Latest In Cable Astroturfing: If You Squint, Twist, Spin And Mislead With Apples To Oranges Comparisons, US Broadband Is Great!
from the because-it's-not dept
For the past few months, I’d been pitched a few times from people (often somehow, if in murky ways, connected to the broadband industry) arguing that all those stories about how the US is far behind in broadband is untrue if you just looked at certain states. The basic argument is that since the US is so large, it’s not fair to compare it to, say, South Korea. Instead, they claim, if you just look at a few states in the US, those states compare quite well to this country or that country. Of course, to make a total fruit basket out of mixed metaphors, this is pretty blatant cherry picking apples to compare to oranges. We haven’t written any of those stories, but apparently someone went and created a misleading infographic to try to make the point on a site called “the Connectivist.”
The only way to do a true apples to apples comparison would be to look at the data for areas with similar conditions, including population size and area, which the Connectivist doesn?t do.
The site simply glosses over the fact that while broadband in the U.S. is improving, it?s still not a world leader in deploying high-speed Internet access to its citizens.
Even though nearly three-quarters of the U.S. has access to what the FCC currently defines as ?broadband,? meaning at least 4Mbps downstream, that?s still not a high enough percentage to get it into the top 10 globally. In fact, that percentage barely puts the U.S. in the 40 of all nations.
Likewise, only 39% of Americans have access to 10 Mbps service, which is what many people now consider the minimum acceptable standard for broadband. That ranks higher, putting the U.S. within the top 15 worldwide, but still pales in comparison to world leaders like Sweden (56%), the Netherlands (52%), and Romania (50%).
Morran notes, sarcastically, that the Connectivist seems to ignore all of this… and then suggests a reason why:
Maybe it has something to do with an organization you won?t see mentioned on the Connectivist until you get to its ?About? page, where it just happens to mention that ?The Connectivist is an online magazine created in partnership with the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.?
Ah yes, the NCTA, better known as the major trade/lobbying group for the cable industry. The very same NCTA that recently tried to set up a painfully awkward attempt at sounding cool and young to attract younger people to its anti-net neutrality stance — and when confronted with the fact it was behind that campaign, said, “What led you to the conclusion this is an NCTA effort?” At least this time it’s officially buried in the fine print, but really, NCTA, if your argument is so compelling, why is it that you always have to set up fake groups to push it?