The United States, in all its glory, is seriously starting to lag behind other countries in the quality and quantity of internet service being provided. As the leaders of the free world, one would assume this would be a bread and butter thing for us to champion, considering we created the internet in the first place. Why then, when faced with the facts and numbers, are we so terribly behind? One might argue it’s mostly a financial situation. For us to be able to “upgrade” our internet capabilities, it is going to require large scale improvements and renovations to a backbone that is decades old and in serious need of some lovin’. If we don’t do this, and do this soon, we are going to quickly find ourselves trailing far, far behind.
When looking at any sort of data, it is honestly just scary. Japan leads the world with fastest internet available. They have the fastest and lowest unit costs for broadband, according to recent data from the OECD. In the land of the rising sun, you can enjoy costs per megabit per second over four times lower than that of the US. This kind of information is just downright troubling to me, considering I work in an internet related business and probably wouldn’t be able to function as a civilized human being without access to the internet. What is worse yet is that this data could possible make people theorize, “Well, maybe Japan just really has their internet situation on lockdown.” Unfortunately, this is not the case. The US ranks a pathetic 15th place in this department, with countries like France, Korea, and Sweden nestled in second, third and fourth place (respectively).
To take matters to an even more frightening place, all one would need to do is compare the above data to the fact that we have the largest amount of total broadband subscribers. As of June 2007 the US led all countries surveyed in terms of broadband subscribers with over 66.2 million. The second closest amount of subscribers was in Japan with about 27.2 million. You are trying to tell me that the people who have the fastest and cheapest internet also have less than half the amount of subscribers than we do? While I know that the US is a lot larger a country and that an obvious disparity will be present, the gap just seems far too staggering. My God in heaven, there is something just wrong with this picture.
I’m not quite sure what it is going to take to get the changes we need, but I do know that we are in desperate need of them. If our country wants to remain on top of things, we are going to have to either independently find ways to beef up the internet capabilities we have, or someone is going to need to foot the bill so we can start getting the ball rolling. We are in the middle of the internet age and the time is nigh to start acting like it.