On the eve of this traditional American holiday, we've got some news that may be obvious to those who've ventured to grandparents' and relatives' houses where the Internet is less-than-speedy: Download speeds in the U.S. suck, a new report confirms.
Network diagnostics company Ookla on Tuesday released its most recent country-by-country Internet Service Provider (ISP) "Speed Test" results. According to Ookla's report, the U.S. ranks a mere 31st in the world when it comes to Internet download speeds -- behind much of Europe and Southeast Asia.(Story continues below chart.) Data via Ookla.
According to Ookla, the dismal ranking isn't new. Since September 2011, Ookla's monthly speed tests have always ranked the U.S. between 25th and 40th place when it comes to web speeds, Ookla spokesman Jamie Stevens said in an email.
Ookla's numbers are relatively consistent with a report released in September 2011 by content delivery service Pando Networks, which ranked the U.S. 26th in the world in Internet download speeds.
Interestingly, a more recent report, Akamai's July 2013 "State Of The Internet," ranked the U.S. at a more optimistic 9th place. When asked about the numbers on the Akamai report, Stevens was skeptical. He claimed Akamai's measurments, generated as a byproduct of Akamai's content delivery services, weren't as accurate as Ookla's measurements, which come from dedicated speed tests.
Whatever the numbers may be, it's long been conventional wisdom that U.S. Internet service has problems. A multitude of factors have been blamed -- including everything from the FCC not sufficiently encouraging competition to the country's large stretches of sparsely-populated landscape.
But with about one-third of Americans lacking broadband Internet according to the Federal Communications Commission, the cost of broadband Internet prices climbing, and the U.S. struggling to keep up with many other developed nations when it comes to connection speeds, America's broadband providers might want to step up their game -- or risk the country falling on the wrong side of the global digital divide.