The United States does not have the “freest” Internet in the world, according to the annual Freedom House transparency and access report, Freedom on the Net. Slow and gentrified broadband access and occasional government intrusion stunted the U.S. to the #2 spot, with the tiny Eastern European technological powerhouse, Estonia, taking the gold medal. With online voting, access to electronic medical records, and widespread broadband access, Estonia is the envy of the digital world.
“Although the United States is one of the most connected countries in the world, it has fallen behind many other developed nations in terms of Internet speed, cost, and broadband availability,” explains the U.S. report. The U.S. lags behind Japan, South Korea, Norway and Sweden in access to blistering fast Internet (average peak speeds in Hong Kong — 49 Mbps — are nearly twice that of the U.S. — 28 Mbps).
The United States Congress and the Federal Communications Commission have allocated nearly half a billion dollars to connect rural farmers to the same Bittorrent-friendly speeds that allow the rest of the country to pirate Game of Thrones.
Other reasons for America’s less-than-superlative results include:
Estonians, in addition to having widespread public WiFi and more than 200 ISPs, enjoy access to some of the most advanced public services on the planet:
The full report, which is largely about the most egregious violations of Internet freedom, can be seen here.
H/T: Alec Ross