Romania Beats U.S. in High-Speed Internet Connectivity

The United States is lagging behind the rest of the world in high-speed Internet connectivity, claiming eighth place in levels of broadband greater than 5 Mbps, Akamai's "State of the Internet" report shows. South Korea has maintained its top position and Romania soared up the list to third place with nearly twice as high of a percentage of high broadband connectivity as last quarter.All Things D columnist Walt Mossberg discussed the sad state of high-speed Internet in the United states at the Beet.TV Roundtable in Washington, D.C. April 1. "We really suck at broadband. We have terrible, terrible broadband," he says. "...768 kb per second is not broadband by world standards and our government has no broadband policy, and even if the FTC would adopt a regulation not allowing Verizon to call that crap broadband, it would help." Mossberg also called on the future administration to take a hand in the matter. "We need some serious action from the next president to say that this is just as strategic as the Interstate highway system," he says. President-elect Obama has pledged to do exactly that with the creation of the cabinet-level Chief Technology Officer post. The new CTO would oversee a national broadband buildout to stimulate the economy, Tom Lowry reported in BusinessWeek last month, and Dan Farber posted the official job description on his blog earlier this month: "Obama will appoint the nation's first Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to ensure that our government and all its agencies have the right infrastructure, policies and services for the 21st century. The CTO will ensure the safety of our networks and will lead an interagency effort, working with chief technology and chief information officers of each of the federal agencies, to ensure that they use best-in-class technologies and share best practices."The possible candidates for the position are causing a lot of buzz in the tech world, and quite a few names are being thrown around as possibilities. The BBC has a story today naming Erich Schmidt (even though he has publicly said no to the job several times), Tim O'Reilly, Ray Ozzie, Steve Ballmer, Jeff Bezos and Bill Joy as potential candidates for the job. Who do you think is likely to wind up as the nation's first tech czar? Let us know in the comments section.--Kelsey Blodget, Associate Producer

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