Zoom zoom indeed

Isn’t it just all about speed? At least in America, it is. We Americans have more speedy solutions than any other country in the world, it seems. Drive-up banking, express toll lanes, drive-through food joints, self-checkout at the grocery and Home Depot, microwave meals in a minute, movies on demand, zip, zoom, ka-chang….you’re outta there.

Then why, I wonder, are we so slow compared to other countries when it comes to broadband?

Couple nights ago, I took an upload/download speed test at speedtest.net. Here’s how I scored after repeated go-rounds (click the picture):

Now, the Thriller pays more per month to get “business grade” speed, so my zip-chang is a little faster than the average Joe’s. But wait till you see how it stacks up to that of other countries. Check out this chart from a study done by the Communications Workers of America union, which shows where we stand in comparison to other countries:

Look at Japan – Sheefus, Mary & Joseph. Sixty-three MBPS compared to my nine? What’s up with THAT? In fact, the report states that the US – the country that invented the Internet – is “15th behind other industrialized nations in the percentage of the population subscribing to broadband.” Friggin’ Luxembourg has better download speed than we do. That just ain’t right. According to the study, Americans pay more for sub-par internet speed than their neighbors across the sea, too.

Well, turns out the answers aren’t always in the numbers. As I read article after article about it, hidden truths seeped out. The one that struck me was the logistics of upgrading/building the broadband infrastructure in the US as compared to doing so in Japan. I’m talking about sheer size:

Japan = 145,840 square miles

USA = 3,790,000 square miles

Of course it’s going to be easier to set up tighter, faster servers in small places like Japan or South Korea. Unfortunately, despite the movement by the CWA for Congress to step up improvements, I think most American ISPs would just as soon blather on about how good 5 MBPS is, and squeeze us for the $60/month, hoping that we’ll continue to be dumb & happy about it.

But sixty-three MBPS? *scratching head* If that don’t beat all. (Actually, it does.)

Fink out.

21 thoughts on “Zoom zoom indeed

  1. P.K. Pudlin

    Americans are all about being the biggest, baddest, best and fastest about everything, and we get all bent out of shape when reality hits – we’re WAY behind on LOTS of things… like HEALTHCARE for instance…
    Oops, sorry. My soapbox is showing….

    PK

    Reply
  2. TRO

    It’s depressing indeed that the Japanese can get their porn to download faster than us folks in the US of A.

    Who are we behind on healthcare, though?

    Reply
  3. Rat Fink Post author

    TRO – not to speak for PK, but she might mean countries with socialized medicine. I know there’s a trade-off for everything (higher taxes, pre-approved doctor lists), but at least everyone in those countries can *get* health care.

    Reply
  4. TRO

    But can they? Waiting lists for surgery in Canada and the UK are months (typically 18 weeks on the short side in Canada). The UK reports that there are waiting periods of over 45 days from the time a doctor refers someone to chemotherapy until the time they first receive it. That’s a long time when you have cancer.

    In 2007 over 345 people died in UK hospitals due to bad sanitation. And I mean rooms that were filthy, not just a roaming staph infection.

    An average of 12 weeks waiting time in Germany for surgery.

    Breast cancer patients waiting on surgery in Quebec experienced waiting times of 45 to 90 days. Again, a long time when you’re suffering from this horrible disease.

    I could go on and on but I only have so much time to Google.

    I guess you could say everyone in those countries get health care, but the care they get is much poorer than we get here in the USA as a whole and they sure are waiting a long time to get it.

    Reply
  5. BoomR

    TRO – time to climb out from under the rock you’ve been living in, stick a crowbar in your pocketbook & pay for some more Google time. Or better yet, buy a plane ticket & spend some time living outside the US. Or even better yet – take some time to PONDER the numbers that you find & try to figure out what the backstory is.

    The US Healthcare system as it stands now SUCKS – because it’s only for the privileged few that can afford it. What about all the people in the US who need that chemo or need that surgery, but they’re not gonna get it because they HAVE no health insurance & can’t afford it. Hell – God Bless Canada & the UK because at least when someone needs that surgery or chemo, they’re gonna get it – it may take some time, but it’s gonna happen. Period. I’d rather wait a few months than die because I can’t afford what I need.

    One of my best high school friends just went through her 2nd radical mastectomy & reconstruction. From the time she found out she needed to have boobie #2 lopped off, it was 60+ days before she had the surgery (she lives in Madison Wisconsin – land of plentiful hospitals & healthcare).

    My spouse just had cancer surgery to remove a small yet important part of the anatomy that proved to be cancerous. From the time the doctor called & said “it’s cancer” (June 8) to when the surgery was done (August 12) was by no means as speedy as YOU would think or expect it to be done. My part of the globe is world-renowned for the medical care available (treating JFK after he was shot put us on the medical map). Part of the delay was because healing time after the biopsy was needed – and part of it was the surgeon’s availability as well as the new robotic/laparoscopic instrument used (check out http://www.davincisurgery.com – can you say “walk out of the hospital the same day you have a hysterectomy?”)

    ..and while we’re at it, unless YOU’VE been treated for something while out of the country, you can’t speak authoritatively on healthcare outside of the US & claim it is much poorer than inside our border! Just because they don’t get treated in what you consider to be a speedy timeline (circle back to RF’s original post), it’s now POORER? I want some of what you’re smokin’!!

    Gawd…I love Blogging & the Internet!

    Reply
  6. P.K. Pudlin

    Here’s a statistic for ya:
    Doctors kill more people per year in the US than guns do.
    Whaddya call a guy who graduated last in his class at Medical school?
    Ans: Doctor.

    NB: RF can speak for me anytime. The US ranks third from the BOTTOM of the list when considering mortality and morbidity – lower than some third-world countries. Why? Because people don’t have access to the care they need. I spent 20 years in the healthcare field and in the US, healthcare is run by the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies. What TRO is spouting is pure propaganda put out by the aforementioned entities, designed to scare the American people and backed up by the governmental officials on their payrolls. TRO, I love ya, but you’re in Okinawa, not here. We live it every day.
    Good grief, is my soapbox showing again????
    PK

    Reply
  7. Rat Fink Post author

    Holy carp – I go away for one evening and look what I find when I get back. Can’t leave you guys alone for a minnit.
    :P

    Welcome to the ward, BoomR!

    Reply
  8. Rat Fink Post author

    @Mathew: Ho ho. Very funny. Ha ha. It is to laff.

    But ax me if I looooove your upload speed….*wink wink nudge nudge say no more*

    Reply
  9. TRO

    “TRO – time to climb out from under the rock you’ve been living in . . .”

    Now THAT’s classy debate.

    I guess I must be privileged because I have excellent health care, which by the way has had to pay for specialist care for my wife (breast cancer scare) and a rush CT for my oldest son due to serious headaches. Both things were handled quickly (ten days for the wife and same day for my son). Now I don’t know if this privileged health care is available to normal Americans, but if it is I would check it out.

    It’s called Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

    Oh yes, I lived outside the country for six years and received treatment in not one but two German hospitals (I was too far away from the DOD ones when I need treatment). Trust me when I say most inner-city public hospitals are better than what I saw there.

    Oh, and my middle son . . . born in Germany . . . I watched him being born by C-Section through the ragged hole in the old wooden door at the German hospital.

    But hey, if you guys want nationalized health care I am all for you getting it. I mean the government is SO VERY GOOD at doing things I am SURE they will be good at managing health care for you. Just look how well they did with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac since about 1990.

    Oh, and I live in Tennessee.

    Reply
  10. TRO

    “Trust me when I say most inner-city public hospitals are better than what I saw there.”

    Oh yes, I forgot, no reason to trust me because what I did was just spout “pure propaganda put out by the aforementioned entities.”

    Now excuse me because I got this horrible goiter and I hear they lance them quickly down in Cuba. I have to get in line because SO many Americans travel down there to get health care when they aren’t traveling to Canada and the UK.

    Reply
  11. Stein

    Wow. This became heated….
    Wanting to socialize anything seems kinda scary to me. Healthcare, internet, you name it. It’s a slippery slope to start socializing anything in such a capitalistic environment. It’s scary enough to set standards on pay scales and such, let alone to have the government be in charge of what kind of healthcare I recieve or even how good my wi-fi connection may be. Not to mention the kind of tax hike that would be necessary to “provide enough revenue” for the government to take care of these issues. It’s hard to have power to the people, but the government take care of all the nasty issues. Keep going along those lines and the government gets the power. To me it’s scary. I understand needing better healthcare, and I understand needing better internet. If I remember right, competition will drive the prices down and the quality up. But please, correct me if I’m wrong…

    Reply
  12. BoomR

    “Now THAT’s classy debate”

    I majored in classy debate in college….

    You still missed the original point. The end of PK’s post said “…but at least everyone in those countries can *get* health care…” – to which you replied, “But can they?

    …and then you started babbling on about waiting lists in Canada, Germany, and the UK. And more waiting in Quebec. And then FINALLY you make a small concession that “maybe” they *can* get it, but they have to wait. I’m sure there are PLENTY of people in the US who would KILL for the chance to wait vs. not having anything at all!! (BTW, the answer to your opening statement “…but can they?” still remains-YES!)

    Maybe I should have said “fortunate enough” to have healthcare. I humbly apologize. Sure – you have BCBS – I have United Healthcare. And I’m fortunate enough to have a job where my employer offers many options for me & mine at a group rate where my premium per paycheck doesn’t break the bank.

    But what about those who are not fortunate enough to be employed with a company that offers such? Or offers anything at all? Or hires a person for 35hrs/week so they can be considered p/t so they don’t have to offer/pay benefits? Or people who are on fixed incomes that have to choose between paying their electric bill, eating that day, or paying a medical premium?

    What’s YOUR solution to taking care of those less fortunate than we are, then, hmmm??? You write like one of those “I got me mine – that’s all I need to worry about” sort of people… you have that luxury…

    “Trust me when I say most inner-city public hospitals are better than what I saw there”

    GAWD I love it when you talk dirty to me like that. So you’ve traveled extensively around the US over the past few years and have surveyed the condition of inner-city public hospitals, eh? Is that what’s empowering you to make blanket statements like that? Amazing! I grovel at your feet…

    “I mean the government is SO VERY GOOD at doing things … Just look how well they did with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac since about 1990

    We had 8 years of peace & prosperity, plus a budget in the black and a surplus to boot under Bill Clinton. Whose watch has our economy in the crapper, unemployment, let crazies fly planes into buildings, deceived the American people to get us into a stupid war with no end in sight that’s milked our coffers dry, and now has us in probably the worst financial crisis ever? You’re right – I wouldn’t let the CURRENT government/political party run my tricycle down the street. But the winds, they are a changin’….

    Gawd…. I love being the devil’s advocate – and it’s ok to agree-to-disagree.. that’s what makes the world go ’round! BTW…does everyone believe everything they read on the Internet, anyway???

    I love you, RF!

    Boom…Boom…Boom…let’s go back to my room….

    Reply
  13. TRO

    “GAWD I love it when you talk dirty to me like that. So you’ve traveled extensively around the US over the past few years and have surveyed the condition of inner-city public hospitals, eh? Is that what’s empowering you to make blanket statements like that? Amazing! I grovel at your feet…”

    Ahh, sarcasm, what would we do without it? Psst, it’s not very attractive though. Just so ya know.

    In fact, I have been to, at last count, 42 of the 50 states, and, because of my career field I have had the pleasure(?) of having to visit a number of public hospital emergency rooms and I can say based on my limited sample that yes, the average emergency room in the USA is better equipped by far that the average emergency room in many of the other countries in the world.

    I’ve also had to bring my children to several ERs over the years in both the USA and in Europe (what parent hasn’t?) and again I say that my anecdotal evidence points the the US hospitals being significantly better than their European counterparts.

    “What’s YOUR solution to taking care of those less fortunate than we are, then, hmmm??? You write like one of those “I got me mine – that’s all I need to worry about” sort of people… you have that luxury…”

    I do, indeed, worry about my own before I worry about others, but when it gets down to it, I doubt you are any different. No one really is, except maybe Mother Theresa.

    Americans voluntarily give more to charitable causes than any people on Earth. Bar none. And I give quite a bit to charity – MUCH more so than Joe Biden gave last year according to his released figures. So I do my share, through my church and other private charities to help out those less fortunate than I. However, I do not believe in forcing taxpayers to pay for helping out people as you call it. If that makes me an evil man, I can live with that. What I can’t live with is giving my hard-earned money to a government who will simply mis-manage it in some type of nationalized health care system that will end up providing poorer quality health care to those needy people than they already get.

    Again, our government cannot do many things right and it always amazes me that people believe they can do the one thing they are in favor of correctly.

    “We had 8 years of peace & prosperity, plus a budget in the black and a surplus to boot under Bill Clinton. Whose watch has our economy in the crapper, unemployment, let crazies fly planes into buildings, deceived the American people to get us into a stupid war with no end in sight that’s milked our coffers dry, and now has us in probably the worst financial crisis ever? You’re right – I wouldn’t let the CURRENT government/political party run my tricycle down the street. But the winds, they are a changin’….”

    Did that peace include the war in the Balkans? You know, Kosovo, Serbia and Yugo? Did it include Somalia? What about the bombings of the US Embassies in East Africa in 1998? Did it include those?

    I suppose not. It’s only a war that matters is a conservative starts it.

    Oh, and they current financial crisis? Did that prosperity back then lead to it now? I mean it was Bill Clinton, thru Andrew Coumo and Janet Reno, that relaxed all those regulations and encouraged all those bad loans to people who could not pay them back.

    Oh well, my work is done here and the lovely lady who runs this blog is I am sure tired of hearing everyone rant about this.

    In the end no minds were changed.

    Reply
  14. Mavis

    Health care? Don’t get me started. I’m one of those “unfortunates” that have no insurance. I could be the poster child for just how difficult it is to get health care in this country without money or insurance! I am lucky, though. The clinic I go to has helped me out immensely. You still have to pay some, but at least I can get the basics done. Now, if cancer (God forbid) comes along – I’m screwed. I could go on about what a joke “free” dental care is, too, but I’m sure that Finklestein is about ready for us all to change the subject. ;0)

    Maven

    Reply
  15. BoomR

    “Ahh, sarcasm, what would we do without it? Psst, it’s not very attractive though. Just so ya know.”

    LOL Not very attractive, indeed, yet you chose to reply in kind to my first post – making you no better than me (despite what you seem to think of yourself) – so get off your high horse please. You’re down in the gutter with the rest of us, face it :-)

    “In the end no minds were changed.”

    ..and how do you know that no minds were changed? Wow – do you ever take the blinders off? Clearly YOUR mind has not changed. You’ve actually given me pause to think – I may be a work in progress! And others who read the banter between us may now even consider changing their minds, too – but we’ll never know until they post & tell us….

    …but at least we have the opportunity to express our respective opinions & beliefs… And as always, there are always 2 sides to every story & the real truth lies somewhere in between.

    OH WAIT…

    What were we originally supposed to be posting on? Bandwidth & data rates? P*ssing & moaning that we’ve only got a national average of 5 MBPS? To RF’s point – we’ve got a HUGE country with lots of square miles to cover with media (coax, fiber optic, twisted pair for DSL), so of course our national overall average is gonna be slow.

    I can get 50 MBPS right now in our humble abode because we’re fortunate enough to have Verizon FiOS service in our corner of The Big D (http://www22.verizon.com/content/ConsumerFiOS/). :-P~~~~~~

    But OMG… what home user NEEDS 50 MBPS? For email, basic web surfing, Google searching, even watching the next episode of the new Knight Rider in HD on my Apple TV hooked into my Sony Bravia 60″ 1080p HDTV doesn’t require anything even CLOSE to 5 MBPS. Having 50 MBPS is like using a Maserati to run to Krogers to get groceries!

    Hang in there, RF!

    Boom…Boom…Boom…let’s go back to my room….

    Reply
  16. Rat Fink Post author

    LOL

    BoomR, Mavis, PK, TRO – you know I love you all! A little feisty debate never hurts, although you probably know I’m fighting the urge to go around and hug everyone and see if your karma’s all intact.
    :P

    And now, I’m cooking for Lars. But first, I gotta get into the Maserati and run to the Kroger….

    RF

    Reply
  17. P.K. Pudlin

    I’m with you, Mave. No health care coverage. Had BCBS through hubby’s employer until last month when he got laid off. Premiums: $375/month. Plus copays. Plus deductibles. Oh, and if they didn’t feel like they should be covering something, they just didn’t. Then when he got laid off, COBRA generously offered us the opportunity to continue our coverage at the low, low rate of only $635/month. And if we hurried, they would include a set of Ginsu knives at no extra charge. Operators are standing by….

    The fact remains that every American is one major illness away from financial disaster. TRO’s experiences notwithstanding, we are on the bottom of the heap statistically when considering morbidity and mortality in our population. If our system is so good, why are our stats so lousy? Why do some third-world countries have healthier people and less death by disease?

    The question remains.
    PK

    Reply

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