United States still ranks embarrassingly low in bandwidth 2016 techThe US is Still Nth Fiddle When It Comes to Bandwidth; We Have Some Catching Up to Do

The US is currently the most powerful nation on Earth with plenty of military, economic and technological influence on the rest of the world. But that doesn’t mean it’s the most powerful at everything. The US may have invented the internet but when it comes to internet bandwidth, America is lagging behind according to the latest ICT Development Index placing it at number 15 as December 1, 2015. The top country in the index is South Korea and they owe it mostly to gaming. The US loves gaming too but will it ever catch up to other countries with much faster internet service?

The ICT Development Index bases its ratings on internet bandwidth, number of computers per 100 persons and number of households with computers. Unfortunately, the US isn’t even on the top ten.

Here is the top 20 list as of December 2015

Country                       Rank   IDI Rating

South Korea                1          8.93

Denmark                     2          8.88

Iceland                        3          8.86

UK                               4          8.75

Sweden                       5          8.67

Luxembourg                6          8.59

Switzerland                 7          8.56

Netherlands                 8          8.53

Hong Kong                  9          8.52

Norway                       10        8.49

Japan                          11        8.47

Finland            12        8.36

Australia                      13        8.29

Germany                     14        8.22

United States              15        8.19

New Zealand               16        8.14

France                         17        8.12

Monaco                       18        8.10

Singapore                    19        8.08

Estonia                        20        8.05

 

It’s unnerving to think that the US is playing catchup with smaller nations when it comes to internet speeds but despite all the technological gimmicks and marvels shown by Hollywood like instantaneous flow of information, it’s just Hollywood.

To be fair, not all households in the US have a computer like South Korea and Denmark. The US population is also scattered in a large geographical area where some areas have very limited internet access. A lot of folks don’t have much need for it at all. But the many households that do make up America’s average internet usage puts the US at number 14 according to cloud provider Akamai.

Country/          Avg.                 Above              Above              Above

Territory          connection      4 Mb/s             10 Mb/s           15 Mb/s

speed (Mb/s)

 

South Korea    20.5                 96%                 68%                 45%

Sweden           17.4                 92%                 55%                 38%

Norway           16.4                 88%                 54%                 37%

Switzerland     16.2                 93%                 61%                 36%

Hong Kong      15.8                 92%                 59%                 36%

Netherlands     15.6                 95%                 60%                 34%

Japan             15.0                 90%                 54%                 32%

Finland            14.8                 91%                 51%                 28%

Czech Republic          14.5     86%                 46%                 27%

Denmark         14.0                 94%                 51%                 29%

Romania         13.1                 94%                 57%                 27%

United Kingdom          13.0     87%                 46%                 28%

Belgium           12.8                 91%                 52%                 26%

United States 12.6                 80%                 46%                 24%

Singapore        12.5                 87%                 51%                 27%

Ireland             12.4                 76%                 41%                 23%

Canada           11.9                 87%                 43%                 21%

Germany         11.5                 87%                 37%                 19%

Austria             11.4                 90%                 33%                 17%

Israel               11.2                 94%                 36%                 14%

 

Not bad considering the percentage of connections above 10Mbps. But still way behind South Korea. South Korea literally has its game on. Thanks to e-Sports, there’s a healthy demand for bandwidth per household. Not sure what the countries in between are up to. Denmark is still probably busy with Minecraft. So in South Korea’s case, the key is demand. So there is much hope for the future. We can thank Hollywood for the increase in demand and improvement of America’s internet infrastructure.

Sixty percent of American internet usage is made up of video streaming for movies, TV series and YouTube, and don’t forget porn. The demand for services like Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go and other video streaming sites has pushed internet service providers to up the ante to quench Americans’ thirst for entertainment. The increase of video communication, music streaming and online gaming also take up a big percentage of internet usage. Demand could also rise should the Internet of Things take off this year.

“From rudimentary Internet-connected smartphones in 2008 to sensors in nearly any imaginable device in 2015, the so-called Internet of Things will continue to drive massive increases in Internet usage,”

— David Belson, Senior Director, Industry and Data Intelligence, Akamai

Surely the US of A can catch up to the bandwidth race, or do we need another Cold War for that much-needed nudge? That or cheaper broadband and free Netflix one day per week.

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