When oh when oh when will our erstwhile policy makers and bureaucrats GET THE MESSAGE. This story, albeit in the context of the USA, is just as relevent to Australia, where broadband speed and access is just as miserable.
“The U.S. lags far behind global leaders such as Korea and Japan, where broadband is far faster and cheaper, thanks to more focused national policy, less cumbersome regulation, and more densely populated regions. For a little more than $50 a month, consumers in Korea can purchase a 20-megabit-per-second Internet connection. That’s 10 to 40 times faster than a typical U.S. connection. In Korea, people use the service to watch TV in a window of their Web browser while they work on a memo in their word processor. Their access to movies and games on demand grows by the day. Such online services are available to few consumers in the U.S., where a 3-megabit connection costs about $45.”
I like the bit about a 3meg connection being available in the US for $US45. The best speed you can buy from Australia’s largest ISP, BigPond, is 1.5meg. And that costs $AUD149.95 a month.
I can only dream of a 20meg connection. We have a 1meg/1meg connection at our office, and our bill nudges $1,000 a month.
So why does Korea get the speed:
“This is less about technological prowess and more about policy. For one thing, Japan and Korea made the deployment of such services a national priority. What’s more, the Korean government deregulated what had been a monopolistic phone system and opened the market to competition. That set off a race among providers to wire up the nation. Moreover, they weren’t hamstrung by the regulations found in the U.S. All of the above led to the deployment of faster DSL and even a limited rollout of fiber-to-the-home. Finally, Korea is more densely populated than the U.S., cramming 48 million people into an area about the size of Indiana. Koreans tend to live in big apartment buildings located near phone company facilities, making it much easier and cheaper to deploy high-speed broadband.”