U.S. Falls Further Behind in High Speed Internet Access

The United States leads the world in so many economic categories, it's easy to take our global dominance for granted. But a report released this week by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows there's at least one area where the U.S. is seriously lagging: high speed internet access.

The OECD examined high speed internet penetration in its 30 member countries. The results show the U.S. slipping to 15th place, down from 12th just six months ago. That puts us behind countries like Denmark, Iceland and Luxembourg, with just 19.6 high speed internet subscribers per 100 inhabitants.

As PC Magazine reports,

The news prompted Ben Scott, director of policy for Free Press, to call for a national broadband policy. "We are failing to bring the benefits of broadband to all our citizens, and the consequences will resonate for generations," he said in a statement. "If we watch and wait, trusting that today's marketplace will magically solve the broadband problem...the digital divide will widen."

The statistics regarding high speed internet growth over the past year are even more grim. The U.S. ranks 21st out of the 30 nations in this category, with growth rates less than half those in Denmark and the Netherlands. Not only are we behind much of the rest of the world, we're falling further and further behind.

As an explanation for our poor showing, the Broadcast Newsroom reports that defenders of the U.S. rollout point out that many of the countries ahead of the U.S. have far more concentrated populations."

But that shouldn't be an excuse for the poor state of high speed internet access in our country. Rather, it should be the motivation for policies that ensure high speed access reaches every corner of the country. That's the only way the U.S. can avoid slipping even further when next year's results come out.

OECD Broadband Statistics to December 2006

U.S. Falling Behind in Broadband Penetration (PC Magazine)

U.S. Slips Three Places In Broadband Penetration Tally (Broadcast Newsroom)

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