Oh Its Fast! China’s Broadband Growth, That Is

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China’s Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) released stats Monday showing that the nation of 1.3 billion now has 457 million broadband users, more than the U.S., Mexico and Canada combined. While, one can quibble with China’s data, the numbers can offer some interesting perspective aboutchina and about the future of the web.

For example, broadband penetration in China is 98 percent, which suggests that if folks have wired access they are connected, unlike in the U.S. where penetration rates are closer to 80 percent and even more dismal in certain states, according to data also out today from content delivery network Akamai (s akam).

The CNNIC reports that there are 303 million mobile web users in China, up 69.3 million from the same period in 2009. Mobile internet users accounted for 66.2 percent of total internet users, up from 60.8 percent at the end of 2009. The number of rural internet users reached 125 million, or 27.3 percent of total users, an increase of 16.9 percent. The numbers don’t add up because some households have multiple connections.

As I said in July during the last release of this data, when China had 420 million citizens online, the Chinese are spending billions to build out better mobile and wireline broadband, I am concerned about the U.S. continuing to push out faster networks and drive more citizens online so we can stay competitive. On the other hand, China’s growing web usage shows that U.S. companies should also be looking abroad for growth–if they can.

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Kevin Walsh

98 percent broadband penetration in China? You may want to do a little fact checking on that.

Also, the Akamai report says nothing regarding broadband penetration for any country. CDNs can only report on the number of unique IP addresses they see (141 million in the US, 64 million in China) and average (not peak) download speeds (5Mbps in the US, 1Mbps in China). And given the amount of NATing that goes on in these networks, the number of unique IP addresses isn’t all that meaningful.

According to the FCC’s own National Broadband Plan, 95 percent of Americans have access to broadband, the price is lower than it was a decade ago and the speed is substantially greater. Also, according to the Akamai’s Q3 State of the Internet, average broadband speeds in the US compare favorably to other developed countries with private telecom operators (Germany is 4.2Mbps, France 3.3Mbps, the UK 4.0Mbps) but is behind small, dense countries like South Korea (14Mbps), Hong Kong (9.2Mbps), and Japan (8.5Mbps).

What, exactly, should U.S. companies be looking abroad for?

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