Study: U.S. now 26th in global broadband speed

The newest information from Ookla shows that the US is still losing ground in the global move to faster broadband speeds.

Here’s how the US, who invented the Internet, fares against the top five countries:

1. South Korea – 34.14 Mbps (megabits per second)
2. Latvia – 24.29 Mbps
3. Moldova – 21.37 Mbps
4. Japan – 20.29 Mbps
5. Sweden – 19.87 Mpbs
—-
26. United States of America – 10.16 Mbps

Part of the reason US speeds haven’t kept up is the lack of improvements to the aging copper systems. Remember the old cable lines that were strung in front of your house 30 years ago? They were made to carry analog TV signals, but today there’s a decent chance that they’re carrying the Web to you.

The City of Wilson built its Greenlight network as a fiber to the home system. It’s faster and much more reliable than the old stuff.

Instead of concentrating on updating their own systems, the cable and telecom giants are paying lobbyists to push bills like S1209 that would stop NC cities from building better networks.

Thanks to everyone, including private corporations such as Google and Intel, who has contacted lawmakers to explain the short-sighted effects of this bill.

Winston Salem Journal: Telecoms can’t expect people to keep waiting

The Winston Salem Journal did an excellent job covering the municipal broadband issue this week. The writers understood that the people of NC shouldn’t have to wait around for cable and telecom companies to improve their systems.

US broadband speeds simply haven’t kept up with many countries because the copper cable and telephone wires are slower than fiber optic networks. Some cities and towns, such as Wilson, have built fiber optic networks but the industry giants want to stop them. Wilson Greenlight speeds are many times faster than anything else you can buy here.

Here are a couple of segments from the editorial about senate bill 1209:

If the General Assembly were to give the telecoms what they want, they would be setting a higher standard for Internet borrowing than exists for most other government borrowing. And legislators would look hypocritical in passing such legislation because they’ve been borrowing without bond referenda for many years.

The issue here is that North Carolina’s small towns and rural areas need fast Internet service so they can attract business. With high-speed Internet, people can work from home, too, thus increasing the likelihood that small Internet-based businesses can take advantage of lower costs in rural areas. Also many people currently work from home. They can move to rural areas and stay employed by urban companies if they have a high-speed Internet connection.

Senate bill 1209 is expected in one of the committees next week. More on that as we know more.

Lawmaker: We should promote other models, including the municipal

The Associated Press covered the NC broadband debate this weekend, and the News and Observer picked it up.

It mentioned that another committee is already studying this topic and quoted the chair of it: “Leaving this solely to the telecoms and the cable companies has not gotten us the best result we could get, and we should promote other models, including the municipal model,” said Rep. Bill Faison, D-Orange, who is leading a separate House committee examining the topic.

Wilson and Salisbury have invested millions into fiber to the home networks.  A number and name of this draft bill should be posted later in the week.

Another place where community broadband is working

The Economist did a great story recently about  our friends in Bristol, Virginia. Bristol, like Wilson, ran its first fiber a few years ago to connect City facilities, then made it available to everyone after people in town asked for it.

In fact, when Wilson was building its fiber ring several years ago, several local businesses asked the guys stringing up the fiber if they could connect, too.

Here’s a segment of the article: “The Federal Communications Commission will have to take up this matter when it sends its broadband plan to Congress in March. Since 1995, at the urging of telecoms companies, 18 states have erected barriers to entry for municipal utilities.”

The private cable monopolies in NC continue their efforts to prevent cities and towns from making their own decisions regarding next-generation communication. The NC Legislature returns to Raleigh for the short session in a couple of months.

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