Tuesday, June 26, 2007

USA Today story on connection speeds in the US might argue against net neutrality

Today, June 26, 2007, Leslie Cauley of USA Today provided a story that Internet access in the United States is much slower than in many other countries. The median US download speed was report to be 1.97 megabits per second, compared to 61 megabits per second in Japan.

A 10 megabit file will download in 15 seconds on a 5 megabit connection.

The article also compared states, with Rhode Island the best, and Iowa one of the worst.

Generally, I find that most downloads on Comcast cable are efficient. But it took 1.5 hours a year ago to download all of Microsoft Visual Studio Express, which measured in the hundreds of megabits. It would run quickly then slowly in bursts, at mid afternoon on a weekday. I have noticed that access in northern Virginia tends to slow in the late morning on weekdays, and sometimes stalls. This may be related to adding more customers without sufficient infrastructure. Verizon is now installing fiber-optic in my area.

The article would tend to argue against Network Neutrality legislation, if it gets in the way of offering improved connection speeds to clients (maybe like hospitals or law enforcement agencies, or large retailers) that have a real justification for them.

The recent book by Andrew Keen, The Cult of the Amateur, review here, tends to suggest that more established corporate interests ought to have higher connection speeds if they can show a concrete economic justification.

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