While America’s tech giants like Apple and Microsoft have revolutionized personal computing, mobile technology and methods for connecting online, the irony of that leadership when it comes to Internet speeds is that globally, we have slipped behind. Today, according to a new study by Speedtest.net, the U.S. ranks 31st in the world in terms of average download speeds, and 44th with an average upload speed of 6.32 Mbps, behind countries like Lesotho and others you might only hear mentioned on Jeopardy.
The worldwide leader is Hong Kong for both download and upload speeds averaging 3.5 times faster than our download speeds and over nine times faster than our uploads.
President Obama has announced a plan to increase Internet speeds across the country and link 99% of American students to high-speed Wi-Fi in five years.
Google Fiber is an experiment in progress. In 2010, the search giant announced it would bring a 1,024-megabit (1 gigabit) per second fiber Internet service to a handful of selected cities commencing with Kansas City, followed by Provo, Utah and due in Austin, Texas sometime in 2014.
Prior to Google Fiber, most consumers had no clue as to the difference between 1Mbps versus 1000Mbps connection – except to know that one is incrementally faster than the other. Now 1Gbps is the target for most municipal broadband projects and is certainly on the roadmap for most telecom operators.
Sprint is on the mobile front, and demonstrated its new service Sprint Spark™ on October 30 at the company’s tech center in Burlingame, California, Sprint demonstrated it could match the 1 gigabit per second Google Fiber speed on a wireless network at its innovation center in Burlingame, California on October 30.
Sprint plans to deploy Sprint Spark in about 100 of America’s largest cities over the next three years, with initial availability in five markets today — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tampa and Miami. The first smartphones with Sprint Spark capability are now available to the customers . Those include Samsung’s Galaxy Mega, the Galaxy S 4 mini and LG’s G2, with the HTC One Max yet to be announced.