Sunday, December 12, 2010

America Is NOT Behind On Broadband - A Lie Repeated Enough Times....

Newsweek: Obama's Broadband Punt

The only thing that irks me on par with "fingernails on a chalkboard" to a greater extent than does the fantastical claims around "Net Neutrality" is the claim that the United States is lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to our Internet and high speed broadband access.

 Country Population  Land Mass  # Of Internet
Subscribers 
United States   310M  9.8M sq km 240.0M
 South Korea  48M  0.99M sq km 39.5M
 Japan  126M  0.37M sq km 99.1M
 China  1,330M  9.5M sq km 425.0 M

Source: Number of Internet Users

I would be more comfortable if these type of studies took a sliver of the United States - the east coast, the west coast or the swath of the South - and attempted to contrast the state of the Internet in these nations that are a fraction of our size with these smaller segments of America.
It’s a well-known lament that America’s broadband performance badly lags the rest of the world’s. Household adoption rates are mediocre compared with those of other OECD countries, and subscription prices are scandalously higher than even the super-speed nirvanas of South Korea and Japan.
Mainly this is a curse of geography. Vast, suburbanized America is pricier to equip with high-speed fiber or wireless than densely populated Asia. But unlike in many countries, the government also lacks clout over the telecommunications sector, leaving private operators such as Verizon and AT&T to upgrade aging copper networks on their own time.

Still, as 14 million Americans go without broadband (defined by the Federal Communications Commission as a minimum download speed of 4 megabits per second), and millions more battle poor service, the nation is squandering a once-in-a-generation chance to modernize its digital footprint. The die was cast almost two years ago when President Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus lobbed a disappointing $7 billion toward broadband: mainly grants to help municipal, nonprofit, and private entities connect rural digital backwaters. By contrast, green energy received 13 times more funding. Now, with unemployment beached at 9.8 percent, it looks as though Obama made the wrong bet.

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