OECD Releases Fresh Scare Stats On US Broadband Penetration
from the cut-off dept
A new report is out that once again rings the alarm bells about the relative lack of broadband penetration in the US. According to the OECD, in the past year, the US dropped from 12th to 15th in the world in terms of broadband access per 100 people. Luxembourg, France and Japan all surpassed the US in the last year. Naturally, telecom activist groups are using the news to push for more federal leadership on the issue, in hopes that this will catapult the country back up to the top of the list. But while broadband access is important to the economy, it's important to put these numbers in perspective. Simply looking at the number of subscribers doesn't necessarily translate to a good measure of broadband availability. Also, the US has a more difficult time getting broadband out to everyone, since it's much less dense, population-wise, than many of the leading countries in Europe or Asia. There's no easy answer to the problem of rural broadband deployment, as it's very expensive, while any federally mandated program would almost certainly lead to a USF-like boondoggle. This isn't to say that the US broadband picture is ideal; it's not by any means. It continues to be less competitive than it could be, which has a negative impact on price and quality. But it's important to realize that despite all of the warnings that without a comprehensive broadband strategy, the US would fall behind the world, the country is no slouch in the innovation department, particularly when it comes to the Internet. We'll gladly take our ranking of 15 and Google over France's superior ranking and Quaero.