CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Anyone downloading a large file off the Internet in West Virginia should be warned that it may take awhile.
A new national study ranks the Mountain State 49th in the nation in Internet connection speed, ahead of only Alaska. According to the report, downloading a file that takes 15 seconds in Rhode Island will take more than two minutes in West Virginia.
The study was released today by the Communications Workers of America, which warns that slow Internet speeds will hurt America's ability to compete in global commerce. The median speed of Internet connection in Japan, for example, is nearly 60 times faster than the median speed in the U-S.
But a telecommunications spokesman in West Virginia says the real problem here is not availability, but demand.
Mark Polen says about 80 percent of the people who have cable Internet can pay for faster connection speeds. But West Virginia lags behind the national average in both broadband use and the number of homes with computers.
The states with the fastest and slowest Internet access, according to the Communications Workers of America's Speed Matters report.
1. Rhode Island - 5.01 megabits
2. Kansas - 4.17 megabits
3. New Jersey - 3.68 megabits
4. New York - 3.44 megabits
5. Massachusetts - 3.00 megabits
1. Alaska - .55 megabits
2. West Virginia - 1.12 megabits
3. Wyoming - 1.25 megabits
4. Iowa - 1.26 megabits
5. North Dakota - 1.31 megabits
National average: 1.97 megabits.
Source: Speed Matters report, Communications Workers of America.