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Monday, 15 March 2010 00:35

Slow U.S. may get hi-speed Internet countrywide


The U.S. government is creating the National Broadband Plan, which is intended to accelerate broadband deployment across the United States. Actual speeds by Internet providers were already found to be about 50% slower than advertised during busy times.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, shortened usually to the Recovery Act, became law on February 17, 2009.

Part of the Act was the Broadband Initiatives, which ''¦ are intended to accelerate broadband deployment across the United States.'

The quote was taken from the U.S. government's webpage www.broadband.gov/.

The Broadband Initiatives webpage states, 'The Broadband Initiatives funded in the Act are intended to accelerate broadband deployment in unserved, underserved, and rural areas and to strategic institutions that are likely to create jobs or provide significant public benefits.'

The 10-year plan has as its goal to establish high-speed Internet as the country's major communications network.

According to my earlier iTWire article 'Fastest Internet download times: not in the U.S.', 'The Communications Workers of America (CWA), Monday, June 25, 2007, issued a report showing that the United States is not very fast in the world when it comes to high-speed Internet access.'

Page two continues with Web speed rates from the top five countries in the world (the U.S. is not one of those fast countries).

In fact, the average Internet user in the United States, in 2007, only gets about 1.9 mbps.

The article also stated, 'Currently, Japan, the number one country in the world, has an average broadband download time of 61 megabits per second. South Korea is second with 45.6 megabits per second. Sweden is third at 18, France, fourth at 17, and Canada fifth at 7 megabits per second.'

So, the United States has a long ways to go to even catch up with our neighbor to the north, Canada, with a rate of 7 mbps, at fifth fastest in the world.

On that same web page mentioned earlier, the federal government, specifically the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), states that it has set up a broadband test service, which will help consumers 'clock the speed of their Internet.'

As of the writing of this article, at approximately 8 a.m. Central Daylight Time (CDT) on March 14, 2010, the availability of the plan is still three days away.

However, you can still measure the speed of your Internet service, which I did.

The FCC service is provided at Broadband.gov (the same website as above).

Page three continues with my result from the FCC speed test, which is under the national average.

The results show, when I performed the FCC speed test that I had a download speed of 980 kbps, upload speed of 611 kbps, latency of 176 ms, and jitter of 198 ms.

I did have to provide my street address, city, and state for the speed test'”most likely for the government to see whether or not I had a high-speed Internet connection, and how fast my service is as compared to its advertised rate.

My service advertises up to 8 mbps, or 8,000 kbps, so you see I get nowhere near that amount.

Thus, I got 0.98 mbps versus the advertised "up to 8 mbps."

According to an FCC announcement made in September 2009, ''¦ actual speeds were estimated to lag by as much as 50 percent during busy hours'¦' than advertised by Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

FCC chairperson Julius Genachowski stated, "The FCC's new digital tools will arm users with real-time information about their broadband connection and the agency with useful data about service across the country.' [Reuters (3.11.2010): 'U.S. FCC releases Internet speed test tool']

Page four continues with a quote from PCWorld.com, and where to go for further speed tests.

The goal of the FCC plan is to provide 100 mbps broadband service to 100 million U.S. homes by the year 2020.

According to the March 12, 2010 PCWorld.com article 'FCC's National Broadband Plan: What's in It?'Several tech groups have expressed general support for the announcements so far, but others have questioned how the FCC will accomplish what appears to be a wide-ranging and expensive plan."

"FCC officials have talked about a cost of $12 billion to $25 billion to implement parts of the plan, with wireless spectrum auction proceeds offsetting the costs, but some critics have suggested the FCC's cost estimates are far too low.'

The PCWorld.com article goes into many questions that are mentioned as goals by the FCC plan.

Other Internet speed tests are also available on the Web. Also, try these:

www.speedtest.net/ (when I tried this one, I got 1.05 mbps)

www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/ (1.04 mbps)

Many others are available and can be found by searching for 'Internet speed test' or other such similar words.

Page five concludes with commentary generated from the FCC plan, as stated from an article in The New York Times.

The U.S. plan is, of course, not without controversy. Please read March 12, 2010 The New York Times article 'Effort to Widen U.S. Internet Access Sets Up Battle.'

Part of the article states, "The plan, which will be submitted to Congress on Tuesday, is likely to generate debate in Washington and a lobbying battle among the telecommunication giants, which over time may face new competition for customers."

"Already, the broadcast television industry is resisting a proposal to give back spectrum the government wants to use for future mobile service."


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