2009 Speed Matters Report on Internet Speeds in 50 States

speedmattersMN09Here’s the bad news straight from the horse’s mouth (the 2009 SpeedMatters Report on Internet Speeds in All 50 States:

The 2009 speedmatters.org survey finds that the average download speed for the nation was 5.1 megabits per second (mbps) and the average upload speed was 1.1 mbps. These speeds are just slightly faster than the 2008 speedmatters. org results of 4.2 megabits per second (mbps) download and 873 kilobits per second (kbps) upload. In other words, between 2008 and 2009, the average download speed increased by only nine-tenths of a megabit per second (from 4.2 mbps to 5.1 mbps), and the average upload speed barely changed (from 873 kbps to 1.1 mbps). At this rate, it will take the United States 15 years to catch up with current Internet speeds in South Korea. Moreover, the average upload speed from the speedmatters.org survey is far too slow for patient monitoring or to transmit large files such as medical records.

So one answer is to get South Korea to rest on its laurels – except that as the report points out – we’d have to be talking to more than 2 dozen countries about treading water until we catch up because the US ranks 28th for average Internet connection. Another bad statistic – we rank 15th in terms of take rate, or percentage of population that subscribes to broadband. So who’s not signing up for broadband? Well, rural areas for one. Only 46 percent of rural households sign up, compared to 67 percent of urban homes.

Minnesota ranks slightly better than the average state with an average download speed of 5.4 mbps and the average upload speed is 1.5 mbps.

This entry was posted in Digital Divide, MN, Research, Rural by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

6 thoughts on “2009 Speed Matters Report on Internet Speeds in 50 States

  1. I seriously question this data source. If you go to the speedmatters.org website and choose Minnesota, venture over to west central Minnesota. Choose any of the counties showing 10mbps, like Grant county. Notice a difference between what it shows at the statewide level and the county level?

    The source itself is a sample based on people that run a speed test at their website. How many low-end users test their speed? I would venture to guess very few.

    We need real broadband out here in rural areas – those living in the township are seriously at risk. In many counties in Minnesota, more people live in the township than in a city.

    Instead of a sample, how about just collect information from each of our providers (there really aren’t that many) to examine price and speed? It will prove that broadband demand is not based on people not wanting it – it is the broadband supply that is beyond the price range of those wanting it. Then we will see how much further down the global list our rural areas fall.
    My 2 cents,
    Ben

  2. Ben,

    That’s a good point – the sample is not too random, but rather self-selected.

    Connect Minnesota has been working with the providers to get speeds available – but they haven’t been tracking cost. (I’m sure they would have if the Legislature had asked, but they didn’t.)

    Thanks! Ann

  3. I agree with both of your comments. Maybe the “solution” is to get speeds from known and operating sources, such as the diectors of the eight K-12 education/public library telecom and Internet access regions, the cable modem providers, etc.

  4. An average download speed of 5 meg beggars belief. I talk to broadband users all over the country, and very few ever report anything close to that. The number I would be more inclined to believe would be about 2 meg.

    Also, all the major providers map and track the speed test sites and build special routing into their networks to get speed test packets back and forth quickly. I’ve run speed tests from home that claim I have download speeds of 18 meg–when I can barely get 3 meg downloads of large files.

  5. Dale – I like that idea. I was impressed at the last Task Force meeting on how specific the woman from NW Links (NW library group) was about their network. She knew the current speeds (advertised and experienced) and she knew the growth of demand. I suspect given enough time she could have also shed a lot of light on impact of cost on demand – she referred to the difference in growth based on individual library budget. I bet you have an equally clear picture!

  6. Andrew – great point. We had some discussion on a local list here about some of the issues with speed tests last winter (http://tinyurl.com/mv4mdf).
    What I find disappointing is that even with our beefed up numbers we are falling far behind the rest of the world.

    Although I guess that begs the question – how are they testing in other areas?

    I think you’re last line gets at the true measure – can you do what you want online or are you hindered by broadband speed? I think a lot of us are hindered – and I definitely feel greater pain when I’m away from the Cities.

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