U.S. Lags in Broadband, Apparently

Although the United States is an innovator as far as the Internet goes – after all, we invented the thing – in an international ranking of nations’ broadband penetration, it isn’t even in the top 10. According to recent research from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), there are about 22 broadband connections per 100 people in the U.S. population, putting it in 15th place out of 30 OECD countries.

So who is the leader, you ask? Why, technology powerhouse Denmark, of course. The Danes have more than 34 connections per 100 people, narrowly edging out the Netherlands. Incidentally, Norway, Iceland, Finland and Sweden also landed in the top 10, which might lead one to wonder if Scandinavians have some sort of genetic propensity for the Web.

Of course, there are other ways to measure broadband capabilities, such as the infrastructure and average speed of connection. The United States also lags in this respect: The vast majority of U.S. broadband connections are split nearly evenly between cable and DSL, whereas in Japan, more than one-third is fiber-optic. As a result, average broadband download speeds in Japan are climbing past 60 megabits per second. By comparison, the United States’ average speed is just shy of 2 megabits per second.

According to Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America – the union that commissioned the report – this is just deplorable. He said the United States has “pathetic speeds compared to the rest of the…

Brian Summerfield


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