I just read a rather lengthy discussion on reddit about current US broadband speeds and how they're lagging way behind most all of the asian and EU markets. They quote the average broadband (download) speed in the US as 1.6 Mbps. Japan - 61 Mbps. South Korea - 45 Mbps. Sweden - 18 Mbps.

At first glance, this looks like a huge disparity. After thinking about this for a minute, though, I started wondering what the big deal is. Sure - it would be awesome to be able to say that I had a 61 Mbps internet connection to my house, but honestly, how much of that 61 Mbps are you able to use? At home, we currently have 6 Mbps cable internet service from comcast, and at work, we're on a full-duplex fractional DS3 (10 Mbps) from TWTelecom. No matter whether I'm at home or at work, I'm rarely able to saturate the connection. 99% of the time, I find the bandwidth bottleneck to be on the other end of the pipe (or somewhere in between).

Another thing to add to this discussion: a huge majority of the content on the internet is hosted in the US. This means that when some dude in Tokyo wants to surf Youtube over his pimpin' 61 Mbps internet connection, the traffic has to traverse the Pacific over cramped fiber trunks - he'd be lucky to get 2 Mbps over those connections.

So - my question remains...why the big push for faster broadband speeds? Until hosting companies and the internet backbone carriers upgrade their network to push more data, it really doesn't matter.

Am I being naive or is this somewhat correct?