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Iowa's internet speed slowest in the nation

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Downloading a large file off the Internet in Iowa? If so, don't make any other plans; it could take a while. A national study says Internet connection speed in Iowa is slower than almost anywhere in the country, except parts of Alaska, West Virginia and Wyoming. The same file that takes 15 seconds to download in Rhode Island takes more than two minutes to download in Iowa.

The report, issued by the Communications Workers of America union, is based on data collected on the Speed Matters Web site. Visitors to the site could take a test to determine how fast their Internet connection speed is, and the study is based on results from more than 80,000 users.

Iowans have a median download speed of 1.26 megabits. That's not terrible considering the national average is 1.97, but it's far behind the jackrabbit-like speed of Rhode Island, the fastest state, with 5.01 megabits. But even Rhode Island pales in comparison to countries such as Canada, with 7.60 megabits, or Japan, fastest in the world at 61 megabits.

The union warns that slow Internet speeds will dull America's edge in competition with other countries as the Web becomes an even more important aspect of commerce.

An Iowa Utilities Board study last year found that the availability of high-speed Internet service in Iowa has improved in recent years. According to the study, nearly 93 percent of Iowa's towns and cities had access to high speed Internet service last year. A similar study in 2004 showed availability in 72 percent of rural communities and 73 percent for urban areas.

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