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United States

Report: Broadband In US Homes Nearly 20 Percent 411

jangobongo writes "A Commerce Department report, prepared in September, shows that the number of Americans using fast internet connections doubled from 2001 to late 2003. Experts are disappointed though, because even though 12 million households switched to broadband, the total amounts to about 19.9 percent of all U.S. households, lagging far behind countries that include South Korea, Taiwan and Canada."
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Report: Broadband In US Homes Nearly 20 Percent

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Of course it lags behind smaller countries, or in the case of Canada, one which is all bunched up along the US border for the most part. We've got a LOT of ground to cover.
    • Forget just smaller in inhabitable size - the populations are much smaller (from CIA fact book):

      South Korea - 49M
      Taiwan - 23M
      Canada - 33M
      US - 293M

      20% of the US is a greater population than any of those countries.
      • Maybe but while the combined population of all these country is about a third of all US population, The total broadband users of these 3 combined is HIGHER than the number of broadband users in the US.

        I would blame the large distance to cover in the US but it still doesn't explain why Canada a pourcentage twice higher...

        Hell, I live in Montreal, and i only know one 'household' without broadband...

        Of course we all know these number are just that... numbers... You can make statistics say almost anyth
      • So? This proves zero. So since USA has 8.8 times more people than Canada then it takes 8.8 times longer to have DSL rolled out.....ummm no.

        You can argue things like population density being a factor, but overall population numbers are really irellevant after you hit a certain critical mass. I suspect population densities in US and Canada are comparable.

        What would make sense is to see what percentage of households have broadband available to them and see how many of these people of subscribed to
        broadband

        • Canadian Telecoms/Cable are still regulated, so it could be said that the government regulates the price / service levels to acceptible levels.

          Anyways, assuming the american/Canadian dollars are even, its still cheaper to buy into (>2Mbs down) broadband for half the price of US counterparts.
    • by cyber0ne ( 640846 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @11:59AM (#10898706) Homepage
      We've got a LOT of ground to cover.

      Exactly. The Asian countries listed are about the size of one US state, but with much higher population density. So high-speed lines run through a town there will reach far more people per mile of cabling. (Not to mention the labor force to roll out such lines is much cheaper.)

      As for Canada... Last time I checked, the population density of about 85% of the land mass was between 0 and 1 person per square kilometer. Put up some high speed networks in the southeast of Canada, stretch them west along the US border, and you've pretty much hit your entire population.

      The US, on the other hand, has metropolitan areas (ranging in size/density of course) dotted across much of its land mass, with vast spaces of land in between. And not nearly as much of that land is as sparsely populated as Canada's northern wilderness. It will take a lot more work to reach as much of a majority of homes.

      Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but the US has a much larger, older, and more complicated communications network in place than just about any other country in the world. It takes time to roll over to new technologies without disturbing the existing infrastructure.
      • by topham ( 32406 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:16PM (#10898934) Homepage
        You can get high-speed Internet in some very remote places in Canada.

        While it has taken time to become available I personally know a few people who love several miles from the nearest town that now have DSL. (and I mean small town).

        The companies installing Cable or DSL broadband are getting incentives to do so, but so what, companies in Canada and the U.S. get tax breaks for more useless reasons.
      • Although one may be suprised to find out that in Canada (at least alberta) Broadband penetration seems alot higher then in the US. Every little craphole town seems to have DSL.
      • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:30PM (#10899141)
        Exactly. The Asian countries listed are about the size of one US state, but with much higher population density.
        OK, fine, so let's compare Taiwan to New York City - just the city. That should be population-dense enough for you. What do you find? US still loses.
        • OK, fine, so let's compare Taiwan to New York City - just the city. That should be population-dense enough for you. What do you find? US still loses.

          No, New York City loses. When you subtract the rest of the US from one side of the equation, you should subtract it from the other side as well. I realize it's fasionable to hate the US these days, but at least make sense about it.

          Now let's also take into account the fact that NYC has a much more established communications grid than Taiwan. Where is t
      • by BMazurek ( 137285 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @01:38PM (#10900005)
        • The US, on the other hand, has metropolitan areas (ranging in size/density of course) dotted across much of its land mass, with vast spaces of land in between. And not nearly as much of that land is as sparsely populated as Canada's northern wilderness. It will take a lot more work to reach as much of a majority of homes.

        Then explain to me why my brother, who lives almost 8 hours north of the US border, 1.5 hours away from the nearest "city" (city of 5,000 people) in a town of less than 1,000 people can get broadband access, and how all these centres in the US cannot? Hell, the largest city in our province is about 200,000 people, and that's about 4 hours away!

        Brad

      • by avronius ( 689343 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:16PM (#10900562) Homepage Journal
        Just a little debunking of the Canadian communications infrastructure myth.

        We advanced technologically *with* the Americans. We installed telephone systems along side the Americans. We upgraded to digital telephone systems as well as the Americans. We Implemented our cellphone networks on the same types of systems as the Americans.

        From every little hamlet, to every major city, there is telephone connectivity. We had an infrastructure that dates back to *shortly after* the invention of the telephone.

        At each major technological evolution, our infrastructures were replaced - just like the Americans. Of course there were always some hold-outs - I think that rotary service was still available as recently as 8 years ago (still available as special service where required, at added expense).

        The argument of "it's costly to roll over new..." doesn't wash, as Canada has a lower population density for areas that it delivers signal to, and yet still manages to introduce the technology / replace the outdated gear, and provide the new services. Sure, there are still areas where ISDN is the highest speed available, but we have a large landmass, and a small population. We'll get to them when we can. :)

        The *real* reason that high speed connectivity isn't as available in the US? Corporations aren't interested in spending money to replace an infrastructure that the bulk of it's customers aren't willing to pay extra for. Perhaps it's time to use the enormous power of your population to force the mega-corporations to offer the services that you want.

        As an aside, our towns are not *mostly* restricted to the American border, as we have communities dotting our countryside - similar to the United States. And, while it is true that we have a major trunk that runs coast to coast connecting the larger cities, we have major branches running north/south into each province (and subsequently, the territories) to provide coverage for as many of these communities as possible.

        Your infrastructure will only improve when you demand it. We did.
      • The US, on the other hand, has metropolitan areas (ranging in size/density of course) dotted across much of its land mass, with vast spaces of land in between. And not nearly as much of that land is as sparsely populated as Canada's northern wilderness. It will take a lot more work to reach as much of a majority of homes.

        I live in the US, in the downtown area of a metropolis of a quarter-million people. I have exactly one option for broadband: 3Mbps residential cable. If I lived in a slightly different
      • There is an easier way to achieve nearly 100% internet access in the US. Univeral broadband seems like a wonderful goal, but lets start by getting everyone basic (dial up) access.

        Add a small amount (say, 1 dollar) to all land-line phone bills. In return, provide dial up access as part of the phone package. Presto! Instant universal access. If everyone pays a small amount, the prices stay low. No more 'digital divide' among low income groups which cannot normally afford the additional monthly bill. This se
    • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:09PM (#10898835) Homepage Journal
      And we've also got a lot of people, money and technology to cover it. The country's landmass is already crisscrossed with fiber. The obstacle is marketing, the problem is no competition. Broadband doesn't cost the equivalent of $40 in S. Korea and Canada and other countries, but it delivers >10Mbps in many of them. And the salespeople know how to market it, unlike the US, where there's little marketing beyond the occasional lifeless RoadRunner ad. In countries with no telecom competition, their governments have required broadband deployment for international competitiveness, or they have achieved American rates of adoption. Welcome to North Mexico! Can I get you a DVD?
      • by JUSTONEMORELATTE ( 584508 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:37PM (#10899252) Homepage
        The issue is commonly referred to as the "last mile" problem. Yes, there are backbones that reach coast to coast, border to border.
        When we speak of population density, it's not so much at a macroscopic level, but block-by-block. Getting a connection to each living unit is expensive. The Bell System got there with subsidy dollars. The Cable Companies got there with subsidies, but also operating at a loss. (Many now-bankrupt cable MSOs can testify to this)
        Our hunger for better net connections hasn't (yet) pushed us to the point of approving government subsidies for 100Mb connections to each house, and there isn't a business model that will justify private dollars paying for the infrastructure.

        Yes, most major Japanese cities can get 100Mb net access for US$100 or less, but the cost of connecting to the living unit is spread out over the hundreds of apartments in that living unit, and the cost of reaching that building is only a small step up from the cost of reaching that block of buildings.

        --
    • by Technician ( 215283 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:25PM (#10899070)
      We've got a LOT of ground to cover.

      That's only part of it. The other is price. For those who just use it for getting the news and checking E-mail, $50 + per month is a little steep. The cable company has the trick of calling a extra fee a discount if you also have cable TV.

      We have lots of ground to cover as you mentioned, but most of the population lives in cities. There are not that many people in the woods in Montana, in the deserts of Nevada and Utah, and in the plains of Oklahoma and Wyoming. Even in those states most of the population in clustered in cities that have broadband. Having a large country does not mean it's population is away from population centers.

      All it really amounts to is if you are not subscribing to pay TV, they charge an extra chunk of change to provide broadband. Not everyone is buying it.

      The phone company tries to do the same thing in many areas with DSL to combat the consumers fleeing all the tack on charges on POTS. It used to be cell phones were expensive. All the tack on fees on a landline have leveled the playing field. Now many people don't have a reason to keep a landline and landline subscriptions are down. (I think I heard about 20% of US households no longer have a landline, but use cell service as the primary phone.)

      Between the two jacking up the price with all the fees for not also getting other services, I simply am priced out of broadband. I use broadband at work to get my latest distro and use dial-up at home simply because a year of broadband is about the same price as a new PC. One option many take to beat the high cost is wardriving. I'll deal with the e-mail speed and get the new PC or laser printer instead.

      Slashdot works fine on dial-up. I load a page ahead of time in a new tab and continue reading in my current tab. Dial-up is fast enough. I can't read any faster.

      Many countries have affordable broadband. In some cities the city can provide the entire city with broadband for almost an order of magnitude less per household than a connection here. Here the rollout is slowed by the desire to please the shareholders. Too many markets have too few choices permitting the monopoly pricing of broadband to replace income lost to Satelite TV and Cell Phones. These markets have slow growth.

      Broadband is not priced for mass use in the USA yet. The providers are trying to cherry pick profitable consumers. Those willing to pay the price are those who tend to be heavy downloaders. The price keeps low bandwidth profitable users from signing up. Now the ISP's are trying to figure out how to make a high bandwidth user not be such an expensive user. I'm still waiting for them to price it for the low bandwidth users.
    • We just recently saw a report that had broadband usage at 51 percent [bizjournals.com] in the US. More on google [google.com].

      76 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
    • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:59PM (#10899533) Journal
      Its easy to pull out the "ooh look, we're a big country" card and play it, but it completely ignores the reality of the situation. In Tokyo, you can get 100Mbps to your apartment for about as much as I pay for 1.5M/256K DSL. Is anyone even offering 100Mbps for $150/mo in New York, NY? 10Mbps?

      So yeah, our coverage is shitty because of our rural areas (which is really a lie too, another post mentioned that someplace in Iowa formed a co-op and brought broadband to their homes in the middle of nowhere.) but the service provided at any given cost is shitty across the country too, and your "too big" card has no play here.

      As long as companies and government worship the holy dollar its not going to get fixed, and companies will continue to petition state governments to hassle co-op developments, even in areas their sorry brand of broadband will never reach.
  • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @11:47AM (#10898573)
    Some experts said growth was disappointing, far behind countries that include South Korea, Taiwan and Canada. The report also identified troubling figures for use or availability of high-speed Internet services among blacks, Hispanics and people in rural areas.

    "It shows we continue to have a significant divide between urban and rural America in the infrastructure for the economy of the 21st century," said Gregory L. Rohde, who was top telecommunications adviser under President Clinton.


    What it shows is that competition rarely exists when it comes to broadband and when it does the price/speed ratio isn't even close to what we see in foreign countries.

    Significant numbers of rural Americans said they couldn't subscribe to high-speed services because none was available. Most Americans who did not use fast connections said service was either too expensive or they did not need it.

    3000/256 in a neighboring area for Comcast at 45.95 (with cable) or 63.95 (without).
    3000/256 in my area for Charter (with all it's port blocking glory) at 39.95
    2048/256 in my area for Frontier (line) at $51.95 (not including the required telephone service which is ~$30)

    We hear these great stories of inexpensive HIGH SPEED service in the countries listed in the article all the time here on Slashdot yet here in the States we have all this "competition" yet we are stuck w/slow speeds, sometimes unreliable service, and high costs (comparatively).

    Once the prices drop to a reasonable level a larger percentage of people will likely switch. Right now you usually have to pay the same for dialup service that other countries pay for high-speed (and you need to have a phone line to boot).

    "This is lousy," said Harris Miller, head of the Information Technology Association of America, a leading industry trade group in Washington. "We're just not keeping up with our competitors. We're not even keeping up with countries we don't consider competitors. It's not acceptable."

    Yet the government continues to allow monopolies like Comcast and the local phone companies to take over areas and hog the available broadband transmission mediums. How are we supposed to compete with other countries when individual businesses don't have to compete with themselves because of government sponsored monopolies?
    • by Snowgen ( 586732 )

      [i]Some experts said growth was disappointing, far behind countries that include South Korea, Taiwan and Canada.[/i]

      I, for one, am not disappointed. To me it means that many Americans have decided that they have priorities other than the Internet. Good for them!

      Maybe someday I can have a life, too!

      • Are you on crack. It's more like the other way around.

        Americans with slower connections have less going on in their life, and can afford the 56k modem wait.

      • To me it means that many Americans have decided that they have priorities other than the Internet. Good for them!

        Does that mean they had the option of broadband but consciously chose not to have it? Or that they just couldn't have it even though they want it?

      • And realistically, most Internet users have no need for broadband. You don't need tons of bandwidth to do email, instant messaging, and read your friends' blogs. Most people probably don't even know that it's possible to do things that require more bandwidth, like downloading movies or operating systems or running a huge Freenet node.
    • by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:00PM (#10898718) Homepage
      What it shows is that competition rarely exists when it comes to broadband and when it does the price/speed ratio isn't even close to what we see in foreign countries.

      Added to that, you get free local calls in the US, which makes it harder for broadband to compete with dialup on price. Here in the UK, I'd have to pay around £10 a month for "unlimited" dialup access (which is actually limited to evenings and weekends and I have to redial every 2 hours), while I can have broadband at 10x the speed for about £15 with a 2GB cap, or £20 unlimited.

      • Then try Bulldog. I've just signed up unlimited 4Mb with unlimited free UK landline calling for one monthly fee. UKonline.net is rolling out 8Mb for 50% of the country and promises phone services in the future (not mentioned on their site, might have been on the Beeb). HomeChoice does 2/4Mb with all the (40+?) Freeview TV channels on demand (and it's not cable) and a phone service. There's plenty of others.

        But anyway, you can always go for Internet phone system for about £5-00 a month making and
    • Tell you what. Roll out your own broadband service in your area. All you have to do is get easements from every property owner whose property your lines cross, lay cable to everyone who wants it, setup the servers, and presto, you're now a broadband ISP.

      Of course, it will cost money, which has to be recouped, and you'll need to build up some funds to pay for future expansion and upgrades. But I'm sure you can do it for a low cost. Say, $40/subscriber.

    • Costs is one thing, monopoly-forced bundling is another. Verizon does not provide DSL to my area without me getting at least a basic landline. I don't need one - my cellphone suffices. I am paying around $12 / month more for my phone line (min plan possible + taxes + a few dozen service fees.). So $30/month for 1576/768 DSL is hokum. Plus, add bandwidth throttling, and we have service that sucks a%$.
    • It's not always just a point of competing. Note that the article makes the point that total broadband penetration is very low. I'm willing to wager that even if all current dialup users switched to broadband, we'd still be "behind", whatever that means.

      Who measures something like this in terms of "All US households?" That's like talking about cellphone usage in "All US Households." The statistic that matters is: All US Households that want an internet connection; everything else is just wishful thinkin
  • by PornMaster ( 749461 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @11:49AM (#10898588) Homepage
    My Cablevision/OptimumOnline cable modem does about 8M/1M, whereas plenty of people have DSL that's 512k/96k.

    It's a little sad to see it all get lumped together.
    • and how much are you paying for those speeds? broadband in the US is not cheap. you can get a dialup for about $15-20 a month. broadband is no cheaper than $30-35 a month.

      i have cox in RI (with port blocking, unfortunately) for $39.95 a month. but i also use them for my phone and cable tv. i save $10 off my whole monthly bill because i use them for everything. also available here is verizon dsl. it's $35 a month without a phone service from them or $30 a month with their phone service (and you have
      • My service is $44.95/mo.

        I guess my perspective is a little out of whack due to the general cost of living here, though. I'm in Northern NJ. When you compare the $45 to $1500/mo for my last 2BR apt, it becomes far less significant than it would be for people renting a place in Des Moines, I guess.

        But the high speed really does change the utility of the service dramatically for me. Unless it's an ISO hosted on a slow server, I don't have to decide whether or not to download something. Someone sends a li
    • I have a Comcast cable modem. But I would hardly consider it "high speed" with the uplink is capped at 256k (or worse at times!).

      Until they figure out that consumers like to share stuff as much as they do download things, they'll have sluggish uptake.

  • Cost vs. Value (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jellomizer ( 103300 ) * on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @11:50AM (#10898595)
    Americans tend to be more fix cost centric vs. Total Cost or Value centric. They will look at dialup lines and see that they can have internet service for $10-$20 threw dialup vs. $30-$40 for Broadband. They are paying twice as much then dial up. So they will stay with it. It is the same reason why a lot of people buy crappy cheapo PCs that will break and improperly run software vs. spending the extra money and buy something that is more reliable. Because Americans have a hard time quantifying Value for a product vs. the Cost of the product. When people do put the money in buying a higher priced product is usually isn't for the fact that it was the best value but they feel the need to impress someone else. This is the reason why WalMart is a Huge retail store because it gives loads of stuff at a very cheap price, it may not be the best quality or even the best overall value but it is cheap and people can get it now.
    • Re:Cost vs. Value (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jbeaupre ( 752124 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @11:59AM (#10898707)
      Actually, what you are describing is the difference between what you value and what others value. If $20 service gets them what they want at a price they want, then they are getting a good value. It's the same internet, just a different speed. I put more of a premium on speed too, so I have broadband. But my mom couldn't care less. She does email. $10 a month is more service than she needs.
      • She does email. $10 a month is more service than she needs.

        That's all fine and good except what I've found with my parents is that having broadband, particularly the always-on aspect, has caused both of them to use the Internet more often. Particularly my mom because she can just open up her PowerBook anywhere in the house and look something up. My dad uses it primarily for e-mail and to download his bank transactions. He did not like having to wait for the modem to connect.

        My mom has made the comment

    • Some people don't want broadband, and just need something now and then to connect to their e-mail.

      Or perhaps some people can't get broadband because they live out in the boonies, and don't wish to spend the 500$ for a satalite hookup, then another 80$ a month for access.

      Or just maybe some people don't give a damn about getting online.

      Just a thought.
    • by tajan ( 172822 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @01:52PM (#10900185)
      Americans tend to be more fix cost centric vs. Total Cost or Value centric. They will look at dialup lines and see that they can have internet service for $10-$20 threw dialup vs. $30-$40 for Broadband

      You're right. But Americans are no different from others.

      In France, for instance, people are massively switching to DSL services not because they value Broadband more than their american counterparts, but because for several reasons the DSL market is terribly competitive : legacy operator France Telecom is forced by law to open its network to every broadband operators (and there are now more than a dozen of them, at least).

      The competition is fierce and you can have 8 Mbps ADSL service for as low as 15 euros per month (http://www.neuftelecom.fr/ [neuftelecom.fr]). An other company (http://adsl.free.fr/ [adsl.free.fr]) offers ADSL 2+ service (up to 15 Mbps download / 1 Mbps upload) for 30 Euros per month and that includes TV via DSL and Phone via DSL (unlimited local abd national calls). And you can even opt out from the legacy operator and you won't have to pay a fee to France Telecom to use their line (they own the last mile of copper) : the DSL company will have to pay a small fee to France Telecom to use the line, and most of the time they won't charge it back to you. So you have unlimited phone, high speed internet and Television via DSL, all for 30 euros per month, which is dirt cheap.

      This have nothing to do with french infrastructure being more modern or anything : It's just the direct effect of fierce competition. I mean : even AOL offers 1 Mbps DSL service for 17 Euros per month (5 Mbps for 23 euros) !!!

      It was the same a few years ago when 3 mobile companies battled over the emerging mobile market : prices went down and equipment rate sky rocketed.
  • You're lucky (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @11:50AM (#10898598)
    Because in Spain is very far from that percentage... Maybe in 20 years more we'll be on a level with you...
  • RIAA (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @11:50AM (#10898600)
    Wait 'till anything faster than 56k is banned. Those poor artists in their million dollar mansions are starving, you know.
  • It is an evil regime controlling the population and their access to free information. Good broadband democratic principles will triumph over slow ass dial up access and allow the holding of proper elections in the US.
  • It's the Cost! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Enigma_Man ( 756516 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @11:54AM (#10898650) Homepage
    For a basic "high speed" connection, you're pretty much looking at spending $50+ dollars a month in the US (In the northeast anyway, where I'm from). That's a lot of dough.

    -Jesse
  • by CProgrammer98 ( 240351 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @11:55AM (#10898665) Homepage
    that the number of Americans using fast internet connections doubled from 2001 to late 2003.

    2001 * 2 = 4002

    Pathetic humur I know, but it might make someone laugh

  • by mattkime ( 8466 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @11:55AM (#10898666)
    ...but another 20% are logging into open wireless access points.
  • by zippity8 ( 446412 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @11:56AM (#10898668)
    Look at what other countries (like South Korea, as mentioned above) offer.

    I remember reading a while back that once they hit speeds of about 20Mbps, they started focusing on services, as speed was no longer such a big issue. I hear many stories of video on demand for cheaper than it costs to rent a DVD in the US, online gaming flowing everywhere, and even basic education getting supplemented by this connnectivity.

    Most importantly, its CHEAP.
    • More importantly, most of their population is in dense areas. Try telling me that about Kansas. When you have a high population density, it is cheaper to wire everything.
    • Keep in mind though, that they started from nothing to broadband. Not from POTS to broadband. The same goes for cell phones in China. The test of which country can do better will be in 20 years or so when this technology is mature and the next form of communication takes off.

      The US is usually slower in adopting new technology than developing countries is because we are upgrading while they are just getting started. We have to piggy back new technology on to old technology while they can learn from our
    • Does this really come as a surprise?

      I'm surprised 20% of Americans even know what the Internet is.

      p.s. I live in Mass so I'm not America bashing. I'm just surprised.

  • by Ironsides ( 739422 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @11:56AM (#10898671) Homepage Journal
    Significant numbers of rural Americans said they couldn't subscribe to high-speed services because none was available. Most Americans who did not use fast connections said service was either too expensive or they did not need it.

    1)Not Available
    Many areas are not populated enough to get Cable or close enough to an exchange get DSL. Try getting either of these in Kansas, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Alaska and many other states in the more rural areas. At least until the phone companies all go fibre like Verizon is.
    2)Too Expensive
    As soon as the phone companies start competing with the cable companis the prices will go down. Until you have both options available in your area you are stuck with high prices.
    3)Not Needed
    This is the most overlooked. Who needs broadband when all they do is ocationaly send and recieve email and do light web surfing for at most an hour a day? I'll agree that this isn't most slashdoters, but most of our parents are probably like this and probably our grandparents as well. Assuming that they even have internet much less a computer.
    • But you need broadband for downloading your Microsoft patches and service packs!
    • 1)Not Available Many areas are not populated enough to get Cable or close enough to an exchange get DSL. Try getting either of these in Kansas, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Alaska and many other states in the more rural areas. At least until the phone companies all go fibre like Verizon is.

      I live in Plainville, KS a lovely town of 2000 people and have the following choices: DSL from SBC Wireless from Nex-Tech Cable from Nex-Tech (they just bought our cable company).

      So, even butt nowhere Kansas gets
      • This isn't consistant, however. I've been on the outskirts of a town of 10,000 in WV, and neither was available.

        ~D
      • Hmmm.... Wireless is nice, but I don't think they could do that in West Virginia due to trees and mountains. Also, 2000 is a lot of people compared to some towns that have pops in the low double digits. Or someplaces where it is 5 miles to your next door neighbor.
      • Ah, but Newport, Virginia, just 300 miles from the nation's capital and 8 miles from Blacksburg Virginia and Virginia Tech, with multi-gigbit network capabilities, just got DSL last year. It's only available to about 50% of the people (prob. 20% of the area) and is $45/mo for 768/128 which, less than 100yds from the switch is 650/80 throughput.

        There is no competition. One provider for phone and cable. No cable internet, no plans (no need...they own the phone co, so who cares?)

        And we're lucky, 'cause much
    • by Hatta ( 162192 )
      1)Not Available
      Many areas are not populated enough to get Cable or close enough to an exchange get DSL. Try getting either of these in Kansas, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Alaska and many other states in the more rural areas. At least until the phone companies all go fibre like Verizon is.


      Try getting DSL in rural iowa. Chances are it will be cheaper and faster, because it's provided by a co-operative, instead of a screw-the-customer-all-that-matters-is-profit corporation.

      2)Too Expensive
      As soon as the
  • Government subsidy? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jtseng ( 4054 )
    My first thought was that maybe the gubmint should do too broadband what they did with the home phone market. There are two issues with broadband to the home:

    - it's still to expensive (my Comcast connection is still ~$45/mo, but my wife will only give that up over her dead body)
    - some areas are still too remote (my in-laws can only get bidirectional satellite service)

    Could the gubmint make providers charge business more to subsidize rollout and support of the full cost of service for residential user
    • "Could the gubmint make providers charge business more to subsidize rollout and support of the full cost of service for residential users?"

      I suppose they could try, but then there's that whole annoying free market thing that would confound the gubmint's noble attempt to wrest more control from the people.

  • Cause I can't! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tigershark97 ( 595017 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:03PM (#10898766)
    Articles like this wondering why people in the US haven't switched to broadband really piss me off. I have a simple reason for not switching. There is nothing remotely close to broadband available where I live. My choices are dialup, and getting hosed by a satellite company. So I pay the cash to the satellite company, but its far from broadband.
    • Sucks, doesn't it. Everybody is talking about BB this and BB that. eBay takes over 350k just to load their home page. If I were to go back to dialup, I think i'd switch to lynx.

      The sad thing is that, for satellite, the barriers to entry are so large there won't be any real competition. Even worst, the corps are all looking to try and cherry pick the population centers, and will compete for the high-density areas only. Why? Its' cheaper to advertise to steal your competition's customers than it is to inve
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:04PM (#10898778) Homepage Journal
    "In urban areas, 40.4 percent of households used fast connections; only 24.7 percent of rural users did."

    And urbanites voted for Kerry, while rural residents voted for Bush. Maybe the Red voters just didn't get the email?
  • Worse quality too (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:05PM (#10898793) Journal
    "Experts are disappointed though, because even though 12 million households switched to broadband, the total amounts to about 19.9 percent of all U.S. households, lagging far behind countries that include South Korea, Taiwan and Canada."

    Not only that, but the quality of the broadband in the US lags way behind the rest of the world. Cable here is 3mb/256kb for $50, while in korea you can get 20mb down for about the same price.

    And it has nothing to do with the population density either. Here in iowa it's apparently not worth while for comcast, qwest, et al., to provide service. So the people took matters into their own hands and started broadband co-ops. The result? Rural iowans are better connected than their urban counterparts.
  • Don't care. (Score:3, Funny)

    by GeneralEmergency ( 240687 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:05PM (#10898798) Journal


    D__i__a__l__-__u__p ____ w__o__r__k__s ____ j__u__s__t ____ f__i__n__e ____ f__o__r ____ m__e__.

  • I'm currently looking to move in to a house in a more rural part of my state, but one of my must haves is high speed access. Unfortunatly, realtors are clueless to the fact that broadband is a major selling point, and its up to me to do all the research in determining if an address is broadband available. Most do list CableTV as a selling point, but it'd be great if they'd just go a step further.

    For many a house without broadband is a worthless shack.
  • It's worse... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:06PM (#10898808) Homepage
    My parents live in northern Michigan and they don't even have access to dial-up without paying long distance charges!

    The US is very large and its population is spread much more thin than in Asia.

    • Isn't Asia larger in land size than the U.S.A.? And I recall reading how China's (as an example of a major Asian country) population is largely concentrated in their major cities. The rest of the country is really more spread out and isolated than the U.S. in terms of population I would think.
  • I've repeatedly offered to help many family members get broadband set up... I break down the price of the modem, router/AP, service costs, all versus their current phone and internet bills, show them how much faster it is, offer to completely install everything for them, and tell them I'll fix their computers while they sleep via RDP... and what screws it all up? They want to keep their AOL e-mail address. And they can't afford to keep AOL with broadband thrown in. Sigh.
  • I pay around $50 a month for 3000/384 cable internet access and its worth every penny.

    This is a case of people wanting something for nothing (or super cheap). Its like the people who complain about gas prices incessantly.

    Now I can see the issue that high speed access is not available everywhere. THAT should be remedied, and quickly. No excuses from the phone/cable companies.
  • Which experts? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tenebrious1 ( 530949 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:14PM (#10898900) Homepage
    Some experts said growth was disappointing, far behind countries that include South Korea, Taiwan and Canada.

    Which experts would that be? The "expert" consultants who negotiate sales of user access solutions for Time Warner, Comcast, and OptOnline?

    Personally, I'm happy that the number only doubled instead of tripled or quadrupled and saturated the already oversold local lines.

  • 20 percent isn't that bad... at least it's a statistically significant percentage, which isn't too shabby considering the relatively short amount of time that this technology has actually been available for residential use. Give it time... it'll catch on eventually.

    Besides, what's so bad about dialup? Speed? Shouldn't that be up to the consumer to decide? Why are experts so "concerned" about it being only 20%? If they want high speed, what's stopping them?

  • Way behind...! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:16PM (#10898927)
    We should not pride ourselves in this statistic because we seem to think that we are the greatest nation on earth, yet far behind on social issues and technology.

    Sadly, our being behind is fuelled by corporate interests who seem to like the status quo solely for profits.

    I urge Americans to visit Sweden, Norway or Denmark in order to see how a "near perfect" system works.

    No wonder, trends on technology are now being "dictated" on us by foreigners, who seem to be way ahead of us on a number of fronts including the all important Mathematics.

    Cb..

  • Can't Do (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 )
    Reading the comments in this thread so far, most Americans seem to be whining that "Broadband's too hard" in America, compared to urban S. Korea. Grasping for reasons why "we're not lame", though we're losing. It's not that hard - and even if it were, what happened to the famous "Can Do" American spirit? We raised skyscrapers, dammed thousands of rivers, put a man on the Moon... Oh, right, that was our *parents* and *grandparents*. They already did the hard stuff, made America #1 forever, right? Why should
  • by Charcharodon ( 611187 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @12:20PM (#10898988)
    In the various places I've lived broadband access was based on either population density or compitition. If there was no compitition and a low population density then you saw no broadband, or it was very crapy expensive broadband.

    I used to live in Rapid City South Dakota and you were quite lucky if you could get 56K connection typically it was only 28.8K due to the archaic POTS equipment and patchwork of new digital equipment. The typical answer to when are we going to get broad band was "next year" (Never). Then the power company looking to expand it's business took advantage of the fact that they owned the right of way (the power poles) to eveyone's home in North Dakota, South Dakota, Eastern Montana, Nebraska, and Minasota. For $100 a month they offer VOIP based phone, all calls on the network were local (really pissed off the local bells and the state (no fees/taxes for local and regular long distance), cable, and broad band. When the phone company tried to cut them off by refusing to sell them any more bandwidth, they just simply expanded their network beyond the reach of the telco and found someone in a different region who would.

    Well suddenly "next year" became "now" since the cable company, the phone company, and the local crappy ISP didn't want to get shut out of their respective markets. The cable company and phone company tried to sue to stop them, but got nowhere so they were forced to put up or get out. Now Rapidy City locals have quite the collection of choices for their cable, phone, and ISP service.

    The same occurred in my current town of California City (why do I keep moving to shithole USA towns?) DSL came in and then proved to be less profitable then they liked so they began to pull service with plans to cancel it completely. That is up until a retired IT guy signed up for a few T1 lines and set up a wireless network here in town and quickly took over this town and two more nearby and began to add more bandwidth. Well the phone company did an about face and expanded DSL service. Too little too late the local guy offers twice the bandwidth for half the price, doesn't require a phone line, and if you have a problem you just drive to the office and talk to him.

    Competition is a wonderful thing. They need to shake up things by deregulating the cell, cable, and phone services even more.

  • If you count the homes in which you can find a wifi hotspot, it's way over 20 percent.
  • I was in Chinhae(excuse the spelling), South Korea in April of 2001. During this time, the locals were running 8 MB DSL lines to every home in this "small town" of a few hundred thousand people, who have open sewer systems running through their streets. Now, this was a decision that was made by the government of South Korea not long before this time, to work towards making their country a technology powerhouse. If officials are disappointed that our country doesn't have as much broadband users, then they
  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @01:00PM (#10899540)
    Sometimes early technology adoption can stiffle a country's development. For example France promoted a custom national network (minitel) which fell behind the more open and dynamic general InterNet. On the other hand the expense of land lines in China forced it into cell phones earlier than the states.
  • Free local calls (Score:4, Interesting)

    by janolder ( 536297 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @01:43PM (#10900076) Homepage
    A much overlooked factor may be the usually free local calls in the US. Other countries charge an arm and a leg for local calls in addition to the ISP provider's fee: I used to pay roughly $100 a month for local calls to my provider in addition to the ~$15 ISP fee - for two hours of daily use. Fortunately, moving to the US fixed that.

    As it is, the cheap local calls serve as a disincentive for US households to switch whereas the expensive local calls elsewhere make broadband an economic solution for more than sporadic use.

  • Guns or butter? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nysus ( 162232 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2004 @02:00PM (#10900318)
    Well, folks, it's your choice. Do you want big government to spend $40 billion for the recently launched f-ww jet fighter (designed to go to war agains the mighty Soviet empire) and another $200 billion for occupying Iraq (unnecessarily)? Or do you want big government to spend money on things that will build a more productive, prosperous society?

    You can't have both.

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