The United States is starting to look like a slowpoke on the Internet. What’s less clear is how badly the country that gave birth to the Internet is doing, and whether the government needs to step in and do something about it.
To get a clearer picture of where the US stands, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved legislation that would develop an annual inventory of existing broadband services — including the types, advertised speeds and actual number of subscribers — available to households and businesses nationwide.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., is intended to provide policy makers with improved data so they can better use grants and subsidies to target areas lacking high-speed Internet access. He said in a statement last week that promoting broadband would help spur job growth, access to health care and education and promote innovation among other benefits.
The inventory wouldn’t cover other countries, but a cursory look shows the US lagging behind at least some of them. In South Korea, for instance, the average apartment can get an Internet connection that’s 15 times faster than a typical US connection. In Paris, a “triple play” of TV, phone and broadband service costs less than half of what it does in the USA. Read more.