Those of you who have spent time with Christine and me know that we are total Internet junkies. Both of us walk around the house with wirelessly connected laptops permanently affixed to ourselves. In those rare cases when it is not practical to tote a laptop along, neither of us goes longer than 15 minutes between Blackberry glances. When we moved to our current town, which is fairly rural, we almost ran back to Boston screaming when we discovered how difficult it was to get a decent Internet connection. With that as the backdrop, imagine my surprise when in the course of doing some work research today I discovered that South Korea has by far the best Internet infrastructure of any country in the world. I mean, it is not even close. As one of the "behind the scenes" companies that makes the magic of the Internet work, Akamai Technologies has a unique vantage point on worldwide Internet usage. I was reading their first ever "State of the Internet" report today and learned that an average home Internet connection in South Korea is capable of speeds of "tens of Mbps." (Mbps = Megabits per second, the way us geeks measure network speed.) To put that in perspective, a standard Verizon "high speed" DSL connection in the U.S. ranges from less than 1 Mbps to a maximum of 3 Mbps. It is only when you make it up to their sparsely available FiOS offering (likely to make it to our town the same year I take my first vacation to Mars) that you get speeds that rival what is typical now in South Korea. According to the Akamai report, 64 percent of observed South Korea Internet users were on an Internet connection greater than 5 Mbps, compared to only 20 percent of U.S. users. A whopping 93 percent of South Korea users were using a connection of 2 Mbps or better. I wish they broke the U.S. results down to the municipal level. Something tells me our town would be duking it out with Internet slowpokes Rwanda, Solomon Islands, and Ethiopia and dreaming of the day we pass those showoffs in New Caledonia.
Message to our future child: Sorry about the Internet downgrade, but Mommy will let you play with her MacBook Air until I can get my hands on one of these.