I posted earlier about the problem the U.S. has with broadband internet. Despite the availability of technologies that can offer extremely fast internet, as is in Japan and parts of Europe, the U.S. has stayed firmly behind. Part of the problem here is that, as with any economic market, suppliers (Internet Service Providers) won’t increase their own costs and keep prices the same just for the convenience of the consumer. They will, however, do this if it’s their only means of survival.
It appears that we’ll see a dramatic increase in speed in the broadband market over the next few years, as Google has just announced that they are running a small, 50,000 – 500,000 household internet service at 1 Gigabyte per second.That’s more than twice as fast as you can transfer songs to your iPod with that handy USB cable. Three entire DVDs, uncompressed, in the time it takes you to watch this video. In other words, it’s really fast.
What’s in it for Google? They want to test some experimental apps that will only run with extrmely high internet speeds, but I’m sure the income won’t hurt either. Another thing this means is that if Google takes a competitive market share, they can use that sway to push the net neutrality issues that they profit from so much.
The experiment is extremely small, which is definitely a bummer (if you’ were hoping to download Avatar in 3D HD before it came out on Blu-ray). Gmail started small too, then slowly spread from there. The model seems to be start small, stabilize, grow, stabilize, repeat. If Google follows this model, maybe Americans will finally be getting what they pay for by 2020. As it is now, we pay significantly more per megabyte per second than any other developed nation, and we run “broadband” that could be outmatched by Japan’s mobile carriers. Looks like the joke’s over for American ISPs.
As our favorite bartender would say, “Well it’s about damn time!”
Mashable posted a simple but very informative infographic about the state of the internet. It had information on demographics of internet users, usage statistics, a quick summary of the blogosphere, and probably most upsetting: internet statistics by nation.
The United States has the slowest broadband internet speed by far of all developed nations. If this isn’t depressing enough, my wonderful state of Vermont is ranked 47th in the nation for internet speed.
Considering America is forfeiting its manufacturing sector and moving almost entirely to an information economy, this is an extremely dangerous reality. It’s like being a fossil-fuel based economy and not producing any-
…well anyways, it isn’t good.
I’m all for Obama’s $8 billion rail stimulus, but I think (for once) AT&T is investing its billions more wisely this year, with $2 billion going to network improvements. This is a situation that will hopefully be fixed as quickly as American consumers realize how far behind the curve we are as a country and demand faster and more widespread broadband connectivity. Unfortunately for me and other tech-friendly Vermonters, I don’t think the movement is going to start anywhere near here.