I often say that the US Internet access ranks right up there with many third world countries. Now I have the data to prove it.
Ookla, the company that makes and runs the SPEEDTEST software, reports every month on Internet speed around the world.
This year, in the wired category (the kind you likely have at home and in the office) we rank 14th, right behind Moldova. And behind Hungary. And behind Romania.
By the way, I had to look up Moldova. It is between Romania and Ukraine.
In the mobile wireless category (like you get on your phone), we are curiously also ranked 14th. That puts us behind countries like Bulgaria and Cyprus.
Contrary to those commercials that you see on TV, our average speed was wireless 91 megabits. That is a little different from those gigabit speeds that they claim on TV ads.
On the wired side, our average speed was 195 megabits, or about double the wireless speed.
For the US, we haven’t invested much in fixed broadband infrastructure which is why we rank behind Moldova. It also is because we have very little competition for Internet service, which means providers don’t have to invest in improving service. After decades of being asleep at the wheel, the FCC is starting to wake up about regulating telecom, but you have to remember that the last FCC chairman used to be a lobbyist for one of the large telecoms (the one that starts with a V).
Likely, these numbers are going to get worse.
Overall, the global mobile download speed jumped 60% since last year and the fixed download speed jumped 32%. Did your Internet speed increase by 1/3 or 2/3 last year? Mine did not jump by anything.
We say that we want to compete with countries like China, but China ranked #4 in wireless speed. Their push is all wireless; their wired speed was #17.
I am fine if the US wants to push wireless but that is going to take a huge investment. It probably makes sense for the US to have a hybrid approach where we mix wired and wireless.
Millions of Americans have no access to broadband Internet. I live just outside of Denver and the fastest Internet that is available to me just barely qualifies as broadband Internet under the FCC definition and if they raise the standard then I will have no access to broadband.
83 million Americans have only a single option such as Comcast.
Still millions more only have access to slow DSL-based Internet.
Carriers such as AT&T are abandoning their DSL based Internet service and not replacing it with anything, leaving those users, usually in poor neighborhoods, without Internet.
How does that work in a world of remote learning and work from home?
It is possible that people are not buying the fastest service the carriers offer and that is affecting the result, but that brings us to price where the US is really expensive compared to the rest of the world.
If you really want to get depressed, the US ranked 21st out of 26 countries tracked BY THE FCC in both standalone fixed broadband price and in mobile broadband price. That is, apparently, normal for us. Credit: Vice