How Nations With Higher Bandwidth Caps Operate
Although the United States invented the Internet, our own performance in the digital era lags well behind that of many other nations. American Internet rates place only seventeenth in the world, having been lapped by Sweden during July of this year. Even as speeds in the United States have risen by nearly thirty percent in the past year alone, several factors keep the fastest Internet providers in our country from being able to provide the blazing-fast service that nations like South Korea and Switzerland enjoy. How does this affect foreign and domestic Internet performances and development?
The necessity of laying fiber-optic cables across an entire country of four million square miles and a quarter of a billion people in order to provide Internet in the first place means that no company can raise the capital needed to create the infrastructure of the web. As such, the federal government laid trillions of miles of fiber-optic cable, then allowed companies to bid for the right to provide service. The result of the intensive system of cable meant that companies had, until recently, relatively few options for improving Internet performance, since they could only rent these cables out. Few companies exist to provide high-speed Internet in the USA, where your geographical location may determine whether you can even get service, let alone get it from more than one provider. Indeed, some American companies go so far as to say that Americans don’t need high-speed Internet. Compared to nations like Japan, where companies own their fiber optic grid, the US lags far behind in terms of offering customers different options for speed, quality, and price of Internet.
A major factor that drags down the average involves the number of Americans who live outside a major metropolitan area. Anyone familiar with the Colorado housing landscape knows that living well off the grid, on the plains or the mountains, is quite possible. This, however, limits your access to many luxury utilities, including high-speed wireless Internet. Nations with a highly-urbanized population like Iceland or Taiwan have more people in close proximity to an Internet node, and thus can enjoy better speeds. The demand in other nations is not higher, and most developed nations spend about the same time online each day; the difference instead, is in the delivery. In fact, South Korea goes so far as to subsidize Internet companies so that each citizen can afford to be plugged in.
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