Local Broadband

How do we compare with the rest of the world?

On the net, I sometimes get asked what kind of internet connection I have. I think regular users often get concerned with this because there seems to be so many things which can slow you own. The physical connection and ISP often get blamed – sometimes for good reason too.

Those who use a dialup connection are generally complaining because they can’t get the bandwidth they expect, and need, to be functional on today’s net. The maximum available is theoretically 56k but in practice it is only possible to get something like 48k which is a respectable percentage. In this area that is indeed around what we get from both China Creek and Telus. We’re actually lucky in that regard because many places in North America the lines aren’t that good. Bear in mind that the wire based phone system is on it’s last legs and about to be replaced.

However, most of us prefer a broadband connection as that is what is normally expected and using dialup makes it very difficult to view a lot of www content.

Here in Coalmont we only have one choice for broadband. China Creek Internet offers a 1.5Mbps wireless connection. As a heavy user of the net who does a lot of testing, I can tell you that 1.5Mb is actually close to what we do get most of the time. Again, we’re lucky because in most places the various flavours of broadband only deliver a fraction of what is promised. We do have some aggravating breaks in the service from time to time, but that is the experience elsewhere as well.

What is unique here is the price. Yes, $35 per month is about average for North America, if not most of the world. The thing is, 1.5Mb is not. Let me put that in perspective. South Korean users experience an average of 32Mb. Northern Europe and Japan gets good bandwidth as well, but Canada only rates as number 32 in the world. With an average of 8.6Mb Canada is only slightly above the North American average of 7.6Mb. In other words we pay an average price, but get less than one fifth the bandwidth for that money.

There is of course more to it than that, and I will talk about that another time, but the world of communication is changing and we are going to run into problems. More and more services are relying on the net. The phone system is moving there, and more and more video is going there as well. In other words the world is expecting higher and higher bandwidth. If we don’t have it, we won’t be able to partake in what is normal for most other places both here and in Europe, to say nothing of China, Japan, and Korea. Our so called broadband is already not acceptable for normal phone connections. Video conferencing, which is taken for grated in most places, is out of the question. Hopefully, we will keep our copper phone lines for a few more years until we can get a real broadband connection, but there is no guarantee of that.

So that is where we stand in the world of the net. We pay about 5 times the Canadian average price for our bandwidth but at least we have it. One has to be careful with averages because even countries which have many people on very fast connections also have some slow links. However, just for fun, and to see where we stand, here is a list of major continents arranged from fastest to slowest.

1 – Europe
2 – North America
3 – Asia
4 – Australiasia
5 – South America
6 – Africa
7 – Coalmont

These statistics are gathered from Speedtest.net who get more than 20 million test results per month from all over the word. Try it yourself: http://www.speedtest.net/

~ Ole Juul

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