Jim Manley wrote:
Europe is much more densely populated than most of the U.S.
Yes, but it's more densely populated than places around here that have excellent network infrastructure:
179 United States
The U.S. is only densely populated on portions of the coasts and along the waterways in the Midwest - the other half of the population is in the boondocks, Smithereens (Kansas), and other places with names such as Deadhorse (Alaska), Hell (Michigan), Hellhole (Idaho), Nothing (Arizona), Disappointment (Kentucky), Dismal (Tennessee), Hooker Hole (Louisiana), and No Name (Colorado)! There are over 30,000 municipalities across the U.S., but the above are _tiny_ countries with only a handful of population centers/centres each, much like the South Korean example, and those rankings don't take into account the geographic asymmetries and size differentials at all that we suffer, as I mentioned. This is not a simple one-number-evaluatable problem - it's multi-dimensional, as you have to factor in:
- population size (we're around the same size as all of Europe, but slathered over a place the size of a full continent, not a rump of one
and then there are the islands and a single state even bigger than most countries in the world, and even Texas, and that's saying a _lot_, if you've ever met a Texan!
- legacy infrastructure value of both computing and telecommunications elements (we had the Internet before it was even called the Internet - I still have an ARPANET e-mail address sitting on a virtualized IBM 360 mainframe running MVS!), heterogeneity of services provided (VOIP still isn't the end-to-end norm for most areas)
- reliability/maintainability/consistency/et-cetera-bility (just because you have 200 Mbps peak, instantaneous service advertised, doesn't mean it's available to everyone, all the time, everywhere in a country)
- regulatory hurdles, not to mention corporate and political agendas (where you stand depends on where you sit
When things are close together (you can almost walk in any direction in Europe and be in a sizable town within a day), stringing fiber is pretty easy, but when it takes three months to walk across a nation, and you're being eyed by wolves, bears, mountain lions, buzzards, vultures, and other predators and carrion (and that's just the human riff-raff, never mind the fauna!
), it's not such a walk in the park. There aren't even any yummy Swiss chocolates, authentic cappuccinos, fresh pastries, or other culinary diversions beyond cookie-cutter superslab vendors of uniformly-poor, mediocre dreck. As they sing on Broadway, "It's Hard Out There for a Pimp."