Time and again, American enterprises have blamed slow Internet speeds for hurting their business. Luckily, the situation seems to be improving now — even though the United States has a lot of catching up to do.
According to the FCC’s 2015 Measuring Fixed Broadband America report, Internet speeds have tripled between March 2011 and September 2014, jumping to 31 Mbps from 10 Mbps. While the growth is impressive, it pales in comparison to what consumers in many other countries get. The United States ranked 25th in broadband speeds out of 39 countries sampled in 2013, and lags behind countries like France, Canada and Luxembourg.
Apart from revealing the rise in Internet speeds in the U.S., the report presents some other important insights such as:
- Among major Internet Service Providers, Cablevision Systems Corp. led with average download speeds of 60 Mbps, followed by Verizon Communications Inc and Charter Communications Inc each with around 50 Mbps.
- Consistency of speed is more important to customers who frequently use applications that are both high bandwidth and sensitive to variations in actual speed, such as streaming video.
- Video accounts for more than 60 percent of the U.S. Internet traffic.
- Maximum advertised speeds increased from 37.2 Mbps in September 2013 to 72 Mbps in September 2014.
- Actual speeds experienced by most ISP subscribers are close to exceeding the advertised speeds.
What This Means for Your Business
Emphasis on boosting high-speed Internet in the U.S. has gained momentum in the past few years. The situation has assumed importance especially because of the increasing competition from countries such as South Korea and Japan where Internet works faster. Businesses in these countries have benefited enormously from high-speed broadband, whereas their American counterparts have suffered due to slow net connectivity.
Last year when the FFC adopted the new Net Neutrality rules, many expected broadband connections to get faster. Net Neutrality regulations, however, did not make ISPs deliver faster Internet to consumers. In fact, broadband companies argued that with the additional regulatory requirements, they may have to slow down on their investments in new and existing networks.
Despite this, consumer demand for faster net connection has been on the rise, and the industry is stepping up its efforts to meet these expectations.
Google and AT&T are offering up to 1,000 Mbps in several cities. Following in the footsteps of these two giants, Comcast is testing its own 1,000 Mbps service in Philadelphia.
The U.S. may have a long way to go before it can match the high-speed Internet connectivity available in other parts of the world. But he FCC data still shows positive sign that the country is moving in the right direction.
Network Cable Photo via Shutterstock
The problem with these types of statistics is that they’re averages. Averages hide the small groups with really fast internet (any Google Fiber city for example) and don’t give enough credence to the large swaths of America that have very poor internet (interpretation: rural areas). My parents satellite internet is slower than my 4G phone connection. Seriously.
You have a point. I guess further study must be made so that individual cases can also be observed. This way, the problem can be addressed on a nationwide scale.