December 25, 2010
A new study shows that nearly half of Virginians are using Internet connections with speeds below federal standards.
The study by the Communications Workers of America says about 49 percent of Virginians have Internet speeds of at least 4 megabits per second, the minimum standard set by the Federal Communications Commission.
That's the same as the national percentage of Internet users that failed to meet the federal standard.
But Virginia ranks 17th in the national for average Internet speeds, according to the study. Delaware had the highest speeds and the lowest speeds were in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Data from the study was collected from Internet users that visited speedmatters.org to test the speed of their Internet connection.
Increasing broadband availability with faster Internet speeds spurs economic growth and creates jobs, Larry Cohen, president of Communications Workers of America said in a news release.
According to the study, the national average download speed increased only slightly from 2009 to 2010. At that rate, it will take the U.S. 60 years to catch up with current speeds in South Korea, which the group said has the world's fastest Internet connection.
Internet speeds enable "innovations in telemedicine, education, economic development, energy conservation, and job creation," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement. The results of the study "highlight the need for investment in higher speed broadband networks to support America's critical applications."
Higher speeds allow people to send and receive large data files and do other things like take part in real-time video conferencing.
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