Last updated: August 25, 2009 - 8:30am
The average Internet download speed in the USA is 5.1 megabits per second, though consumers' online experiences can vary dramatically, depending on where they happen to live, a new report from the Communications Workers of America says. On balance, speeds in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic were faster. Speeds in the South and in rural areas were markedly slower, according to the CWA's report. The big swing owes to the way broadband is deployed. In the U.S., it's basically up to individual companies to decide where to offer broadband. Big broadband players such as Verizon have tended to focus on densely populated areas, where they can get more subscribers. CWA says such disparities hurt consumers, and hurt bigger national aims. Uneven efforts by carriers and government "have left a digital divide across the country," says Larry Cohen, CWA president. CWA represents workers at AT&T, Verizon and other telecoms. In comparison with other countries, the USA does poorly.
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