In the United States, the median download speed of a “broadband” internet connection (like the Comcast line I’m using now) is around 6 Mbps, or just under a megabyte per second.
In Japan, the median speed is 78 Mbps, or thirteen times faster than ours. Moreover, they’ve already deployed gigabit (1,000 Mbps) symmetric fiber broadband in some places, and plan to have the entire country running at least that fast by 2011. They’ve successfully tested– though not deployed for commercial use– connections running upwards of 160 Gbps. That’s more than 26,000 times faster than the U.S. median.
Now, Japan is a smallish country and it’s probably easier to deploy fiber all over the place, but considering how heavily the U.S. economy (not to mention most aspects of American business) rely on fast internet, you’d think we’d take a page from their playbook and bump up these speeds a bit.