Reportedly, the USA is falling behind the rest of the world in bandwidth:
The 2008 median real-time download speed in the U.S. is a mere 2.3 megabits per second. This represents a gain of only 0.4 mbps over last year’s median download speed. It compares to an average download speed in Japan of 63 mbps, the survey reveals.
US also trails South Korea at 49 mbps, Finland at 21 mbps, France at 17 mbps, and Canada at 7.6 mbps, and the median upload speed was just 435 kilobits per second (kbps), far too slow for patient monitoring or to transmit large files such as medical records.
But don’t tell Chris Blizzard’s commenters. He writes about Comcast’s annoucement of a 250GB/month bandwidth cap, and gets an earful from commenters from Canada and Europe:
A boo hoo hoo. Major Canadian ISPs have had a limit of 60 GB for months, if not years.
Oh wait… probably the same way as most of the world manages on 10-20GB, for far more money than you’re paying for $250. Not a lot of sympathy from this corner…
Yep, no sympathy from here either — in Australia, with the only _independant_ ISP left, $280 AUD gets you 100GB. $50 with a major telco (the rest of the ISPs here) gets you 5GB.
eg with my current ISP, a 8 MB line with a 300 GB monthly cap costs 20 GBP/month. A 8 MB line with unlimited bandwidth costs 160 GBP/month. Quite a difference!
I pay the equivalent of $40 a month for 30GB, and extra GB on top are $3 each. That’s with Plus Net (http://www.plus.net).
I’m in South Africa paying about $130 for a 10GB cap.
So who’s really better off? By my calculations, if a Canadian ISP provides 7.8 mb/s with a 60 GB cap, that’s about 17.5 hours per month of sustained maximum bandwidth before you’ve blown your limit. By contrast, an American ISP with 2.3 mb/s and a 250 GB cap gives you about 247 hours per month of sustained maximum bandwidth.
Perhaps part of the answer is that only one country–Canada–shows up in the list of “faster countries” and in the comments section of Chris’s post. That could explain the apparent disconnect; maybe Great Britain and Australia are worse off than the USA, while Finland and Japan are better off.
Still, this does bring the question to mind: which is better, raw speed, or the ability to actually use it without fear?