We're #26! USA! USA!
The sad thing is just how pathetically bass-ackwards we are in the US when it comes to high speed internet. All of these technical arguments pale in comparison to the real issue, which is the near-total lack of competition! At BEST, you have either the local phone monopoly or the local cable monopoly to choose from. When I was younger, I lived and worked in France. There, thanks to the presence of an actual free market when it came to ISPs, I had a dozen different providers to choose from. Here's the comparison, then and now (both in major metropolitan areas):
USA, 2012: Verizon DSL, ~$35/month, 3 MBps / 0.5 MBps
France, 2005: FreeDSL, 20 euros/month, 6 MBps / 1 MBps
In other words, in France I got twice the speed, for less money, SEVEN YEARS AGO. This has NOTHING to do with technology, people.
When I lived in France I saw ads for 20-40 MBps connections on a regular basis, without any requirement to come in and rip up your lines installing the connection or to obligate you to never downgrade (hello, FIOS). In the US, we could only dream of such things until recently.
For those who have not read this already, here's the real story of all of the service charges and tax breaks US telcos were given access to in exchange for failure to deliver the high-speed network they are now creating piecemeal through FIOS installation fees and the like:
Here we are, folks - France, a country many "real Merikans" consider to be the epitome of socialism, has been beating our pants off for the last DECADE as far as creating a free market for broadband internet access is concerned - them and pretty much every other country in the industrialized world.
I'll say it again: Pathetic.