A couple of weeks ago we reported the U.S. had dipped all the way to the rank of 24th place worldwide for broadband penetration, the lowest it has ever been. Apparently when it comes to broadband speeds, the U.S. isn't doing that well either, according to a report by the Washington-based Communications Workers of America.

The report, found that the median real-time download speeds are 61Mbps in Japan, 45Mbps in South Korea, 17Mbps in France, and 7Mbps in Canada, putting the United States' 1.9Mbps to shame. Not only speed is slower compared to Japan, but broadband access is also more expensive.

Speeds of 50Mbps, which are not available to residential consumers in this country [U.S.], are available to Japanese consumers for roughly $30 per month. U.S. consumers typically pay $20 for about 1Mbps service and $30 to $40 for about 4Mbps service.
The report is based on aggregated data from nearly 80,000 broadband users with data collected through the speed test at SpeedMatters.org between September 2006 and May 2007, and is part of a CWA project launched last September "to help bridge the digital divide and keep America competitive by encouraging the government to adopt national policies to bring about universal, affordable high-speed broadband access for all Americans, no matter where they live."

Speed matters, it defines what is possible on the Internet, enhances competitiveness and economic growth. Senator Daniel Inouye has introduced a bill to require the collection and evaluation of data on broadband deployment, and an upgraded definition of "high speed", currently defined as a mere 200Kbps.