The broadband gap: Why is theirs faster?

New York Times editor Saul Hansell examines why broadband service is faster — and cheaper — in many other countries. In Japan, he writes, broadband service running at 150 megabits per second (Mbps) costs $60 a month. The fastest service available now in the United States is 50 Mbps at a price of $90 to $150 a month. In London, $9 a month buys 8 Mbps service. In New York, broadband starts at $20 per month, for 1 Mbps. Urban density explains much of the disparity, Hansell writes, adding: "In most of the world, by far the most common way to deliver broadband is DSL technology that sends data over copper phone lines. The shorter the length of the wire from the phone company office to your home, the faster the service can be delivered. … The reason you see offers of DSL service in many European countries of 10 or 20 Mbps, sometimes more, is that in densely populated urban areas, the telephone companies have been able to wire homes using shorter connections and thus faster speeds."

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