By Betsy Isaacson
Compared with other tech-savvy nations, Internet service in the U.S. is overpriced and slow. According to a “State of the Internet” report recently put out by content delivery network Akamai, U.S. service is becoming even slower — relative to that of other countries, at least.
The U.S. now has the ninth-fastest average Internet connection speed in the world, behind South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Latvia, the Czech Republic and Sweden. Thats a slip in the rankings: In the last Akamai report, the U.S. was eighth, with faster average connection speeds than Sweden.
Given that Akamai surveys 243 countries to produce its “State of the Internet” report, ninth place might not seem too low. U.S. Internet providers, after all, contend with a bigger landmass — and a larger population — than those in South Korea or Japan. And in real terms, the U.S. average connection speed improved in the interval between reports, becoming 27 percent faster than last year. It just wasnt enough to beat ever-speedier Sweden.
The drop from eighth place might not be worth a worry if it weren’t indicative of bigger problems in the U.S. broadband market. Marguerite Reardon of CNET recently wrote that U.S. cable providers aren’t exactly encouraging consumers to adopt high-speed broadband — “and when they do, they charge significantly higher prices that escalate as you move to faster tiers.”