October 13, 2012

Updating the Internet Like a Gadget

Luke Mitchell, Popular Science

AP Photo

We invented the Internet here in the U.S., but other countries have long since improved on our work. We’re 13th worldwide in average connection speed, and we usually pay more to access those slower connections. In some parts of the country, a world-class connection is unavailable at any price. Our system lags in part because it’s physically bound to its own long history. A century ago, for instance, it made sense to route telegraph and phone lines alongside train tracks, where someone had already negotiated right-of-way, but that means 21st-century data packets now run through networks optimized for 19th-century railroads. No wonder Latvia, South Korea, and others are pulling ahead: They’re building from scratch.

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TAGGED: internet, gadgets


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