For years, Speed Matters has been campaigning for better access to high-speed broadband for all Americans, but a recent story in The New York Times revealed that we still have a long way to go. A study by Pando Networks, a file-sharing company, discovered that residents of Idaho have the overall slowest download speeds in the nation — slower than many poorer nations. Just how slow was evident from the numbers:
In Pocatello, it would take nearly 12 seconds to download that music file, according to the study by Pando Networks, a company that helps consumers accelerate downloads. In the nation's fastest city, Andover, Mass., a Boston suburb, it would take just over one second.
The result can be nothing short of drastic.
...downloading delays of just a few seconds can stretch into crucial minutes or hours and over time result in losses across many aspects of life, some experts say, beyond entertainment and games, affecting fields such as public safety, education and economic growth.
These statistics echo the findings of Speed Matters, which has compiled state-by-state broadband speeds. To see how your state ranks, download the 2010 Speed Matters report on our website.
The principal problem for underserved parts of the country is that the unaided free market doesn't encourage build out to rural, rugged areas like Idaho, which is "...sparsely populated, with an average of 19 people per square mile... Providers have little financial incentive to build a whole infrastructure across rugged terrain just to reach one or two homes."
That's why Speed Matters continues to pressure federal, state and local governments to create and enforce policies that make sure all residents — who all indeed pay taxes — have equal access to this essential part of our economy and our culture. This current inequality has spurred CWA to support the AT&T/T-Mobile merger — which will bring high-speed wireless broadband to virtually every corner of the nation.