US bemoans falling behind in broadband (and lacking data to measure the extent of the fall)

Posted on February 20, 2008  /  0 Comments

Broadband Access Data Mischief — SSRC

There is clear consensus that our nation’s ability to compete in the high speed broadband world is essential to our economic future. Unfortunately, the Administration and the Federal Communications Commission continue to rely upon inadequate, highly-flawed data to assess the marketplace for high-speed Internet access. The Administration’s “mission Accomplished” rhetoric does not match reality:

* According to a September 2007 Pew Internet & American Life Project phone survey, roughly half of all Americans don’t have broadband at home. Half is far from universal.
* Fewer than 25% of New Yorkers in rural areas have access to broadband service and nearly two-thirds of people living in New York City lack access to affordable, high-speed broadband. Some New York City neighborhoods — like Sunset Park, Red Hook and Hunts Point — don’t even have affordable access beyond a dial-up connection
* Ten percent of Chicago area residents do not even have access to DSL service
* Broadband growth in the US is slowing — down 15 percent from last year’s pace
* The Administration has argued that while the U.S. may be behind in percentage of subscribers, we are the #1 in the world in total number of subscribers – thus we have won. But news from China suggests that it now has 122 million broadband users — the highest number in the world.

When the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) first collected data on broadband penetration in 2001, the US ranked 4th among the 30 nations surveyed. In June 2004, President Bush noted that America then ranked 10th amongst the industrialized world in per capita broadband penetration. “That’s not good enough,” he said at the US Department of Commerce. “We don’t like to be ranked 10th in anything. The goal is to be ranked 1st when it comes to per capita use of broadband technology. It’s in our nation’s interest. It’s good for our economy.” According to OECD June 2007 data, After several years of steady decline in the rankings, the US ranked 15th among industrialized nationals in broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants..

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