Will All Major U.S. Cities be Connected by High Speed Rail by 2050?

It’s possible, according to a new report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) calling for a New Deal-like public works juggernaut that would eventually connect all major cities located within 100 and 500 miles of each other.

Here in Los Angeles, we’d be happy to see our long-promised subway to the sea come to fruition (it’s still due this year). Check out the U.S. PIRG report below:

The Right Track: Building a 21st Century High-Speed Rail System for America

U.S. Broadband Speed Still Lagging – SpeedMatters.org

SpeedMatters.org recently concluded a survey exemplifying the embarrassing brick wall (likely agreed upon by telco and cable monopolists and duopolists) keeping out broadband Internet speeds at low levels relative to the rest of the world. At 2.3Mbps average download speeds, last mile connectivity has only inched up in the past year, according to the report (PDF), and it would be decades before we experienced the speeds and functionality experienced by internet users in Japan, who connect at over 60Mbps.

Evident in the unscientific studies is the sharp increase in business districts in which connectivity is often an expensive T1 connection, as opposed to publicly available high speed broadband (which here in LA, is mainly limited to AT&T and Comcast, although competitors such as Speakeasy are able to offer better service at slightly higher rates). California ranks 25th in SpeedMatters’ survey of median download speeds. how does your state rank?

I’ve documented the U.S.’s position on broadband ubiquity and connectivity many times, as well as it’s position in relation to other OECD countries throughout here and here. I first profiled SpeedMatters.org (a project of the Communications Workers of America union) here and encourage everyone to participate in their call to action:

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Latest Broadband Penetration Data: Average Speed Up, Coverage Flat

The OECD Broadband Portal has been updated to reflect data as of June 2007. The enhanced and increased data makes the U.S. look a little better but U.S. high speed internet penetration remains in the bottom quarter of the 32 OECD countries, as it has since it’s ranking dropped 25 percent earlier this year. The U.S. is on par with the OECD average, however, when broadband penetration is calculated in terms of landmass populated by 50% of the population, perhaps a more fair measure, considering the U.S. does 30% of broadband subscribers in the OECD survey, but also covers a vast and sparsely populated area.

speedmattersTake a look at the main press release re: these latest penetration data. Of note:

The strongest per-capita subscriber growth over the year was in Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Australia, Norway, Denmark and Luxembourg. Each country added more than 5 subscribers per 100 inhabitants during the past year…. Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Korea and Norway and Iceland lead the OECD in broadband penetration, each with over 29 subscribers per 100 inhabitants.

Full press release below:

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