Google Fiber is the program that's building the future of broadband in the United States by deploying the fastest networks in the country in a handful of lucky cities starting with Kansas City, Kan., right?
Not so fast on the download there, Charlie. According to data from Ookla (which runs Speedtest.net) that was analyzed by Gizmodo earlier this year, tiny and rural Ephrata, Wash., has the nation's fastest broadband.
And I'm talking No. 1 by a mile. Ookla calculates the town's average Internet speed at 85.54Mbps, or almost twice the speed of the No. 2 city on the list -- the Google Fiber town of Kansas City, Kan., where the average speed is 49.86 Mbps.
Just for comparison (and a little bit of digital masochism), I looked up the nearest city to my location to make the list -- it comes in at No. 5,657 with an average speed of 2.65Mbps. Ouch.
So what's going on in Ephrata? Has it been annexed by those broadband-bingeing South Koreans?
Not quite. The Daily Dot published a nice little investigation Tuesday into what makes Ephrata an unlikely member of broadband royalty. Apparently it all traces back to a sizable $146 million investment that the Grant County Public Utilities District in Washington has made in building up its infrastructure and creating the high-speed backbone that not only makes thousands of high-speed home connections possible, but has also begun to attract data centers to locate in the region.
Unfortunately for the rest of us, such significant investments in infrastructure are rare -- which is why we've heard so much about Google Fiber -- as I learned in my own investigation into my local broadband woes. In lean times, like those seen in the past half decade since the financial crisis, elective infrastructure projects like next-generation Internet access are easy to cut, and the few who forged ahead anyway, checkbooks in hand, tend to stand out from the crowd.
So, anyone know a good real estate agent in Ephrata? Looks like I've finally found my dream of real broadband in the boonies.