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Archive for category: Reality Check

USA's Slow, Costly Internet

Our Internet access is slow and expensive here in the USA. The problem is, “a few companies control access in America and it’s not in their interest to bring that fast, cheap access to us all.”

Recently, telecommunications policy expert Susan P. Crawford visited with Bill Moyers about this “digital divide” developing in American society. The link previewed below will take you to the entire enlightening conversation.

Susan Crawford, former special assistant to President Obama for science, technology and innovation, and author of Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age, joins Bill to discuss how our government has allowed a few powerful media conglomerates to put profit ahead of the public interest — rigging the rules, raising prices, and stifling competition. As a result, Crawford says, all of us are at the mercy of the biggest business monopoly since Standard Oil in the first Gilded Age a hundred years ago.

“The rich are getting gouged, the poor are very often left out, and this means that we’re creating, yet again, two Americas, and deepening inequality through this communications inequality,” Crawford tells Bill.

How would Faster and Cheaper Internet access affect your small business?

For the past 5+ years, the United States’ Internet speeds have not ranked higher than #15 among the worlds’ top 35 most developed countries. (Source, 1g, Six year historical time series, penetration [June 2012])

With both of our major political parties focused on getting our economy back on track, how is it that not all US citizens have Internet access, and those that do, have the 15th SLOWEST connection speeds in the world?

According to Akamai Technologies‘ Q3 2012 report, the average global Internet connection speed is 2.8 Mbps with an average global peak of 15.9 Mbps. The US has respective averages of 7.2 Mbps and 29.6 Mbps.

That sounds peachy, but South Korea’s average speed is 14.7 Mbps with an average peak at a whopping 48.8 Mbps…and that’s just one of the countries surpassing us in Internet speeds. (Source)

Want to know your connection speed? Head to to conduct your own speed test. Let us know your results in the comments!

Here in Salt Lake City, Utah using Comcast high-speed Internet, my average download speed is 14.75 Mbps and average upload speed is 4.38 Mbps. Not too awful…

We still have counties in the United States with less than 5% broadband Internet availability. How is this even possible in this day and age?!

Picture from Wikipedia.

What do you do while waiting for your slow Internet connection?

Equalizing America

“…one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Is our country indivisible and left undivided?  It sure doesn’t seem that way any more. We feel conned by our political system, pushed aside by the outrageously wealthy “one percent,”  and Constitutionally abandoned by our politicians.

One of the most confusing aspects of our political system in which every citizen is encouraged to participate is our Elections and our…dun dun dun…Electoral College. Rather than debating its usefulness, legitimacy, and fairness, let’s instead look at an artful alternative to the Electoral College – a United States made of 50 states with equal population.

by Neil Freeman (

Does this feel better?  Which state would you live in if this was the division of our country?

We are all well aware of the wealth inequality in our country, but interestingly enough, surveys show we think the inequality is more equal than it is in reality!  The video below recently went viral:

What’s your reaction to this harsh reality check on the spread of wealth in the USA?

Out Of Reach” is a side-by-side comparison of wages and an area’s Fair Market Rent for housing by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Their 2012 report is humbling.

The picture you see here shows each state and the number of hours one would need to work per week at minimum wage to afford a two-bedroom unit at Fair Market Rent. Ouch.

Here’s a link to a similar map showing what minimum wage would need to be in each state if working 40 hours a week and affording a two-bedroom unit (PDF):

Here’s that map in list form (PDF):

In summary, the most expensive places are:
1. Hawaii
2. Washington D.C.
3. California
4. New Jersey
5. Maryland

While the least expensive are:
48. Kentucky
49. South Dakota
50. West Virginia
51. Arkansas
52. Puerto Rico

Keep in mind, the US minimum wage is $7.25 per hour…

How does your state stack up? How do we fix this?

Lastly, the male-female pay gap.  Even with moves toward equalizing the pay discrepency between women and men, men still make nearly 20% more money than women in nearly every industry.  Check out this infographic from Learn Stuff (it’s long, but it’s really neat):

Why is this still happening?  How can we change it?

Continuing with this pay gap theme, a report was recently released listing the 10 worst paying cities for women.  We here at Imagine Growth Strategy are largely based in Salt Lake City, Utah – so you can imagine our dismay when we saw the top two worst paying cities in the country.  Click the picture to link to the article.

Now it’s your turn!  What do you think?

Respond to all of the topics above or pick the one(s) you’re most passionate about – we want to hear from you!

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