Report: SC lags behind most states in Internet speeds

By Jack Kuenzie - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - From desktops to smart phones and iPads, many of us can't go very long without Internet access. For most -- especially kids and young people -- quick connections, social networking and streaming video are now the norm. But much of South Carolina still needs a better path to the information superhighway.

For many of us, life sometimes seems to be moving faster and faster. But a new report says in South Carolina, our Internet connections may not be keeping up.
In fact, they're some of the slowest in the country -- 37th among the states.

Experts say we have a need for more speed. "Connecting fast gets your photos to you quicker," said Allen Satcher of CompuZone. "You can check your Facebook faster. You don't have to spend all day on a computer, you know, waiting for something to load."

"You really need a faster connection speed to take advantage of all the things that are available on the web," continued Satcher. "It's definitely the faster the connection speed the better the experience."

The report, issued with oversight from the Communications Workers of America, puts South Carolina's median download speed at about three megabytes per second. That's also the national average and an improvement from last year, but short of a four megabyte goal set by the FCC.

South Carolina's average upload speed, the rate for material being sent from the computer, is just 430 kilobits -- about a seventh of the download figure.

Sometimes, even those who make their living with computers have to endure painfully slow connections. At CompuZone near Columbiana Centre, a test of the store's connection speed on what's called a T-1 line, came up with numbers way below even one megabyte.

Despite the speed matters findings, there are indications South Carolina is making progress in efforts to provide faster Internet service to more of the state. Another report from connect South Carolina released late this year says 62 percent of adults here subscribe to home broadband service.

That figure drops to 46 percent in rural areas, and it's even lower in African-American homes. But when mobile broadband is included, virtually all of the state's households have some degree of broadband access.

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