A survey conducted by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) shows that the average speed of broadband Internet service in the U.S. lags significantly behind foreign nations, including Japan, South Korea, and France. Between May 2007 and May 2008, more than 230,000 Internet users nationwide took part in the CWA “Speed Matters” project, which enabled participants to calculate their online connection speed at the last mile by sending a request to their nearest server and measuring the time it takes to receive a response. After compiling test results, the CWA clocked the nationwide median download speed at 2.3 Mbps. Among all states, Rhode Island tallied the fastest average download speed of 6.8 Mbps, while Alaska reported the slowest median speed of 0.8 Mbps. The nationwide average of 2.3 Mbps, meanwhile, is said to represent an improvement of 0.4 Mbps over the previous year. Although many participants in the CWA survey indicated they were satisfied with the speed of their broadband service, the CWA confirmed that the 2.3 Mbps average reported for the U.S. falls far behind Japan, which boasts average broadband download speeds of 63 Mbps. (Download speeds in South Korea and in France, meanwhile, are said to average 49 Mbps and 17 Mbps, respectively.) At current average speeds, the CWA indicated that it would take 90 minutes in the U.S. to download the same multimedia file that is transmitted in only four minutes in South Korea. Emphasizing that the study “isn’t about how fast someone can download a fulllength movie,” CWA President Larry Cohen stressed that “speed matters to our economy and our ability to remain competitive,” especially as “rural development, telemedicine, and distance learning all rely on truly high-speed, universal networks.”