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Internet Connectivity Outside of the United States 504

Posted by Zonk
from the you-hear-that-charter-i-could-move-to-another-country dept.
Ant writes "A Yahoo! news story says that nearly 60 publications in countries bear the PC World name, or are associated with it in some way. The editors at several of them were asked to report how their readers get online. Not surprisingly, the report indicates that many countries are substantially ahead of the United States in online access." From the article: "For example, in the United Kingdom, you can buy DSL service with a download speed of up to 24 megabits per second. In Denmark, some people have fiber-optic connections as fast as 100 mbps. And in Italy and Spain, broadband service is cheap, and dial-up service is free (except for the cost of the local call). Still, many countries have their own connection quirks ..."
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Internet Connectivity Outside of the United States

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  • As any libertarian will tell you, government regulation and meddling in a market can only hurt consumers.

    It's for this reason that the United States, with fewer government controls has a superior and chepaer broadband, telecoms network...oh what? Crap.

    Turns out for some things regulation is better - look at how a poor country like Cuba has better healthcare (with lower infant mortality rates) than the wealthy US.

    Oh, and I note they don't have sweden on the list where (last I heard) you could get 100Mbps for something like 30 euros/month in a large city.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Or maybe, just maybe, it's that these coutries have:

      A: Higher population density
      B: Government OFFERED internet access (As opposed to regulated, as you stated)

      or

      C: A combination thereof.

      Nah, it's better to be flamebait and blame it on 'the market'.
      • by Saunalainen (627977) on Friday August 25, 2006 @08:59AM (#15977778)
        Or maybe, just maybe, it's that these coutries have: A: Higher population density B: Government OFFERED internet access (As opposed to regulated, as you stated)

        From the CIA factbook: Sweden [cia.gov]: land area 410,934 square km, population 9,016,596, so density=21.94/sq km ; USA [cia.gov]: land area 9,161,923 square km, population 298,444,215, so density=32.57/sq km. No, internet access is not `offered' by the government. [wikipedia.org]

        In any case, it's the population density in the cities which matters. I'll leave it up to you to figure out whether New York City has a lower density than Stockholm.

        Perhaps you should check your own facts? Nah, much better to make them up based on your own prejudices.

        • by Stradenko (160417) on Friday August 25, 2006 @09:02AM (#15977811) Homepage
          I'd much rather compare what percentage of the population of each country lives in urban vs. rural areas, since rural areas generally seem less likely to have high-speed infrastructure.
          • by Albanach (527650)
            Every phone exchange in the UK is DSL enabled - I think you'll find rural Scotland and Wales have as low a density as pretty much any rural area in the 48 states.
          • by Alef (605149) on Friday August 25, 2006 @01:48PM (#15980405)
            Not to spread envy or anything, but in Västerbotten County [wikipedia.org] in northern Sweden (with 4.6 inh/km^2), symmetrical 100 Mbit fiber connections are available in virtually every home. Including small villages with 20-30 houses scattered throughout the terrain, often with something like 30 km to the nearest town (and with town I mean around 10 000 inhabitants).

            The price is about EUR 20/month, although you have to pay for the "last mile" of fibre (a one-time payment of about EUR 700), since you own that yourself.

            More information about it is available here [ac-net.se], although only in swedish it seems (sorry).
        • by maxume (22995) on Friday August 25, 2006 @09:30AM (#15978050)
          Of course, when evaluating a service like broadband over a large region, it makes some sense to do more than simply account for population density; population concentration is much more interesting. Take Alaska as an example, more than a third of the population lives in Anchorage, at a population density of about 150 people/square mile, but the population density for Alaska in general is about 1 person per square mile. Offering access in the city is no problem at all, but offering access to every crazy in a cabin is a whole different question.

          A decent measure would be to calculate the population density for a typical resident, perhaps by weighting by population density. So you have (residents*density)/area. That would be a lot more interesting than just comparing the different population densitys.
        • by fitten (521191) on Friday August 25, 2006 @09:31AM (#15978052)
          It's also a matter of pure area. The USA is just over 22x the size of Sweden, for example, in both land area and population. In fact, the USA is larger than all of Europe put together. Europe, as a whole, has a much higher population density than the USA. I imagine that Sweden's population is highly concentrated around the southern portion of the country with it being very sparsely populated to the north, and then typically in isolated pockets of towns. How many people who live in Sweden do not live in a large city? Wikipedia link [wikipedia.org] Coincidentally, large cities are much more apt to have the infrastructure and market to install higher speed networks. The 15th largest city in Sweden has about 100,000 people living in it. The 10th largest city in the USA is larger than the 1st largest in Sweden. I'm not throwing rocks, just pointing out facts and how/why it may be easier to give most of the people in Sweden better Internet access than most of the people in the USA.
          • by julesh (229690) on Friday August 25, 2006 @10:21AM (#15978551)
            Yes, but conversely it is much easier to provide such services to major US cities than it is to most European cities, because US cities tend to have a higher population density.

            So how do internet access services in, say, Birmingham [wikipedia.org] (3739 people per square kilometre) compare to, say, Philadelpha [wikipedia.org] (4,208 per square kilometre)? The 24 megabit broadband described in TFA is available cheaply in most of Birmingham. How about Philadelphia?
            • by Kadin2048 (468275)
              I'd say the problem is perceived demand.

              I really doubt that there is anything keeping the cable providers from putting down broadband similar to Birmingham's in Philadelphia, except for cost. They're not going to do it, unless they think there's a market for it.

              Let's say that a cable provider did put out a high-speed network like that: they started offering 10MB/s service or something. They'd have to recoup the cost of their infrastructure rollout somehow, so the new HS service would have to cost more than
          • by AK Marc (707885) on Friday August 25, 2006 @11:45AM (#15979367)
            It's also a matter of pure area.

            Not in the least. The population concentrations are concentrated enough to be independent entities. Yes, the entire US doesn't compare well to any individual European country, but many states have similar area and distribution as European countries, and Europe as a whole can roughly compare to the US. Regardless of how you measure it, the USA is well behind other similar places around the world. Or are you saying that NYC should have crappy access because Montana is spread out?

            I imagine that Sweden's population is highly concentrated around the southern portion of the country with it being very sparsely populated to the north, and then typically in isolated pockets of towns. How many people who live in Sweden do not live in a large city?

            Sounds like it isn't too far from the Alaska layout. Care to guess what we get for speeds and prices? I'll give you a hint, take whatever you have, half the speed, double the price, and put a monthly cap on usage, and that's what I have access to. Yay for population concentrations!

            I'm not throwing rocks, just pointing out facts and how/why it may be easier to give most of the people in Sweden better Internet access than most of the people in the USA.

            And I'm just pointing out that the US is diverse enough that every arguement I have heard is refuted by some specific state in the US. The population density in California is greater, so their prices should be lower, but aren't. The population in Alaska is more concentrated than Sweeden, yet has higher prices. Montana is more spread out and has higher prices. The difference is that the USA has private monopolies. Private monopolies have always worked to screw the customers. And it was the free market that brought us to those monopolies. The FCC wasn't involved until long after AT&T was formed.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by osgeek (239988)
          May be, but that's not counting all the penguins. They make a huge difference over there.
        • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Friday August 25, 2006 @09:39AM (#15978141)
          I love this little gem from the summary:

          In Denmark, some people have fiber-optic connections as fast as 100 mbps.

          Well, hell, here in the US some people have fiber-optic connections as fast as 100 mpbs (Verizon's FIOS). It's a very very small percentage of people, but it still falls under the header "some people."
      • A: Higher population density

        I can't believe how often this is used as a legitimate justification for the US's crap broadband.

        Manhattan island is one of the most densely populated parts of the world. And Broadband is still expensive and slow. If population desnsity is the problem, why does this happen?
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by glaucopis (874967)

          And actually one of the few places in the US where you can get 24 Mbps, Vermont, has a very low population density. It probably helps that VTel [vermontel.com] is an independent telephone company. 24 Mbps isn't available everywhere in the state yet and does cost $50/mo, probably more than people in the UK are paying, but 24 Mbps DSL does exist in America. And if it hasn't arrived in your corner of Vermont yet, you can still get 8 Mbps for $35/mo while you wait.

          And when you sign up for it, you get two t-shirts featurin

        • by flithm (756019) on Friday August 25, 2006 @11:20AM (#15979144) Homepage
          I can't believe how often this is used as a legitimate justification for the US's crap broadband.

          Yeah no kidding... population density really has very little to do with how easy it is to offer proper internet.

          If the argument were to hold true then why are there many countries (including Canada) with a significantly lower population density that offer better internet access for a lower price?

          And if you really think about it almost the entire infrastructure is already in place in the united states (cable and telephone lines). I know it's not that simple, equipment has to me upgraded or modified, but it's not like they have to roll out new wire to all the communities.

          If you ask me the whole problem is the states overly capitalistic government. All of the infrastructure is controlled by a select few companies (with little regulation compared to the countries that rank high in internet access). The companies set the rates and the little guys have to live with it. While they're making a profit there's not much anyone can do about it.

          Government control would most certainly help the situation, but that isn't the american way. I suspect the american public will have to wait for a new infrastructure to be built for the rules to change (perhaps WiFi). And even then, if it's rolled out by the same companies that control the wires, it may not help.
      • by malsdavis (542216) * on Friday August 25, 2006 @09:26AM (#15978020)
        Liberterians often miss out an extremely important point:

        When you have massive corporations dominating an infastructure heavy industry like telecoms then it is often not the government who 'meddles' but the corporations themselves.

        The reason the UK has such cheap and high-speed internet is because the government forced the main telecoms company who owns all the "last mile" wires (the ones going down your street and into your house) and exchanges to allow other companies to install equipment in their exchanges and use their "last mile" wires.

        It is almost completely due to this "unbundling" that internet in the UK is now so cheap and fast. Believe me, 6 or 7 years ago, before this was done, internet in the UK was slow and crap.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jmuzic1 (637784)
      The free market is all about the EFFICIENT allocation of goods and services. Is having fiber optics to everyone's home really efficient when a vast majority of consumers use their connection for email and myspace? All of these other countries are paying for it one way or another and I'd be willing to bet it costs more per customer than in the US.
      • by peragrin (659227)
        It will be as tv signals are also transmitted via the same cable. I would much prefer one cable coming into my home than the 4 that currently are. It's also a lot easier to repair after a massive storm.

        I personally can't wait(though it's many many years away) for the day when power and communications are transmitted through a hybrid cable(think fiber optic communcations line wrapped by Power conductors)You have one connector, and you get power and access to the net.

        But there is way to much crap in the old
        • by ePhil_One (634771)
          think fiber optic communcations line wrapped by Power conductors

          Think of the ease of maintenance on that one! I can just imagine that line workers tool bag.

      • by TheLink (130905) on Friday August 25, 2006 @09:26AM (#15978012) Journal
        Are street lights really efficient? Even if they are, why would a private company actually want to provide street lighting for free?

        I suggest that most countries and their citizens do benefit from street lights.

        To the free market worshippers: the free market only works when not all people choose to be totally selfish and greedy. Once there are too few of those "salt of the earth" types, the whole thing starts falling apart.

        No matter what system you have, if you want something good from it, you will need good people.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by greysky (136732)
      I'd also like to see a comparison that includes the middle-class tax rate. Personally, I'd rather have to pay for my bandwidth than end up paying significantly higher taxes to subsidize cheap Internet connections for everyone else.
      • I'd also like to see a comparison that includes the middle-class tax rate. Personally, I'd rather have to pay for my bandwidth than end up paying significantly higher taxes to subsidize cheap Internet connections for everyone else.

        Yes - you're quite right, the only thing the extra tax is going to do is subsidise internet connections for crack whores. Never mind subsidised health care, housing, a social net (so the children of said crack whores won't end up stabbing you for the $2 in your pocket), etc etc et
      • by captnitro (160231)
        In addition, I don't suppose it means anything that the United States has about 300 million people and vast infrastructural needs, while Denmark has a population of 5.4 million (less than New York) and an area of 43,000 sq. km (where the US has 9,600,000 km).

        Italy: 58,750,000 people and 301,000 sq. km
        Spain: 43,000,000 people and 506,000 sq. km
        UK: 60,200,000 people 244,820 sq. km

        (I mention population, only because articles like this usually list "X% have dialup/broadband/etc." as a proving factor. I mention
      • by gutnor (872759)
        Internet Connection is quickly beginning an essential element of anybody's life to be able to integrate in the modern society ( try looking for a job without a mail address those days ). In a few years time, not having internet connection would be equivalent of not having running water today.

        Some countries considers that if they invest in cheap internet connection for everyone, that will boost its economy and eventually pay off like a Road system. As a part of the economy yourself, you may pay more for the
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 25, 2006 @08:48AM (#15977685)
      Hate to break this to you but the FCC has massive controls over things like DSL. The reason that DSL/fibre has lagged in the US while cable surged ahead was because of the FCC. The FCC REQUIRED the phone companies to lease thier equipment at a loss to competitors. Guess what? The phone companies decided it didn't make sense to lose money so they didn't install the equipment.

              The FCC was more interested in lining the pocket of the small companies that would provide "competition". At the same time they let the cable companies do whatever they wanted.

          The dream team that runs the FCC ignored the simple fact that real competition requires people competing not leaching off the work of others. They ignored that internet connection is an internet connection. Competition isn't between DSL providers but between ALL internet providers. DSL,Cable,wireless etc.

          Finally a few years back the FCC changed the rules. No longer requiring the Baby Bells to lease all equipment. Suddenly the phone companies started competing with the cable companies. For the consumers this was a good thing.

      • This is horseshit.

        The phone companies (of which there become fewer and fewer every year) _must_ be heavily regulated, because the entire phone system was built through government intervention. The phone system was built as a heavily subsidized monopoly; if it wasn't for Uncle Sam and AT&T, we may have had the cable companies replace the phone system entirely much earlier on.

        Instead, vast sums of money were spent on the behemoth.

        Until you can demonstrate that the current phone system remains a competitive landscape, heavy regulation will be necessary to maintain some kind of consumer fairness. I'm quite a libertarian, but until we see a true free market in the phone system, we'll have to keep up the red tape.

        The phone companies are making billions of dollars utilizing a system that the U.S. government built for them. They didn't invest in it, we, the people, did. The phone companies should be nationalized into one giant entity, have all of their assets stripped by the federal government, and then privatize the physical access region by region. That _might_ be enough shock treatment to resolve the current, ugly situation.

        As it is, we've spent billions upons billions of dollars, we we're promised fiber optics years ago, and the primary phone comany (SBC/AT&T) is deploying a "fiber" solution that is not speed competitive with the cable providers (6 Mbps, max, 1 HD stream). Something's broken here, and something smells funny. The problem is regulation; the ugly frankenstein monster we've built needs to be ripped apart and sold for parts.

        In short, the AT&T anti-trust ruling didn't go far enough, because the old AT&T, as an entity, was only broken up, not completely destroyed. It should have been privatized, and have it assets redistributed by the market. Trolls like you do not seem to understand that the history of the phone system in the U.S. reads like an anti-free-market textbook.
      • by badfish99 (826052) on Friday August 25, 2006 @09:46AM (#15978195)
        This is exactly the opposite of what has happened in the UK.

        When British Telecom was the only ADSL supplier, it didn't bother to invest anything in competing with the cable companies. And the cable companies (which are also regional monopolies) didn't bother to invest anything in competing with BT. So we all had a choice of 512k broadband from either supplier.

        Then the government forced BT to lease equipment to competitors. Suddenly we have 24M broadband from those competitors, and BT has suddenly discovered that its own equipment can do 8M instead of 512k.
      • by dgatwood (11270) on Friday August 25, 2006 @09:49AM (#15978215) Journal

        The reason that DSL/fibre has lagged in the US while cable surged ahead was because of the FCC. The FCC REQUIRED the phone companies to lease thier equipment at a loss to competitors. Guess what? The phone companies decided it didn't make sense to lose money so they didn't install the equipment.

        Horseshit. The government required the incumbent local exchange carrier to lease their lines to the competition because the government subsidized its installation to begin with. Having multiple line providers in most areas simply isn't practical because 97% of the U.S. by area is rural with very low population density.

        Further, despite the fact that the required line leasing for ILECs ensures availability of those lines for low prices to the competitors, most of those competitors STILL don't compete in rural markets, and without competition, the telcos have zero incentive to improve their offerings. More to the point, the fact that they don't compete means that the leasing requirement has had no effect on fiber in those areas.

        Finally, the telcos want to compete with cable and want to be able to provide TV services. They can only do this via fiber. Thus, in markets where fiber will pay for itself through cable subscriptions, the telcos will put in fiber regardless of line leasing rules. In areas where the human density is low enough that a competing cable company couldn't survive (97% of the U..S. by area), though, they still won't do it because the telcos don't see any real advantage to simply providing more bandwidth unless they will lose users to another service that is faster.

        The line leasing rules forced competition to be possible in markets where it would simply never have existed were it not for those rules. The only reason ISPs have improved their speeds at all has been in response to threats from competitors, including those leased line services. If the FCC had not put in rules that required ILECs to require them to lease their lines, in markets where the cable company doesn't provide service, there wouldn't be ANY competition in the market. Many would would still be paying $50/month for 128k/64kbps down.

        The dream team that runs the FCC ignored the simple fact that real competition requires people competing not leaching off the work of others. They ignored that internet connection is an internet connection. Competition isn't between DSL providers but between ALL internet providers. DSL,Cable,wireless etc.

        Satellite internet is a joke (minimum half second round trip packet latency due to the laws of physics). Wireless is only practical in large cities with high population density. BPL hasn't been approved for general roll-out. So in your ideal world of "competition", consumers would have two options: the telephone company (note that there is not enough human density to have more than one) and the cable company (and again, not enough density to support a second cable company). Explain how a duopoly exhibiting a Nash equilibrium is competition.

        Short of government intervention forcing the issue, the only thing that will cause consumers to see better internet service is the introduction of a disruptive force. That means adding new competitors. As has been repeatedly shown, this is not possible if the customers must lay down a wire infrastructure because this is unprofitable in the vast majority of cases even when viewed over a relatively long term (>20 years) period. As such, short of a new, disruptive tech like BPL, there is no incentive for corporate-sponsored telcos to compete in the U.S..

        Finally, note that for the purposes of comparison, Europe has a population density comparable to America's average cities even when you look at the entire countries in Europe as a whole. Competition is possible there where it is not practical in the U.S. Therefore, by definition, you cannot use Europe as a model for understanding U.S. telcos. The mere fact that a free market will work in a high population density ar

      • by fm6 (162816) on Friday August 25, 2006 @10:03AM (#15978364) Homepage Journal
        The FCC REQUIRED the phone companies to lease thier equipment at a loss to competitors.
        According to the phone companies.
    • Later = better (Score:2, Interesting)

      many countries are substantially ahead of the United States in online access.

      The USA were the first ones with access to the Internet. Every other country got their infrastructure built later. When the more recent infrastructures were built, they used the latest technologies available, which are obviously better than the early ones. So the result of this study is not surprising in my opinion.

      Some countries who are building their Internet infrastructure these days are going straight to wireless. I'm thinking
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by raju1kabir (251972)

        The USA were the first ones with access to the Internet. Every other country got their infrastructure built later. When the more recent infrastructures were built, they used the latest technologies available, which are obviously better than the early ones. So the result of this study is not surprising in my opinion.

        I don't see how this adds up. The US has a huge amount of dark fibre, so the long-haul links are not constrained by early development. And many countries built out consumer broadband before th

    • Wait, you're saying our telecom and cable industries are unregulated? Sheesh, things are hopeless for libertarianism if anyone thinks the US is unregulated.

      Of course, I'm not saying everyone would have cheaper internet access if the telecom were truly deregulated. The point of a free market is effeciency, not cheap internet. And, of course, TANSTAAFL. Max marginal tax rate in 1990: Sweden: 65%; US: 33%.

      Oh, and regarding Cuba: http://www.overpopulation.com/articles/2002/000019 .html [overpopulation.com]

      Marginal tax rates: ht [econlib.org]
    • Eh? While reading the first sentence in your post I was thinking "I am about to read a post outlining the ways government regulation has killed competition in the US ISP market." and then you go on defending government regulation? I'm posting this from the 6th spot [wikipedia.org] on the 'Broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants' list, and I can tell you right now it came from free market competition between 2 countrywide ISPs. The only thing government regulations are good for is creating monopolies and hampering innovat
    • Density (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Henriok (6762) on Friday August 25, 2006 @09:16AM (#15977925)
      The market in Sweden is not that regulated and we could tell you that it's the former State Monopoly that holdning the brakes. They are refusing access to telephone stations, they are keeping the prices up, they are the last to implement just about anything (cable, dsl, wireless, fibre, GSM, 3G, and so forth). They are more expensive and offer less flexible terms. The only redeeming factor is that they are large, and have much larger coverage of the population.. They still have monopoly to "the last mile" out in the less densly populated areas, and in the suburbs of the larger cities, and the adoption of broadband are considerably slower in these areas. This would seem quite strange since it's wehere the richest people live and those in the most need of fast Internet access, but it's due to the fact that independant companies doesn't have access to this market, the former Monopoly does.

      However.. I must say, after RTFA that Sweden is _miles_ ahead of most countries, even our close naighbours, Denmark and Norway. I would've guessed that they would have been in front of us, but they're not. I cant say why really. We've had some pretty vocal individuals/visionaries in the late 90s who really have set the stnadard of the market an made policy. 100 Mbps for everyone is the goal. Perhaps this was a necessity?
    • by EatHam (597465)
      1. Holding up telcom as the epitome of de-regulation and free competition is hardly accurate. 2. Cuba does not have better healthcare than the US. 3. Countries have lower infant mortality rates because they do not attempt to save preemies, they mark them as stillborn. 4. Regulation is better for some things (like roads for instance), but in general, the best and most efficient way to cause a gigantic cockup is to let the government become involved in it.
    • Are you actually saying that US telecommunications aren't regulated!?! Are you serious? The US Government (Both Federal and State) regulates THE HELL out of the telecom industry. This is arguably the primary reason that we are so far behind. In my neighborhood, I have only one local telco to choose from, only one cable company, only one broadband company. Sure, there's satellite, but if you've ever tried to use that for broadband, you'd know what a total joke it is. I pay $55/mo for a 3mb broadband connecti
    • by Ryan Amos (16972)
      Ehh, you're wrong about this.

      The telecom industry in this country is cockblocked by several factors:

      1. There is an existing infrastructure. It works. Not very well, but well enough. This isn't the case in a lot of recently developed (last 20 years) nations with infrastructures designed for modern telecom.
      2. The US is much larger in land mass than any European/SE Asian country. This means fixing #1 is very expensive.
      3. It was a regulated monopoly for much of its existence, and the infrastructure that was bui
    • I get so tired of hearing about the high infant mortality rates in the US. The truth is hiding in the nature of the statistics, which so many people conveniently ignore.

      Bottom line: the US counts premature babies that die into the infant mortality rate, while nearly every other country counts a dead baby only if it is a full-term birth. If you compare apples-to-apples, the US has one of the lowest infant mortality rates.
  • by creimer (824291) on Friday August 25, 2006 @08:27AM (#15977487) Homepage
    You mean Americans don't have to bring an extra long network cord from home for internet access abroad?! :P
  • One of the things to keep in mind is the size of most of these countries that we're talking about. It's a heck of a lot easier to roll out high speed internet when you're doing it in an urban area, you can blanket a ton of customers with a lot less cabling...

    In any major city in the USA, if you drive 20 minutes you're in the middle of no where.

    It's just not feasable to provide high speed broadband everywhere.

    Now... There is a lot that can be done in the areas that already have broadband... I agree we can
    • Re:In defense... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by clickclickdrone (964164) on Friday August 25, 2006 @08:32AM (#15977541)
      There was a story either on TWiT or Digg recently that noted that the US providors had been given tax breaks and so on to the tune of several hundreds of billions to ensure they provided fast internet access for all. They had failed to meet all the requirements and deadlines but naturally got to keep the money.
    • Here, if you drive 20 minutes, you're two blocks from where you started.
    • by Terje Mathisen (128806) on Friday August 25, 2006 @09:06AM (#15977853)
      The problem isn't having a small or a large country, but how many (potential) customers you have per square km, right?

      I.e. in a small country with a mall and distributed population, the average cost per custumer will be much higher than in the US.

      Here in Norway it is friday afternoon and I'm about to drive up to our small mountain cabin for the weekend. At this cabin the local power company (Rauland Kraft) _by default_ pulls along an optic fibre (or at least a pvc tube where they can subsequently blow in the fiber) on every new installation.

      The result is that I have IPTV over a 300 Mbit/s connection, but as of now I can only use up to 10/10 (up/down) Mbit for regular Internet traffic. :-(

      If you want to check your maps or GoogleEarth, you'll notice that Rauland is located in the Vinje community on the central mountain plateau of southern Norway: This is one of the least densely populated areas in the entire country, but we still get fiber to every home & cabin. :-)

      http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&z=11&ll=59.698935, 8.073578&spn=0.282005,0.553436&om=1 [google.com]

      Terje
  • by Anonymous Coward

    For example, in the United Kingdom, you can buy DSL service with a download speed of up to 24 megabits per second. In Denmark, some people have fiber-optic connections as fast as 100 mbps. And in Italy and Spain, broadband service is cheap, and dial-up service is free (except for the cost of the local call). Still, many countries have their own connection quirks ...

    Yeah, my provider tells me I have the download speed of 15 mbps. And they charge me for that. And that's how fast it is in print.

    But whe

    • by Spad (470073)
      Well admittedly I'm on cable rather than ADSL, but I get my full advertised speed of 10mbps (Sometimes up to 12Mbps when it's quiet) with just over the advertised 384kbps upstream (yes, it's a ludicrous ratio). ADSL in the UK can be a bit flaky, especially with some of the cheapo providers, so you often end up getting crappy speeds during busy periods.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by OverlordQ (264228)
      If you're using Cox, use a speedtest on *their* network, otherwise it doesn't mean jack. They're only saying you'll get 15mbps from them to you, not from the entire Internet to you.

      http://speedtest1.ks.ks.cox.net/speedtest/ [cox.net]
  • by clickclickdrone (964164) on Friday August 25, 2006 @08:30AM (#15977519)
    Yes you can get 24mbit but very few people have access to that. Many are lucky to get 1Mb and many on MaxDSL are having terrible problems trying to keep their 4-6Mb connection stable. Those on cable are better served with 10Mbit being pretty cheap.
    Almost everyone I know is on broadband but none are on 24mbit and most on 1Mb.
    • Still, many countries have their own connection quirks...

      Yes. In the UK, we call it NTL...
      (don't get me started)

    • Though it is worth mentioning that even the 10Mb UK cable connections only have a pathetic 512K upload speed. Basically NNTP and FTP/HTTP downloads are the only places you will get close to 10Mb (though I have at least reached that speed a few times).
  • UK isnt that good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Soupy69 (988115)
    I like the "upto" 24mbps in the UK, reality is that only a small percentage of inner cities are currently enabled for that sort of speed. Dont get me wrong it's coming to the sticks but I live in a field and I want it NOW!!
  • They have someone run one of those tubes to their house!
  • by Daath (225404) <lp&coder,dk> on Friday August 25, 2006 @08:35AM (#15977574) Homepage Journal
    Cable Internet speeds reach 4 mbps download/1 mbps upload, albeit at a princely sum of 594 kroners ($101). DSL, with speeds of 4 mbps download/256 kbps upload, costs a little less, at 429 kroners ($73). "[DSL] with 8 mbps download/1 mbps upload is also possible, but not really provided to private users yet," says Vanglo.

    You can get ADSL2+ in [some parts of] Denmark. You can get 10 Mbps/512 Kbps for 299 DKK (~52 US$) or 20 Mbps/512 Kbps for 499 DKK (~86 US$), and that includes free telephony...

    I'm "stuck" with what my employer wants to pay for, which for the moment is 4096 Kbps/512 Kbps, which is not bad at all. I'd love to get 20 Mbps down though ;)

  • by ycochard (547371) on Friday August 25, 2006 @08:36AM (#15977583) Homepage
    Nothing about France's DSL in TFA.
    That's strange, because France has one of the best European DSL, if not the best.
    For 30 euros per month, you get the maximum of what your line can technically support (up to 24Mbits if you are near the ISP equipment), with lots of services included.
    That's with the Freebox, a DSL modem made by Proxad, based on Linux. Among the free services, you have:
        - unlimited net access (no quota)
        - unlimited phone calls to land lines in France, and many lines in countries (it costs zero to call a mobile phone in USA for example)
        - tv access if you are in a "degrouped" area (sorry I don't have the english term)
    That's what we call "triple play offer". And they are now migrating to "quadriple pay offers", the new boxes are wifi, and a wifi-gsm phone can be bought.

    Pretty cool, no ? I wonder why this is not in the article.

    Yann
  • grass, greener (Score:5, Informative)

    by m874t232 (973431) on Friday August 25, 2006 @08:38AM (#15977611)
    I live in the US. I have 24 Mbps service at home (unless it has gotten faster again while I haven't been looking). My city also has free wireless access, but I don't even bother.

    You have to keep in mind that when people say "in Denmark" or "in the UK", that doesn't mean universal availability, it means that in some places, you can get that. You also have to keep in mind that nations like Denmark or the UK have a larger middle class than the US as percentage of the population, so that, across the whole population, they may be better off, but the actual group for whom things like Internet access matters, may be served about equally in both places.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by fatius (245729)
      "24 Mbps service at home"?

      Some of us aren't (even close to being) so lucky. Where do you live? What does that connection cost? What is the provider?
  • Yes, yes... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mattkime (8466)
    Look, we know that many countries have better internet access than we do. However, they often have much higher population densities making it less expensive to roll out the network. Other countries often have better cell reception as well. Would anyone like to propose a solution to this?
  • by e2d2 (115622) on Friday August 25, 2006 @08:40AM (#15977620)
    Do we have to have these comparisons thrown at us all the time? IE The United States vs The World, round N?

    I'd love to have a better connection here in the States. But what does that have to do with the bandwidth in the UK? Am I supposed to use this information in some valuable way?
  • Cheap broadband (Score:4, Informative)

    by the_arrow (171557) on Friday August 25, 2006 @08:41AM (#15977633) Homepage
    I just want to brag a little... :)
    At my condo we have gigabit fiber to the house, and 100MBit to the apartments. All apartments can buy either 10Mbit (for 210 SEK, 22.46, or $28.62), or 100Mbit (for 399 SEK, 42.68, or $54.38). And those speeds aren't "up to", they are guaranteed.
  • I just came back from travelling through Guatemala and Belize. There were quite a few internet cafes that advertised as "hi-speed" but connections were so slow that it often took more than 5 minutes to upload a 2 meg photo to US servers. I had the same experience in Northern Belize. I hear the south of Belize actually has fast connections though...
  • Easy fix (Score:2, Funny)

    by MECC (8478) *
    [astroturf]

    Just let ISPs and Telcos charge more than once for each packet, depending on where its going and what its for. That way everybody's connectivity slows down, nobody really gets anything faster, and they pay more for that improvement.

    That should fix things up nicely.

    [/astroturf]

  • Spain (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bashrc (997778) on Friday August 25, 2006 @08:49AM (#15977702) Homepage

    I moved recently from the US to Spain, and I can't begin to tell how bad broadband providers are in this country compared to the US. It is WAY MORE EXPENSIVE (in absolute terms, but even more when you factor in the fact that here salaries are smaller), WAY LESS RELIABLE and the customer service is so BAD that congress had to pass a special law to deal with these very specific companies. For example, in most of the cases they charge you when you make a customer service call beyond (and I'm not talking about the cost of the local phone call, I mean that they actually make money out of this, even if the problem is on their side). And there is more, much more...

    I have not read the article, but as far as Spain is concerned, I can tell it sucks.

    • by pubjames (468013)
      I've got both home and office broadband connections in Spain with different companies, and I've found them to be ok (not great, but not terrible). I've had much worse problems with BT Broadband in the UK - if you want truely terrible service, they know how to provide it!

      Let's face it, broadband providers have partial monopolies, and so they can get away with poor service. I'm sure this is just as true in many places in the USA as it in Europe.
  • Pretty much everyone I know (living in cities) have 100Mbit/s with five IP-adresses, option for fixed ip-adresses instead of from DHCP. About $40/month. Some houses have cable-connections for a bit less, but also a bit slower unless you pick some "fast" option.

    My parents live in countryside and have to make do with 24 with one IP adress, for a bit less/month.

    The same situation in most areas in Finland, although it seems they have more cable in the cities, and better DSL in the rural areas.
  • Is the size of the cell phones. They're like house-bricks compared to what you can get in Europe.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by porcupine8 (816071)
      I've never figured out why you would want/need a teeny-tiny cel phone. But then, I don't know why you'd need a color screen or special ringtones either. My phone doesn't even flip or fold up or anything. My husband's does, but I find it less comfortable to talk on than mine. He was actually annoyed to find that the only free phones T-Mobile had available when we signed him up were fancy flip-phones with color displays, he likes mine better.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JustNiz (692889)
        thats because you're female, so therefore have a handbag or equivalent to carry your big phone in.
        Most men carry phones in their pockets or if you don't mind looking like a nerd, on a belt clip. hence small is convenient.

        I agree with you about the flip/camera/color screen etc. Its all a redundant waste of money & battery power to me. I jsut want a basic but tiny phone. Can't get one in the US.
  • by lousyd (459028) on Friday August 25, 2006 @09:59AM (#15978315)
    I'm tired of this crap saying America is behind in broadband. What is "behind"? What is "broadband"? Ya gotta give me some meat to make this a real argument. What if Americans simply don't want broadband as much as the rest of the world does? What if we have a culture that's simply different than what the rest of the world has? What if a sociologist came up with a convincing theory about how Americans are so saturated with media sources that they don't need the Internet as much as the people of other nations? It's okay, people, don't give yourself an aneurysm. If you want broadband, pay for it. Don't put your "behind" on to the rest of the nation.
  • by fm6 (162816) on Friday August 25, 2006 @10:00AM (#15978332) Homepage Journal
    But the average consumer broadband connection is more like 2 mbps, with an average cost of between A#15 and A#20 ($28 to $37) per month.

    Has the UK changed its currency again?

    Amazing how clueless online news sites are about character set issues.

"Any excuse will serve a tyrant." -- Aesop

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