Link Hoewing has a phenomenally well-thought-out post over on Verizon’s Policy blog. Recently the Organization for Economic Cooperation (OECD) released a report stating that the US has dropped in rank from 12th to 15th in broadband penetration. This does not sound like good news, but the Verizon post goes into significant detail over why the statistic is not as bad as it seems.
I was hoping to add my own insightful commentary to the Verizon analysis, but the only thing I think worth adding is that there are plenty of other data points I’d like to know. Where was each nation ten or twenty years ago with regard to wired infrastructure? What investment is being dedicated to further the growth of broadband? How and where is government regulation working versus market-driven growth?
Here are the most salient points I took from the Verizon write-up. (See below.) Kudos to Link Hoewing for digging up and analyzing the data.
- The broadband penetration stats alone do not take into account population densities. Take a look at the OECD graph above showing density overlaid on top of penetration rates. (Note: for the sake of layout space I took out the countries below the US in rank.) The U.S. is compared to some countries with much denser populations including Korea and the Netherlands.
- If you compared US states with specific European Union countries, eight of the top ten in ranking would be American states.
- Considering the combination of the absolute number of broadband-connected households in the US (56-58 million) and the maturity of the American economy, the US can and should continue to be a leader in the development of new broadband applications and content.
- The US is among the most dynamic broadband countries in terms of platform competition.
- The US is investing significant amounts of money in building out new broadband networks. (And I’ll add – significant amounts of money in upgrading the capacity of existing ones.) “In no other country in the world are fiber networks with up to 400 mbps capacity (and more) being deployed on a wide scale to homes but it is happening in the U.S.”
Want more stats? Check out the Pew research report on US home broadband adoption in 2006.