You know those empty threats that thousands of Americans make around elections every four years? "If [opposition candidate wins] I'm going to move to Canada." I've said it. I mean, it would be awesome to live somewhere with healthcare coverage that actually paid for the things it's supposed to cover. But this year, if I get frustrated enough to make that empty threat, I'm saying Ireland. Sure, they aren't going to want me there, and the American government probably wouldn't let me leave, and I don't have the money to move down the street, never mind across the ocean. But if I could, Ireland is looking pretty attractive right now.
The reason is that the communications minister, Pat Rabbitte, recently announced that the Irish government plans to get everywhere in Ireland up to an internet speed of 30Mbps by 2016 -- in pursuit of getting urban centers up to 100.
America's internet, by comparison, is awful. The FCC reports that 94% of the country has broadband, which it defines as 4Mbps, but 60% of that 94% only get 768kbps, which (I'm spelling it out because I had to look it up) is less than 1Mbps.
The article I got that information from is called "America's Internet Speed Problem: Half The Country Can Barely Stream Netflix." It shed new perspective on the article I read earlier today, "Potluck for the Eyeballs: Amazon's Streaming Service," which features this fact:
Still, this service has become hugely popular; Netflix’s army of 27 million streaming-video subscribers dwarfs its 9 million DVD-by-mail members. Incredibly, Netflix video streams make up one-quarter of all Internet data transmitted in North America.
No matter what happens, I'm unlikely to leave the country when the next presidential term begins. But if I had the option, right now Ireland looks very good.