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U.S. Drops Broadband Rank

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For those of us in the U.S. who have been harboring broadband envy of leading connected countries like Denmark and South Korea, things just got a bit worse. The latest stats from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation & Development (OECD) for December 2006 show that the U.S. dropped from 12th to 15th in broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants.

Luxembourg, France and Japan are the countries that moved ahead of the U.S. in terms of broadband penetration, joining the other 11. Though we still have the most overall subscribers with 58.1 million, the OECD says the U.S. ranks 21 out of 30 in growth rate of broadband penetration. So it doesn’t look like we’ll move up in rank anytime soon. I wonder if WiMAX will change anything over the next 12 to 24 months.

The Free Press has already released a statement calling for a U.S. broadband policy change, with some harsh words:

“We are failing to bring the benefits of broadband to all our citizens, and the consequences will resonate for generations. There is no justification for America’s declining status as a global Internet leader. Instead of more excuses, it’s time for true national broadband policy that will put America’s digital future back on track.” said Ben Scott, policy of director of Free Press. [via broadband reports]

Scott is scheduled to give the Senate Commerce Committee an earful Tuesday, during a full committee hearing titled “Communications, Broadband and Competitiveness: How Does the U.S. Measure Up?”

Some other interesting data:

  • Denmark and the Netherlands are the first two countries in the OECD to surpass 30 subscribers per 100 inhabitants. Dope. They lead a group of 8 European countries that top the ranks.
  • DSL is the leading technology for 28 of the 30 OECD countries, though cable subscribers outnumber DSL in Canada and the United States. DSL : 62%, Cable modem : 29%, FTTH/FTTB : 7%, and other (e.g. satellite, fixed wireless, powerline communication) : 2%
  • Japan has the most fiber connections, with 7.9 million subscribers. The OECD says fiber connections in Japan outnumber total broadband subscribers in 23 of the 30 OECD countries.

5 Responses to “U.S. Drops Broadband Rank”

  1. Thanks for the links.

    Here in France, I’m sure many are proud that we’re up a few ranks. However, and I say this not having read the report, I think broadband in itself is a flimsy concept, when I see that the average ADSL 2+ connection here is something like 15M/2M which is what Verizon’s fiber seems to offer in the US.

    Does the report differentiate the level of broadband service provided or is anything DSL considered broadband ?

  2. Mark Fellman

    April’s Wired said it all “Bandwidth is destiny”. With no national leadership our destiny is dark – like the unlit fiber that’s all around us.


  3. “Subscribers per 100 inhabitants” is just one way to look at it. It is also necessary to have the “real number of subscribers”. For example, here in Singapore the country tops every list on a per capita basis; but hardly gets any interest from major telecom players.