Wednesday, April 23, 2008

American broadband in the slow lane

Last month there came the news that eight countries beat the U.S. in broadband penetration. Now there's another new report, this time from the Economic Policy Institute, confirming that the United States is pulling up the middle when it comes to “high-speed internet penetration.” Out of 30 countries surveyed, the U.S. ranks 15th with 22 high-speed connections per 100 residents. By contrast, Denmark tops the list with 34 high-speed connections per 100 residents, followed by the Netherlands, Switzerland, Korea, and Norway.

It gets worse when you look at new broadband technologies. For example, 35% of Japan's broadband connections are fiber optic, versus just 3% for the U.S. Average download speeds in Japan are 61-megabits per second, while the average U.S. broadband user has to make due with 1.9-megabits per second. It isn't a pretty picture, to say the least.

Last fall I testified before Congress on this very issue, stressing how vital higher-speed broadband is to American competitiveness in the global economy. A half a year later, I feel compelled to ask the politicians the same question that's in those Verizon commercials: Can you hear me now?

1 comment:

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