Monday, July 11, 2011
Fair International Comparisons of Broadband Penetration
As one who has criticized the FCC for shoddy, results-driven decision making and data collection, I think the Commission deserves credit when it plays it straight. The Commission does a quite good job in a recent Report that compiles data comparing U.S. broadband penetration with that occurring in other nations. See See International Comparison Requirements Pursuant to the Broadband Data Improvement Act, International Broadband Data Report, IB Docket No. 10-171, Second Report, DA 11-732 (rel. May 20, 2011); available at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-11-732A1.doc.
The FCC provides more helpful comparisons, including consideration of service prices and delivered versus advertised delivery speeds. The international comparison largely corroborates statistics compiled by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (“OECD”) showing that the U.S. ranks high in wireless broadband and cable modem wireline service, but mediocre in DSL broadband service. “Based on OECD data, the United States ranks ninth for mobile broadband adoption on a per capita basis, and 12th for fixed (e.g., DSL or cable) broadband on a per household basis. U.S. fixed broadband adoption lags behind such countries as South Korea, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany, but exceeds adoption rates in Japan and the EU average. This Report also compares data on average actual download speeds reported by a sample of consumers in a number of U.S. and foreign cities and finds that some large European and Asian cities exhibit a significant edge over comparable U.S. cities in reported download speeds, though reported speeds for some other international cities are roughly comparable to speeds in many U.S. cities.”