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Worldwide State of Broadband - S Korea, Japan Lead 354

Geek of the Week writes "No surprise here, a report by the International Telecommunications Union shows the US lagging in broadband adoption. S Korea and Japan lead with between 60 and 70% of S Korean households wired for speed, with Japan catching up quickly. The U.S. ranks 11th. Story here and the full press release can be found on the ITU website. Having traveled through Asia for business I can't say I'm surprised, but it is disappointing that the availability and price are in such sorry states here in the U.S."
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Worldwide State of Broadband - S Korea, Japan Lead

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  • In Japan (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dancin_Santa ( 265275 ) <> on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:00PM (#6980981) Journal
    In Japan they pass out Broadband modems on the street for free.

    And connections are 8-12Mbps at the low end.
    • Re:In Japan (Score:5, Funny)

      by Xerithane ( 13482 ) <xerithane@n e r d f a r m . o rg> on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:03PM (#6981010) Homepage Journal
      And you get free IPv6, and your cellphone can support 3MBit, with the 2 megapixel camera built-in to capture pictures of Godzilla battling a mecha while blue haired girls sing songs in the background with short skirts.

      P.S. You should have said, "In The Island of Japan", which is a very popular phrase on here.
    • Re:In Japan (Score:2, Informative)

      by ctk76 ( 531418 )
      why is this post modded as funny? it's all true.
    • Re:In Japan (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ranma21 ( 651226 )
      I live in Tokyo, and have enjoyed my 12Mbps ADSL for over a year now. I would love one of those new 20Mbps Yahoo bb services, but after finally chatting to one of the gals pushing those free modem packaged on me I discovered that I could not use it. Why? Well we never got a phone service connected as its too exxy. We use mobiles only. There is a wire connected to our phone sockets but thats just for the ADSL. Yahoo requires an existing phone connection. Damn... Apparently the 20Mbps service has connects mo
  • Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Breakfast Pants ( 323698 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:01PM (#6980989) Journal
    These countries have concentrated areas of high population density.
    • by Peter Cooper ( 660482 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:04PM (#6981024) Homepage Journal
      So does the United Kingdom, although I doubt the UK is even in the top 20 of their list (it's not in the article), thanks to having one of the worst deployed broadband systems in Europe.

      Countries like Canada, however, fare a lot better than the UK, yet their population density is a mere fraction of that in the UK.
      • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:12PM (#6981097) Homepage Journal
        If you only counted the population of canada w/in 50 miles of the US border, you'd get a much higher population density figure. the UK and Canada both had (Fairly) cheap phone lines previous to broadband, unlike s.korea, which caused a very slow changeover rate to broadband in the UK and canada. s. korea has fairly expensive land lines, causing people to adopt broadband when they never had landlines previously, alowing them to leapfrog the changeover from a previous technology.
        • I dunno about how DSL works everywhere else but I kind of need my "landline" to use it or else it doesn't do much.
          • I will admit i didn't RTFA, but cable broadband is also an option. At our apartment we had a landline without touchtone capability ($2 a month) or long distance service (varies, but can cost $5 a month before you even start calling people), cost us $12.58 a month, on top of $28 a month, always on (and always used) DSL. I shudder to think what it would cost to have a dedicated dial up connection over a pay-per minute landline, and the total cost of that per month for the average s.korean income.
        • Yes, but still nowhere NEAR what it is in the UK.

          IT's not like canada is one big city coast to cast along the US border you know.

          We are talking about the population density of the populized areas.. NOT calculated over teh entire landmass of Canada...

          This argument doens't hold up, sorry.. the population density of canada just in teh strip north of hte US is still much lower than the US, or the UK, or most other places.

          • Not to mention that even remote towns of under 10,000 people in northern BC have broadband access.
            • The availability of broadband in so many areas in Canada has to do with a Federal government initiative to have broadband internet available to 90% of the population in something like ten years.

              That combined with the pioneering of cable internet in Canada, along with deals universities made with telecoms requiring broadband availability in the municipalitiy they reside in has made the internet quite fast in most parts of the country
      • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:51PM (#6981412) Homepage
        Actually, I think the UK's problem is more marketing and pricing, rather than technically orientated, and suspect many other countries have the same problem. Sure, the coverage by area in the UK is pretty poor, but in terms of population reach it's not too bad - BT claims 80% [] (pinch of salt). So, for a population of 60m (to keep the numbers easy) we have 80% of that elegable for broadband, which is 48m. Great! Despite this, BT's own figures [] just released by Oftel show only 1,263,000 BT wholesale customers, which is just 2.6% of those capable of getting broadband via DSL. That doesn't include cable and other non-BT provisioned circuits though, but that can't add more than a couple of percentage points.

        People can *get* broadband in the UK, they are either just choosing not to, don't understand the benefits, or plain do not think they require it. A survey of SMEs [] on broadband take up gives a few more pointers in this direction too. Those that have broadband, would recommend it and have come to rely on it heavily in 90% of cases. Yet 80% of SMEs have no plans to upgrade from dial-up access in the next 12 months, citing "lack of business case". What? When I worked at an SME (~300 computers) using ISDN access our phone costs were astronomical; we got a 256kb/s leased line for less.

        The only way I can think of that explains this discrepency is that it all comes back to marketing. J.Q. Public sees the flashy ads by BT, AoL, NTL and others and thinks "Huh? Why do I want/need that?". The corporate types see these ads and see happy families around the computer and cartoon characters on the street and class it as a consumer product, and therefore irrelevent.

        But then again, why complain? It's not like we need *another* huge bunch of noobs jumping on the 'net, is it? (Only half joking)

      • So does the United Kingdom, although I doubt the UK is even in the top 20 of their list (it's not in the article), thanks to having one of the worst deployed broadband systems in Europe.

        Not really. Close to 50% of S. Korea's population lives in 3 metro areas. The greater Seoul area is over twice the population of greater London. Actually, Seoul has a larger population than London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds combined!

        In Japan, the Tokyo-Yokohama metro area alone has a population equal to just un
        • I guess someone should find the comparison between metro areas (no countries) to show you that NYC and LA are still worse than a dozen of other comparably same size cities. Of course per capita - that what counts by regular people comparing politicians.
      • I still can't believe no one has brought up this fact. Japan was basicly leveled during World War II. The result? A giant check from the U.S. to rebuild itself leapfrogged all the old primitive ideas still used by the U.S.

        Metric system
        Driving on the other side of the street
        Mass producing and distributing of telephone poles

        Similiarly in Europe the same thing happened. They weren't stupid and didn't fall back on old methods, no they took what was great and used primarily that. Its common sense, whe

    • Re:Obvious (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jollis ( 691129 )
      In Iceland, around two thirds of the 290.000 inhabitants live in the capital area, but every town with 1000 people or more has access to ADSL (up to 2048/512). By the end of this year, the threshold will be 500. The second largest town has around 15000 people, the third closer to 5000. And yes, the two telcos (it's essentially a duopoly) compete in the same geographical areas, on price, service and innovation; a far cry from the divide and empera strategies seemingly used in the US.
    • These countries have concentrated areas of high population density.
      So does New-York City and the Northeast Corridor, chum.

      Now why New-York Telephone was known as The voice with a snarl ???

  • Rural Area (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rabbit994 ( 686936 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:01PM (#6980996)
    Did they take into account that we are much larger then either of those countries with a large amount of rural area where broadband is expensive to run and with no ROI? It's easy to make everyone broadband when they don't have the amount of land to cover. Why don't they look at broadband saturation in suburbian and urban areas and compare us to Korea?
    • Re:Rural Area (Score:5, Insightful)

      by puppetman ( 131489 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:06PM (#6981047) Homepage
      Umm... Canada was 3rd. Kind of blows your theory. With 6 million fewer people that California, and the second largest country (in square kilometers/miles), we're alot more rural that the US.

      The problem in the States is a fragmented industry (too many small players), the inability of one company to deliver the service all the way to the doorstep of the consumer (most broadband offerings are offered by a consortium of companies, complicating delivery and support), a lack of interest and/or vision by these companies, and (I believe) a strong desire by the larger corporations to screw the consumer.

      All of this means the average online American is a high-ping bastard, being schooled by your friends to the north :D (just kidding, of course).
      • Re:Rural Area (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sys$manager ( 25156 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:09PM (#6981070)
        Keep in mind that here in Canada something like 90% of the population lives within a small strip along the southern border too, it's not like we're running DSL links to Tuktoyaktuk.
      • Re:Rural Area (Score:4, Insightful)

        by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:16PM (#6981136)
        How about I don't want 1 single company delivering broadband to my door?

        I already have a SINGLE option where I live. That's right, town of 60k+ people and no cost effective option other than Comcast Cable.

        How about the fact that I don't want CATV, I just want Internet. They are apparently tied and it costs MORE to have just Internet than both basic cable and Internet??!?!

        How does that make sense?

        More competition, more options, less money. That's what I want.
        • How about the fact that I don't want CATV, I just want Internet. They are apparently tied and it costs MORE to have just Internet than both basic cable and Internet??!?! How does that make sense?

          Same way that a round-trip flight is 1/4 the cost of a one-way.

          • How about the fact that I don't want CATV, I just want Internet. They are apparently tied and it costs MORE to have just Internet than both basic cable and Internet??!?! How does that make sense?
            Same way that a round-trip flight is 1/4 the cost of a one-way.
            This, my friend, is the kind of logic you get when a Marketing Executive fucks a MBA (or vice-versa).
        • There is actualy a good reason for that. Most cable modems act in much the same way as a cable box does.

          The reason Comcast charges more to have Internet and not basic cable than they do for Internet and Basic Cable together is because if you have Internet under their system you get basic cable for free. Yes, free.

          The difference is that if you're a basic and internet subscriber they know who you are and can count you towards their advertising statistics etc. More customers gets them cut rates on channel
      • The fragmented industry can be a good thing. In Australia we have a duopoly which means you only need 2 companies to introduce low bandwidth caps etc for the whole population to just have to accept them. I can't see that working across the board in the US due to the amount of competition.
      • All the top countries either have public ownership or heavily-regulated monopoly ownership of the last-mile pipes. Very, very simple. The US is under the yoke of what I call Mississippi Economic Theory -- deregulate public utilities, because greed is good and that greed will deliver better public utilities.
      • How many people really live in the tundra areas or around the artic circle? You may have more sq/km but its a lot of no use space.
      • I agree. There is a lot of fragmentation and politiking.

        Also, my impression is that people don't think it is worthwhile. I had an uncle that said that for much of his uses, it doesn't speed up normal web surfing as much as he thought it should have. He clearly understood that long downloads were quicker, but he's not much of a downloader. Right now, my only option is satellite internet and given the prices, we aren't jumping in very soon that I can tell. I offered to pay half, half for my use and half
      • the inability of one company to deliver the service all the way to the doorstep of the consumer

        In Australia we have one company and the problem is they have no need to deliver the service because no one else will.

        They had competition in laying cable when a competitor began to put down a new network but as soon as the competitor stopped (because they ran out of money) Telstra stopped. So cable is laid to some areas but no more will ever be laid.

        They have been dragged kicking and screaming into ADSL but

    • Re:Rural Area (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kaan ( 88626 )
      that's a very good point. Japan, for instance, is widely known to have some of the highest property prices on the planet because there are so many people per unit of land. so if you put a single high-speed connection somewhere, you're going to be reaching far more people than you would if you laid that same amount of cable to a typical, spread-out metropolitan area in the United States.

      dsl, for instance, probably sees much higher adoption in areas where population density is high enough for the telcos to
    • Re:Rural Area (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Unknown Relic ( 544714 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:13PM (#6981100) Homepage
      What about Canada? We've got more land mass and far fewer people than the US, and we ranked a very respectable 3rd place, at 11.2 percent (compared to 21.3 in South Korea and 14.9 in Hong Kong). Pricing likely has something to do with it though, as from what I've heard the prices in the states are quite steep. Here in providers are offering "lite speed" packages with speeds 5-10 times faster than dial up, for as little as $25 Canadian per month .
      • Videotron, a cable provider in Quebec, offers 4Mbit/640kbs cable (and it runs at those speeds, it's what I have at home) for 70$ canadian per month, all taxes included... Downloading at 500KBs and uploading at 80KBs is just schweet!
    • And certainly, the logistics are different. But considering the US likes to think of itself as a leader in the net field.... well, excuses don't cut it.

      No, they did not take into account that it is a larger country with more sparse population. Neither did they take into account that it's the largest, richest economy on earth, and currently the most powerful nation on the planet. It goes both ways.

      Canada is #3 on the list, and we are significantly more spread out than the US is. Yes, even accounting for th
  • by Osrin ( 599427 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:02PM (#6981001) Homepage
    Japan and Korea don't lead... Hong Kong (CHINA!) and Korea are up at the front.

    Japan ranks 10th.
    • by shri ( 17709 ) <shriramc@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:11PM (#6981087) Homepage
      Absolutely, here's what available in Hong Kong.

      6mbps + a DVD quality decoder for cable tv on demand with a progressive scan DVD player from Now Broadband [] for a total of US$35-38/month. The cable channels run for about US$5-10/month and you can turn them on / off interactively using your decoder box.

      In terms of features and value add, Hong Kong beats Korea hands down. (Yes, I live in HK)
    • Not only that, the article is seriously oversimplifying when it assumes Japan will catch up because of the availability of faster speeds.

      Take a walk down Osaka, say, and you'll inevitably see Yahoo! BB ADSL sales reps vigourously peddling their broadband service exactly because adoption has been so slow. For the most part, the average Japanese person connects to the internet either in the workplace or through their cell phones.

      Anecdotal evidence, sure, but closer to reality than just assuming availabilit
  • by ewombatnet ( 699110 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:02PM (#6981002)
    With a highly centralised and urbanised population, as well as a telco infrastructure that wasn't originally laid in the 1920s (as with most of the western world).

    Now if they could just do something about the price barrier for UK, US, and AU we might get some penetration...
  • by ArsonSmith ( 13997 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:03PM (#6981013) Journal
    Could it be that cities and houseing in Japan and Korea are all piled on top of each other.

    I spent a year just outside of Soul, Korea and I can say that they don't worry too much about cableing. Huge junktion boxes of shody wireing jobs for electic and phone going into each building. I don't think it would be hard to wire up many of them quickly.

    Most would make the back of a stereo or computer wireing job look like it was organized.

    That was 10 years ago so it could be wired better now but they are still extreamely close together.

  • by Ziest ( 143204 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:04PM (#6981029) Homepage
    Judging by the amount of spam I am getting from Korea I think we need to take the Internet away from them ;-/

  • In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:05PM (#6981031) Homepage Journal
    Small, countries on the eastern Pacific Ocean have a population of at least 60-70% people with darker skin than Americans.

    Or somthing

    Comon people, this is OBVIOUS; Smaller land mass + higher population denisty + late to the technology party = High rate of adoption. If local phone lines were as cheap there as they are here, they'd probably still be adopting dialup, not broadband. Instead, they skipped that phase, which is why that brings us to this point in time. Same deal with cell phones, for the most part.
  • by jimlintott ( 317783 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:06PM (#6981045) Homepage
    Yeah. That would explain why Canada was third, eh.
  • by eddy ( 18759 )

    According to this Sweden is at 7.8 subscribers per 100 inhabitants for 2002. I think it might be quite some points better for 2003 actually.

    There, now you don't have to download that PDF. Why.. you're welcome.

    • Re:Sweden (Score:4, Informative)

      by eddy ( 18759 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:31PM (#6981269) Homepage Journal

      Raw data transcribed from the PDF. All errors are possibly mine. (**LIST AT END OF COMMENT DUE TO LAME FILTERS**)

      This added because of lame lame filter, bla, bla, bla, bla. And so on. This is so lame I can't believe I have to do this.

      As local and national governments prepare for the challenges of the information society, there is much interest in who is doing well, and who is doing poorly, in broadband Internet access. Broadband access is being touted as a way for governments to attract investment, ensure future economic prosperity and provide enhanced social welfare. But among developing countries, there is a fear that the huge investments necessary to establish wide-scale broadband access will open up a new digital divide.

      This workshop examined the different strategies that have been followed by ITU Member States, at local and national levels, for promoting the deployment and use of broadband networks. The key research question was why some economies have been more successful than others and whether this success can be replicated.

      The topic "promoting broadband" was selected on the basis of priorities expressed by ITU Member States and Sector Members. This and other topics in the New Initiatives series are chosen on the basis of a regular questionnaire sent to all ITU Member States and Sector Members.

      Workshop objectives

      In April 2003, the ITU Secretary-General convened a small group of policy-makers, broadband service providers, telecommunication regulators, academics, and various other experts, serving in an individual capacity, to discuss the best ways to promote broadband deployment and use around the world. Through these discussions, the workshop attempted to identify the characteristics of successful broadband deployment that can be used by other governments, especially in developing countries, in establishing their own broadband policies.

      Trying to get this posted took longer than writing down the data itself. This is so idiotic it's amazing. Hey, I'm trying to post at Score: 2 here. I'd maybe understand if anons had it a little tougher...

      Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 30.3). We'll then I guess I'll just keep on trying then. This _is_ going to be posted, one way or another. Where did I put my markov-generator, I need it.... Take some source code in the meanwhile " bool r = ( left_weight_table[b] + right_weight_table[b] > 4 ) && (left_weight_ table[b] != right_weight_table[b]);"

      33.5 and still not allowed to post. I mean, this is just an amazingly stupid heuristic. Who the fuck wrote this crap? Please stand forward in the light and show yourself.

      How about a little SCO quote then?

      "We are informed that participants in the Linux industry have attempted to influence participants in the markets in which we sell our products to reduce or eliminate the amount of our products and services that they purchase. They have been somewhat successful in those efforts and will likely continue." -- Page 35

      35.2 ... Oh, well. There goes my chance of making a meaningful contribution early in the thread. You know, that sort of thing that slashdot should encourage, not make impossible. How about some of my tech-docs then?

      The size of this table is Ceiling(num_chars/2.0), which can be calculated as follows using integer math: There are (num_chars / 2) + (num_chars mod 2) where num_chars := last_char - first_char + 1 bytes in the wtable, where the width for the first character is in the high bits of the first byte of the wtable, the width for the second character are in its low bits, and so on.

      Not a dent. This is very depressing. I've been at it for five minutes now. Man, oh man... where's the limit then? 60? How stupid can this thing get?

      0.3 Argentina
      0.6 Australia
      6.6 Austria
      0.2 Bahrain

  • Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WebMasterP ( 642061 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:08PM (#6981061) Homepage
    Imagine that, countries that are a fraction of our physical size can get broadband out faster. Wouldn't 1 CO be around 10 or 20% of their population (purely speculation)?
    • I don't know how valid this is. Rather than focusing on the top rated, how about looking at those close to US figures. If the above poster's figures are correct, US = 6.5, Singapore = 5.5. Plainly, the population density of Singapore is WAY higher than US (Sing=6050/sq.mile [], US=2404/sq.mile [](urban density)).

      Now, if we expected increased connectivity with increased density, Singapore should be way more connected than the US. Instead, Singapore lags.

      Netherlands and US are dead even at 6.5 connectivity
  • by meanfriend ( 704312 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:12PM (#6981091)
    It shouldnt come as a huge surprise that countries who 1 )generally embrace new technology and 2) feature high population density would tend lead in adoption of broadband (like Japan).

    It would be more cost effective on a per capita basis to wire a urban center for broadband compared to huge expanses of suburbia or rural regions.

    An interesting statistic would be to compare broadband availability vs subscription rates in major metropolitan areas from various countries.

    ie. New York vs LA vs Paris vs London vs Tokyo vs Beijing etc...
  • Anyone know where to get a listing of the _full_ leaderboard?
  • For Japan at least the reason that Broadband has caught on is because there is a per minute rate for phone charges, the cost adds up significantly for dial-up connections (imagine if you had to pay 10 cents/minute for every minute that you are online).

    In Japan, monthly tolls for 56-Kbps users regularly exceed $90. 12Mbs DSL is $21 a month. A 100Mbs FTTH from NTT is connection is around $43 a month! am .html

    • A 100Mbs FTTH from NTT is connection is around $43 a month

      Right! Now, a question to those who are explaining the lower average US-wide broadband adoption as caused by the difference in population density: what does 100Mbs fibre cost in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago?

  • Broadband in Japan (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:20PM (#6981173)
    Several reasons for Japan's fast broadband growth are as follows: As has been pointed out, broadband modems are being passed out on the street by yahoo bb, who's service is cheaper than the phone companies' service. They are doing this at a great loss to try to build volume. They also include VOIP functionality, with calls to the US being charged at 5 yen (about 4 cents) a minute. Unfortunately Yahoo's availability is limited outside major cities. I live in a suburb of a prefectural capital and cannot get service. Another reason BB rates are rising, is that is is the only way to get flat rate internet access, as even local calls are charged per minute. Yes, ~$20.00 flat rate isps exist, but when the phone bill jumps $40, it is no longer a good deal. Also, although the bandwidth seems high and the rates seem low, the study probably doesn't take into account the fact that you need to pay both the phone company and a seperate isp for most connections. That can easily push the cost up into the 40-60 dollar range, and outside the major areas (tokyo, kyoto, etc.) the bandwidth rates are much lower. My fastest transfer rate was on a RH iso, about 60k over my 12MB connection. The penetration rates and adverstised speeds only show a small part of the broadband picture in japan.
    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @09:27PM (#6981671)
      Transfer rates are actually a major setback I've noticed for many foriegn broadband providers. With the broadband I get in the US the rate I get is the rate I get. I assume (correcty) that my provider has sufficient upstream to give me that rate to anywhere.

      Well this is NOT the case with many other providers around the world. A big one is a service with the initals BBB (don't know the full name) in Sweden (and other countries). they'll sell you huge connections (like 10MB) for cheap. Well I was at work trying to transfer files to someone on it one day, transfer was slow, like 20 kbytes/second. He started whining that I had a slow connection. Well I work for Network Operations for a large university, we have several OC-3c lines to different providers. I check network usage stats and they were low, did a quick transfer to another server at 4 mbytes/sec. Problem was NOT on my end.

      A little digging turns out that that BBB has great speeds, provided you are going to other BBB customers or people they peer with. You want to go to the US, you get a low rate. It is kinda like a large 100mbit lan with a DSL line going out to the net. You get awesome transfers to all the LAN people but not so much to the world.

      Well this is certianly cheaper. Bandwidth starts to get real expensive when you are talking big links to big backbones. If you cut down on that, you can afford to offer much cheaper service. This isn't necessarly a bad way of doing it, but it does need to be kept in mind. I pay about $100USD for a 1.5/786 DSL connection which sounds expensive, but I get that 24/7 to anywhere (well, anywhere that has sufficient bandwidth, 8 static IPs, the ability to host servers, etc. That all counts for something.
    • As has been pointed out, broadband modems are being passed out on the street by yahoo bb,

      I might point out that YahooBB discriminates against foreigners [] by not allowing their customer service reps to speak English. (They have a bad reputation anyway among those in the know, but this took me by surprise.)

  • by YllabianBitPipe ( 647462 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:24PM (#6981204)

    Another reason for the lack of mass broadband acceptance in America is frankly, a lack of a market. There's a lot of average-joe-computer-users who don't see an every-day benefit of broadband. They don't do anything on the web other than IM, Email, check a few websites. These are the people for whom the concept of uploading a digital photo to a web site is mind blowing. Forget about Warcraft III or video on demand. I don't see any of these people interested in broadband, and frankly, I can't blame them. Why spend money on something you *think* you won't use?

    People in this boat might be technophobes, maybe they got burned on Yahoo! stock and are pissed off, maybe they're afraid of viruses, maybe they are just cheap bastards. But ultimately it all comes down to a classic chicken and egg problem. People aren't going to sign up in droves until there's the content, and because of the .com implosion there aren't any companies doing wild and crazy stuff on the web that's attracting people. It's probably going to take a massive investment by the tech / telecom companies to decide this is worth it, to subsidize the cost of broadband for a while and bring it down to the 10-25 bucks a month making it competitive or cheaper than dial up. And unfortunately in today's shitty tech economy, it's going to be a few years before this happens...

    • I agree with what you said, but I'll expand on it without being so politically correct.

      There is no country on earth with as wide a gap in average intellect than the U.S. Vast counties of uncurious, unserious drones who care more about their next beer than the direction of their country. This is why there is no broadband market in the U.S., because there are not enough people able to notice the advantages. Sure, it's a values thing, but it makes me ill.

      Just a drive from Stanford to East Palo Alto, and yo

      • Maybe it is better that we would rather have a beer or new rims on our cars. Maybe we should be out talking to people in the real world instead of watching Video on Demand or using VoIP. Broadband and all of its benefits can be a serious addiction, and God knows our country doesn't need any other forces to make us fatter!!!
        I love broadband. I play games....send files...etc. 3/4 of the time, I could get by with a 56k because I'm just writing email, looking for jobs, or reading Slashdot. I've read a lot of t
      • Maybe if broadband companies promoted a special "WalMart" package that featured a home page made up of fake tits, car customization sites, monster truck rally reporting and links to country-kitchen thrift store auctions on eBay, that might spur some additional adoption in rural America...
  • Broadband (MUCH faster than cable or most DSL) was a one time outlay of $100 with $0/month. I love wireless.
  • by Dr. Bent ( 533421 ) <> on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:27PM (#6981234) Homepage
    The US still has more internet users [] than any other country. By about 3 times, actually.

    It's a big country, and it's hard to wire it all.

  • Extremely uninteresting without a chart of who's in what place. Or maybe I'm just blind today and can't find the link.

    I think the main reason for lack of adoption of broadband in the U.S. is the effective monopolies that cable and telecom companies have in much of the country.

    In most places in the U.S., cable television (and if you are lucky, internet) is supplied by a single provider. The same is often true of telecom (and thus DSL). With this effective monopoly, the cable and telecom companies set their
    • In Canada, we have regional monopolies on telco and cable too. My regional provider for DSL, Bell Canada, is notoriously clueless and uses IMHO deceptive advertising in prmoting thier service.

      (OT: I'm on cable - the techs @ Cogeco have a large amount of clue. Fast, steady service at an acceptable price and they leave you alone as long as you don't hurt thier gear. I've recommended them many times to friends and family who don't question my expertise. /end_plug)

      We have 3 things that you don't, however:

  • Who gives a damn? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:31PM (#6981271) Journal
    "No surprise here, a report by the Intenational Telecommunications Union shows the US lagging in broadband adoption.

    And who gives a damn? Since when is the status of a nation dependant on how many people utilize high-tech toys?

    Should we be ashamed that Japanese tend to own multiple videogame consoles, while us backwards Americans only tend to own one?
  • by njan ( 606186 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:34PM (#6981294) Homepage
    ..the US is a veritable broadband paradise. In the UK, the uptake is even worse than the US; whilst 80% of the country is wired for "broadband", the phone companies have no intention of wiring the remaining 20% - and the 80% broadband is DSL at phenomenally expensive prices; a 768k up/down line will set you back somewhere in the region of $80/month. I currently pay $35 a month for 2.5mbit either way on my cable connection; and the customer service in the UK is similarly dreadful.

    Maybe the US should count its blessings. ;)
    • Me American.... grrrrr

      I do pay $50 monthly for 2.5mbit/384k
      QoS max upstream bandwidth = 384000 bps
      QoS max downstream bandwidth = 2504000 bps

      I could pay $30 monthly for roughly 1/2 that speed, but I enjoy getting 5ip addresses.

      If you are talking comcast or earthlink DSL though, their speeds are pretty much 1.8mbit/258k 1.5mbit/384 respectivly depending on region [earthlink dsl in some areas is limited to 128k upstreem, comcast in come areas offers 3mbit downstreem]. Base price is $50.00
    • I would pay $80 a month for 768K SDSL. As it is, my only realistic choice is 1.5Mb down, and 128Kb up for $40. I could upgrade to 1.5MB down and 256Kb up, but that would about $75 a month. After that, they only offer fractional T1 service.
  • by jmichaelg ( 148257 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:38PM (#6981316) Journal
    I have a friend who spent last year in South Korea. He was hurting for cash so he could only afford the low-end service - 22 mbps.

    And I thought T1 was fast...
  • Broadband Slowdown (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bruha ( 412869 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:42PM (#6981355) Homepage Journal
    Better would be to focus on the slowdown of American broadband. When it was first rolled out there were no caps whatsoever and it was generally allowed to run at the speed that the equipment could handle. So the average DSL user ran over 3mbit in some cases if they had good lines. Uncapped both directions.

    Then came the abusers and greed of the communications companies and today you see the extreme chokehold on the broadband today. SBC's base package for DSL is 384/128k dn/up compared to Verizon's 768k-1.544M/128k and the cable companies provide service comparable to Verizon.

    New trends are starting to take hold in some areas with Verizon Wireless rolling out EvDO 3G which can run upwards of 2.3M and Verizon Landline (Seperate companies) is testing 2M+ speeds in certain (Lucky) markets with future plans to turn up the dial on broadband.

    While those trends are nice to see you still have many who still have dialup due to cost and some worse off areas still cannot get a better connection than 26600kbps!

    Interestingly people have pointed out monopolies. There is basically 1 telepone company in South Korea. Korean Telecom and a handfull of offshots after other companies were allowed to spring up but I'd say 90% of that country is serviced by KT and TMK there is only one cable company there. So it's questionable if more competition really is the answer (Korea may regulate, the us de-regulates)

    I'm not sure what goes on in Japan but I would suspect nearly the same situation there also but you'll have to understand both countries until very recently had complete conglomerates (Sp?) of many things from electronics to communications systems. Now there is free market competition but not in the manner of how the US Govt mandated AT&T split up those companies were just forced to allow competition to "try" to work their way into a established system. Which probably will work becuase the exec's of those companies realize given choice people will pick the better company that provides them value.
  • by Etnie ( 11105 ) <<brieder> <at> <>> on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:49PM (#6981396) Homepage
    I'm in Seoul at the moment. I have cable broadband for 33,000won/month, about US$29, including the tv side. Most people do have cable or DSL here.

    However, it sucks. Goes down often which is normal for some US providers too. But when it does work, it's got some fat bandwidth but it's VERY laggy making most online games unplayable. My friend has DSL and the situation isn't any better.

    Maybe if they gave it away in the US for almost nothing also, it would be wider spread there. But I much prefer my broadband at my US apt to the broadband here! (Even though it costs more than double, worth every penny!)

  • by Agent R ( 684654 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:53PM (#6981426)
    S Korea and Japan lead with between 60 and 70% of S Korean households wired for speed, with Japan catching up quickly.

    With about 80-90% of these households running open proxies to be hijacked by spammers. That is not really something to be proud of. (Ask any ISP who resorted to using

    but it is disappointing that the availability and price are in such sorry states here in the U.S."

    Price is more of a setback than anything else.
  • Think about it... (Score:2, Informative)

    by dankdirk77 ( 690855 )
    Most everyone in South Korea and Japan are MUCH closer to there local telco or big city... they have their hicks in the sticks, but think of Tokyo; 1 in 6 Japanese people live there.

    Now, point 2, this is a PERCENTAGE number, not actual subscribers. If I had a "country" with 10 people in it and 7 were on broadband, that would beat the U.S. in percentage. The U.S. is the 3rd largest (population) country in the world behind China and India, so it's no surprise that it will take longer to get that penetra
  • I can offer some opinions on why broadband in Canada is so highly adopted:

    - Cable and DSL providers have fought for market share throughout Canada, mainly by leapfrogging the other into markets the other had not. I am consistently surprised at the DSL availibilty here in Alberta, a province with a population density similar to Montana or North Dakota. Dial up simply does not exist anymore with price plans for basic broadband starting from US$15/month (C$25/month) for either cable or DSL. I can have cable b
  • RTFA (Score:2, Informative)

    by Cantus ( 582758 )

    South Korea and Hong Kong lead in broadband adoption, while Japan and South Korea lead in broadband speed.

    Let me break it down for you:

    Broadband adoption (per capita)
    1. South Korea: 21.3% (60-70% of households)
    2. Hong Kong: 14.9%
    3. Canada: 11.2%
    10. Japan: 7.1% (and moving up)
    11. United States: 6.9%

    Broadband adoption (number of users)
    1. United States: 19.9 million
    N/A. South Korea: over 10 million

    Broadband speed
    1. Japan: entire movie in 20 minutes (520x faster than dial-up modem)

  • Lazy Cheapskates (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vtechpilot ( 468543 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @09:18PM (#6981598)
    I am a DSL salesman, and I have called thousands of americans and talked to them about DSL so I consider myself somewhat of an expert here. The main reason adoption rates of broadband are so low is a combination of two things.

    1: Americans are lazy. It doesn't matter if there is a better service available. If it requires them to lift a finger then they don't want it. God forbid you have to change your email. It takes how many seconds to send a message to your entire contact list? Now some services are providing high speed services with the same old software they have been using, and you would think then that people would be all over that, but that brings be to my second point.

    2: Americans are cheap. Sure you could get high speed and keep your address for $50 a month. Or you could get DSL from the phone company for $30 to $35 a month. But why should you do that when you can get dialup for $9 a month now?

    Thats all there is to it. I would say only about 1 in 15 sales for me are people who decided they just need something faster, and all of these are usually customers where DSL just recently became available. Typically if speed is the issue, customers sign up with who ever offers it first (you know who you are.) For the other %93 of them its about points 1 or 2.
    • Re:Lazy Cheapskates (Score:4, Interesting)

      by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @10:11PM (#6981988) Journal
      I am a DSL salesman, and I have called thousands of americans and talked to them about DSL

      So what you are saying, is that you are a son-of-a-bitch telemarketer.

      The main reason adoption rates of broadband are so low is a combination of two things.

      I'd say the main reasons you get the answers you get, is because people hate to be annoyed by you, and usually give any excuse to shut a telemarketer up.

      Also, it could very well just be that they have been screwed-over by lying telemarketers before, and just don't believe a word that comes out of your mouth.

      But why should you do that when you can get dialup for $9 a month now?

      Frankly, that's a VERY good arguement. If people aren't tying up their dial-up line for very long, why should they care that something faster is available? Not like they are going to notice the difference in how fast their e-mail is downloaded. Saying that they should just for the sake of progress or other such crap is moronic.

      (I have a broadband connection BTW, so I'm not playing the part of the defensive dial-up user)
    • 2: Americans are cheap. Sure you could get high speed and keep your address for $50 a month. Or you could get DSL from the phone company for $30 to $35 a month. But why should you do that when you can get dialup for $9 a month now?

      And a lot of people think...Why pay 3-5x as much? What's the benefit? What's the killer app that demands faster speed? My email and IM are plenty fast enough now. What do I get out of it?
      (Not me...but your 'average american')

      Typically if speed is the issue, customer
  • Its not like the US is hurting to put broadband in places that it will profit. But its hard to get IT spending during a recession into areas that may not be profitable for a long time.

    The benefits of being tightly packed in means information can travel much quicker. Whether that is broadband, rumors, or viruses.

    And I don't believe the Canada argument. 90% of Canada lives very close to the US border. ALSO, what the hell do people do in Canada for the 9 months of winter? Plus, Canada could be an outlier
  • In Australia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pythonisman ( 705141 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @09:21PM (#6981620)
    In Australia, where a huge proportion of our population live in major cities, and "within 100 miles / 160 kilometres" of a major city / regional centre, and the broadband situation is appaling.

    There are a few decent providers out there, (a very few) the majority do nothing but deliberately trick people into long contracts at hopelessly slow plans)

    In australia, $70 a month would be lucky to buy you 256/64 ADSL on a 3Gb plan, $90 a month for 512/128 with 5Gb, $150 a month for 1.5 / 256 with 8 / 9 Gb...

    I have not seen any advirtisements for residential ADSL with speeds higher than these, and I don't imagine if they existed they would be 'affordable'.

    Sure, there are cheap providers. if you don't mind being stuck in a pipe with too many people getting timeouts and incomprehensibly slow speeds.

    Then there's the cable.
    With so many people now sharing the cable, at peak times, the speed just drops. And drops. The Australian Personal Computer magazine reviewed broadband and the Cable service "at peak times, you would be better off with dial up".

    Not to mention it costs $90 a month for 3Gb .

    I wish you 'poor americans' would stop crying.
    I pity those in the same situation as me, over there, but the fact is, when I thought 33.6 was pretty cool, relatives in the US had cable for hardly much more cost.

    Dialup Isn't a bad thing. If you don't need broadband, you shouldn't have to pay for it, but I would sooner see a range of cheaper, slowed DSL like products adopted as opposed to the majority of dialup, because it is a far better technology.

    Wireless internet is interesting, and being trialled, but the security problems are a concern.

    Please, US, please, stop crying about "The state of broadband". I give it to you that you don't have a high %age of broadband uptake with the population, but that also comes with a high %age of people who don't want it, or don't need it.

Were there fewer fools, knaves would starve. - Anonymous