Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Why Internet Speeds In The U.s. Are So Slow And What The Comcast-twc Deal Means

Broadband connection speeds here are embarrassingly slow compared to our peers. But you probably go on Netflix ( NFLX ) and watch House of Cards for 9 hours in a row without a hitch and think your internet connection is just fine. Then again, not so long ago we thought a day and a half ride on the TransContinental Railroad from New York to Chicago was fast too. Speed is time and time is money. Faster internet speeds not only add flexibility to our schedules, but also increase our capabilities to tackle new challenges. 30 or 40 years ago if you told someone that we would be watching original content wirelessly streamed to our homes in real time on a tiny tablet, you might get some funny looks. Even in the 90s when we were dialing-up AOL to get directions from MapQuest, live-streaming video or Skype chats seemed impossible. If we made another advancement similar to the one between dial up and broadband, imagine what might be within the realm of possibility. One area that immediately jumps to mind is the cloud and distributed computing space. Recently IBM ( IBM ) has committed over $1billion to data centers to increase its cloud computing capabilities and cloud oriented services are expected to be a major sector of growth over the next decade. Having faster internet speeds would reduce latency and increase the effectiveness of running physically separated distributed networks in parallelization. As things stand now, our internet speed inhibits the ability for geographically separated computers to work together in simultaneous collaborative tasks, but faster connections may help solve that problem. Internet speed is absolutely essential to future development, but the first question we need to ask ourselves is this: if we consider the United States to be one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world, why are our broadband speeds so slow? According to Ookla.com, which does broadband testing and tracks web diagnostics, we average 21.12 megabits per second (Mbps) and are ranked 32nd in the world by average broadband speed. Comparatively the World's leader, Hong Kong, averages 72.03 Mbps making the internet 3.4x faster there. And there are certainly some practical reasons for the difference. For one, countries with the best internet speeds tend to be small, reducing the the cost of building and maintaining a vast infrastructure covering large distances with expensive high speed cables. Secondly, other nations have a robust second or third mover advantage. The U.S.
For the original version visit http://seekingalpha.com/article/2024641-why-internet-speeds-in-the-u-s-are-so-slow-and-what-the-comcast-twc-deal-means

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