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January 02, 2014

US Invented the Internet, but its Internet Speed is Lagging Behind

By Frank Griffin
TMCnet Contributing Writer

From April 1860 to October 1861, the Pony Express was the most effective tool for communication between the east and west of the United States. The courier service was able to deliver a message in only 10 days. The service was discontinued on Oct. 26, 1861, only two days after the transcontinental telegraph was completed. With this new technology individuals and businesses were able to deliver their message in mere minutes instead of 10 days. The speed in which an idea, business proposal or a critical piece of information is delivered makes a big difference. As the inventor of the Internet, the U.S. should not be lagging behind other countries when it comes to Internet speeds, but many factors make it difficult to make it No.1 overall.

In an article on, Zach Walton points out why the U.S. ranks lower than 34 countries around the world.

Unlike Switzerland, Singapore or Barbados, which rank higher according to the 2013-2014 Global Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum, the U.S. covers a large mass, which makes it very difficult to have uniform speed across the country. While many large cities enjoy high Internet speeds, rural areas and underserved urban regions brings the average down dramatically, landing the U.S. at number 35 on a list of 148 countries.

While this might sound like an excuse, it is a fact that densely populated countries with a smaller geographical footprint have an easier time of implementing faster Internet speed technology.

Putting the excuse aside, the U.S. is held hostage by telecoms and cable operators that practically have a monopoly, and only provide mediocre service until they are forced to act by a new competitor. When Google Fiber announced it was going to offer gigabit service at lower rates, it not only inspired municipalities across the country to start dumping these companies and offer the same service, but the same telecoms and cable companies also began their one gigabit service in select cities. So, this should increase our ranking, if the rollout of gigabit service is made available throughout the country.

However, service providers are trying to convince the country that faster speeds are really not necessary and the country is just fine with current speeds. But as the world moves to cloud technology and the Web becomes the office of the future, faster speeds will mean the difference between getting a contract or losing it to a small former Eastern Bloc country like the Czech Republic, which ranked at 19, or even Mongolia at number 24.

According to the “Four Years of Broadband Growth” report by The White House, doubling a country’s broadband speed increased gross domestic product by 0.3 percent, and Internet access has contributed an average of $34 billion a year to the economy, or 0.26 percent of G.D.P. growth. In today's environment speed is not a luxury, but a necessity that is making everyone better, including our competitors.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson
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