Broadband Situation In The US Not Bad, Could Be Better
from the things-can-be-done dept
There’s been a lot of fretting and worrying about the US broadband situation for some time, which may get worse, as new reports show the US falling to sixteenth in the broadband penetration rankings. Of course, there are many ways to interpret these findings, and just looking at broadband penetration may not be enough on its own. In fact, the latest Economist study on “e-readiness” which looks at a number of factors including (but not limited to) broadband penetration puts the US in second place, up four spots from last year. This jump apparently came due to increased broadband penetration thanks to cheaper prices from DSL and cable competition. Apparently, the two different studies don’t use the same exact data. However, a more interesting point may be to ask about the nature of that broadband competition in the US. Some have pulled out the “free market” excuse for why the US lags, saying that if we lag, it’s because there’s just no demand. However, it’s easy to shoot holes in that argument by noting that there isn’t real competition right now, as most people have only one or two choices for broadband — and those incumbents have done everything they can to block out any form of competition. If there were real competition, then it would be easier to see just what the real demand is for broadband services in the US. At the same time, as service providers deny network neutrality and block off certain useful applications, they’re damaging their own prospects by cutting off the applications that make their services attractive.