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U.S. Broadband Internet Speeds Lags behind Other Advanced Nations - report

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Fixed line internet speeds in the USA have increased by only 1.6 megabits per second (mbps), from 3.5 mbps in 2007 to 5.1 mbps in 2009, reports the Communications Workers of America (CWA). At this rate, it will take the United States 15 years to catch up with current Internet speeds in South Korea, the country with the fastest average Internet connections.

The 2009 Speed Test shows that only 20 percent of those who took the test have Internet speeds in the range of the top ranked countries - including South Korea, Japan and Sweden. Also noted was that 18 percent do not even meet the FCC definition for basic broadband as an always-on Internet connection of at least 768 kbps downstream.

The data also confirms that where a customer lives is a good indicator of Internet connection speed. With some exceptions, Americans living in a Northeastern or Mid-Atlantic state are likely to have good high-speed Internet options. The five fastest states are: Delaware (9.9 mbps), Rhode Island (9.8 mbps), New Jersey (8.9 mbps), Massachusetts (8.6 mbps) and New York (8.4 mbps).

However, for Americans living in a Southern or Western state, access to high-speed Internet is less likely. Mississippi (3.7 mbps), South Carolina (3.6 mbps), Arkansas (3.1 mbps), Idaho (2.6 mbps) and Alaska (2.3 mbps) have some of the slowest Internet connection speeds, according to the study.

"Every American should have affordable access to high-speed Internet, no matter where they live. This is essential to economic growth and will help maintain our global competitiveness," said Larry Cohen, president, Communications Workers of America. "Unfortunately, fragmented government programs and uneven private sector responses to build out Internet access have left a digital divide across the country."

The Speed Matters Speed Test, a project of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), measures the speed of a user's Internet connection. The 2009 report is based on aggregated data from more than 413,000 Internet users who took the online test between May 2008 and May 2009.

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