Patience may be a virtue, but none of us have any when it comes to Internet speeds. So in order to keep up with our growing restlessness, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reports that Internet service providers have actually tripled Internet speeds over the last three and a half years. According to a report released Wednesday, Americans’ “demands for streaming video and downloading content” has kept providers on their toes, but even so, “the United States still lags many other countries.”
Back in March of 2011, the report notes, the average download connection speeds was a measly 10 megabits per second (Mbps). But as of September of last year, this had increased to a much more manageable 31 Mbps. Even this is proving insufficient for some — in fact, as our collective obsession with watching movies, playing video games, and otherwise living on the web grows, industry competitors are in a frantic race to keep up.
Google, for example, is offering up to a whopping 1,000 Mbps (one gigabit per second) across nine cities, and AT&T is matching that speed in 20 cities, with 36 more in the works for next year. Comcast is also getting in the game, testing Gigabit service in Philadelphia, with plans for expansion by the end of 2016.
Despite these impressive improvements, the U.S. isn’t faring so well compared to other countries. In fact, in 2013, the U.S. ranked just 25th out of 39 countries surveyed in terms of Internet speed. France, Canada, Germany, and Japan all boasted faster connections, with Luxembourg sitting comfortably in the lead with an average download speed of 47.32 Mbps.
But things are definitely looking up for American Internet users. “Advances in network technology are yielding significant improvements in broadband speeds and quality,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement. “Faster, better broadband will unleash new innovations and new services to improve the lives of the American people.”
- The T-Mobile/Sprint merger: Everything you need to know
- What is 5G? Here’s everything you need to know
- Will 5G fix America’s rural broadband woes? We asked the experts
- 4G vs. LTE: The differences explained
- Five things to do before making the upgrade to gigabit internet