US Struggles in Race for Faster Internet Speed

February 24, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. lag / læg / [lag] (v.) – to be behind in terms of performance
Example: The company’s sales were lagging behind those of its competitors.

2. frantic ˈfræn tɪk / (adj.) – full of excitement or passion
Example: The young businessman was frantic to launch his start-up company’s service.

3. drive / draɪv / (v.) – to inspire a certain behavior in someone
Example: Her ambition to become famous drove her to work hard.  

4. sluggish ˈslʌg ɪʃ / (adj.) – slow
Example: The car was sluggish because of the heavy load it carried.

5. devote / dɪˈvoʊt / (v.) – give resources to
Example: Most of my time is devoted to my job.


Read the text below.
The United States has dramatically improved its Internet speed, but is still lagging behind other countries in the worldwide race for the fastest Internet speed.

US average Internet connection speed rose from 10 megabits per second (mbps) in March 2011 to about 31 mbps in September 2014.  At the same time, average speeds offered by Internet service providers jumped, with Cablevision Systems Corporation offering 60 mbps, Verizon Communications and Charter Communications each offering 50 mbps, Cox Communications offering 40 mbps, and Comcast offering 35 mbps.

Tech giants offered the highest speed of 1000 mbps in varying areas, with Google Inc. making it available to nine cities and AT&T making it available to 20 cities, plus 36 more areas in 2016.  Comcast tested its own 1000 mbps service in Philadelphia and will offer the service in other areas by the end of 2016. 

This frantic race was driven by consumer demand for higher speeds needed in downloading content and streaming videos. Much of Internet traffic in the United States – 60% according to the Federal Communications Commission - is devoted to video streaming. The figure could rise to 80% by 2019.

However, as fast as the country’s current average Internet connection speed is, it still remains sluggish compared to Internet connection speeds in other countries. In 2013, the United States placed 25th among 39 nations. Currently, it is still behind Canada, France, Germany, and Japan, but ahead of Brazil, Mexico, Chile, and Israel. Leading the race with a nationwide average download speed of 47.32 mbps is Luxembourg.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A
·         Is high-speed Internet widely available and affordable in your country? Why or why not?
·         What are the possible reasons why people want faster Internet speeds?

Discussion B
·         What are some disadvantages of spending too much time on the Internet?
·         Who do you think should spend money to speed up the Internet – the government or private companies?

February 24, 2016