eat while pregnant Prenatal DietOnce you found out that you are about to have a baby, the world twists. A future mom has a great deal things on her mind, From incurring right items for the baby, obtaining good doctor, To maintaining a healthy weight while pregnant.

8 Ways to Make your sex partner Feel SpecialAs any relationship requires constant attention, dedication, And period of time, Here are some enticing and effective ways to foster your bond and deepen the relationship with your partner.

created in Love on July 21, [url= to know if a libra woman likes you[/url] 2021

5 Crucial strategies for Dating in Your 30sThere are many perks of dating in your 30s. You some older, You had time to figure out who you are and what you need in life, And you don require the use of anyone! about the, It can be challenging.

Published in Breakups lonliness on June 03, 2021

5 Ways to Help Children Develop Healthy HabitsBy instilling healthy habits in young kids early on, You be able to treat various bad habits from developing once they become older. Here are a few recommendations to consider when teaching your kids to adopt healthy habits.

Published in children Health on October 27, 2020

The Top 5 destinations for LGBTQ TravelersIf you are a part of the LGBTQ community, You are well aware that not every place is as safe and welcoming as you would like it to be. To help you out, We gathered the best destinations that are friendly to LGBTQ visitors and even feature plenty of events you could take part in.

exhibited in Dating Flirting on October 22, 2020

4 Cute Nursery Decoration IdeasYou expecting and building the nursery is your main preoccupation at the moment? Look no further because we here to help you out! Here are four cute yet useful nursery decoration ideas you should know about, So stay with us and learn something mroe challenging today. Just keep on reading through.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...