Once upon a time, America was a First World nation. It had the best of everything. Then it invented the internet. Europe and Asia ran with the idea, while the US let the telecoms charge by the individual bit.

Result? Some of us are downloading at 30MB/sec, and some of us live in the USA.

To be sure, this is a bit of a perspective problem; America looks pretty good if you're connecting off a 14.4K modem in southern Peru. But it's an interesting paradox that the country that generates the most Internet traffic is far behind third place when it comes to the lines that the traffic flows over.

Part of this is due to the fact that the USA is one of the largest and least densely populated first-world nations. Even Canada has 90% of its population concentrated along its southern border. Many countries, especially poorer ones, have nearly everyone capable of affording internet access, or even reliable electricity, packed into their capital, which gives them the obvious advantage of having all their telecom subscribers blocks away from the only OC-3 line in the province.

Telecommunication companies are slowly but surely laying out fiber optic lines to areas with sufficient population density, so this is easing, but not as quickly as it could be due to local laws interfering with access to said lines being offered.