The United States ranks 28th in the world in average Internet connection speed and is not making significant progress in building a faster network, according to a report released on Tuesday.
The report by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) said the average download speed in South Korea is 20.4 megabits per second (mbps) -- four times faster than the US average of 5.1 mbps.
Japan trails South Korea with an average of 15.8 mbps followed by Sweden at 12.8 mbps and the Netherlands at 11.0 mbps, the report said.
It said tests conducted by speedmatters.org found the average US download speed had improved by only nine-tenths of a megabit per second between 2008 and 2009 -- from 4.2 mbps to 5.1 mbps.
"The US has not made significant improvement in the speeds at which residents connect to the Internet," the report said. "Our nation continues to fall far behind other countries."
"People in Japan can upload a high-definition video in 12 minutes, compared to a grueling 2.5 hours at the US average upload speed," the report said.
It said 18 percent of those who took a US speed test recorded download speeds that were slower than 768 kilobits per second, which does not even qualify as basic broadband, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
Sixty-four percent connected at up to 10 mbps, 19 percent connected at speeds greater than 10 mbps and two percent exceeded 25 mbps.
The United States was ranked 20th in broadband penetration in a survey of 58 countries released earlier this year by Boston-based Strategy Analytics.
South Korea, Singapore, the Netherlands, Denmark and Taiwan were the top five countries listed in terms of access to high-speed Internet.
US President Barack Obama has pledged to put broadband in every home and the FCC has embarked on an ambitious project to bring high-speed Internet access to every corner of the United States.
According to the CWA report, the fastest download speeds in the United States are in the northeastern parts of the country while the slowest are in states such as Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
(c) 2009 AFP
Explore further: 100 gigabits/s connection accelerates Transatlantic research